My dog’s gone strange in his old age. Not eccentric-strange, burying tupperware from the bottom cabinet or sleeping on the cold tile floor beside the toilet. He’s not strange like that, nor does he growl or bark at nothing long into the night.
He doesn’t have the energy for things like that.
He is strange in a bewildered way, caught standing on the couch, looking around for long minutes, as if trying to remember whether or not he was going to leap down or, possibly, where he is.
The cataracts probably don’t help. We don’t really know how blind he is, or what he sees. It seems like that grey – that silvery, pearly, cloudlike grey – wouldn’t let much light through.
No, it’d catch it, splitting the light into blur, blindness.
I don’t know how blindness works.
I just know that my dog is old, but he can still find a tennis ball in the wet grass.
I forget that he is old, until I find him standing on the couch, looking around like a traveler in a new land.
To me, this is strange, to think he might be forgetful and I wonder what he remembers of his life, if dogs even remember anything. I think they do. I know they do.
On some busy days, I almost forget him…then I see him there, paws planted firmly on the upholstery as if caught between lying down or leaping, or he appears at my feet and doesn’t leave, not sure where he is, but seeming to say, “I’m here. I love you. Talk to me again about how wonderful I am.”
Of course, I do.
Maybe there is some trick to it – that if you say, “
Fuck it, ” and take steps to jettison everything you don’t need, everything that doesn’t feed your heart and add mettle to what is most beautiful in you…that maybe things work out, that you get to ‘live the dream.’
Here’s how living the dream is a rip off phrase…it’s not a
fucking dream. It’s my life.
A dream is something separate from our waking lives, implicitly unreal and often impossible.
I’m more interested in living my life.
Jettisoning everything doesn’t mean quitting everything. It doesn’t mean leaving behind all your personal belongings – it could, but it doesn’t have to.
I need to simply jettison some projects, hit the Eject button on some email threads, put away some plans that didn’t pan out…and play more music, dig in the dirt, paint with my kids…tell more stories I want to tell.
I do this every Spring – want to only write, only want to make art, only want to work at the jobs that inspire me and energize me, only take long walks.
Why does living a life in which one is relatively able to do what they want to do feel like such a privilege to me?
What is that in our cultural narrative that tells me that it is a fact of life that only the lucky get to be artists, to put their art first?
That’s a bunch of crap. It shouldn’t be a luxury or a matter of luck. If people want to be artists, they should be supported – especially if they have to be artists in order to be themselves.
What is it in the narrative that says that “Well, if people want to be artists…they just do that on their own time. They do it after work, on weekends.”
It’s the “struggling artist” construction.
I see no reason at all whatsoever why every earnest artist should not have a benefactor.
It’s tough with productless art. You need a product, some evidence of the art that is being made. A definition of what makes it effective art. You have to prove that it does something, sits on a shelf, has pages that turn, hangs on a wall, makes sounds that fill rooms, and that what the art does is worth doing.
The only way to create a product of some forms of ephemeral or temporal or phenomenologistic art, some forms of relational aesthetics, is to document them, and to fashion representation of them in such a way as to elicit some suggestion of the efficacy of the bigger, unseen and uncaptured media.
I took this picture of a cloud with an inverted rainbow today, in that same area of sky that I have seen other inverted rainbows. It is good to take pictures of clouds, to try to figure the shape of the sky unseen.