It’s true, I think of the word Bookkeeper and I get a picture of a certain type of person in my mind. Mostly, someone conservative in thought and dress and lifestyle. Someone, maybe creative with numbers, but with a brain that works very differently than mine. Someone who can do what I can’t, my bookkeeping.
But every time I see my bookkeeper, Anne, those ideas crash and burn. Friday night, Anne invited Jon and me to her first ever art opening. (Jon was too sick to go, but I happily made it) She was exhibiting her Masks at the Salem Courthouse, a local arts center.
I’ve seen Anne in some of her masks before, but seeing them all together was a treat. She was an alligator in the Christmas Parade in Cambridge last year (why an alligator? I have no idea) and Sylvester the cat in the Halloween parade in Salem. Anne’s mask creativity is somewhat spontaneous. A friend calls and says they need a bird mask for a parade or some kind of performance usually with very short notice. Anne, using one of her broken fencing masks (yes, my bookkeeper is a fencer too. She travels all over the US and Canada to compete, not to win, just to compete) as an armature, gets to work with her paper mache and paint and feathers and what ever else she comes up with. And suddenly, Bookkeeper is transformed into Raccoon, four faced person or pussy cat.
I love when people surprise me, when I think I know something about someone and they send my assumptions flying. Anne is one of those people who continues to surprise me. I do not think of her as someone willing to put themselves out in public (without a mask on), yet there she was, somewhat reluctant to talk to the people looking at her work, yet doing it anyway.
I remember when I graduated with my MFA. Terrified, I had no intention of pursuing the New York art world, but I remember thinking that people in small towns need art too. And that I have come to see is true.