Sunday, October 24, 2004

Twists and Turns

"Twists and Turns," the collaboration show sponsored by WIVLA (, opened last night at the Museum of Printing History in Houston. The air crackled with excitement. Beautiful women and their debonair escorts enjoyed delicious food, sipped wine and viewed a roomful of captivating art before retiring to the theatre for a round of provocative and moving readings. The artwork paired with each manuscript flashed up on the wall of the theatre during its respective reading. Each attendee received a chapbook of the collected manuscripts to read while viewing the art on exhibit and to take home as a souvenir.

For me, the evening offered pleasure after pleasure. For one thing, I had compiled the twenty-five manuscripts into a chapbook which my colleague,Kellye Sanford, designed and laid out. I had not seen it until that evening; it turned out very professionally. I must re-emphasize my comments of the other day about the efficacy of chapbooks. I'm thinking of producing at least one chapbook myself, "The Crone of Taos." More on that another day.

I felt terrific about myself. In fact, I channeled Frida Kahlo for the evening, dressing in my red, off-the-shoulder peasant dress, with my hair French-braided and a large arrangement of colorful ribbons at the nape of my neck. I wore a bright red necklace of graduated wooden beads and some lovely red ceramic earrings I bought for my 50th birthday party. My tan leather "flamenco" shoes graced my feet and I finished it off with a red, fringed silk shawl featuring a multi-colored design. Did I mention I felt terrific about myself? That's because I looked terrific!! (It's the same dress I have a picture of in my August archives, although that day I accessorized it more informally.)

Many of my friends attended. Not just my friends from the organization, but invited guests: Bertie, Cheryl and Dan, Faye, Bill and Isabel, Carolyn and Tom, Sam and Howard. And all my children. Really, all of them. Tori came with us, of course, and Alix and Adam joined us there. But the biggest surprise of all? Nick and Julia drove in from Austin just for the evening as a treat for me. Delightful. I was sitting in the darkened theatre listening to the readings when I heard a "Psst," from the back. I turned and saw Tori next to a tall, thin shadowy figure with a very large, bushy hairdo. Nick!! The hair gave it away. Nick's hair is very curly and full when he lets it grow out, as he currently is. (Someone walked up to him during the evening and said, "What kind of artist are you? You look like a sculptor.")

After the event, the family went to dinner, along with Bertie, and ate good cheap food at the West Gray Cafe, laughed and talked, then said our sad good-byes. Poor Tori wept when Nick and Julia got ready to drive back to Austin. She loves Nick so much and it kills her that her big brother doesn't live at home anymore - or at least near by. But I just felt happy and touched that so many people I care about came to see the show and hear me read.

About the art. Compelling, provocative, intriguing, funny and fun, poignant, frightening. Those adjectives and more. Because the show used a theme with so much room for interpretation, we had 27 very different entries. But I just love the two pieces that my collaborators did. I've already described them in earlier entries, but let me add that seeing the finished, hung work left me agape. My words just seem puny in comparison to their images, although I know the artists don't feel that way. Perhaps because I am "fluent" with language and writing, I take it for granted and don't give myself enough credit for what I do.

I often wish I could draw or that I had real artistic talent. I do piddle with watercolors and otherwise entertain myself, but I am not an artist. I have a similar desire to be musical, which I am not despite nine years of piano lessons as a child. I want to be able to do everything: speak Spanish and French fluently, travel in Europe and Asia, live in the Caribbean, sail the ocean, take a cottage in Ireland for a summer, sew well, keep house, cook like a gourmand ... well, all in good time, all in good time. After all, I'm only 54.

Last night's magic lingers.


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