Archives for the month of: April, 2010

Working Titles: The Drum Store/Actual Drunk Indian/White Girl’s Guilt/Dreams vs. Reality (I can’t decide)

It’s all very picturesque, visiting the pueblo. We tromp muddy paths to squat buildings, one stacked upon the next, wooden ladders to different levels knitting the various floors together. Piñon wood smoke curls above beehive-shaped outdoor ovens, ready to bake bread. Sunshine, icicles and sparkling snow, blood red dirt and adobe houses, with doors painted to match the sky. It’s a nice color scheme.

A creek runs through the center of the pueblo, with signs proclaiming and protecting the single water source for the tribe. People kneel on icy banks, washing hands, pots and pans, getting a drink, using their frigid fresh water. Dogs approach us timidly, wanting food yet fearful of a swift kick. We had nothing to give them but love, for which they were still grateful.

So it was with a ragged band of rez mutts that we explored and approached the first adobe, ducking inside the low door to stand beside the fireplace, thawing our hands. Our dogs came in too, snuffing the packed-earth floor for crumbs.

A drum shop.

I looked around at the drums, made of wood and skin. Tiny double-ended branch-drums you hold in one hand to huge, ominous, table-sized ceremonial drums, made from entire tree trunks that sounded like thunder. Their shapes were dictated by the host tree’s original forms, curvy, gnarled, angular. Each had a different musical tone as I cautiously, quietly tapped every one. They were magnificent.

“Gerroutah here, damn dog,” slurred a voice from the back. An elderly man scuffed into the small store. He had a headband clinging to long grey hair and milky eyes in a rumpled brown face. He waved a gnarled hand generally to the room.

“I made these drums.”

I smiled, excited to indulge this assuredly Wise Old Artisan. “It must be lovely to make something so beautiful.”

“Well I don’t make nothin else and I like it like hell when they sell. You want to buy one?”

I smelled his words more than heard them. Sweat, stale booze and cigarettes stung my nose and burned my eyes from across the room. And I recoiled from the stench, from his crass, desperate salesman pitch, from just how… unromantic this had become. No way! I was already coasting on credit card fumes this trip. No way could I afford a $300 drum, no way did I want to give this foul man with a ruinous vibe my plastic money, no matter how pretty the drums were. I stammered a lame reply.

“Oh. I, um… well. Ah.”

“Huh.” He pitched past me, mild interest immediately replaced by contempt, toward the front of the shop. Then he tried to grope my friend.

“Yer so pretty. Where you from darlin?”

I helped extract her from his crooked arms as we hustled out the door. This joker was seriously harshing our collective mellow. Come on, dogs!

I guess he used up all his charm on making those drums.

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My sense of order is going haywire. Things are getting seriously mixed up here. My self-imposed blog homework has been eaten by the dog. But I swear it’s done Mom, really! (Well it’s scribbled in half-sentences in my journal.) Still: I have stories from New Mexico to share! And kitschy graphic imagery for hungry eyeholes! And I will do it, I will get it all nailed down so soon. Yes and yes. Don’t you worry, it’s all up here (knocks on empty skull)

It’s taken me a long time to realize that my life skips around. It ain’t linear. I pinball between events and interests. It is impossible for me to proceed with any lasting sense of order. This gets really freaking tiring. But there you go, and here I am. I think it’s okay this way. I don’t want to feel inadequate anymore because I don’t do things in a reasonable sequence. It’s a sunny day and I want to celebrate my flakiness! I always get everything done in the end, so why worry about my chaotic methods?

Tell you what, though – when I do manage to plod methodically through my tasks – after a while I get BORED. Such a teenage word, bored… but my mind loses interest and starts to wander. Sad truth. Any small sense of relief I may experience by Getting Things Done In A Timely & Orderly Fashion is rapidly replaced by wasting mornings reading trashy magazines on the couch, going out to breakfast, buying a bottle of whiskey in the afternoon… napping… I gotta mix it up to keep it interesting. I’ll finish the other stuff later, really!

So bear with me while I ignore what I SHOULD be doing and just show-and-tell my latest screenprinting adventure:

Currently screening the newest poster for the Western Family Orchestra

One color down, two colors to go… come on out this Sunday to the Makeout Room in SF for some great music! We will be singing and playing and having a grand ole timey. And I’ll give you your very own poster. I swear I’ll get them done!

Addendum: my husband just placed a mimosa in front of me. THIS ISN’T HELPING! Sure tastes nice, though…