There were certain things I wanted to see in place for the opening that night. I was exhausted, running on too little sleep (I had worked on site till 10 the night before and come home wired) and these magic green Chinese pills from a friend that were thankfully drying up the last of the cold that wouldn't die.
It was the kind of state where the slightest irritation feels unbearable - someone talking too loudly too near you in the hall, someone asking you how you're doing when you're obviously in a frenzy - I had no reserves to handle anything more than the work I was doing.
It's amazing how the vision of something can drive you forward...
I kept working till 4:30. The opening was at 6. I kept telling myself this was unnecessary - no one could possibly know what I had in my head that I wanted to see, and besides, the whole point is that this is a work in progress - yet at the risk of feeling like I was cramming for midterms, I kept at it till the emergency cutoff time sounded on my phone and I forced myself to climb down off the vending machine where I was working. Stubborn I guess, or just plain excited about my idea, despite the exhaustion.
I made it home on the bus, showered and changed into the dress version of what has become my default look of a black miniskirt, black/gray top, black boots and tights or for this occasion, macro polka dot nylons. I felt myself slowly reviving and shifting into opening mode.
What a night. The University Heights folks did a beautiful job of making the place welcoming and warm, with a hearty food and drink table and a nice display about the project and the center. The sounds of live jazz guitar drifted from the landing on the stairs. People began trickling in and by 7:15 or so there was a wonderful crowd and a buzz. It was especially good to see so many of my students, several of whom had contributed their skills and hours of their time to the project.
I know it's a good opening when I don't take a single picture. I wish I had but for once, it didn't even occur to me. I was too busy talking and enjoying myself.
It was a huge milestone and I've been recuperating the past couple of days, getting ready to go back in for the next phase. The piece is well on its way but as the gigantic three-dimensional painting I envision, its many parts are not quite yet doing what I want them to do.
It will take many more hours of work to see if I can close the gap between my idea and my realization of it. It's never an entirely closeable gap and things keep morphing, but I'm going to keep going till I emerge with some version of the plan that satisfies me. What more can an artist do?