Well, the cold has settled in at the ranch, making everything look all cozy and sparkly and holiday like. Which is nice, but it reminds me of what I should be doing. Like, I should be making my Christmas shopping list. I should be scrubbing the toilet. I should be looking up delicious and complicated recipes in Martha Stewert magazines so when we head to Thanksgiving at the in-laws’ on Thursday I can present something other than a turkey shaped cheeseball with a Rolo for a hat. I should be washing windows, cleaning the garage, brushing one of the six cats, picking burs from the horses, peeling potatoes, or tackling the ginormous pile of laundry that has built up in the bedroom and the bathroom and the basement during the past month…the past month that I have been obsessed…
Yup, I should really clean up this mess…or at least clear a path to the couch so husband can collapse in a heap of bewilderment when he gets home from work to find me, day after day, hunched over the kitchen table squeezing glue, cutting photos, scattering beads across the linoleum floor, tearing the bark off of branches brought in from the trees, slicing my fingers with my exacto-knife and then burning them before gluing them together with the hot glue gun.
Yes, I’ve been in a trance these last few weeks getting ready for what I was certain was a wonderful idea to set up and execute a photography show with one of my friends who takes beautiful photos on the other side of the Blue Buttes. Remember her? Lovely, lovely lady. One day she made the mistake of mentioning to me that she wanted to sell some of her work, not knowing that ideas like these were right up my crazy ally. I don’t blame her. She hasn’t known me long enough. She doesn’t know how I get. So I chimed in in a classic Jessie move. I jumped, scrawny arms and legs flailing, into the idea. I said “Hey, let’s do this! Let’s get it together, lets bring our genius to the masses. We got this girl!” And my friend, my dear, dear, talented, innocent friend, agreed.
And just like that I had a partner in crime and a date to take on a new creative challenge.
And just like that I regressed into my former, delusional, obsessed, manic, crafting, idea spewing, focused, sporadic self.
Picture the mad hatter, only in sweatpants and wool socks instead of the weird suit, sitting at a kitchen table in a house too small for her supplies, scissors clip, clip, clipping, flinging paper in the air around her, pieces of crusted glue stuck to her face, eyes wild with ideas, humming to herself, quietly at first and then full-out singing as the mess grows larger and the laundry piles dangerously higher.
Yes people, I’m in to the dreaded “bottom of the drawer” underwear, but have been so focused on getting out into the world what I have in my head that I haven’t really noticed the constant wedgie I’ve been sporting for the last week or so as a result.
It’s a small price to pay though, ignoring the laundry, dealing with a five day wedgie, to get it all together. At first I said to my friend, “no big deal, just bring what you have, I’ll do some music, there’ll be food, it will be chill and relaxed and you know, whatever.”
But that chill and relaxed quickly progressed into late nights sorting through the seven THOUSAND photos I have stored on my computer, agonizing over what people might like to see in print. And once that order was placed and the matting arrived and the frames were purchased and made and stacked in the corner of my small house that seems to be shrinking smaller and smaller every day, I decided, well, I think I need more. MORE! I need more frames, more matting, more PHOTOS! What if I chose the wrong ones? What if there aren’t enough pictures of horses, flowers, cowboys, sunsets, grass, berries, dogs, cats, grain bins? What if I can’t please the masses? I need to order more! And so I did, late at night with a tall glass of margarita sitting on the TV tray beside me.
And while I was at it, what the hell, I decided I should make JEWELRY! Why not. I’ve never done anything like this before in my life so why not try now…now when I have a deadline and no idea what I’m doing. That’s what instruction manuals are for. That’s what online tutorials are for. That is why the internet was INVENTED. RIGHT?!
Damn you internet for keeping me up late at night ordering more beads, typing in questions like “how do I turn my photos into beautiful and classy pieces of one of a kind jewelry that people will actually want to buy?” Damn you internet for making it too easy for me to purchase things like “organza ribbon” and “Diamond Glaze” and “glass beads” without knowing fully how to put them all together successfully to create a finished product until I have tried and failed several times…
Damn you internet for giving me false confidence that I might wake up tomorrow and become a creative, crafting, together, jewelry making, casually cool and confident artist who is master of sales and shipping and organization instead of the wild haired, overzealous, obsessed woman in glue crusted sweatpants with too many ideas and not enough time or band aids or space sitting at her kitchen table at midnight surrounded by piles of boxes and paints and scissors and barnwood and a hot glue gun she forgot to unplug having a nervous breakdown because she’s suddenly found herself alone in her greatest hour of need…
oh wait, I’m not alone…husband is around here somewhere…I can hear a whimper coming from underneath that stack of photo framing supplies…I think I see his arm..isn’t he supposed to be at work?
Anyway, this is classic Jessie. I have been wondering where she’s gone. I mean, I’ve discovered all sides of my former, childhood self since moving back to the ranch over a year ago: the nature lover, the horse obsessed, the musician, the poet… it’s about time the freak showed up.
See, I used to get in this same sort of trance back when I was a 4-Her. I would sit on the floor for hours in the evenings while my parents watched the news or Cheers or Seinfield or 20/20 and painstakingly loop yarn through colored holes arranged in a patterns. I would think to myself what a masterpiece this was going to be when it was done. How beautiful will this latch-hooked cow look up on my parents’ wall! How lovely will this fuzzy sunflower be when I have someone help me make it into a pillow! It was madness how obsessed I was. It was all I could focus on in the winter until the project was done and then I’d move on to something else, like wood burning or glueing something to something else.
So I’m not surprised this has happened to me. That much crazy could not be suppressed forever, I just had to find the right project to give her the confidence and purpose to show her sleep-deprived face. But the truth is it has always been fun for me to create something new, to do something I’ve never done before, to make plans with a new friend with the intent on sharing it with others.
But unlike the confident girl who spent countless hours latch-hooking patterns of barnyard animals, I am a little nervous about what I’m about to present to the world. I had a similar feeling when I sang a song that I wrote for the first time in public. I mean, I’ve never done anything like this before. I’d like to think most all of you can relate, especially you creative types. The idea of sharing your creations and ideas with others is both invigorating and terrifying. There is always self-doubt, always fear that you will be judged or rejected. But for me the sharing has always been a necessity. I’ve never given myself any other choice. I’m not sure where that came from.
Maybe it’s crazy. Maybe some things are best kept to myself (like when I feel the need to share with the world my issues with cow poop or dog puke or encounters with dead bats and raccoons dangling off of the deck.) But there’s something about self-expression that I cannot deny, that I feel the need to participate in. That’s why I talk with my hands even though I risk knocking over wine glasses onto stranger’s laps.
That’s why I have laugh lines and wrinkles on my forehead.
That’s why I dance, arms and legs flailing, embarrassing myself and any relatives that may be in arms length of me. That’s why I laugh loud, cry like really, really hard, kick things when I get mad, squeeze a little too much when I hug, talk a little too long.
Because I need to. I need to get it out of me with the hope that I might get it back from the world and the people that I love. With the hope that we might share ideas, have meaningful conversations, give one another feedback and maybe just laugh until we snort, dance until or feet hurt, sing until we run out of songs…
And so my friend and I will be doing these things (well, maybe not the dancing…we will see) this Friday at the Long X Visitors Center in Watford City. We will be showing those who come through how we see the world through the other side of our camera lens and offering guests a chance to hang that vision in their homes or wear it around their necks or give it as a gift.
I can’t wait to show you what I’ve made, I can’t wait to sing you some new songs and I can’t wait for you to see what my friend has in store for you.
But most of all, I can’t wait to see you there!
So yes, I should be cleaning the glue off of my floors and replenishing my drawer with clean underwear, but for now I don’t mind the wedgie…the most important thing is for me to get husband out from under this pile of projects before he finds a phone under there and calls a lawyer to start the paperwork on a divorce…because I just don’t have time for a divorce…he needs to help me build FRAMES!!!
See you Friday!
Oh, and if you can’t make it visit my Etsy store to shop for unique items for the holidays!
The Pioneer Museum invites you to relax and celebrate the season and the spirit of Western North Dakota.
“Pieces of the Prairie” Photography & Gift Show
& Pride of Dakota Food and Wine Sampling
Friday November 25, 2011
Long X Visitors Center in Watford City, North Dakota.
Original photography, frames, handmade jewelry and wall hangings by local photographers
Jessie Veeder with “Veeder Ranch Photography”
Megan Pennington with “Megan’s Red Barn Gifts”
Throughout the day
Unique food and snack items made in North Dakota
12 noon – 4 pm
An evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres
music with Jessie Veeder
Free and open to the public
Hosted by the Pioneer Museum and Long X Visitor Center
Visit tourism.mckenziecounty.net for more information