Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Halloween

"As she aged, she fell increasingly in love with solitude and seclusion."  

The painting is by Gwen John.  The quote came from this lovely article.  I understand the pleasure of it. . . all of it.  

The clocks have fallen back, so of course I woke far too early, at six o'clock which has become five o'clock. I will pay for this later.  But I couldn't sleep.  Halloween, perhaps, but the boogey man came visiting my awful dreams so that there was nothing to do but get up, turn on some music, put on the coffee, and read the papers.  

I will go back to bed soon.  

Losing the studio is a reality now.  I've been notified that I must be out at the end of the year.  The jig is coming to an end, and I wonder, "What will I do with all the stuff?"  The gifted couch in the reception room will go to the curb.  The folding work tables can go in my garage.  The smaller printer can go into my office.  The two tables that I used as props. . . I don't know.  The cafe chair will stay with me.  Three other chairs that I have used in the shoots will go to the curb, too, I guess.  And what do I do with the now "famous "couch?  It is iconic.  Perhaps I'll have a party and burn it before I put it in the dumpster.  Ignoble ending.  No images will be made with it again.  

There are light stands and strobes and hot lights, all, I guess, which can go in my attic.  The big 8x10 camera and the two 4x5s, too, I guess.  All the things for encaustic work--heating plates and brushes and tins and torches--will end up in the garage.  The old Polaroid and Fuji films, and the 8x10 Impossible film and other large format films, too?  

I had though to bring the big Epson printer into my study, but I don't know.  What will it do there?  Perhaps I'll sell it on craigslist.  Maybe I should sell the big cameras, too.  I have about fifty 35mm, medium format, and digital cameras that will have to be stored somewhere.  Perhaps I will list some of them on eBay.  

There are huge curtains and canvas backdrops that I can fold and put in the attic.  Heavy motherfuckers.  Maybe they are better sold, too.  I have bags of fabrics that I will throw away and a lot of costuming to pitch as well.  I will put the unused frames and encaustic boards in the garage. 

But what of all the images?  I have a room full of framed 36" prints and hundreds of unframed sleeved prints that are stacked. . . what. . . three feet high?  They weigh hundreds of pounds.  And then there is all the unused art papers that I have piled up for various uses.  And rolls of bamboo and cotton papers for the printer.  Perhaps all of this can go into a climate controlled storage space.  One of you who is younger will have to have a key to the place so that it doesn't all go to the scrapyard one day.  

Why make things, I wonder in the night?  What happens to it?  I can't imagine a life in which I didn't make things, but most people don't.  And they are wise, I guess.  They are free.  

I have been looking through my boxes and boxes and boxes of Polaroids from the early studio days, and the files of negatives and proof sheets from all the film I've shot.  WTF?  And there are dozens of hard drives with the digital imagery pristinely stored until the drives go bad.  I have been mad.  

I think to put it all away in storage and sell everything and live a monastic existence.  But I will have to un-clutter my mind of images I've seen, pictures I want to make.  

It is like a death.  

And in the night, I think to sell my house and all the things that are in it, and to move into a single, bare room, to leave this life for an existence.  Would I sleep better?  Would I be happier?  

I open my eyes in the dark and look around.  The terrible flashes of lightning that are always there in the dark, the inside of my eyes fraying at the retina edges, tearing away.  I reach up and turn on the lamp on my bedside table.  I stand to go into the bathroom.  My knee is stiff and a bit painful, my hip hurting even without the weight of my body, my back a freaking mess.  I shuffle across the floor wondering what my body is like inside, how the internal organs are doing. . . hoping.  

You might wonder, given all of that, how one can fall "increasingly in love with solitude and seclusion."  It is simply one of the mysteries.  

I palliated my solitude with a trip to the theater last night.  I downed a large portion of a bottle of Patron before going in an effort to calm myself.  It was my own Halloween treat.  The theater was full of old people as usual so that I wondered.  The play was one act, two actors, and an hour and a half. . . and it was "bleh."  Or maybe it was me.  

Afterwards I went to the Boulevard to get a bite to eat.  Not dinner, exactly, as it was nine and I was alone, but a bite at the bar.  The town seemed emptied, nothing but sidewalk and buildings and light that spilled from the windows and doorways.  The cruise ships had vanished for the day.  I sat at the bar and ordered some sushi and a beer.  

"Why are you alone tonight?" asked the bartender who seems always to be working there no matter if I go day or night.  

"As I age," I started to say. . . .  But it was a private joke, so I said instead, "I just came from seeing a play and need to get some nourishment."  That seemed to satisfy him.  I was less suspicious, perhaps, or less dangerous.  A man alone on a Halloween night can only appear to be up to no good.  But I. . . I simply wanted something to eat and to go home to my bed, knowing little the thoughts and dreams would haunt my sleeping hours.  

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