I stayed over because of the cat. He’s not mine, but I care for him over the winter while his owner’s away. Six toes on each foot. Patti says that makes him magic.
He’d been locked in the basement for four days until yesterday when I got the store owner to let me go down and call for him – out he came from one of a thousand dusty corners, thin, wide-eyed and exhausted. He’d been looking for freedom, but found dust-dark-no-water instead. Clingy now, but it’s good to see him.
Studio is not the best for sleeping but it’s wonderful to wake up in on a spring morning. Three large third-storey windows face full east, and the sun spills in like honey. Starlings hang out on the wires and chatter endlessly – Knuckles is mesmerised.
I leave for Toronto soon – visits with dear ones, airport trip and some hunting of insights, input. Back home tonight, back here tomorrow morning, to record music-for-film, work on a painting commission and a Study in Blue, and share in the Joy of Knuckles as Paul and Toulouse return to his building.
It will still be humming. This is the best studio ever.
I stare at the handle of a red screwdriver and use my ears to see the space around me. There are tires scribing the wet street three floors down; the clock ticks each second in counterpoint to the keys on my laptop. Furnace just kicked in like a huge breathing thing acres wide and deep; the cat licks its’ shoulder. I cannot hear walls.
Audio memory kicks in now too, adding the plink…plink! of piano tuning from this morning; the breathless excited scramble-wiggle of dog claws on studio floor; footsteps like signatures in the hallway; doors squeaking open and banging shut – punctuation for arrival. All the voices who spoke here today, each carrying different degrees of anxiety or humour, as we navigate the measured hours before Christmas.
My ears cannot hear the sound of a to do list. They hear only what is, and record what has been, for playback later.
These small moments I get – to explore the shape of the room with my ears, to examine with just my fingertips the shape and texture of my cello, of a book, or a pencil as my blind grandmother did for 50 years – they are possible because I’ve chosen to make gifts, not buy them.
I have also given myself the gift of time.
Happy Christmas and Hannukah everyone.
May the time with yourself and with those you care for be rich with love.
There’s a subtle art to avoidance – one can accomplish a great deal when motivated by discomfort with a project’s requirements: Go work out – more often. Coach at GBSS’ annual music clinic; play at elementary schools in Bruce County for GBS. Go see Art of Time’s Cadmium Red with Aruna; wander introverted and happy through Toronto; visit an old friend & musician colleague in Guelph; rehearse for and perform at Kiwanis Music Fest with my cello kids; teach. Rent an electric cello and test drive it in a bar with two groove-great acoustic guitar players. This past week: Wed to Fri rehearsal & performance for the Georgian Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra with Owen Sound’s Choir that Rocks. Two shows to packed houses in a beautiful old church which is now an arts building/soup kitchen. We raised the roof both nights, and the kids are on fire.
Yesterday Larry Jensen and I played an impromptu set at The River Cafe at 1pm before my big paintings came down off the walls there. The Mayor dropped by, and 20 or so others, to help us say thanks to Karen Rosalie (River Cafe Queen) for her hospitality. I could have played all day long, despite my impairment from celebrating until 4am …
It’s easy easy to swim in the big wide river of life here. On the same night as GBSYO & The Choir that Rocks, Don Buchanan played excellent, tasteful jazz at The Frog Pond and there was a live 60’s revivalby great players at the Legion, along with other events I couldn’t possibly list. Last night, a classical concert with Eric Osborne (organ), Sebastian Ostertag, Joachim Ostertag, and Syl McIntosh, and Open mic at The Bleeding Carrot. This little tiny town is buzzing with arts activity – what we can’t get to will be seen by someone, and photos posted. Thanks John Fearnall & Goodnoise; thanks Amber Brown; Richard Mascall; thanks Trev MacKenzie, Tara MacKenzie; Jim Ansell & the Bleeding Carrot; Kelly Babcock and Andree, Kimmer, Steve Zamin, Mossy, – these are some of the folks who keep the place spinning at a healthy clip, and hold up a mirror for us to see ourselves. We’re lookin better and better all the time.
Today I come home – to the work I love more than I love myself, as Elizabeth Gilbert would say (go Here for her recent TED talk). This is like rest. Away from the madding crowd, the interaction, the sharing of experience and joy, the assertion of identity within the crowd or tribe of people, I can soften my gaze and look inward and outward at the same time.
I see the cup on my desk I shared scotch with in a long yesterday afternoon (lovely time, L & C), and I think of performance and introversion, the sweet fragility of both artist and audience when they come together in music. I see tulips on my piano, paintings that have returned to the place of their birth, music stands and microphones, and I feel comforted by the rhythm of time. I see the patches of sun on my floor, and feel my heart beat, steady.
#Selfie is requiring due diligence from me. Early on I knew that my intolerance (see #Selfie 1) could lead nowhere but back to my own insecurities and blind spots – sure enough, it did (see #Selfie 2, then #Selfie 3, in which I confess my internal shock). Predictably, I reacted to my own shock by going abstract again (#Selfie 4 (I prefer my hands), #Selfie 5 (mirror), #Selfie 6 (Mask)), and then #Selfie 7 (Easter) referred to, but did not describe the quite intense process of self- discovery, self-pruning, self-clearing I’d experienced that weekend – I chickened out, and that will not do.
So – to rectify.
#selfie 9 will go direct. See you back here after I’ve done some digging.