Friday, January 4, 2008

University of Skid Row

I took this picture on Friday when it was raining. I do not know why I like this view so much. I have taken a photo from this location at many different times. Each time, it appears different. The mood is different. The feel is different. Each photo says something different from the last. The question is what do they say? Can anyone translate what this one says?

It is 5:11PM and, of course, I am sitting in the Little Tokyo Library. First I want to say hello to Millie and Hap. I trust all went well today and I am glad for that.godspeed.

It has been a long and exciting day. I missed out on seeing Millie, Hap and Debbie but I was with them in spirit as were they with me.

I heard from an old friend again. I get this warm feeling each time she emails me an offers encouragement. Just feels good.


I sat out this morning to get a few things done and I did. Now that the letter is done, the corrections were made on the template and all of the punctuation was checked and double checked. Words word added that gave more fullness to my presentation. Details. It is all in the details. Each word said is a word that communicates awareness of possibilities and gives a totality of understanding of what is going on. Yes, I am getting a lot out of it. Either way, the creation of something is what I love about this process. As I am creating something there are many other creations that are going into it, sub creations, which requires skills that can be transaferred to other things. Nothing is a waste of time here. I would have been remiss if I did not put as much attention to detail as I did this morning this afternoon.

I wrote my sister and she replied positively on something. Feels good. I will not blog too long tonight as I want to bask in the feeling I received when I got her email.

speaking of emails, OG man put me on his email list last week. Ever since that has happened, I have been in the loop on things that are happening in Skid Row. Seems to be a growing movement down here in Skid Row. I am honored to be included in it in whatever capacity I am allowed.

I have more work to do tonight. I have to design the details of my resume now that the cover letter is finished. I should be able to format everything in the morning and start emailing by tomorrow afternoon. Feels good to be focused. Focus makes the difference in everything. On Skid Row it determines if you progress towards your goals and dreams or get further enmeshed in the quagmire of negative energy that is in abundance down here.

Do not misinterpret what I am saying. There is quite a bit of positive energy down here. It has been the people, of Skid Row, who possess this strong positive energy that have carried me through this, taught me so many things and inspire me to push further to gain more strength and to be the best I can be.

Monday told me today"Walter, let me tell you where you are. You are in the beginning phase of becoming successful."

"Thanks, man. That means alot to me. I am hanging in there I guess."

"Hanging in there. Walter, you are not hanging in there. You are doing the damn thing. You hear me. You are doing the damn thing."

That phrase "doing the damn thing" is one of those phrases that you want to hear coming from the veterans of Skid Row about you and your progress. It is one of those phrases that says alot about a lot of things. It says people are watching you.
It says you are watching yourself and are succeeding at it. It says you are focused. It says that you are moving up in the pecking order of those that have strived to succeed and are succeeding. It means you have crossed a line and they want you to recognize it because many timesm, things are so hard down here that we do not recognize when progress has been made. It means that it is not the time to get lax. It is the time to work harder than you ever have in your life. It is a time to study harder than at any other time in your life. It tells you that the community is opening more of their resources up to you because you have earned the right to use them as there is a comfort level established that the resources will be used in the most productive manner.

That phrase sets the parameters of understanding and appreciating the special morays and folkways that are being codified in THE GROWING, HEALTHY COMMUNITY of Skid Row.
It tells you that much is expected of you. Access to resources with a certain amount of freedom is not something that is given lightly, the few times it is extended. I have seen those who were privy to receive the opening gambit from those who hold the keys of passage but I have seen them fall as another one of many casualties that blanket the sidewalks and streets of Skid Row. They fell before there was an emotional investment made. When people tell you you are "doing the dam thing" it is symbolic of the emotional investment that has been placed in you.
These are individuals who have seen so much, who have been disappointed so many times that disappointment is a way of life. They are letting me know they have a vested interest in me. "Represent us well Walter," a person keeps telling me each time I talk to him on the phone.

Yes today alot has taken place. Whatever has been happening, it is growing. I am going to go home and reflect on things. I must reflect alot in the coming weeks and understand what I have seen, and understand what I have learned as I begin a new phase, a new status. I am rapidly closing out my first year on Skid Row. Much has changed in me. Much has happened to me. Much has been absorbed by me as I have experienced this perplexing and fascinating laboratory of human existence.

I must go home and begin to understand all of this as I come to an end of my first year here.

I remember when my uncle came home from Vietnam. His birthday was a couple of days ago, by the way. happy birhday Vernon. Years later we talked of schools. He talked of the University of Vietnam. I understand immediately what he meant. I appreciate more of what he meant now. I am attending a unique university myself.

I am close to finishing the first year at my university. I will be starting the second soon. between now and then, there is much to do. Much to accomplish. Much to fight for. Much to experience. Much to understand. I have a jump on this year and I intend to keep the petal to the metal. I want to squeeze as much into the last 30 days of my first year as I can before I finish my freshman year here. If I understand more of everything, learn more about these things, then it means I have learned more about myself and the path that my life has taken. This is an interesting university. It is unique in its brand of independent study. You can learn more here about the kaleidoscope of life, of contrasts, of dichotomies, here, than anywhere else I know.

Those buildings do not look bothered by the rain. They look like they are standing tall. That is what this university teaches you. It teaches you to stand tall when it rains. It rains on you in so many different ways but the storm can pass if you want it to- if you arer determined to see it through and when you are blessed with longevity on this campus you see so much more. You see the same picture but it says so many different things to you. Your eyes see what they did not see before. You were not ready to see what you did not see before. You were not ready to feel what you did not feel before. No place can teach you these maxims of life's experience any better than this oschool.


1 comment:

L.A. Woman said...

I like this picture, too. Look at all that money, represented by those skyscrapers, just towering over and staring down at skid row. And so starkly, so grey on that rainy day.