I heard the man behind me ask his companion if I was speaking Arabic with the two people standing inside the booth. It pushed a wry smile across my face because what he heard me say was my first trip to Israel was in 1985.
He didn’t hear me flip between English and Hebrew or see me cock my head to the side as I tried to remember a couple of words nor did he see me shake my head as I left.
Not because I was frustrated with the couple but because I was irked with myself and how the words failed to come. I took advanced Hebrew in college, worked for an Israeli company and had a pretty good vocabulary.
Time was I could make myself understood and understood quite a bit but what you don’t exercise grows weaker over time.
Back home there is so much Hebrew floating around it is often easy to eavesdrop and silently practice but that is far tougher to do here.
But the moment was worth it to me as was the wandering through the show because there is life, love and laughter in art.
I look for the things that break my heart as well as that which leaves me awestruck.
I look for the tales the artists share for how they go about their craft and sometimes I find something that helps me with my writing.
That Story Set Me On Fire
Someone told me a story late Friday afternoon that set me on fire and I have spent a chunk of time processing what I heard against what was one of the more stressful Fridays I have had in recent memory.
As I listened I felt my pulse begin to quicken and visualized tearing out chunks of sidewalk with my hands. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and asked myself if this was a case of not my monkeys, not my circus and quickly answered it.
“It is my damn monkeys and my damn circus.”
Took a second deep breath and considered whether someone wanted me to make like an uncivilized barbarian or if it was being shared for other reasons.
Took a third deep breath and asked myself if the feeling was appropriate and whether the very difficult day was influencing my response.
Determined it absolutely was and went to the gym where I had a fabulous workout. Have to say that kind of soul surge is good for throwing iron around.
Part of what was so aggravating is I am very good at planting my feet and making sure I am centered and this had me feeling like I was engaged in log rolling.
Log rolling isn’t good for making smart decisions and I didn’t want to let passion guide me into letting Mr. Toad take the wheel.
That workout worked wonders at clearing my head and though I was still concerned and irritated it wasn’t at the level of 12 on a dial that goes to 10.
Thirty years ago that might not have been the case but it is not thirty years ago anymore now is it.
Funny though how a twenty year story can sometimes remind you of being a much younger man.
I took those feelings and the memories to the art show and looked for things that spoke to me. I took those and so many others to the show and looked for the pieces in which I could see a layered tapestry of work.
Took that and thought about how sometimes the best writing comes from a place of pure emotion and looked at paintings, sculptures and more.
Looked at that work and wondered what sort of passions drove the artists.
Stared at a picture of a spiral staircase and thought about how someone described that as being similar to life. Described how as you ascend or descend the staircase you see the same moments from different vantage points and how that impacts your perspective.
Realized I have to have a few conversations about the end of some things and potential beginnings of others.
I am done with some things.
I have had enough.
And others, well…I am ready to explore.
I owned that Honda for 15 years and considered holding onto it for a little bit longer and decided against it.
It was time to say goodbye and move onto something else.
Sometimes I think about how it made it to Texas and bridged the gap between a lost past and a middle that was a big transition.
Remember so many things about it and sometimes it feels magical but yet nothing but ordinary.
Thought about it briefly when I headed out to my daughter’s university to pick up some things before she finishes the year and has to move out.
Mostly it occurred to me that five years from now things will look even more different and though I have some ideas about what and how I won’t know for certain until the time comes.
That is part of the joy of art. It provides tools, mechanisms, resources and processes for looking at life differently than you might otherwise do.
Thank whatever powers you believe in for art because life would be diminished without it.
And there comes a revolution in which some conversations must be had so that decisions can be made and lives can be advanced.