I’m sitting in her chair, at her desk, with her dogs munching on their dinner at my feet. My disc drive is humming away, importing selections from her vast CD collection that I couldn’t wait to get my fingers on—Tom Waits, Coldplay, Michael Buble, Joni Mitchell, Scala (an all girls a capella group that covers classics like U2’s With or Without You), and some really old Third Eye Blind. I’m even branching into the slightly unknown with a couple of instrumental albums, Buddha Bar, and CDs titled Bellydance Superstars and Salsa Around the World. Hey, I have that Dancing with the Stars workout video with the salsa section. This could inspire me to use it. And maybe become a little less clumsy.
At my right hand is a glass Aldi’s finest red wine, courtesy of Beth’s obsession with the German grocery store. The tub, featured in a recent painting (which, as a matter of fact, is hanging in her bathroom), is gently calling my name. As I walked over here after work I flashed back to my days as a babysitter. What’s more exciting than being in charge of someone else’s kids? Being in charge of their HOUSE! And what’s the first thing you do? RAID THE KITCHEN! Beth, I just want to say: I can’t believe you left me alone with a box full of those dark chocolate stars.
Beth is generous to a fault. While she is broadening my musical wisdom-osity with her taste, and giving me blog love, and bringing me lattes during long winter days at work, she’s also giving me real life love. She moved into the American Gothic House shortly after I started work at the Center, and as the two new girls in town we immediately bonded. She has taken risks that awe me, traveling and living all over the world, leading a life of true courage. I read somewhere that a happy heart is one that still feels pain. This describes her perfectly. She has a huge heart, and despite the traumas she’s endured she doesn't hesitate to share all the love she has brimming from it.
We exchange the occasional hug (Human contact: One thing I’m seriously lacking in my life as an independent young woman.) and more importantly, we exchange daily discussion. I don’t mean “Hey neighbor, how’s the weather?” talk. I mean life altering, follow your dreams, heartbreaking conversations that keep me coming back to work day after day. It’s impossible not to connect with her raw honesty, her sarcasm, and her go-getter attitude.
Anyway, I didn’t intend to gush in this post. I suppose I should get to the point. The most recent gift I received from my new friend (besides one night of free reign over her CD collection) is her guitar! She offered to let me borrow it last weekend, after I confessed I’d spent the morning searching for one online.
I’ve been enthralled by string instruments for years. I can’t remember how long ago I fell in love with the upright bass, which lead to falling in love with a bass guitar player, which lead to many musical discoveries. A few years ago I decided I wanted to tackle the acoustic guitar. I’m finally getting around to it, and the fingers of my left hand can attest to my exuberance. I don’t remember ever being this excited to practice for my piano lesson or get up for 7 am marching band.
I’ll never claim to be an expert listener or flaunt my musical taste. What I will say is that there are a few voices, a few songs I could repeat word for word, bar for bar. Lots of them have sunk into my brain while I was distracted, engrossed in brush-to-canvas action. You name a band, I’ll name an art project.
Spoon = Darkroom. Intro to photo with John Freyer: Frustration, triumph, and more frustration, but always excitement about what might come out when the fixer was fixed.
Radiohead’s In Rainbows—I smell turpenoid! Nasty crap in a green tin we were forced to use during Painting I in the now flooded ABW.
Weezer’s Blue Album: Painting of the 1878 Steinway Grand in Old Capitol Museum’s senate chamber.
Horse Feathers: Instant Art Farm.
There are others, of course; the list could go on forever. And then there are the bands that remind me of absolutely nothing. They’re completely mine. I don’t have to give in to some overpowering memory when I tune in. Blink-182 (my very first obsession), Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything in Transit, anything Jack Johnson, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, or MGMT. Oh, MGMT. Electric Feel. I cannot be held responsible for the way I move when I hear those familiar chords. In fact, since I’m home alone, I better turn it on.