58 – american angel notes from the left edge of america (the year after the fall)

tuesday november 13, 2007 2:08PM santa monica, california

an open letter to kamela in thanksgiving;

dear kamela,

a year ago on this day i wrote my first cambridge entry to this “american angel” journal.

it was short and sweet. unlike all my other long winded entries. it’s worth copying here;

monday november 13, 2006 12:18AM cambridge, massachusetts

in my apartment 203.

tired and ready to sleep.

***

here i am.

with love,

bernie

***

and so began my great time as damiel in cambridge.

we were really beginning work on a new play, even though we had played it in amsterdam. the significant change for me, of course, was in my playing damiel.

the angel who falls. and becomes human.

***

your letter was so lovely and so generous. thank you so much. i received it from nicholas back in march. i received it with a kind of arrogance that is typical of a soul who doesn’t trust when good things are said about them.

the old groucho marx; “wouldn’t want to be a part of any club that would have me as a member.”

that horrid arrogance that masquerades as humility.

i imagine you don’t need an apology from me but here goes;

forgive me for not thanking you sooner for your beautiful, generous and thoughtful email.

you know i have a not so vague memory of that saturday december 17 matinee performance and of sharing a generous smile with a stranger.

i so know what you mean about those moments being special. moments of recognition/reflection. a kind of lifting of the veil.

the role of damiel was such a huge gift to me in my life.

to be encouraged to look at the world through an angel’s eyes for my 5 month’s sojourn with wings of desire will last as one of the more important artistic milestones in my vocation.

i will be eternally grateful to ola and robert and gideon and the a.r.t./toneelgroep amsterdam for giving me this opportunity.

it changed my life in ways that it would take way too long to tell you.

***

i am inspired by your love and celebration of the light. the increasing and decreasing.

i’d love to hear about the horrors of the Catholic Church that drove you away. i am always so curious about the ample failings of my church.

so that i don’t become a part of those mistakes.

i am part of those mistakes.

***

i have my itunes library on “party shuffle”. i call it iGod mode.

and of course, the song that plays right now, under this writing is dear nick cave’s DARKER WITH THE DAY.

such a beautiful song.

i can’t listen to old nick without thinking of WINGS OF DESIRE. the movie and even more so our play.

he (along with tom and leonard) provided the soundtrack for my work.

this song has this verse;

I was looking for an end to this, for some kind of closure
Time moved so rapidly, I had no hope of keeping track of it
I thought of my friends who had died of exposure
And I remembered other ones who had died from the lack of it

***

i am living in santa monica, california now.

i had grown weary of los angeles in the last 3 years. been traveling a lot and was never particularly excited to return. much more excited to leave. amsterdam, cambridge, new york.

but i have fallen in love with l.a. again.

i actually bought a used convertible pt cruiser. i love it.

and the ocean is right here.

i’m doing noel coward’s TONIGHT AT 8:30 and absolutely loving it. my love affair with mr. coward began in your massachusetts. i did blithe spirit in williamstown this summer.

returned to l.a. and dove in to this play.

i am working on a horror film called either REC or QUARANTINED.

we started shooting yesterday. i love it. i am so blessed.

***

it has been a year of fire. a year of getting use to being human. continuing to fall. the drop was further than i knew. recovering from the fall.

my father died on july 1 when i was in williamstown.

it has been a year of the hummingbird. and windows and blue pools.

a year of mending wings. readying for flight. of the further fall.

but i am more convinced than ever that falling is a way to experience flight.

it has been a year of remembering and replaying the images of 9/11.

the horror film i am doing right now seems to be connected to 9/11.

in the film i play a flamboyant british opera teacher who is trapped inside a building with the other tenants. we have been sealed in by the authorities who are trying to protect the rest of the public from the potential spread of this horrible rabies virus. meanwhile inside the virus is taking it’s toll. one life at at time.

seems connected to the idea of the government shooting down those hijacked planes.

***

i have started a new journal for my work on this film.

i call it notes from a caged bird catcher (quarantined).

***

i could go on and on.

i stop.

***

kamela, thank you again for your kind kind words. it is so gratifying to hear that you appreciated the play to such a great extent. i appreciated it in a very similar way.

please get my email from nicholas at a.r.t . i would love to hear about your flight from Catholicism.

gratefully,

bernie white

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