the never time

I am aggravated this morning. I am about to go into a three-hour mandatory training module. It is training I do not need. It is training that does little to further the outfit’s larger objective, but someone has put it on a list, and the box must be checked. In a meaningless way, the outfit will have something measurable –– We can report that x number of our employees have received this training, they will state. It is part and parcel of something the outfit does a lot of, which is torture the non-offenders. We’re not good at swimming, the outfit says. So we’re going to make all of you take swimming lessons. Especially you who already swim.

I’ve reached that age where the irritations of time get a strong reaction from me. These irritations usually operate on three levels:

  • I do not have enough time.
  • I do not always use the time I have in the best way.
  • I do not like my time wasted by others.

Of course this training falls under the third point. And it is especially acute when I feel like I’m already failing at the first two.

Being a creative takes enormous resources of self-drive and discipline. Nothing happens unless you –– literally –– conjure it out of nothingness.

Yesterday I was doing badly with all of this, especially after finding out about the impending training, so I forced the issue over lunch with some drawing and minor story-telling. It helped redeem the day, somewhat. And often that’s the best you can do, just make something, and push things along a bit, even when they don’t want to go.





an original painting by darryl joel berger

HELP (speech to a crowd)

mixed media on masonite panel

14 x 12 inches

found paper, drawing in ink, mounted on board, integrated painting, collage, emulsion transfer, gesso wash, pencil and crayon, successive layers of varnish

I’m always drawn to the ruin of things, the way they degrade, and their ultimate endings. In the past this has manifested itself in my writing, which treats people like broken satellites, orbiting around bad planets, sparking and twitching toxic toward some final descent. But lately this idea of ruin has been making itself apparent in my visual work, my drawing and painting, so that I find myself purposely creating things that look neglected, half-finished, vandalized and ravaged by time. In other words, I’m making pictures with scars. Because what is a scar? It’s a signal of history, or experience. New things do not have this. New things are just shiny and stupid and boastful. In terms of my own sensibilities, I like the self-effacement of scarred things, the visual transparency or literalness of wrongness and mistake.