Shaking Off Post-Travel Lethargy

I paint so I’ll have something to look at. I write so I’ll have something to read.

Barnett Newman

Having arrived back in Lubbock at 2:30 a.m. recently after pulling a loaded trailer through the night, I still find myself shaking off the cobwebs of unusual working and sleeping patterns. We have been moving things from Lubbock to Arlington in stages, and at this age find ourselves lacking the energy we knew ten-to-twenty years ago. Hence another blogging hiatus.

Rising early this morning, I went into the kitchen to engage in my customary ritual of grinding coffee beans in an antique hand-crank grinder. As I cranked the handle, I envisioned that I was turning the flywheel of my imagination in hopes of turning out a meaningful sentence by the time the coffee was French pressed and poured. It didn’t happen. So I pulled a few of my recent books from the bag and commenced reading for inspiration.

In a recent blog, I shared my interest in re-reading a most engaging biography on Thoreau, authored by Robert Richardson Jr. His dedication page honors W. J. Bate “who teaches that ‘in and through the personal rediscovery of the great, we find that we need not be the passive victims of what we deterministically call “circumstances.”. . . But that by linking ourselves . . . with the great we can become freer–freer to be ourselves, to be what we most want and value.'”

Reading the dedication spurred my memory to something I read years ago from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. In his Untimely Meditations he advanced a particular discipline of historical study that he labeled “monumentalistic.” This particular method concentrates on past heroes in order to confront contemporary mediocrity with the possibility of greatness.

My personal reading preferences shifted to biography right after I finished my doctoral dissertation in 1987. Still uncertain of my career path, and weary of the technical reading I had pursued for over ten years, I suddenly found myself curious about the lives of intellectual heroes who had inspired me through their creations. And as I read the lives of these giants, it suddenly occurred to me that they at one time had been young men no better than I. Emerson wrote it better than I, so here he is . . .

Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.

That particular insight set me free to pursue my own path, chart my own course, carve out my own destiny. The journey has taken many detours throughout the decades, but my most recent endeavor has been to write the story of Hank and pour in as much richness as I can recall from my own personal journeys as well as those shared by my friends. Hopefully I’ll be able to create and illustrate a character who is a mirror to many of our own lives.

Traveling and moving lately has made it difficult to spend quality time in the studio, so reading has been my source of inspiration, as well as much writing. New Hank stories have been composed and soon I plan to put them out on the blog, hopefully with new paintings to match.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “Shaking Off Post-Travel Lethargy”

  1. North Liza Lane Says:

    Best…

    Like

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