I Might Be Going to Serbia

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There’s a chance I might go to Serbia. I know, I know, it comes as unexpectedly to me as it does to you in that until two days ago, I hadn’t thought about Serbia since the 90s. And I’ll admit that I have one of the most bizarre lives I’ve ever heard of. I wish that I could just write about my life as it’s happening and make a living from that. “Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills up the fastest” my grandmother used to say.  I’ve long valued experience over money but I’ve noticed at the grocery store they don’t want a monologue when it comes time to pay, they want cash. There’s a way to donate on my blog page but people who read on their phones don’t even see the link and I’m not sure that those who read on their tablets or computers do either. I need tech help. Even if someone through in a dollar now and again it would help. I remain a shiftless Bohemian poet trying to save the world with his wishes and words.
I started the blog again as an anchoring point, or maybe a sail. We talked about this already. “The Anchor or the Sail” I think I called it. If you read me with any regularity, you might remember.
Serbia. A friend I knew from when I lived in New York City contacted me a couple days ago to say an artist friend of his for whom he’s sat as a model was looking for “muscle bear” types and (although I don’t think of myself as that too much— labels, y’know?) I did take a peek at the link he sent me of the painter’s work and I was astounded. It turns out it’s a collaborative effort. The photographer makes the photographs from which the paintings will be rendered.

CUT TO:

INT. JEFF’S BEDROOM IN SALT LAKE. 2:40am
I made my offer to the folks in Serbia regarding the modeling gig. I really hope they accept. I would accept a counter but I remember his saying he didn’t like to “haggle” over that sort of thing. I don’t either. The offer I made was reasonable based on my research. I would like to stumble around Serbia for a few days after the shoot was done. I built that into my offer. More than the money or even seeing a country I’ve never seen before, I’m interested in being part of this project. I find the paintings amazing and the concept for this series is right down my alley. From my Skype visit with the photographer last night it seemed very much that I would be considered a co-creator in the shoot and that I am to bring my artist’s heart and not just my body.
The photographer is in Saudi right now. I’ll probably sleep tonight before I get a reply. It’s nearly 1am now and we saw another three Sundance screenings today. I saw…

 

Miss Americana, a documentary about Taylor Swift. I’m embarrassed to admit I knew very little about her. What a courageous young artist! Don’t worry, Ms. Swift; future Americans will see that you stood on the right side of History.

Then I saw one I didn’t care too much for and afterwards, tonight we saw We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, a documentary about the improve freestyle rap group that bears that name. Manuel-Lin Miranda is among them. He wrote, starred in, and did a bunch of stuff for Hamilton (the Broadway mega-hit I’ve not seen yet) and In the Heights (which, believe-it-or-not, I’ve not seen either). I really enjoyed the documentary mostly because it was a reminder to me about what persistence and thick skin can do for you in this business. Work hard at what you do and be willing to be punched in the face a few thousand times. I think that’s probably the key to success in the Arts and Entertainment world. God knows at this point it looks like I’m not going to give up. If I was, I would have by now. Fifty-four and still plugging away. We’ll get there by the end.

Sundance is coming to a close soon and I’ll stay a few days behind as usual. I’d usually use the time to snowboard or ski but the idea of that makes Jen (cousin, more like a sister) nervous (and she is a doctor) because I’m still on blood thinners from the heart procedure I had last week so I’ll respect her wishes. We’re going to try out their new snowmobiles instead. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s 11am in Saudi and the Serbians have seen my Skype by now. Why haven’t they responded? Was my “ask” too much? Are they reconsidering?!
Time to go put on my CPAP, grab the dog (named monkey), and find my way to bed to toss and turn and think about Serbia and where it all went wrong.

(just before bed)

Holy shit, Eric Haley just called me. I haven’t heard from that cat in at least twenty years. He’s living in LA with his wife and his mortgage. “Is it true that I’m no longer young?” He’s now 46 years-old (although permanently frozen at 23 in my mind). I left Eric at The University of Alabama and (with the possible exception of a phone call or two in the nineties) haven’t heard from him since. Until tonight.
When I saw his name on Facebook Messenger Audio Chat I thought, “Getting a dick dial from somebody I haven’t heard from in years it seems but it sure would be nice if he did call.” And I hit the answer button (just for fun) and said, “How you doing Eric?” and waited for the expected silence. To my surprise he said, “Hello Jeff, it’s been a while.”
Bless his heart he probably had some simple reconnection in mind and I kept him on the phone for 45 minutes. I was so happy to hear from him. Back in the day (truth be told) I had a terrible crush on him (alas, he likes the ladies) and, to be honest, a bit of hero worship (he’s super talented). “Back in the day” we shared some beautiful moments of artistic connection during the swordfight in Romeo and Juliet, between Mercutio (him) and Tybalt (me) back in the old college days at The University of Alabama. Nothing feels better than to cross swords with someone you admire.
I hope our reconnection stays strong and we are able to stay in touch and work together again. He’s a better artist than he remembers.
Pray I get this gig in Serbia. For some weird reason, I really want to do this.

 


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