a priori/a posteriori

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I forgive we

I'm in the middle of a "run-through" for my special.  The one I film in 6 days.  I am typing one-handed, as i hold my mic to my face, in case i say something out loud.

Not the dream set I'm hoping

nay, planning

for on Tuesday, November 4, 2014,


Legion Bar

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(walkable from the Metropolitan/Lorimer stop on the G and L lines)

This is minute 47.  If you're curious.

I just wanted to document this moment.  For future use.

6 days.
How i WANT to seem

With not-a-lot of free hours sprinkled throughout them.
More how i actually feel

I am trying to crack this code.  I will keep trying.  And keep reporting back.

Add caption
With not-a-lot of free hours sprinkled throughout them.

Step 1: ENJOY

I had my first meet-up with Marshall, this past Monday.

As I write this, it is

Wed  12:05  PM
I have about six days left.

Six days to enjoy
That's one thing I was reminded of, as I was shooting hoops this past Sunday.

Drew Morgan -- who's been helping me write some of this special -- asked me in the middle of our shooting:

"So.  What's been the best thing about filming your second special?"

I froze.

I just stood there, for 2 seconds that felt like an hour,
knowing that I didn't have an answer for him.

"And don't say 'nothing,'" he added, as he passed me the ball.  "Because I'll quit right now."
I think I smirked.  Because he was right.

If I can't be enjoying this process,
of preparing and performing this special,

then why should anyone do this?
And so I feel like I have a different job description, moving forward, than I thought I did.

I thought my job was to make the best special ever.  I thought my job was to save the world.  I thought my job was to "prove all the haters wrong."

Whatever that one means.
That is not my job.

My job is to have fun.

My job is to be happy.

My job is to do the research necessary,
to figure out how to enjoy this process.

This process that, for me, is the one thing I've always dreamt of doing.

That's the big reason, I decided to turn around and run, not walk, away from "the industry."

Because it didn't seem like anyone was having fun.

Almost every comic -- those who had been doing it 10, 15, 20+ years -- said that at some point, the process had ceased being fun.  It had become burdensome.  Annoying.  Stressful.

All of them seemed to echo some version of the same conclusion:  the only time they still enjoyed, was when they were performing.  At some point, the stage had become an island.  And everything surrounding it was just trying to stay above water, until you got to hop back onto that island.
I don't know what my future holds.

And I certainly don't know how this special will turn out.

But I do know that I have enjoyed the process of working on it.

I have loved the chance to re-connect with Damen Camin -- not just an underrated Cleveland-based comic, but a close friend from college who I had fallen out of contact with, for years.

I've been lucky to get to know Drew better, as he's helped me prepare for this special.  And Vanessa and I have loved getting to know him and his wife, along the way.

I'm thrilled to be working with Marshall again -- a friend who was always super cool to me, even when I was semi-breaking-into his unlocked house, to sleep on his couch,

way back when I was returning to Ohio University to do shows, almost ten years ago now.

I'm excited for this upcoming week,
and long phone calls with some comics I haven't talked to in a while.

This special isn't just a special,

it's a chance for me to catch up with people like Lawson, Drew (Dowdey), Anthony DeVito, and many others.

And honestly, as much as anything, it's been a chance to get to know my partner even better.  She's been supportive, and I don't hesitate to call her a warrior.  Which might seem a little extreme -- but you haven't been there for some of our run-throughs.

Trust me:  she's a warrior.
I am headed to go get more work done.

Oh!  That's the other thing:  I've started to learn how to do work.

I am still learning.

Which is good news.  Because I don't want this to be the highest-level of living that I ever experience.

But I'm trying.  And I continue to evolve.  I can feel it.  I can see it, in the type of shape my body is in.  I can start to see it, in how I'm keeping better track of all the clutter in my life.  In how I'm starting to make more and more daily to-do (or 'get-to-do') lists.

I'm growing.  I don't know if it will show up, from the first special to the second one.  But I'm growing.

Or at least, I think I am.

If I'm simply delusional, and I'm not growing...
then I'm doubly excited to be making this special.

Because I won't be able to keep lying to myself.
Before the first special, I wanted to think I was the greatest comic in the world.

As I watch that first special, I realize how much more I can improve.  Which should be my true focus.

Not "am I the greatest."
But "am I the best I can be?"

Wed  12:29  PM

My goal this week:

be the observer of my best self

Monday, October 27, 2014

Love -- the Larger Focus

8 days away.  30 percent ready.

It's amazing how when you wake up the next morning, there's already one less day than there was before.

That's what I'm finding out, as I'm starting to work again.

Oh.  That's right.  I should explain that a little.
Have I explained this?  I always forget what I've gone into, and what I haven't.  In part because there are some things I purposely am not getting into.

But basically,
I was in a car accident as a kid.  This is of public record.

I lost the sight in my left eye, due to the accident.  This is apparent to anyone who tries to look me in both of my eyes at the same time.

(I re-gain a small amount of sight in the eye, when I ingest THC.  This is apparent to anyone who has watched me smoke marijuana)

Skip a few implied steps...

I haven't needed a job for the past 5 years or so.  This has also been quite apparent, if you've known me (or just saw how often I wore sweatpants)

I have wanted to be more disciplined for a long time.  Years.  Since the birth of this blog, really.  And long before that, even.

I got a job this spring, as a tutor.

It's been a rough transition, getting back into the workforce.

Admittedly, I'm starting to do better now:  it's 6:05 AM on a Monday, and I'm up and writing.

But am I doing the job I get paid to do?  No.  Am I helping my kids improve their SAT scores?  No.

Or I don't know.  Maybe I am.  Maybe one day one of them will read this, and realize their teacher was a human being.  And it will kick in for them, that their teacher really did want the best for them.  He (or she) really did want them to try their best to get their best score on their SAT, because

The SAT is really just one more step on the lengthy, windy journey called life.  It's not so much a "test" as it is a "step"

Every day is a test, though.  Every day is a chance to end the day better than you were when you started it.

As I head toward 40, I realize that's real.  I wonder if any of my teachers were trying to tell me that, and I just wasn't listening.

I'll be preparing for this special on November 3rd.  That day, I'll be trying to get better as a person.
I'll be filming this special (with Marshall, and Butterfly, and others) on November 4th.  That day, I'll be trying to get better as a person.
I'll be teaching SATs on the morning of the 5th.  That day, I'll be trying to get better as a person.
I'll be playing in a playoff basketball game, that night.  That night, I'll be trying to get better as a person.

You want to know the weird thing?  I can't think of a single moment, off the top of my head, when I won't be trying to become a better person.

This writing is a part of that.  This preparation for the special is a part of that.  This teaching is a part of that.

I am in the middle of a documentary, in a way.  We all are.

The human race is watching itself.  Let's not kid ourselves.  We're at least mildly interested in how our collective story turns out.

That means we are all in a movie right now.  I am in a movie, as I type this.  You-reading-this

is in the same movie I am.  Maybe you-reading-this showed up two pages later, in the script.  But that doesn't make the you-reading-this page any better or worse.

It's still part of this same movie.

Even once I'm dead -- it's still the same movie.

Once you-the-reader die -- this movie will continue.

That's one movie I'd really like to see -- a movie that starts with one group of characters, and by the time it ends, not a single one of those characters remains.  And yet somehow, because of the ways the original characters impacted the new group of characters, I feel just as invested as I did to the original cast.

Wouldn't that be a cool movie?
6:20 AM.  Time to shift focus.  And keep the larger focus --
(Einstein hair)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

9 days away, 30 percent ready

We're 9 days away from the special.

I'm almost halfway done writing my set-list.
I imagine the majority of the people reading this,
are reading it after this special already happened.

So you have the benefit of knowing how this sounds.

Does it sound like I found a new way to prepare for specials?

Or does it sound like I've been lazy?

I'm excited to find out.

I hope you're excited to be finding this.

I am Bryson Turner.  I am filming a special on Tuesday, November 4.  2014.

I have spent most of the past year with my fiance'.  I have more fun with her, than with anyone else.  And so I have spent a lot of time with her.

I've felt like I want to hurry up and catch up on the 30 years we haven't known each other for.  I want her to hear every story.

And now, as I continue to learn from her how to love better,

I'm starting to realize just how spectacularly lucky I am.  And I'm starting to ask more and more questions about her story.  And to listen to her voice, and let what she's saying actually soak into my mind,

instead of stubbornly -- in that all-too-quickly-accepted male way -- just kind of giving the body language of someone who's listening,

without actually listening to any of her words at all.
I've started to do that.

To trust my fiance'.

And to trust my own opinions, of what I want in life.
One of the bits I'm working on for this special -- November 4, Legion Bar, Williamsburg -- is about how great being engaged has been.

It's because of how great the woman is, yes.  I do have the best, after all -- so every day is pretty much a victory lap, for me, for the rest of my life.

But it's also because of how I get to treat other people, now.
(this will sound bad in writing, unless you've already seen the special)
As a man, your main goal in life is to find a place to park your car.

A lot of women find this out, and then convince men to do what they want, based on the potential that they might have a parking space available.

But some women have no intention of actually letting a man park their car in their lot.  Some women are never going to let you park your car.
I need a job.
And I don't say that, in that way some people say it.  You know -- like, "I don't have a job, and I need one."

I mean, "I have a job.  And it's probably healthy for me to have a job."

So I should probably prepare a lesson-plan for class tomorrow morning.

I see all these "modern art" things done by Marina Abramovic.  And I remember Joaquin Phoenix pretending to be crazy a while ago -- for like, a long time -- and saying it was some sort of "human art piece."

You know what I'd like a great artist to do, somewhere?

Or a great actor or actress?

Like, a really great actor or actress?  Or a really passionate artist?

Make an art piece where you become a really good, passionate, inner-city teacher.  And really act like you really care about the students, and their minds, and their futures.

Has any great actor ever accepted that challenge?
Because I don't.

I'm a comic.

I am,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Selfishly Directed

I didn't realize what I had with this blog.

I was really getting my voice out there.

Which is pretty dag--gum cool.

I hope I start writing some "articles" on here, sometime.

Like, with my opinion on things.

I think that would be pretty cool.
I shoot my special, 2 weeks from today.

And 3 weeks from today.  If you want to get technical.

I feel good.  Terrified.  And good.

I'm pushing myself forward, at a faster pace than I'm comfortable.

Which is good.

I am going to head over to the gym.

I haven't played basketball in almost a week.

And I have a league game tomorrow night.

I don't want to embarrass myself.
I did a one-hour run-through, for Vanessa last night.  She fell asleep about 20 minutes in.  By about 35 minutes in, I was in the kitchen, making myself a bagel with cream cheese.

I held on to the microphone for the hour.  Maybe a little longer.  60-80 minutes, somewhere in there.

I had also taught for 5 hours, earlier yesterday.  So I am at least building up my stamina, a little bit.

Vanessa seems to feel my "Up for Whatever" bit is pretty much ready to go.

1 down, 25 to go.

14 days.

Can I do 2 a day?  Starting Thursday?

I believe I can.

First things first:
1.  perfect attendance at my teaching gig (last day is tomorrow)
2.  get my body into a healthier, more sinewy form

Let's hope I update this often, these 3 weeks.  I think it could be a really valuable tool, for anyone who decides to make a special in the "future"

(including older-me)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Advice to Myself: Tell a Good Story

Is the Creek and the Cave
the new


of alternative comedy venues?
ESPN is technically a "cable" channel -- even though it is now part of a massive industry that it has massive influence over.
"The Creek and the Cave" is an alternative comedy venue in Long Island City.

my advice to myself:  wear a shirt

Friday, October 10, 2014

11. Love, Bryson

My fiance' convinced me to stop naming everything before it exists.

So I don't know what I'll call this blog.

Let's find out together...
And here's the thing:

I don't know what I'm going to call this special, either.

I can act like I know.

I've gotta put something on the posters,
ya dig?
But I don't know, yet.

I won't know until after it gets filmed,
November 4, 2014.

So for me to worry about the name...

well, it's pretty silly.
So here's what i find interesting:

If the special hasn't been named yet, then it means the special is still changing.

And that means, anybody could be affecting the special -- just by spending time around me.

That's really what this special is going to end up being:

a special made by the 5 people
I spend the most time around.

(Jim Rohn must be wagging his tail in his grave)
So, let's not ask
"What will this special be called?"

Let's ask,
"Who will this special be?"

1.  Vanessa.  aka Miss Butterfly Starfish
-- that's absolutely 1 of the 5.  And some could argue, two three and four, as well.
-- but definitely one of the top-5.

2.  SkyeWalker
-- the step-kid.  I avoid using the name, just because I'd rather she get to have a half-normal high-school experience.  She can decide to do stand-up herself, if she wants to.
-- but I can't pretend she doesn't exist. (even though that's my terrified, part-time adult strategy, most of the time)
-- she's definitely one of the 5


I feel like the last 3 are still up for grabs.

Will one be Damen, the college roommate stand-up comic from Cleveland, who will be opening for me?

Will one be my mom?  My dad?  My brother?

Can a New York comic sneak their way onto the list?  Lawyer Drew?  DeVito?  Lawson?  Drew Dowdey?  Benel?

Elizabeth, the elementary-school-librarian / upstairs roommate who ghost-wrote most of the "Red Sox and Jews" joke?  Will I pick her brain, and add her to the 5?

Will it be Jim Rohn?  Will it be Ram Dass?
--Can it count, if the person I'm spending "lots of time with" is someone who spends lots of time with lots of people?
--or put another way:  can one of the 5 people who influence me the most...be some person I watch a lot of videos of online?
I don't know who 3 through 5 will be.  Koji?  My dog, Sugar?


But that will go a long way toward determining what this special becomes.  And what the attitude of it is.

In that sense, everyone I interact with
between now and November 4
will have some impact
on what the special becomes.

As a lifelong comedy nerd,
I just hope I have the womb

to tell myself what I want.