The temperature was stifling, with no air conditioning at the HAG. Some were afraid that I would wax poetic, but I greeted the 40 or so people who attended as I would greet someone coming to my home. People were invited to watch, discuss, come closer but not touch.
I was extremely nervous, and within the first five minutes, the heat, pain and reality of being publically tattood hit me. For the first and only time in 13 sessions, I nearly passed out.
For a while it was touch and go. Christine Stoddard, my caretaker for 12 out of 13 of the events, confirmed in spades that she could talk me through just about anything.
People talked, cracked jokes, ate and listened to Sarah play guitar while I tried to get my composure back. Here, Megs and Geoff share a moment, Jackie gives them the hairy eyeball and Lisa watches me struggle.
I finally began to perk up, I think in great part thanks to Christine, Teresa and Jackie Sidoni. I can't remeber the exact joke, but I remember laughing and that turned the tide. Alan Hindle (with Terminal City at the time, later The Only, and an old high school pal of mine) had to leave - it was not until months later I discovered he had respect for the work but could not handle seeing his friend in pain.