Of Soles and Feathers: Walk in My Shoes

February saw the second Synkroniciti event, themed Walk in My Shoes. It was a great time to recharge batteries and share new creations.

We began a wide ranging conversation touching on, among other things, art, family, ghosts, spirituality and work. The expression of selfhood and its impact on relationships was the center of our musings. This eventually lead us to speaking of teenagers and our own teenage years, and we continued with a reading of Sister Godzilla, a chapter from Louise Erdrich’s masterful novel, A Plague of Doves.

Evelina has a new teacher. Sister Mary Anita has a large toothy jaw and Evelina, lost in a daydream in class, makes a drawing of “Sister Godzilla”, not realizing that the Sister is looking over her shoulder. Erdrich’s honesty, matched by her riotous and impish sense of humor, are disarming and inviting as Evelina’s cruelty is changed into empathy. Here is the moment of transformation, which comes after a humorous and yet serious exchange between the two women. The evasive humor drops away, replaced by naked awareness.

“Can I go now?” 

“Of course not,” said Mary Anita.

I was confounded. The magical two words, an apology, had dropped from my lips. Yet more was expected. What?

“I want you to understand something,” said the nun. “I’ve told you how I feel. And I expect you will never hurt me again.”

Again the nun waited and waited, until our eyes met. My mouth fell wide. My eyes spilled over again. I knew that the strange feelings that had come upon me and transfixed me were the same feelings that Mary Anita felt. I had never felt another person’s feelings, never in my life.

“I won’t do anything to hurt you,” I babbled in a fit of startled agony. “I’ll kill myself first.”

“I’m sure that will not be necessary,” said Sister Mary Anita.

After the reading, Kelly showed some beautiful prints she had made recently using the soles of old shoes. The prints were inspired by a fascinating pendant made by her son when he was in third grade. You can see that the first one is light and tentative; the second, rather like a flower’s corona, is aggressive and darker; and the third, which may evoke snakes, coffee beans, or strings of beads,  is a play between the two. You can’t tell this from the pictures, but the prints also had a lovely texture. We don’t think about the patterns on the bottoms of shoes and the surprising variety and beauty in their design.

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I was very excited to present two pairs of my old shoes converted into art objects. One pair of high heels that became uncomfortable over time is now a pair of Party Shoes. I like to think of them as Shoe Drag Queens, beautiful and flashy with glitter, flowers, feathers and ribbon. A pair of boots, lightly worn because the arch was in the wrong place for my foot, became Nesting Shoes, earthy representations of nests with wings. They were so much fun to make that I had to force myself to stop (I have a couple more pairs of old shoes).  You can read more about my process and my interpretation here. They are somewhat kitschy and very striking. I would love to make more of these for people…it can be an interesting way of preserving a favorite shoe. I am fairly sure this is the only time I’ve ever felt good about “putting my shoes on the table”.

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IMG_7651It was a lovely evening. Yuri came out to claim his position as official Synkroniciti Mas-cat. Those who attended our earlier Open Mics before the second and third floods in our old home will remember that his sister Lisa Sasabuki used to preside in meetings, taking an interest in art and performance. She was one of us, and she was always an encouraging and attentive critic. She passed over the rainbow bridge between the second and third flood. We miss her but still feel her big presence (especially for such a small kitty).  Yuri’s specialty is performance art, especially rolling over for tummy rubs. Younger sister Keiko Buki spent the evening in the office closet, reminiscent of Yuri in his younger days.

 

Our next gathering, which is our first Playdate (these are more active than Soirées) is March 30th and we will be building faerie houses. We made faerie houses in 2016, right before the flood came and washed them away. We are confident and hopeful that things will last longer this time. If you are in the Houston area, please come and be a part of this delightful event. It is my absolute favorite!

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