this is life.
this is life.
lately I’ve been:
searching my soul
aware of my mortality
aware of my limitations
aware of my humanity
full of joy
this is the corner i live in
…….ripe with seed and detritus
burdened by sun and potential
music that will never be heard
stories that will never be written
wisdom that will never be learned
it’s not tomorrow.
…….it’s never tomorrow.
this is hope, all hard and prickly.
you always thought
it would feel like velvet
Okay, it’s quite true that I’ve always taken the road less traveled, not exactly on purpose but just because that was always the one that appealed to me most.
Less traffic, less people, less been there done that. Out of the mainstream. Off on my own.
So where has it gotten me?
Out on a limb, up a tree, tangled in thickets? Dangling from a limb?
Either way, it’s where I am. I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference. And though there are some days when I shake my head and wish I had chosen otherwise, in my heart I know it was the only road I could have taken. My feet walked that way naturally, and to have forced them to do otherwise would have been next to impossible.
Right now, my life is a crazy whirlwind of work and not enough time. This is not new, this is not a surprise. This is not my beautiful life.
Except, it is.
I know this, I know that this is the life I have. I also know that given my druthers, it is the life I would choose. Again and again and again.
It is the only life I know how to live, this life of listening to leaves rustle and kittens cry and whispers of words that refuse be silent.
This is my life. Yes, I could second-guess myself all day long, and on some days, I do. On some days, a 9 to 5 job in an office full of worker bees sounds like the perfect solution.
Here, I buzz around by myself and try to make it all work. Try to fit in a life around the busyness.
Some days, I think I should give up this blog and the other blog, reclaim that time. But I love this place. This place of words and pretty pictures. This place that is mine. Some days, this is my oasis.
So here I am, standing at a fork, again.
And you know what? My feet have already started down that same old same old path.
The one less traveled. Because that’s who I am.
Come along, walk with me.
yesterday i read old poems
and laughed at myself
all that anger
to skinny arms and broken heart
made up armor for mixed up girl
tough skin to hide behind
all painted red and pretty
somewhere along the line
i let it go
all of it
released it into air
that cradled and promised
watched it float away
shed no tear
i sit in this same old kitchen
worn slightly by years
i know the scars and scratches
that run beneath my fingers
each one could have been a sentence
or at least
a perfect word
etched along the surface
yesterday i read old poems
and laughed at myself
tries her hand
on this night of full moon and cold rain and extra innings, cozy on the couch in wool socks with a book in my hand and a mind that keeps floating to other places.
i let it float and breathe in the quiet, the quiet that is never really soundless, because silence always has something to say, especially just exactly when you think it has finally fallen asleep. there will be a murmur, a sigh.
a question will come creeping up to tug on your sleeve and invite itself to the party. and how can you refuse a question? and then before you know it, the room is full of them, huddled in groups or standing alone, some sitting on the floor just looking at you, others mumbling in voices barely audible.
it’s okay though, because lately, i’m just plain tired of all the answers. everyone’s got one, or two, or four or seventeen. all jumping up and down with their hand raised high in the air and shouting, “pick me, pick me!” it really starts to wear a girl out.
and so i am content just to sit here, pondering, wondering, wandering. listening to whispers.
a little while ago, i went to the back door and smiled up at the moon. i turned and walked back to where i was sitting, and for a second, i thought she might follow me inside. i see her there now, hovering just outside the window.
but we both know that she’s not here to see me. we both know that she lives on questions.
i’ll send them all out to her in a little bit, just as soon as silence stops with the heavy sighs and the pouting.
and then i’ll give it a hug and tuck it in for the night,
with a kiss on the forehead for good measure.
because that moon looks really hungry.
for days now i’ve thought of almost nothing else
words swim across the page in gently flowing rivers
the sun bleeds itself dry as it vies for my attention
a pebble in my shoe strives to become a nuisance
minutes and hours unfold themselves and flatten
a penny rolls across the floor and lies there
everything i’ve ever felt rises to the surface
i seek out stars and find nothing but glitter
a flower in a purple vase begins to wilt
vines grow through the wall that acts as support
a green leaf turns crimson and spins to the ground
water laps at the shores of forgiveness
from directly above, the peak of a mountain
is only one shade lighter than the valley
This is a story of art vs. artist, forgiveness vs. accountability.
I don’t usually talk about things like this here, but I am so angry that I have to get it off my chest. I have to rant. And I’m interested to see what you have to say about it.
Yesterday I received a letter from the local art gallery, the big, institutional, owned by a large university art gallery. I received the letter because I am a member. This is the gallery that hosts the biggest/best art festival of the year, in which I participate.
The letter was sent as an explanation for the fact that the gallery is installing the work of Tom Otterness in its latest large project, an outdoor sculpture park. The letter was not sent as an apology, only as an explanation for their decision.
But now, in case you have no idea who Tom Otterness is or why they need to send such a letter, let me stop right here and explain.
He is, according to the letter, “one of the notable sculptors of public art in America and abroad.” He is “internationally renowned.” He is “an artist who is probably the most responsive to community of any artist in America.”
He is also a dog murderer.
Before he was all of those other things, back when he was 25, Tom Otterness made a plan and went to an animal shelter, adopted a dog, tied it to a fence so there was no chance of escape, shot it, and then filmed it as it died. He called this an art film.
I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.
… … …
This all came out a few years back, after he was already famous and celebrated and “renowned” for his cutesy, whimsical work. Which in my opinion, is the most twisted thing of all.
When it came out, and people started to protest the very large sums of public money he was being paid for his art, this is the apology he offered:
“Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me — Tom Otterness.”
And I should add that as far as I can find out, he has made no attempt to do anything beyond that to show the sincerity of his regret. Many people have stated that the least he could or should do is donate a large portion of the huge commissions he makes to animal shelters. It wouldn’t in any way erase what he did, but at the very least he could put his money where his mouth is.
The letter I received goes on to state that the gallery feels it would be unfair to hold this act (which is described almost as the prank of a foolish youth) against him after a lifetime of (what they consider to be) important work.
I don’t think it is fair to call an act like that a “mistake.” It was quite intentional.
I am angry. Appalled. Disheartened.
… … …
I recently (before this happened) had a conversation with my son about art vs. artist, we were actually talking about Hemingway, and how so many people don’t really like who he was as a person, and whether or not that affects the way they do or do not appreciate his art. And whether or not that should or should not be the case.
Does an artist’s work stand separate from who he is and what he does as a person? In general, it’s a tough question to answer. In the case of Tom Otterness, for me, it turns his work into a sham.
I don’t see sweet and whimsical, fun, family-oriented art. I see a dog, who must have been inwardly jumping for joy to know that he had been rescued from a shelter, being led to a fence and tied in place to prepare for what can only be called an execution. A worse death than the one he had been rescued from.
I cannot reconcile this image with the cutesy work I see. The bloodstains taint my vision.
… … …
And then we get to the part about forgiveness, which raises the question of what should or should not be, can or cannot be, forgiven. I don’t have the answer for that one.
Does one heinous act make you a horrible person forever?
Is it possible to atone for such an act?
Who gets to decide?
For that part of this story, ultimately I can only live with the questions.
… … …
But I can draw the line about whether or not I think his work should continued to be installed in public parks and places aimed mainly at children.
That just feels evil to me.
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