Sunday, March 28, 2010

Come on, get happy.

Lately, I have observed a recurring phenomenom. People are mean to each other. They seem to be disrespectful, and not at all aware of the golden rule we all learned in kindergarten - treat those as you would like to be treated. We know this. We were raised with this.

In Disney's Bambi, Thumper's said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Then there's Snowwhite's 7 dwarfs, who sang, "Whistle while you work."

And then there's the Partridge Family - come on get happy.

As a mother, I have spent most of my life wiping tears and trying to explain why people are so mean to each other. One day, I remember my five year old coming home from kindergarten crying because somebody made an ugly face at her. My advice seemed to work. I said, "Maybe she's just ugly?"

Ok, so maybe we're a little ticked off these days. I can understand why. We read the papers. But really. Are we directing this angst at the right person? And maybe we should just chill out.

When my daughters talk to me about their work woes, I often say, "it's just a job in a gas station or a restaurant. This is not your life. This is a pay cheque."

This is easy to say, but hard to accept, especially when that person is the kind of person who is engaged, and wants to be respected, even if it is in a temporary environment.

And that's really all we want. Respect. Consideration. To be listened to. To be consulted. And we want others to get in the game, instead of standing back, and ruining someone's day with negativity, sarcasm, or lack of engagement.

And if you do one thing tomorrow, choose happiness.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Love, - Always and Forever.

Tappa, tappa, tappa, ding. tappa, tappa, ding . . . an empty chair sits, angled, as if the writer had just stepped away. As I walk up to the machine, I feel like I am interrupting a moment, something that is private and in motion.

I check to see if the seat is warm. The machine types and taps, taps and types. I touch the keys, and study them to see if they are moving, while the machine carries on in rhythm to a song that has been written over time.

A letter billows out of the machine, in a state of constant motion, but not visible to the naked eye. The letter is a transmission to another time and place. Beyond this life, and into the next. A small video image on the flowing paper of a young girl tap dancing, sending a message beyond.

The letter is from a granddaughter to her grandparents who have passed on. The writer never met her grandmother - her life was interrupted by cancer at the age of 46. Her grandmother never got to live out her life with her family; never saw her grandchildren; wasn't there when her husband passed on some 24 years later.

And yet, their memory is immortalized in the hearts of her sons, and their children, through stories, sounds and music. Although the artist never saw her grandmother, and never had enough time with her grandfather, they live on through stories and memories of them dancing in the kitchen, singing and playing music, and playing in the back yard with their children on a Ferris wheel built by his hands and ingenuity.

This communication machine carries a letter from the present to the great beyond. It is the last words we wish we could have with a person we loved and lost; it is a hope and dream that a connection can be made in another time and place.

The piece, "Love, - Always and Forever," was created by Sara Armstrong. It is part of an exhibit at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. The show, "Introspection" is a collection of works created by 4th year Bachelor of Fine Arts Program graduates.