Last night, we had our first open studios, and I opened. Which I already used as a word. But it wasn’t just the opening, it was deciding ten minutes before.
Even though I have tried to swear off the art side, it creeps back, or maybe it was never gone. Maybe I had to close the door on it to be able/willing to crack it ajar. Or blow it back. All of a sudden, the last couple decades of work makes growing sense, the photography, and video, the words and performative acts, the collaborative group, the poetry, the book making and letterpress, finishing my first manuscript. Instead of feeling like a pinball careening between disparate activities, it seems like a greater rope that is beginning to twist together, though I am still not sure how. Just following my gut.
I wasn’t going to open my door, because my space is not ready. I put my book case together yesterday late afternoon, concrete blocks and four old 1”x4”x5’ boards scavenged from the site. Threw books in any old order, chose some I want to read for the top, and rested this palm frond I found in LA. Which looks like part of a woman’s body. Pinned up some letterpress stuff, and the photos from the zoology museum that I have been staring at for three months. I used to like to know where things were going, only sharing if I was sure. But then, that’s why we are here. To let things in, not hide. And it was lovely to have people inside my unfinished head. Not nearly as scary as I always make it. To let people in on the process, not just the end product, have conversations. Be seen. So this too I am learning.
And such unexpected things happen. A woman whose work I had loved, and talked to in her studio, wondered why I had a picture of one of her best friends from college on my desk. And I said because the woman next to him was my daughter. And she knew all about Sarah though they’d never met. And a visiting writer recognized the obscure Mary Ruefle quote I have hanging on my wall, because it is a favorite of his as well. And now he is going to tell me more stories about her. Just little interactions that make the world seem both random and interconnected.
I’ve said this before, but in yoga, the places I am tight are my shoulders and hips. Every time the teacher says clasp your hands behind your back and open your chest, your heart, it is like my body is just learning how. Or make room in the hip sockets, breathe into the space, get comfortable with the pain, or the edge. Not too much, enough, to see what happens to our minds when faced with discomfort. Do we avoid it? Such an amazing thing to just learn to sit with it, forgive it. Maybe that is how they open. Or maybe even if I do yoga this entire year, my shoulders will still want to curve forwards to cover my chest, and pigeon pose will still make me want to cry, but maybe, just maybe, those spaces might open too. Its worth a shot.
Here is my studio, so far, 5 days after moving in.
After, I went across the street to the bar with some of the staff artists and residents, one of whom I took this great photo of with a head-dress she made and shared in her studio. It so perfectly sums her up. Almost didn’t go, because I have this weird shy/hermit streak. And of course, it was awesome. Pool and beer and more sweet little moments, like Jerriod (a visiting poet) missing his shot, and just bowing to the despair and chagrin of it. Perfect. Cause he took the chance.
Now I am caught up with my promise to myself. I’ll try to do another posting tonight, something that is today. Which I have off. And instead of arranging spaces, or finishing my manuscript, or learning something new at work, I might actually be ready to try sending words out in the world. Take the shot. That's what happens when you are around people just constantly doing and saying yes. That damn shirt, breathing it.
the probability of something happening. “he played down his chances”
an opportunity to do or achieve something. "I gave her a chance to answer" (opening, occasion, turn, time, window, shot)
a ticket in a raffle or lottery.
an opportunity to make a defensive play, which if missed counts as an error.
2. the occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design; the absence of any cause that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency.