As I sit at the keyboard thinking, wishing, that I could blurt it all out, the idea strikes me that what I want more than anything is to let it go, in as few words as meaningfully possible; blunt, unapologetic, and uncensored; but writing doesn’t work that way. Writing always feels like a process of building, starting with a concept, an idea, a phrase, or an image and little by little giving it life by explanation, exploration, and in my case excavation, and digging deeply at that. Why couldn’t this be more like a Patrick Nagle print, a few lines, a minimalist’s touch of pencil on canvas. Add a dash of color and viola the mysterious woman emerges on the page; ready to entice, intrigue and captivate.
Patrick Nagle was an artist, but he would have been a terrible writer. He wanted to illustrate in as few lines as humanly possible the illusion of depth, the hint of a curved breast, the idea of a voluptuous illusive woman. Patrick’s art created images of the unobtainable, the woman who drank a little, with expensive tastes, who smoked way too much late into the evening when smoking was still fashionable and sexy; a women who had secrets, and exploits, and ultimately disappeared into the blank pages from whence she came.
I am definitely not that sophisticated. I have to quantify, seeking always to visualize in words those things I can sense but not wrap my head around. Maybe Nagle and I have something in common there. His women are my words; but to not know them, to not understand them, to not add every detail, every single sinew, every pore, every thought, for me approaches blasphemy. Blasphemer, yes that feels right, but can an atheist blaspheme an aesthetic, or is the very act trans-formative in art such that it evolves and becomes something new and right in its own image.
I don’t know art. Aesthetic for me is movement; emotional, raw and powerful. It’s a feeling of surrender to that which I cannot explain nor duplicate, which is why when I put fingers to keys I feel small and insignificant, like one of so many monkeys finding bits of Shakespeare in the abyss on the page baffled and confused as to its origin and meaning. Driven to it like an addiction, fumbling attempts spill forth like rain from a Seattle sky, small light mists of rain nothing of much substance, not even enough to open an umbrella for, yet ever present in the right season, months of it, ceaseless torrents of ideas, snippets of conversations, a sentence that grabs hold and will not release me.
This is why I write, because once you’ve eaten at that table, words take on a significance that supersedes and imitates hunger and only the most eloquent gourmet fare will satisfy the craving, and like a glutton I want more.