From seeds and good intentions

I once planted a garden that came up weeds. There were flowers, but they were scrawny, unloved things. Completely out of sight, they cowered beneath a dense canopy of green. Expansive wings soaked up all of the sun and water. Even my love for the flowers I had planted from seeds was captivated by the weeds.

I remember transplanting many of them—the weeds, I mean—thinking they needed more room. I was concerned that they weren’t budding, but I kept hoping maybe soon. Despite the lack of blooms, I kept up my care of them. I even gave them extra food, and sat near them with my morning coffee and newspaper. I talked to them about such blooms as I could imagine.

After some time, my own doubts were silenced, choked off by the length and scope of my investment; just as the flowers were choking beneath my weeds. Someone else had to show me. Someone else with knowledge of flowers—and weeds—carefully parted my weeds to show me the flowers.

All of us contain the seeds of everything.

—the chimera

Sinking Blues (Unfinished) 8-5-2012

Here is one I started without you. As you can see, I haven’t gotten far. Which is worse: painting through fear, or the fear of not painting at all? I have painted nothing so far this year. This one is only started. I’m afraid I let myself begin to feel useless as a painter. It happens. Actually, it happens everyday. Anyway, a few weeks ago when I started reading Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, I found this part at the beginning particularly piercing for me:

“As long as social damnation exists, through laws and customs, artificially creating hell at the heart of civilization and muddying a destiny that is divine with human calamity; as long as the three problems of the century—man’s debasement through the proletariat, woman’s demoralization through hunger, the wasting of the child through darkness—are not resolved; as long as social suffocation is possible in certain areas; in other words,  and to take an even broader view, as long as ignorance and misery exist in this world, books like the one you are about to read are, perhaps, not entirely useless.” —HAUTEVILLE HOUSE, January 1, 1862

“O you! You ideal! You alone exist!”—Victor Hugo

I cannot know the worth of it, if indeed there is any worth in my painting. I just know I will keep trying. We still have some of these same problems, more than two hundred years later. In fact, we seem to be re-manufacturing some of them. In painting, I keep struggling to find a voice that will speak clearly and maybe do some good. Maybe it’d be faster if we all just read Les Misérables. No, I mean read it—not watch it.