Other (not always) wordless friends:
I’ve never been to Barrie before.
And Paul Mills.
A house concert, my first.
It was Laura’s voice on a couple of CD’s that kept me company as I drove back, solo, from Prince Edward Island last year. For me, her voice and driving, travelling, looking and seeing and finding new things… are all connected.
I’ve also been known to dance in my own living room to her tunes.
I did not dance in the living room of strangers, though I suspect they might not have minded.
I must have had the feeling I wouldn’t be able to describe anything and so I scribbled down lines throughout the evening… some from stories Laura told about the origins of the songs, why and how she wrote them; others from the songs themselves. This is a sliver of things, my concert mash up…
I Drove to Barrie to Hear Laura Smith
I was never safer
because of my smart dog
—the hardest part was starting.
Only an echo will answer my name;
I look into your eyes and see stories
that will never get told, like a father
and a daughter—love to have you here
havin’ a beer, right about now, steamin’
with toil, with the seagulls around me
and crows on the plough; you are loved
and you are loved always, you’re home.
I hear voices in the salt spray, the last
light of the sun going down; I sit in the
same chair every night, Jordy—
a bad hair day in a cheap motel—I’m a
beauty. I’m a beauty.
Nothing else to say.
Except, thanks. It was the best…
An artist statement that makes the artist all the more remarkable in my view. A couple of lads walked by as I was taking these shots and they were swaggering in that way that suggests they’re just too sexy for their shoes. Or something. Attitude. But the chalk art got to them. They looked, slowed down, forgot the swagger for a moment, almost cracked a smile. I caught their eye, said nifty noodles, eh? Or along those lines, small talk. Unable to speak in sentences perhaps, they made a sound, nodded, and kept going, with a bit less swagger in their step I thought.
Art has this effect.
I have a thing for graffiti.
Too much for available public space.
So it’s done in this amazing code.
The messages there, clear as day for anyone to see,
…at the same time hidden among the chaos against those who can’t.
I was writing with a group of women at the shelter recently.
I do this once a month; they call it a workshop, but really we’re just writing together.
I’m always amazed by what gets said on paper by people who aren’t always used to holding a pen.
Amazed also that in the middle of the madness that is currently their life, in the middle of everything they’re going through, have gone through for god knows how long, that they can write with such clarity, such honesty.
They’re surprised when I tell them their words are beautiful.
At first they don’t believe me and then, something happens, the magic of unlocking, of tapping into a part of themselves that so rarely gets out, the magic of being heard… and I can see something change and I know that it’s a tiny thing, but even that is big, because, even for just a while…
…they believe, they know, that something about them is beautiful still.
“I hate the rain, but I love puddles.” ~ (shelter resident)