Friday, March 27, 2015

The Habit of Art

It's really an unprofitable enterprise - even if sometimes one to which one inevitably succumbs - to compare oneself qualitatively to anything or anyone. One of the great good unlooked-for gifts of trudging on thru decades of whatever this thing is we're in, has been, for me, the slow shedding of received assumptions, the softening & dissolution of so many walls and compartments which now seem to me to have artificially separated one aspect of life from another. "Good" and "bad" become less and less relevant adjectives - even if provisionally those words have their uses. I now know I am the same man in sex as I am in prayer as I am in playing the violin as I am in blowing my nose with a cold as I am etc ad infinitum. So there's a dimensional freedom to exult in. I didn't ask for it, but here it is. Thank you, Big Bang!

And yet - those comparative moments. I think of Henry James at 63 - and his own sense of himself as a realized artist - and can't help not sighing deeply in some bewilderment at what the phrase "realized artist" might have to do with me. One quick snapshot instance of it is the memory of my mother at her art table, painting - which she did virtually up to the day she died. The habit of art! -- yes, that's part of what assuages. But what about - damn the word (Donna rightly disapproves of my using it) - 'quality'? I deeply know in some ways that that's none of my business. You do your work, and let it have its effects. Let somebody else decide 'quality,'

But you'd like to think that your 'habit of art' has -- well - DONE something - created a resonance - beyond itself somehow. 

Lately I've felt/internally heard a whisper of an answer. Are you moved by what you do? Is there an inexpressible something in it which touches the heart? And, do you know, I think I can say I am and there is.

So I'll just go back to the habit of it.

(pics: henry, my mom & my hands doing one of their things - the last pic courtesy of Mike Rubio)


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