Had one of those magic times this past week-end, where it seems like every step has been planned by benevolent forces who are guiding you to a destiny that is both mystical, fantastical, and contagiously positive. You know, the ones where every stranger you meet smiles, every conversation reveals something new and wondrous, and every moment seems to contain some secret message just for you that, whatever else it might say, has the over-riding message that all is well, and you are on the right path. You are where you are supposed to be. Rob Brezny, the only astrologist I read with regularity, calls this feeling Pronoia, the sense that "the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings."

What prompted this intense feeling of well being? I think the first and most important step was the decision to take my wife Lisa on a short, one night get-away to Manitou Springs, a mountain town nestled in the Rocky Mountains just below Pikes Peak, for Valentine's Day. We'd talked about going there many times- and for some reason I thought let's go there now. The town is supposed to be full of charm, and also ghosts, which we both find interesting. On top of that, it's not very far from Colorado Springs, home to the best theatre company in the state, the theatre at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which was presenting Craig Lucas' play "Prelude to a Kiss" that week-end.

On top of the excitement of a short trip and a night of theatre, I had just finished the first draft of a new play, working title: Don't Get Too Comfy, Pal. Working on a new play is a strange, exhilarating, lonely thing. Finishing that first draft is quite a high. To use another Brezny-ism, it's touching the Divine Wow.

We stayed at the Avenue Hotel, this bed and breakfast that is exactly what I've always pictured a bed and breakfast to be: beautiful old house full of warmth; really cool staff happy to chat about local spots, the weather, or whatever passes your fancy; and a look and feel unique unto itself. So many hotels look the same these days- as do so many stores and restaurants and homes. I find comfort in places that are one of a kind. places that have evolved over the years through repairs and additions into one of a kind structures. We checked in, then walked Manitou Avenue- the main drag of the town. The town is in a knife cut valley, and the views every way you look are unreal. We got coffee at this groovy place called Marika's. I had something called a Dirty Hippie and Lisa got a Green Tea Latte. They tasted out of this world. Ever notice how when you're on vacation things just taste better? I wonder if it's because you're relaxed, and as such your senses work better. After our initial walk, Lisa took a bath in our room's claw foot tub, we got dressed, had a really great meal at this funky organic place called blah blah that had the coolest art work on it's walls, then headed down to the theatre.

Prelude to a Kiss is a really fantastic show, a sort of romantic comedy mixed with sci-fi that some would call magic realism but I just call good writing. It lures you in with comedy, keeps you leaning in with a very unique and compelling dilemma for it's main characters, and then dazzles with some serious discussion on love, life, aging, and asking the ever more pertinent question "who wants to live forever". This production was strong- directed by Garrett Ayers, who kept the action moving, with excellent performances from Kyle Dean Steffen as Peter, Cynthia Pohlson as Rita, a very funny Jane Fromme and David Hastings as Rita's parents Dr. and Mrs. Boyle- but the stand out performance in this show was Sol Chavez as Old Man, and also as Rita stuck in Old Man's body. His monologue in act two on what it is to grow old was beautiful.  Next up at the Fine Arts Center is Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Scott RC Levy, the company's artistic director. I can't wait to see it- and hope you all come see it with me. If you haven't gone there yet- do. The facility is amazing- it's connected to an art museum, and there's an Art Deco bar and restaurant that are outstanding. The shows are consistently excellent and the choice of material brilliant. I have seen almost every show in the past two seasons, and they have all rocked the planet.

We slept well that night, and awoke refreshed and ready for whatever the day would bring us. After a fantastic breakfast, where we met this really cool couple, Lisa got a massage- the second part of my Valentine's gift, and then we tooled around the town some more, exploring this place called Miramount Castle, playing old pinball games in this awesome arcade, and then having the best buffalo burgers in town at the Keg.

So, what am I trying to say? Seek joy- it's out there, waiting for you. We really didn't spend much money- we just took a little time to enjoy this life, this amazing journey we're on that has plenty of monotony and not enough spontaneity.

And here is something funny by my old friend Mike Kubit.


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