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Friday, September 2

Elmwood Avenue Festival and missing Summer

I've written of it before but I will reiterate: I love the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. It was established by artists a dozen years ago. I happens in my own neighborhood, and it is usually a pretty good sales day. There is a happiness about this show that is hard to explain. It may be that it is family friendly and has music and dance along with us in our little huts. It could be the attitude of the artist/organizers. Not sure. Even our customers note the difference. They compare it often to the city's "big Kahuna" show, Allentown, and declare this one to be better. I notice the crowd is different.

Allentown brings out the suburbanites, venturing into the city for their yearly pilgrimage. They are there to people watch and celebrate the start of Summer. Elmwood brings out the folks from the 'burbs, too, but they are there to buy stuff. Big difference. Not sure why.

So, anyway. Saturday was pretty dismal, sales-wise. Not sure why. I was experimenting with my new collage work and I wondered if that was a failure. But when I compared sales, I sold as many of those as anything else. Which means not much. Sunday started with the sale of my most expensive framed piece and I was tickled. (I love doing collage, I have a fantasy of a booth with nothing else. When I am in the attic making them, I am loathe to stop and keep working on my more practical stuff). That broke the dam and sales picked up to triple what they were on Saturday. Cool!

There were sweet spots along the way. I saw many old friends who stopped by my booth to say Hi. I have a few followers who love what I do and sometimes aspire to try it themselves and I had a few of them stop by for long, happy chats about the work and promises to get together for a "play date" Several of my gallery owners stopped by. One was reminded that she needed to put in a new order, the other, a collage artist herself, was thrilled with my new work and asked me to send her everything I could. This meant a lot coming from her.

And so the Summer season ends. Seems like I was just whining about applications. Already some mornings are cool and crisp. I'm starting to see crinkled leaves on the walk. There are a few Holiday shows coming up and then it all begins again. The first apps often coincide with the first Holiday show.

When I was younger, I used to mark the years in semesters. Teaching for a few years after college bookmarked my life September to June, Spring break in the middle. Now it is Application Season, Summer shows, Holiday shows. What is missing is Summer.

I vowed to Russell that this year I would go to the beach, that we would make time to enjoy Summer, that I would organize my work in such a way that I wasn't spending long, hot afternoons in the attic. Maybe we could even dust off the camping gear. But it didn't happen.

I'm not blaming myself. Chemo every 2 weeks. sheesh. I didn't expect to go blind in one eye and need surgery. I mean, who expects that?? And then, Mom getting so sick and passing. Long days by her hospital bed. The sadness sapping the joy that creativity feeds on. So, I am cutting myself a bit of a break here.

It wasn't all sad stuff, of course. There was that beautiful wedding of my son and his long time love. I smile whenever I think of it.

I'm praying that I will have a stretch of boring, normal days. I have plans. Plans to just enjoy life, working my art into ordinary days, planning ahead, avoiding stress, day trips, bike rides. If I do it right, if I start now, next Summer I can start my days reading at the water's edge, taking a dip. I can ride my bike in the afternoons and come back refreshed and ready to work.

I can dream.

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