Monday, October 31, 2022

The Pitch

Saturday night, I wrote a pitch to move on our clinic website. Dyan will say no. She likes to go slow. But I am going to keep pushing and helping her to see a process that will allow us to do it. I may not succeed, but I am going to try hard. I’m not intimidated by her; I feel very comfortable in the culture of the clinic and feel good about my advocacy. Dyan shut down my idea to involve the doctors and push for a medical voice in our newsletter, but we are almost there. The docs are considering an article that I wrote for them this week. I’m an action man a doer, and I’m having an impact on the Foundation board.

My Zoom session with the BC stuttering group was as interesting and fulfilling as it always is. For one thing, I have a crush on Mohammed. Seeing him is always stimulating. And everyone seems keen on coming to Gabriola next Summer for a weekend visit. That’d be a blast. I have never met these people in person, and I really like them all.

I wrote about a pitch I made to Dyan, our soon-to-be chairperson, about creating a quick and dirty website for the Foundation. We already have a website but it’s astoundingly dull. The existing one is an archive for our Foundation. It is not at all the kind of site that supports a fundraising drive or builds community with islanders. I was sure she’s shoot me down; she moves forward slowly and thoughtfully. 

But she is coming here to my house on Friday to talk about my proposal. I am thrilled. When a person responds with a proposal to meet and talk, I am so happy and feel so respected, that the outcome of the discussion doesn’t matter. I’m so glad she’s open to discussion. So, today I’ll be writing up a proposal for a website.

But first, I’ll walk Her Highness with my friends on a very fine morning. The sky is blue, it’s a comfortable 8° and even warmer when the sun hits my back. It was such a pleasure to fetch wood this morning in the bright, clear and fresh air.

I wanted to go to Nanaimo for supply shopping this week, but I am too busy, so my visit will have to wait until next week. I’ve my first STAMMA Zoom meeting this week for which I am the administrator. And Leo, Merrill and Issa are coming for dinner tomorrow. We’re having pad Thai. Yum! And Sheba gets groomed on Friday and also that day, I pitch the new website to Dyan. 

Pi Pie

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Spectacular Speech

Saturday began with a nice walk with Her Highness on a favourite trail. It was cool, but at this time of year, any day when it is not raining is a good day. I loved every minute of our walk. The air feels so wonderfully fresh on my face, its moisture feels lovely. I felt toasty warm; the temperature had risen to 12°.

I met a woman and her strikingly handsome Poodle, a man whom I often see on the Sunday big dog walks with his gorgeous Retriever, Ollie, and Jim and Corinne and their Scottie dog, Abby. Seeing all these people, all of whom were in fine spirits, contributed to my love of the walk. Things that make me feel ‘of this place’ always thrill me.

After putting the groceries away and having lunch, I was ready for the couch and Bruno. More work had come in from the clinic, but I felt the need for ease. 

College, high school teacher (2 years), theatre training (2 years); after two years of learning about theatre, I decided I needed to learn French. I moved to Ottawa to learn how the grant adjudication programs worked, and I attended Alliance Française to learn French basics. I wrote an exam that was a route to employment with the federal government. I passed the test. Step two was in interview. I was asked what kind of job I wanted, and what ministry.

I have been proud, all my life, of how I answered her question. I told her, first, that it didn’t matter to me what ministry, but I wanted to be the right-hand man of someone important doing something important. I want to support a smart and productive senior bureaucrat. (I reconstructed what I said faithfully; this phrase, “to be the right-hand man of someone important, doing something important.” That is word, for word what I said.

That’s exactly what I am doing for Dyan and Nancy. I love the support role. I was often a leader when buds were forming on the trees. Now that all the leaves are brown. I loved the Mommas and the Poppas. I really enjoy the background. 

It’s my impression that I am speaking, with trusted friends, better than I ever have since 2016. I still have a stutter for sure, but, face-to-face, with friends, I’m good. Also, I didn’t. have a plan, but what started as volunteering for the clinic has turned into becoming a board member, writing for the Arts Council, entering a monologue festival. I talked to Beth. Sidebar: when I was living in Ottawa, friends I made had rented Beth’s family home, and when I stayed overnight, I slept in Beth’s bed. Back to my story. I talked to Beth. We’ve been friends for forever. It made me feel good that she noticed.

Perhaps it took five years to ‘get beyond’ the shock and impact of FND. Maybe I’m becoming more comfortable with the condition. What I know is this: FND is constantly morphing into different symptoms and strength of symptoms. From talking to people I know that many people wake up each day not knowing how it will go.

I think I’m going to ask Dr. Shoja for another session. I want to ask her for a letter that I can give to doctors. Doctors are regularly condescending and dismissive of my condition. They make what is for me, a bad situation, worse. They remind me of some boys and men who looked at me like I was shite because I was not a butch male. You know the words. I wonder what label the doctors put on me to make such a face and speak in such a dismissive voice. And a great way to support a new president.

Later this morning, I Zoom with my Vancouver stuttering group. I love seeing them and chatting every month. On Thursday, I Zoom with my UK stuttering group. I love that experience as well, and this time will be the first time when I am the administrator.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Our Revised Website is Done!

Friday was gloriously sunny. I was up at 6:00 and back at work on clinic business by 6:30. At 8:45, I left to meet my friends to walk our dogs in the forest and sunshine, and then I was back at clinic work by 9:45. I was firing at full cylinders until noon. I did not expect to work today, but I jumped at the chance to draft an article for the doctors, to place some international ads, and … to get our new website up and live. See our primary recruitment tool here.

After finishing the clinic work, I went for a quick trip into the village to take another shot of the skateboard park for the website, but no one was skating. Our current photograph of the park is rather dull; we want an action shot. So, off I went to get some food for the weekend and then I came home to read on the couch with Bruno—a new book. I was exhausted after a very, very busy week.

Not long after I was settled, I got a series of emails from the Arts Council that kept me busy for an hour, providing headlines for the four articles I wrote for them and changing the graphic banner to include a photograph of me (an idea I didn’t like, but something that Carol wanted).

Today is cool and cloudy with some sunny periods, but a big storm is predicted for tonight which may mean no power because big wind is a feature of the storm.  Pooey. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

A New Monthly Column

Whoa!  My meeting yesterday morning with Nancy, whom I really like and admire, was hard work. But boy did we get a lot done! It’s the second time we’ve gotten together and done the work of a driven yeoman. All our ads are written and placed, and our revised website is going live tomorrow. Our next task is working with our doctors to yield meaningful content for our newsletter. 

Once Nancy left, I took 15 minutes to feed lunch to the pets and make my own lunch, and then I was back at work doing all the homework from the meeting. All in all, I did 6 hours of solid hard clinic work yesterday, starting at 10:00 in the morning and finishing at 4:00 in the afternoon. Once done, I had to lie down. I was pooped.

Nancy told the board that she was exhausted from all the work she’s doing. She is one of the most essential and hardest working board members. The work I do for her is clearly welcome; we get along exceptionally well. I’m chuffed about helping her.

The biggest thrill of the day was the reply from the Arts Council to my proposal to write a monthly column of tips on marketing for visual artists and craftspeople. Carol, the executive director, replied YES with about a dozen exclamation marks. I’m glad because in doing it, I feel more connected to my community.

Here’s the graphic header to the column:

And here’s the introduction to the column:

I’m Chris Loranger. I was the marketing manager of Opus Framing for many years. I wrote a monthly column in their monthly newsletter on professional practice for their visual artist customers. Emily Carr University of Art & Design hired me late in my career as an instructor of professional practice. I wish I were an artist, but I’m not. Instead, I have made a career of helping artists. I inaugurated a theatre and art gallery at Presentation House in North Vancouver, produced an Artropolis exhibition that hosted the work of over 200 artists, and produces a series of lectures by internationally renowned curators of visual art. This series of articles with the Arts Council is offered in goodwill to provoke consideration of you and your visual arts career.

And here’s the first short column:

When I was teaching professional practice at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, my favourite class, by far, was the one following the issuing of this assignment:

In a short paragraph, explain the purpose of domestic display. We display things on our mantles, walls, and shelves; how does the display of your things serve you? I do not want to know what is displayed in your home; I want to know why you display the things.

The assignment helped my students to understand the challenges they face in marketing their artwork. This assignment made students think about the emotional forces underpinning the domestic display of their cherished items. Inevitably, in the discussion became focused on memory and narrative. 

Students came to realize that things on display, when noticed by visitors, triggered the release of cherished stories. Displayed objects all had stories attached to them that their owners loved to tell.

This taught my students two things: the enormity of the challenge they faced in selling their artwork. It had to compete with highly emotionally charged mementoes. Also, they learned that emotional stories attached to their work helped sales. 

Remember this lesson as you choose your subjects and when you meet potential customers at your exhibitions. Move the people who come to your shows or open studios, and they may buy.

It’s Friday. More rain showers are expected today. Yesterday was windy. Since moving here I’ve come to hate the wind. I don’t call the wind Mariah, I call it Anathema. Today is a day off. I will start a new Bruno novel by the fire mit der pets. I am so, so happy to have a day to myself to relax and reflect on my new level of involvement with my community. My friend Beth wrote to me, "Chris is back." I am, and how happy I am about that!