Monday, September 9, 2013

A ribbon and a challenge

"The heart will bring you home again, the heart does not forget."

Celebrating success. I won third place in the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Flamework Bead Category.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it?! I may have to go to the Fair for the first time ever, just to see my ribbon.

For the life of me, I don't know why I didn't take a photo of my entry. In fact, I can't remember which bead I sent. I just picked out a bead, filled out a form, wrote a check for $4, and mailed it to meet a short deadline.

On July 21, I got this note from Sam Hibler of Dream Fire Glass in San Antonio. I know her through ISGB and I'm on her studio mailing list.
I just wanted to make you aware of this opportunity. I know it is very short notice.The Grapevine Bead Society worked very hard to get a Flamework Bead Catagory and they need more people to apply to keep this category available. I was ask to let my students and subscriber know.

July 26 applications are due and must be in the hands of the folks of the Creative Arts Dept. for the State Fair of Texas. We need at least 10 applications entered to keep the Flamework Bead category available for future fairs. Check out for all the details.
The website was mammoth. I spent some time on it and emailed Sam back.
Hey Sam - that's quite a website. I'm lost. Where is the Flamework Bead category? Is this an art exhibit entry? It's not a booth space, right?
She got right back to me.
Liz - I was as lost as you are. You have to look at the application form online. You enter a bead and then they win state fair ribbons. No booth. Look on page 3 of link below. Catogory C140. Good luck if you enter!
I'm happy. Even if there were just 10 entries, I'm happy.

The State Fair runs Sept. 27 - Oct. 20. Weather should be nice in October.

I just completed Heather Trimlet's 40-bead challenge. A group of us are doing it and it's been fun to watch everyone's progress.

Here are the rules:

Choose two colors of highly contrasting opaque glass. Use only these two colors. Heat and gravity are your only tools. Make 40 beads, about 1/2”–5/8” in diameter, using dots only as a decorative element, melting all dots in. Make only 5-6 beads at a time and take a break, work over a series of days.

I chose Tongue Pink and Silver Brown for my two colors. Here's my completed set.

I'm also experimenting with my photography. I moved my photo set-up to have room for better lighting. I just tried that silver background (a page of scrapbook paper from the craft store). Not sure how I feel about it yet. I might look for some frosted clear glass to lay over it.

Just because it was so much fun, we're starting a second challenge round, same rules but using three colors. I'm going with Silver Pink, Nyx and Red Copper Green.

And now, back to that euphoric, innocent, ill-fated, star-crossed summer of '01. After knowing of my existence on the planet for 16 days and having met me in person 8 days earlier, Marty told me he loved me. It was insanity.

If felt great. And it felt terrifying.

If I remember right, after spending that first night with him, I went home for a few hours on Sunday, then I went back to his place. He asked if I had had lunch and I said no, so I sat at his little kitchen table and he stood at the small center island and made me a turkey sandwich.

I said, I wasn't used to having someone fix me lunch and do you know what he said? He said, get used to it.

He also told me a story. The events took place more than 20 years earlier, after he'd been married just a short time. He and his wife were working for a big utility company in upstate New York. Marty had an opportunity to go to graduate school on a scholarship, along with the offer of a teaching assistant position with a small salary. It would have meant moving to a different city and living on less money for at least a couple of years. His wife was adamantly opposed and (according to Marty) told him, if you go, then this marriage is over.

He said, it was a new marriage, I didn't want to give up on it, so I didn't go.

There were tears in his eyes, damn it.

How could my heart not go out to him? When I would have gone anywhere with him at any time.

On Monday he wrote me this amazing, creative work of writing. I've abridged it. Seriously.
I fell out of bed this morning.

Well, what I really mean is that I got out of bed and immediately fell in love with you all over again. I peeked through the blinds and saw another beautiful dawn shaping up, a sliver moon, and (I think) Venus glowing down on us.

Countless mornings, I have awakened with nothing but longing - longing to share the dawn with a soulmate, longing to look in my heart and find the same kind of warm glow - and an ache because the kindest love I could find in my life was ever across some huge gulf. So many barriers, so many issues.... so much sadness wherever I looked.

Today the longing is still there, but the ache is gone, replaced by joy and anticipation because you are here and you make me feel so loved. Longing and joy make wonderful harmony, Lizzy - and it makes me positively giddy to think you want me, too. Yes, I long for you - I think that's one of love's gifts, and I hope we never lose that.

For now, suffice to say that you are the most incredibly wonderful surprise I have ever had.

And, yes, I do remember the story of Ruth. The question you voice is one of the haunting ones about my long and otherwise loving, formative relationship with Mary. I stayed in that relationship longer than most men would have, I think, believing she wanted to be with me but had her own issues and baggage to clear before she could.

There were so many qualifications, so many other people and needs in her life that feel like they crowded me out. I came away questioning how much I really meant to her. It also hurt to let go of the good parts, but it was time. I cared deeply for her, and as long as we were in the same town it was just very hard to let go.

Enough of that. I consider that relationship a bridge. It's part of how I got here. But it wasn't going anywhere, and I am.

And I love where I am... You are such a gift, Lizzy - my own wonderful surprise.
I literally hurt from happiness.

He wrote to me again that Monday.
Darling Lizzy,

The mere thought of you makes my heart sing and my face smile... Thank you for finding my life and sharing yourself so deeply with me! I have fallen hopelessly and madly for you.

Your lover... your Marty
On Tuesday he wrote this.
Good morning, Love...

I was thinking of you this morning (but then I think about you pretty much all the time!) when I was getting dressed and had my new Sarah M CD on. What a mellow, romantic collection! Her voice is so sublime, and so are the compositions. I’m afraid if you were there and that music were on we might both be late for work.

Can’t wait to talk with you later. Hugs, kisses, caresses, tender glances, smiles.... and more....
I played into it.
Marty, my angel, make me late for work ... please ...
Wednesday brought this from him.
It means so much to me that you're there to listen. Thank you for your presence and your touches and your quiet, peaceful voice. I do hear it through the noise... and I do feel loved. I hope you feel my love as well, darling.... stay with me, please..... I want you.

Your Marty
I wrote back.
I will be there as much as I can, as long as you want me to be there. I want to say so much more. I understand so much more.
Then there was Thursday. (I promise, this doesn't go on much longer but this one is a powerhouse. Even condensed.)
What wakes me early?

My unfinished business, a chorus of aches, tapping on my window, shaking me (gently or sometimes not so) by the shoulder, splashing cool water on my face and bidding me rise before the sun. Most mornings, they are hauntings, ghosts of another day's, another year's sad news - or phantoms born of anxiety over some coming day's war.

But today, my Liz, today.... It is still dark outside, but there is something rising, bright and warm, emerging here in my heart and flowing through my body. We are not finished either - thank God....

Thank you for life, darling Lizzy.... Thank you. I am so in love with you....

Yours.... truly. Your Marty
Sometime during this week he asked me to tell him I loved him. What made me do it? I'll never know.

I had this crazy, other-worldly sense that we hadn't just connected by chance, that we had a history together, that we had somehow recognized each other rather than just meeting for the first time.

I was in some ramped-up, breathless, chaotic, hysterical, romantic state. I remember thinking I'd be glad when the intensity deescalated a bit so I could relax and really enjoy the relationship.

On Friday I wrote this note to him.
I am so happy that you call me to say good morning every day. And hearing you say "I love you" – and being able to tell you "I love you" - is exquisite and joyous and overwhelming.

I am thinking about you, sweet Marty. I am seeing you as you stood in your kitchen in your sweats and made me a turkey sandwich, which may be the exact moment I truly fell in love with you.
Sunday he wrote this.
You are so beautiful, Lizzy, and I am so pleased with how you fit into my life! Let me sleep with your image in my dreams, if not with you!

I love you, my sweetheart.... forever yours.... Marty
Marty's oldest son came from New York for a long-planned visit. After he left to go home, something shifted slightly, subtly.

Marty wrote this.
Hello, my angel....

I'm doing better, I think, at seeing children off - which is to say I think calming thoughts through the tears now.

But when the sadness of this kind of goodbye takes hold, all of my losses and goodbyes and loneliness parade in, singing their melancholy chorus. It's almost like my fatherhood stopped evolving the day I moved out of the house, so I'm still bearing the guilt and sadness of wanting the divorce enough to cause my children pain. I have to do better at peeling the issues apart from each other and looking forward.

Meanwhile, I am more grateful than you know, my Lizzy, for the way you already touch my heart and lift my soul. I love you!
We were now about a month into the relationship. Things were about to take a sharp left turn.

One night, pretty much out of the blue, Marty told me he was grieving. For his sons. For New York. For Mary.

It was another month, however, before our relationship completely self-destructed.

"Go to sleep my darling
Lay down upon your bed
May the rhymes of childhood songs
Dance inside your head

When night time falls around you
I know that you're afraid
But the heart will bring you home again
The heart is built that way

The heart will bring you home again
It hasn't failed us yet
The heart will bring you home again
The heart does not forget

So close your eyes my darling
Close your eyes and dream
The world is full of promises
And love is all it seems

Yes, there will be the hard roads
Lead us all astray
But the heart will bring you home again
The heart is built that way

The sun will rise my darling
Glisten off the streets
So close your eyes and believe in love
And feel safe inside your dreams

'Cause no one's going to harm you
Or carry you away
But the heart will bring you home again
The heart is built that way

The heart will bring you home again
It hasn't failed us yet
The heart will bring you home again
The heart does not forget

The heart does not forget."

(Greg Trooper, Tom Russell, The Heart)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz