Good morning. It’s Tuesday, June 4th. The sun is shining but it’s only seven degrees outside, and it will only reach fourteen. Late afternoon showers are likely.
I make breakfast and a full-page to-do list (large, Sharpie cursive) for my nine year-old (like most kids these days, she feels adrift without step-by-step instructions, like she can’t believe it unless it’s written down — or at least listed by Google) and then retreat to my sketchy office in the basement. I put on (not really ‘put on’ … it’s not a record, is it?) an ambient playlist and try to write this but the ambient music doesn’t really work, doesn’t really mute the sound of my nine year-old arguing and cutting deals with her mom. What about this, and what if I only do that? The endless menu. A great ambient song title would be Some Open Chords with Unstrung Ego.
I didn’t want to get up this morning. Most mornings I wake at five, no matter what, by that point I’m not quite comfortable anyway, can never get quite fully comfortable, I’m a six foot-five bone puppet that never collapses the right way, an inverted snow globe of glittering aches, so I might as well get up. But this morning the entire length of me was nicely settled, as if at the bottom of something, a wet ditch or shallow pond or lake of mildly polluted dreams, which at this age are simply glimpses of things, little performance pieces of closed shows or ones you’ve never properly seen from the cheap seats at the back of the room.
Anyway: there’s all this stuff to do, if only expressed as to-do lists for nine year-old ego machines.
I make a painting called The Believer. This is not a believer before a blazing cross, or winged thing emerging from a crypt, or answer to the final clue that will unlock the great mystery. This is not the proclaiming of a grand champion. This is not the one true cause. This is not a magical manual for making friends and influencing people. This is not about control. This is not about channelling invisible psycho-electric currents that can manifest positive energy. This is not about a vision. This is not about the right pictures on the right cards in the right order. This is not about a system to beat the system. This is not math. This is the one thing that is not about math. In fact it is simply about colour, the stains that emanate from some dark star within, and how impossible it is to use them as a guide, but yet we follow them anyway.
Forget the Crusades; we live in the golden age of belief. The earth is flat, what climate change, vaccination is bad, the market knows everything, they’re staging a mass shooting again. I’m wearing pajamas today. Maybe every day.
So yes, I make a painting called The Believer. It requires three distinct visits: awful, okay and finished. The first two visits, always, are painful, but absolutely necessary for the third. And because this is the first painting that I’ve done since giving up my studio, those first two visits are especially awkward and pinned together with doubt.
But my own to-do list of getting going again, of rebuilding my studio finances, and having/affording another studio someday, has to start somewhere. And that’s a kind of belief, too.
Have a good week, everyone,
Draw things, paint things, write things, make things.
This Tinyletter is brought to you by the vanity license plates CLARK 3, AAAA777, MFARRELL, U P I, EAR LADY, LISAVEE, TOPOPOP, LILDARLN, 2PAYNT, HOOPSIE, PUNSHER1, MENDETTI, TADPOL17, LEONS 4, SHRTYGRL, LCWON, LION D, S MED 1, GIGADEE, BSWAGZ, DEBILY1, DP VIBE, LUVMYPUP, 511 PAL, SP K WW, NICKY R, and VE3LXK. I believe in all of you and none of you all at the same time.