I think Hansel and Gretel may be very near and with their careless dropping of bread crumbs might possibly find me again and bring back that thing I have fought to destroy. I am using a lot of creative energy in keeping my eyes averted and carefully not looking into dark corners. Is it that I am leaving a trail of crumbs of my own making for it to follow? If I don’t keep constant vigil — honoring the east and the west, the south and the north, and remembering that there are keys to the universe, but very few open that which we expect them to open. Am I chanting the right combinations, or is it gibberish anyway, even though I am trying with great respect to it all, to honor it all, or to risk skiffering backward to the inside where the key is probably hidden in a secret place I have long forgotten.
The worst thing and the most difficult is not being able to focus on art. I think I am, and nearly convince myself that I am, but actually I am doing nothing more than sitting at a table in my sweet little studio (that I waited 40 years to have) with a jar of clear water, a paintbursh and some shockingly blank canvases that hide nightmares beneath all the pristine white gesso, and I am watching the sky move across the window from morning to afternoon and then to evening. There are a thousand colors in that sky and a thousand poetic lines running through my lethargy – most of it is my own but sometimes Emily Dickenson will interject her version of the situation, and it sounds so much better poetically than my own that I just let her carry on. Sometimes it is TS Elliot – he really knows how to get straight to the ugly of the matter, and all I can do is sigh and agree. Of course, Yeats knows how to break me into pieces too small to be put back together, and he always lets me cry. I nearly always allow him this vanity.
“Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands of light
Far off by the furthest rosses, we foot it all the night
Weaving olden dances, mingling hands and mingling glances
Til the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep…” (Yeats)
I know it is time to climb out of this parallel world and return to my own place, my own familiar land where boundaries are clearly defined and sagely known, strongly protected against foreign invasions, so that I may get on with my own life’s work of paper, paint, pencils and pens, pieces of string and wire, and pilfered trinkets from another time. The terrain is rough and I have no map, although I never did.