What can I say? My Muse has a mind of her own.
On Wednesday this week I was a guest on Capitol Public Radio's" Insight" hosted by Beth Ruyak. When Beth floated the invitation, it took me by surprise. When she called a day later, offering me a slot for the very next day, I was terrified. Still, I said yes. Something about stepping outside my comfort zone…
Tuesday afternoon, Beth followed up with a “chat map” with questions that would guide to our conversation. I read Beth’s questions and wrote clever, thoughtful responses to each and every one. Who could predict that, when that techno-curtain lifted, foot-in-mouth would meet brain-in-fart?
Historical Flashback: At the beginning of each and every performance I’d ever been in, I always fumbled my lines. And, of course, there was that painful appearance during a KVIE art auction...
On Wednesday morning at 9:50 a.m., Beth began with this : "Have you ever been in those conversations where you find yourself thinking of the silver linings of the stay-at-home experience or those unexpected plus-times and good that come from unexpected outcomes? UPLIFT, every day, celebrates that kind of spirit. Today's guest, Sacramento artist Caren Halvorsen, seems to be in the midst of that part of the experience. Joining us by phone from her home studio today…”
Somewhere between “Hello, Beth,” and “Thank you for inviting me,” the adrenaline hit. Inexplicably, I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around Beth’s first question. A question I already knew! A question I had a pretty solid answer for!!!
Allow me to describe the experience: in the moment, it feels like being perched on the rim of a gigantic blender while an unseen finger pokes “frappe”. There’s a momentary free-fall right before the blades…
But then I remembered. I ALWAYS falter out of the gate. It’s part of my “process”. I admit it’s a flawed process, which I call "frappe or fight".
Beth Ruyak was amazing! Sensing her guest was about to self-liquify, she pivoted her approach, which got me out of the blender and lurching toward topic. Because of Beth, the rest of the interview went better. Beth gets an A+ for her performance; I'll stick with pass/fail.
Retrospectively, this is where I goofed: “me” got in the way of the message.
And this is the message: If an #artgurlartifacts no-strings, free donation could help your business, contact me.
Here's the backstory: full disclosure, Beth Ruyak and I live on the same street and, in a recent and perfectly appropriate socially distanced conversation last weekend, I mentioned I’d been making so much jewelry during our shelter-in-place time that it would be great to do something helpful with it. I might have even have floated a “Bling-it-Forward-” hashtag. I confided to Beth that, in the prior week, I’d sent out letters to seven or eight self-employed and small business owning friends asking if I could donate some of what I'd been making, but hadn’t heard much back. That’s when Beth suggested a wider audience…
My sincere thanks to Beth "The Bridge-Builder" Ruyak, and the amazing "Insight" team : Cintia Lopez Montes, Kyle S. McKinnon, and Aram Sarkissian.
At first I found it entertaining ––the solicitations that my recently deceased father-in-law. received. Last November, after he passed, we forwarded Roger's mail in order to pay his bills and settle his estate. Since then, we’ve been barraged with the postal equivalent of late-night television-advo-mercials–you know the ones–– cures for erectile disfunction, hair-loss, and weight gain, images of battered puppies and disabled kittens with Sara McMcLachlan soundtrack, Peter Popoff's "Miracle Water".
How do I say this? Roger had his causes and he wished to be well thought of. I say this with only a trace of judgement. My grandmother was the same. Her five and ten dollar donations, written at the end of each month from the reservoir of her modest household account, allowed her to feel “philanthropic”. Yet, with each stroke of her pen the hydra's head bisected and two new charities cropped up, pleading for aid. Not to be deterred, Grandmother sent additional checks, in incrementally diminished amounts.
Often times, non-profits send "gifts". In my grandmother’s day, those gifts were mailing labels but today this unsolicited bounty has exploded. When Roger was alive he garnered laundry-loads of patriotic t-shirts from multiple veterans groups, a drawer-full of personalized notepads from law-enforcement organizations, a cluster of refrigerator magnets from Boys Clubs of America, stacks of overly-sentimental all-occasion note cards from Easter Seals, and my favorite, two pairs of blue and yellow butterfly-flower ankle socks, courtesy of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Can you imagine a ninety-four year old man wearing these?
It begs a fund-amental question; what comes first? The check-N-the mail or the egg?
Seven months ago, Roger left us yet his mail continues on. After his contributions stopped, most of his non-profits "got it"––but not the Republican party! Just in the last week, Roger has received solicitations from: Melania Trump, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Senator Todd Young of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, The Remembrance Project, The Heritage Foundation, and Judicial Watch. There've been a slurry of surveys as well. Just today we received the 2020 National Illegal Alien Election Impact Survey, the Fair Oaks Tax Increase Impact Survey Registration, the Sacramento County Republican Party Area Assessment, and the 2020 Republican Voter Confirmation Card, In all these correspondences two themes are consistent, politically charged rhetoric and monetary requests .
Ah, the opportunities that Sheltering At Home supply! I considered filling out Roger's surveys, just to mess with their statistics, but his signature is required and, even though I'm a "leftist-liberal", I do know right from wrong. Still, it seemed a shame to let those tax-payer-funded prepaid-return envelopes go to waste. So, I've been using them to send these:
To Whom It May Concern:
This is to notify you that Roger Halvorsen is deceased.
As Mr. Halvorsen has no further need of your well-intentioned gifts (including but not limited to: mailing labels, t-shirts, greeting cards, calendars, note cards, refrigerator magnets, certificates, and shopping bags) his estate requests that you remove him from your mailing lists and, please, discontinue this barrage of bounty.
If your solicitations are political, keep them coming. Requests on behalf of Donald Trump and those who promote his agenda will be shredded. No thank you for squandering tax-payers' dollars. See you in November!
I think my project is working. Here's what came today.
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