This is a Friday. Like all Fridays, it is the week’s most adorable and neat potential. Nobody else is to butt in, and I’m thrilled with anticipation.
The moment I finish work, the grey veil of duty lifts, and a part of my mind just starts piling up logs of plans and thoughts lit by impulses like shooting stars. A bonfire of probability emits light at the tunnel’s end, warmth in the dark.
Out of a sudden impulse, I grab my brushes and the few paint containers. I go and buy some canvasses. I suspect there will be a lot more painting soon. I’m not concerned. Exercise is all I need. The last time, it was six years since I worked with paint. I’m curious about how much effort my imagination will need to power through to reality. Sometimes, old hobbies kick a door down in my consciousness, and I must comply and jump headfirst into the old hobby, armed with new ideas. Hopefully.
Speaking of weapons, the brushes and crayons spill onto the new canvas. Taking the hint, I start with patches of paint without a concept or plan. I have fun with the reds and blues and yellows. Next, add white and black in random order. The little white textile is soon filled with shapeless crisscrossed sections. The brushes scratch lightly. The palette knife glides over the pockets and dollops of fresh acrylic paint.
For the first time in so many years, I’m reminded of the passing of time – not just any time, but my personal temporal distance to what used to be my second nature: pictures, density, colors, atmosphere and depth, deep mysteries of life. I’m acutely aware of my clumsy, rusty hands and my wrist’s short staccato movements. This is not how it used to be. I have lost my mind’s elegance, efficacy, and phantasy.
The whispers start. This is not how it used to be. But, deep inside, pictures bloomed like a dream, and the colors of the heart withered to bedrock emotion. I dream of meaning in the folds of my phantasy. Not here, nor there, rootless, limited by the drifts of time, my time… Nothing like the futility of sand between my fingers, the rushing of space through the universe I call my imagination.
I wake up thinking about being a mediocre stray entity. In my last dream, there has been a diagram about what it means to be a homeless being. “There are key elements to it,” says the giant toad with a significant gesture. It yawns and tries to eat its own hand that just has been waving at everything in general.
What were the key elements of being a stray? The canvas has transformed into a patch of waterlilies, into the rippling surface of a river. There floated a lonely feather down the currents, one different colored flower among the white, a toad with speech bubbles of white noise. “The odd one out.” There are the different ones on these canvases, in the pictures, in the poems, in the stories, and in the dreams. Vanguard storms of the contrast places and players, there are the same old twists, the same old turns towards the hot mess I come to love. This same old brand of surprises to the worse, to the weird, to the funny… To the tragic. I like these jokers, my precious little beacons of shapeshifting voyeurism, lust and misery.
I slap the chaos with books next. There, another try in making meaning.
Consulting dictionaries, the most common explanation is of animals, things, and persons having no home and no owner. First, the toad spits out its hand and looks at me blankly. Then, it opens its maw and emits static noise and some jumping radio signals playing music and news.
But that cannot be all of it, can it? Is it just strayed-ness, or only the lack of belonging to a group of other like-minded people? What’s up with a group of not like-minded people or orphans? Homeless people do belong to their families. They belong to each other, existing in the liminal space of observed social structures.
Then the toad lights a cigarette, and paddles with one of my brushes off to the painted river shore. Kryptic amphib has places to go, things to do.
There it sits, retracting behind the canvas, the resemblance of meaning in the fabric that I just painted, and I lose the grasp of it.