Who am I? Of course, a name doesn't define who anyone is and a few words is just the cover on the book, but let's give it a try anyhow:
The year was 1971 - Dick was in the white house, shaft was in the theater and D.B. Cooper in the air. I was born on a cold and windy March day in New Hampshire. It was a Saturday and I remember it well. I had been feeling a bit claustrophobic the past few weeks and really wanted to get out of there...
Ok, perhaps that is overkill, besides I don't remember the day that well. I got slapped on the ass and that ruined the whole thing for me. All in all though my memories are rather vivid... I do remember the mobile that hung over my crib, plastic shapes of color that spun and danced in the summer breeze. I remember when I was five years old and, on the way to pick up my father after work, accidentally opened the car door as my mother turned on to Beach Street. I remember holding on to the door for dear life as she slammed on the brakes. I remember being in the third house down on the street, then dark green asbestos shingled, and the kitchen I sat whimpering in. A wooden chair at a table, in a rather large room that was both kitchen and dining room, a double wide doorway opened into a living room, upon the wall there hung a phone my mother, shaking and crying herself, used to call my father first than my uncle to come pick us up. The next thing I remember is back at our mobile home with an ice pack, sitting on an ungodly ugly earth tone tweed couch. Memories are funny; we seem to remember the highlights, a summary version.
But who we are is more than just memories and things we've done. It's what we feel. What we love and what we hate. What moves us to laughter or tears. It is what gives us the control we need to survive in this world, the ability to not just know right from wrong and avoid doing wrong because of the consequence to ourselves, but also because we know that doing the wrong thing will hurt others.
Before I go much further I must explain something: People throw around words much to freely. “I LOVE Chinese Food” or “I HATE the rain”. We throw insults to easily to where they have lost their purpose. To call someone a “son of a bitch” for instance: Sure, back in its day it had hurt… telling someone their mother was a female dog. Nowadays Bitch means more than that, it is someone ill tempered or nasty. Yet the insult is not taken personally, perhaps the person has issues with their mother… in itself that is a good thing, but “love” has also lost its power. We love to many things, we hate far to many more. How could someone truly hate rain? Sure it can mess up your day if you have plans, but change them. I think one of nature’s most beautiful displays is a sudden rain shower on a hot July afternoon. The way the sun still shines though the rain is pelting down on us, and the smell and sight of steam rising off the hot blacktop. And of course, if you truly “Loved” the Chinese Food, would you devour it so quickly, and not pause to stare lovingly at the eggroll or crab Rangoon as you licked, teased and titillated yourself with each bite?
Between love and hate is indifference, and indifference is the linguistic equivalent of a coma. Indifference is one of my favorite words, for though it doesn't provoke any emotion when used, it does present the lack of, and sometimes that is very important to express. I wanted to convey my feeling on words to let you know that I don't throw them around lightly. I try to pick and choose the right ones that express what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling and what I want you, the reader, to know. Also that explains part of me, my passion for words, their ability to paint three-dimensional landscapes in our minds. They are wonderful artists tool when used properly, and a vindictive weapon when abused.
Art is a big part of who I am; to say I love art would not be an overstatement. I admire a person's ability to create something from nothing, to convey on paper what they see with their eyes, or what they see in their minds eye. Art is more than pretty pictures or sculpted angels. It is shapes and color used to evoke emotions or memories in us. It is beauty to one person, ugly to another, and nothing to a third. Art is my passion, it is what keeps me alive. If I could no longer create, I would curl up in the fetal position and waste away, for I would already be dead.
Besides art there is nature, it is all around us but we rarely see it. And when we do see it we rarely appreciate it for all its wonders. From windswept beaches at low tide on a late autumn day, cool breeze sweater weather - face warmed by the sun, naked toes digging into the cold sand. The pungent smell of ocean mixed with that of fried foods from the last one or two vendors that stayed open after Labor Day. The usual clamor of screams, music and automobiles traded in for the lapping waves of water as they hit the shore line and the occasional gull crying out with protest at your trespassing on their beach. To the other end of the spectrum, winter in the city at Christmas time, with it's lights and snow mixed with holiday cheer. The smell of cold mixed with an open fire burning somewhere not to far off. It is all beautiful.
There are many more things that motivate me in my creativity, music, movies, people.. I guess the most important would be the people who inspire me. In the realm of art would be Georgia O'Keeffe. Not only her paintings but her life, she was an amazing woman. Norman Rockwell, a fellow New Englander who illustrated small town life, if not how it was than how it would be romanticized for years to come. Salvador Dali's surreal images like fragmented dreams and landscapes in a madman's subconscious. In the world of literature one-man reigns supreme, the master storyteller Stephen King. His ability to build three-dimensional worlds in the reader's head is unbelievable. He goes so in-depth into the scenery, the emotions and the thoughts of the people that you get lost in the imagery thinking it is real, that you are saying goodbye to an old friend when you close the book. John Saul and William Diehl are both men who know how to keep the reader wanting more, ending a chapter so you have to read on. As for poetry T.S. Eliot uses words like brush strokes, delicate and beautiful, hard and sharp to make the point. Poignant words that stay with you forever.
"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
And there are the poets who put their words to song, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Tori Amos, Bernie Taupin, and Tim Rice.
I hope that helps paint a fragment of who I am, where I get my inspiration and what motivates me as well as why I do what I do. To sum it up: I'm Saturday's child born in Spring's awakening, in a year time should forget. I'm a dumb ass who opens doors that should be left closed, wanders down hallways to that lead to nowhere and opens windows to people's souls through words and images. Nature moves me, words control me, and art nourishes me. Oh yeah, I also love Chinese food...