So many names hanging in the dark…

This evening I read a post over at The Word Shark that reminded me of an amazing moment in my life.

Back in the early ’90s, the AIDS Quilt was touring the country, and it was scheduled to stop in Cleveland. I was going to graduate school in Kent, Ohio at the time. My friend Tony and I decided to drive up to Cleveland to see the quilt.

Tony and I in Ohio in the early '90s...

I got the day off from work. Can’t remember if I skipped class, but we had only this one day in our schedule to go see the quilt, and then the quilt would be moving on.

We got there–an indoor basketball stadium–and it was closed. We’d misread the tour schedule. The quilt was inside the building, but the building was locked.

Or almost locked. That is the brilliant thing about my friend Tony. He wasn’t in those days thwarted by locks and closed signs.

The employee entrance was not locked. We walked right in.

This was a stadium. A huge cavernous building. With just us. We made our way to the basketball court. I don’t know if you’ve been in one of these massive buildings, but the ceilings are impossibly high and the walls are so far away, especially if the only light you have are those tiny white light that edge the steps into the stands.

But the Quilt was there. Sections were hanging from some kind of rigging over head and other sections were carefully lined up on the floor. The silence was cathedral-like, and Tony and I–no romance between us–held hands.

Tears may have come to my eyes even if I’d had to see the Quilt with a crowd, but even now all these years later tears come remembering the moment.

At some point, Tony and I let go of each other and walked quietly around the many (too many) sections, until we were across the court from each other, each wiping our eyes, amazed at the beauty and sadness mixed so inexplicably.

Then we heard footsteps.

We froze. A man appeared above in the stands. An employee in a uniform. I couldn’t tell what kind.

He asked us what we were doing. Tony answered for us. Unlike other times he’s been caught where he isn’t supposed to be, he told the truth.

I worried my tissue between my fingers, wondering what it was like to be arrested.

The man stared down at us. He told us he wouldn’t bother us, but that the automatic locks were set. If we weren’t out in 30 minutes, we’d have to spend the night in the building.

He left us alone.

Tony and I met back up in the middle of the floor. We laughed and dried our tears in that half dark surrounded by those quilts.

I felt so lucky. Sad and lucky at the same time.

This Theme Won’t Save You

I could be wrong, of course, but a blog theme probably isn’t what will send a novel into the stratosphere of starlight and success.

But that said, I sure am wasting a lot of time on it.

Several wordpress themes have elements about them I like…and elements I don’t. I don’t have any coding skills so designing something on my own isn’t an option. And since my writing doesn’t bring home those big bucks, paying for a website isn’t an option either.

But I can’t find a theme I’m really happy with.

So. You and your blog? How/why did you choose the theme that you have? How much did it matter to you? What do you think is key when deciding?

The Latest Show

For a month my art is hanging at Genuine Joe’s Coffee House here in Austin. But for those of you who are far away, here is a slideshow that includes art in the show plus a lot of other pieces I have fond memories of.

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People first seeing my work often assume the text is taken from newspapers or random books. But I think it deepens (hope it deepens) one’s appreciation of the work to know that the words are my own, printed and cut from my own stories. I cut the pages, paste the cut pieces down, and draw the images around them. The smallest picture takes two hours–and that doesn’t even count the time spent writing the stories.

I work late at night while my family sleeps, though once in a while I can work on a Friday morning. There is never enough time to make all I want to make, but I do what I can…half-finished projects are piled at one end of my work table. I share my work space with the son, and so it is great that we sometimes sit together and draw, but it keeps my projects in check. There is only so much room.

Thank you for stopping by.