“I was never interested in their pessimism, or editorializing. You have to have time to feel sorry for yourself if you’re going to be a good abstract expressionist. And I think I always considered that a waste.”
Robert Rauschenberg, Pop Artist, commenting on the Abstract Expressionist painters preceding him
Hello. It is Friday night, and the Texas temperatures outside this cold, wet night are hanging around thirty-five degrees. Finishing an arduous week of school, I now enjoy my payoff—a weekend without appointments. The coffee is poured, and as I think over the satisfaction of my Philosophy class today during their Socratic dialogue and subsequent Presocratics research, I am filled with a state of eudaimonia. Already I’ve enjoyed an evening of books and playing my guitars. Now I’m taking careful notes from a DVD, “Painters Painting.” I feel the company of these artists who flourished in New York City from the 1940s to the 1970s, and am enjoying what I’m hearing.
I posted the Rauschenberg quote above, because I’m laughing at the silly self-absorbed notion of an American artist brooding in his studio, alone, on a cold winter Friday night. I am personally annoyed when I read a blog, or hear an original song performed at an open mike that focuses on the depression and alienation experienced by its creator. Having said that, I have always tried to avoid publishing brooding, self-obsessed, navel-gazing, self-pitying blog posts. I think I am honest when I say that I appreciate life as a Gift, with its multitude of opportunities to explore, and its countless avenues for growth.
Per the title I’ve posted, I feel a genuine warmth over friends I’ve had the privilege of meeting in person and online the past couple of weeks, and feel (finally) that I am settling into a lifestyle comparable to what was experienced in the Parisian cafes from the 1920’s onward, where people from diverse walks of life met to discuss their creative observations, work on new art forms, and draw encouragement from one another. I had always wanted this to happen in schools where I have taught throughout the years, but it just hasn’t for reasons I don’t really care to explore tonight. I’m just glad to be aware now of people all around and accessible who have that same thirst for conversation and exchange of perspectives. Though I have a weekend stretching before me that is virtually empty of appointments, it just feels good to know that I can reach out in a multitude of directions and draw energy from others. We truly live in a remarkable age where we can connect online and communicate without that annoying cost of long-distance telephone charges, or waiting on the postal service to deliver our stamped mail. One can be alone physically, but accompanied and enriched spiritually by the presence of conversation from kindred spirits through a multitude of avenues not available twenty years ago.
Thanks always for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.