Posted on August 2, 2014
We all go on Crushing Crickets
I am 9 again
Summer has made my skin 3 shades of darker.
They were still using pebbles in the playgrounds.
They were still trying to get kids to play nice, but not trying hard enough.
9 dollars an hour, for them, is not enough to care.
The YMCA staff half listens to the wine in our throat as we hunger for inside air.
There are a swarm of crickets
Clustering against the window sills and jumping from the roofs.
We stomp out their annoying calls and make our own kind of music.
Mom picks me up, and cries me home.
She showers off the musk.
Makes a mistake with the meal and pays with an apology.
She lost a game I have not tried to play.
There is still cricket legs mashed into my soles.
I am 9, dark and naive
I am 15 when I finally learn who made a cricket out of her.
I still wonder why she continues to be silent.
Shasparay’s Bio: Shasparay is the 2014 #2 female youth poet in the world. In 2013 she was deemed the #2 ranking youth poet in Texas. Shasparay was born in Texas. She represented Austin Texas in an international competition, Brave New Voices, with They Speak Youth Slam’s 2013 team. She co wrote, acted, and directed “WHITEWASH”, a short film made by Queer Youth Media Project. She is a human rights activist, and volunteers with the Amala Foundation regularly. This is her first published work.
Shasparay’s first book of poetry, “Say it with your Chest” was published by Red Orchid Publishing this year. It is available for purchase here.
She is also expecting to go on a poetry tour with her book and spoken word talent, if she can raise the funds to sustain her on this journey. Please considering donating to her Go Fund Me campaign.
Posted on August 1, 2014
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about God.
All that is, and all that animates all that is.
The One and The Way.
The fragmented fullness of your path unfolding.
The Living Map.
Posted on July 31, 2014
It is hard to believe it’s been so long since the shows. I miss the touring life. Much is changing, much too fast. More on that soon.
I finally made my way through the Houston pics and selected some to edit. This is a few of the first I’ve played around with. I shot over 700 pics that night. Being front and center really made a big difference.
Posted on May 28, 2014
From Austin, TX, through Arkansas, Tennesee, North Carolina, Florida and beyond, here’s just a small selection of some of my favorite iPhone photos from the road trip. I often passed great photos by, but just as often, I pulled off if possible and jumped out to snap some good ones.
Rest stops were amazing, especially in Arkansas and Tennessee. Beautiful states!
Posted on May 28, 2014
It was the morning of April 21st and I was sitting in the room in Raleigh that I had rented through Airbnb. My new friend (Liz, from Israel) who I had not yet met in person, had just texted me that she knew someone with an extra General Admission ticket for the Sunrise, FL show on April 29th and it was mine if I wanted it.
My general plan had been to see Bruce in Nashville (4/17), Charlotte (4/19), Raleigh (4/24) and Atlanta (4/26), skip the two Florida shows and spend a week in New Orleans exploring the city and getting caught up on work and blogging before seeing him at the New Orleans Jazz Fest (5/3) and Houston (5/6). That would have been six shows in all, which had seemed like a respectable and really enviable run when I was planning the trip from my little house in Austin.
But after seeing Bruce twice, I was feeling the juice, the soul, the fire.
I was ON fire!
I wanted more Bruce, more E Street Band, more opportunities to make it to the front of the stage. I felt a pull to dive in deep and let the adventure take me where it would.
When I got the text that there was a ticket to Sunrise if I wanted it—
I wanted it!
So, immediately, I wrote to my New Orleans Airbnb hosts, Greg and Betty. Would it be okay for me to change my reservation and only stay two days instead of a week? Greg wrote back almost immediately,
“Far be it for us to stand between a loyal fan of Bruce’s and her sacred pilgrimage.“
That was sweet. Awwww! OKAY. It’s a go! I’m going to Florida! I’m going to see 8 shows! Wooohoooooo….
The volume cranked up on those damn inner naysayers and critics and practical people that live inside my head.
“What about work?”
“Your too old; your body can’t take that much driving.”
“You won’t get any work done if you go.”
“You’ll drive thousands of miles.”
That stopped my thoughts in their tracks. THOUSANDS OF MILES?
So, I googled it. Sure enough, Atlanta to Sunrise to Tampa to New Orleans – 1550 miles. 22 hours driving time. In how long?
Saturday: New Orleans.
Um, that would be 1550 miles of driving in ONE WEEK!
Not to mention the drive from Raleigh to Atlanta right before, or from New Orleans to Houston right after. And then, for the LOVE OF GOD, I was driving all the way to California after Houston.
That all seemed beyond possible. I was daunted. I admit it. I just gave up right then and there. Threw in the towel. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. The chains of shoulds and oughts wrapped around me and I was blindfolded and bound.
I looked up the drive from Atlanta to New Orleans: 470 miles (about 7 hours).
So much more reasonable. So much more sane.
[And, here I have to admit, I was also feeling guilty because I was changing my reservation. I’m not sure why this happens, but somehow I think that I’m responsible for, well, just about everyone and everything. Because I had made this reservation, now I had to keep it. Even though I was well within the time limit of their cancellation policy AND Greg had also been so supportive and flexible in his first email. But, still, I felt this tug somewhere in my chest or my abdomen…I was WRONG to change my reservation.]
So, I wrote back to Greg. “Never mind, I’m too old. It’s crazy. I can’t.”
Assuming that settled it, sanity had won out, I tried to turn my attention to my work. Before I could get anywhere in that endeavor, Greg wrote again.
Good Try. We won’t accept the, . . . old boy of mine. . . ‘, schtick.
You sound like a active and energetic person. We get the sense that if you committed and commenced your drive to Florida, you’d find a way to make it a wonderful adventure – and be no worse for the wear. :-)”
It was as though he knew me, right? I mean, what the H- – -??!
I emailed him back.
OH MY GOSH
are you kidding me?
Now, I feel like i really should do it!
If I did, it would probably mean that I actually don’t arrive until Saturday because I’d need two days to get from Tampa to New Orleans – and then I’d go right to the Festival after dropping my bags at your house. Is that still ok? Then it would only be Saturday to Monday!
[ Notice that I was making extra sure that he wasn’t going to hate me for my irresponsibility in changing the reservation. Despite the fact that he clearly was encouraging me to go.]
Okay, folks. So, here’s the kicker. Here’s the reason for this entire post. Here’s the Mystery at work in my life. Greg wrote me back:
Barring the earth being struck by a major asteroid or Elvis making an appearance, we’ll be here whether you arrive on the April 28th or on May 3rd.
So, what is really more important is your desire . . . and your dream. To that, the words of Thoreau and Whitman come to mind:
Thoreau in his work, “Walden Or Life in the Woods”:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,
to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
Whitman – O Me! O Life! ‘ O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
So, Uma – Do you want to suck out all the marrow of life, and drive life into a corner?
And ultimately, what will your verse be?
Just let us know
Greg & Betty
Can you imagine? What would YOU have done if this happened to YOU? Maybe you’d do what I did.
1. Burst into tears. Sobbing, chest-heaving tears.
2. Then start laughing at the same time.
3. Through your tears write Greg back…
I don’t know you and yet clearly, you have been sent from my own soul to help me out.
You could not really know how meaningful it is, that you sent me Thoreau and Whitman, but…
I am actually crying right now.
I would like to arrive on Saturday May 3rd and stay til Monday May 5th.
thank you, more than I can say
∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
And this, my friends, is the root of adventure.
This is the real Mystery at work.
This is the fire and the flame and the Way that calls you always Home, to your truest self. This is the offering and the offerer, all in one.
This is your sword, this is your shield
This is the power of love revealed
Carry it with you wherever you go
And give all the love that you have in your soul
-This is Your Sword, Bruce Springsteen
∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Are you willing?
Will you throw your desires to the wind and see what blows back to you?
Will you listen to the Call of a New Life?
On April 21st, I said yes.
And today, I’m saying YES again.
Posted on May 27, 2014
At the Raleigh show, on Thursday, April 24, I met a bunch of very cool people, including three women who became my tour family. I am pretty sure that I will be friends with them for the rest of my life.
I actually first had contact with them online, through the by-the-seat-of-my-pants pre-tour “marketing” that I was trying to do for this website.
Liz found me through the Facebook group, “Calling All Bruce Springsteen Fans,” where I had posted about my journey and blogging plans. She emailed me privately to ask if she and her friend could catch a ride with me from Raleigh to Atlanta. They were coming from Israel for some shows. Of course, I said yes. I figured even if I didn’t like them very much, it would only be a 5 hour drive and nice to have some company and someone to split the gas costs with.
Brit responded to my post on The Promised Land that invited fans to get in touch if they were willing to let me interview them. She came to this blog and filled out the contact form in the upper right. (A few people did, actually, and let me tell you that made me SO HAPPY.)
So…it turned out that Liz and Maya got to Raleigh the day before the show. I ended up having dinner with them. From the start, we liked each other. Well, I liked them. I am assuming they liked me. We had burgers in downtown Raleigh at Chuck’s. [Short aside: if you go to Raleigh and you like burgers, eat here!]
The next day, I headed off to the arena to get my wristband but got sidetracked getting something to eat and seeing some waitresses I’d met (see this post for more on that synchronicity). So, I got there a little late and got my wristband, meeting Jackie the security lady in the process. She was very cool.
By the time I got my wristband, it was about 3. Brit and I had been texting and planning to meet, and so we did, in the parking lot. I interviewed her (such as it was) and photographed her.
More about the interview coming soon in a separate post. But we connected and had a good time talking, and by the time the lottery came around, although we were not together in line, I was texting with Brit as well as Liz and Maya.
The short story is that none of us made it into the pit, but we got in at the front of the rest of the GA section and I ended up with one spot on the second rail (at the “ramp stage” behind the pit section). Bruce can come down off the stage, around the side of the pit and up on that ramp when and if he feels like it. Although there was some jockeying for position, overall, everyone was sharing and talking, and we had a fine time meeting the people around us before the show started. I was beginning to see that this happened before every show – and then the lights come up and everyone usually scatters, with or without a goodbye.
Raleigh was a great night. The show was good. Nothing spectacular, but Bruce was in his usual high energy form and we all were excited that he came to the back a bunch of times, and I even got to touch his leg a few times. Having him sing right above us was pretty spectacular and that night was the closest I had come to him yet. However, I don’t have any good pics of him from that show. I just hadn’t gotten the hang of shooting his fast action with the iPhone yet, plus when he came by, I just wanted to LOOK at him and soak him up. Not try to take pics.
It was also a sweet night because his daughter, Jess, was graduating from Duke and she and her friends were in the audience. Patti was with the band that night (I think it was the first show I’d seen her at this tour) and Bruce dedicated Growing Up to Jess, invited her friends to sing with him (what song was that?) and he danced with Jess on Dancing in the Dark. (Which of course bummed out all the women in the front who had hoped he would pick them for that special dance.)
Anyway…I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but at the end of the last encore (Thunder Road), the four of us didn’t scatter. Brit, Liz and Maya told me they had decided that the we should get wristbands as a group for the rest of shows we would all be at on this tour and see the shows together. I was kind of surprised, because although friends had suggested that I would meet friends and travel with other fans on tour, I’m something of a loner and I didn’t really think it would happen. But I said that sounded good to me!
We left the floor and walked out together. It was like we’d been friends for years, even though we’d all just met and really didn’t know each other at all. Something about sharing this very specific love for Bruce and his music, and also something about the four of us and our personalities, made us just gel. It is something that often happened when I was younger, seeing Dead shows, or traveling. But now that I’m 50, it hasn’t happened in a loooong time.
By the time we got outside, I was exhausted. The three of them (young whippersnappers) wanted to go around to the back of the arena and see if they could catch sight of Bruce leaving the venue. I said my goodbyes, with plans to pick up Liz and Maya the next morning for the journey to Atlanta and to meet Brit and her husband, Chris, in Atlanta in two days for the next show. I told them I didn’t think they’d see him, but as I waved goodbye and turned toward my car, I thought to myself, “Oh, I bet they DO find him!” It turned out they did, and he waved at them as he got into a car and was whisked away. It felt like a shining omen for the rest of the adventure.
Posted on May 22, 2014
I’m back! I know the whole idea was to blog about my Bruce adventure while I was in it, but you probably noticed—that didn’t happen.
It turns out that seeing eight (yes, 8) Bruce shows means a hell of a lot of driving and not a lot of writing. Um, make that NO WRITING.
After my final show in Houston on May 6, I drove all the way to California. (So far, I’ve driven almost 7,000 miles since I left my house in Austin on April 14th.) Upon arrival in California, I started a mad schedule of work and socializing. I’m finally beginning to catch my breath – and am ready to blog again.
I still want to make posts about each of the shows in the order I saw them, including the adventures, the people, the energy…and what it has meant to me. But for now, I’m going to post some photos of my journey and of the band and leave the storytelling to the next post. I hope you enjoy and I am glad you stopped by to check things out here at my home on the world wide web.