Permission from the artist to modify his work was not what I sought, well it was, but I wanted him to do it – not me.
The first time I saw the piece was in a magazine. It was being used to promote a biker event somewhere down South. The second time I tore it out and pinned it to a wall. A couple weeks later I looked online for this event, which led to more searching until finding the artist Jeral Tidwell. I began following him on Social Media and eventually purchased his book Sketches. It has two versions of this design, one rough pencil and one finished in ink. Again I felt drawn to it, but not completely.
Surfing the Internet a few months later led to a notice that Jeral would be at Bumbershoot the next week as part of a printed poster art exhibit.
“Really like your work, this one in particular – found a version in a magazine.”
“Oh great wasn’t sure I’d have much of a following up here.”
After about a half hour of talking and purchasing some prints to be autographed, “Hope you don’t mind but I’ve been wondering what you’d think about changing this one a bit, something like this.”
“That’s a cool idea, do it.”
“Uh… Okay great, thank you.”
* * *
About a year later I met with another artist Roni Falgout who blended the work, added her touches and pinned it to my skin.
Loneliness forms silently like layers of rust on an unused surface. What if kindness is an antidote to loneliness? Some sort of unintended return on a moment. An exchange of glances, a connection of eyes trading a gesture for an expression – causing a change.
Proof can be as slight as making another smile. Anonymous as packaging food for strangers who need or preparing a meal and joining hungry people. As lasting as giving an abandoned animal a new home. Quiet as standing by a friend whose luck changed. Sudden as showing up at a door that hides abuse. Strong as being a wall for momentary blocking and pushing off into a new direction.
The gift of kindness may not tip a permanent scale to be measured on some karmic score card but it might simply remove a layer.
I’m the kind of person who would rather know than wonder — to find out. As I’ve often said, “You won’t know if you don’t go.” That being said I always have more enthusiasm when signing up for writing conferences, workshops and classes than I do in the day(s) leading up to them. Stubbornly I drag myself to them with a new notebook, caffeine, open ears and soak up. You see I have a battery that for years I wasn’t aware of and for it I need to keep going…
Yesterday I was reminded that “You don’t know what you don’t know”, “You’ll absorb things will come back to you when you need them”, “Have fun and be honest”, “Retain subsidiary rights”, “Eighty percent of published material doesn’t earn out”, “In poetry the writer gets to chose the right margin
(aka. The Line)”
and possibly most important, “Don’t be afraid to fail.”
Staring into the future as if to see something misunderstood, possibly hope – probably not. The resting baby on her shoulder waits, her two boys still wait.
“Nothing changes through the one-way window. Growing stubble, anchored tight crows feet guarding steel blue eyes, his sun baked skin doesn’t even sweat” was scribbled on the old police report, now exposed for granddaughters not met to read.
The assumed word Monster now appears on his face above Husband, Dad and Grandpa.
I always learn something when I cross my favorite bridge, this time it was for a “Faces” writing workshop taught by Matt Love September 16th 2017.
Tired eyes awaken anyway to stare
through coffee steam Blended lines
turned by the sun overlap as if stickers on an edgy club wall
Torn stubs fall
from an overbooked calendar pausing
to be glanced at like posters once stapled to a pole
Sore feet crush grass burnt brown and bleached
Fresh wrinkles appear like scars
on a machine built for speed— traded for a moment
waiting to be reflected on and laced into history
Energy spent, bartered and consumed
in the season of the sun Leave one Summer’d