Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mr. Orris's Wild Ride

It's almost bedtime at 6:32 a.m. here in my Hollywood hovel where I've secured my survival since 1999. Hard to believe it's been over 10 years in this noise-hole, all while working mostly for major record labels and bitchy women (who had to try 10 times harder than their male counterparts to gain position and were thus worse for the wear)-- mostly at the same time.

These overworked and undervalued women do not include the demanding likes of Mariah and J-Lo and similar cohorts, for whom I spent the better parts of 1994 and 1999 respectively, making sure they had their coca-cola in the old fashioned bottles, seeing to it that everything in their dressing room was pink (or white), making sure they had three-foot candy canes in June in order to be "artistically inspired" to overdub the word "holy" on their Christmas album, getting label presidents Jordan or Jeff on the phone for her "right fucking now!!!" and being made to sit in on calls which outlined in gloriously gory detail why a certain artist's marketing budget cap (in the entire history of Sony Music to that point in time) didn't apply due to being the biggest-bigwig's playmate and as such, he thereby essentially mandated the debut album debut at #1 to the detriment of better artists on the label...

And the odious Hollywood like.

When I moved into this Hollywood apartment a decade ago, this place was an upgrade from my former shoebox "bachelor" on Crescent Heights and Fountain where I lived for a couple years prior to that, an apartment through which the rain literally poured in over the doorway making a short river diagonally from corner of the tiny unit to the other during the torrential rain season called El Niño.

This morning as I sit in the cool darkness, it's comfortable and quiet with my hard-earned portable AC blowing, the cable TV paused, the air purifiers spinning, the curtains drawn. This is my haven, such as it is. I've survived a cheating boyfriend here, gained and lost 80 pounds (and am re-losing the 40 I put back on again... I call it my Oprah syndrome), written countless songs and pieces of music, signed a music publishing deal and gotten my first TV and film song placements, done my 10-day-vow-of-silence meditation courses, became vegan for seven years (and then traded it back in for fish and eggs), starved through countless raw-food and juice detoxes, buried a beloved pet of 10 years and fallen in love again... all while living in this one-bedroom off of Franklin Avenue. The ghosts here are all mine.

Well, unless you consider that Jim Morrison, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley and Janis Joplin all lived within a block of this apartment at some point in their lives. And as cool as the bragging rights of this block are, it's also a dark, brooding, and with the exception of Tori, deceased bunch. But still cool, all the same. Especially to me, since I'm a musician who started playing piano at age four.

My folks paid for lessons but took them away at five years old due to "lack of diligence" in my practicing regimen. At seven, I begged the lessons back and they never were able to silence me again after that.

My father, a "Christian businessman" and ordained minister changed jobs frequently throughout my childhood. He was Pat Robertson's right-hand man for a spell while I was in college. And he was the president of various Christian publishing houses most of the other times. He was actually instrumental in co-founding the Christian Coalition and was often found in the deepest inner-circle of the Christian Right, holding court and even sometimes sharing top-level clearance confidences with everyone from top U.S. Generals to world leaders.

Imagine my folks' utter delight in discovering their son was more metaphysically curious than Christian and more, well, queer than not.

When I was 12, my staunchly religious family was run off the beautiful San Bernardino mountains that had been our home for eight years by the good Christian folk of Twin Peaks and Lake Arrowhead, specifically those of the Twin Peaks Community Church and Calvary Chapel. It had apparently been decided through a mountainwide game of "telephone" (as far as I could tell) that my over-zealously Jesus-loving folks were... (drumroll please)...

Occult leaders who ritually sacrificed children in the woods. That was the Salem-ish crux of the brouhaha.

My best friend's mother, a woman named Marjorie, reportedly claimed that after my mother had been in her home she began seeing "creatures that looked like Gremlins" around her. It was, after all, the hit blockbuster of the moment. That evil, brainwashing Hollywood machine hard at work on the sharp minds of the small-town genius.

And that depraved nonsense is what took us to Chicago, which is a city I still love very much. Man, I miss Chicago. The people, the seasons (well, mostly), the air...

But don't feel too sorry for my crazy family. Remember, I'm all about the law of attraction here. And they create their own reality too.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1997, I was in a car accident in which I shattered my femur, lost something like 20% of my body weight in blood (I didn't even know you could do that), sustained a concussion and all kinds of physical fun. And my folks' immediate response was to send an ex-gay minister to my hospital bedside to inform me that "God" had put me in this situation to "get my attention" because apparently God wasn't pleased with my "lifestyle" (before my mother did come to L.A., Bible in hand, to look after me). I remember thinking it was a shame that he was now married to an ex-gay lesbian... he was cute. And I remember that through the pain and morphine-haze, I woke up at one point during one of his sermons about my evil-doing just long enough to tell this guy to "pull the log from his own eye." And then I passed back out.

From where I'm sitting, my folks are probably the most masterful people I've ever seen (seen in person, anyway) at exacting judgment upon anyone and everyone not in identical agreement with them. My mother would sometimes lean over to whisper secret nuggets of wisdom like "Catholics are going to hell too, you know. They pray to MARY."

So from my perspective, seeing what I've seen now in so many places in my life about how the law of attraction really works, my observation about my folks and the mountain witch hunt is that these (somewhat crazed, frankly) super-judgmental folks of mine attracted the crazed super-judgmental folks of Twin Peaks to pass crazy judgment on them. The energy of judgment is what you're eminating constantly, and so now that's what you've become a lightning rod for... that's my theory anyway. Judgmental as it may be.

And don't get me wrong. I don't think I've arrived. By any means.

In fact, I'm starting to see more and more clearly I never will. And I'm seeing what a great thing that really is. I'm actually just now starting to really get how I might enjoy the road to never arriving.

Everything in this universe is in constant motion. We're no different. And I can be at odds with it or I can flow with the current. But either way, that river's moving.

In any given moment I have a choice. There's feeling good and feeling bad. And maybe it really is that simple. And if I can just stop in any given moment and become present and recognize what's going on inside me, that's all the wisdom I may ever need to know which direction to move next.

That wisdom may lead me to joy and health and connection and freedom and exuberance and bliss in more forms than I can conceive of. And on the flipside, my previous decades of programming may kick in-- decades that have taught me to struggle and beat the drum of what I don't want because I'm so afraid of it that I actually forget that beating that drum is like sending what I don't want an invitational homing signal straight to my door and that actually, I have the power to do something very different and far more rewarding if I will just snap out of it and remember to put my attention on what feels better not worse.

Hence, this blog. Where I will publicly air my stumbling, fumbling efforts to gently (or maybe not so gently sometimes) turn toward what feels better. And see where it leads me-- in health and relationship and money and freedom. And this starts right here and now, in a moment when I truly have so much to feel good about.

There are specific things that I want. And I'll use this blog as not only documentation of my "route," but also as a public record of the experiment. It is my excuse to remember to find thoughts that feel better.

As I use "trying to think a better-feeling thought" to reap the things I hope for and also to see what surprises manifest that are a "vibrational match" to what I'm putting out there, which is always fun too, maybe someone out there is doing the same thing. And maybe in some weird way, we're co-creating.

This morning, I am so grateful. All the crazy contrast of my life leading up to where I am now have somehow led me to a place of gratitude. They've pretty much forced me to learn to let go and soften on any number of topics.

So here I am right now... in my cool, comfortable apartment. I'm safe. And I'll sleep in a comfortable bed. I have the incredible luxury of getting to learn and grow and understand more deeply. I have the amazing luxury of being able to sit down and type out my thoughts on a computer, putting them into the electronic ether and maybe even connecting with a kindred spirit or two somewhere along the way.

I have amazing people and love in my life and I feel loved and well.

And having written out all the insane milestones and speed bumps along the way was actually kind of fun. And bizarre... to see all that strung together in one rambling article. It's a little out-of-body, but kind of in the best way. Maybe I'm just masochistic.

Whatever got me here, I have so much to feel good about.

And I wish the same for you.

Be well.


  1. perhaps it is your fortune that you haven't "arrived". arrival seems to conote a destination and you seem to enjoy the journey. as do i. somebody said that to dream of the person you wish to be is to diminish the person that you are. and you are a good person. peace.

  2. oh, my dear friend. just last sleepless night as i was up and restless in my own cool (as NorCal can be in the summer) and comfortable apartment i was thinking of two things: beginning to write again, and you. i was seeking the answer to a question and so i went back to reread that incredible email you sent me, to which i haven't yet answered because i want to give my response my full attention and life has been so fractured...and then i read everything i could find about esther hicks...and then i slept. and here, this morning, i find your bold experiment in journey, in disclosure, in discovery. thank you, thank you. do not stop writing and do not stop telling your story. thank you for the way you are revealing truth. and, for your skillful use of the expression 'oy vey'. so overplayed sometimes, that one. but you got it just right :) carry on, david, in all things. carry on.

  3. Pat Robertson once stepped on my husband's foot, when we visited Virginia. The man just walked on, either oblivious or unrepentant. I don't know how much one moment encapsulates a person's attitude, but I thought you might appreciate that.

    So, much of what you say corresponds to my own thoughts, feelings, and struggles. During my adolescence, I kept a quote by Bono on my wall.
    From an interview in ROLLING STONE, it discussed "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and said "the race is really the prize." Although I sometimes bemoan a sense of treading water and berate myself for not getting anywhere, and other times take wayward detours along the primrose path, I truly cherish my travels. I think I live for intellectual discovery, spiritual growth, and physical pleasure. Masochism feels good, too!

    Let's keep enjoying the ride. Thank you for sharing. May you continue receiving blessed insight.