(Clancy Callahan and Tom Barrett playing music at the opening of Clancy’s mom, Cathy Eide’s exhibition of paintings.)
The other night I went to see Cathy Eide’s art opening at Cafe Flo. I was interested to see what she paints, and was really excited to hear Clancy sing. I’ve known her since she was very young and never knew until this week that she sings. Tom played and sang with her, and it was a fun night. Clancy’s voice is rich and rollicking and her songs are fun. For me they were evocative of a time many years go when I was married to a jug band musician, and used to sing along with him sometimes. She and Tom sang the same songs he did, and did it ever take me back. Back to a time when I thought the music could carry us along, through rocky and slow times. As long as we could sing through it we’d be okay. The music was a leveler of sorts. He didn’t seem to feel the same way about it, because he walked away without a backward glance a couple of years into the deal. After the child was born. Twenty years later music carried me through some hard times. As long as I could sing I didn’t cry because the singing touched the same place inside. Although I’ll admit there were some times I cried and sang at the same time. Not satisfying to sing while crying, but it couldn’t be helped. Sometimes the singing won out over the crying, however and I felt great comfort when that happened. Somewhere along the line, in the past fifteen or so, I forgot about the music. How did I do that? How could I forget the music?
Today I went to an Open Studios tour, to three different yards and art shows. There were quilts, paintings, ceramics, glass, beads, gourds, fountains and metal gates. Wonderful back yards and studios. I used to quilt. I poured my passion there, combining strong vibrant colors with deep black and then hand quilting them with black and shiny gold thread. The touch of the fabric, the colors and the sculpting of it with my needle and thread filled my heart. I was disappointed every time I finished one. But there was always one more to begin. For a while I had a studio upstairs where I could work in peace, yet could still see and hear my children below in the yard. I worked then, but my job didn’t satisfy my need for creativity so I did that outside of my work. Once I became a teacher I used so much creativity in my work that I faded out of quiltmaking. I haven’t finished one since I became a teacher. For a long time that was okay with me. I was doing other things, writing and making little mandalas on black paper. I still kept it going, often with my students. I believe that to write well you need to activate both sides of the brain, and that meant doing an art project before writing a essay. It seemed to work well for my students and me.
Times have changed again. For the past three or so years my job has not been especially creative for a variety of reasons. I seem to have quit doing any art and I barely even listen to music any more. Only recently have I begun to sing again. I take pictures now and have begun to regain my vision. Today’s tour of studios and backyards has inspired me to step it up a notch. Not sure yet what that means. We’ll see. In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me. I need to go put some music on and clean my house.