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« Thank You Penny Arcade | Main | learning to self-illuminate »

flawed perfection

“It all depends on you,” was what I told myself and yet I couldn't get started. At night I'd dream I was holding the wheel of a vehicle that had plenty of gas and yet I sat there wondering,  which direction offered me my best option. All I was doing was stalling. I could feel it. I simply lacked the technique how I could sustain believing in myself; to which I blamed my pursuit of perfection: the enemy of all art. As a result, I felt anxious. I had stopped writing my show and it took a stranger's words to snap me back into doing it.             

I met him on my August 20 Greenwich Village tour. As I approached St. Marks Place and Second Avenue, close to 11:30, the time it was to begin, I assessed about 40 people assembled at the corner; a good crowd. I'd get enough energy from some of them to offset me taking on the role of funeral director; dragging corpses around. This plentiful amount, moreover, I attributed to that blurb in Time Out magazine. There the tour had been listed under “Things to do", which was what people read when in want; and this one was free. 

And as I introduced myself, I looked around wondering was there anyone out there who would annoy me. My threshold was low. Sure enough, the two in the front,  in a matter of seconds,  were getting on my nerves. One a man and the other a woman, let's say in their twenties, and maybe that's a stretch. Everyone looks ten to me. Their lips were presently interlocked in a kiss, oblivious to my presence and yet showing their priorities.   

Then they hugged each other tight, as if they were mutually departing, when next they squeezed each other's hand and swung their arms about, sporting the glee of the newly in love. And they did this repeatedly; as if in a rehearsal for a dance around a maypole. As not to judge, I sustained my nausea on a quiet level.

In front of the of St. Marks Hotel I said, “Check to see if there's a room here for you. They allow smoking.” That last part I made up, based on minor cursory observation. They had looked European. Don't most of them indulge.      

Then they separated, revealing two beings, which led me to ask, “Where are you from?”as if I was going to call their mother's. When they said “Greece” I said, “How did you get the money to get here?” which I thought was an amusing rejoinder. They did not. They left, filling me with a lack of remorse.  

That's how it goes when one denies they are in a service industry job.  

And at the tour’s end, an Indian fellow, of slender stature, broad smile and shining white teeth, came over. He thanked me as he told me his name: Mahesh. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and presently still lived there and had spent two months here on a vacation. 

“I went to Hofstra University in Hempstead” he continued "and listening to you makes me long to return. But I had family obligations and I went home. Now I'm lost. ”And that immediately struck me as strange. I felt the same, obtaining that result taking a different course. And when I confessed to our similarity, he disagreed.      

“You knew what you were doing: on a subliminal level. You were buying time until you could decipher the world you'd created. You know you’re both funny and inspirational; there's your gift. Yet you lack one thing. You never pause. You’re on speed, shifting from one topic to the next. Your mind must rest to give it a chance to decipher the way to go. Begin with your breath. In and out. Do it as if you had all the time in the world. Daily. Often. And in silence. Presently impulse runs you. No more. Replace it with the pause. “

Oh,  the things he didn't know that I had bought, said and done.  

Really?” I said. “I had given up.”

“Shame on you” he warned, while we ate steak at the Capital Grille enjoying a late lunch. “We each have our own timetable. Look at the way you dress. Your soul’s bursting. Be wild and free and frank. Follow Keith Urban’s rule. “Perfection has no soul.” Just go forth.

And later, at home, I wrote, not rereading anything. There was no need.

Inside my flawed self I had found my perfection.    

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Reader Comments (19)

And Mahesh has our thanks as well.

September 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNetta

Love hearing from. Jane!

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLois

Great story ---- breathe!

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeryl Lynn

I love this!!! What insight Mahesh has and what practical advise he gave you. A lesson for us all. How's the show coming? It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to come from you.

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Jane, you are a shoot-from-the hip kinda gal. But maybe a short breath now and then wouldn't hurt.

As I prepare for two clients coming from Greece I was amused by the couple with apparent raging hormones. My October groups presumably will take care of their "needs" more privately

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLee Gelber

How insiteful! It is great to get feedback! I so enjoyed your tour when I took it a year ago!vwonderful story teller!

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

You had to get through the two kissers in order to meet Mahesh. It was well worth it.
Since perfection doesn't exist you learn to celebrate all victories- large and small.
You excel at that because you have so much. You give so much as well.
Your flaws are in your head only and you have the gift to figure out all that needs clarifying.
We envy you!!! Keep writing and filling up yourself and the rest of us. We hang on to your words filled with creativity,
Imagination and humor.

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

When one looks over a vast field of corn, there always seems to be a few stalks that stand taller than all of the rest.
That is how I see you, Jane.

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElwin Williams

One of your best.

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSally

WOW Jane - YOU ROCK! Love this post and THANK YOU Mahesh! I toured with Minnett two or maybe even three years ago. I have married (Milton ROCKS also) and want to make sure I don't fall off your blog list.
Happiness Jane. You are a star!

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKathy K Hostetler

Glad you are enjoying and learning from all your various encounters.

September 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Jane this article is so enjoyable, also learning from your experiences. Just keep on writing.

September 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHalbert

Mahesh said what you know in your heart......pause and continue. You are so creative and have so much to offer to all the lives you touch, you are perfection!!

September 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJudy L

I've always enjoyed your writing style and this piece is definitely included. It is simply "short and sweet." The wise advice from Mahesh is correct in my view. Continue to crystalize your talent in all areas, you are a natural.

September 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersheila evans

We all have our 'writer's block', or in my case, 'painter's block'. This article came at a great time for me. It gave me the shove I needed. I'd never heard Keith Urban's rule before. It's so freeing.

Thank you for your insightful input. Always love reading your pieces.

September 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax N.

Taking a deep breath now and pausing. Thanks, Jane.

September 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Koslow

We met at the Holy Trinity Church Play reading, on East 88th Street, about 3 weeks ago. Our conversation got on comedy and we exchanged ideas on what we find funny. So what is your forte, do you write / publish, do stand-up, or what. Also what is around that you find humorous. For me it is the performing arts - stand-up, movies, plays or just humorous conversations with people and of course well written books; especially the ones that have been around for awhile passing the test of time.

When you have a few send an email. Hope all is well and keep on laughing.


September 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Missed this in September, saw it now on February 1. I am not perfect--but then, "Perfection has no soul." Right?

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDen Adler

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