Saturday, July 11, 2020

"A Conversation About The Arts From A Nurse's Perspective!"

Last night, I fixed myself a great meal. It was a capellini style spaghetti with capers and anchovies, some fresh basil leaves, tomatoes and such. It was great. I finished off of half bottle of merlot which mellowed me out. I planned to watch the Broadway film version of Hamilton, but I never got that far.

When Disney asked for a password, I got pissed and cancelled the whole scene. Maybe tomorrow, or is that today?

Anyway, Sunday morning, I got up and took Pierre for a long morning walk before either of us had any breakfast. After our quarter mile walk around the bird sanctuary, I washed a batch of clothes, gave the dog his flea and tick med along with his food, then, fed the birds.

I made a pot of coffee and a, what I call, my "monkey salad." It consists of a quarter of a fresh cut pineapple, a mango, raisins and one banana. I usually add a few roasted peanuts, but I ate them all up watching a ballgame from the 2019 year, the other night. Once I start shucking and eating peanuts, the game has lost all meaning until I finish the bag.

Anyway, I set it all up in order to have breakfast with the program CBS Sunday Morning. I used to like the program with Charles Karult and late Charles Osgood. Nowadays, not so much.

I finished my breakfast and split for a piece of sanity at Giddity-Up. I had hoped to have a cup of coffee and read my new book, but as luck would have it, I met my clay throwing maniac, Craig Mcmillin. I knew him as a mentor to our son before I ever knew him for a ceramicist par excellence that he is. He was delivering some new mug designs for sale at the coffeehouse.

I'm happy to say that two of my SoCal friends brought one of his designs.

Among other topics of discussion, I asked him about his beginnings as an artist/ ceramicist and just how he arrived at the decision that this was gonna be his gift to humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip into his past to share his trials and tribulations along the way. For me, it was a 20 ounce cup conversation.

Craig was quite forthcoming, and I tried to be!

He had to learn how to turn his passion into a business to make it work... I think he's succeeded.

I was motivated to inquire about his "salad days" when one is young and inexperienced because one of the many nurses I have met along the way from one hospital after another, made the jump from a fine artist to a registered nurse. It seemed such a big jump from one side of the brain to another... if you believe in that sort of thing.

Nicole had finished her BFA in fine arts, but had no idea where to go after graduating. She was a ceramicist and knew that it would take a big investment in her career before she ever made a name or a profit for herself.

Drifting around from one idea to another, Nicole went back home to collect her thoughts. It took a year or so to decide that the best way to make a living as an artist was to get a Master's Degree and teach.

Her parents tried to help her with some decision. Eventually, she figured that if she had to back to school, that she might as well go back and get a degree in something more practical... like the medical field. Unlike Craig, who was determined to make it as a ceramicist, Nicole could not find any logic that, as a teacher, she would just perpetuate that familiar conundrum.

"Wow," I said. "That's a really big jump to go from the right side of the brain to the extreme left... Extreme, in my mind," I reiterated.

"I loved the arts, but I couldn't see any way to make it work for me," she said. It would have been such a big investment with no guarantees!"

I asked Craig what his thoughts were about Nicole's decision. We both felt that we had little or no options, but were determined to make it work. Nicole, in her mind, did have options!

Funny, the things that make us who we are, or who we think we are.

As Therese and I had done at St.Tammany Hospital with nurses like Megan Thibodaux, we grew to know and become friends with people we may never, ever see again... like Nicole.

As I was to tell her about my conversation with Craig, she made an announcement that not even her aid knew about.

"I'm sorry to say that today will be my last day here with you, Mrs.Therese and at Ochsner's. My husband finished his residency here and is being transferred to Michigan." It will be great because I'll be closer to my family though I will miss all the friends here at the hospital."

"Ya see? Therese said. "Women want to be close to their family!"

It was at that moment that I decided to do a sketch of her before her day was done. I politely asked if I could snap a photo of her and her partner, Claire.

They both agreed that it was okay and gave me a quick pose. By quitting time, I had them both completed. Both done in Prismacolor and in gratitude for a job well done, and one, to celebrate the move and time we had together.

First cup...

Copyright 2020/Ben Bensen III

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