//collateral intentions: an origin story
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Today, I got in touch with the first reason I made this book.
"You should publish these."
"I'm serious! Exactly like this! The loose, worn elastic band and everything. Publish them! These are incredible!"
I was awe-struck mixed with dumb-founded. I'd been following this dude for years. We were both still covered in fresh sweat from moshing to his "List of Demands" grand finale at his show:
I enlisted the company of one friend ("You do not want to miss this!") and en-route to Ybor we were blasting Saul's latest album while I slammed-out "Said the Shotgun to the Head," finishing right on cue as we parked on the third level of the parking garage. I brought my first three journals with me
because I wanted to reach out and share with Saul on the level that he shared with his fans. You see, Saul Williams has a way of being very raw and vulnerable in...just about everything he does. For instance, posting a picture to his Facebook with his face covered in tears.
As he bares his soul, I too operate in much the same manner. So, I brought the journals. I met him after the show.
For those of you who don't know, Saul Williams is an incredibly accomplished artist. He's won international slam poetry competitions. He's written, directed, produced, and starred in award-winning film "Slam" (1998). He's published almost dozen books and created a dozen more albums of intense, raw, dance-inciting original music—one of which entirely co-created with Nine Inch Nails titan, Trent Reznor.
Leaning against the stage, he flipped through the pages of my life and signed a few while pouring affirmation and validation over me that these are interesting creations that people would be interested in if I chose to make them so publicly available.
That was not the start of me keeping them open format. I'd been keeping my journals as open books from the beginning. However, Saul was suggesting a new level of openness. At the time, I simply took it as a massive compliment and too large an undertaking to seriously entertain.
That was 9 years ago. I'd never forgotten those words. This man who I was whole-heartedly inspired by, who I followed as an artist, who acheived international acclaim for his art, and who took the time to mingle with a fan on the same level, covered in sweat after moshing together, believed in me. I was touched. And I, arguably "just another fan," took the chance to present myself to someone I looked-up to and I was and still am proud of myself for that.
Which brings us to today. Today, I emailed his manager to ask for an address to send fan mail. I have a copy of Collateral Intentions dedicated and ready to go for him. This idea was brought-on by also preparing to send a copy of the book to Allen Loeb, writer of the movie, "Collateral Beauty" (2006). I recently watched the movie on Netflix, struck by the serendipity of such a similar title. It's a beautiful film that, I feel, shares many of the motifs that I address in Collateral Intentions: time, love & death. In the mode of reaching out to sources of inspiration and fellow artists, I remembered Saul Williams and our stage-side conversation 9 years ago. Saul, if you're reading this, thank you for planting that seed all those years ago. Congratulations on all you've accomplished already in your short time on this earth. You are an inspiration. I'll see you at the top soon enough, be patient.
To everyone else, reach out to your inspirations! Everyone loves hearing that they've impacted someone's life for the better. No matter how "big" or busy you think they may be, give it a shot. Maybe you never hear back, maybe you're one of the lucky ones they can make time to respond to, you never know. At the end of the day, these famed-ones are just as human as you and me.
P.S. You know, while I'm at it, I'm sending copies to Reggie Watts & Marc Rebillet. Fuck it, why not? Two more impressively, unabashedly unique and inspiring artists. Make the company you want to keep, right?