Stage one, done.

October 26, 2014

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There was a knock on the door….

“It’s a little past 7…”

Ugh… get up, get up… I’m so warm and cozy, it’s not tempting at all but duty calls. I’ve been working all week to get to this point: The Garage Sale. I spent the week sorting out boxes upon boxes of stuff from what now seems like too many past lives… Stuff from childhood, teens, Quebec, early Vancouver, the band days with the guys, a wedding-a separation, bicycle racing days, the sculpture studio with Alberto, I digitized hundreds, if not more photos, documents, CDs, then each item took either of three directions: in the recycling bin, the garbage bin or ready for the Garage Sale.

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One day I started to just cry a river… In my hands were the letters from my first love, which he painstakingly wrote to me with a fountain pen with all his love. I tried to follow the protocol I’d been applying, I pulled one letter out of one envelope laid it on the scanner bed and … stopped. Then I read some of it… then put it on the scanner bed and … stopped, then scanned one page. The next move was to throw it in the recycling bin. I extended my arm but could not let the fingers open and let the paper fall. I broke down like a child.

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t …” He was my first love, Alain, a gentle name, a gentle man he was, a man who loved me so much and that I loved so much. We were too young and stupid to figure it all out, then he went and died of an asthma attack, his head fell on the steering wheel of his red work van, the horn blaring until someone showed up, too late. Alone. He died alone on a winter day in a work van. He had taken too much of the inhaler… Life can take brutally. To throw those letters away just could not be done. I held them. Gently put them in a safe place… I guess I’ll have to carry these.

Then I looked around, at all this stuff, all this living, all these links to people, events, times, emotions and it just felt all so senseless, all the living we do… all the things we hang on to. The inevitability of this decay, loss, impermanence. I cried a bit more.

“Ah fuck…” The weight of it all… but there is a deadline, there’s the game of “reality” we play. There are self imposed rules for getting things done in order to honor the friends who so generously, so often helped me so impossibly much without ever demanding a shred of anything. So I persevered.

I had gotten to bed late the night before. I had gotten into an email exchange with this Michael guy, he wanted to buy some things, he had seen my ads on Craigslist. He offered to come up Friday night or Saturday morning, but I thought it might be better if I did this now, Saturday morning would be too hectic to try to deal with him and set up the sale. It was getting late… I painted “G-Sale” signs on 6 pieces of cardboard cut out from the boxes that had carried all these belongings from Vancouver to what I thought was going to be my new home; Southern California. Blue, red, green, black.. nice to put a brush in the paint… When that was done I freaked myself out finding three more computer hard drives to inspect, explore, back up, blah, blah, blah… I kind of hate digital media… this maze of endless files that are never quite up to date. I can’t afford the online automatic back up systems so it’s all up in the air, and now the fatigue making me do everything twice it’s turning into an exercise in frustration.

Thunderbird made it’s little music telling me an email had come in, Michael messaged that he was 5 minutes away. Phew. I brought everything he had listed in the driveway and waited in the desert night.

I keep being told to beware of Craigslist, but again I must say I keep meeting the most interesting people. I believe there is a natural affinity. You sell something someone else loves or wants. You meet them, there is a connection. From the voice on the phone I thought Michael was an old man, but no, he was a vibrant guy, he was thoughtful, looked at everything and was fair. He had listed a number of things from the ad which we had gone through when he asked about another piece that was left in the garage, I said:

“Just come with me.” We walked in the garage, turns out he is a musician, he worked as A&R for a big record company, plays music, helps musicians, he is now setting up this business of buying and selling, we chat, the talk veers towards the sculptures, his dad was an art teacher so he is genuinely interested. He wants to see the stones but they’re crated, so I show him the photos and he likes them. Then he asks: “What is your favorite song you’ve written?

“Uh…” well it depends on the day… you want to hear something?”

“Yeah”

so I look into the last album tracks and play “Sweet night for a ride”. We are in this garage around one AM in the high desert, it’s so quiet, he commented on that. Get out of the big cities and suddenly calm is a most rare commodity that awes the mind. I am bone tired with this week of labor and concern. The music starts, I’m standing up, holding both my elbows. The song starts, oh… it takes me away. Earlier that day I had listened to music I had written, “the war suite” I had gotten a grant from Canada Council for the Arts and had created this epic… Which never got produced in any form as I didn’t manage to get financial support to record it, but what I had written, put down with just vocals, guitar and a few keyboard bits had blown my mind. I did this? Now I was listening again, to something else I did and once more I was kind of blown away. These things, all these things I made with all my heart and put so much love, passion in them. One of them now is resonating for two sets of ears in a big shop somewhere in the California high desert in the middle of the night when everyone is tucked in bed.

“Wow… this kind of singing… it can’t be taught.”

“Thank you.”

We talked some more, it was quite an amazing moment. Since I’ve been on North American soil, I get glimpses of how I have grown over the last 17 months. Life has a different meaning. People mean everything. And I’ve abandoned pretense, or stupid hopefulness and mostly this sick obsession thinking we have to try to please everyone. I believe I am just digging into the moments more than I ever have. So when I meet beings, I really get experiences, everyone is a gift.

We loaded the stuff in his truck and I finally went to sleep but feeling completely elevated. I realized how few people I’m seeing for the last 10 days, in Istanbul I kept meeting new faces everyday. I realize how special it is to meet people truly.

So back to this morning… I immediately hopped in the blue Hector mobile, (Hector lent me his blue Toyota) went to the north end of the block, then the south then the middle to put my G-Sale signs up. I wasn’t back to the house that there were already early birds…

“How much is this?”

“I’m not ready yet, sale starts at 10 AM. I’m not talking about anything until I’m set up. You can come back later.” Another thing I learned in Istanbul: How to say no with full conviction and inner peace.

“I come from a loooong ways away, I traveled far…”

“I’m not ready.” there were only a couple of boxes out, he was eyeing the set of stage monitors. Then another guy showed up.

“How much is…”

“I’m not ready, I’m not talking about anything until 10 am. Sale starts at ten.” in the mean time Steve had written on a 3 x 3 feet square box : SALE STARTS 10 AM. But no one is looking, the hunger for a deal is too strong. Stuff, stuff, stuff… here I am unloading just about everything that is left of my stuff, down to my childhood teddy bear, stripping everything while the hungry shoppers line up to obtain more. Perfection I guess…

I finally get ready. The guy is trying to low ball but I hang on. This is probably the most valuable piece in the sale and I’m not letting it go at 70% off.

“You know, if you go to 11th street, there’s DJ stuff aaaaaall the way down the street, you can get these for $100 a pair. You’ll never be able to sell this.”

“hmm hmm”

“No one is going to buy this you know… it’s the wrong time of the year to sell this, there are sales everywhere… I’ll give you $75 each!…”

“Nope. There is someone out there who can really use this and can see the value in them.”

it goes on like this and I just don’t budge so he finally decides to leave empty handed.

“I’ll give you my number, if you don’t sell them call me. I’ll give you $100 a piece…”

The traffic to the sale is sparse, but made of interesting characters.

I hear a familiar sound. Turn to look, a motorcycle… Asbjorn. He said he would visit, and there he was. My soul big brother is here. He pulls in the driveway on his red machine. I look at him. I’ve missed him but at the same time I feel just this big peace, I smile, I’m happy just to see him there. What a gift. We hug. Sunny Steve and Asbjorn end up going inside the house, I have to stay out but I feel very content. Perfection again.

“Are you selling all this because you got divorced or someone died? Usually that is the case when someone sells music equipment like this.”

this was Sam. Songwriter. He only bought one tiny item. But he chatted with me. Nice human being, obviously Christian, he played me a couple of songs he wrote and it all sounds very good.

“Turkey? Why Turkey?” I explain.

“I always wanted to go on top of Mount Ararat… where Noah’s ark was… To go up and see the world from there, get inspired and write a song.” I can see the dream in his eyes. He means this.

“…You know it’s about not pulling the trigger. I always wanted to write a song about ‘not pulling the trigger’…” he went on to explain that we all come from Noah after all and we are all brothers and sisters and we should not pull the trigger. If we all refused to pull the trigger, there would be peace, no more big wars business… “you know even when people die at war, they make money with the body bags…”

“We have the power you know, but people don’t believe in that… the bankers had this great idea with the Federal Reserve… make this money, use this paper that was just copies, then make the interest on nothing, on an idea…” We talked for a good while. Then Amanda arrived.

“Where are the horses?” she asked.

“The sculptures?”

“Yes, I came for them… I came just for them.”

“Ah uh… they are… well hang in there I will go get them.” I never expected that. I had put the pictures of the sculptures in the ad but ‘knew’ no one would ask… but I was wrong. I pulled this gigantic box out of the garage… I had not even opened it since I had packed all this in 2010… they could be all smashed up for all I knew. I started to pull them out…

“Ooohhh!!” she said when she saw “Emerging” she was genuinely moved.

“I am buying one. I am collecting art… I am new but I am collecting art and I am buying one.” We talk a bit, she is from New York, went to University at Mc Gill University in Montreal, she spoke some French. More affinity.

“Well… I gotta go, I’m with my mom, but I’ll come back… I will buy one!”

“All right, see you later.”

She did come back later, she bought “Dash” one of my top two favorites… I thought I’d never let that one go away… I did. She is a soul on her journey of discovery and aware of it. I sense that will, that energy in her, the sculpture is an affirmation, tears come to her eyes. Oh the beauty of the human experience.

dashcropped

The sale traffic slows down. When I went to pick up the signs they were all down on the ground. I guess the wind took them and the traffic stopped. We all sit and hang in the driveway, it’s a funny kind of setup with stuff everywhere around us, the wind blowing as we sit under this portable awning. We laugh a lot. Talk about all sorts of things.

My friends how I love you.

Finally the magic ends, time to move. Asbjorn rides away. We pack everything, most of it will go to goodwill. I still have a few valuable things that I can sell, the volume of what I have to dispose is now at least half of what it was and that feels really good. Huge relief, last Monday I just didn’t know how it was going to be done. Michael offered to store my sculptures if I cannot find a place or a buyer by mid November, the items I sold went to good homes, that makes me smile thinking of it. The material traces of my past reduced to next to nothing.

This last week with this forced Look at all the music, all the art work, all the living I had, I realized that the mission is to keep creating. Move on ahead. Baris is waiting for me in Istanbul to make music. I will take my red Gibson with me to Istanbul to honor the music with a full on instrument. At this very moment my body is exhausted but my heart brims with a sort of challenge and desire to move into the future with as much enthusiasm as I’ve done in the past. If anything this week of unwilling digging into the past made me realize that all I dared doing, all that I did passionately all of that it is after all not for naught.

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2 Responses to “Stage one, done.”

  1. Danielle Liard Says:

    Never for naught, art has ripple effects that continue on long after the artist has finished his creation, and you are an artist in all senses of the word.

    Love to you my friend

    Danielle

  2. david walker Says:

    Love to you Danielle,
    David


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