The lllusion of “when I have time” (in honor of Lisa Bufano)
Usually, generally, in every moment we anticipate the next moment without recognizing that the next moment may not come.
Today I looked up a friend to show her artwork to another person who I knew would love it and discovered an obituary notice attached to her name 21 days old. She was an inspiring person, a talented artist, a shining, glowing human being who took the most frustrating and difficult things and made them beautiful, challenging art.
I knew her in my program at the SMFA 11 years back. She had been an animator, but lost her fingers and her legs below the knee- so she became a dancer. A performance artist. She used her loss to create and become something new and unique. She used the lack of her legs to make constructed, sculptural legs a part of her work. She was incredible. I did not take the time to build a strong friendship with her, but each time we talked and connected, visited a museum together, etc. it was so clear how well we connected and worked together.
She wanted me to collaborate on a performance. I was pregnant when we met again in San Francisco 6 years ago and she actually found me a dance to perform in while pregnant (by virtue of being pregnant) at the Yerba Buena Center. I didn’t feel comfortable getting up on my stilts while pregnant to collaborate with her though (yes, I stilt), so I thought “later”. Just as my back injury from labor got manageable and my kid started daycare she left town for a while and we lost touch. A little over a year ago I bumped into her again. She was back in SF! We talked and “yes, let’s get together” “lets collaborate on a performance”. I didn’t seize the day. I missed the opportunity. Just the way so many days I miss seeing a friend, catching up, having dinner or going to a museum, I missed this chance to be with her and work together. It wasn’t a huge window before my MFA program and being swept up in that. I kept thinking in the back of my mind “I’ve got to get ahold of her when I’m done, this will be great.” There were moments I could have done that, could have connected, talked, planned, done. I didn’t. I was having ideas for a piece together when I looked her up again today.
She will be missed.
**later note After writing this (and having a cry) I actually got up on stilts to try out a performance piece I’d been working on for my critique class. My first one involving stilts. Somehow it felt like a little tribute and I felt like a little of her was there. I may never get to do a stilting dance with her, but it and when I do performance art on stilts, I will think of her.