behind this beautiful audience, which includes my mother and my dear friends George and Sandy and so many writers I admire, lies the vast Pacific Ocean

I had such a beautiful short trip to Los Angeles with my beautiful mother. And read with some writers I was honored to be in the same room with. A really great night. On the trip, I finished reading the Art of Grace by Susan Kaufman, which had some really Interesting Ideas and a lot of repetition. The book could have been half as long. She spends some time (quite a bit of time) complaining about modern society (“kids these days!”) which I generally think is not a productive place to dwell. But the book overall made me think about who I want to be in the world, and thinking and recalibrating my ideas about that can only be a good thing. She writes about iconic examples of grace, including Carey Grant and Beyoncé and Roger Federer. In the closing chapter she writes:

Distilling it further, at the heart of grace is ease. Defying gravity, smoothing your actions, reducing friction. Releasing your gifts to the world. Lightening the burdens of others.

Ease, however, is not always easy to master. It is a dynamic practice. With that in mind, consider these points:

1. Slow down  and plan. There’s no way to be graceful when you’re rushing around haphazardly.

2. Practice tolerance and compassion. This goes along with slowing down. Take time to listen and understand.

3. Make room for others–on the sidewalk, at the bus stop, in a coffee shop, during a business meeting, and in your life.

These are all things I struggle with. But the one I struggle with the most is the first one. Slow down and plan. I rush around haphazardly. That’s my thing. Or so it seems. That’s the one I want to get a handle on. We could all stand to work on all of it of course, but the first one is one that’s hardest for me. Which is it for you? Think about it as you go about your day, then write about what you learned by paying attention to that.

Tomorrow, Friday June 24, there’s an open mic at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton Virginia at 7 pm. I won’t be able to make it, but one of the coolest poets I know (she’s on the far end of the Dope scale) is hosting it along with one of my favorite local visual artists. Go check it out and read a poem and send me pictures. I’ll be at a camping wedding. Cuddling with some old friends who will tease me mercilessly and remind me of who I am and who I was. Old man Hecker arrives tonight. It’s gonna be good. 

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