Q. Where would you like to be?
A. In a place of greater vigilance.
Q. What do you mean by that?
A. By vigilance? You know what vigilance means – surveillance, watchfulness, attentiveness, alertness —
Q. But you mean something deeper than that, don’t you?
A. What makes you think so?
Q. Aren’t I the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions?
A. Okay, look. I mean greater awareness. More keen to what’s happening around me, and what possibly could happen. More mindful of the conceivable consequences of my actions. Vigilance.
Q. Why is this important to you?
A. Because it’s the fourth of the five principles of the Practical Pentacle, and all of these principles are important to me: integrity, confidence, diligence, vigilance, and fortitude.
Q. Where did those words come from?
A. I guess the short answer would be, “off the top of my head.”
Q. And the long answer?
A. You asked for it. Around about 2012, I was in an environment where there were a lot of Pagans. Or, I guess, Neopagans would be more accurate. Some of them wore pentacles, and one of them told me that if I chose to employ a pentacle, I would not necessarily have to use the standard five points of “Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit” – but could pick any five principles I thought would work for me. So I said: “I’ll use integrity, confidence, diligence, vigilance, and fortitude.”
Q. Just like that?
A. Pretty much. Not sure where they come from, to be honest with you, but it all seemed pretty positive.
Q. Then what did you do?
A. Naturally, I started looking online for a pentacle to purchase.
Q. You actually purchased a pentacle?
A. Actually, no. I stopped short.
A. Couldn’t find one off-hand that looked right. And then, in the time it was taking to look, I began to have reservations.
Q. Like what?
A. Well, being as I was a piano player at a Christian church at the time, I thought it might be odd if I showed up wearing a Pagan pentacle.
Q. But how do you really feel about this oddity?
A. You know me. I don’t think it should be odd. So what if I’m wearing a necklace shaped like a five-sided star? As a Christian, I’m free to where whatever I please, as long as it’s not overly revealing or provocative.
Q. But doesn’t the Pentacle connote an anti-Christian religion?
A. What makes you think Neopaganism is an anti-Christian religion?
Q. Aren’t I supposed to ask the questions?
A. Okay look. Getting down to brass tacks, there is nothing wrong or immoral about wearing a five-sided star, and associating each side of the star with a positive spiritual principle. Nothing evil in that. But because, to some people, it would appear to be evil, I declined, for their sake. The Scripture does say: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Q. So you’re saying a Christian has to look good?
A. To a degree, yes. Appearances are important. They’re not all-important. They’re certainly not more important than reality. But certain kinds of appearances have a way of messing with people’s realities, and that just isn’t cool.
Q. So, in other words, you bailed out?
A. I suppose you could put it this way. But Christianity does involve being concerned for others in our midst.
Q. And this is why you wimped out?
Q. Well then, if you never bought the pentacle, and never actually wore the pentacle, how does the pentacle still figure into your trip?
A. It’s an internal pentacle. I have it inside me.
Q. You do?
A. I do. I believe that it was placed inside me as a device to assist me in getting something accomplished — something which I very much need to do.
Q. What is it that you need to do?
A. You already know that. It’s all over this website. Everybody knows what I’m trying to do. I’m rather surprised you would even bother to ask.
Q. But how do these principles help?
A. It’s a matter of applying them, moment by moment, one at a time.
Q. Can you elaborate on that?
A. I’ll try. Integrity is the first and most important. Before I make a creative or professional decision, I need to run it past my integrity. I need not prostitute myself.
Q. And then?
A. Confidence. Faith, essentially, that I have what it takes to get it done.
Q. What next?
A. I already told you. Diligence. That means, work, discipline, sticking to it, keeping a schedule — all that stuff. And then, vigilance. Awareness of the greater picture. Preparation for possible dangers and pitfalls. Finally, fortitude.
A. Just do it.
Q. Take the leap, eh?
A. That’s right. Take the plunge.
Q. But – but – the plunge to where?
A. We don’t know quite where. That’s what makes it a plunge.
Q. But – for what reason? Why bother with any of this?
A. Because I need to get something done.
Q. What do you need to get done?
A. You already know that.
Q. And you don’t?
A. No, sir. I do, if anyone does. But –
I tire of talking about it. I burn myself out having to explain myself all the time, over and over. It gets tedious. And people are tired of hearing about it. I get tired of telling people that it’s going to cost me $200 a night to rent out the theatre where I want to showcase my musical, and that I’m going to have to come up with $15/hr for each member of the technical staff they provide me. I get tired of harping on the fact that I’m an impoverished old guy with a serious health condition who somehow managed to put together an entire musical — book, music & lyrics — about the Homeless Phenomenon in America. I’ve been screaming “money talks, bullshit walks” for so long that I’m begining to sicken my own self.
And that dollar figure you see when you click here? That money went to pay for my critique and demo recording, a long time ago. When was the last payment? In May? From February to May I managed to scrape up $950 – or Danielle did, bless her heart. But do you realize it’s October already? What’s happened between May and October? Damn near nothing. I need the bucks! It’s maddening. Sometimes I need to apply all five principles at once just to keep my head together . . .
Q. Andy, what is the bottom line?
A. Bucks. I need the bucks – the bucks . . .
Q. Come on, Andy — is money really the bottom line?
Q. You know me. Of course it’s not. Homelessness is the bottom line. It’s as low as it gets. It’s the weakest link in the country right now — and we need to be about strengthening our weak links — or else the whole chain is going to break, and fast.
A. How do you know this?
Q. Dude — you sit on a sidewalk for five years, watching the urban world buzz by at a lightning pace, on a marathon race to nowhere, and you have a lot of time to make observations and draw conclusions. Believe me, I didn’t put this show together because I was talking out of my hat.
Q. What do you need the most?
A. Fortitude. I need for somebody to take some action here. Take a risk. Have courage. Believe in me. Just do it.
Q. Just do — what?
A. What you’re thinking about right now — you who have so encouraged me by having read to the bottom of this whole long page. Please — we don’t have all night. Daylight’s burning. We gotta get this show on the road. Just do it!
Q. Just do – what, again?
A. Do you honestly expect me to answer that?
Q. Aren’t I the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions?
A. You tell me.
The Questioner is silent.
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