Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My beloved fringe tent...

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Fringe "drawing marathon" is over once again for another year. What an amazing and exhausting 11 days it was! From the word go, I barely had time to turn my head away fom my easel, drawing over 450 people this year. So many things go through my mind as I draw but i have to admit that the thought of a massage when this was all over was definately something that ran through my mind more than once.

Thanks so much to everyone that I drew, especially those of you who stood so patiently in my two hour line ups (in the hot, hot sun!) I especially want to thank all my dedicated repeat customers; 4 years, 6 years and even some of you for over 10 years in a row! I'm sorry I don't always remember all your names or remember exactly how many times I've drawn each of you, but I do love hearing about what you've done with your drawings and the stories from your past year.
Thanks to my Mom for sharing my tent with me once again and face painting up a storm. (Especially the full body painting that my daughter Piper requested daily.)
Thanks to my kids for all playing so wonderfully at the back of my tent throughout the week. You were amazingly patient and remarkably content!
Thanks to Chris, the magician for letting my nine year old son Ryllan hang out with him and learn some magic tricks. And of course thanks to Ryllan for entertaining my line up with his new card tricks.
To my vendor neighbors — thanks to Peter for always inspiring me to rethink the box and for proving by example what really is possible in life. —and much love to Ananda who really had an emotionally challenging Fringe this year.
Thanks to new and old friends for stopping by to say hi and for bringing me a cool drink on those hot nights or a hot drink on the cool ones.

But most of all thanks to my wonderful husband Mark for my morning lattes and for making everything run relatively normal in our lives even though I am drawing 12-14 hours a day.

Now, I'm off to get that massage...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The night before the Edmonton Fringe begins... a little bit of excitement, a little bit of dread, a little bit of stagefright mixed with overwhelm at the knowledge that in the next eleven days I will probably draw over 400 faces. For twenty years now those eleven days always stand still in some way, as if its the tether pole that my life revolves around.

I started drawing at the Edmonton Fringe when I was 22 years old, and although my life now is very different from my life back then, for the next eleven days I will experience a sort of time travel. Familiar faces, familiar sounds, familiar smells...but they will be things I will only remember when I am once again at the Fringe. I will see people that I forgot I knew, draw people that I forgot I've already drawn three times before, hear music that i forgot I liked and have sudden flashbacks to years gone by—from something as simple as a smell or a sound. I have rarely ever SEEN anything at this festival over the past twenty years except the back of my tent (and of course the 400 or so faces I draw every year) so my experience is filtered through all my sences except sight. (Which is an unusual way for me to experience the world since I am primarily a "visual" person.) I smell the kettle popcorn booth two booths away and the insence that Ananda— the tarot card reader next door always burns, I hear the street performers do their acts over and over again and the buskers singing or playing the same songs tirelessly, and I feel the crowd's heat behind me on the hot nights ...those are the things I remember.

In the next eleven days, the past twenty years will come floodiing back to me in layers of memory and I will feel like they are all happening again as i float in and out of the years. I know I will forget what year it is as i sign my pictures and be shocked that the little kids I drew twenty years ago now have kids of their own.

The best part though, is that I still LOVE drawing faces. I love having the chance to connect with people this way even if its only for the 10-15 minutes it takes me to draw them. I guess that is really the tether pole in my life— knowing what i was born to do and being fortunate enough to make a living at it.

Maybe we'll see you at the Fringe!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

You know I've been thinking lately.... about attachment and the willingness (or unwillingness) to let things go. My grandparents have been packing and moving from a condo to an assisted living apartment this past week and needless to say it has been the topic of a few family discussions. In everyone else's mind this appeared to be a perfect opportunity for them to scale down and let go of all the things that they didn’t need anymore, especially now since they won’t need to cook their dinners or do their laundry. However, fighting tooth and nail, they took almost everything with them. This included most of their furniture, 30 vases, 50 mugs, and many small jars of string. I guess you could attribute it to living though the depression or maybe it just makes them feel more important. Maybe they feel like they just might need one of those things someday. Maybe they don’t want to get rid of anything because it cost them something and they want to make sure it gets used. Or perhaps at 92 and 93 years of age they just want to hold on to their lives as firmly as they can. But I don’t know…

As I talked to others in my family I saw that some of us seem to have “it“ and some of us don’t. I’m talking about that packrat gene. I like to pride myself on the fact that I don’t have “it” and of course I take every opportunity to stand on my ledge of superiority and lecture those below about how amazing it feels to continually let go of things that clutter my life. The more I thought about the resistance others seem to have to release things from their lives, the more I questioned all the things that we are really attached to. That’s when I stumbled off my ledge into a storage closet in my mind and found boxes and boxes of mental clutter that I continue to take with me on every move I make through life. I swear I even heard my grandmother’s voice echoing down the hallway “No, I’ll need to take that too”.

OK, so I’m not as superior and as unattached as I proclaim to be, I’m just attached to different things. Where others collect vases, I guess I collect thoughts and ideas. I LOVE to think and analyze and ponder and pontificate. Its my hobby, my passion, my entertainment. I admit that I have a couple hundred journals but to my surprise that’s not where my mental clutter ends. What I’ve come to realize is that I have been hoarding thoughts the way others collect boxes of electrical cords or old broken knicknacks. I have so many thoughts and ideas that really serve no purpose in my life anymore (especially those dealing with outdated issues or past relationships) but I continue to unpack, rethink and discuss them with who ever will listen. Oh how I wish I could put them in a garbage bag and throw them away (or even donate them to value village) but I can’t. Maybe I feel like I just might need them sometime or that I just might fix them one day. Maybe I don’t want to throw them out because they cost me something in time and I want to make sure they get used. Maybe they make me feel more important. Maybe at 42 I’m just holding onto my life as firmly as I can…

Kieran and Grandpa