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Fredly’s Australia: part two: It’s not a journey, it’s a window: pack your chute and jump!

August 10, 2014




Kakadu has salties lurking the the mud of the billabongs, their hidden unchanged

prehistoric eyes looking for tourists and the indigneous. Might as well get a bite out of them before???

I have never met anyone who said they didn’t want to go to Australia. And I have always felt that anyone who is a true American has a piece of Australia in the red center of their heart, and it’s a sacred ground, their personal Uluru, and I looked forward to the day I could walk around it, climb it, feel and absorb the aura I know glows around it, and become fueled by its natural and untapped reserve that’s pooling there for me.

If you keep pounding on the brick wall of life, sometimes you create a window. And in that window is an opportunity. And I’m not going into Sarter No Exit land about life being a brick wall and Samuel Beckett wrote Waiting For Godot, I’m talking about a moment in your life or you day, where you know it’s a chance to make a difference in the quality of the moment. The brick wall is just the familiar comfort zone, but sometimes in life the comfort zone loses its spring in the mattress, and you spot another dance step to a different song, a song you want to learn the words to, a song you want to perform. And it’s all you.

The first time a window opened for me, I had testicular cancer, and I looked at the man lying on the bed and thought who will he be when he’s lying in this bed again. Yes, I hit my first speed bump of mortality. I saw myself within a painting where I could change the color arrangement and burst the frame. A window. And window that wouldn’t remain open, and was slowly shrinking, and it showed me I should go to California, surf, do stand-up comedy, learn about wine, and go cross-Kerouac through America, and become the writer I admired in others. One who makes you feel after you close the book, you want to change something in your life.

I dove through the painting and turns all the constrained shadows and light and into spin art. I had to go splatter and take a chance ii take form into another life.

And it worked. And when I had cancer again, I believe the friends and the life and the love from that moment is what saved me. There are those who can go Hitchen, and see a meaningless and clinical view of every moment, chilling it, so every through and idea and person just becomes a silver set of scalpels on a white-cloth covered silver tray. But all I saw were painting brushes and can and cans of paint.

I didn’t have to walk toward the light, because I didn’t live in darkness. Then when I hit 59, and had some extra cash, another window opened: go to Australia. I remembered a scene in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, where Jake Barnes and his buddy meet some senior citizens on a train who saw America first then wanted to see Europe, buy the moment came across that they were too old to live in it like Jake and his buddy. That scene has always sat in my head. Unfortunately Kake and I are also traveling light too! (Sans Testicles. I guess I can tell people I forgot to pack them, or they took up too much room in the bag: or that I’m trying to compensate for not having testicles by going Down Under.  Hdy who says you can;t make jokes about losing your balls? In a way, you could say without them, I have the largest clitoris in the world. Yikes!)One of the many things I loved about doing stand-up was traveling and seeing America, I’ve been through the Northwest, driven the coast highway in California from top to bottom, seered across the turbulent weather and humidity and boring tornado wearnings of the Midwest, and performed to a rowdy group of rodeo performers in Texas. And while other comics were bored, smoking dope wand watching Tv and trying to feed off each other for jokes. I was knocking around these towns and meeting people and going to their local breakfast joins and clubs and thriving, knowing the entire time what I could articulate was speaking to me. I was getting lost in the translation and enjoying it, knowing the shifting and stirring fields and roads and mountain and twilight beaming off the adobe roofs in Santa Fe and sliding into waves on a surfboard and stepping onto the stage was a wonderful momentum taking me to the top of a ride, where I’d plummet and fall and take that energy to rise again.

So, after losing my job in radio, and doing a variety of part-time jobs, as well as working in wineries, but continuing to write and refuse to give up that my voice meant nothing, I still believe in the search, the spread of the Mississippi that drew in Mark Twain, and forlorn highway that called to Kerouac, and stuck out my thumb and awkwardly swam, floated, sunk, and crawled through it all.

Originally, I wasn’t going to take a laptop, people said to travel light, but I knew in my heart that I write better with a keyboard, and had to capture those moments or they would swim by me. I was stepping into the stocked stream of tourism, and had to find the natives. I’ve armed myself with an expensive Cnon camera, a video camera, and a GoPro. And I decided to get aMacbook air, and if someone steals it, they steal it. I’m not going out there looking for thieves.

“When you go out there, keep a journal, write every day,” a friend earnestly said to me at my bon voyage party, and that convinced me. I had to cry the burden through the window, in a way, I guess I had to pack my chute for the next jump into Australia.

Another said, “Be careful crossing the street, look both ways. I almost got hit on the streets several times. And Australia like to drink and fight and you’ll never see it coming, but you’ll know the signs I think, but they love to sing.” So I guess if I’m in danger of being mashed and shorn and bruised by a sheep-shearing drover in the Outlback, I’ll burst out in song with, “Please don’t beat the shit out of me!”

I’ve read numerous books, films, and guides of Australia, studied the places I’m going, wrote down the names of the restaurants, and studied the maps. I booked the hotels and the flights and aboriginal tours. But an itinerary can’t be too precise or you lose the pulse pf travel that enlivens the journey, a word techie haves destroyed, and reduced to a cliché, a motivation TED speech, a numbness of walking forward in the moment. That has nothing to do with what’s around you.

I figured, hey, whatever I done is in me. It’s go time. I had=ve the window open, and I’ve talked about going my whole life, and I realized if I don’t do it now, It’ll be something I always talked about!

Some people have said, “So this is on your bucket list.”

I replied, “It’s not a list, I’m going to the wishing well and filling the bucket.”



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