So far the new year is having a bit of a hard time getting itself off the ground in my world.
I am still tying up loose ends and processing 2011.
It was a pretty intense and amazing also difficult year.
I will announce my new years celebration when it finally rolls around.
I do have a word for the year. Reveal. But I’m not there yet.
I am not even ready to commit to the word never mind the new year.
Maybe I will celebrate the Chinese new Year in February
I should be ready for new beginnings by then.
I am planning to post a few old posts from last year and delete some others as
part of the get ready for the new ritual.
Here is a post from the end of 2010.
“I like too many things and get all confused and hung up running from one falling star to another till I drop. . .I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
I put the above quote here–one of my faves–
because it always speaks directly to something deep within me.
There was some inner longing triggered by these words that I identified in myself–
and that prompted me to be an artist.
The following is from my hand-written journal Novemeber 2011.
The other day on the Broadway bus, I saw a young girl reading
ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac.
The book was beat up and dog eared.
She held it so that the front cover was curled back around the book.
She was small with bright cherry red lipstick, and purple polish
on her bitten down fingernails–
streaks of white paint on her hands
and in her dreadlocks
and on her combat boots.
There was a time that I had my own version of this kind of rebellious fashion statement–
but it wasn’t her clothes that somehow reminded me of myself, a long time ago–
it was the book ON THE ROAD
To this day Kerouac remains an important icon in my sacred temple of artistic deities.
I still love reading quotes by him, and biographical material about him.
I continue to identify with his way of expressing his life experience, even if my present life,
bares no resemblance to his. He still speaks of something very familiar to me–
his words, his poetic images– and his fiery, crazy, sensibilities.
I had whole passages memorized.
I loved reading and imagining the Beat Poet rebellion,
and the association with revolution and jazz.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!
I was very young when I first read these words.
Jack Kerouac was long gone from this earth.
I probably didn’t actually understand most of what I read,
but something in me responded.
Something woke up hungry and thirsty.
I wanted to drink it in.
I loved the galloping pace of the narrative
and the raw images stacked up on top of one another.
When I first read these words–
“the only people for me were the mad ones”–
I was in the quadrangle outside my high school.
At sixteen, I had never met anyone who was like the people that he described.
I had never had any opportunity to experience the kind of feelings that these words seemed to evoke,
and yet I immediately identified with them, as if I had intimate knowledge of such things.
I can remember fantasizing that I lived in a world like he described–
and knew personally, some of these intense and driven poets and painters–
and of course I was one of them.
It was just a teen age fantasy of course.
But Kerouac helped me find my own direction in life.
He articulated something I needed to discover.
I wanted to be an artist.
I needed to be an artist.
His words and the words and images of other’s like him made me realize this.
I had no evidence that I could be an artist– no opportunity to make it happen.
No particular sign of talent.
No one in my family or community had education, or the kind of experience,
that would allow me to have such lofty dreams. Nevertheless–
I was claimed by this dream.
I was taken away and forever changed by this dream.
I was defined by it, in a way that no family heritage, or cultural traditions,
or shared history, ever could.
I have a few iconic artists, writers, and musicians,
that I feel this way about.
Artists that I think of as my creative ancestors.
I hold their names dear to me for how they liberated me and nurtured me
in ways I can’t describe.
They were the ones that flipped a switch in my soul.
So thanks for the reminder, cute little hipster girl on the bus.
With all that paint on your hands and on your shoes, I am sure you are well on the road.
Thanks for taking me back to those early days where my artful dreams began.
Here is an art journal page I made a couple of years ago about this very thing.
My Art Heroes is what I called the page.
Up there in the corner is Mark Rothko, and then comes LeRoi Jones and Diane Di Prima.
Of course Picasso is very recognizable and–
there he is Jack Kerouac– on the left in his check shirt.
LIke I said before, most of these people were dead by the time I discovered them, but their souls burned brightly through their work and helped me find my own path.
I am eternaly grateful.
Who are your creative icons? Who is in your temple of creative heroes and who changed your life with their art and writing?
Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
if you are interested here is Kerouac