My Life So Far
It took me just under three hours this morning to tire of New York at Christmas: the music, the tourists, the traffic, the lines. Still, I spent the past 24 hours exactly as I’d dreamed of all those hours in the Rent-a-Taurus: movies and sleep.
Plus I got a cool pair of $20 sneakers.
I saw ‘Big Fish’ last night, and loved it. It’s a deep and simple story about storytelling. It left me walking home through Manhattan smiling, which is all I can ever ask of a film.
Tonight I saw ‘The Fog Of War,’ a far less smile-inducing film that sees Kennedy/Johnson Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara looking back at his life, and life choices. McNamara’s sense of regret and sadness is palpable, if irreversible. It is a terrific documentary, chilling in its account of one man’s bearing on history.
It occurs to me as I type that both films — randomly selected by my unconscious, no doubt — tell of old men looking back on their respective lives. I am reminded of the epilogue to ‘Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind’ in which Chuck Barris says
“I came up with a new game-show idea recently. It’s called The Old Game. You got three old guys with loaded guns on stage. They look back at their lives, see who they were, what they accomplished, how close they came to realizing their dreams. The winner is the one who doesn’t blow his brains out. He wins a refrigerator.”
I often catch myself assessing my life so far, and imagine what I’ll leave behind. While I intellectually tell myself that a legacy of friends and family is all that any man or woman can really leave, I always crave more: To make a difference. To leave lasting art.
Well, toss one more bit of artistic endeavor onto the funeral pyre: “Beholden.” I wrote the title track to my next (planned) record, ‘The Catcher In The Rye,’ last night. I know, it’s not really the title track, but it plays around with the book’s main character’s name (duh, Holden Caulfield). And it makes the sentimentality of “Stay” seem like “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
I’ll be Holden for you
If you’ll just hold on to me too
I mean, sincere… right!?! Oh well. If I learned anything from college, it’s trust intuition. And if I learned anything from Mister Rogers, it’s trust your heart. So it’ll make it to you one of these days…
Meanwhile, Christmas draws nearer and I’m 98% done with the whole gift thing. I have two big ones left: yours, and someone else’s. I’m making yours Monday night, and I’ll give you a hint: you can sing a long to it. The other one? Well, let’s just say I’ll be visiting a certain street it Midtown. And it ain’t frankincense.