Friday, September 11, 2009

Loss of Time

Staggering backwards and forwards in memory, going way back, retracing steps, the final landing after a bout of chaos, waking up alone, but connected to other people, the challenge is to stay within the picture until the candle goes out.

I had a good session on the computer, digital painting. When the eyes started burning, I stepped into the back yard for a moment, cup of coffee, wind blowing the foliage into soothing sound, dark shadows from thick tree trunks and branches, bright light filtering in to lure Dante into Inferno or John into the past, jolting the needle of reality out of the groove, the reality I'm supposed to pretend is real, in order to avoid being disqualified. I'm in a good situation. I don't want to blow it, time to make pictures and gaze at the sky through the breaks in the trees.

Why the zombie-like staggering man in the picture? I make the picture and ask questions later. I remember visiting the grandparents in Parry Sound, Ontario. They lived in a big brick house on Gibson Street. The grandparents were larger than life.

One day, a drunken man staggered into the cozy little world, as we sat in the car, saying goodbye to the grandparents. The drunken man leaned on the car, gave us a funny smirk, said a few maudlin words about how it's nice to see a family together, after all the damage he and his drinking did to his own family and then he straightened up as my father backed the car out of the driveway. That man was like a dent, a slight tear in the tissue of coziness that existed in the golden world of childhood, where everything seemed to be fine, until that drunken man leaned on the car. I never forgot him. Even at the age of six years old, I felt his sorrow. He was like a doorway into the shadow world, the world where things didn't go so smoothly, where embarrasing and unpleasant details stick out like sore thumbs. Don't go there. It's a slippery slope. Things only get worse. Do you really want to know what lies outside your golden-pink bubble? Let's not think about how death will happen and pleasant situations come to an end. Let's pretend it's a fairy tale world of happy endings, where nobody gets hurt and everybody eats cake.

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