Last FL Signing / What I Miss About Florida / What I Don’t / Home

Had a great crowd in Fort Lauderdale last night, but then I’m fortunate, as I’ve never had a bad one. To be honest I’m not sure they exist–not for the sort of thing I do anyway.

I love helping to create a sense of cameraderie with groups of artists who, upon showing up, are strangers to each other. At first there’s that initial discomfort that you get with any gathering, then you begin to ask questions and crack jokes, then to draw them in, then the next thing you know they realize they’re all facing the same adversities, they all have much in common, and they all want to learn. Once you establish that vibe, the unity forms, the energy level shoots up, and baby that’s when you can really teach. God I do love it.

I’m done with Florida for now. Ten days there, new friends all over the joint, temptations avoided, returning home with honor intact. Yeah I know you’re not supposed to discuss that stuff, which is why I do. Sure there’s temptation; certain situations arising at certain signings, where things could so easily click. But you gotta think about what matters in the long run, and taking proper care of everyone, no matter how hard that might be. Uh, wrong choice of word: I mean difficult.

What will I miss about Florida? The variety of races, the insanely beautiful weather, the sight of a palm at sunset, the smell of brine, the roar of Miami night life, the quiet of the Everglades, the drawbridges, and the kindness of so many natives (even if many of them do have New York accents). What will I not miss about it? The freaking traffic, the unbalanced obsession with appearance in certain quarters, the thoughtless sprawl of certain parts of certain cities, the over-development of of nearly every inch of land anywhere near the sea, and the plethora of SUVs.

I caught a plane at 8:00 a.m., landed in KC at 12:00. Grey January weather, a little snow, sight of my breath in the cold air. Fine by me. Went straight to the gallery. Stack of mail, stack of messages, had to consult on a large stainless steel sculpture (client purchased), and arrange installation for a huge work in blown glass. After that, home at last: the enormous love of my family, a German Shepherd going nuts, a quick workout, a quiet bath while reading Smithsonian, and by God a bourbon.

Tonight? My wife and I on the town. La Bodega down on the Boulevard; Spanish joint, it’s my favorite restaurant. Calamari in a saffron sauce.

Later? Oh, my wife and I have a lot of catching up to do. No hurry in that though; it’ll be a late night. Damn, how I do love life! These times are so good, it makes me wonder when I’ll face rough times again. Sooner or later we all do. No one gets away without it.

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