Prometheus stole the the fire, so we could wield a welding torch.
Embellishing mundane objects with an extra sense of oomph and mystery? Well, yeah, sure-that sounds like fun. But for me, it was working on a mural that made the mystery clear: Downtown east side, heat of summer, a couple dozen people, an actual guy practising hobo monikers, and ridng trains and assorted DTES'rs. One a lady who had most of her home in a pull along bag, another, graffitti artist who'd busted his back falling off the skytrain, and had been, in a wheelchair, in the catacombs under Paris. Got chased out by the local gendarme.
What I'm saying is, almost everyone in the group were/are dirt poor, and more than one, homeless. Me, I was quasi homeless. And yet, for little pay, we were there, everyday, laughter and jocularity and good times and shit, none of us can fucking afford to do this! We're bottom rung, poorest neighborhood in Canada...finally, the eyes open a little. Creativity, it goes deeper than deep. It's not just some fanciful dillettante tendencies. Yet not quite instinct. Not just reptile brain...raw and primal, yes, and easily as powerful as any of the basic urges-the will to survive, the need to protect, all of those. And yet, all that shit and more. Hands gotta be doing something. S'why computers will never replace that. Too deep.
Here, see? One of the people I worked with, had most of her home in a little pull cart. Also had a couple of medical issues to deal with, and who knows what kind of medication that she could barely afford. And yet there she was, everyday, you could feel it, gentle, yet powerful. A need, a hunger, a primal fucking thing, inexplicable, undescribable. People on their deathbeds have called for their favourite brush, typewriter, pen. Yeah, it's that heavy. Heavier. Crazy cool heavy. Can't be stopped, can't be crushed.
See? Over there-Neanderthal, Cro-mag, scraping bare subsistance out of roots and rodents...and you better believe there's gonna be some fine artistic shit on that cave wall tonight. I mean, c'mon, it's just a bone implement, why go and mess it all up with markings? Scientists say for ritual reasons, I say no way, dude, rituals are just the dressing. Cause this drive, that's more than just a mere drive, goes down deep into the soul.
Myself, I have good days, and bad days. The bad days can be very bad. On one such day, I'd crashed, it was all I could do to keep awake. Lay in bed most of the day. Except, for one moment, when I dragged myself out of bed (and stayed out of bed) and found myself mostly just installing and tightening up a brake.
But, then and there, I caught myself. What? It's just a mechanical thing, it's not art. Yeah, well, when doing a painting, artist gotta do all sorts of boring shit like painting the ground on, white gesso, and that's just one of the boring things an artist gotta do. So yeah, just a brake is art, damnit, cause I said so. That little action gave me enough charge to face the rest of the day. If not week.
For some reason, this reminds me of watching Grandma knit. As a kid, I was amazed, cause she would be talking away, and not once looking at the knitting, and her hands flew, magical movements, all on their own. Something pinged in me, and even then, I realized that there was a little something beyond mere practice. I marveled at the dexterity, the awareness that her hands seemed to be doing all of the thinking.
Hands gotta be doing something.
And that's probably why I wrote, and am rewriting, this book.
to be announced
explorations in writing
- Chopper Night In Canada, Pg 2