I almost always miss the big Columbus Arts Festival, and last weekend was no exception. This year, my absence was due to an out of town guest, quadruple graduation parties, and one very fun wedding, where I danced a lot and also tried unsuccessfully to get Joe Biederman to stop calling me “dude”. And I played softball Sunday afternoon, which was my first appearance on the field since approximately the last millennium. I could not be happier that my Sunday afternoons now include playing softball, though I cannot be sure my team feels the same way.

Facepainting, teenage style.
Facepainting, teenage style.

This weekend, however, while hunting for something to do because my sister has graced us with her presence, and I don’t want her to think Ohio is a boring state and never return… hmm… Okay, I at least want her to think that if she hangs out with her sister and her niece and nephew it’ll be entertaining, even in Ohio. Anyway, I found out the Worthington Arts Festival had not bypassed me, and so fulfilled both something-to-do-Saturday-afternoon function and finding-both-Christmas-and-next-year’s-birthday-presents-for-difficult-to-shop-for-maternal-parent function. Super cool.

According to my three relations accompanying me today, I consume enormous amounts of time at arts festivals. I disagree, of course— we were not in Worthington any longer than it takes to sit through Lord of the Rings, not that I would ever do that again unless the bribe money ran at least four digits. Here’s the reason I have a hard time walking away from festivals—my artistic abilities consist of stringing words together into something resembling halfway entertaining stories. That’s all. It’s not super complicated or even difficult, actually.

Times Square
Times Square

But today I bought a print from a woman who had designed a Kaleidoscopic camera lens. I mean, seriously? Some of them weren’t circular, the way you’d think of a normal kaleidoscope, but still, I thought that’s what I was looking at on the walls of her booth. It wasn’t until I asked her though, and then of course how that worked, and where the photos were taken, and then well, she has a few grown children and some dogs too… She had a few really cool prints with fruits and vegetables, but the only one I picked up was the non-circular kaleidoscope print of the lighted up signs of Times Square.

“It doesn’t really match anything in the house,” I said.

Michelle said, “No. But it matches you.”

True that, baby girl. True that.

I don’t usually wish I had more money than I do, except when I’m writing too-small checks to Malaria No More or the India Gospel League or the Innocence Project. I seriously don’t care that my car is older than two of my children or that my kitchen floor is almost as old as me. I mostly don’t even notice that stuff.

Here’s what I wish. For another 3,000 in the bank to buy the sculpted map of the world by a girl from Canal Winchester who spent a month building it… which I would give to Sam who just fell in love today as he did with maps and globes more than a decade ago. Or a grand for the four foot wide photograph on canvas of the rocks in the river as the water rushes over them. Or omg, even an extra 50 bucks for the old window a guy turned into a writing board that you can use with chalk markers, writing instruments I’d never heard of before, demonstrated with a funny to-do list on the window, clearly missing the obvious— that this invention would be the coolest vehicle ever for plotting out sequences of a novel.

I do have fifty bucks, but it’s probably going to the Innocence Project because they need it more, and I already have the second coolest vehicle— a bedroom covered with twenty-year-old vinyl wallpaper and a blue wet-erase marker.

I talked to that window guy—he framed his photographs in them too, and that was super cool. And the girl who made the map—some of her stuff is mass produced and on sale at Marshalls. Affordable art, I said, which was actually already on her business cards. (I am a writer.) And I talked to the woman who made some awesome steam punk jewelry that my daughter would like to own all of and the guy who blew glass balls that looked like trees had grown inside them and to the man who made my mom’s Christmas present.

And the hammer dulcimer guy. Of course. We lost Michelle, my musician, to the hammer dulcimer guy and I was sent back to retrieve her, and that ended up like going after the first person who disappeared into the basement in a horror movie. I do not generally expect hammer dulcimer players to double as comedians, but then again, that was not the first time this week I’ve been pleasantly surprised by finding comedians in unexpected places.

Point of blog entry… I was thinking that perhaps as I don’t end up buying much, although I do buy more than I used to, thanks to my ability to keep so much more of my money in the bank for the past 2 years and 7 months what with only my name being on the accounts and all… still I don’t buy that much. So how do all these artists feel about me asking them about their paintings, their locations, their technique, their ideas… And then saying, wow, well, it’s beautiful, thanks so much.

Is that annoying?

Then I thought, if someone wanted to borrow my novels or get them on the days I give them away, or even just read some of these random thoughts I spill out here… and then say, wow, I really liked the way you said that… Thanks so much… and then walk away?

I’m so totally cool with that.

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