Monday, September 21, 2009

Air Quality

Along with the "car payment, credit card bills, and LA-sized rent," one thing that seems to be a built-in price to pay for adult life in Los Angeles is the rapid and persistent way in which good ideas and serious talk evaporate into just so much thin, smoggy air. The ability to hook those within earshot is a commodified skill here, from nameless wannabes holding court in nightclub corners, to CEOs of billion-dollar advertising agencies. Everyone mines for attention with hyperbole-sharpened drills from time to time, yet--like bad freethrow shooters--so many people in Los Angeles remain mostly unconcerned with the follow-through.

It's easy to become victimized by this paradigm, and even easier to enlist in it. A litany of unreturned calls, lukewarm responses, disappearing acts, and interminable holding patterns seems best dealt with by dishing them out in return. I've always maintained that no one resents a cynic more than a cynic, and similarly, no one resents a flake more than a flake. Encountering someone who has had their hopes dashed as often or more as one's self is a familiarity that breeds contempt.

Yet I've discovered, over the last several months, that there is no such thing as salted earth when it comes to making good on intentions. No matter how much of your inner fire has gone up in smoke, if you're alive, you've got fuel left to burn. And while it may seem simple to some, within the deflector-shields up milieu of Hollywood, just a small dose of integrity can blast away years of built-up heartache and disappointment.

Doing what you say you are going to do, and surrounding yourself with people who do the same, is no miracle. I hesitate to even say it should be considered rare. There are plenty of people out there that make good on their intentions every day, even if their amibitions are simply to clean the house or make it to work on time. Though when the stakes are higher, and the vision is grander, there are perhaps more opportunities for integrity to be challenged, results still come down to keeping your word.

I've been privileged over the last six months to live and work with a collection of people--six fellow artists and a galaxy of local stars who lent their gifts and support--that have forever altered my perception of Los Angeles. No more do I assume that my words or the words spoken to me are weightless. From out of thin air, together we made something wonderful simply on the basis of saying we wanted to.

Breathe deep. That's fresh air.

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