You’ve heard the expression Renaissance Man, right? We’ll I’ve got a friend who is a true Renaissance Woman. She’s got an energetic, enthusiastic personality, and is an artist in every sense of the word – accomplished painter, published author, singer/songwriter/guitar player, I believe she does some carpentry, as well. If you could hear me say it you might hear an immature, somewhat jealous, sing-song to my voice, but only because it seems unfair to me that so much talent was bestowed upon one skinny breath of a woman. Yet she makes me smile and laugh every time I see her, so over the years I’ve warmly accepted that she’s just got IT, baby, and how! Deb McCarroll, beautiful, sparkling hero and It Girl!
Every December she opens her house up to display an expansive home gallery, a display of originally painted iPhone covers that makes me crave an iPhone, paintings covering bookshelves and windows, every available wall surface, with everything for purchase, and this year Joe and I eagerly and aggressively, partook. Last year we missed out on a couple of pieces because we arrived late and they’d already been claimed, so we strategized this year and got there among the first, scoped out the art, made some solid decisions, had the pieces marked as sold and then relaxed, with the graciously provided snacks and wine or beer of our choice. We went for a painting that was big, bold, luscious and ripe, which we remember ogling last year, and have justified our December purchase (where, you know, we’re supposed to be filled with the spirit of Christmas giving, not buying for ourselves) by presenting it as our gift to each other, and a stunning gift it is.
Just as exciting was picking up a copy of her recently released memoir, The Long Hot Walk, accurately described on the back cover as “An off-kilter memoir with a tender heart.” Not only is she loaded with talent, but she’s filled to the brim with humor, as well; a regular roving comedienne, dang her slender hide, and you feel it, share it, in her writing, and empathize with her during the tender moments. I binged on the book over the weekend in a couple of long and luxurious sittings. It was an odd experience reading about a true coming-of-age story, in particular the story of her relationship with her mother, when you actually know the person who wrote it. I tried to read it objectively, to distance myself, but the woman I know today kept popping up in 8, 12, and 20-year old Debs, “Hiya!” and “Oh man!” popping out of her mouth with a cheery twang as it does these days. Learning of her desire to become an artist at a young age I felt like a time-traveler as I tore my eyes away from her words to take-in her artwork on our walls. When her mom gives her a guitar as a child, I had to smile, knowing I have her CD in my collection, that I was tuning several of her lovely guitars at her open house this Saturday (and playing a bit as well, but shyly, comfortable in her well-accomplished shadow).
As I approached the end of the book I felt like I’d been listening to a friend all night, which I suppose I was. When I closed the cover to pass it on to Joe, I was warmed by the thought of where and how she ended up – successful, creative, in a healthy, happy relationship, surrounded by friends, and definitely off-kilter with a tender heart.