Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Conquest Of The Useless
As part of the shattered shards of my life I work at times as a contract courier. I had occasion to visit a man named Truscott three times with deliveries in the course of my duties. He has an artist's loft in Deep Ellum, the Bohemian district of Dallas. It was in an old building converted to lofts and was way cool but I knew it was very pricey. But even though I brought him painter's supplies, I never saw any paintings.
So this last time he was my final delivery of the day which allowed me to talk without having to worry about the need to rush off. Curiosity had gotten the better of me.
"I guess I always catch you in between paintings. I see a blank canvass on your easel every time and you don't seem to hang any of your previous work around."
"Oh, I don't paint. I detest painting. It's so limiting."
This is where I start looking around the room for cameras to see if I'm being pranked. I decide to dive in anyway. Enjoy yourselves, asshole studio audience.
"But I bring you tubes of paint. I've seen you preparing the paints for use!"
"But, of course, one must be prepared to paint."
Pretty obvious at this point this is going to be a nut kicking exercise. "OK, I don't get it."
"Take at look at that beautiful canvass. What do you see?" I'm too beaten to answer. "It's infinity, the universe. It's every painting ever done, not done, and will be done. That's the power of a blank canvass."
All I could think about is where the hell he got his money from. "I guess I sorta see what you're saying. But sooner or later you have to put pigment onto paper."
"And destroy the dream? Never! There's no time I enjoy more than when mixing my paints before a painting begins. It's when I realized this I stopped painting as I understood just how miserable it made me."
The guy was probably around sixty so I assumed he'd discovered this over the course of his lifetime, receding into this state. "So that's all you do now, is mix paints for paintings never done?"
"I don't just prepare my palette. I dream while doing it. Fantastical paintings flow through my mind. How else would I know what colors to prepare? There are no limits in my imagination."
"Well, I guess if that's what makes you happy..."
"Indeed it does. The canvass must maintain its purity and endless innocence. Any touch of paint is sacrilege. To begin is to sin!"
I started getting queasy at this point. Vast waves of vague guilt washed over me. This was not a time I wanted to be on public display. Somehow this encounter was triggering an internal crisis from one of my many buried love landmines. To begin is to sin! Why the fuck does that bother me so much?? Is it because I want to stay unformed so I can pretend I'm anything I want? My entire being was screaming to exit.
My racing mind, however - as always - didn't stop working. I had to get one last shot out. Pointing to the blank canvass, I said, "You should put on an exhibition!"
Truscott didn't take that as a shot, though. "I do that every day, for all the heavens to see."
At that point, especially with my inner turmoil and my little voice screaming something I couldn't make out, I made my apologies and headed for the door. If he's happy doing all that, more power to him. No need to impose my ideas of what he should be doing even though the temptation was right on the tip of my tongue. Then the buzzer rang from the downstairs' entrance.
"That's my daughter with groceries. She's always afraid I don't eat right when I get too absorbed in my work." He smiled at me with a shrug.
"OK, I'll get out of your hair. Nice to finally talk to you!"
Something told me to race out the door quickly as I could. I failed. For when I opened the door, she was standing there. I recognized her face from a stolen picture years ago. Then I literally screamed in shock and fear at the one who truly knows me. I lunged passed her - squelching my true desire to surrender - down the stairs praying I would not be pursued nor my infamy found out. The entirety of my well-being depended on what happened next - and that's when I woke up in a drenching cold sweat, holding my arms up to God in supplication for death's release.