In my farewell to the bar blog, I talked about wanting to get back to creating art. I got home from the bar late Friday night and I carried all my DJ equipment in the house, which I usually store at the bar. I set it down out of the way in the kitchen and then sat down on a kitchen chair. My dog Jake sauntered out from Russ’s room, where he’d been sleeping, to greet me. He walked up and sat right in front of me just staring at me, which is something Jake does a lot. So we sat there just staring at each other for a few minutes. Then he noticed all my DJ equipment and sniffed at it since he’d never seen it before. Then he had this look on his face like, “I don’t know what this stuff is, but I’m sure it’s the reason you’re gone every Friday night.” He followed me into the living room where we watched some “unwind from the bar” TV. This mostly consists of channel surfing because there isn’t much on TV at 230am. I think of how much I’d like to just go to sleep, but like any other job, you need some time to let go of your day before you can give way to the pleasures of slumber and dreams in an all too comfortable bed. Jake is curled up at the end of the couch with one paw casually resting on my leg so that he can go back to sleep, but will know right away if I leave the room. I think back to my final night at the bar and realize I can do so without any remorse. As Michele put it, it was the true end of an era. Any time one person is such a presence in a place like a bar, they become as much a part of it as the beer, the TVs, the pinball machine and the “Hot Nuts” peanut dispenser. So when one of those people leaves that bar, they take with them their energy, their craft and their presence. An era, no matter how long the duration, comes to an end.
Most DJ’s have a pretty “posh” existence because they’re sequestered away from the party crowd in their private little DJ booth. They at once become the wizard behind the curtain and the party guru. My situation was a little bit different because I didn’t have a DJ booth. I had a stand up table with my computer and my mixer. It made me very accessible. As a matter of fact, I had some of my greatest conversations with people who waiting in line for the bathroom, because it was right next to where I was set up. The only way to keep people from consistently requesting songs throughout the night was to anticipate their requests. If I played “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” it would most likely bring to mind “The Safety Dance.” This is what I meant in my blog about being really good at playing songs in the right order. When you spin a genre night such as “80’s Night” you have to realize that people remember the music in song groupings. For anyone old enough to remember the 80’s, each song invokes a memory and often that memory is of another song or the different songs you listened to when that memory was made. And you’ll never truly remember how fun that party at Tom Smith’s house was unless you hear all the songs you listened to while getting blasted during a rousing game of quarters. To make it truly complete, you have to hear the song you played as you drove home after crawling out a bedroom window when the cops showed up. So it was my job to figure out what those songs are so you don’t have to ask me. This way, you can just enjoy your night and dance and reminisce.
Since I built my song list on my computer, it gave me the freedom to mingle. I could walk around and find out what people wanted to hear. Since it’s a relatively small town, I knew what my regulars wanted. When Randy walked in the door, I would tactfully fade out any song I was playing and play an oldie by Cher before he’d even had a moment to greet me. For David, it was “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston. Michele loves her old school Michael Jackson and anything off Madonna’s first record would get Kate on the dance floor. If Damien, Chris or Ernie was in the bar, you knew there would be set of 80’s hair band music. For Mike? As butch and straight as he is, it was always “Karma Chameleon.” The 80’s Music craze is an enigma to me. It’s been a popular genre at bars for a long time here in Maine. I was afraid to start it back up this winter because I was afraid we might have missed that train, but I was wrong. It’s as popular as ever. Even still, I knew it was time for me to walk away.
I finished channel surfing and heated up some baked chicken which I shared with Jake. Then I washed my hands and face and climbed into bed with Jake curled up at the end of the bed. “So, now what?” I said to myself. I had put this statement out to everyone that I needed to start creating art again. I sighed with discontent as I knew that art comes from inspiration and at 3am I wasn’t feeling very inspired. Saturday, I headed out to do a little shopping. Typically, I’m not the wandering shopper type. Meaning, I typically won’t set foot into a store unless I know exactly what I want. Random shopping isn’t something I typically enjoy. However, our apartment still needed a few accent pieces. Also, my bedroom hadn’t reached its full concept yet. One major thing missing was that I needed a big piece of artwork for the wall behind my 3 foot sail boat. I was sure that I would come across an oversized print somewhere that would echo the nautical theme of the room, while also adding that much needed splash of color. So I headed out to one of those, “Holy Shit How Can All This Cool Stuff Be So Cheap” stores by the mall. I wandered through all the sections and was surprised to stumble into one full of art supplies. There in front of me were blank canvases, brushes, and all kinds of paint. I immediately realized that I wanted to paint an abstract version of an ocean sunset. I called my roommate/best friend Russ at work, since he’s quite the skilled artist, to inquire into whether I should buy oil or acrylic paint. He told me to buy acrylic and not to buy brushes because he had some. Wait…did I just find inspiration? Wasn’t it just two days ago that I said I was quitting so I could get back to creating art? Then I quickly reminded myself that buying art supplies was not creating art, it was buying art supplies with in intention of creating art.
On Sunday, after lying around all day, without much thought, I covered the dining room in newspapers and laid out my two blank canvases. I measured out the line that would be the horizon. Then I started painting. I did so with not much of a game plan, realizing that if I hated the end result I could just paint over it. Much to my surprise, about an hour later, the finished product was drying in front of a fan. To finish them off, I covered the edges in black electrical tape and immediately hung them on the wall. So for a mere $14 and an hour of my time, I was able to create some great looking art for my room. It not only adds the splash of color my room needed, but they do actually look like an ocean sunset.
There, I did it. I created art. And I did so with the inspiration of wanting to create art. I do realize that inspiration doesn’t always come so easily. A couple of thousands bouts of writer’s block has taught me that. I look forward to creating more art. Whether it be with my camera, my pen or even with a hammer and nails. The best thing about my ocean sunset paintings is how I felt when they were finished. To think, just mere days ago, they didn’t exist at all, and now they were moments captured in time by my paint brush hanging on my wall. I’ve always been very grateful for the creative talents I’ve been blessed with. I don’t take them for granted and never waste too much time patting myself on the back. I’ve always believed that the day I become complacent about my talents, God will take them away from me. I would be nothing without them.
As always, thanks for reading my musings and I encourage every one to create some art. Its good for the soul.