The Hollow Men

Continued details on the Fort Worth Flatiron

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

My mind wanders far and wide when concentrating on minute details of a large watercolor. Waking this morning, I felt the compulsion to seek out T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” for quiet reading over coffee. As I read, my mind drifted to the watercolor in the studio waiting my morning arrival. I thought of the towering flatiron building on the south side of downtown Fort Worth, standing sentinel there for 113 years now, presiding quietly over passing history. And I wondered over the thousands of souls who passed by quietly beneath its shadows during that century-plus, especially in days when the south side witnessed more foot traffic.

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Those lines have always haunted me. I suppose it was during graduate school days in the 1980’s that I encountered the largest number of men around me, working on doctorates, continually complaining about their sense of hollowness and their attempts to fill the void with reservations for a racquetball court, a golf outing, or dinner somewhere with someone, anyone. I never knew those days. Financially I struggled then, and could not engage in social outings, but books were my companion, and now in better days, books remain my companion when no one is around. I don’t understand hollowness, listlessness. Even if I don’t have an art project waiting on the drafting table, I have a library of volumes I will never exhaust in this lifetime, and empty journal pages waiting to be filled. Life is full, and I’m grateful for it.

At this moment, I have four paintings laid out waiting for my attention, but this flatiron has a hard target deadline, so I know what my orders are for the days ahead. But once this painting is finished, several more are already on standby, and the books and ideas will always be swarming about me like a fragrant cloud, and for that I am grateful.

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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