What Chris Taught Me

Chris. How can I describe Chris? On the simple side, he’s smart, funny, and loves breakfast. Years ago, when we were both living in Chicago, we began a ritual of meeting up at dawn, before either of us had to be at our 8am jobs, and having breakfast. I almost always had a Belgian waffle, he always had a joyous combo of eggs, meat and toast. The coffee was always more watered down than I would have wanted, but I never, ever cared.

These days, we are both in different cities, much smaller than Chicago. We talk on the phone every now and then, lament our current lack of food options, and talk about the changing landscape of our lives.

A few weeks ago, I was on a long drive home in the dark, when I gave him a call. He was in the grocery store. I asked what he had in his cart. Frozen pizza, ice cream and coffee. The holy triad. And this is why we’re friends, I thought.

I’d just been to hear an author speak, so we talked about that. This pull I feel to write, what it does to me, what will come of it. Of course I want to write a book. I adore books like I adore food. Books ARE food. There is one thing my hands want desperately to hold — and it is a bound book, with my name on its spine. I want my mind to be held up in its body. I want this so badly, I salivate.

But I don’t know if I’ll write a book. For starters, I don’t know how to write a book. Not sure I have the content. Scared I don’t have the talent. Terrified that people wouldn’t love it. Worried that I could hurt someone with it.

So I talk about thishere blog, and how it fulfills my need to write, and share — but how I’m worried it’s both the beginning and end of my writing…that I’ll never do more, that my words will never end up anywhere but here.

And he says:

“For years, I wanted to be the next Robert Rodriguez. I slaved over my films, wanting them to be perfect, poring over every aspect. I spent so much time trying to make them all I wanted them to be, ready for the public, ready to be considered masterpieces. Now, I look back, and ask myself if I approached it as I should have. What else could I have created, in all that time that I sought merely a perfect film, fit for the masses.”

This book I want is just that — a representation of some perfectly cioffed words, all lined up next to each other — dressed in some pretty binding, delivered to a bookstore’s door.

He asked me to consider the beauty in what I am doing now, day to day. These posts here that I share, they have value on their own. Every time I write one and send it off into the air, it is as if I have released a bird. There is such openness and such closure in the act. I’ve got this out, now, I say. I am, at once, lighter.

Irony is a delight. While Chris worked his ass off on his films, and toiled over every aspect, he now more offhandedly makes tutorials on Youtube. His tutorial ‘How to Make Microwave Popcorn’ is beautifully shot, and informative, and charming. His short film/music video CAMFBH is unique, funny, fast-moving and innovative. A quick look at the numbers tells me a few more have watched the popcorn tutorial than his film. We’re talking 87,499 views. CAMFBH: 35 views.

As artists (*omg I just called myself an artist!), we are responsible for creation. The creations themselves are less important, and the audience they reach, I dare to say even less so. This is not to say I don’t want to write a book and that I don’t want the world to welcome it with open arms. But in this moment, if all I know how to do is open my hands and release these birds that live in me, then that is what I will continue to do.

Thank you, Chris.


Please head on over to Youtube and add a view on to both of the videos I mentioned, and more!

How to Make Microwave Popcorn




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