What I mean is, what’s your touchstone? What do you do to affirm life, to collate evidence that this world isn’t 100 percent batshit insane? It could be one big thing, several little things, or some variation in-between. Taking off your shoes at the end of the day and scrubbing the soles of your freshly-bare feet into the carpet. Gardening. Sex, of course. Taking care of your goldfish. Music.
Ah, there’s a good one. We saw a woman play at an Irish pub on the coast once, and one of my most treasured memories of Mr. Treme so far is watching him listen with his entire being, in quietly rapturous communion with the music. I can appreciate savory music reviews (shout-out to Howl for his coverage of the bands at West by Swan’s release party!), but the musical center in my brain is so underpowered that I seem to only like extra-cheesy ‘80s pop. Reading about someone’s knowledgeable enjoyment of other people’s acoustic offerings makes me wish it actually functioned.
I’m more visual/tactile, and have a creative streak. So for me it’s all about color and texture, and artistic media that encompass both. Especially the former; I love color like JJ Abrams loves lens flares. Wandering through a craft store or an artisan’s faire is a little dangerous for me, and not just financially. Colorful things are intrinsically awesome. If they sparkle and catch my eye, I run a very real risk of whiplash (actually happened once). And if I can TOUCH them… ohhh yeahh. It really is amazing I haven’t been dragged out of Michaels by my ankles, covered in glitter and making happy little eeping sounds.
The sheer potential contained in craft stores is crack for me. All those tubes and skeins and packages, bursting with color and begging to become beautiful, useful items! A square of clay has so many possible futures—as a jewelry box, a cake topper, a figurine—a gazillion different things. Same goes for a blank canvas, its whiteness crying for a coat of chromatic glory, or a packet of buttery-soft chenille yarn in watercolor shades.
Venues like the Thursday Night Market are a sensory arabesque where you can see/feel/ hear/taste/smell what different people do with those crafting elements. It’s delightful and humbling to interact with the beauty, humor, skill, and soul artisans infuse into inert ingredients, creating things that are not quite alive but are so much more than mere objects.
I recently lost someone very close to me. The way I dealt with it was by, without any conscious decision, discovering the world of artist trading cards. The instinct to heal by making tiny works of art, with tactile physical elements, trumped any sort of actual thinking. That got me through one of the roughest patches of my life (accompanied at times by copious amounts of wine). I’ve since moved on, leaving piles of paper and ephemera to gather dust around the house. As far as repercussions from grieving go, it’s really tame…but seriously, what do I do with this (very pretty) shit?