Several moons ago, way back in 1998 or 1999, I was talking with a friend of mine about fear and love. Specifically, we were talking about the choices we make in our actions and feelings, which led us to musing about whether or not which path we choose to walk matters when we express ourselves creatively. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I felt that it does matter, as I’m assuming that at least somewhere during this year long project I mentioned my heartfelt stance that the surest way for me, for us, to make this world a better place it to “let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”. Nowadays, this idea has been more readily embraced as “be the change you wish to see in the world”.
While we were talking, my friend said that he had a CD that he thought I might like. He walked next door to his apartment and brought back “There’s No Place Like Om”, the first CD by Troubadours of Divine Bliss. I listened and listened again, and fell in love. These ladies were singing my heart.
Life being as it is, my husband and I moved in the fall of 1999, and quickly became pregnant with our son. Three years later, our daughter arrived. The CD sat nestled in with all of the others in the living room, forgotten. Temporarily. My life morphed and changed as I made my way through the early days of motherhood. Expressing myself creatively became all about my babies, in the songs I sang and the stories I told, and about building my eBay toy business so that I could work from home. Many aspects of who I am seemed to be set aside, like the CD in the drawer. Temporarily.
In 2007, my daughter began full day preschool. My plan was to spend that extra free time building my eBay business into something that could really help with the family finances. After having been featured in “Parents Magazine” and the local Fox morning show the previous May, this seemed a realistic goal. However, I ran into a compatibility issue when eBay updated their Turbo Lister software, and before we could replace my old desktop with a laptop that fall, I had already fallen headlong into creative expression. The silence of those days I was home and alone was a golden gift. Another friend of mine told me about MySpace, so I opened an account and I got a new camera.
In the beginning, I primarily shared my writing, both poetry and prose ~ meanderings of the mind, silly and serious. Later, I began posting images as well: photos, drawings, and later still, digital creations. Somewhere along the way, I began setting the posts to music. During the creation of one of my posts, I wrote “there’s no place like om”. It felt right and true, but had a vaguely familiar ring to it, as if I had heard that line before. Thinking on it, I could picture the purple CD jacket in my mind and went in search of the CD. We have a lot of CDs, and despite their being in alphabetical order, it didn’t do me any good because I couldn’t remember the band’s name. I called my friend. It took him awhile to work through what possible CD he may have given me 8 or 9 years earlier. I reminded him of our conversation about fear and love. He remembered. I found the CD under “T”. I listened to it again. And again. “Be Brave” became my personal theme song. Many of my digital creations were made listening to these beautiful, powerful songs, and were posted with the music playing in the background. Morcheeba’s “Fear and Love” was also popular around my place, as was Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.
All this backstory will hopefully allow you to share more fully in my excitement today, another seven years hence! The short(er) version of the passing of those years is:
Eventually MySpace died for artists of my ilk, but not before my friends there encouraged me to get my work out in the 3D world. This coincided with a seldom seen neighbor of mine showing up on my porch asking me if I wanted to showcase my art at a benefit show. (She had remembered a conversation we had at her yard sale about my MySpace expressions.) Taken aback by the timing being so completely in sync with the encouragement I was receiving on-line, I agreed and scrambled to prepare for the November 2009 benefit. The show was incredible. It was the first time I was treated to seeing the looks on peoples’ faces when they viewed my work. On MySpace, I had received many words of encouragement, but never had I gotten to watch or hear the reactions.
Three months later, in February 2010, I was shopping for a “magical” birthday gift for a dear MySpace friend of mine. I stumbled upon a shop not far from where I live and discovered that they are an artist’s co-op, as well. I laughed at the beauty of the unfolding. A week later, on my birthday, the owner contacted me and said that they would be interested in selling my work there. Seventh Street Gifts became my first retailer, but even more importantly the owners, their children and parents have become dear, sweet friends of mine and my children.
Two years later, through another serendipitous unfolding (this time on Facebook), I got to know Aim Me and Renee, those soulful Troubadours of Divine Bliss. I was blessed to show my work at their Mighty Kindness Hootenanny, an incredible event they have built with their own two loving hearts and the help of many in Louisville, KY.
Just this week, my friend, the owner of Seventh Street Gifts asked me if I would like to hold a reception for my work on Valentine’s Day weekend. Given that my days are no longer gifted with that golden silence and that I find myself with more responsibility than I’ve ever juggled before, my initial reaction was that there was no way I would have the time. However, the idea of holding a reception for Trees Please prints (that I finally put into print last September) wouldn’t stop tickling me. I started thinking about how I could dedicate the day to the loving memory of my step-dad, Rory, who continued on with his Great Journey last February…of how wonderful it would be to gather the people I love best under one roof…of what a sweet birthday treat it would be for me, and how lovely the timing was considering that it would also be my four year anniversary of having my work in the shop…so, of course, I started thinking that such a beautiful day deserves the music and kindness of the ladies who have inspired me so much…
After reading all of this, I suppose it isn’t surprising to hear that it has all come together, though it is so very exciting!
On Sunday, February 16th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, a reception will be held at Seventh Street Gifts, dedicated to our dear, Rory Kiefer, whom we miss so much. Trees Please prints will be featured with partial proceeds being donated to The Nature Conservancy’s “Plant A Billion” campaign. Musical entertainment and soulful inspiration will be provided by the honeyed voices of Troubadours of Divine Bliss. Loving friends and family will gather for an afternoon of celebrating “Sacred Breath”.
Please join us, in person or in spirit.