I pictured you a lumbering older man with wide, surprisingly nimble fingers I’ve seen on guitar players from time to time. I thought you’d be a little arrogant, just the kind who suffers no fool gladly but suffers the children to come unto him. I considered this a plus.
When I was raising kids, the lovelies, I had very little time to write songs, play guitar, send little postcards and play out. But I did both, kids and art, because of my inner drive. I’ll never know whether my children or I or both would be better off now had I never followed that drive. These compulsions don’t ask our approval and I, for one, seldom question their motives. But I’m doing it now.
This never made it to the blog this summer. Life intervened. But here it is.
You might say it doesn’t take much to make me flee the pungent porch on a late summer night for the sanctuary of bright lights, notebook and lanolin. But here I am, resigned to write, and itch and wish I were sleeping.
Certain sons and daughters asked to stow their overflow with us so they might follow their dream to far off places. Since I’d begun to clear out the glacial accumulation of stuff from our attic and basement awhile back, inspired by the dismantling of my dad’s place, I was less than aligned to the prospect of yet more stuff. But family can hardly be denied when room can be made.
What would make this a perfect day?
Accomplishing tasks... creative work... friendship... earnings... life changing event... humor... acclaim?
Why did I once seek a stage - draw attention to myself? Could be something musicians do; we love to love and that’s how we know to do it.
‘When you see a Gauguin,’ writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, ‘you think, This man is living in a dream world. When you see a Van Gogh, you think, This dream world is living in a man.’
Artists are supposed to be our designated crazies.
‘The sower broadcasting his seed was an image that had been with him almost since he had become an artist. It stood for a painter - or an evangelist - sowing the seed of beauty and truth.’
Martin Gayford, The Yellow House: Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles
Our culture is about success, ‘Rich & Famous’ our mantra. No matter how badly we screw up, a strong tenet of Western Civilization assures us ‘they’ will suddenly adore us (and regret ignoring our fledgling efforts) once they see we’ve succeeded (ie. we are rich & famous, yes!).
My mother’s standard answer when complimented on her cooking was, ‘I just use good recipes.’ As though, with the right recipe, tasty food just makes itself.
My nephew drives his invention, pictured here, around southern California, for no apparent reason. Were he selling busses, boats or amusement, he’d have the perfect schtick. Crazy contradiction gets our attention.
His cousin, new college grad, went from cap and gown to shirt and shoes in a day, writing code for a midwest start-up. He loves his job but sometimes wishes he’d majored in design, a place he gets lost in.