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Spilling out of the Fox...bodies pushing past and pressing me forward into the late night air...scent of sulfury fire tickling my nose...telling me something was happening...feeling the heavy hitting beat pumping inside before my 4 inch heels hit the street...the kind that forces it's rhythm through my bloodstream...it's maddening rush drives my hips wildly about and flings my head round and round as the dj spins...red and blues are flashing now...firey projectiles overhead...people dancing dancing dancing laughing spinning singing kissing stripping freaking in one collective unconscious rhythm...and shutting down Broadway.
Thrilled. Exhilarated. Honored. Blessed. To meet and work alongside such an artistic genius. His musical compositions stirred my soul, ran ripples of goosebumps up and down the surface of my arms, neck, and back. As I listened, I realized I had stopped breathing, waiting for the next drop of poetic wisdom to fall from his lips. "You and I are artists," he said. "Like flowers, we have to be watered everyday, but with inspiration." Paintings were visual emotion, colored with the sounds of the symphony. "Just as you say", he told me, "the red is powerful, and full of passion."
Lonely, hollow, and tired, I stood outside a faceless house. The indigo night drizzled wet on my cheeks and fogged my glasses. Waiting, waiting, as my finger pressed the buzzer. Finally I heard the jingle of keys and a clicking lock. The splintered wood gate squealed and groaned as she pulled it back. "Thanks for coming," she barely whispered. As I followed her through a maze of overturned pots of plants, piles of dirt and orphaned shoes, I wondered what sort of a place this was, that had no front door or windows to reassure the passerby of friendly inhabitants.
She absent-mindedly chewed on the pencil while twirling a loose strand of her chestnut hair, pulled back in a haphazard ponytail. Graphite smudges left trails across her forehead, cheeks, and chin. "So, here's my idea," she began. As she spoke, I heard myself. She thinks like me. A little spark of adrenaline charged through me, and I tossed out an idea. It stuck. It grew. It improved. It developed as if it were created by one happy brain, gaining form and shape and life. We smiled at each other. Her soft eyes, round and brown, held my attention. Compatibility.
Bounced in to see his smiling face, chatting all friendly like with some of the locals. He is well loved, and it's a beautiful thing to see others appreciating some of the things I see in him...But had a bit of business to take care of, so after a quick hug, made my rounds tweaking plans with the designers and talked deadlines with the project managers...got to catch up with wonderful people, and squeezed in a word or a wink with him, but mostly just happily glowed in all the creative energy and love and hugs going around.
Those boys never heard classical music before. Didn't know the name of a single orchestral instrument. Within an hour, they were laughing, creating, conducting, composing. They felt yellow. I felt full.
Need to see one. Want to see another. Need is loving, generous, desires my happiness, my growth. Want promises adventure, unknown. Glowing after seeing Need, so warm, so light, so sweet. Stretching myself to leave...and I do with his blessing. He is nothing less than precious. Why am I doing this? Oh right. Eating my vegetables. Want surprises me, annoys me, disappoints me, and then delights me. Huh.
I stepped out into a dream of intense color flooding my eyes, glittering geometry and unworldly shapes forming in my periphery, a wonderland I was ushered out of before I could explore.
60 miles later and higher than a kite, I entered another wonderland of steel and fire and molten metals...music banged out on anvils and contraptions whose purpose I could only guess...
And yet another...collective creativity that stupefied me. My mouth hung open long enough to be noticed, so I closed it and opened my spirit as full and wide as ever before.
He was hurting. I fretted I caused it. Wanted nothing more than to love him totally, freely, and with an open hand. There was no loss looming, in fact, even invited him to partake in that day's adventure. Wondering if he saw what I saw. Wasn't it amazing? Want that journey to be worth the investment. It's a very brave soul that follows his heart to greater feeling, meaning, and subsequent joy, leaving behind comfortable predictability. Is a destination desired? Perhaps a saturation point? It's in moments, I think. In this moment, it's all for him, about him, loving him.
No. No. Absolutely not. I will not accept. This is a horrible, horrible nightmare, the world cannot be so cruel to one I care for. She has been waiting so long, so expectantly, growing so perfectly, loving him so fully, thinking of him so constantly, singing her favorite songs to him, accustoming him to her taste, reading special stories to him, the kind only a kindergarten teacher knows about, shopping for him, receiving so many, many heart felt gifts for him. His days were planned, his place in the family secure. He was to be born tomorrow. He died today.
They are everything to me. Real, solid, breathing, thinking, feeling, adventuring people. Incredibly unique. Each a wonder, full of magic and mischief, creativity, and spark. I would not venture to define a single child, as life and living is dynamic, and the slightest breeze stirs newness and freshness and fun and inspiration...and they change. I ache for the years they grew within me, as I nourished with my physical body, and solidified their attachment to a safe and happy world, then the early years of play and imagination, fantasy and adventure...of capes and cloaks and crowns and swords...
I cannot help but alternate between joy and gratefulness for my children, and sorrow for her loss. It's children she knows, and well as a long time teacher...but your own...is entirely different. A privilege of wordless worth to walk beside a physical manifestation of your heart, as he experiences life, makes connections, learns and grows...to choose such special authors, poets, musicians, and artists to share what is good and wonderful, real and fantastical with your child. To dig in the dirt and make mudpies, nap on the grass and have a tea party all in one day...
Tonight he came to rescue me. Galloping, on steed of white, with armor fiercely blazing. I was in distress, its true, but required no rescue. Just advice. Is this a good idea? (Although I am constantly ragged on for not communicating enough, this is a perfect example of why less is more.)No matter. Ditched the dodo, wriggled passed the advances of the would be predators lying in wait, and fled down, down, to take the hand of the fair prince, whose feet were shod for battle and not for dancing. I dare say he took his pound of flesh...
Seems I have met my match-a fellow adventurer even more difficult to pin down than I am. First time he led me through the woods on a wild hare chase, me in heels, picking my way over river rock and down steep embankments in the black of night, only to be teased and stripped by a unkempt band of ex pats...second time really blew my mind with places and events too surreal to yet describe ...third time meant to be a proper date, but was stalled by something shiny 80 miles away, and will resume in three hours...
Still feel tied to the house, so weird to see it dressed up in someone else's clothes...was on my way to grieve it when redirected to the community garden.''We want you to work with the students here and create literary based sculptures for the garden. Can you have the maquettes ready by Thursday for our presentation?'' Heart palp. Phone then rings with an urgent request to deliver needed items 40 miles out of the way...Heart palp. Done and done with smiles for the crew...music starting, and there she was, bravely facing an audience weeping for her.
Last day of Spring break. Make it count. A bit of recklessness brewing. Drove in a trance. A biker gang passed us, looking fierce and silly at once, all motoring with just one wheel on the ground...if that wasn't representative of my heart at the moment....The waves were violent. Churning, changing direction, pushing across lanes, crashing boundaries, chaos. She was adorable, and stole my heart in a second. He was wild and unreachable, I paddled and fought, and never made it out to his distance. Kids floated, I floated, float...paddle...dive...wobble...crash...repeat. It might work.
Well it's Tuesday...French day...and usually a bit of drama day...Today was no surprise...I love her heart shaped mouth...I can barely hear the words she is saying because her mouth distracts me so...and when her lips form that wonderful french ''lu'' sound, it really is a perfect heart...Argh! I cannot understand what she is saying anyway...I must be her most exasperating pupil...and if it's not her lips distracting, it's him...or his little darling climbing on my lap...,I should be concentrating, but am rather enjoying all the sensory input...
I skipped up the path and rapped on the wooden screen door. His straw fedora was pulled low across his forehead, and a lopsided smile revealed very white teeth. I resisted the urged to pet the black furry creature growing from his chin...this was a business meeting after all. I trotted along behind him into the backyard and settled at the table. Like gunslingers, we stared each other in the eye and drew out our sketchbooks. ''I want it to be a bed,'' I challenged. '' We can do that,''ow'' he returned, ''and here's how we're gonna do it.''
The green art I'm being commissioned to do has inspired me. I see myself sitting in a garden and notice a stunning shadow of a sculpture making patterns on the earth. The sculpture itself is beautiful...I run my hands over it's smooth parts and slide my fingers into it's crevices. The duality in it's effect is far teaching...runs shivers down my arms...I am excited by this green work...want to describe connections in ecology -butterfly effect of sorts...the way a smile midwifes another smile...but here in garden, to draw people together, to inspire conversation, community...
Wheeee! Getting closer..building intensity...anticipation...I'm at the store...looking for his pants...getting lots of help...and quizzical looks from shoppers...Ultimately, ain't nothing sexier on a hot man than tight women's pants! Got suspenders, fedora, and lots and lots of feathers...Dunno when I'll have time to throw it together, but I will. And he will. And she will. It will be perfect.
Later, and sharing a last bit of alone time before it begins...That wonderful honey scent I know and love reminds me I'm in exactly the right place. It's all so good...
One individual and three collaborative paintings finished!!! An amazing output of talent, creativity, energy, and resources! It's truly a beautiful thing to share a vision, have no ego, and just go for it together! I'm so high....so full...so happy...those are special people. I love those girls, and I can't wait for the next project!!! All the crazy loving chaos surrounding... 3 am and finally heading home...A new teddy bear to love who stayed with me to the very end, building the gallery so all would be ready for tomorrow's art. I made lifelong friends today.
!!! It's here, it's here, it's finally here!!! Bit of snipping, stitching, gluing, bitching...ready to go...say goodbye and then hello!!!
Feeling a bit like kids in a candy store, ..all my favorite flavors...Lucky Girl! Boy! Girl!
Womp womp, bring it baby! I be so ready to dance! Pounding hard, dripping sweat, fire poofing, gravel crunching, sexy playing, smiling faces, warm embraces, teasing kisses, sneaking pictures, dancing dancing, spinning round, making rounds, lost and found...dance some more, hit the floor samba dropping, aerial hopping... and the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!!!
When the clock struck it's final tone, the DJ turned to stone... the dancers disappeared... the fire faded...the promising suitor turned back into a mouse...Cinderella lost her boots and was carried out while Sleeping Beauty dozed the night away and Prince Charming surrendered his heart to another...
So much energy, sweat, collaboration and love...and an awful lotta work for such a short night...but worth every drop...
Feeling warm, happy and nostalgic one minute, and a bit low and empty the next...I already miss my peeps...ready for another project...right now.
Only free night of the week...not for long...his knowing smile told me secrets I wouldn't have guessed a week ago...his energy was fresh, his mind blown...a whole new world of possibilities had opened up to him...and he was looking at how to jump in. The ideas flowed...the momentum built...and he was taking me along...paddling in the same stream of consciousness...wide open...not treading and waiting, but moving forward in the directional energy, with surest expectation of the next great thing...and more...another confirmation...it's happening, this thing....just be ready.
Sitting in the car...such an inauspicious location... Jimboys parking lot...Taco Tuesday...what hits me is simutaneous joy and grief. Feeling kinda brave, I did stop hiding from them...and there's a powerful joy in the freedom of honesty...a weight lifted...yet grief over the price of being misunderstood...sometimes such a lonely world for an extrovert...but letting go, letting them go...they just don't fit anymore...what they offer is false in itself...it's a hypocrisy...it's actually a tragedy...but they will always be this way...exhale. Expanded...feeling generous...gonna buy the 12 pack.
8 weeks, 12 classrooms, 2 projects a piece. Something every child can have a hand in...A variety of mediums- watercolor, acrylic, wire sculpture, clay sculpture, figure ground reversal collage, fabric collage, suspension art, nature assemblage, photography....coordinating lessons, scheduling the follow up...all these plans look fantastic on paper...but there's an awful lot of unseen work involved...for example, finding time to stay home and fire items in the kiln that cannot be left unattended...trips to the store, countless emails repeating the same information that no one remembers...grumble grumble...isn't this supposed to be fun?
''ms. s.....ms. s....MS. S!!!!''
My mind has already left for vacation...my body will soon follow...
Throwing random clothes and shoes in bags...suitcases seem to have migrated with the beast...a sweet dinner with the babes...hugs and kisses and wishes for fun all around...me on my adventure...kids on theirs...an experiment in independence...
Tho' lately expert in sandwiching...sorry blondie, I'm gonna pass... we will make more music when I return...tonight is just too full of anticipation for something else...
Here we go...
Well there's thirteen hundred and fifty-two guitar pickers in Nashville...and they can pick more notes than the number of ants on a Tennessee ant hill! Yeah, we're somewhere, and closer to the music...a magnetizing force...a slow margarita and back on the plane again...
Heavy air, black night, stone steps, peeling paint, jungle lushness, intricate ironwork, shuttered windows taller than me...history-stories I wanna hear...people I wanna meet...
and then Bourbon St...invitations, walk up bars, stench of rot, glazed eyes, stumbling feet...
But cozy corners and yeah, jazz...
Sensing, absorbing...horns, bass, heat, sun, shaded eyes, bare skin, bodies of every variety glistening, dripping, seeking shade, refreshment...icy pink wetness cooling down my lips...smiling.
Standing, waiting, whispering, picturing, chatting it up with the uninitiated...looking at legends, remembering ...Sonny Boy, Etta, Billie, Stevie...doors finally open and Laura throws down womp and dub...heart thumping...anticipation building...and she did not disappoint...her artful movements in perfect synchronicity with each beat...
Late night dancing turns early morning exploring...discovering the mighty Mississippi in time to sing the sun up from her slumber..
A catnap and back for a breakfast of vodka soaked green beans and olives picked from those soul nourishing bloody marys at Cafe Dumond in the marketplace...jamming, singing, gazing, giggling, wondering at all of this...
Blues, baby. Another sweet discovery...
Just damn good music...
And food...BBQ...seafood au gratin, alligator pie, sweet potato pone, and what was that other stuff?
Wrapping up with the Sunspots...letting go...the silhouettes of the Congo arch imposing against the sunset..the sea of trash leaving closing remarks on a barren field.
Not over yet...just the right turns down the right streets lead to that beautiful girl with the sultry voice...lawn chair and beer...feet up...then feet washed by a local with a sign and a hose...sit some more, not for long...those murals needed my attention...a couple of pictures and the music called me over...street dance!!! Hopping, spinning, thrusting going down! Tight culture- recognized...hello new friend!! Stayed up til it shut down...then to Frenchman...how does it keep getting better??? Bands tearing it up...dancers spinning on floors, spinning hoops, spinning fire...MAGIC.
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