I envy [painters] because there is so much physical satisfaction in the actual work of painting and sculpture. I’m a physical being and resent this sedentary business of sitting at one’s desk and moving only one’s wrist. I pace, I speak my poems, I get very kinetic when I’m working. . . . When I insist on poetry as a kind of action, I’m thinking very much in these terms–every achieved metaphor in a poem is a gesture of sorts, the equivalent of slashing of a stroke on canvas.
I loved reading this interview given by poet Stanley Kunitz. He lived in Greenwich Village, and later in Provincetown, enjoying close relationships with Abstract Expressionist painters including Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Willem DeKooning. I understand his disjunctive between the sedentary posture of a desk-bound poet and the action painter standing before a mural-size canvas. I knew the action painting posture in my former years. But as a watercolorist, I feel more sedentary and reflective, and certainly don’t burn calories when I’m in the midst of my work.
However, tonight I have been everything but sedentary. There is a three-day festival approaching: Centerstage Festival at the Levitt Performing Arts Pavilion in central Arlington, Texas. I will have to rise early on Friday morning to begin the load-in for the show. Tonight I decided to get out in front of it, instead of waiting for the deadline to bite me on the butt tomorrow evening. I have been working out of three rooms (that explains the burning of calories): printing in one, matting and sleeving in another, organizing and loading in another. This time I have taken an oath not to leave my house with that trashed-out look when I drive away for the festival. So, I’ve had to work harder to keep from tossing discarded items into corners and empty spaces on the floors.
Though I’ve experienced an evening brimming with physical energy, I have every reason to believe that the sedentary will return. Texas has been soggy, slushy, muddy, moldy and swampy with rain for weeks, and the forecast calls for this to continue daily through next Monday. In prior years, this would draw an explosion of profanity from me. Not this time. I have seen more than my fair share of this in Texas. I need to be glad to have a good, sound, waterproof tent. The festival will be on paved streets, not in swampy, grassy parks. I have added a back “porch” to my tent. So, if the rains descend, as forecasted, I will enjoy a thermos of coffee and a stack of books with my journal. If storms chase away all the patrons, as in festivals past, I’ll have three days to reflect, write, and plan for the exciting weeks that lie immediately ahead. I know solitude, and how to appreciate it when it is offered as a gift. And sedentary sounds like a good thing.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself I am not alone.