“I’ve been preparing all my life to make a giant fringe.” Becky Blades
I collect interesting things. Or should I say I “accumulate” things that have the potential to become interesting. My studio is stacked with books, boxes, machine parts, doll appendages and fabric samples that are a mere Saturday afternoon away from becoming important works of art. Only slightly more attractive than the hoarding neurotics you see on reality television, my accumulations are a strange artistic nesting process of which I am not necessarily proud. But occasionally, my neurotic preparation meets stARTtistic opportunity.
Take this year for example. My teenage daughters’ school drama department was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s a big honor and an expensive proposition. As soon as he received the invitation, the theatre department head pulled together some of the historically most helpful parents to brainstorm about ways to organize and raise money for the trip.
I don’t want to brag, but I contributed the most.
Someone on the committee: “What are we going to do to raise money?”
Me: “I love fringe. We should make some fringe.”
Someone on the committee: “But what are we going to do to raise money?”
Me: “It could be a very fun, artistic fringe. Not just your run-of-the-mill fringe.”
Someone else on the committee: “Hmm. Nice idea. What are we going to do to raise money? We need big money.”
Me: “We could make a really BIG fringe.”
Someone else on the committee: “But how would that raise money?”
Me: “We could sell parts of it. We could sell sponsorships to big parts of it. It could be the stage set. It could inspire educational forums . . . I mean do our kids really know enough about fringe? Did I mention that we could sell parts of it?”
Someone else on the committee, thinking they would shut me down or at least shut me up:
“That sounds like a lot of work. Who are we going to get to make a big fringe?”
Me: “I’ve been preparing my whole life to make a big fringe.”
I actually said those words. I said them with delight and arrogance and certainty. I said them after walking into that room telling myself that there was no way – absolutely NO way – I was volunteering for anything this year. I gave my 110 percent last year; it’s someone else’s turn.
Serial stARTists will understand completely. I had the idea, and therefore the opportunity, to make a giant fringe. It seemed like something that had to be done. I had no choice. I had heard a calling. I took the job. At most, I figured, this could be a life-changing adventure, at the least, it would be a handy bridge for stagnant cocktail conversations: “oh . . . that reminds me of the time I was making a giant fringe . . .”