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  • Writer's pictureTom

The Inability , to Schmooze.

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

The art of the Schmooze with out knowing exactly what it meant to: converse informally : CHATalso : to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner especially so as to gain favor, business, or connections.

I began to get an understanding that I was not good at this , this Schmooze thing ,about 9 years ago, at one of my first Showings at the Hard Rock Cafe. I had a friend come to visit me while I was there, ( this was at a time when I would invite people to shows, until I realized I felt uncomfortable talking about myself or felt I might be thought of as showy ). My Friend was, in the theater, ( he is drag queen) and he was theatrical and personable and interesting and full of life , he would bring people into the space, introduce them to me and then bring them to my paintings with me. It was seamless and wonderful to watch . The second time was of similar circumstances, a friend who was gregarious and charming, did what I could not. I wanted to hire these people and I said out loud, " I need to hire someone to be me ". Well this was revealing in that I did not want the acclaim or attention I wanted my work to speak for itself . It doesnt it needs drag queens ( we all are in some sort of drag mine is of a bookish old accountant) I looked at these people with such admiration, me the guy kicking the linoleum over behind the column.

I went to NYC last year for a show at the Leslie Lohmans Prince St Gallery . It was a solo show , well supposed to be a solo show, in part because of fear, I made it a group show . Fear of not being good enough , for thinking "I Over stepped my bounds" , fear that I couldn't fill a show , fear to invite people because they wouldn't show up , fear to sound full of my self and to have to talk about myself. Ill admit it , I have a lot of fear.

I was told fear is Lack of faith , a mild form of atheism,fear is self centered . I'm a Alcoholic in recovery, I dont think much of myself but I'm all I ever think of. I lack faith in the universal plan the natural order. Yup . And when I realize that's what is happening and I am able to say " its all going to be just as it is supposed to be, your not driving this ship", I have a momentary veil of peace fall over me . I re center. It is Short lasting yes. Its like those crank flashlights, unless you keep cranking the light fades , well peace lasts for moments and need to be recharged , and sometimes, ya many sometimes, I forget what peace feels like and I say "oh fuck it I don't need to recharge it,I feel fine, ( this is the same voice btw that says "don't get up and get the roller brushing ou tthis entire floor with a two inch brush is fast enough") .

Oh ya the show in NY , I was uncomfortable, but I was lucky to have a friend co host with me and some social media friends come in to support me ( Thanks !) But the thing I noticed was the people that Leslie Lohman invited which were a lot , showed me , you are not cut of the same cloth. Its not a dis on any one , if anything it more self deprecating then anything , (I'm good at that). The room was filled with air kisses and people who specialized in being looked at who could capture a room when walking in with their theatrics, cave man fur coats and boots , feather boas and strange hats. It is another level of " look at me" that I fell way short of ever attempting because to be honest I sold myself short I know about "Look at Me" tactics but what Iearned was from an 1979 honcho magazine that I stole and I stopped there .

My estimation of it all . I can never be an air Kisser "Daahling Sweety lets meet up with Demi and have drinks " cult of personality , Personality . I would not mind a little of that , I would not mind having a personality that did not need to distract by throwing attention at someone else because I was not certain of what to say . Beyond hello I am without a script .

Here is my theory. when I started drinking I stop growing emotionally and mentally . I sold myself short, and cute was good enough, as I got physically older, handsome was enough. I watched a super hero tv series once and this one guy had the ability to move at the speed of light. he used his ability to be a card shark, scam people with shell games and card tricks. I could have been a super hero but i stopped trying . We all are super heroes and I maybe some of us sell out at some point because we are afraid this is it, its not going to get any better. When your a little kid the bar is set low when you are teaching your self how to cope with life , when you are the only one collecting tools to deal with adversity your bar is low and what works for a 11 year old doesnt really work as an adult . So I stopped growing and now this kid is the one at the shows incredibly uncertain , unsure and feeling out of his depths , I learned and try to practice with this self knowledge this, when someone looks like they are arrogant or an asshole they may be uncomfortable and dealing with the situation with dull tools they maybe more scared then they let on and there silence is a wall that keeps them safe .

I found this link after writing this . it was helpful :)


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