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Paper Rock Scissors

My pretty little storefront

In April, 2006, I opened a shop called Paper Rock Scissors in the charming little town of Rocheport MO, not far at all from my home in Columbia. It was fun while it lasted, and it was another great adventure in leading an artist’s life.

Just the other day I ran across a page of writing in which I was trying to come up with a name for the shop. That page is so full of what I will call youthful exuberance (I was “only” 55 then). Besides trying on names, I was just tossing around words and phrases that were relevant to my life, with a view to finding the perfect name. It’s a page of loose, freewheeling enjoyment of words and images, clearly showing how fun it was for me to go off in this new direction.

“Dog & Bone, carousel, poems, canoe, clouds, Moon & Stars, wishbone, French, umbrellas, heart rocks, woods, twilight, treehouse, birdhouse, dilettante, ooh la la, April, fall down laughing, pen & ink, wonderment, jazz, cat’s pajamas, great panjandrum . . . ” and lots more. I settled on Paper Rock Scissors, which appears second on the list.

Opening the shop was a very fun detour in my art world life, especially getting the shop ready and finding all the things I needed to make it into a proper shop. Here’s the thing, though. The beautiful space in an old red brick building had no bathroom, no heat, and no air conditioning! Somehow, those gorgeous tall windows and high ceilings convinced me that I could make that work! The owner agreed to put a work sink in the basement, since I wanted to move my studio space next to the showroom, but that was all. So I had to go elsewhere for the bathroom when needed, and I thought, well, okay. But no heat? And no air conditioning, with those gorgeous tall south-facing windows?? A bit crazy.

With the help of friends, I really did make that space lovely, though. And I threw a big grand opening party, during which we popped many bottles of champagne. Now and again I get the urge to open up a retail space somewhere. It could be fun!
But I did not like being tied down to open hours and a place day after day. And I did not particularly like having my studio 15 miles from my house. And then there were just so few people. I realized that I had seen fewer people in the year than I had been seeing in a weekend at a halfway decent show. If the studio hadn’t been right there, I would have been bored out of my mind.

No heat and no cooling. Difficult. I got tired of traipsing around town to use someone else’s bathroom. Dumb old reality. I closed up the shop in February of 2007, which turned out to be a lucky move, as I broke my neck that month in a car accident and was laid up for three months. Another story for another day.

So I tried something new, something I’d thought about off and on for years. It was rejuvenating and fun, and I learned a few things about myself along the way. No regrets at all. I am so in favor of taking new directions, following your heart, staying open to wherever it takes you, and changing course if need be.

What might you like to try?

“We all want to break our orbits, float like a satellite gone wild in space, run the risk of disintegration. We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.” ― David Bottoms

“Realize that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” ― Mandy Hale

“From the end spring new beginnings.” ― Pliny the Elder

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here on my blog.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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