Stop the presses, there's been an update
Delivered via 1:30 AM phone call
When an only half-informative source talks discreetly
Meet me... at the family room on the side of the Intensive Care Unit
Immediately, I carry a tune
The sirens so loud, can't hear my music
Keep free... of negative thoughts, everything'll be fine
We all assume... That it would go back to the way things were
That it would go back to normal soon
Saw the moon in a way that I never seen it before
When I looked up that night into the sky wondering why
Lookin' for answers, guess I ain't asked right
I'm guessin most of y'all out there know exactly what that's like
What that's like, now tell me what's that like?- Sage Francis, "Crackpipes"
Being a heavily tattooed, progressive-minded activist doesn't always fit the profile of a quilt shop owner.
In my late teens I struggled with working at the long-arm shop next door to the most ridiculously conservative, close-minded quilt shop I have ever been to in my life. I lived in Turlock, a ridiculously conservative, close-minded Bible belt in the middle of San Joaquin Valley, California. Being the free spirit that I was/am, I couldn't understand why everyone was so rude to me. I'd smell my armpits, wondering did I put my deodorant on this morning? Do I have something in my teeth?
I felt like I imagine my gay friends felt before they came out of the closet- struggling to fit into an identity mold that wasn't mine to fill. It seems overdramatic, and maybe it is, but ten years ago the industry wasn't what it is now. There were no f*ck blocks, no hexy mf, and I'm pretty sure there were all of three quilting blogs at the time.
I felt very alone being the only quilter I knew under the age of 35. It makes a difference when you're 17.
So I retreated into my own personal quilt land.
Tula has Pinkerville, where dessert comes first and you may or may not see a March Hare on your way out of town.
FiberCity is my fantasy urban metropolis, where all quilters have tattoos, swear like well-educated sailors, and argue about whether Sage Francis or Slug from Atmosphere was the original indie-hop artist. (Everything I have learned in my formative adult years I have learned from independent-label hip hop. Don't judge me, I'm educated.) And for the record (no pun intended), it's Sage as far as I am concerned, and I am the mayor of FiberCity so everyone respects my opinion as their leader.
Sage Francis Tribute Tattoo, inked 7-13-2008
In FiberCity, no cantankerous and negative people are allowed by order of the Fire Marshall. Everyone is loving all of the time. There are no beefs, no turf wars, no epic rap battles. There's only a synergy of creative flow that can only be explained by a compulsive need to feed fabric thru a machine that was inspired by a nitemare about cannibals. Bet you didn't know that?
***Let's digress for a minute while I drop some knowledge. ***
In 1845 Elias Howe had a nightmare about cannibals circling him with spears. When he awoke in the morning, the up-and-down motion of the spears stayed with him, and the hole in the needle became the vessel by which thread traveled, piercing the textile and permanently tattooing it into the skin of the fabric. (My inked friends would be SO proud of that metaphor. Boo-yah.)
In FiberCity, there is a Museum of Organic Jessica Sloan History, where you can learn how deeply connected the Arts Industries really are thru the history of the city's mayor. That's me, in case you weren't following. I'm also the Grand Marshall in every parade FiberCity promotes. Did I mention that I am also the aforementioned Fire Marshall as well? I wear many (or all) the hats in FiberCity. Art imitates life, right?
On your way out of FiberCity, there is a bridge with a tollway. The only way to get thru the bridge is to pay the toll. There are no dollars in FiberCity- the currency is kindness.
Crossing the bridge. Back in the real world now.
I'm sitting in the intensive care unit by my mother's bedside, monitoring oxygen intake and heart rates and blood pressure. I've bathed her today, washed her hair, shaved her legs, and put lotion on her body. I have painted her toenails. I watched her put her own makeup on with ease, her beautiful lashes lovingly stroked by the mascara that she never left the house without applying.
I also watched her eyes roll in the back of her head from the powerful potent poisons injected into her arm to try to ease the torture her body is inflicting upon her. I held her in my arms while she sobbed, her tears baptising me, explaining to me that she is still in shock and disbelief that the temple she so tediously decorated has failed her. I held my tongue, not firing back that the very same temple she defaced... with cigarettes. It was a different time back then, I soothingly say to her everytime she cries tears of regret for every butt she pressed against her perfect cupid's bow lips.
I hold her in my arms while she showers me with tears and asks me how she's going to fight without me by her side when I fly back to take care of a quilt shop that-because of the circumstances and not lack of passion- at this very moment in time I could care less about. I tell her, I'm always with you, no matter how far away I may seem.
I know Grandma Pam and my Quilt Mom are going to be mad, so I apologize in advance.
I'm sorry that I don't give a shit about my dusty cement floors in my shop, or the fact that my banner is ripping and I still haven't bought a sign in the past six months that Remnants has been open. I'm sorry that every single time a cranky lady comes in my store and complains I want to slap her. I'm sorry that my priorities aren't straight and I'm not completely paying attention to the story about the quilt that you're piecing for your nephew for Christmas and he's a plaid flannel kind of guy and you're more of a solids kinda gal.
All I really care about right now is the fact that my mother has lived to see another sunrise.
Please stop complaining and saying negative things to me, period. Because I just don't care to be polite and listen, I don't care to be defensive even. I just don't care.
"It's like a whirlwind of emotions that occurs when moms and dads fight
It's like when a girl grins, an emotion of hers
That holds your arm, and grabs tight
Hurl him into the ocean, one of them cold sweat heat flash types
But extreme fluctuations and temperature changes
Have been known to crack pipes...
...crack pipes...crack pipes...
Meet me-- half way and I'll go that extra length just to help your strength
Meet me-- at the AA meeting, needing to take more than 12 steps
Bring me to your hiding place, so I can face your vice grip
I'll chisel every single monkey off your back with this ice pick
Come meet up with me on the sidelines when the game is over just to say hello
Then afterwards, backstage to let me know that you enjoyed the show
And go to grandma's house for Sunday dinner
Sit at the head of the table, take away the fatal flaw
you made the day before, I seen you bleed
Meet me-- on Christmas Eve, we can fight but make up before you leave
Make visits with the rest of those who rest in pieces of my dreams
Meet me at the fork in the road where lost souls get indecisive
Meet me at the crossroads so I can have someone to walk into the light with."