There is a bit of snow on the ground. I am in and out of the studio. Working on ideas that take me to Lee’s shop to borrow his time and tools. Cutting through books, using his torch, using my new burning tool, using watercolors from Australian soils. In the middle of several days just getting “to it”, I wonder just what is it I am doing. Is all this work saying what I want it to say? Am I wasting precious time on these things?
And then I pass by the wine bottle fish hung over the holidays outside my studio window. The light catches on them and their wires have all rusted and still hold the fish as they swim in the cool winter winds. Then I think to myself that when I thought of doing this thing (hanging every fish wine bottle I could find under a porch with wire and rocks that were once a very long snake in the yard) I thought it might have been a dumb idea. But it is not. It amuses me. I like that my daughter and a friend helped with all that twisting of wires and hanging them just so.
The problem is that a person needs to have someone to ask. Someone who just might have a handle on how you think and can rein you in when you go too far. Someone who will say without equivocation that maybe you should rethink that idea and maybe even something like, “For god’s sake, clean up this studio. It’s all looking a bit muddled in here.”
I had someone like that once and then not. Years later I wrote the following poem about that loss. You read while I go pick up the studio and pretend she is still here looking over my shoulder.
It happens slowly – seldom just one instance
often a comment, a look, a difference of opinion.
Then a chill will seep in and work its way around
making a hollow that slowly fills with wariness, distrust.
And then its gone – the friendship, the companion,
the one person that you depended on to answer
“What do you think – what do you really think?”