Friday, October 17, 2003

Halloween is less than two weeks away, and I've been working away on my costume.

I'm not going to say what it is, one not to jinx my progress, and two, just in case I'm not able to pull it all together. The good part is, I've been wanting a project for some while, and Halloween always provides exactly that. The part I love about Halloween costuming, is the treasure hunt that it sends you on. And like elusive gold that was buried years ago, when you uncover what you are looking for the rush is intoxicating. Depending on your costume, that treasure can be anything, and the search sends you into the basements of the most eccentric vintage shops, walking among stuffed mongooses holding cobras in their mouths, coffins, young employees clad in black 60's style mod suits excitedly tinkering away at the turntable they just acquired from an estate, fine tuning the speed to match the RPM listed. Hearing the sounds of the Beatles Hard Day's Night warping from too slow to too fast, as if the notes and sounds were on a rubberband. All objects that were never supposed to sit next to each other, like samurai swords, modern Danish bowls, vinyl miniskirts, rosary beads, crosses, and opium pipes. Feather boas, ivory cigarette lighters, kimonos, Levi's jeans, wedding dresses, pill box hats, and switch blades with ivory handles.

Their origins, times and backgrounds as jumbled as the people we come across. Because of modern travel, our chances of crossing paths are increased but no less bizarre. And so here we all are, together. Along with the possessions we bring with us and eventually leave behind for whatever reason.

Along with the treasure hunt, I've enjoyed the hands on work. I had no idea what a large project it was, but it's certainly taken over my apartment and free time. Not out of task, but out of enjoyment. I don't even remember how I chose this subject as this year's costume, but now I'm in the middle of it. I look forward to working on it when I get home, and seeing what creation emerges from my hands. My mind works so much better when they are in use. Thoughts run more clearly, my intelligence surfaces much more frequently, and any cloaks of insecurity I wear are shed and left in a rumpled pile on the ground. I am Queen of the Costume, and though I've never attempted anything like this, I know exactly what I'm doing.

It also reminds me that I am doing exactly what I set out to do when I chose to come to Baltimore. As I wait out the sagging economy, I am exploring and testing skills that have sat in the corner of a dusty attic. Much like that employee who pateintly worked to bring the turntable back to its glory, I'm in the process of polishing those skills and testing out the moving parts. By doing this, I have enabled myself to think about career tracks that I once thought were beyond my reach, or for "other people." I'm not saying that I'll go down a particular road, but this process has certainly enlarged my thought space, giving me a little more room to move around.

Yesterday, I went into the store again to show my mom around. We went into the basement, and the turntable was operating flawlessly, playing music that filled the room with the warm, rich sounds from vinyl that only it could bring to life. Though facing a daunting task, the employee had not given up on that old dusty machine.

And nor will I when it comes to restoring my own treasures.

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