(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city. Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge: each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place. And then I’m going to tell you about it. If you want to follow my journey, start here. Today is Day Thirty-Two.)
My office sometimes serves as a revolving door for random visitors. You know, the kind who drop in “just because.”
The “just because,” in our case, is the Office Dog. Actually, we have seven office dogs (count ’em), all in a daily rotation — a Great Dane, a Siberian Husky, a coonhound, a Saint Bernard, an English Mastiff and two cattle dogs. Some people might think they’re here to keep us safe, but really, they’re here to make life more fun.
Which they do with flying colors.
(Sidenote: I work in a pretty cool office.)
Today, one of our Random Visitors was the husband of a woman who works up the hall, and he brought his two children so they could throw the ball for our Office Dog. While the younger set raided the candy jar at the front desk and stomped on bubble wrap, I fell into conversation with him. And the next thing I knew, he was telling me about his garage band and asking me if I wanted to hear a song.
“What do you play?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t really play, I–”
“Mostly I just… growl… Wanna hear?”
He pulled out his cell phone and put it in my hand.
“This is what we’re working on now,” he said.
In a second, a wild hurricane of sound emerged from the phone — music you might classify as screamo or metalcore, something I’d not normally listen to or even encounter. And we stood there in the middle of the office in an eye-of-the-storm of flying fur and children as I listened, transfixed, hunched over the phone. Meanwhile, he sang. Or “growled.” Played air-drums. He reached for the phone again; scrolled through his files. “This one,” he said. “This one I’ve been writing for five years.”
And maybe this music wasn’t exactly my style, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Since moving to the Star City, creative community is what I’ve sometimes missed most.
I’ve struggled to find like-minded folks who share my aesthetic, although I’ve met *plenty* of people who are kind and remarkably tolerant of my occasional gushy tirades about Art and Beauty and Mystery.
And I’m realizing: maybe that struggle was one of my own making.
Because there are creative people everywhere here.
And if their tastes are different than mine — sometimes *radically* different — that might well be the best thing that could happen to me.
The wild music shuddered to a stop in my hand. I passed the phone back to our Random Visitor, and smiled.
“Thank you,” I said, feeling my smile all the way down in my chest. “Thank you for sharing the creative part of yourself with me.”
He shrugged, suddenly sheepish. “No, no. That’s what I want, you know? To get it out there. Share it.”
And I did know.
I do know.
Because that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? To express what’s inside us however we can.
And maybe that means we take pictures, or paint on canvas, or perform on a stage, or jam out with four friends in a freezing garage, growling and screaming into the mic.
Maybe it’s 1:23 a.m. and I’m still here, banging away at my keyboard. And in a minute, I’ll send my words out into the dark — not because they’re pretty or profound, but because the greatest gift we’re given is the ability to connect, somehow, with someone else.
Here’s hoping that’s what I’m doing here, in some small way, with you.
One last thing? If this resonates at all and you want to connect, I can’t tell you how much I’d love that. Drop me a line. I’m at akwilsonfellers at gmail dot com.