GabRodBlog #1: A Second First Time
Hello. My name is Gabriel Rodriguez. I’m a storyteller. I travel around the world as a professional storyteller, actor, writer, teacher, theatermaker, filmmaker, and witch. I tell stories and create theater that many people experience. I make video and film and radio that many people watch and listen to. I write books and essays and poems and blogs that many people read. I teach classes and workshops that many people learn from. These things that I make help people to wake up and heal and play and be whole. I enjoy making these things. The making of the things is nourishing to me. I make money making the things, enough to financially support myself and anybody else I am called to support.
I live in a vibrant, loving, earthy community where we grow good food and good people. I live in a small, simple house near a forest. I drink clean water and breathe clean air. I have good friends. My friends and I trust each other and nourish each other. We center our lives around becoming whole, both personally and collectively. We eat and play and talk and sing and make art together and travel together and walk in the woods and build fires and tell stories around fires together. I am a decent cook. I can play a drum. I dance with people. Dancing with other people makes me feel good. I have a garden where I grow healing things.
I travel a lot. Often, I must alter my routine and eat unfamiliar food and sleep in unfamiliar places and meet a lot of new people all at once. I find enjoyment in this. I have fun and do good work and serve people and play my role in the healing of our world.
I am grounded. I am kind. I am generous. I am happy. I am thankful. I do not try to get people to believe I am smart or special or right or good. When I choose to speak, I speak from a place of love. If there are people who do not like me, and most likely never will, this does not bother me. I do not try to get them to like me. And I do not try to get people who like me to like me more.
I have good sex. I have sex only with people who I trust and who trust me. We always enjoy ourselves.
I am the riverbed of my own river.
I help people feel seen and accepted and forgiven and loved, because I see them and accept them and forgive them and love them, because I see and accept and forgive and love myself.
I have cats. I have many books.
This is the fifth time.
This is the fifth time in the five-and-half-or-so years since I graduated college that I am creating a centralized online space for sharing my art and my self. The first four each had sincerity and momentum and passion. Eventually, with each one, momentum slowed and passion burned low, leaving my old friend Sincerity and I free to retreat to our inner sanctum. I would continue to make and play, in secret spaces hidden from the glaring visibility of the marketplace. Each time I retreated, I would convince myself that the secret spaces were the only spaces I wanted. Each time, that illusion was driven away by my longing to share, and be seen.
So. Yes. Hello. Hello, friend. I am here. I am back from elsewhere. Again. Here I am: squatting in my garden, filling baskets, gathering up my crop and taking it to market. And I intend to make the fifth time the last time. Or, more accurately, a new first time.
Here I am. I am here. And I intend to be a Professional.
What does that mean? This is a good question. I do not know. I’ve been planning and shaping and crafting this moment for a while now, and I have had to ask myself many good and difficult questions: Why do I share my art in the halting, inconsistent way that I do? Why am I only able to try and make money as an artist for a month or two at most, before I lose interest and disappear? What’s stopping me from doing the thing my heart and my college degree say I do? Most all-encompassingly of all: Why am I not doing the whole work needed to be the thing I could be, want to be, am worthy of being?
I do not know.
If an artist friend expressed the above to me and asked for my advice, I would say the thing I invariably say when an artist friend feels stuck or lost or in pain: Make art about it. And don’t make the art you think you should. Don’t make the art you think will get you attention, get you liked, loved. Don’t make the art you hope will make the world believe you are the artist you ache for the world to believe you are.
Be with your seeds. Stay where they are planted. The art that is truly yours can only ever spring from the soil of this exact moment, this exact experience, this exact process you are, right now, in the midst of.
I have been zealous, dogged, evangelical in my preaching of that gospel. I have been selfish and fickle in my practice of it.
Start where you are.
It’s advice I’ve been given, in one form or another, by every good teacher I’ve ever had. Each time, it re-becomes the best advice I have ever been given. Because each time, I’ve forgotten it again.
There are so very many stories I want to tell, ideas I want to cultivate, places I want to go, beings I want to play with. So very much I want to share with you. Forests. Mountains. Oceans. Planets. Solar systems. Universes. It’s all stirring swirling unfurling through the innerouterspace of me.
And I, over and over again, find that most of what I will make in this life is simply not all-the-way-here yet. It desires form, but it’s not yet ready.
All we ever have is this, and here, and now.
These images, these questions.
I do have images that desire form, and are ready for form:
The storyteller. The writer. The actor.
The performance artist. The story midwife. The witch.
I do have questions that fill me, fuel me, awaken me:
How can I make art that heals?
How can I make art that is free?
How can I make art that heals, is free, and makes me and my collaborators money?
How do I live a life that is free?
Is it possible to live a life that is free, within the context of this world we have for now?
What is it to be free?
Do I want to be free?
To start, here at the beginning of my second first time, I’m going to do a thing. This thing is a thing that, for years, I’ve been wanting to practice in a publicly performative way, in some undetermined happyfuturetime when I become Ready. I’ve decided that, instead of doing it when I am Ready, I am going to do it Now.
What you have just read is the first post of my new blog: GabRodBlog.
GabRodBlog exists on the reborn, reorganized GabRod.com.
I invite you to have a look around.
There is a lot of newness coming through me these days. If you want to stay updated on the newness, follow along with my process, be in conversation and community with me, and perhaps experience some exclusive art things, I recommend subscribing to my free, once-or-twice-a-month newsletter: GabRodLog. The first edition goes out tomorrow. I hope you’ll join us. You can click this link to do so.
That’s all for now, dear friend. Thank you.