Apr 27, 2005

You know

sometimes I sit down here and my head is full to bursting with things to say, present, joke about, what have you.

And then there are times when I haven't spent the entire night thinking of what I want to put up here in the mornings. It's a strange process for me--sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes late in the evening, and sometimes the morning of the post, standing in front of the toilet or the mirror, some idea will come to me, some notion or turn of phrase will tickle me mentally, and I'll start developing the idea in my head, just as I would post it here. I have written most of these posts in my head nearly complete long before they get on the screen and up to the server.

I find my painting is the same way. I will have an idea for a painting rattling around in my head sometimes for years before I ever get to the canvas and easel, much less before I start sniffing the turps jar. I think Stephen King said in one of his book forewords that he would get an idea for a story which he would then put in a mental filing cabinet, where it would rest, mature, grow, or be left, and as he felt like it he could take it back out, dust it off, make changes if he felt the need to, and either put it back or bring it out into the public eye. It's an interesting metaphor for how a mind creates, and I've always liked it.

I feel sort of the same way myself--my ideas for paintings and such usually ride around in the hot, cramped, dusty confines of my brain locker, being painted, repainted, stripped and restarted and in general going through all the pains and permutations of birth before (if ever) they finally see the first penciled cartoon sketch on a blank canvas. In that time I have tried and rejected every variation I can think of, compared my relative skill to the 'finished product' I have in my head, and then finally either discarded, stored again, or selected the painting that I'm then going to create. Again.

No sketchbook and handful of pencils for me, thanks, I've got my meat computer.

The funny thing is that while I can do this with my paintings and such, most of the other creative things I do haven't the least idea what it means to be left for a time and polished and matured like a stone rolling in the surf. Most of my woodworking projects spring to mind while I'm standing out there in front of the table saw thinking "Lessee how much sawdust I can make from all THESE boards." My photography is much the same way, but more so, based on happenstance and occasion. The new picture of the moment up there, the garden spider, was taken years and years ago at my old house, beside my barn. That red background is my old barn wall, and this beauty's web stretched a good four feet from the wall to a crepe myrtle tree on the right.

I was walking out to check on my Midas Touch roses when I saw her hanging there in mid-air. A quick walk-around showed me that not only was she quite the biggest writing spider I had ever seen (she measured a good 4" spread across her legs,) but she had just moulted. That's her old skin hanging in the bottom corner of the picture, still stuck in her web. I raced into the house for the digital, because honestly I didn't trust myself to have colour film in the 35mm manual (it's usually B&W only) and I really wanted to catch these as soon as I could in colour, because I knew it was a very transitory time. I snapped about two dozen pictures, and the spider was as patient as...well, a spider. When I returned the next morning to take pictures with the dew on her web, she was gone, as was her shed skin. I don't know if she had cut it down herself or if circumstances had acted on her in some other way, but I still feel that having a 6'2" lump of pink walking all around and under and in front of you wielding a silver box is not the most reassuring thing in the world to a spider, and had something to do with her decision to pack up the farm. Be that as it may, she was as gone as that evening's sunset, and I have yet to see her like again.

And then there are the few times when I can just sit down and start typing and it all just comes up from the depths, one word at at time, until I've told you another story from my life.

1 comment:

Nancy Dancehall said...