There is something quintessentially American about the High Point Furniture Market: cheerful people, dressed up, putting their best foot forward, hoping beyond hope they will sell more than they ever sold before. I am here, and I espouse all those principles.
This morning breakfast was served outside the showroom at 200 North Hamilton -- quiche, bagels, mimosas. The most wonderful thing was the Gospel singers. They played in the way jazz musicians all wound up sound, but at 9 in the morning: tone, rhythm and SOUL. Big black women with hair; heavy black men with hand gestures altogether channeling the genius of god, American style. Genius comes and takes over when one is present to perform*. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it is thrilling.
The gospel singers’ performance wasn’t universally enjoyed, but I was there almost every minute. In the end, I was the single member of the audience, letting out a cry of “Ole” (god).
Last night we sat outside on the deck of my host’s house. Here in High Point, people open their homes at this time to visitors at Market. We drank wine and spotted fireflies in the trees. I recounted my favorite firefly story about a friend’s aunt who sewed nylon pockets into an otherwise drab party dress: when the sun went down the fireflies did their thing.
Conversation led to the subject of courage and cowardice. It takes courage to face reality, mundane or dramatic as that might be. I admire the courage of my father caring for my ailing mother; of a friend’s husband deciding to stick with her through a life fraught with problems. It take courage to do what one knows to be right, when running in the other direction would be ever so easy.
The gospel singers were courageous to be performing here, doing what they believe in. Putting one's self on the sidewalk to be judged by the public takes nerve. It takes courage to do what one knows is right in life, cowardice to cower in a vocation or behavior ordained by default. Even though I am in a situation where there may be too few buyers, I want to keep on painting. It is why god made me.