On Jonas Mekas and Publishing My Performance Piece, That’s How Angels Arranged

Two years ago I wrote my first solo performance—a documentary theatre piece about Jonas Mekas, aka the Godfather of avant-garde cinema. I interviewed Jonas, transcribed the interview, and then arranged his words into a dramatic narrative which I performed at The Metropolitan Playhouse in the East Village, NYC. Meeting Jonas Mekas and channeling his words on stage, changed my life. He showed me how powerful it is to live life to the fullest and create art from a place of love and honesty.

Today I’m so excited because I’ve faced my fear and finally published this piece, That’s How Angels Arranged, and it’s available for anyone to buy and read via Amazon, just in time for Christmas. 😉That's (6)Jonas Mekas is an incredible human being, filmmaker, poet, and artist. He escaped from a forced-labor camp during World War II and came to live in NYC during the 60s. He became a giant in the avant-garde film world and founded Anthology Film Archives, one of the largest repositories of avant-garde cinema in the world and a screening venue, which still exists to this day.

In That’s How Angels Arranged, Jonas talks about happiness, how he gets inspired to create art, and whether he’d change anything that’s happened in his life. He answered all my questions with passion and gusto and with more exuberance for life than I’ve witnessed in many people my own age. Jonas, by the way, was 92 when I interviewed him and is now 94. He just got back from Europe this past weekend where he visited several cities to promote a new book he just published. #Goals

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When I saw That’s How Angels Arranged was live on Amazon, I started tearing up. Here’s the thing, I had to majorly face my fear to get this out there. Now that I have, I’m not sure what I was so nervous about. Yes, I had to figure out how to format correctly for self-publishing, design a cover, create an Amazon author page, check and recheck digital and hard-copy proofs of the book before getting it live, etc. Yet these different things are just steps towards an end goal and don’t have to be faced with fear.

Jonas Mekas and Lillian Isabella in the East Village, March 2017.

Sometimes it just feels safer to hold onto something as a ‘to do’ rather than take action and transform it into an offering ‘for you’. Now that it’s out there, it’s not about me and my next steps anymore, it’s about whatever a reader gets out of it. It’s going to have a life that stretches out beyond my own. Fear is, in many ways, a selfish emotion. It keeps me stuck in a limited scenario or thought and when I take action and push through that fear I’m taking ownership of the responsibility I have as a human to create and connect with others. It feels temporarily easier to shut out that calling, but in the long run it’s devastating. After finally publishing this book I feel relief, connection, love, and overwhelmingly energized.

Jonas Mekas is all about taking action, connecting with others, and celebrating life. Since I’ve met him, I’ve wanted to be more like him every day. Jonas arrived in NYC at 27 years old, and he says that’s when his life really begins. He made a promise to himself that he will remain 27, and he has. I hope whoever reads That’s How Angels Arranged (all 24 pages or so) gets inspired and enjoys learning about this incredible human. I know I did.

It’s available in paperback and as an ebook.

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