Trumpet 2 by Rosemary Leach, 40 x 20, Available
I came out of the coffee shop. The traffic on Laurier was constant. I was starving, and helping my son move, just wishing that this afternoon was over.
To my left was a fire truck. To my right a billowing cloud three storeys high.
Rushing with my eye fixed on the cloud,I ran off the curb, smack into the side of a moving shiny white van.
I bounced onto the pavement, falling onto my right shoulder, my head near the curb.
Traffic screeched to a halt. I looked at my body with astonishment: lycra capris, scraped elbows, a fragrant yoga top. Everything hurt, but in a distant way.
A couple of people were leaning down as I pulled myself off the pavement and crouched on the curb.
I twisted my wrists, reassured the driver; That was totally my fault, and scarier for you than for me!
I’m so sorry, I’m fine.
I just wanted everyone to go away so I could do a very ugly cry.
“You didn’t even LOOK!” the driver said accusingly.
“Yeah,” I nodded.
I was more incredulous and appalled than she was.
Mainly I was just wanting to be forgiven for doing something so ridiculous.
A few weeks ago a musician named Ian Foster put his guitar in his car. He left St John’s Newfoundland and drove to Ottawa to sing his songs to me in Louisa’s living room.
I was one of thirty people nested in this intimate living room, chairs spilling into the kitchen. Ian has white hair, wears a black shirt and black jeans and endears himself with insulated socks on the parquet floor. We listen to him tell stories and he warms the crowd with little heart warming anecdotes. He closes his eyes throughout each acoustic song, handing himself over to the music.
Ian glows when he talks about all the wonderful people he has met in this line of work, and he is genuine about this.
He recounts stories of presumptions about Newfoundlanders, weaves bits of ignorance or unkindness into a story with a shape and an ultimately sunny foundation.
A few people in the crowd are musicians and they know. They know about making sandwiches in grocery store parking lots. They know about the months of the phone not ringing, the unanswered proposals.
Your music is nice but we are looking for something a little edgier.
Helpers. Equivalent of:
“Have you heard of Justin Bieber? Have you considered trying to be more like him?”.
You say thank you, because you never know whom you are talking to.
And you thought you were signing up play music, but it turns out your real job is persuading people you are popular, so you can become popular.
You don’t want to share the story about the house concert where three people showed up.
Or that you played for $100 in a restaurant, competing against a hockey game for the crowd’s attention.
The manager had convinced you that Important People might be there. And it would be good exposure.
“People die of exposure,” says my painter friend Karen Phillips Curran.
Sitting on Louisa’s couch with Ian opening a new tune, the sky darkens over the rooftops.
I close my own eyes and send a silent “thank you” to Ian.
Thanks for reminding me of what I actually care about.
Thanks for bringing warmth to the world.
Thanks for revealing little bits of your vulnerability reminding us we aren’t alone.
My lanky teenage daughter is standing by the front door wearing short and a tank top. She is scrolling down her playlist while I am attaching a flashing red light to her running shoe.
“Why do you have to run at dusk?” I grunt getting up.
My husband Jake attaches another light to the back of her shirt.
“I look like a Christmas tree. You guys are ridiculous,” she says laughing.
She is right on both accounts.
Here is the deal: my kids must outlive me.
When I was fourteen I watched a friend shrink under the sheet as Cystic Fibrosis took her breath away.
A litany of other losses followed.
People raise their eyes at my rather extreme morbidity. I agree. It is a little unusual, maybe unseemly.
I envy their insouciance.
The upside of my morbidity is it pushes me
into the studio to paint every morning, lucky to be here, nudging me to sing my song.
Visit Rosemary Leach’s Exhibition in November or make an appointment to visit the Studio. 613.256.7719
Vernissage Friday Nov 4th, 5pm-8pm
Exhibition Continues Saturday Nov 5 and Sunday Nov 6, 10am-4pm
255 William Street,