Tuesday, May 24, 2016

About art

Here are some thoughts I had on art in the spring of 1988 when, a sophomore, nineteen years old and disillusioned (bored?  procrastinating?) by further adventures in algorithm development in yet another programming language (Cobol, I think it was), I switched my major to Communications (read: Undeclared) and spent a semester chasing all manner of unimportant important things like music, poetry, drawing, social... social something (I got a well-deserved D- in the class).*

Here's what I wrote about drawing, verbatim**:

Open the sketch-book and pull out a sheet.
Cut off the fringe, and line it up neat.
Put up some tape to make it stay down.
While it sits blank, I sit with a frown.

Piles in the corner wait to be art,
I'm willing to try but unable to start.
Can I make this vision something real?
Can I fill the page, can I get the feel?

"The art of drawing, the art of art,
Is more than talent, it's more than heart.
Perspective and feeling, they're all in the game.
You must first tell your story, then sign you name."

Why be lazy?  Excitement is expected.
Stab the parchment; lines are injected.
The paper cringes and takes on new shapes.
In come new lines, new lines I erase.

I jump up dancing and spin all around
Caught in a groove now, I won't slow down!
It goes on for hours, fingers and chalk,
Creating and killing- escape is a walk.

It doesn't say "Stop!", it doesn't say "When!"
My hands just say, "Don't touch it again."
So I take a step back and look at my work,
Inside I see tales, my defiant hand quirks.

I haven't looked at this poem for at least a decade.  I could have recited it word for word all the way up to the last two lines, which surprise and please me. 

I remember the walk it was referring to.  I could show you the drawing that inspired the poem.  Over here, room 211 in Virginia W. Kettering hall, is where I drew it, 2:00 in the morning, re-runs of My Favorite Martian in the background, my suite-mates asleep.  Me, a month and eight hundred miles or so from meeting Cheryl, my wife.  Trying to figure things out.

Looking back with the experience of experience, I can see how much that semester affected my life and career skills.  I like to write, even if it's merely to get the right message across to a customer or to make some observations about life and professionalism, or simply having some fun with words.  There's pride and dignity in well-written communications.  I can see now that I had found what I was searching for but didn't trust it.  But no matter; tomorrow is another day with other things to ponder, tweak, fix, and solve.  And write.

* Four! Four parenthetical asides in one sentence! A new record!
** I'd have done some things with the punctuation.  Such as remove  a bunch of it.  Extraneous.

1 comment:

  1. Nice poem, and good insights at the end of your post. One of these days, we should frame and hang more of your drawings.

    Oh, and remember when you used to write poetry for me, tucking one into a letter every now and again—back when we wrote oh-so-many letters to each other?