It was one of my first New York Stationery Shows. The Javits Center overwhelmed me, as did the two floors of vendors waiting to ply their wares. The show lay out encompassed more than fifteen times the square footage of the downtown core in which I conducted my business. I was one of the largest employers in the small town I was from. Here, I was clearly one of the smallest fishes in a relatively large stream.
My booth set up was simple and I finished a day in advance of the schedule. No flashy pre-fabricated walls. In fact, nothing flashy at all. Just me and my work. So the simplicity bought me an entire walk around day in Manhattan that I hadn't anticipated. Most of the memories of that day are just ripped fragments of paper, the best falafel I'd ever eaten in my life, the burn on my thigh from resting on the stoop of a brownstone. Among the shreds of incomplete memories is one vivid picture.
Wandering the streets of Greenwich Village. Mired in thoughts of all the authors and artists whose footsteps I was inadvertently following...one door captured my attention. Then and now. In gilded letters on the glass pane of the door, just like a law office or an accountant, appeared THE CHURCH OF THE EXQUISITE PANIC. I never wanted to know about the church than the thoughts that the name conjured up*. And the name rose up in my experience whenever I was on the cusp of giving myself over, utterly, to some anxiety about a moment that was not "now." Without tithe or formality I enrolled myself in the Church of the Exquisite Panic by resisting the temptation to inquire further.
That is, until today. When I read Janet Conner's (author of WRITING DOWN YOUR SOUL and instructor of the process of Soul Writing) newsletter declaring she has finally found her religion. Perhaps someday, when I'm sauntering the hot May sidewalks of Manhattan I'll come upon a door that leads to Janet's religion, "The Church of the Exquisite Amazement." Perhaps. The great news is this, I'm already a member!
If you would like to read about Janet's journey, you may do so here: http://janetconner.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/i-finally-found-my-religion