Feather one pale smooth Grey
Tiny childrens truck for play
Concrete Francis leads the way
Half asleep but find my way
Petals paint the Easter Day
Not just those that care to pray
Fragrant life is here to stay
Hidden birds all have their say
Through God’s hands made of clay
10 o’clock on a Thursday Night
I probably shouldn’t be writing this late in the evening, 10 o’clock on a Thursday night. Whenever I get my mind engaged with language at this hour it is usually hard to turn it off. Be that as it may be, what I wanted to write about has been with me these last weeks and months.
On my way home tonight from picking up my daughter from the bus ride home after a softball game I started to verbalize this idea. I wish I had begun my quest to find stupidity earlier in my life. Because I am finding more and more that ignorance is bliss indeed.
Many many years ago I had an artist’s loft apartment in a downtown Jackson commercial building that I’ve discovered has been torn down and is now a grassy lot.
I would leave my friend’s home where I had started watching Monday night football and pick up the game in my loft and watch it from my bed. This went on for weeks and I would stay up late and be too tired for a demanding work day in the morning. Knowing myself well enough, or so I thought, I circumvented the television additction by cutting off the plug of the TV and tossing it out the second floor window onto West Capitol Street. But as with all addictions the true addict finds a way to continue their downfall by finding a work around. Being creative sometimes is as much a curse as a blessing. I stripped off the ends of the two lines of the TV cord stuck them directly into an electrical outlet and secured them with a lamp plug. Viola! More football. I knew something instinctively 30 years ago when this occurred.
Fast forward to tonight on my way home with my daughter in the station wagon. I mentioned that I have been deliberately not filling my mind with television, news and programs of all kinds. I readily admit that I am not completely cut off having a fondness for Masterpiece Theater and Downton Abby and all its dramatic interludes. Movies and these kinds of programs are different categorically. They are not sensationalizing the human condition as interpreted news but story telling of a longer standing human tradition.
I have chosen to allow what room is left in my mind and what time I have left to pursue what I am most interested in – spirituality and how it affects the human condition – I suppose with myself as a guinea pig. I read about artists – painters, sculptors and the like. I continue my grandmother Stevie Moody Flinn’s work of studying various religious traditions while at the same time being grounded in Christianity. I have stumbled onto all kinds of interesting avenues of research that resonate with me, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke is a current favorite, and the amazing audio reading of the Cloud of Unknowing by Murray Bodo.
I tried to explain this to my daughter that I wish I had discovered this path to stupidity earlier in my life and that perhaps I would have been happier and more content. By eliminating as much dross and clutter as possible this gives me the time and energy to purse what I think really matters. That the single pursuit of truth has great rewards and happiness.
This morning I stumbled across this note written three years ago…..and thought I would share it, now. ~ andy
For so long i have been thinking in ways that are wrong.
Wisdom does come through experience.
It is the living through these experiences that is fertile ground.
Detachment allows perspective to clarify the actions of the personality.
Beware of personality because it is desire mixed with longing.
That old adage to be careful what you wish for could not be more true.
So where does this leave us?
Remain forever watchful of your habitual actions.
Because they are no substitute for careful application of wisdom.
Whenever I start a painting idea It may end up somewhere that I did not intend. And this exercise is a case in point. I began with a drawing of the human figure, all very brief poses done at the beginning of a modeling session, known as gesture drawings. I kept looking at the drawing in my studio over the last few weeks knowing I wanted to use it as a spring board for a painting exercise. I don’t like it. It bothers me, and it may bother you too! But I like that it bothers me. It means that the creative process has succeeded in following intuition to a conclusion. Time will judge if it is a successful conclusion. I have stacks off paintings such as this, begun and stopped, not necessarily completed in my way of thinking at the time. And what I have found out is that once this work goes away into a portfolio to surface years or decades later it is then that I can make a more fair judgement.
see if this link will get you there. This is definately a work in progress!
This photo was probably taken by my brother Wayne Young circa 1977
“Time is easily lost and hard to find”
Tonight I held an old photograph in my hands and stared into the face of a much younger man that I recognize as me. Or is it me? And if it is me am I the same as I once was? I had hair, which I have long sense lost, and I was thin as a rail, which would not describe me now. And I wonder about the eyes and mouth that seem to capture a sense of hope and anticipation of the future. And what of the future, which I suppose is now?
What narrative can I spell out tonight to reconcile the past with the present? Is this the path that I always wanted to walk? Have I ended up where I thought I was going? Or did I just stumble along like playing a game of chess in a mirror against a player that new all my moves and would let me win from time to time just to keep me interested.
How much of this time spent covering 35 years did I recognize that my life was unwinding from a spool of precious thread that would one day play out and drift through the air to the ground? This end game of life against the greatest of players is a tricky one for sure. The field is slippery and you have to master your faculties to keep up the pace against the onslaught of your own slow demise. How long can your hold it off? The fountain of youth has long since dried up and filled with debris of my own making against the inevitable power of physics and physiology.
And what of the vaunted wisdom I think I have gained by racking up the hours, days, months and years being self-perceived as a thoughtful person? And what of that young man staring at me from the past, is he still with you? What would he say to me now? Good job?
I can see where this is trending in tone and substance. Indeed the inevitable drift to sadness and doubt has been the familiar curse from the time I was a conscious human being. Is this the same for everyone or just some more than others and those few not at all?
Many years ago I was in an antique store mostly filled with bits and pieces of this and that nothing special and given away or sold for next to nothing. Hanging on the west wall of a metal building about the size and shape of my outstretched hand was a shellacked slice of rich amber colored red cedar. And on the front was a piece of paper, glued down first, before the shellac was applied, with these words in a font of hand written text “if you don’t have time to do it right when will you have the time to do it over?” I have recited this many times, and sitting here now clacking away on my key board I am beginning to realize that it has a special meaning to me now. Staring down the field of the endgame I have abruptly realized that if I don’t take the time to do it right now I won’t have the time to do it over. There is no later. This is it.