Wednesday, April 24, 2013

En route to bury my father

I am writing this on an iPad mini in an airport. I am on my way to bury my father in the ground of north Georgia.

I remember two things about him when I was a child. I was a boy and he and I were walking in hard brown sand on the shore of a stormy Adriatic Sea. The waves were tall and they frightened me. I walked behind him. I was small and I tried to walk in his footprints. I had to leap and still missed even though he was not a big man.

He took me golfing for the first time on a course at a military base. I don't remember where. He drove the ball to the first green and handed me an old putter with a wooden shaft. It was an antique even then. The hole was at least 35 feet away. I drained it. I never did that again despite hundreds of attempts throughout my life.

The putter is in my Santa Fe apartment now. My father never saw that apartment or even knew I lived in it.

I saw my father hit his last golf ball ever. He was famous as a young man for mammoth drives. He shortened the course as they say. His last drive ever was on a course called honey creek. The ball went maybe 35 feet. He handed me the club and I put it away. He sighed. I don't play golf any more.

My father wanted to be a writer. For years he worked on a single story. It was called A Clap of Thunder a Streak of Lightning. He wrote on a long yellow legal pad. He never finished it as far as I know.

I have written maybe 15 stories in my life and two novels. I finished them but have never been any more of a success then he was.

My father was an excellent basketball coach. He was a winner but he never won a championship. It bothered him. He came close once but a player made a last second mistake and it cost him his one chance. He forgave the player. I don't remember him ever not forgiving someone.

My mother and father have been married over 60 years. They were very committed.

I have been divorced twice.

My mother is so ill she will not see him buried. I will. This irony disturbs me. It makes me realize that life is just life and can be blindly cruel but it does so with no feeling either way.

My father believed in God. I do too. I guess God cam be blindly cruel too.

My father is being buried in Canton, Georgia. I have never been there. I am not sure he ever went there either. But it is where he ended up.

If I am ever buried someplace I hope the caretaker will not allow any weeds on my grave. I know I won't care either way but the image of weeds on my grave has bothered me all of my life. I may have thought about it on the shore of the Adriatic. I don't know. All I remember is trying to follow in my fathers footsteps.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How To Shoot Red

Been several weeks since I had a chance to get any painting done, after a year of going non-stop in the studio it may have been wise to take a break, not that that was my intention, just the way that things worked out here with all of the activity. In the meantime the flower bloomed.
Got the fundraiser wrapped up, whoa, that was a crazy ride, the stress, the anxiety, all of the work that goes into raising money on a crowd sourcing platform. In the beginning I was provided with a set of tools to use, those really weren't my style and proved for the most part fruitless. What did work was contacting my supporters directly with a personalized email, one by one, a list, a three page leg pad sized list. I heard many stories in return about how some folks aren't doing so well, would love to but just couldn't. There were a host of other friends who never replied, try not to take that personal okay.  
I did do a couple of mass mailings, secondary email accounts, other networking sites, again not much came via those routes either. Then there was facebook. I post quite a bit there anyway but felt sort of intrusive when sharing my proposal, some fucked up humility thing that I have, talk about crossed wires. I never felt comfortable tagging anyone with my link, although I did do so towards the end. 
The experience, though aggravating, time consuming, sleep depriving and challenging, was useful in getting my work out there. There were new supporters who popped out of no where, people who simply support the arts and wanted to chip in. Some potential future sales may have manifested, and a handful of new collectors. Then there were my friends, folks with not a lot of money, that pooled their resources and donated small amounts that all together I would not have been able to meet my goal. Oh and thankfully there was that matching grant from the New Mexico arts agency, nice. 
There is a lot more to the story of this kind of fundraising, like right now being with next to nothing again and waiting for the funds to someday reach my bank, which is not being made explicitly clear and what the hell I am going to do in the meantime. But I finally am feeling rested and after a nice long walk today I started work on the new piece, back to the layering of wet color on paper, I wasn't sure which color to begin again with, I chose red. How to paint red.