I thought I would do a lot of writing while I was working back in Canada. Why do I ever think that? All my spare time was spent meeting friends, family and checking out the arts scene in Vancouver. And, returning to London is like having a lost week of drunken debauchery without the drink or debauching. I simply sleep days away and roam the nights alone. It’s a very strange time.
Even in strange times, there is much for which to be grateful.
I am grateful for old friends. They have travelled with me a very long time. I don’t generally have friends that haven’t been in my life for less than 7 years. This summer I made several new friends through following street art. Some will remain friends in 7 years’ time and some will not. There is never any knowing which will fall into which category except that those who make a recipricol effort are usually the ones who remain. I am grateful that I have so many deep friendships spread all over the world. I am grateful that I got to see BH, CD, PM and JW and to speak to Cal and CM on this trip.
I am grateful that I got to spend time with the whole family (except, alas, not my nephew). We had a lovely Thanksgiving meal and visit together. I had a few minutes with each niece and I visited separately with each sister as well. I feel I didn’t spend enough time with them but I had my focus on spending time with my Dad.
I am grateful for a few conversations with just my Dad. We had a difficult talk where I tried to tell him about me but he was not receptive. I am grateful that I made the effort to let him in to my world, whether he chose to take that opportunity or not. And, I am grateful that I did not give up. I am grateful that I continued to express who I am, and what my preferences are, whether he could hear it or not. I am grateful that I was no longer afraid to tell him what makes me happy. I may have to give it up temporarily for greater needs, but life is too short to live someone else’s dream. I am grateful that I am able to begin to unearth these dreams and I am grateful to friends (if not family) who keep encouraging my dreams.
I am grateful that the last words I said to my Dad before I left were “I love you.” He doesn’t always say it back, and he didn’t this time, but I am grateful that I still expressed my love.
I am grateful that a street artist and friend has agreed to give me an interview for this magazine (watch this space) and I am grateful for our friendship. He has gone to another country and although we didn’t spend much time together before he left, he has inspired to me – as an artist and as a human being. I have said it before, but we don’t really know how deeply we influence others. It can be a combination of our qualities and the opportune moment in that person’s life. The impact is felt all the more intensely because it is ephemeral. It will be a long time before we see one another again, if ever, but I hope he will become one of those who fits into the long time friend category. That is what I want, but the Universe has its own design. Time will tell, but I am grateful, all the same.
I am grateful for my self-taught art education. Most of my friends know an awful lot about art but I grew up in a family where art was never discussed and nobody had an interest in it. I am like a person from another planet in my family, and so, knowing as much as I do (which isn’t much at all) about different artists (and, really, only the ones I like) is quite an achievement. Perhaps one day I will take an art history course, but I prefer to be self taught from personal experience of travel to art galleries and exhibitions around the world.
My flat mate called art my “passion” last night, and I guess she is right. Passion is important and I have many passions. Perhaps my passion for art is set aside because I have no perceived talent in it. I love music, but I have been a singer. I love theatre but I have been an actor, dancer and playwright. I love photography but I do a lot of shooting. Loving the visual/plastic arts is something which differs. I do not paint or sculpt and I have drawn only a little. I love art for what it evokes in me, for the connection it gives me to the artist, and to the collective unconsciousness. I love the way looking at art can engage me and inspire my writing. I wish I could paint. I imagine I would be an expressionist, if I could.
It was a joy to have us all (except my nephew) together for Thanksgiving. I asked my Dad to ask me to say the blessing. He did, but it didn’t work out that I got to say the blessing. However, he asked me to say it, so that is something to celebrate.
It was a joy, as well, to see my Aunt improving after her stroke. Returning to London, it was a joy to have lunch with the Cheese, And Ji. Later, it was a joy to spend time with Lk- whose birthday it had been, the day before. It was also a joy to get a photo of my Dad, laughing. It’s a little blurred, but lovely.
I had an intriguing moment of Oneness as I was driving in downtown Vancouver, looking for a particular art gallery. I stopped at a red light and looked North to find a construction site surrounded by plywood siding. Like a scent that returns you to a time and place, or a song that floods one with emotions, the sight of all those blank walls made me think of my painter friends. I smiled. That was a new association, for me.
Every day, I have engaged in acts of kindness but as this is a weekly (in this case, fortnightly) post, I will just talk about yesterday’s act of service. There is a landlord on Fashion Street who has let artists paint his walls. I met him three weeks ago, the last time I went to fashion street to photograph works by Monsu Plin. I went yesterday, again, to get another shot of his graffiti but it had been painted over. I ran into Syd, painting a piece for the 40th anniversary of a Led Zepplin album. He was a nice man. The landlord came out to take some photos and I asked him if he was going to post them on Instagram. He said he didn’t know how to use it. We spent a little over an hour in his office and I showed him how to use Instagram and I helped him to follow artists that had painted his walls. We had a nice chat and I think he knows now how to use his account. He was a kind man who encouraged me not to give up on love. I promised him that I would not.
And so, it only remains for me to turn it over to you: