Affinity to art and creative people is in my nature, so naturally, I was attracted to downtown Friday night and the effervescent First Friday Artwalk. The evening began at the Marketplace, the venue for the previously mentioned Mayoral campaign kick-off. The hub event, sponsored by Pacific Continental Bank, offered an array of finger foods and their beverages flowed freely. Veronica from the bank remembered me AND my name. Can you imagine I make an impression on people? Watch out world. And thank God there are still folks in it who believe part of customer service is connecting with something important, the customer’s name. I only mention that because it’s a sub-theme in the book, being a people person vs. a strictly numbers person. I get that yin-yang thing going whenever I can.
To make sure no one felt snubbed, I made the rounds clutching my plastic cup of Pinot Gris, checking in with all the celebrities who have previously met me. My performance was flawless except for that stumble when I called former mayor Bruce, ‘Dave.’ I was distracted glancing at the name tag of the president of the bank, and since he'd never met me, I introduced myself. Duly impressed by my friendly banter, he smiled, and I took license to chat with said president about how my daughter had met Bruce/Dave when she was investigating her own future, political career. As soon as they chuckled I was on my way. I am here to make people laugh first, promote myself second.
First Friday continued to jam to the creative vibe of indigenous artists and I moved eagerly from Evergreen Boulevard over to Main to haunt Angst Gallery and mix it up with the less connected non-old-boys-network. The un-suits, i.e., the casual bring-it-on-world spilled onto the street and became the welcoming committee for artist Christine Eagon.
At the front door I encountered fabric artist Eliza Lane (pictured left) and exchanged a quick hug. Woman (pictured right) I’d previously crossed paths with in Uptown Village. She had swirled a mural wall with fantasy images and a celebration ensued. Both artists continue to create their unique and exquisite work as a side job to the other parts of life.
Most of my correspondence with Eliza comes via Facebook and blogs. Cherry Bombastic makes me laugh out loud. Lord, laughing feels good. This up close and personal encounter in the real world was akin to walking out of the black and white movie of your life into the land of Oz.
Eliza and I met in grade school, our kids’ grade school. Her blond son had sufficient crush on my dark-haired daughter to create elementary curiosity, a need to check in with each other at regular intervals, a movie ‘date’ that Eliza chaperoned, and lots of proximity planning. If "The Magician" was going to be somewhere, Kai maneuvered her way there, too. He plans on becoming a chef, and I delighted at the opportunity to have someone in our sphere who could cook. At this point, though, Eliza and I have concluded what is of utmost interest in fourth grade loses luster in eighth. Both kids have other diversions at the moment.
Eliza happily announced her acceptance into the master’s program at Portland State University. I shouted “Oooo, Oooo, OOLIGAN!” at the news. Last year, Ooligan Press met me at the Willamette Writers conference and expressed interest in my first four chapters, since rewritten four thousand times, so that now they might be good, but I still have to smooth out that first chapter; damn this writing career. Although, nothing came of their inquiry—I neglected to enclose the obligatory SASE to receive their form rejection via post—I did not lost interest in their mission to publish local writers with a bent to highlighting the local area. I worked my way through some of their published books and am currently in love, and I mean deeply, down to the soul smitten, with writer Geronimo Tagatac. His use of language in his short story collection, The Weight of the Sun, actually made me swoon. For real.
The right words wielded in the right way can pierce you.
My next move is to determine how to cross paths with Tagatac so I can fly in his orbit and dig into his brain and see where those words come from. If anyone knows him, please pass on my passion to share a cup of coffee and a chat. I am totally harmless and can offer references to back that up.
At the door step of Angst Gallery, I was mid-stream divulging how I embarrassed myself in front of the chancellor of the local university during Congressman’s Mfume’s event (fodder for future celebrity post), only to discover, that the woman Eliza had been talking to when I ran up all exuberant to get that girl talk going, was related to said chancellor. Erin assured me her dad would have found my antics humorous. I gave her a sideways glance and tried to convince myself it was true.
Inside the gallery I gave Christine Eagon heartfelt greetings and congratulations on her successful show, checked in with gallery owner Leah. Leah met me in that same grade school, yes she is the mother of a BOY, my daughter is networked with half of them in the city. I invest a couple of hours on Saturdays to give Leah relief, banking on future ‘mom’ and ‘art’ credits, and to support a friend fierce about our community, our kids and the world they'll inherit. Before departing, I entered into a quick chat with a man, yeah, I still look, and hustled out to figure out next steps for my Friday evening.
This may not come as a surprise, but I am not shy, and whenever I observe someone who’s face is vaguely familiar I cannot rest until I put the pieces together. I struck up the song, “Where do I know you from?” with this young lady, Cara. We decided probably no-where, paths just crossed on previous gallery events. The Cara conversation led to introduction of this man, Christopher Luna, the poet and blogger.
Now, I would have bought his book when I first noticed it, my daughter is unusually oriented to poetry, but he uses a bad word and I am a mom with standards, however, that does not prevent me from finding people the most interesting thing on the planet.
Well, we were just all so utterly interesting and fascinating and jibbering like fully intelligent people, when all of a sudden Cara pulled out her microphone to record our nonsense for KOUG RADIO.
How does an unpublished author find such good fortune? Well, you work hard, you mix it up, and you get lucky, and you don’t forget to plug your blog for the podcast. I named 'pearlofcarol.blogspot.com' about three times, gathered up everyone’s business card and promised to bug them into infinity to become my fan on Facebook.
I am competively challenged, I MUST WIN. There is a New York Times best-selling author with 16 books to her name and only 195 Facebook fans. Currently, I have 77. Daily, I imagine the smug sensation when I best her.
Okay, and don’t get me started on my LinkedIN status. I finally threw myself into the fray and am clawing my way up to get over 546,800 network connections and beat KenB. Computer geeks have the most intensive networks. Oh, and by the way, thank you Dave, you shot me up 90,000 with your connection and I am grateful (film producers seem to have quite a following, too). And just in case you're wondering, pictures don’t lie, Cara was sufficiently impressed with my progress, she just had a rough time when I neglected to mention Koug Radio as a source when she asked where people should search for information about First Fridays.
My evening on the town ended in the park. Me and the transients snuggled on comfortable park benches. I dodged squirrels and leaves navigating towards laptop, and a couple of curious bugs to download event pictures to Facebook. I sat silent, basking in the glow of the beautiful city where I live and the great people who plan and promote creativity and looked sadly over to the building where I used to work… The $42 million structure stands empty, devoid of the necessary cash flow from our media business to pay the rent. We moved out end of year and continue to struggle in this volatile economy.
In that world, I am present, first, to lead a dedicated sales team fighting to make a dent in that debt, and second to leave them smiling when they’ve had a bad day, or at minimum to offer comfort, creative ideas on how to attack tomorrow, and shore up with praise, as I believe I work with the best individuals in the community.
We will make it through this year.
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