The Way I Was

How poets and artists participate in art: or, blowing off steam at The Fells

To understand art, it’s important to get inside the art, to feel it in your body, to know the art on a sensorial-kinesthetic level.

If you believe that, I have a $38,000 outdoor sculpture I’d like to sell you.

This little tongue-in-cheek post is a quick response to a sort-of challenge from my blogging friend Jenny Pellet, who picked up and revised a challenge from our mutual blogging friend Sherri Matthews, to post 5 pictures / 5 stories.  I offer, for your amusement today, 5 pictures with 1 little fairy tale + 4 one-stence stories.

  1. Once upon a time there was a couple who loved art and poetry so much, that they worked as contracting consultants to support their passion. (Because most artists who try to support themselves by their art, really do starve!) They were very good at solving construction problems as a team, he being a logical, big-picture, results-oriented go-getter artist, she an intuitive, detail-oriented, communicative, organizer poet. They were very happy until they met an evil client, for whom they solved, literally, dozen of emergency problems successfully and on-time for a whole year. But the client was never, ever satisfied. When he demanded that a 2-week kitchen remodel absolutely must be completed in 2 days, the super-duper pair almost did it, but ran into terrible unforeseen obstacles, including storm-induced power outages, and hidden structural defects. So it took them 4 days to complete what would have been a 3-week project. They danced around, high-fived each other, and celebrated their awesomeness, because they had overcome the nearly impossible trial of unforeseen delays. But the evil client began to throw successive, increasingly impressive tantrums. Fiinally he screamed at them, “Your hair is on fire! Your hair is on fire.” This made their hearts palpitate, because oh-no! How awful to have your hair on fire! But, the evil client was LYING! When they discovered how evil, the evil client really was, they jumped in their car and drove 2-1/2 hours to their favorite public garden, The Fells in Newbury, New Hampshire, to bask in a beautiful house set in a fine garden filled with artful sculpture, surrounded by stunning nature,  Here, they sought to understand art, to get inside the art, to feel it in their bodies and know it on a sensorial-kinesthetic level. Then they forgot all about the evil client and felt oh-so-much better. And they lived happily ever after.
View of Lake Sunapee, from the Fells, Newbury New Hampshire
View of Lake Sunapee, from the Fells, Newbury New Hampshire

2. One more time, the most interesting man in the world teased a bull and got away with it.

“Torro” sculpture by Colin Moore. On view at The Fells. $38,000

3. The power of 2 chiefs staring was great enough to make a charging bull cower.

“Chief Sabattus” sculpture by Joseph Gray. $6,500.

4. He didn’t know it was impossible, in one’s senior years, to learn to dance en pointe and so he did it.

“Toe Dancer #1A” by John Bon Signore. $28,500

5. More often than not, during his morning run, the contemplation of his great-good fortune would cause him to take flight.

“Morning Run” by David Borrus. $18,000

So, how do you blow off steam when wacky people get on your nerves?

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45 thoughts on “How poets and artists participate in art: or, blowing off steam at The Fells”

  1. I believe every single word of your fairy tale including the hair on fire – very funny, and true!

    I blew of steam in one of my recent posts over a parking ticket in London. True story with pics to prove the facts! Thank you for reading and commenting on my post today, Tracy.

    1. I’m glad that you’re with me in understanding that fairy tales are generally more true than untrue, Marian.

      Blogs, I have discovered (just today) are a fun way to blow off steam.

  2. This was a delightful read, Tracy. That Ken sculpts himself very well, and the two of you together dance away the demons. What a great gift. Art + love = happiness.

  3. Shame on that evil client! While I try not to let wacky people get on my nerves, sometimes it’s just to much! I usually weed a garden bed or go for a walk, sit down on my back step wash bench and pet the kitty who takes advantage of my available lap – anything in nature helps get me back on track. A phone call to a friend who will understand helps, as does a good cleansing cry. A dish of ice cream and some chocolate never hurts either. I love the story, the photos and the captions! I had some special good news earlier today, and your post lifted my weary spirit even more!

    1. I”m glad to hear you received good news, Darlene. And walking is my first resort — which I did while Ken called a friend. And then we went to New Hampshire.

      I’m also glad I was able to lift your spirits. I guess that’s the bi-product of lifting spirits, the more spirits a person lifts, the lighter everyone’s spirits(including one’s own) become.

    1. I’m getting more playful as I grow older, probably because Ken is.

      It’s an incredibly stunning view — one I often recall when I need to go to a special nature place in my mind. I used to visit The Fells often when I lived in New Hampshire, but hadn’t been there in over 6 years. This visit made me realize that it is one of my favorite little sanctuaries on earth.

  4. Wow what a gorgeous view!..funny how I had never been there in the 10 years I lived in NH! I think Ken had secretly posed for all those sculptures, he’s so funny. I miss you so very much!

  5. Wow Tracy! Once upon a time there was a sensitive and ordinarily loving pastor who had an evil servant of the devil call him up to accuse him of heresy, pride and leading people astray even though the evil servant of the devil had never even attended the loving pastor’s church or heard him preach. So the loving pastor hung up the phone and went home to bed. I like the way your characters dealt with the stress better . But it does show how many evil people they are and they target sweet poets and deisgners and pastors alike.

    1. Just this morning, I had a 2-hour marathon talking/praying session with a woman who is being victimized by evil people. She, too, is sensitive and loving and sweet. God will help and protect her, and she is learning to “hang up the phone and go to bed,” but you’ve reminded me that in addition to prayer, one of the most loving things I could do for her soon, is to take her out for a little fun and play time. I hadn’t thought of it, until I read your post.

      1. I got thinking that this might be what it means in Matthew when it says “Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold.”
        Perhaps then the key to not growing cold is in making sure we don’t get stuck in the evil but break out by finding the fun in life. Could it be as simple as refocusing?

        1. Very insightful. I’ve been pondering that one, because of the daily temptation I face, to harden my heart against caring and compassion, and aware that it comes from the experiences I encounter. In this case, yes, it worked to refocus. Ken is meeting with the evil client today, and he is wearing his cool-headed and compassionate caps. I don’t think he would have gotten those caps on, had we not taken time away for refreshment. I think we’ve gotten better, as we’ve grown older, at recognizing when and how to refocus. But still, we always get those heart palpitations when people accuse us of having a headful of burning hair.

    1. Thanks, Marlene — I had a lot of fun writing it, and I really needed the fun this morning. And it’s very special to me that my community is enjoying the fun with me. I feel bolstered, supported, and able to vanquish all the evil clients in the world.

      I asked Ken who pays those kinds of prices for that kind of sculpture. His answer: Nobody. That’s why they’re all still for sale. 😉

  6. Even if it is tongue in cheek, I love it! Your writing is absolutely delightful and has a great, kinetic energy! If your writing were performed music, it would have fantastic dynamics.

  7. You were right, this did make my day. I love the chief stare particularly. Blowing off steam, I usually find myself walking it off. And then I mumble to myself while doing that. I guess I am getting old. Wonderfully told, Tracy!!

    1. The chief stare is my favorite, too, Oliver, especially since Ken is 1/4 Native American, from the Blackfoot Lakota tribe.

      You, Ken and I have one more thing in common. We all mumble when we’re walking to blow off steam.

  8. Such a fun post Tracy! Who knew that Ken had such wonderful ballet skills?! I usually have to find a peaceful activity to blow off steam. Sometimes it’s just listening to some calming music and taking a few (sometimes more) deep breaths 🙂

    1. Ken never took ballet, but he is a very good athlete, who loves ballet. When he watches a performance he’s in total awe because he understands the extent of the athletic ability it requires to dance like that. He thinks the greatest athletes are ballet dancers.

      I’m on board with the calming music and breathing. That’s what I do after I “vent.”

  9. Tracy, you brought us both a few laughs today. This “young gentleman” is definitely “feeling the art!” Ken is too funny. My idea of eliminating stress and difficult situations is relaxing on the shore of Little St. Germain Lake, Up North — pure serenity, calm and escape. This happens to be our location at the moment. 🙂 If only I could bottle this moment.

    1. We’re both so glad for you, that you get to be there, in your beautifully, relaxing place Up North. Ken used to go to Little St. Germain with his grandparents.

      And he certainly does keep me laughing. I’m glad we get to share the fun with the two of you, and hope we will have the privilege of seeing you face to face again one day.

  10. Humor is not my primary focus or theme, but I do think it is necessary! And invigorating and healing. I’m grateful to my funny husband for helping me to understand that. Without him, I would be way too serious.

  11. Well this was a surprise Tracy, and great to see you taking up the challenge, with your amazingly unique style of course! 😉 Absolutely love this. ‘Your hair is on fire!’ Ha…just about sums up the evil client. And what a stunning place to gather your senses for your move into the happily ever after. Loved the fun and bounce and recovery in this post and Ken’s poses are the pefect touch. I’m smiling now 😀

  12. Hello Tracy! Sorry to arrive so late, what bad manners as you linked the post back to me and all – I’ve been in France with little internet connection so am catching up right now. I love your take on this challenge – the story is great, I’m just sorry it was true – what a pain in the backside some customers are – hopefully you’ve seen the back of him by now?
    As far as the sculptures go, that Indian Chief with your husband looks absolutely marvellous. So glad you two were able to have a fun time after burning all your hair off… 😀

    1. Evidently my iPad didn’t record my response to this. We’re back in the hum of happiness again. This past week was much nicer, and yesterday we spent a glorious day in Newport, which is possible the most perfect town on the East Coast to spend a summer’s day.

  13. Hihi, what an amusing post Tracy. Ken does a fairly good job on the sensorial-kinesthetic level which I fully support on how it should really be experienced 😀
    I rarely need to blow off steam (not easily triggered) but when I do, then I usually just do that … let off steam, vent and go do something physical to take my mind of. Luckily it doesn’t last that long and I quickly forget 😉

  14. Share your secret, dear Karin. How/why are you not easily triggered? I definitely want some of that.

    I need to hang out with you and learn your serenity. I admire you hugely! ❤️

  15. Oow hmm.. what I meant was that I rarely blow my top but I do have my moments, believe me. At first I thought I was rather laid-back,..chill, but over the years I’ve found out it sometimes actually turns inward which is even worse :/
    Taking care of oneself is of equal importance as taking care of others 😉

    1. Agreed. I used to keep it all in, because I didn’t want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable. For me, that morphs into a kind of depression. Now I try to find harmless ways to release strong emotions. I find that helps me let go and move on.

  16. This was a fun post and I agree – from one of your comments above – that blogging is one way to let off steam and that is probably what I do (plus write in my journal).

  17. Tracy … Water and woods, nature itself, all let me forget my worries. That gorgeous lake view is absolutely one I would escape to to get away from anyone evil enough to upset my day. Music is another escape. When I am stressed or down, writing is another outlet. I try to have a little fun – just as you did in this wonderful, humorous post. Ken is an absolute delight – love his poses even in the face of a dangerous bull and a very fierce-looking Chief. (Hope the evil client is soon in your rear view mirror.)

    If you haven’t posted that first photo on Facebook, would you please. I’d love to share it. Ahhhhh – destressing now. 😉

    1. Hi, Judy — I just saw those water pictures on your Facebook wall. So soothing.

      We share a lot in common, including our favorite ways to de-stress. I’ll post that photo on your Facebook wall. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Good Humor. Interesting! Just had a chance to see this for the first time. Clever poses and well done in the photos. Anxious to hear more about it soon.

    1. We started “mimicking” sculpture years ago. It’s always a good time. We like to look at art, and not always seriously — often it’s another way to play. (And we sometimes make fun of the way some people take art SO seriously, like it’s a religion and they’re the priests).

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