Saturday, August 13, 2011

Voting Used to be a Pain in the Ass - by Deborah Klein

She’s a real Powerhouse. That’s how Kiaralinda describes her good friend and fellow artist, Heather Richardson. I guess it takes one to know one.

I shouldn’t be surprised by how far Kiaralinda and Todd have come, lo these many years later. I thought 1992 wasn’t very long ago. But people born in 1992 are having sex, graduating from college, voting, and even having babies. Shit, I feel old…

When I met Kiaralinda and Todd [this is an “indulge my ego” moment] their house was already a colorful bungalow that attracted curious onlookers. Then they started the Christmas installations and every other year after Silver Lining there was another major project. I remember exactly what I was thinking the moment I met those two. I felt they had the collective curiosity of a hyperactive three year old in FAO Schwarz hopped up on smores. I guess I’m always amazed when anyone barrages me with questions. I constantly look behind myself to see if they’re talking to someone else.

But here’s the thing about people like them, unless you quiz them you won’t know about any of the neat things they’ve done or are doing. I’m baffled by people like that. If I did only ONE of the hundreds of interesting things they’ve done, I’d be boring people about it for YEARS. There isn’t anyone who can rest on a laurel as long as I can.

So this is the main point. K. and T. have continued to grow and expand their creative universe by adding people, countries, attitudes, dreams, [place a wonderful noun here], like a HUGE tower of Babel to get to an awesome place. But Babel was an egomaniacal scheme which ultimately collapsed because the intentions did not come from ultimate good.

This tower, The Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, ain’t going to fall or fail, because it comes from very good souls.

Twenty years ago, who would have thought such a dream would be this close [place thumb and pointer finger so close together you can feel the heat between them] to happening? But happen it will. Back when I helped cover anything that didn’t move with silver Mylar, I never imagined I’d someday be helping to make a center for the arts. Shame on me. I should have known my friends would continue to reach for the stars. The manifesto has always been the same. Inspire people to create. Make people smile. Make people see things differently. Show people that creativity is as much a part of self as blood and bones.

I get really tired of voting for SHAMc every day to win the Pepsi Refresh grant. I work on a computer all day. Then I come home and fire up a computer.I lay out the power votes and enter the codes. One of our friends, Nancy, who has probably known K. and T. the longest, is a constant cheerleader and positive force. She even bought every freakin Pepsi bottle with a yellow cap for miles around. Friends everywhere are going out of their way to make this happen. People are raising money through their businesses. Holly and Ginny go dumpster diving for caps. And I bitch about sitting at the computer for an extra 20 minutes every day. I’m a turd.

I simply could not believe they were at it again with a vengeance after they didn’t win the first time around. Again, I should have known they wouldn’t give up. Tenacity and perseverance wins every time…just like the ant with the rubber tree, the little Engine that could, and the tortoise racing against that egocentric hare. Keep going. No matter what.

But JEEZUS. When I’m tired and cranky I think, would they be doing this shit for me?? And the answer is always a resounding YES. They would and they have, time and time again. And they’d do it for you too.

This is the thing to try and remember. The Safety Harbor Art and Music Center- SHAMc- is going to be a wonderful place for everyone. You might meet your best friend there. You might learn something that will totally rock your world. You might decide it’s the best place to spend a day or an evening. It might be the refuge you’ve needed in your life. You’ll meet interesting people there and you’ll be one of them! It’s going to be comfortable, colorful, and cool. It’s going to be a box full of surprises. It’s a gift you can give yourself over and over, because there’ll be something different in it every time. It’s really an easy thing to do to vote, in the grand scheme of things. We’re this close.

“The soul should always stand ajar. Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” --Emily Dickinson

By Deborah Klein, author of Stuff From the Laundry Chute

Thanks to Deb for being the first brave soul to take me up on my invitation to be a guest blogger. I know SHAMc is going to be a great place for writers too, so come on, let me know when you want to be a guest blogger for SHAMc!

Send me an e-mail at ~Laura

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