" At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder ." G. K. Chesterton
It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absent-minded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. it does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o'clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.
There is no other way work of artistic worth can be done. And the occasional success, to the striver, is worth everything. The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
Also, for the poet as well as anyone else, each day in the private realm is filled with its mundane details, its noise, its flutterings, its passions, amusements, trips to the grocery store, to the amll for socks, to the car wash, to the all game. Such activities however are surface activities--the curl up and the breakage of waves. And poems do not come from that part of the ocean; they come from the dark and heavy and portentous and almost impenetrable depths. this is where the poem erupts and begins to shape itself. It is also the place where the poem matters, where it is read--for this place exists in every human mind whether one is a writer or not. Each one of us, in our lives, opens to this deep place at moments of ceremony, of crisis, of passage, and of transcendence, a moments of terror and at moments of great joy. It is where some understanding of our lives is sought, even if it is not always found.
These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.