Today I Am Almost Scared How Fine I Almost Feel
It is a spring evening in 1989 and I am walking down a street in Santa Monica, California.
Blowing down the same street are gobs of papers, partial notebooks, blue exam books, like the contents of a school knapsack emptied at the bus stop by the bully.
I start scooping them up. I don't know, maybe I thought I was retrieving them for their owner, but there was no one, distraught, running after them.
As it turned out, they were fragments of someone's journal, bits and pieces of anguish spanning a decade.
I do not use the word anguish here lightly.
Contained, barely contained in the scrawl and rambles was a story of such darkness and repeated efforts to crawl out from under unbearable despair.
I do not know who the author is, but she seemed as thrown away and blown away as her papers, and so, I saved them.
Every so often I would pull them out, read some of them over, and then put them away again. They were just so dark.
But I have kept them, nearly 25 years now, because I felt there had to be something I could do with them.
And I didn't want to give up on her.
I think I am now ready to give them new life.
This painting came out from a page she wrote in 1978. An up day.
Late in December a few of us got together and painted this homey scene of a young man reading.
I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this sort of domestic scene, but I found that if you love the material of paint enough, the subject matter doesn't matter so much.
The result was more successful than I imagined it would be.