There are reasons for my absence. My mother was ill, and then my father died. Typing those words is excruciating. My chest hurts, my whole body hurts in some profound place when I hit the “d” and it doesn’t stop until my vast stores of salt water become dry. I wonder at my body’s ability to produce tears. Water is finite; I must be causing droughts in far away places. I walk by the sea every day to measure its levels.
I have been confused and depressed.
There are other reasons that I quit writing too, though. I started the blog at the suggestion of one of the gallery owners I who shows my work. I agreed to write the blog for a year to document my progress in creating my show Materia Prima. Writing this each week was helpful and facilitated my progress. The blog was not merely a document of my work, but also a forum for me to articulate some of my concerns and struggles. Writing promotes critical thinking and it made me consider my actions differently. Apparently what I wrote resonated with others. Almost 6,000 people in 87 countries have read this in the past year. I know that’s not a lot by some peoples’ standards, and yet I had to look up some of the countries. I wrote once a week, minus three, for the entire year. Then I had the show and it was successful. Then it was the holidays, and then I didn’t know what to write about, and then came The Bad. I wasn’t sure what the point was anymore. I wasn’t sure that I had anything of value to say. I wanted to hide. Strange to me, is that new people keep following the blog every week even as I have been silent. More than 200 people read this in May. I’m startled to get notifications of new followers when I have done nothing worthy of following for so long now.
My heart skipped a beat when the phone rang at 4 am, when my father’s heart stopped. My life did not stop though, just because his did. It’s my task now to paint, and to be alive. Now I look at the blog in a different way. Now everything is cast in this light: How can I honor my father’s memory? I wrote about him here on more than one occasion. “Persistence”, he would say. “Try harder”. So that’s my plan. My birthday is this week and I decided that this is the right time to begin writing again. I’m not assigning myself the same militant standards now knowing that my compulsive nature will be my guide. There is a certain perversity to being the perpetually rebellious child who now wants nothing more than to do something because Dad wanted me to, just to make him happy now that he’s no longer here to know. Articulating the ironies of death isn’t my talent, but I will say that I have never had a greater longing to be good; to do something right.
I am working in the studio. I feel awkward after time off, clumsy. I haven’t found my sea legs. Regardless, I press forward. I have open studios next week in South Boston. http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=856010e9b53ec8a26e8dfd194&id=9d232b0d7f . I have a solo show in Provincetown in August. http://studio411provincetown.com/studio411provincetown/four_eleven_studio.html. I’m in a three person show in Beverly , MA in November. http://zeitgeistgallery.net, and I have a solo show in Boston next year.
I know that the best way to honor my father is to work even harder and be even better. I know how to channel all of these complicated and uncomplicated thoughts and feelings into work. I am cracked wide open every day, letting the light in and the sorrow out, like the tides. Like the tides.