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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stories

Every person is a story.

I first met Eli in Salt Lake City sometime around 2002. David and I were showing some new immigrant neighbors around the city. Eli was playing cello by Temple Square; he called to us and struck up a conversation. I took a photo of him. "Can I have a copy of it when you get it developed?" he asked.

Looking at this photo and knowing what I know now, this must have been shortly after he began playing cello for the passing public.

Tonight, I came across this feature story on a local news site, and I've been riveted by the accompanying YouTube videos since.

Have you ever seen Eli in downtown Salt Lake? What did you think? What did you assume?

Eli: Part 1


Eli: Part 2


My spirit is stirred up. Listen to him speak in these interviews! I am awakened. I am most engaged by the contrast of the man drawn out to speak his thoughts and the man most of us think we see on the Salt Lake City sidewalks. I am moved that someone slowed down enough to see another human and took the time to draw stories from Eli. Amazing.

We can never know each other until we quiet ourselves. We will learn years about a person in one hour of listening.

Ever wonder how a man surviving on street performance ever learned the cello? What is Eli's background? Someone doesn't just find a cello lying around and play like this! And how does someone who can play like this end up nearly homeless? Who is Eli?

With so many questions, I correct my first statement.
Every person is a compilation of stories.
Let's listen.

6 comments:

Kristen said...

This reminds me of two movies. August Rush and The Soloist.

Adhis said...

I've not seen either.

Kristen said...

I can almost guarantee you would LOVE August Rush. The Soloist is more related to this post but it wasn't as much my thing. I guess now you have two recommendations.

Heidi said...

The Soloist for sure. You'll have to watch it.

Emilee said...

Yes, but did you know that Eli is a raging heroin addict? Don't ask me how I know because I can't tell you. But think of that the next time you want to give him a dollar. I'm sure he's a lovely person, who has an addiction problem, but I will not be helping feed his addiction. You ask how someone who can play like that can end up nearly homeless, the answer is drugs. I have a friend who is in the music scene who actually knew and played with Eli before his addiction. Sorry if this bursts your bubble.

Adhis said...

Emilee, no bubble burst. It only reinforces to me that every person is a compilation of stories. I know not everyone is interested in others's origins like I am at times, but I wonder what kind of childhood or background Eli (in this case) had that included this depth of musical introduction and then, supposing he is a drug addict, what kind of life he had where music/family/education/whatever was not enough to keep him from seeking such a crutch that could lead him to the state in which he presently finds himself.

BTW, I've never given Eli a dollar, only conversation and a smile.