Little Strokes

There's this thing that happens, when you're driving along in unfamiliar territory, and you're trying to follow directions while you're noting the world around you. Because you have to look, you have to pay attention, to note the landmarks and the curvings of the roadway, so you know where to turn, where to stop, where to go slower and so forth. It's basic sense to do so.

But it's so easy to lose track of the directions, or of the landmarks, or of both, really. Unfamiliar territory is by definition devoid of routine, cannot be taken for granted, does not behave according to predictable rules, otherwise it would be familiar. Things change, detours and washouts and new buildings happen all the time, and maps and directions can lie, sometimes egregiously.

I believe I've been following just such flawed directions, navigating an even more tortuous landscape. I know I haven't been faithful to those directions as I ought to have been. And the ground continually shifts beneath my feet as I go.

A beautiful moment happens, when you realize that you are not where you expected to be. For a fraction of a moment, anything is possible. Down is up. South is east. One way could be any way. You get your bearings and you move along, but in that tiny piece of a moment, I believe that your heart is suspended in a forever place, a seam of realities that unzips into the next piece of concrete information, from which you take your point of departure.

There are moments when I as an artist realize that I am not as good as I thought I was, that my narrow field of expertise is precisely that narrow. In the Great Library of Potential Achievement that we all borrow books from, what I thought was the sum total of everything there is to be said on a given subject only turned out to be half a shelf from the discard handtruck. There is so much more to be said, so much more to learn. My ego, of course, winces and crumples to realize such things. But the other half of me honestly savors this. It is what I imagine the exhileration feels like, after you've jumped but before you pull the ripcord on the parachute. I'm immensely grateful.


paulmonster-white noise