Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shedding Skin

Things change. People change. And life goes on. Sometimes change is subtle, unnoticed and unexpected. Other times it’s a conscious move to improve or alter reality. Our reality called Palm Springs wasn’t bad at all. It just didn’t fit us any longer. I first noticed the change while on my knees going through piles of collected treasures that had lost their luster. Once I took that first step, other changes quickly began to tumble down like a row of dominos.

The first casualty of change was a boatload of Palm Springs Life magazines that went as far back as the 80s and 90s. They were a veritable treasure trove of the myth, folklore, fame and fabled history of this storied community. The magazines were collected when I was a much younger and more impressionable man. But I’ve grown fingertip calluses and traveled many more miles since that ancient family history. After years of collecting memorabilia from this fantasy place, it’s finally come time to begin purging those treasures in lieu of much needed art space and a different perspective for both Sharon and myself.

I’ve written before about the two Palm Springs that exist side by side. The first one is a familiar vacation spot that tourists and first time visitors alike have come to expect with its clear blue skies, warm winter temperatures and marvelous surrounding attractions. It’s a hip millennial gathering spot at night, has a welcoming attitude toward diverse audiences and is surrounded by marvelous mountains that reach up and kiss the clear blue skies. The old movie stars have long since passed but their cache still remains to this day.

Several years ago, Sharon and I began our transition from ‘that Palm Springs’ to one of our own making. Everything new had become old and routine had become comfortable. Then gradually comfortable became staid and that, in turn, demanded more exploring and self-examination. Change became a by-product of constant seeking and searching. I’m not sure if Palm Springs changed its fa├žade as much as we just peeked behind its mask and found ourselves a new identity.

Our new Palm Springs provides us a much different outlook and attitude. We have new goals and objectives. It’s almost as if familiar and comfortable have become bad words in our new lexicon.

All the things about Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley that impresses first time visitors are now old hat to us. I don’t read the MLS listings the way I used to. I don’t follow current real estate trends and pricing. I care about my neighbors and our neighborhood but not the current state of city politics. I have a highly tuned-in BS detector. I’m not impressed with Bentleys or billionaires, celebrities or L.A. wannabes anymore. The cars driven and homes occupied matter less than the substance of the conversations offered and insights shared. The bloom is off the rose and although I love this place it’s sometimes hip trendy attire doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’d like to believe I can see so much clearer now.

It was this new Palm Springs that gave birth to ‘Love in the A Shau,’  ‘Debris; the trilogy’ and a plethora of new plays. It has meant more involvement in local arts as well as new mountain trails to explore. There are new venues for writing gigs and fellow writers to share the wordsmith’s journey.

Sharon has found a new spot to share her paintings with fellow artists. She has also taken over our kitchen nook and half the garage as her studio space.  Together she and I are on a pilgrimage to discover artist’s haunts throughout the Valley.

Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley is a wonderful environment for creativity and the arts. All manners of creative expression find their identity here. Both Sharon and I are fortunate to have found such a welcoming environment for our respective work. The Palm Springs Writers Guild continues to be a safe haven as does exploring the Valley and High Desert for theatrical venues for my plays.

Mountain trails beckon and bike trips abound to explore backcountry haunts all winter long. My office is occupied six days a week. Sharon’s studio is more like seven days a week. We’re shedding our skin of past identities and growing new experiences day by day.

Two communities, two life styles, one shared vision quests in the arts. We are two very lucky people.

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