Stop the Static

Dark, cool morning in Palestine, Texas

“Stop listening to the static. . . . everything in the world is like this transmission making its way across the dark. But everything–death, life, everything–it’s all completely suffused with static. But if you listen to the static too much it f*cks you up.”

As a television viewer, I am far behind the times, often choosing to binge watch a series created years ago. A few days ago, I finished watching “Six Feet Under”, a deeply moving experience for me on many levels. In the final episode, one of the deceased appeared to his sister whose life was in turmoil, and he advised her that she must find a way to “stop the static”; there was far too much anxiety roiling her inner world and she needed to find a way to stop it. She was an artist, and the advice of course was quite sound.

For several days now, that inner voice has resonated with me. Stop the static. We live in an age of anxiety, much of it of our own making. I know a number of individuals in my art circles who cannot seem to find peace in their lives. Of course, the caricature of the temperamental artist continues to play out in our days, along with the depressed artist, the repressed artist, etc. But a number of my artistic friends seem to spend more time spewing negativity on Facebook. I can’t help but wonder what is stirring them up–too much time in front of the daily news cycle? Too much time reading others’ negative comments on social media? What exactly is stirring them up, preventing them from making art?

For me personally, retirement in 2017 slowed my inner world down considerably, and even though daily life details have multiplied in the past couple of months of gallery ownership, I still appreciate a quieter inner world for myself. No doubt much of it is due to a targeted avoidance of the daily news cycle and toxic remarks on social media. Life is too short to swim in the sewers of negativity. And as for the accelerated lifestyle of our current world, I purposely choose to seek out the quiet spots and sweet solitude. My mornings (and most of the day actually) avoid social commentary on Facebook, as well as tuning in to the television to listen to the daily news (mostly negative). I have far too many books with affirming observations and exciting visions for contributing to a better world. I will never get around to reading them all, but my excuses will not include the admission of fiddle-farting on the Internet, stuffing my mind and psyche with someone else’s venom. Stop the static.

Without an alarm, I somehow woke at 4:50 this morning, ideas visiting me in great abundance, but not disturbing ones, not negative thoughts. I chose to get up and scribble in my journal the fresh ideas, grateful for the visitation. By 7:00 I was in the gallery for coffee, reading, and now am ready to go back to the drafting table and visit my watercolor from the night before, viewing it in this lovely morning light, remembering the precious words from Henry Miller:

To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the water colors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn!

I sense my watercolor whispering to me from across the gallery. It’s time to step into the fresh light and see if I can create something worthy of these positive sentiments.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I bog to remind myself I am not alone.

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One Response to “Stop the Static”

  1. scamp1010 Says:

    Lovely entry David. I am often on the opposite end of your quiet inner word, but I am not a depressed or repressed artist at this time either. I have found a very solid balance between my work world and my creative world. I credit a great deal of that to you and my other creative friends. Let me explain. When one of us is overwhelmed, we have such a close bond that we know how to pick each other up with compassionate listening, positive affirmations and gentle guidance. We can tell something is wrong with each other by a simple look on our faces, or our demeanor. I believe, because of these precious people, that I am able to continue to have both, a quiet inner world and a productive work life. As you know, teaching can zap the living hell out of you, and I do have those days, but it seems that has occurred much less this year. I feel that is due in part to the minimal number of students in school, and the conversations I seek out with friends. You and I have discussed many times lately about the negativity on facebook and how social media can be an advantage and disadvantage. I love your post because it is another reminder about how to find a safe place in order to breathe, how precious that is, and how we must practice self care. Reading about your daily abundance of time makes me extremely happy for you, and also look forward to my own retirement, rather than fearing it. The life you are living, and sharing with others is remarkable. I have seen first hand the lives you have touched with your positive energies. The joy you have spread with the opportunities YOU make for others, such as what I am calling “The Dutch Oven Encounter” in a poem I am working on now. I have purposefully sought out pleasure lately in books, documentaries, and webinars about writers and artists lately. This has made an impact on my time when I create. I think of other artists and how they all seem to grapple with having enough private time to create their work as well as have inner peace. Often, they don’t. You are quite blessed. Thank you again for sharing your private world with everyone. I apologize this was so long. I wanted to talk with you yesterday as planned, but I didn’t want to call you while you may have been driving in the storm, and of course… my day got away from me. Ha! This was a ramble, and probably should have been a text message, but alas, it is here.


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