Eight days have passed since my last blog post. I was struck down by a viral infection, my entire body ached, and headaches prevented me from using my eyes to read or paint. But I had plenty of time to think (and sleep). First, I thank all of you readers who found out I was ill, and reached out to me with gracious words. That gesture of kindness set off a litany of thoughts that I’m still trying to sort out, and hope to set forth in tonight’s post.
I’m thrilled to report that my sickness has apparently passed, and though quite weak, I at least am able to read and write again, and look forward to painting as soon as possible. I was in the mood to paint this evening, but storm watching took precedence. Forty-five minutes ago, a tornado passed over my neighborhood, fortunately not touching down, but the local sirens blasted for a good ten minutes until certain that the menace had departed.
Getting back to the well-wishers from the blogosphere, people I have not even met personally–I could never adequately tell you how much I appreciate your good will, and how your kindness has put some things in perspective for me. For years I have assembled, through my studies, all these fascinating pieces to a puzzle of Parisian café life in the 1920s and 30s. I was engrossed in the general daily cycle of Picasso’s life, as he painted in the studio all night long, went to bed in the wee hours of the morning, rose and went to the café to socialize with other creative spirits, then returned to the studio in the late afternoon or early evening to begin the cycle anew. He balanced his creative solitude with his social needs.
I have always regarded the making of art as a solitary enterprise, and that is where I spend long hours in my special Cave, making art, reading, journaling, always thinking and planning anew. My daily round of public school teaching surrounds me with people, and I do enjoy the bond of exchanging ideas with students, lighting fires and watching them respond with enthusiasm. But I really do not thrive any longer in the work environment. I make my living there, do my duties there, and try to have a good time while educating students. The blogosphere has become my Parisian café, and I never really realized it until this time of illness. There are scores of blogs that I have to visit daily, and I am always amazed at the ideas, the poetry, the images, the songs that soar through those blogs. And I occasionally post comments and some of those actually germinate into an ongoing dialogue with that creative spirit/blogger. And I try to answer every single post on my blog, and there are a number of those creative spirits who continue to “talk” to me. Always I have found encouragement and gleaned new ideas through these encounters. But I guess it wasn’t until I became ill, stopped blogging (too sick even to think about writing), that I was shocked to receive words of encouragement from other bloggers who had “missed” my daily posts. What a surprise, how unspeakably touching that was! It was then that I realized that I had finally found a “café” where I could commune with other creative spirits.
In the days ahead, I hope I’ll be able to find quality time to integrate all my scattered notes and files from over the years, studies I had done of those café spirits of Paris—Picasso, Hemingway, Stein, Joyce, Anderson, Sartre, and see if I can find a way to consolidate the visual and literary arts the way this generation managed to do. I feel privileged to sample this synergy of the Parisian café. My heartfelt thanks goes out to this corner of the blogosphere. You do make a difference—at least you have for me. I can’t wait to re-join you in the next conversation. I cannot wait till the next moment when I stride into the cafe and take my seat among these artistic spirits. We’ll join in the spirit of Picasso and his literary friends as we exchange our views and encourage one another to continue on in this enterprise.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal because I am alone.
I blog, knowing full well that I am not alone.