I only made ten bucks all weekend.
Now I have to tell you, this has been a day of miracles. Absolute miracles.
I woke in great distress about a handful of troubles. Washed the Miata, which meant facing the bumper but the car needed a wash, and even used Bob’s vacuum cleaner. So worried about what might fall off though.
Then I bit the bullet and wrote the landlord about being late. I only made ten bucks all weekend. I worry a lot about the landlord’s feelings toward my tenancy. He had been stunningly thoughtful, the gallery rent has stayed HALF since I’ve been here and I will never find any place to live so sweet and cheap as this, plus my garden. Or as benevolent an owner.
I went to the gallery to paint. I thought, I will WILL WILL sell paintings. Went back to the bungalow at noon and landlord had not responded to my email. Increasing gloom and despair. I went back to the gallery and thought, okay, this is foolish, I just have to give the gallery up. I’ll figure out something somehow, but it’s depressing and extravagant and I just simply do not have a business anymore. Well that was pretty emotionally tearing me up. I went outside to the mailbox for some air. At that very second a couple drove up who have been keenly interested in Trevor’s Treasure Island but had decided against it about a month ago. And there they were!
I had lowered the price a couple of hundred bucks in emails back and forth the past two weeks but they hadn’t responded. And here they were! They’re Chinese Americans I think. They’ve bought a lot of paintings from me, I even did a blog on them called The Returning Customers. Mostly Calla Lilies. And C____, the wife, really loves my work. (M____ is more circumspect and less effusive.) C____ is reserved but speaks about her feelings. And she was so moved, even the first time, at Trevor’s Treasure Island.
She said, There’s a child’s playground, immersed in nature and no computers or distractions. Something for her grandchildren to inherit, to see now, to learn from.
Oh John. Well I was awash in tears. It’s not only going to someone who loves it and understands it. It’s almost as if it waited for them. And I’ll know where it is. It really is a beautiful painting. I was pretty sure it needed to leave me though I’ve been concerned about where it would go.
And C____ also bought the new one, the orange/yellow tulips in the blue vase with the blue background. Incredible.
Tulips in Blue Glass w/ Fruit
I think I was in shock most of the day. I emailed the landlord, saying he should ignore the pathos of the previous email because the ship came in. I stopped in at the local gas station run by two Sikhs who are very Americanized and like Brooklynites and one of them fixed the bumper in a second with a baggie tie! Tight as new! For Free!! What a time I was having. I ran to the bank in Carmel. The post office with the rent checks. Then groceries at Safeway, and man I was out of EVERYTHING.
I should have more faith. And just so you know, your faith in me has been justified. Everything changed in a matter of minutes. And the landlord wrote back, thanking me for keeping him up to date on what’s happening, wishing me well, and hoping the rest of the year is just as good.
It’s the only thing that really has ever been missing from here, actually having a going business to support me. It really doesn’t require keeping up with anything like the overhead in Big Sur, and who knows, maybe I can actually do this now.
Maybe I can.
Barbara did always live on the edge, but it usually worked out. What a relationship the two of you must have shared to have so much of her writing.
We wrote each other almost daily for half a dozen years, ¾ of a million words according to Microsoft Word stats. She trusted me to document her life & work, opened herself up emotionally to me, and I feel a sacred obligation to share Barbara with the world. I expect within the next six months to have completed a modest biography of Barbara, which I will publish and – to Barbara’s eternal delight – give away free.
Thanks. She spoke highly of you and many other friends who were always there for her.