I woke up early Saturday morning, probably jolted awake from the sight of myself in my dream. Eh, I'm an early riser anyways. I had quite a bit of work to do for school, but who can concentrate when one of the best singer/songwriters of all time is just hours away from shaking your hand? How could Wifester possibly lay there snoring? I watched her chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise, rise, snort, fall....over and over. I turned my attention to the Sunny-dog. She slept more soundly than any one of this pack. Snores rose from her snout like a record player stuck on a deep groove. I tried to close my eyes and go back to sleep, to no avail. It was time to start my day.
The clock read 6:04 am and I was up.
I knew Wifester wanted to sleep longer. Much, much, much longer. So I tippy-toed out of the bedroom, closing the door gently behind me. I made coffee and thought about what needed to be done before embarking upon the journey that would be Saturday, August 23, 2008, THE DAY I MET JANIS IAN.
- I had a paper to write for my Intro to I.T. class.
- I had another paper to write for my Web Design class.
- I had a web site to build for my Web Design class.
- I had to make some adjustments to another web site previously built for my Web Design class.
- I had a test to take for I.T. class
- I had a test to take for the Web Design class
- I had some work to do on Wifester's mom's web site.
- Desperately needed to do some laundry
- Wanted to clean the kitchen
- Seriously needed to clean the bathroom
I carried out the Armor-All, some paper towels, my epi-shot (don't want to get stung by any bees) and the vac. I strategically placed the flower sprayer at just the perfect angle so as to best moisten the ground throughout the flower bed. I hopped in the car and began cleaning. I vacuumed until it ran out of juice, so I went in and plugged it in to charge, came out, moved the sprayer to another bed, placed it just so, and climbed back into the car, and began the hazmat like clean up effort again.
I realized I didn't have nearly enough cleaning products for my task, so I had to go back inside for reinforcements. Then, when I was ready for the mini-hand vac again, it happened. I woke the Wifester. I suppose the screech... thud, screech...thud that accompanied my every entry and exit to and from the house had done the job, because I heard a grumbling "What's going on out there?!", coming from the bedroom. If I didn't know any better, I'd of been shaking in my Birkenstocks, I'll tell yah. But I know one thing, I know Wifester in the mornings. And I know to greet her grumbles with perkiness and give her good news. Works like a charm, almost without fail. I peeked my head in the door and said as sweetly and gently as I could muster "Nothing, love, just cleaning your car, go back to sleep". By now I had birds floating about my head and woodland creatures following me, I'm pretty sure of it.
That changed her tune, without missing a beat, she smiled and said "Oh! Ok. Don't get stung!" (She always says that when I go outside without her. Isn't that sweet?)
When I finally finished up on the car and the flower beds, I made my way back inside, un-stung by any bees, I'm happy to report. It was still really quite early in the day, so I decided to revisit my list.
write paper write other paper make web site edit web site test test laundry(bleh)
- Clean the kitchen ...Now there's one I can handle!
I took care of the messy kitchen and proceeded to make Wifester's favorite breakfast, leftover tofu "chicken patties" crumbled up into bite size pieces and wrapped up in a tortilla with cheese. Hey, don't knock it, till you try it.
I took my sweetums breakfast, as it were, in bed, crawled in beside her with my second cup of coffee, and told her all about my dream, and how productive I'd been, and how I couldn't sleep, to which she replied, "Honey, Janis canceled the book signing, I just got the call."
My heart sank for a brief moment, but upon further inspection, I could see the twinkle of mischief in her eye and knew immediately that she was just trying to get a rise out of me.
So finally we made our way down to Green Hills. The parking lot of the library was already packed and we had to circle a few times until someone was actually leaving and we whipped into their spot. Why on earth would anyone leave before Janis Ian spoke is WAY beyond me.
The little room was packed full and there was already standing room only when Wifester and I entered. We backed ourselves against the wall, square in the middle of the room, so as to have a nice view. There was a folding table, the long kind that I usually associate with pot luck dinners and sidewalk sales. And perched upon that table sat Janis Ian in the most magnificent pair of painted, retro jeans I've ever seen. She later told us, Ebay...Janis Ian buys jeans on EBAY! GET OUT!
She opened up by talking about singing Society's Child while on stage in Encino, California, a farming community back in those days. She was all of 14 years old, the country was in the midst of the civil rights movement, and there was Janis, small, petite, 14 year old Janis, singing a song about an interracial relationship. Now, I don't care where you come from, or what you believe, that's some balls, I'll tell you.
She talked about her mother's influence on her, and her mother's Multiple Sclerosis. She talked about the people who influenced her musically, artistically, and how she landed in Nashville and just felt "at home".
When the time came, and she opened up the floor for Q & A, I didn't think I'd have the nerve to ask a thing. I planned to just be my usual self, the perpetual wallflower, absorb and observe. But curiosity got the best of me, and I raised my hand. When called upon, I asked Janis Ian,
"Do you have those times when the flow of creativity just becomes occluded, and if so, how do you overcome it?"
Her answer to me was this ... Janis Ian told me that her mentor once told her that when the creativity seems to ebb away, you must trust in your talent, because the talent is always there. The block occurs usually because there is some emotion or memory that is being triggered that you want to stuff back down and forget. Dig into it. Find it and through the release of it, the creative flow will return. She also said sometimes therapy helps to overcome the creative blocks.
Words I will cherish and remember forever.
Janis was gracious enough to sign my book, for a second time. I told her how when I paint, I listen to her music and she inspires me. I didn't tell her that there is a select very few that I listen to while painting. Janis Ian, Ani Difranco, and Joni Mitchell, and sometimes Cat Stevens but only sometimes.
She paused when I told her that, she looked me right in the eyes, and get this, she said "Wow, now isn't that neat! Thank you!". Her label may be called Rude Girl Pub., but I found her to be nothing if not utterly sweet and kind.
I left there feeling like I was floating on air. Wifester and I headed out to the Wilson County Fair, where there was carnies and fair food and ferris wheels everywhere. Even the excitement of that was a shallow and lackluster comparison to THE DAY I MET JANIS IAN.