Monday, July 11, 2011

Mindless Thoughts

What a day. What a weekend. Wait. It's Monday? Oh. Well, it sure feels like it.

My wife was out of town for a few days, in Calgary, for the Stampede. She was supposed to be performing with the Naden Band (Canadian Navy, for those who don't know), but it seems there were a few minor issues and they didn't play as much as they thought they were going to. Ah well.

And me? I had a show of my work on Saturday at a local artisans market, and another show on Sunday. At the pride market. Pride. As in gay pride. A few friends suggested that I apply, and then I received a letter from one of the organizers asking if I was available. Kind of cool that.

But in the end, what it means to me is that I'm tired. And I'm still sick. Yeah. I'm sick and tired. One of these days I'll finally shake this cough. (Unless it turns to pneumonia, then it may get the better of me.)

Aside - When I was a kid my Dad used to have these flash cards that he made for me. (I'm still not sure if he used them for my brother and sister, but I sure remember them.) There were simple math problems with the answer on the back, or some simple line drawings of, say, a cat or a dog, with the spelling of the word on the back. And what he would do is go through them with me. It was tons of fun. But now, in hindsight, what really made it special for me was that they were all mixed up. I was learning all these different disciplines together, not compartmentalized like they do in school. Deliberate? I doubt it, but it sure helped me see knowledge as one. Anyways, as I got older, the problems seemed to get harder. When adding single digits became easy, he would phase them out and start filtering in double digit addition, or subtraction, or multiplication. The words would get harder. And so on.

In the end it led to some funny moments in school for me. There was one time when I was in second grade and the teacher asked us all to go up to her desk and whisper her our "secret word", and she would teach us how to spell it. One kid went up and whispered (loudly) "table". Another whispered (more quietly) "car". Me? I went up and whispered "encyclopedia". You see, Dad had put in words like "refrigerator", and I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to know how to spell it, so I just learned it. When we did the "secret word" thing again the next week, I chose "pneumonia", and that's how I know how to spell it to this day. Without the spellcheck.

Anyways, there I was, this past weekend, doing two shows, while trying to fight off this cough. And I have to tell you, when I do a show, I feel like I'm on stage, and after six or eight hours, I'm exhausted. Literally. Being a natural introvert, it takes a lot out of me to be that engaged with a ton of people for so long.

Sunday, though, was awesome. (Thanks again, Carol.) (You can see her in the upcoming Planet of the Apes. I don't know who she is yet, but she's in there.)

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect, for whenever I have done a pride-type event in the past, my stuff has always gone over very well, but there was too much overt, in-your-face sexuality for my comfort. Now I'm not exactly a prude, but I have no interest in seeing other people's sex-lives played out in public. But that's just me.

So there I was, at this event in Victoria, and I knew in advance that it was a very big family thing, and not limited to the glbt (look it up) (and I probably missed a letter in there somewhere) community, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Well, everything exceeded expectations.

There was everything from the flamers to the families, the extremes to the elite. It was kind of neat, and really showed the diversity of the community here.

This was also interesting for me because I normally have a single table, but here, they gave me one for free, so I actually had two. I decided, with Carol's help, to put the jewelry on one table and the art pieces on the other. Once that was done, I sat back and started to work. And babble. Whenever anyone came into the booth, I would just start talking with them.

I would hear people talking as they came close. "Oh look," someone would say, "chainmail." "That's right," I responded, "it's not just for armour anymore." Carol heard that and thought it was so funny she used it the rest of the day.

That's just one example. Truly, though, I couldn't tell you what all I said. It's like there is a switch somewhere inside, and when I begin a show, it gets turned on. And I babble. But, evidently, I babble well, and appropriately.

I remember at one point there were three guys standing outside, watching. They were just watching me. Other people would come in, I'd chat with them, they'd go, and those guys were still there. After thirty or so minutes, they walked in.

"Excuse me," said one of them, "but are you on YouTube?"

That took me aback, and I said that I wasn't.

"You really should be. You're hysterical."

Oh, and it seems that I was carrying on three conversations at once, going from one to the next without pause. The kid got some of his friends over, and I told them about the Mobius balls, and how they could buy 1 for $5, 3 for $12, or 12 for $30. I talked about how you could resell the dozen for $5 each and make a $30 profit. It seems that I was really reading this kid, because I recognized his interest, instead of just dismissing him as a punk. And that was why he called his friends over. I was treating him as a human being. He ended up buying the 12, and I watched as he carefully chose a variety of pouches. As he left, he saw another friend. He got out the box of Mobius balls, and proceeded to sell one to his buddy for $5. He glanced over, and I gave him the thumbs up.

While this was happening, I was also playing with the flaming couple. I was making jokes, laughing loudly, and showing them the coloured pieces. I had made some rainbow stuff, and proceeded to describe what I could do as a special order. They left with a card, and were still talking ideas on the way out.

The elderly couple was looking at the artwork, and I was describing to them the various artists that had inspired me, and where I am going with my pieces. I made it clear to them, evidently, that my work was an investment with historical precedence, and they would do well to invest in me as an artist early, or middle, of his career. They walked away talking about the possibility of commissioning a work for their home. (Which I didn't know until those three guys told me.)

This has gotten me thinking. You see, in all three cases, my concern was to treat them all with respect and love. I have learned that when I do that, and am sincere about it, the sales just come. I don't have to worry about the sales, because the people are more important. And people have said that there have been times when they have bought pieces just to ensure that I would come back to that show the next time. In fact, most of my dearest friends were people that I met through these shows. (You know who you are.)

So where does this lead me?

Well, dear Reader, I think it is this: people are what matter. Friendships are what count. Treat them with the love and respect they deserve, and all else will follow.

There were also ample times for me to talk about the Faith, as Derek with his chocolate shop knows so well.

You may know, if you read this blog regularly, that I have a series of 9-pointed stars in chain-mail, mounted on granite or marble. Yesterday, someone asked me why 9. I told them about the Baha'i connection, and a bit about the Arabic numerology system with the letters. She was fascinated.

Later, a couple of clowns walked in. Literally. They were fully dressed in the makeup and all. The sort of stopped dead in their tracks in front of the stars, and one of them asked me if I did the stars for anyone in particular. "Well," I said, "actually, I did them for myself."

"Oh," one of them replied, "because the Baha'is would love these."

I laughed and said that I was a Baha'i.

"So are we."

And it turns out that they had just moved, a week ago, into the next community over.

Yeah. It was quite the weekend. And I think I'm now ready to head off to bed.

Thanks for reading my babble here. Good night all.

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