These photos are all from the 2009 show, Strengthen Me with Raisins. Back in 2007, I performed my very first Poetry Show as part of the Rogue Festival in Fresno, CA. I was 39 years old, and I floated away from my first Standing Ovation, not physically touching the ground.
These are the shows I did back in California.
2007 – Come Now I Will Test You With Pleasure
2008 – Again, You will Take Up Your Tambourines
2009 – Strengthen Me With Raisins
2010 – Every Other Beat of My Heart
The first one, honestly, I had no idea how to name it, and so I made a deal with God that I would put my finger down at random in the Bible, and name my show whatever words I discovered there. When I landed on, “Come now I will test you with pleasure,” from the Song of Solomon, I gasped, and clutched. I didn’t want anyone to think my show was seedy. I talked to a few friends, and my dad, who is a pastor, and my pastor at the time to get their opinion, and they all said to go with it. As it turns out, God was a really good Marketing Guy that year. More people showed up to my poetry show than I could have imagined, and many said they didn’t normally like poetry, but thought they’d give it a try – the title was intriguing.
The second and third shows were also named after obscure verses of scripture which had also been incorporated into poems. The last show was a quote that Scott used about me when he was describing how much he loved me to a client. He said, “She is every other beat of my heart,” and I realized that he may be more of a poet than I’ll ever be. He says gorgeous things. I just observe and write down what I see.
Then, we moved to Oregon in 2010, and as much as I wanted to drive down to Fresno to continue participating in the Rogue Festival, it wasn’t possible. It has been four years without a show. Then, last week, I saw a Call to Artists for a new Fringe Festival in Ashland, Oregon – which is just a hop, skip and a jump from here. As I was reading up on it, I found that they want Combinations – two or more artistic expressions in each show. So, I asked Ben if he would like to do a show with me combining his Paper-craft and my Poetry. He said Yes!
This will be our first show together. He has so much to display, so much of his heart and his focus and determination to create. He wakes up every single day with a plan and will focus on it until he creates what is in his head. There is art all over our house, lining every hallway. His art supplies are everywhere as well, he stuffs the laundry room with cardboard. If he’s shopping with me, any grocery store worker he sees carrying empty boxes, he’ll stop and say, “Can I have those please? I’m an artist.” And always, without fail, people hand over their cardboard to him and ask him about his art.
The deadline for submissions is tomorrow, and I’m still trying to come up with a title. We have thought of all sorts of things, and nothing is screaming to me – “Yes! That’s It!” yet.
At first, Ben and I thought we could name our show 9:47 – representing his age and mine at the time of our first show. But, Scott is vetoing the name 9:47 as too basic. I am wracking my brain for a good title. What a crazy-making proposition – to try to encapsulate in two or three words the art and poetry surrounding and encompassing the two of us. Ben is both mentor and muse to me, as well as daily strife. I have until tomorrow to come up with something.
Of course, Ben wants it to include “The Amazing…” as part of the title.
For most of today, I’ve been going round and round in my head, and on scratch paper, trying to come up with a title. Finally, I pulled for some inspiration and read about laughing in the face of struggles. Rather than stress about this, I want to refocus my energies on coming up with words that come to my mind when presented with a big pile of paper. I can’t wait to fill it. Ben can’t wait to cut it or fold it into a sculpture. He sculpts. I scribble. Ah!
Sculpt & Scribe
Son, Mom, Paper-craft, Poetry
Benjamin Garner & Liesl Garner
What do you think?!