Posts Tagged ‘Mike Harris’

Friday in The Redlands Hotel

January 27, 2023

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

This Friday morning has been pure stream-of-consciousness. Alarm woke me at 7:00. I lay awake in the darkness, waiting. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street from The Redlands Hotel has a bell that tolls three minutes after my smart phone clock. Sure enough, at 7:03 my time, the bell tolled nine times. I have posted this frequently in my blog, but it still makes me laugh. The rest of the day the church tower will toll the correct number before it goes silent during the night time sleeping hours. Then, next morning, at 7:00, it will begin with nine tolls.

After showering and dressing, I enjoyed some “Executive Time” reading at the dining room table, sipping my morning coffee, and scribbling new thoughts in my journal. My attention was arrested by a poem from Adrienne Su, “The Days.” In this piece, she wrestles with the value of keeping a journal and recording one’s own thoughts. I have never second-guessed this value since I began in 1985. Two hundred volumes later, I acknowledge that I’ll never catalogue all those entries, nor do I need to. After I die, I don’t care what happens to them. They could be burned or trashed. But I won’t be discarding them. I take great joy in going back to them and reliving the memories much like one who flips through pictures on the smart phone. And I enjoy reviewing ideas I’ve visited in the past, and revising them.

But that is not why I practice journaling. The poem I just mentioned contrasted journaling with living “in the moment.” For me, journaling is living in the moment. When I journal, I am peeling back the layers of my current experience, savoring it, dwelling on it. As I wrote these words, I heard the clatter of men outside, beneath my fire escape, emptying the restaurant dumpsters into the waiting truck. It was 27 degrees outside. My mind was immediately transported to the 1980s when I worked jobs outdoors during the winter, and dreamt of a better future. Next thing I knew, pages of the journal were filling with memories of those days, contrasted gratefully with realities of these days. For me, the life of the mind is a luxury; I relish any morning that I am allowed just to sit, ponder, and feel gratitude for life and the gifts offered.

After journaling, I went back into the bedroom, retrieved my guitar, and went to work re-learning a song I had stopped playing more than ten years ago–“South City Midnight Lady.” I have always loved those guitar riffs! The death of David Crosby last weekend has gotten my mind back on alternative tunings, and I had to re-tune my guitar to play this song. I just loved the sounds coming out of those strange chords! Next thing I knew, I was playing variations on that theme, enjoying the moment. I stopped playing in bands long ago, but am considering a return to the open mike. There are so many venues opening up these days, and I just might step back into that pool one day.

Once I opened the gallery downstairs at 10:00, I got out my art supplies and went to work sketching a younger version of Neil Young. I had tried to draw him last night when I was tired, and the weariness showed. Today’s sketch turned out better. I’m trying to talk myself into drawing more consistently. Making it a daily practice would be a good thing.

One of our local artists dropped by the gallery for a visit this morning, Mike Harris from Malakoff, forty minutes away. Mike has been a participant in Palestine’s monthly Art Walk for quite some time now. We plan to re-open Art Walk in April, since January through March brings unpleasant weather for getting out. Mike enjoys using a magnifying glass to burn images into birch wood, then coloring them with acrylic pigments and wood stains.

I use the word “emerging artist” carefully. Mike Harris indeed fits this category as he’s decided to test the market. His inventory is sufficient enough to show in festivals and he’s ordered a booth tent and now seeks venues to show. We had an energetic discussion about online presence, application guidelines and ways to send one’s work up the flagpole for others to see. Mike has gotten plenty of attention from the Palestine Art Walks and private commissions. Now he’s ready to get out more into the public. I trust you’ll be hearing plenty about his work soon, and I’m proud to play a part in introducing him.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.