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Inventing relevance

The thing that’s been great about all this floundering unemployment is that it’s helping me evolve myself into the writer I’ve always wanted to become. And by that, I don’t mean at all that I’ve become good at it. But I am writing, and that’s more than I can say for the majority of the last decade in which I merely thought about it. I have time to read so much now, which as many successful writers will tell you, is a key to being one. So I read all the authors I admire and I read unknowns that I think are going to be discovered and I write my own shitty drafts and I don’t worry so much anymore about whether they sound bad because I understand now that this is the equivalent of starting out slogging through a wimpy 12 minute mile in the journey to one day race in an ultra marathon. You have to start with the shitty stuff and be humble enough to own it and grow from it. And more importantly perhaps, you have to sort of believe that your voice matters, that you have something important to say– no matter if its funny or serious– you have to believe that it’s important even if deep down you know that it’s horseshit drivel that can’t possibly affect the shaping of the world to come in the way you want to be remembered.

Because if you don’t believe this, you won’t write. You will continually come up with reasons, from your own internal voices or from those external, real or imagined, for not writing. We may all be insignificant Carl Sagan dust specks on dust specks but that doesn’t mean we can’t invent our own relevancy.┬áIf not now, when?

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Besides, I wrote this from my iPhone while sitting at Golden Gardens yesterday, while everyone else was in an office slogging on a computer. It sounded like a nice theory for justifying the way I spend my time.

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in which things come together

The morning signaled victory, and it’s about time. I went to bed at the wee hours of dawn lastnightthismorning, frustrated, feeling sick and not looking forward to today. But as I was nudged from sleep by my phone’s alarm at 8, lying in a twisted fetal pose, bleary and moaning, suddenly the lightening bolts struck and I knew how I wanted to finish this painting. It’s an overdue birthday present for a friend that I had to complete before I leave town this weekend, and I was starting to really sweat it. Phone calls from the person who commissioned it had included first casual, and then quite direct queries about whether I was going to come through on this thing or not. Yeah, I needed a kick in the pants because frankly, I hated this thing for a while.

It had sat there — looking boring and fluffy, just an almost finished sky, mountains and the badly proportioned skeleton drawing of a person without any real story, meaning or answer to the question of what the hell this thing was becoming — for weeks, while my friend patiently waited. His girlfriend’s birthday came and went. I flew to Italy and Canada and cavorted, while the canvas sat glumly on the kitchen table.

Today the labor pains hit and out came the baby. And I love it! So awesome when hatred and self-doubt turns to a beautiful thing. Can’t wait to give it away.

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PNW salvagery

This is a birthday gift I recently did for a friend of mine. Paint pens on part of an old door found in the alley, that I ripped apart. Green paint is original, which is why it caught my eye in the first place. I had planned on using the entire door frame on which I’d staple unstretched canvas, but it was so rickety and full of bugs that I ended up salvaging the good boards and ditching the rest. Saving that idea for another time though.. This is my second discarded-door project (okay, i stole the first, but it was justified) and I’d love to make it into a series.