It was an adventure for me. I have never been to Petaluma, and it was my first time taking Golden Gate Transit up to the North Bay. I am not averse to public transport as I have never owned a car, and it is my main way of getting from point A to point B. Still, taking a new system -- even when familiar -- always produces just a little bit of anxiety and excitement. Will I get there on time? Will I know where my stop is as I have never been there before? Will I be able to find their home after getting off the bus?
Luckily a little planning goes a long way. With my handy dandy time table, map, and coffee, I knew I could face the adventure AND relax along the way. I picked up the bus at 7th and Market. I rode the bus, staring out the window, watching the clouds and hills pass by. Two hours later, I was in Petaluma earlier than anticipated.
Like the bus ride, I didn't know exactly what to expect when I arrived at Sadie and Jesus' apartment. I mean I had some idea as I have worked with/booked musicians in the past. But again, this was a new experience for me. I have never had musical accompaniment to one of my written pieces before. It was a new direction for me; another adventure.
Sadie graciously whipped up some bacon and eggs for me upon arrival. The smell of melting pork fat filled the apartment and whetted my appetite both for food and creativity. I couldn't wait to get started. Neither could they.
We walked into their music room to do a single read through. I approached the mic and started reading "The Unfinish Line". Butterflies in my belly stirred, and I knew I was in the right space at the right moment with the right people. Then, Jesus and Sadie played some of the music they recorded. More butterflies confirmed what I had already realized.
The music was/is haunting, minimal, and ambient. It added/adds a depth to the poem that I could never have achieved on my own. The combination of Sadie's looped vocals and clear tone with low minor chords brought me out of my body. A character emerged in the physical shell that remained behind. I was no longer Jason. I was the narrator of a story, a dark teller of tales of "corporate communism masquerading as democracy". I found the emotion of the poem, and it cracked my voice and moved my body.
The collaboration was/is brilliant. We rehearsed more times finding more nuances and subtleties. We changed who said what, and suddenly even more character and mood emerged. Finally, we wrapped knowing that we had/have a hit.
I left their apartment and wandered some more in Petaluma. Taking public transport means you are always on someone else's time. I had a little over an hour until my bus arrived, so I wandered Petaluma taking in the sights of an agricultural town. It felt oddly like home and reminded me briefly of Minnesotan fall complete with the smell of grain being milled and the cool breeze of late afternoons and the setting sun.
I found a tree behind the public library that called to be sat under. Looking up at its old and thick branches I knew its life was grander than mine. It reminded me that time passes, and if we sit still we can see it move. It was a beautiful way to end my time in Petaluma.
I boarded the 4:28 bus out of Petaluma, back to San Francisco. Two and half hours later, I was home.
Today, as I woke up to a rainy morning full of gray clouds and cold feet, I stayed in bed just slightly longer relishing time. I watched it pass for but a moment.
Then, coffee called. And it is time to continue experiencing inspiration, art, voice, and camaraderie.
Catch The Vespertine Orchestra on Sunday, December 16 from 7pm to 9pm at Progressive Grounds Mission (2301 Bryant Street, SF) for a winter's concert featuring collaborations with writer Jason Wyman and other musicians. This event is FREE and open to the public.
Science Bytes, where Dr. Richard Sullivan from UCSF answers the question, "How do our immune systems shape our lives?"
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 from 7pm to 9pm
Progressive Grounds Mission
2301 Bryant Street, SF
SHARE YOUR BELIEFS
I am working on an interactive performance on life, death, and the afterlife. I am trying to collect over 100 responses to my online survey. Please share your beliefs, and let others know too. Then, come see my performance at Reviving Spirits: The Dawn on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8. Doors open at 5pm. Progressive Grounds Mission (2301 Bryant St, SF). FREE!