Saturday, August 1, 2009
Remembrance and redemption walk hand-in-hand along the City streets. I can place myself back on its sidewalks:
A silence to the snowfall and the walk to Cee-Cee’s and that flask I carried, all return to my mind’s eye (an Artist’s eye) with equal measure. Without a hint of inhibition my memories spill out; the revelations life provide, for all their colour, are comfortable in their denial. [Never, small-beer, Steven.] The visions, floating to the surface, seem fully aged; I’ve encapsulated them in redwood frames in order to hold them in place. They do not have to be hidden, or covered in cloth. A memory, in all its nakedness, can no longer be denied. [Knowledge, it must be said, can be painful; and, I was blinded, with eyes closed, by my arrogance.]
Had it been any other day, I might’ve cursed my own vanity; (“To be vain is death to the Artist.”) however, on this day, Rodgers’ epigram was turned on its head.
Upon those days, preceding Cee-Cee’s Christmas Party, there wasn’t an inkling of doubt within me; every small aspect I carried along with me was shining with a brilliance, an aura, only Masters assumed. It was, “one-up-on-the-pegboard,” and I viewed the world with shoulders back. (This is truly how I carried myself. I truly believed in the gifts I’d been given. I found myself completely in awe of the Work I’d accomplished.)
I could not see the faults of tone, the subtle textures of the work, for what they were; I could not bring myself to see any element of vanity, ego-bound, as I was. Above, in my loft, the paintings had become the centerpiece. I’d spent too much time, four months, in loving myself; never gaining so much as a minute of opposing self-chatter. I’d abandoned each and every critical voice; painting, on my own, and letting the sketches guide me. For once, my Art brought me a solitude and pleasure I’d never known before.
Four months of intense creativity:
And, in that time I’d unleashed only a fraction of what would be brought to light in the years to follow. (This change in attitude would become ever more pronounced, deepened, in ways which only brought further rewards.) Without any scruples, I’d plunged head-long into a dangerous affair: A new life arose, dictated by the give and take of pleasure and pain. I walked the streets as if the street itself were paying me tribute; becoming, so bloody grandiose in my own vision, I couldn’t see my own separateness, my own body, moving amongst others.
[The container of Self was completely full; loosened, was years of half-formed objectives, given a weight, a clarity, only now, realized.]
Looking around me, I felt as big as the City itself.
I can chart the progression of thought-processes, word-for-word:
Going further back is no longer an option. You’ve had your past, Steven; and, finding it no longer to your liking, you’ve plumbed the depths for the last time. You’ve managed to silence every voice. You can forget the hurts, wrongs, and slights. The solitary tears were a lubricant, and rightful loosening. You are, today, a new man: no longer a child, crying in the night. You’ve burned away every fear. It’s time to move on, move away, in another sense. You can live again, renewed. Love again, Steven. It is time.
Or, so I thought.
December 20th, 1989: Sitting upon the plush velvet couch and clicking off the previous years and unloosening the grip upon every pain, every moment, of quiet, in a long night of screams and curses and broken dishes and beatings; unimaginable, in their power to wreck havoc upon a home. (Sitting there, on the couch, and recalling every echo of compassion which might’ve reached out in my young life. Each stark vision, matched by a silent knowledge, never revealed so openly; silent knowledge, matched by the next turning of remembrance, rumination.)
I was stilled upon the couch, never moving; just letting the recall come, easy as snowfall, as cold and dispassionate as the starkness found in those forty paintings, stacked. The space I occupied hadn’t changed; however, I had. I wasn’t seeing things clearly, but it didn’t seem to matter.
[You remember the conviction you held, as you emphasized and underlined and highlighted each and every small terror inflicted upon you. Those two evenings, leading up to Cee-Cee’s Party, were an absolving of all past wrongs carried out, or commissioned. The future was what you wanted to see: The Gallery, the paintings hung, and maybe, just maybe, a lover, or two.
Now, your England is gone and buried. To those who have lived within them, the shiftless forms of poverty are well known. The truth is: There are never more powerful ghosts, less forgiving, than these. In my heart was a wound which couldn’t be healed.]
Posted by William H. Balzac at Saturday, August 01, 2009