Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Friendship Always, Work in Progress

I did not know a blog was published. it was a blog in which I talked about my friend randall. I started to delete the blog. Then I thought about it. It is a perfect opportunity to live by example. My statements were not made in anger. It was how I felt. I made some mistakes in communication with self and with him but that is it. It does not mean that I value less our relationship or that I love him or like him any less. It is a communication process.

I did not reread the blog but I do realize where I made mistakes. I said that Randall was a "recovery bigot". I should not have said "is". I should have said something along the lines of "appears to have characteristics of being"......

Why is that a important difference? Because the latter does not form a conclusion and the former does form a conclusion without probing for clarity. Those kind of things are the internal checks and balances that are required of someone who is trying to be honest with himself and does not let emotional circumstances cloud one's judgement.

My second hope is that Randall and I can show the public the steps it takes to communicate ourselves and each other in this learning process of rebuilding our lives. It can be considered a "work in progress" group communication seminar with us putting ourselves in the spotlight. A month ago, Randall made a comment on my blog. I took issue with it, not for as much the content but what the reading audience would perceive the comment to mean. I was not being fair to the public or to myself. I did not give the process a chance to learn how to communicate and to discover.

I do not know if Randall read my previous blog. What is important is that I recognized some things and quickly moved to correct what I think are missed opportunities to learn and the opportunity to teach while we are learning.

That is what that play did for people last night. It used Martin Luther King day to teach people and to reinforce in the minds of people that communication is key. First we must constantly communicate with oneself and in the most critical of ways so as to see what there is to see about ourselves and our environment.

If Randall sees the previous blog and this one, then Invite him to make open comments about me or my journey and or his, and "our journey" together as a way of illustrating to people the process of communication that takes place in rebuilding relationship with self and relationships with others.
You see the picture slide show when you come on to this blog. What you do not know is that that slide show turns into a live video stream when I have the oppotunity to have access to a computer at the computer lab at the Transition House. There, I can blog, look for work, tweak resumes, send resumes etc.

People have shared my life in writing while doing this blog. I hope I can share it regularly in the form of a live video stream. It will be like Big Brother tv show.
You can observe me step by step as I rebuild my life.
Unfortunately I do not have a computer at my room. There you could see me work out and do the daily chores it takes to stay on top of things. It is also a way for potential employers to keep an eye on me to see if this guy, me, is really for real in all that he says. In time I will be able to get a computer with a 24 hour feed.
when I do it will be on skidrowbroadcasting.com as well.

I will be at the Transition House for the remainder of the week, in the mornings and most likely in the afternoon, doing what I need to do on the computer. I hope you join me.

Stickam.com.....,,my user name is-------downtownLAbroadcasting

you can enter the chat room if you like and can ask me any questions you like. I would love to create an interactive dialogue with the readers of my blog.

I am also attempting to build up our Skidrowbroadcasting.com and downtownLAbroadcasting viewership. We are also in the process of arranging interviews with interesting downtown Los Angeles leaders that will be in the inventory of videos to fiew. One of them is a short film that was done by a young film maker who happens to have graduated from my High School, Harvard-Westlake.

The last few days I have done new things. I went to a basketball game. I went to a religious service where I was about to learn how to put into words what I had been learning from changing my life. I just could not codify the process of things that hurt a family and things that bring a family together. The religious service helped me tremendously in that regard. I also went to a play.

Things are taking place. I have to keep the pressure on myself to maintain the pressure to gain employment but I am doing the right things, increasingly so as each day comes. This past weekend was good because I recognized some growth. Some of it was not easy. Understanding is not easy because, the way in which we communicate to ourselves can make that progress more difficult than it has to be.

My aim is to show people how they can shorten that learning curve.

When that play, "Surviving the Nickel" is presented to the public again, I do hope that you can find a way to attend. It is a play about Skid Row that is done by people who have been on Skid Row and some of them have been homeless.

There is one thing that I have noticed about the media and Skid Row. There is a distinct difference in how skid row is presented. I have come to understand that
there is no way for the outside media to report about skid row in any other way than the way that they do. They do not have the insight and there is no way for them to gain the insight that residents have except by spending time here. Even the movie with Jamie Farr. It is not the words of Nathaniel Tyre. It is the interpretation and perception of an outside writer.

It became clear to me last night when I was watching the play, Surviving the Nickel.
It was clear that the play was written by someone who 'experienced' Skid Row. Experiencing an environment enables one to dig deep into areas that would not otherwise be accessible to the average interviewer.

A reader told me that recently. I understood what she said but my appreciation for it grew exponentially viewing the play. I have not seen any reports on Skid Row by any of the major networks or any documentaries that closely comes from the experience of an insider.

I lied. I have seen one. It was done by Rory Cornwell. It is a unique short film because it is not done with the customary interviews. There are no questions.
"How long have you been down here?" What circumstances brought you down here?"
Those are the usual questions. Rory gives you the silent movie version of Skid Row.
It starts out with a Colorful flower, alone, and then you enter the twilight zone. Suddenly every thing is black and white. There is frenetic activity in the video by the use of quick changing and sudden scenes. It is very much the way you must adjust from step to step while walking down Skid Row. Frenetic, unexpected and suddenly changing activity is how you can describe what is observed while walking through skid row. The film ends with that single color ful flower as you leave the environment and enter another. The silence allows you to absorb your own feeling.

I am digressing once again but it was clear to me during the play that it was the only thing that duplicated the feeling of being on Skid Row that I have seen. The subject matter is what people on Skid Row discuss. What insiders discuss and what is discussed by outsiders are two different things. We discussed what we have to do to get out of here or survive while being here. Number one is to not get caught up.

They NEVER discuss that in the media. They do not know how to discuss that in the media. I was hoping that one of the TV networks would send a person down here to be
among the people and lead a way to a new understanding of Skid Row but I guess my email went on deaf ears. I see now how much that insider feeling is needed to grasp the essence of one's emotions and the collective psyche of people who are trying to elevate themselves in this community.

All of this is crystallizing while I speak. Randall helped in that process as well.
How? I dont know except to say that I was patient in understanding the dynamic of what was taking place between us. As I grew to understand it as best I could, then I was able to understand more the dynamics of Skid Row. Imust also believe that experiencing new things out of the Skid Row environment gives me a different view about Skid Row and my relationship to it after I return. It is one of those things.

It is a work in progress as I hope the readers can see. My statements about randall and my refining the words that describe certain things is the process of a man that is constantly reviewing himself and critiquing himself to do exactly as my sister said, to learn everything about everything I am doing.

Oh yes. I must think randall for helping me believe that I am selling myself short.
One thing is true about being on Skid Row. You come to think that no one wants you. You begin to discount your value because in many ways, in the process of getting here(depending on how you arrived here) it is indoctrinated in you that you do not have control over your life. Some people come from very controlled environments where making one feel powerless is a way of keeping control.

One one is released from that type of environment, one does not revert back to believing one can control their destiny. It takes time and hard work to believe in oneself. that is the beauty of what Rand said to me. that is beauty of some of the hard statements that he may say to me at times and the same thing hold true with people like Jeff.

If I want to reenter at a level that I know I am capable then I have to push harder than ever before and make sure that anything that holds me behind is removed from my psyche.

So I think Randall for that. He reinforces that.

You see, the play yesterday, reinforces what is really going on on Skid Row. IT is people helping people. The Los Angeles Police Department may do their job. They may reduce crime tremendously. However, it is the effort of Sergeant Royce keeping me focused that keeps me pushing. It is by no accident that he always says to stay focused. Everywhere that is what is said by one person to another if they feel you are trying to move forward. Stay focused. Stay focused. That is a man who lives most of his waking day on Skid Row. He knows how easy it is to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel because he deals with people every day that do lose sight.

It is not his job to keep me focused. It is frienship that drives that effort. Jose Egurbide is another one. "Stay focused," he says inbetween my ranting and raving. (well, I used to rant and rave. smile). HIs job as the deputy attorney does not require him to keep pushing me. Friendship and his respect for me drives that effort. The same with Garza. The same with anyone that has played a part in my "Surviving the Nickel".

I met a Captain Veenstra today. She let me take her picture and she remembered my name. Anyone will tell you that when you remember someone's name they feel important. She makes you feel important. That is one human being talking to another.

What I am trying to say is that it is the HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS in the Skid Row community that drive success. It is the human relationships between inhabitants and the people of organizations and agencies, relationships that extend beyond the limits of agency and inhabitant interaction that makes the relationships special and what makes relationships within Skid Row Special.

It grows with one and then passed on. Jose Egurbide called me up on Friday and told me to keep an eye on someone that is having an unexpected legal issue. The person had been very helpful to me and continues to be. Of course I told Jose, before I knew who it was, that whatever he needed consider it done. That is how it works on Skid Row.

No movie can capture that unless it is done by one who knows about that type of thing. I believe the Jamie Foxx movie will be an excellent movie about one man, Nathaniel Ayers. I to not think it will be an excellent movie about the Skid Row Society, the social structure. I think it would take some one like Doug Wick, former co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
.He knows somone in Skid Row and that someone can convince him to do it in a very unique way. More on that later.

It is clear from seeing that play and other things in Skid Row, it is mandatory that resident and agency committees be formed to get things done.

Well, I rambled today, didnt I

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