HERE I AM AGAIN and welcome to you all. Another long absence passes in this second summer of my new life alone. So much has happened since I last posted. So much will again. My little path through the world may mean nothing to you now but watch out. Saving the hummingbird I stood on a chair to catch with my bare hands in San Cristobal 20 years ago could have been exactly what the Universe wanted for killing the asteroid we never heard of. Sometimes a word or an image explodes in our hearts and raises the world. If I’d never met Kathy I’d have died long ago, but I was with her when she needed me. The pieces fit, the race is run. As someone who’s been there wrote me, “I suspect Kathy would likely say, ‘What are you waiting for John? Go ahead, surprise yourself.’ You handled the impossible part. Good luck and safe travels.”
Uncle Dale the Dead Landlord found this place to buy, carved a hole in the wall for a doorway, and got on with his life. There are broken Japanese porcelain statues in the window of his abandoned studio apartment on the other side of the wall. I’m hardly different. When I tweeted the above image I wrote:
“Fechin's ‘Manuelita’ lusting on the wall, God lights yellow roses for my dead wife. Alive, in love with what, I do not know. Good Morning.”
Today I came back from a walk broken by the beauty and feeling bad for not being able to share. (Not like this, but breathing the same air.) The desire reminded me of when I last could and it felt like half of everything was wasted. As I approached the house, I sensed her yell for me to get rid of her things... I must have winced a little since I haven’t done it yet, and then I asked if she would help. YES! So moving is possible, then. Where do you want to go next, I asked before the line went dead. Damn ghost, I thought, then realized “where” was my say now.
Who’d move away from this, though? (see “Young Jack” below)
No security. The old rental agreement means nothing in real life. The giant elm could fall and take the north wall with it (seriously). The memories, my God. Spiders and dust, ancient spirits, old traps. Remembering the times she said “We’ve done Taos...” After more than 20 years, you’re looking at him, friends. Driving back from Santa Fe the other day was so extraordinary I could eat those words tomorrow, too. I don’t know anything, I realize. Dilemmas loom like mountains in my inner landscape. I could give them names and elevations. Save on typing, give this theme a number:
“Sure there’s something in the wall, but look, volcanoes!”
All my life I’ve been making art of one kind or another—writing, drawing, painting, photography, music, sculpture, printmaking, bronze casting, digital graphics—in between various “real” jobs and pretending to be normal so the urges went away. Sometimes I sold pieces, but the art was always for my pleasure and fulfillment. I’d have made something no matter what. Wherever I lived was my gallery. Our homes always featured my creations on the walls and in the yard. I never went full-time to art school though I did take occasional classes for training. Bronze casting at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore, for example. That was one of the best. So exciting to learn, I ravaged the place. Had to drive 90 minutes from our rural hideaway on the Eastern Shore, over the Bay Bridge, and into the heart of the big city one night per week, coming home late on near-empty freeways and back over the bridge to foxes and mist in my headlights. Crickets and tree frogs in my ears after getting out of the car, my head full of stories to tell Katie Jane…
And now I’m thinking of starting all over again with NFTs. (Never fear, the writing will continue.) My first OpenSea collection of photographs dedicated to our 22 years in New Mexico has gone through three incarnations but never sold a thing and I’m about to take it down1. As someone I respect corroborated recently:
“Your photos can work but I think you’re going to have to consider why you’re putting them out there and then course correct or not. I think grieving is very, very important and I’ve definitely done my share of therapy art, so who knows?”
Bear in mind this wasn’t news.2 In other words, a tribute born of grief is not ideal for selling art to strangers. It made me happy to hit the link and see the photos but I’d begun to realize I didn’t really want to sell them, and lo the universe obeyed.
I’ll publish a photo book for Kathy anyone can buy. Much better.
The same thing keeping me from selling prevented starting over.