Below is really a journal entry kind of thing I wrote because Jesseca got me thinking and she told me to write. I wrote it for me, so it has a bit of the 'true confessions' feel that is a bit sappy. But I think there is still something important here, so I decided to post it.
This is really a response to the realization that nothing stays the same. Everything changes: sometimes dramatically, sometimes slowly, sometimes tragically.
Why am I now making art again? I was supposed to go to Europe on a boat. That could not happen because I’d worked too long for the Captain, and he stopped working with me- instead against me. Bad situation. Boats sink that way. I had to leave. This was a huge life changer for me: great disappointment, ego destruction, hurt, anger, but the worst was a dream was crushed. I live for dreams.
So I was big, and left the boat, because the dreams and glory really belonged to the boat, and I would never do anything but love and champion this boat. She deserves that and more. And I knew there was a reason I had to stay behind.
Then my boat-dad didn’t answer his phone. I called all his sons. One answered. Boat people can be hard to track down. Lane, my best friend, mentor, former employer, and second father to me was in intensive care with pneumonia. His final diagnosis was lung cancer. Boat people can smoke like chimneys. There is a saying that working on boats is “long periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.” So what’s not to smoke about?
So I didn’t go to Europe, but instead I got to spend time with a man I didn’t know how to loose from my life. The boat I thought I would sail on won first place in a transatlantic tall ship race. But I got to go fishing with my boat-dad, and listen to his dreams that could not stop. One morning after breakfast he said, a bit pleadingly, “I still have to dream, you know!” And I knew. That was why we were so close. We are both dreamers. And not the kind of dreamers that keep hiding their dreams in shoeboxes and hat boxes under the bed and in the closet. The kind of dreamers that believe that really anything is possible, and we both expected that from ourselves. My favorite memories of Lane are sitting at the galley table sharing ideas, and scheming how to achieve them. Lane was the one person who saw me, looked at my ornery, out-of-the-box unconventional self with gleaming pride. I knew he saw me with pride as a daughter A mutual friend told me at his death that he once said that I was not from him, but I was of him. Yes, and so the unthinkable happened: Lane died. And I didn’t know how to live without him. But I did. In the will, as it was, I got his sons and grandchildren, whom I insisted to one of his sons was all I wanted anyway.
Life keeps changing. My Mother-in-Law, who was a great friend, passed. Three girlfriends, about my age, passed: two of cancer, and one slipping off a dock in winter. None of these were expected. It seems like they should all still be here.
And then my Dad, the man who had always been so healthy, got leukemia. He was told he had six months to live. He lived nine. But the last three were in home hospice where I watched a highly active, thoughtful, and creative man reduced to a trapped being pleading for freedom.
Nothing stays the same. If you think it will, think again. By the time you blink it’s something you couldn’t even imagine. Life travels in strange circles, which sometimes creates cyclones of destruction, or centers of unity. Life’s constant transformation is something I’ve needed to embrace. Intuitively I know this is a path of evolution and revelation. But the path still is not necessarily a comfortable one. Still, I need to pile all of this into a heap of optimism, and know I can still talk to the ones I love, even if they are in a different place from me. And I can still dream my dreams, and plot my plans, and desire a world where art is everywhere and all children are open-minded. And all of this is real, as long as I keep fighting, working, believing, and living. And this is why I make art.