As the sun is burning the frost off the barn, I am facing the end of what has turned out to be a surprise that has lasted a year. I find that I am not really organized in my thoughts about finishing – a little liberated, a little sad. I am not even able to write this in quite the straightforward manner I usually employ…indicative, I suppose, of the slight emotional dilemma. So the surprises keep coming…
One year ago, on the 13th, I started this adventure with 365 Guitars. I had no idea on that day if I would last it a day, or twenty days, or, as it turned out, 365 plus one. I have had mornings when I could not wait to create the guitar I’d dreamed about all night, and mornings when I dreaded getting out of bed because the obligation to create was weighing heavily on my mind. I have made some guitars that in retrospect are not creations at all, and I have made some that astound me for various reasons. It could be the simplicity or the complexity, the natural or unnatural nature of the materials, or the speed with which the concept came to mind. In all cases I have to acknowledge a creative force that is much larger than I am, and I am happy to do so.
So I decided, in these days that round out the poetry for me to wander back through my year and find the pieces that I like the best. I find that it is hard to do – in some cases, it is the story behind the work that makes the piece for me, which does not necessarily make them the best of the lot. So I have chosen ten. That they are totally random will be obvious, I guess, and in this case, I am choosing on looks alone. Tomorrow I might choose an entirely different line up. But for now:
Now, lest I wax nostalgic, I can rejoice in knowing that the guitars from the outside will keep coming. Yesterday, in a post from France, Martine sent me:
I have an idea for a guitar this morning, coming direct to me from someone who has been with me through this entire process – except that she gives me this suggestion from Key West, which puts me in the position of simultaneously loving her steadfast loyalty through both the good and bad of this project, and a kind of stabbing resentment at what I imagine are her first languid moments of the day, probably on a balcony with coffee and fresh local fruit overlooking a sun drenched ocean in vaguely the direction of Cuba.
Give me a minute. I’m thinking. Trying to scramble up the muddy hillside to the high road, but having some trouble…
So she asks if, in my collections of everything, I might not have cigar boxes. I thought that maybe I did, but as it turns out, I have one. It is exactly the right shape and size to house cocktail napkins and is emblazoned with the visage of George Washington. How Washington Cigars came to make the leap between them and the Father of Our Country beggars my imagination, but well, there you are. I am from Washington State. For me, the connection was obvious. So, not enough cigar boxes for a guitar. I do, however, have a very pleasant collection of wine crates. This too, makes more sense in the context of me than any number of cigar boxes might ever…so Guitar 365 of 365 Guitars is made of these things that make sense. Almost as if sense is what I can make of the entire project.
So, as to this being the 365th entry. I still have a couple of days to fill, in view that I have some kind of poetic notion that the project should run until 14 January, but I’m thinking now that I will be looking back over the last few hundred guitars and trying to find my ten favorites. I will try to get 5 of them up tomorrow, and the final 5 on the 14th. Then I will be done. I have to admit a certain relief, mixed with wonder as the project comes to a close, but I was reminded this morning that I will be finding guitars around me forever.
Small case in point. I went to breakfast this morning and took my sunglasses off when I got to the table. Something caught my eye on the glasses as I laid them aside. I picked them up and looked more closely. Bear in mind, these were the emergency darks I ran into Walmart and picked up at random the day I left for New Jersey without glasses. Sunlight bouncing off of snow is brutal and I had a headache and about three minutes. I grabbed the first pair that didn’t have sparkly things on them and got back on the road. This is what I found this morning – about two weeks later…
You would think, after all of this practice, that I would be producing grand, elaborate, and possibly playable guitars by now. Nope. I stick with what is close to hand and grab the shape of a guitar out of the ether every bit as much now as I have over the course of the year. So it is with today’s guitar. An intense and meaningful birthday lunch became a great excuse to make a guitar out of pizza, but we ate the pizza. So the cup lids had to suffice. I can only do what I can do here, people…but, the pizza was really, really good.
I heard recently that it was wrong somehow to clean up the Christmas decorations before 3 January. I know people who leave them up until Valentines Day. In a normal year, I believe in getting it all put away by Boxing Day…but here I am in this most unusual year still mucking about with them on January 10.
Poinsettias are always a problem for me. As a gardener, and a sentient being, it is difficult for me to discard a living plant, and basically, to treat them as decorations. So I don’t buy them. But at Christmas time, they come. I have one friend who gives me one that almost makes it easy…a purple, glittered poinsettia has never been seen in nature. It is a signature item, and I’m always delighted to be a part of the small group that receives one because it is a gift of identity in such a touching and loving way. This year, I can make use of this gift in a very different way, all guilt assuaged. Win-win…
Winter brings out the need for comfort in most of us, I suppose, and I am really no different. The only thing I can say that seems unusual is that I have a very specific set of criteria that is the basis for my emotional if not physical comfort when it comes to cold weather. Three cords of dry firewood and a pile of woolen blankets. All else is lovely, of course, the chili, the cocoa, the Royal Riviera pears…but my enjoyment of anything in winter stands upon this sturdy base. Firewood that burns and wool blankets that do not. As a consequence, I have a collection of Pendleton blankets that fill the house. Seriously, they are in every room. I must have been very, very cold in some past life…
Today is actually considerably warmer than yesterday, and with no wind, it feels practically balmy. Still, I don’t really feel like going out into the dark just yet…and this guitar has been kind of brewing in my head for awhile. No time like the present, especially since there will be at some point an end of days. I note, however, that my decision to run this from 13 January 13 to 14 January 14 actually gives me a couple of extra guitars…it seems this should have been 367 guitars all along. Ah math. There are so many people who are so good at it…let me stick to words. Generally, they like me better.
Back before Disney took over every aspect of an ice skating extravaganza for children, there were the Ice Capades. Begun in 1940, the show finally went out of business around 1995. Featuring Olympic and national skaters, it was a part of a long ago, perfectly charmed childhood that I remember, but probably never existed. We were so poor. My mother was a single mother with four kids in Denver; working as a waitress. It was a magical time. (Never let anyone tell you that perspective is not important.) For awhile, she dated a photographer from the Denver Post. I have a newspaper clipping of her draped in the “new” Colorado state flag – and that liaison was probably the reason that I was named “Miss Community Chest” – which, by the way, was not an easy thing to deal with in my 20’s – but that is quite an aside…but oh, yes, the Ice Capades. This photographer would get us tickets – and they were right in front, on the ice. I remember once being the kids they plucked out of the crowd to be pulled around in sleds on the ice…well, remember may be too strong a word, but I have impressions of speed and cold and laughing crowds that have stayed with me lo! these many years.
I am beginning to understand why I love winter.
So the wind is howling this morning and the fire is built and the cocoa made and raspberry Danish kringle is heated and eaten. And hydrogen peroxide freezes quite nicely if you spray it onto a frozen copper surface. I am likely to have a guitar there for a couple of days.
I will agree that this is looking like I’m really reaching, but with about 5 minutes to create, photo and blog a guitar this morning before hitting the road for New Jersey…I’m willing to settle. Actually, over the course of the year, I’ve used almost every single thing that is easily to hand for a situation like this, so I’ll take anything. Who knew gum could be so fun…come on, work with me here…
It was really the only possible title. Here I am, breaking all creative at breakfast with an absolutely gorgeous eggs Benedict and when I reach for the phone to take the photo – nah. Don’t have it. So I grab my husband’s phone thinking, “well, not such a good image, but captured none the less” only to find that his abhorrence of all things technology has led me at some point to disable messaging. OK, so I will just transfer from the phone when I get home. Never really factored in Samsung and Apple not being on speaking terms. So I have done the best I could with what I have. I can say, though, that Monica at The Kitchen in Rock Hall knows something about eggs Benedict. It is really worthy of a much better photo … certainly better than a shot of a shot…