Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Guided by ex-planet Pluto
"Feeling Sorry for Pluto" by Chris Roberts-Antieau.
"Let the beauty we love be what
There are hundreds of ways to
kneel and kiss the ground."
from The Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
When friend and mixed-media conspirator Lynne Perrella directed me a few months back to look at the work of Chris Roberts-Antieau, I felt I had found something lost, missed and remembered, like the moonstone necklace from my grandmother that slithered off, probably behind some gap in the carpentry in my childhood bedroom.
Everything I found in her work - the color, humor, originality - fueled my stubborn intention to expand my illustrations. We will file that under "work in progress." What had me shrieking, silently, for sometimes that's as raucous as I get, was "Feeling Sorry for Pluto," which left me empathizing with the downgraded dwarf planet or, now, planetoid.
The backstory on my downgrading was that I simply failed to return to my last real job when I became ill, but my exit coincided with the middle years of corporate staff shrinkage, which always came at Christmas. The elimination of one more colleague and one more job caused those of us who would return to play again next year to leave glistening snail trails of survivors' guilt around the office for weeks. Poor Pluto could not have known what was galloping toward him; I doubt that there were rumors. That an artist found this cosmic melodrama a worthy expenditure of her time and talent felt like the signed permission slip which said, (fill in the blank) may create visual or written work on any subject, in any medium, that pleases her and everybody has to be okay with that.
As I wander father away from known roads in bloglandia, the scope of style, content, intention and execution I happen upon seems to yawn open like the movie curtain at an original Cinerama screening. We Who Blog are many. The variety of our tales even greater.
With more examples of unique work to consider, the clearer it becomes that the only voice in which I can speak honestly is my own. To attempt anything less authentic makes me feel as though I've built a wall of cinder blocks in front of what I'm trying to say. In common, human exchanges, I seek precision in words and often fall short...and this is me, being myself, about something simple. Grabbing more nuanced material by its lapels and trying to shake the truth from it will not happen if I think I can channel Cormac McCarthy. I would lean back, smug and victorious, if my pen left in its wake the drawings of Edward Gorey. It does not.
So I write what I write in the words my mind hands me. What I draw is even less predictable; I just wait and see who shows up. I acknowledge that what I contain and what I ultimately drag into the light may not move us further from the apocalypse. It may not carry us closer to even one juicy bite of awareness, but I will keep showing up, criticism suspended, and see what I pull out next.