Back on February 19th I walked into Marcee’s Bakery in the Sellwood section of Portland. I went in to get a coffee and do a little writing. As I took my coffee back to the cash register I noticed there was no art hanging on the wall, you could see hooks and nails here and there, and when I stepped back and looked around I saw there were empty hooks on all the walls. So I asked the kid behind the register who I could speak with about hanging my art on their walls. He said a guy named Brian, the manager, was the person in charge of that and he would be back working all day Saturday. I went back Saturday and asked for Brian and Brian told me he had someone hanging their art soon. I asked him if I could give him a card with my website so he could consider mine for the future and he took it.
This is a blog about focusing on the Yes’s in the world, and paying no attention to the No’s. For me that makes this piece of non-fiction a work in progress. If I was writing purely from a historical perspective this would be more like science fiction. If I said that back through my life I had focused on the Yes’s and not the No’s, that is. That would be fiction. But this blog is in now time, so we get a work in progress.
I was thinking recently how cool it would be if some inventive kind of person were to develop a machine that could be hooked up to someone’s brain, where the storage of all life experiences are kept, and when turned on the machine would measure – kind of like a voltmeter – all the yes’s and no’s a person had given in their life. To questions involving choices. Not like, “Did it rain yesterday?”, but like, “Do you want to go swimming in the lake even though it might rain?” So, for me, the machine might find these questions: “Do you want to go to see Bonnie Raitt in Lynn Sunday for three bucks?”; “Will you go get your mother some milk at the store instead of playing now?”; “Will you contribute money to this new project?” “Do you want to sneak up to my parents’ room?”; “Do you want to hitchhike to Maine?”; “Are you going to make a fuss if I tell you we are not going to hang your art?”. And, over the course of my life maybe a zillion others, and the machine would make note of every No, and every Yes.
Do you remember in the beginning of the movie “Yellow Submarine” when the Blue Meanies are sneaking up on Pepperland and begin an attack to take it over – to stop the music, get rid of the flowers and the balloons, keep people from being happy? What do they do? They shoot their bombs and arrows and drop their giant cheeries on Yes’s all over Pepperland. They need to get rid of the answer Yes.
On February 27th I walked into Marcee’s again for an afternoon coffee and noticed the walls remained empty of art. Brian, the manager, was behind the register and I cheerfully reminded him who I was. He said someone was ready for March and that he was no longer going to oversee the local artist art in the store, he was turning it over to a guy named Nick. Check with him.
One of my mentors in life is Les Brown, a motivational speaker. I’ve talked about him at length in a previous blog. He has a great story about deciding he wanted to be a radio disc jockey. He went to a station in Miami and asked the general manager for a job. When the manager learned Les had no experience, no degree, no background in radio, and no connections he told him no and sent him on his way. Les came back the next day and introduced himself like it was his first time. The guy said he knew who he was and why was he back and Les said he thought maybe someone had been fired. Les was told to leave. He went back the next day and when the frustrated manager said he knew who Les was and why was he back again Les said he thought maybe someone had died. He was thrown out. When Les showed up the next day the general manager told him to go out and get him a coffee. Les started getting things for people and driving people around – without a license – and paying attention to how the controls were operated, and one day when the disc jockey on duty was drunk, Les got behind the microphone and did his thing.
On March 3rd I was back at Marcee’s for coffee and was told by a new guy that Brian was in charge of the art. I said I didn’t think so, it was a guy named Nick, and in fact the other guy working right then was Nick, who said yes it’s true, and they have someone for March – the walls still blank – and I gave him my card and asked him to please consider me. I saw him again a few days later, “Hi, my name’s Buddy, I’m an artist…”
It’s not important to those guys, they could care less about art on the walls, and the business hasn’t shut down as a result of no art. But it is important to me, and I have decided that I am just going to ignore the No’s, however many of them I hear, and chase the Yes. Because I know it’s there.
Les Brown quotes statistics that say people will say no seven times before they say yes. I’d like to say that if I had known that all along, my life would look a lot different. But, I’m not sure that is true and I’m not interested in my life looking a lot different. I was generally giving No’s to the questions I posed earlier, and a zillion others like them – afraid of this, nervous about that, hanging in my comfort zone, acting meekly when the universe called, as if the universe would ever want me to do anything other than shout a resounding “yes” to the world.
I have been back to Marcee’s four more times, asking about my art as recently as last Friday. My art is going up on the walls of Marcee’s one of these days, along with a lot of other places I’ve asked and more I haven’t yet asked. I just don’t know when. Knowing everything a head of time isn’t my job. Saying Yes to my dream is.
These days, I’m chasing Yes