Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Re-printed Holiday Letter

For days I have been wondering just what to say in a general letter that I usually feel compelled to write during this ho-ho-holiday season…I almost decided not to write anything! That’s an indication of how much has been on my mind—not, as you may have thought, how little.
I don’t want to say the same thing that everyone says…You know: “We wish you…” blah, blah and “Happy …” this or that…I want to find a way to say something meaningful and authentic…something worth remembering.
So far, I haven’t found the words. Well, I have some of the words…I just haven’t found a way to put them into sensible sentences. Perhaps I’ll just list some of the words: transformative; discretionary; liminal; syncronous; captivating; billions; luminous; creation; limitlessness; abracadabra; friendship; peace…
Maybe that’s enough to say!
I opened some Christmas cards earlier today. They’re not like the cards of yesteryear that I remember with a certain amount of nostalgia. They’re not those jolly cards that arrive in handwritten envelopes, from neighbors and friends and Aunts and Uncles…No. Today, most holiday greeting cards arrive with printed labels, addressed by a machine. And they are (virtually) all from businesses: The bank; my insurance company (and of course they want me to have a safe and prosperous year!); the pet store where I’ve been buying over-priced gourmet cat and dog food; the dry cleaners; the clothing store… Now I’m getting those annoying e-cards where one is obliged (almost) to copy and paste and click and go to a far off site and listen to a cartoon character sing something silly. Then, there are the heart-wrenching greetings asking for money…This is our world today.
I wish you were ALL coming to the Gallery today (or soon). I wish you were calling and writing---looking for Art to grace your home or the home of a loved one. But, I’m realistic. Probably you’re not. In fact, chances are that most of you have not read this far…
For those of you who are still reading, I want to share a feeling that has been churning in me for most of the past year: COMPASSION. My wish for everyone is that we make time to Pay Attention to the Beauty in the World. I think it’s important to be loving towards all whom we encounter---family, friends and strangers alike. We need one another. We need optimism, kindness, forgiveness, cheerfulness, and…

Monday, December 27, 2010

In The Answers Are The Questions!
In The Solutions Are The Problems!

Back in the 80’s, when interest rates on bank loans were sky high, I recall a dark period in the dim early life of my Gallery. I recall spending night after sleepless night and day after stress-filled day searching for ways to pay off a two hundred thousand dollar loan that was (fast) coming due. It was a most uncomfortable time for my fledgling business and for me! I was a foolish young woman intent on the pursuit of “a highly improbable fantasy”--or so I was told by many a would-be expert. Yes, I risked expensive money on a dream that was not based on super sound financial thinking. And yes, I was a na├»ve, cockeyed optimist---willing to live with whatever consequences came my way. Daily, I chased wild fears from my thoughts. Nightly I counted them like so many sheep: abject failure, humiliation, banishment, bankruptcy, public embarrassment, disappointed children, loss of friends, debtors’ prison…
During one of those dark days (and there were many), my friend Deirdre, a single mother raising two small boys alone, called me in a panic. She was completely and utterly distraught because she owed five hundred dollars and she didn’t have it and she didn’t know how to get it…I tried to comfort her with my much larger tale of woe—to no avail, I’m sure.
That night I spoke to a successful businessman, a savvy mentor of mine. I told him about my friend who was worried about her measly five hundred dollar debt. I made light of it---comparing it to the far more serious situation of my frighteningly significant two hundred thousand dollar debt. The businessman looked at me with a knowing smile. After a long pause, he confessed that he owed two and a half million dollars and he didn’t know where to find it. He needed it by the end of the following week!
And…then I got it!
It’s all relative! The nervousness, the sleepless nights, the fears, the impending embarrassment…it is all the same. If a young single mother owes five hundred dollars and can’t pay it, it’s no less disturbing to her than owing two hundred thousand dollars is to a struggling, inexperienced entrepreneur who doesn’t have it and doesn’t know how to find it. Moreover, the mature investor, caught in a two point five million dollar money bind, is surely not experiencing any greater anxiety than the aforementioned.
It’s all relative!
But not particularly comforting!

This, I think, is how it is now---now, in the weirdness that is our current economic reality:
Banks aren’t lending. Workers are struggling. Small businesses are in trouble. Newspapers are folding. (no pun intended) Restaurants are closing. Automobile plants are shutting down. Investment firms are laying off workers. Real estate is soft. Rich people aren’t buying art.
Where is the money? Where did it go? When will it come back? Will any of it come my way? How will I keep my commitments? How will you keep yours? Who (or what) is in charge? What can I do to alleviate my own quiet anxiety? Can I (possibly) assuage the anxiety (I see it on the faces, I hear it in the voices) of the people I meet? What would make me think I could? Why do I have so much? How can I lighten my footprint on the planet? Why are people mean? Who are the fear mongers? How can we disappear them? Why is my country still funding evil war machines? Is this what God intended? Maybe there is no God. How did it all begin? Where and when and how will it end?
And what’s all this about a “new paradigm”???