Last night I was invited to show and talk about my work at Embassy Towers in Halifax, NS. The condominium building was built in the 1960s as apartments and became condos in the 1980s. I have the feeling that that place has a million stories behind its security-manned door.
There are four large pieces remaining from my most recent exhibition, Roadside America, and Argyle Fine Art was invited to showcase some of their artists this month. She asked me if I'd be interested in having a small show there and of course I said yes. I would say a good 30 people came to listen to me talk a little about my trip and how the work came to be. I admit I'm always nervous whenever I have to talk in public. My knees get a bit shaky and my temperature rises a bazillion degrees but I often get the chance to talk to some great people when I 'm done rambling. I've been told I seem calm and natural when I do an interview or talk so I must be a better actress than I thought. As I was rambling, ahem, talking, I found myself telling the story about Bob at the Skyliner Motel. I ended up getting teary-eyed and had to stop. I have only told it once before and I teared up that time as well. I don't know if I've always been like this but, although it can be embarrassing, I'm not ashamed of my empathy. I think if we all had more compassion and empathy for our fellow humans our lives would be that much richer. I'm so thankful for who I am and where I am in life. I will just have to embrace the fact that I'm a stereotypical cry-y girl if it means I get to stay an empathetic and compassionate person.
After my talk I met some wonderful people and had more emotional conversations. The demographic at this opening was completely different than at my other shows. The age range was much older and I'm convinced something happens when you reach 50; you no longer care about pretensions and just are who you are. At one point I was talking to three ladies at once about racism, creationism, raising children, and of course travel. It's times like these I don't want to talk about myself at all and would rather listen to their stories. The best thing about this group is they actually remember Route 66 and what it was like to travel, slowly, on the old highways. They could relate to my pieces the way people my age, including myself, can't.
At the very end of the evening I talked to a husband and wife for quite some time. They had done it all, pursuing all their interests, and were very inspiring. The man, who's name escapes me, is a folk musician and historian who has been able to make a living following his passions and I always find these type of people magnetic. He said he was thankful every day for the way his career was 'handed to him'. Because I often skip the small talk and head for the meat of the conversation, I propositioned him a deep question. How do you deal with what I call artists guilt? By that I mean, I often struggle with the fact I am so privileged in that I am able to pursue a life in the arts when others are struggling for food and shelter. It often feels like a very selfish pursuit. His answer was, you never know how you're going to affect someone, and you may never know. He told me of a story where someone approached him and told him a song he wrote back in the 70s changed their life. He said, as long as I stay true to myself it's bound to make an impact somewhere. I guess I'll just have to hope something I do affects someone, somewhere, even if I never know about it.
So, as an end note, I'd like to direct people to this article from the Guardian UK newspaper. If you've been following me from the beginning you'll remember what motivated me to get on the road in the first place. It's what continues to motivate me to get back out there; having regrets when I'm elderly about what I didn't do. I'm more fearful of staying still and not taking the risks.