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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rising From the Ashes







I'll Huff

And I'll Puff

And I'll Blow Your House Down


Looking For Miracles

Among the Ruins.


My first exhibition. Dani's Place. She took my framed garden pages and built a lifelike garden space in the back of her store. Brought in tree stumps. Landscaped the floor with stepping stones. My garden pages blooming in her garden retreat. Dani gave me aesthetic advice on adding punch to my styling. I didn't see her foot coming. Too busy cozying up to my new celebrity. 


Kicked me out.

Told me to take my act on the road.

Life is not one-stop shopping.

She said.

Move. Move. Move.

If not, you might get hit by a train.

She wasn't kidding.

That is exactly what happened to her. Her first store, located precipitously close to the train tracks, took a vicious hit. From a train. Hurtling off the track. A very unwelcome and dangerously disgruntled consumer.

Move. Move. Move. 

She did. Grateful for life. Grateful for second chances.

I don't always listen well. Caught up in the fabulousness of first fame, I needed to show off. First time is the charm. This artist business a breeze. Who wants my autograph? I picked up my son from the airport. Off to see the wizard. That would be me! On the way, an ominous warning. A speeding ticket. 25 mph in a 15 mph zone. I was in the zone all right. A police escort to my grand opening, under different circumstances, might have been nice. This was not part of the red carpet ceremony I had in mind. Sirens, yes. Ticket scalping, no.


At the top of the hill.

Fire trucks. 

Lots of them. 

My son mused cautiously, "Mom, I hope that your store is not the one with the police tape around it."

It was. 

The sooty, blackened and charred remains, not my store, but Dani's. Ashes to ashes and garden pages to dust. I have the newspaper photo in my studio. Through the front door, my garden pages are visible, waterlogged and blistered. 

They are nothing compared to the look on Dani's father's face. Heart. Ache. First a train. Now an electrical meltdown. 

This time Dani would not make a comeback. I tried to reach her, but we never spoke again. 

Move. Move. Move. She said. Keep moving. Even then, there are no guarantees. No warranty for good behavior. No promise that tomorrow will be a better day. 

Dani took a chance on me. She took a chance on many artists in the area. She gave them space and encouragement and hope. I used that hope, her belief in me, to keep moving. Hope, became the first of the three little pots. Faith and charity were soon to follow. 

I did the only thing I know how to do when life is difficult. 

I her. I wrote...


                                            For Dani

I've been hit by a train

smashed flat

burned to the ground

scorched and singed

two big strikes

and my eyes are on the sky

is this a sign

the final blow of a train whistle

the remnants of a conflagration

a signal to put my hands in my pockets

and to walk away

maybe the business woman

the bottom line chaser must quit

but the artist in me

the believer in the spirit

of good work

of hands creating

of minds dreaming

cannot succumb to idle fate

my business has been a home

for creators

and dreamers

and has made a path

for beginners

for artists to speak

with beauty

porcelain, paint, flowers

these artists will remain with me

wherever I go

and return to me

whenever I need

a reminder to dream

hope to believe

and courage to rebuild


Thank you notes, people.

No matter where you are on your journey, it is more than just being polite, it is a personal reminder that we are never alone.




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