A friend asked me the question today that I think has always rattled around inside, and which no doubt will continue to clank to and fro inside of me relentlessly, until it culminates in what they call a death rattle. I was once on a piece of Texas road at 2 or 3 in the morning (it was a hell of a long way to or from anywhere out there) and I stood over a young girl as she lay on that road, feeling the wind blow quietly, when suddenly SHE let out a death rattle and I jumped, having no idea what it was or where it came from.
I gave him the standard answer…. about writing stuff and hoping to find some people on the internet that will read it,….then hope they will mention it to others and so on and so forth until I broaden my audience and find more people who might give a damn about my art.
I told my friend that it is in many ways a repeat of what I have done for 40 years or so, which was to put stuff together, call it art, stick it in front of people and then stand politely on the sidelines until I would do it all over again. My motivation sometimes drifting along with whatever else was drifting…. People began to notice my artwork, buy it, galleries began to show it, and I simply said, “do more”. I would get a piece in a museum show and tell myself surely this would lead to success, get an article written in the paper and buy 10 copies. And so I pursued success even as it morphed and changed, evaporated, expanded, or whatever it was want to do. At times I wanted merely to think out loud and see what was next, at others I wanted to make myself laugh, as that was all that was going to get me through that day. I wanted my father’s approval, accolades from my mother…to spit in the eye of whomever I was mad at. “What was I doing?” Merely trying to answer that very question....... by “doing.”
So here I am throwing some words around…building little castles, hoping to build bigger ones…..catching, if I can, with words some of the pieces that drifted in and out of my life for the last 60 years.
Not long before my mother died she was hallucinating from the effects of leukemia. I was alone in the room with her and she said to me, “look at that ball of light …its getting bigger and just floating in front of me.”
That’s what I want to do, to make that ball of light, one that changes colors and radiates out, holding in itself all the pieces that drifted by….. something that will float in front of me and let me look at those pieces just one more time.
Maybe I’ll have an audience out there and maybe I wont. I’m not sure that ultimately I give a damn. But doing this will get me to do more…. writing this will get me to write more and doing more is better than not. And soon the words will also float…. along with all the other stuff, and I will go out like my mother did, with words and art and stuff floating all about.