A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of God, Episode 036, Lover. Falling in love sans scandal, the why-est movie yet.
Hugs! Big hugs to my avid audience of crickets, crows, seagulls and ants. Flowers pushing up through the loam and sand, blooming are you! Tra la, it’s May the lusty month of May and this is the Daughter of Godcast, a compendium of stories about the making of the science fiction featurette Daughter of God, at least that’s the facade, the garment. Tug the silky fabric off the shoulder and reveal the universal story, a story about you, how YOU made a movie, tuning into the hints and whispers, listening to disembodied voices, dreaming decisively. How you woke up one morning and found a unicorn sleeping beside you.
Episode 036, Lover
In episodes 034 and 035, I skipped a few crucial components of 2013. The skinning of the greenhouse, the great Czech sing-a-long Dan Novak led at my beach birthday campfire and my first inkling that extracting the story of DOG’s making might be worthwhile, which led to our conspiring together to create this podcast the Daughter of Godcast.
And I fell in love. With a woman.
Now, I like falling in love. I’ve fallen in love a lot. I fall in love almost everyday. I love love love love.
Wow, this falling was profound.
Every story is a love story, the opening number from the reboot of Aida. That’s gotta be a very ancient meme, because I never even heard of the Aida reboot until I searched the internets. A search of the Akashic records is still in process.
In spite of my straight white mostly maleness, I’ve asserted my freak status. There’s not a little evidence sprinkled through this podcast. How else am I a freak?
A brief digression. There really is no such thing as a freak. We are each of us exactly spot on, ideal and optimal, even if I might temporarily feel otherwise. When we compare ourselves to each other, so many lovely differences are revealed. Again, that might feel like better or worse, but by analogy we are just in different cars on the roller coaster. So far so good. Freak and misfit are shorthand for a collapsing but still relevant paradigm. Since coming into this Earth scenario, I have noticed a huge contrast between myself and the plethora of memes pushed by what I blithely refer to as the dominant culture. I don’t often jive with what has been presented as acceptable and normal. Which, let me tell you, is feeling better and better. Even the idea of a dominant culture is a cognitive bungee pit, but let’s just play in that sandbox for a bit longer.
Ok, so how else am I a freak? The dominant culture leans pretty heavy on the monogamy narrative. I’m pretty sure I’m some exotic flavor of polyamorous, because I’m still in love with many of the women I’ve been with. Maybe not Marsha, who went out of her way to be sure I didn’t get laid more than once my freshman year in college. I’m also in love with tons of women I’ve never met – actresses, athletes, singers, fictional characters.
I fall in love too easily, I fall in love to fast, I fall in love to terribly hard, for love to ever last…
That’s a Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne’s song, I like the Chet Baker version best.
I used to feel that way about my heart, about my love style. Love and loss, love and loss, rinse, repeat. There must be something amiss, most of the movies I saw as a kid end with love lasting forever!
I don’t advocate polyamory, any more than I advocate being gay or straight. I’m just talking about what’s true for me, how I’ve realized over time that my love style is powerful, not a problem as the song implies.
Falling in love is just experiencing the universe as it truly is. I’ve enjoyed the pattern of falling falling falling. I don’t exit a romance because I am bored with my lover, but because I want to feel the connection everywhere, not just in one place, one time with one woman. I want to breath love, be love.
Which might be another way of saying I’m promiscuous, a man surrendering to biological imperatives. Digging shallow holes as Lauren used to say. David Foster Wallace comes to mind, supposedly wondering if he was only here “to put my penis in as many vaginas as possible.”
I want to melt into fabulous connections as often as possible.
I live for deep rapport. My deepest states of rapport have mostly happened with lovers, tho I’ve had some doozies alone in the wilds. Getting with my lovers in the wilds? The BEST.
Even as a little kid. my idea of the divine was feminine. As a young man, I could completely loose myself and feel incredible, sacred with the right woman. OR two. Or three.
Toward the middle of 2013, I began one of my life’s most intense fallings in love. This relationship lasted about a year, so this is a sensible transition from 2013-2014.
I’m going to skip names, scenarios and shared secrets, the scandalous and sordid details. What matters is the profound change this relationship wrought upon my presence as a human being. In a way, this relationship was my last.
In previous episodes, I’ve spoken of my life, of situations that at the time were less than easy. What’s the point of the hero’s adventure if there aren’t monsters, battles and such-like. And looking back has been challenging. Gee, how the heck am I going to tell that story? Should I even tell that story?
Each of my episodic tellings has been about finding the transformation, what did I learn? Did the experience influence my movie directly, or indirectly by changing me? Who the fuck am I now because I got that, I did that, I was that. Choices.
We felt an affinity a couple of years before we got together. At the start of our friendship she told me her parents thought me a poser. I was a little hurt by that, her parents didn’t even know me. Gossip, the original social media.
I have a colorful history with parents of friends.
Back in the 80s when (DOG’s line producer) Ann and I met and became friends, her mom told her I was a snake in the grass and a ne’re do well, I might have been 17. I thought that a rather harsh judgement, seeing as I wasn’t even dating Ann, so her mom didn’t have any special reason to be wary of me… and I was also a really good guy, especially for a young privileged white male. I’d even go so far as to say exemplary in comparison to others of similar gender, affluence and coloration.
When I moved from New York to Connecticut, a geeky, gangly 13 year old, some of my first real friends were the three Briggs brothers. Their mom Gwen hated me. The brothers and I got along famously, building a model car raceway in their basement with realistic plaster mountains, playing D and D, ten partying when we got older… and we all just came to accept that their mom considered me anathema, it was even kind of a joke.
I was a little sad about Gwen not liking me, but I had gotten used to being misunderstood. I came from the land of misfit toys, my foster parents pulled me from a smoking meteor, a young hero redolent of destiny. Enough people cherished me that unfavorable opinions could mostly be disregarded. My grandparents high regard was a sort of adamantine emotional foundation.
In early 2016, I drove down to Ann Arbor to see one of the three brothers, Phil who had flown in from California to visit his mom. I hadn’t seen Gwen in 25 years, maybe I’d get a chance to hug her and bury the hatchet, but Phil didn’t think that wise.
Through a whacky mix up, I ended up driving back north with her credit card. I fedexed it back the next day chuckling at the minor shit storm Phil must have weathered. What mysterious cosmic bond did Gwen Briggs and I share, that near the end of her life, we enjoyed one last episode of strife? Well, now we’re best of friends, I feel her smiling and laughing. I’ll bet she’s hanging with Katherine Hepburn.
I just came to expect bad reactions from parents, especially parents of my girlfriends.
Karen was 18 when I was 21. Her older sister Monica and I had been great friends and confidants years before, enjoying long talks outside the dry cleaners where she worked after school. Her parents clearly disapproved of me when I was Monica’s pal, and then doubling down when I started dating their youngest daughter.
Liz’s parents and I got along famously. I might have been 23 at the time. Liz was a wild one, wilder by far than I, and I was pretty wild. Her parents could tell I really cared about Liz, they might have seen me as a calming influence. They were in my corner until Liz and I blew apart. Many years later, I visited Liz at her parent’s place in Richmond. Her parents were so sweet. Liz told me she thought she had let Mr Right get away. Tell me about it.
Here’s a reaction chart for the parents I remember meeting. Approval means parents who actively showed interest in my life and enthusiasm for me being around. Disapproval the opposite. Neutral is the tricky category. How often are parents truly blase? Neutral could have been parents trying not to influence their daughter to like me more by disapproving, a flip of the play Fantastiks, where two friendly fathers try to bring their kids together by pretending to hate each other.
Donna’s parents – slightly approve
Allison’s parents – neutral
Karen’s parents – disapprove
Liz’s parents – approve
Kathy’s parents – disapprove
Barbara’s parents – neutral
Marilyn’s parents – neutral
Julie’s parents – neutral
Court’s parents – neutral
Karen’s parents – neutral
Phela’s parents – neutral, strong disapprove
Theresa’s parents – disapprove
Lauren’s parents – disapprove
All that neutrality and disapproval makes perfect sense. I might have been a sweet guy, but parents want grand kids, they want a solid son in law. Not a passionate, artist, free spirit, wanderjar, sannyasin bard. I wouldn’t have abandoned a family had I accidentally started one, but that wasn’t what I was about for the first three decades of my manhood. Parents could definitely suss this out.
All this to say that my lover in 2013 had parents who didn’t think much of me. Been there, done that. Yet, I had changed. Where the younger Dan Kelly would just blow off the parents poor opinion, even reveling at their disapproval, this time was different. I liked her a lot.
Family is super important and as I was drawn more deeply into the relationship, I wanted her parents’ approval. Most of all, I wanted her to bring me into her family.
At first, I assumed she wanted to keep the relationship open, so we started out poly, but eventually she told me that she wanted to be committed and monogamous. This felt good for me, and eventually she moved in. I became more and more invested.
Unfortunately, I did what I had done so often in past relationships, I hooked my happiness to her actions and words. I told myself stories about what her actions meant.
There was a misunderstanding and we broke up, but she kept coming around, often in the whee hours of the morning. I asked her for a do over, another try. She declined. Still she kept coming around. Then she stopped coming around.
The very last day we were together was the day before my birthday, which she forgot. Could there be a more pitiful ending? Fade to black.
Ok for heavens sake, what does this have to do with the movie? Was I having so much fun, enjoying such an incredible connection to the mystery through this beautiful woman that perhaps I was slightly distracted from the movie? That’s the answer one might expect.
The converse was true, the movie distracted me from being able to fully focus on this amazing goddess. So radiant inside and out, so perceptive and insightful. My tenacious persistence in finishing DOG might have made her feel aimless in comparison. Had I not been working on the movie, we could have traveled on a tramp freighter to Europe. I never took her camping on North Manitou, or brought her to meet my Tai Chi family in New York, hard to believe. All the fun and energy I was used to lavishing on past lovers she didn’t get, because I was full time on DOG. When I wasn’t wrapped around her.
Oh, sweet madness. Perhaps she’s found her Mr Right, her Freddy. For my part, I have to admit – I put the movie in front of her. There’s no telling what would have happened had I given her my full attention. Bliss or disaster?
Another why movie. I’ve lost friends over this making, I turned down a trip to India with the beloved and feisty Swami Bua, I’ve said no to countless dinners and parties, dances and dates. I chose the Daughter of God over a dedicated cultivation and nurturing of a profound love, one of the most intense in my life. Maybe giving her my full attention wouldn’t have made a jot of difference but I can certainly say loosing her was horrific, traumatic, devastating. In adjacent timelines, there’s alternate Dan Kellys with a finished movie and a transcendent love, including her won over parents, then there’s another with neither lover nor movie. Then there’s this here Dan Kelly talking to you.
All relationships are gifts. I may not yet know all the gifts she gave me. Some are too sacred to speak of. What I can say is she put me on the path to liberty, once and for all.
That’s what I mean by the last relationship. She showed me once and for all how to be free. To never assign my happiness to others, even lovers, no matter how sweet, how kind, how delicious. I am the steward of my joy, we are the stewards of deliberate exhilaration, we are walking wilderness, we can always choose our nature – in love, ever flowing.
Of course I am still in love with her. She’s among the pantheon of females who incarnate the cosmos, who volunteered to be my excuse to shine like the sun. Falling in love is all there really is, feeling what we truly are, naked, entangled, eyes locked, in flickering candlelight or bathed by full sun on a remote beach. Hug a tree, kiss the loamy earth. The mystery unspeakable between people, between us and all there is.
Guess what? My parent reaction chart was just a joke. After the break up I bumped into her mom in the Target parking lot. I hardly saw her family the whole time we lived together, so I had no idea what to expect. Her mom was extremely kind. She seemed to genuinely appreciate how much I cared for her daughter. She was compassionate and I felt seen. This meant a lot. So here in front of the whole world, I just want to say, thanks mom.
You’ve been caught in flagrante delicto with the Daughter of Godcast, episode 036, Lover. This is what happens when you finally decide to be who you are, because that’s really what falling in love is, the willingness to fall in love with yourself. With the whole kitten kaboodle of being, presenting as the beloved, the other, the mirror, the me that is you, forever.
If being who I am is just a tad more compelling than everything else, than the best sex ever, vegan superfood smoothies, cresting a water mountain on a magical catamaran, winning Sundance, having a million youtube followers, playing at Carnegie Hall, hob nobbing with Graham Hancock or going back in time and taking Linda Harrison camping, raising thriving kids, remediating fascists, stewarding the Earth and pushing rogue comet debris out of her orbit, facilitating awareness and awakening, if being who I am is job one, my delight and best adventure, the rest follows, like an avalanche of cooing healthy tribbles, inundated with ease and delight.
Sitting under the bodhi tree through 2014 and 2015, by analogy. where the Buddha was tempted to leave the path. Jesus was tempted too, but not with lust. The movie was myself. I was finishing myself. Only three more years left to tell. Can you imagine?