One of my goals this year is to begin to learn French, so I have been listening to French music, watching French movies and listening to a language CD in my car. But this – this epic combination of things I love: cats, the name Henri, foreign films, black and white movies and (of course) ennui, will be watched by me a million times until I can recite it by memory in French. Enjoy.
* My friend and I were talking “writing” yesterday; talking about how often we procrastinate, what inspires us, inner critics, etc. etc. He suggested a writing project as we sat and waited for the summer outdoor movie to start. Write three hundred words and have it on my desk by Tuesday. Pick any subject, he said. I stared down into my plastic cup of Bourbon on the rocks and said, How about Bourbon? So there you have it. Below is take TWO of this project.
As I launched myself off the diving board in a perfect jack-knife position, in the moment between board and water it hit me; it was the God damned bourbon.
All day I had been circling my own psychotic drain of disappointments, past and present; living in a whirlpool of what if’s, why nots, and what the fucks. And at this moment high above the impact zone, as I saw puddles of chlorine drying on the concrete, beach towels on chaise lounges covered by self conscious teens shifting their swim suits to cover vulnerable spots every time they moved; in that moment it became as clear as caramel colored liquid. It was the bourbon that was the trigger.
Far from the bleached concrete that smelled of clean laundry was the memory of another type of afternoon. One spent barefoot on the patio, under a green umbrella, leaning back in a cushioned chair as ice cubes melted and clinked in the glass and our thoughts synchronized like graceful swimmers with a little bit of flair and a whole lot of shimmering color.
In July of 2013, the gallery I work in will be showcasing this printer’s voice in our (can’t find the right adjective) town. I don’t remember a time I’ve been more excited about curating an exhibition; excited personally, visually, and emotionally. It’s no coincidence that it takes place during the fifty year anniversary of the civil rights movement in Alabama and the South and This United States. The fact that our gallery gets to host this statement of truthful creativity, that has deep undertones of joy for all humanity, is a gift I didn’t see coming in my career.
Here’s to Amos Kennedy. And if you’ve never heard of him, you should. The man is a force of passionate positivity, the embodiment of fearlessness of the spirit. A man to look at and think, “I aspire to be as much a man as he is”. At least I do.
Cheers to you, Amos. And to the rest of you? Proceed and Be Bold.
Below is one of Amos’ prints that hang in my house. Also, I have the documentary DVD, so If you’d like to borrow it, just let me know.
Find all of his available prints here: http://www.kennedyprints.com/
The image in my brain was me running, blonde hair blazing behind me, silently screaming, out of the room, through the standing army of caterers, knocking their trays left and right, across the patent-shiny wooden floor of, I’m sure, the most-est eco-est wood, out the two-building high glass front doors, looking back to take aim with my bow at any socialites trying to forbid my exit (of course, there were none) shoving past the valet parking guy after he tossed me my keys, sprinting down the mile long driveway leaving a Roadrunner trail of dust hanging in my wake.
That was the image that flashed through my mind as I stood wide-eyed with a fixed smile nodding and listening to some bullshit analysis of art, art history, art commerce, the art “world”, balancing on too high heels that sported a good label, purchased so that maybe I would blend in with these fine folks and their footwear.
trapped included in a group of men at these events, why did we always have to analyze everything in every conversation? Why did we have to spout off words and names we remembered from college that made us sound intelligent, but were really only examples of superior memory-zoned brains? Why couldn’t we just talk? About, maybe, how tired we all were of faking it at so many different events on so many different levels and talking talking TALKING in an attempt to hide our social, intellectual, and economic inadequacies? That was the men.
As for the women? Thirty more minutes (before I could politely escape) in my mind of wondering how Madame X got her teeth so white, and how Mistress Y got her body so thin and hair so blonde. In fact they were all that way – thin, blonde, tan with fake-white smiles, their simple clothing made in fabrics that must cost at least $100 a yard, their jewelry of rustic leather bands braided around Semi and Super Precious stones. I think the look is called “Casual Elegance” and they ALL had it. The bracelet on Lady R’s wrist alone would not only buy the new tires I desperately needed for my 8-year-old car, but could purchase six new cars with gas money to spare.
I was trapped in a conversation about how after pilates on Sunday wouldn’t it be fun if they all went and had Mimosas? OMG!!! There were squeals of joy and agreement as I wondered what tribe these people were from and secretly glad, in my own admittedly snobbish way, that I wasn’t part of it. The sad part was that I absolutely LOVE pilates as a way to relax every part of me. If I could afford to do it every day, I would.
Hypocrite (and art dealer whore, as my colleague refers to us*) that I am, that evening I had joined in the over intellectualized art analysis talk and smiled with wonder and unabashed joy at the idea of post-pilates Mimosas, even though I was not invited.
* For the record he’s way more of a (self-professed!) art whore than I am.
And then my social switch flipped. Maybe it was a headache coming on from the blinding teeth, maybe it was my good shoes digging into my toes, maybe it was my common sense waking me up, but my GOD I wanted to run my non-pilate’d ass right out of that scene, looking left and right for someone to just try to stop me, and into the waiting arms of my own tribe.
My tribe. People who write thank you cards on paper and send late-night texts of XO’s just because. People who hike mountains and swim in the ocean, people who can sit and talk about clouds or nothing at all, comfortable with silence, people who create works of art in paint, ink, and unique (sometimes singing) voices, words, and thoughts. My tribe. Some of whom would have a martini BEFORE pilates and call it a regular fitness day. People who could give a shit about my economic status or my shoes, but care deeply for my general well being as I care for theirs.
So, that particular evening I did not escape down the well-tended driveway blazing a fiery trail, but reached in my mind toward the people I know who are real and caring and smiled at how they would applaud if I ever actually DID flee such an event, to stand in the driveway, elbow cocked back in true aim, and shoot my flaming arrow in the sky as a sign to them that I was (am) still alive in the arena.
It could still happen as there is an increasingly fine line between manners and absolute truth that keeps the whole scenario at bay.
Until then, May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.
I’ve been relishing this band and this particular song for a while now. It’s the stripped down simplicity of guitar and drums that appeal to me. And then you add in that voice! Man. It goes directly from her soul to mine.
I’ve also heard that seeing them live is akin to a spiritual experience. Dayum.
On a side note, this band’s music mixes well with bourbon. On the rocks. Yep.
* My friend and I were talking “writing” yesterday; talking about how often we procrastinate, what inspires us, inner critics, etc. etc. He suggested a writing project as we sat and waited for the summer outdoor movie to start. Write three hundred words and have it on my desk by Tuesday. Pick any subject, he said. I stared down into my plastic cup of Bourbon on the rocks and said, How about Bourbon? So there you have it. Also, apparently June 14th is National Bourbon Day and I missed it. Will celebrate tonight instead.
Smell triggers memory more often than not, so it pays to be careful about what one is smelling when. No matter how romantic your Italian villa is, if it smells like old socks find another villa or be subjected to recalling your dreamy getaway only when you are washing a load of gym clothes. And while that memory may take you back to a (hopefully) sexy rendezvous, do you really want the aroma of sweat crusted cotton to be the trigger? I should think not.
Caramel colored Bourbon, in particular Maker’s Mark, has a distinct aroma; thick and warm, like heady candy. It slides over tongue and teeth satisfyingly rich, and substantial, more of a bite than a sip. By nature of its color it should evoke walnut paneled libraries, warm fires and drying tweed after the hunt. For me, however, it is a summer reminder; bare feet on a patio still warm from midday, one of those iron patio chairs that rocks when you lean back, setting a rhythm to the early evening; a big green umbrella, a territorial hummingbird in a flowering bush, and a welcome breeze that ruffles the pages of a nearby magazine. Ice melts and clinks in the glass, fingers stroke through the tumbler’s condensation and, on an inhale, nose, mouth, and brain are infused with a memory of Love triggered by Bourbon that always returns right about this time of year.
PS: For a more interesting (with pictures!) story about Bourbon on this blog, go HERE.
Also, this post isn’t really about Bourbon, it’s more about olfactory triggered memory. But whatever.
It’s late at night. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, which always spurs me on to write, for better and for worse. At this point in the night, I haven’t even approached my own writing floundering in a folder on my desktop, waiting for life, waiting for a defibrillator of cleverness to bring them (it?) to life.
This time of night in my writing process, I roam around familiar territories on the internet, reading and admiring the words of others as I have since, well, since when? What is my first memory of reading? I suppose Dick and Jane. I loved its simplicity and the goofy pictures of a perfect family life as my own family was floundering. But then came C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Enid Blyton to take me away to new worlds of words and magic and story at ages 6, 7, and 8.
C.S. Lewis at age 6 you ask? But of course. I still have the original, spine-cracked, masking-taped volume of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Just try and take it from me. Narnia? Oh, yes please.
So tonight in my wordy meanderings, I revisited a place that consistently gives good word by The Smithy of words, a poet and novelist. It makes me happy (and jealous) to read the words that she puts together to make a mundane sentence become an adventure in letters and thought.
Read this blog. It’s good word.
And now I suppose it is time to revisit my own words. Good Night and Good Reading.