Sunday, July 27, 2014

Good Morning Jacob

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 27 July


Good Morning Jacob…

Words have such a limited vocabulary when it comes time to express how we feel.  Unless you are a poet gifted in uttering the strange tongue of speaking between words and their meaning then it is best to express how you feel using the map of your face or the spontaneous brush of your touch.  Maybe you can hold, even seduce, the thoughts of another through the careful measurement of sound that we call music.  It is one of the arts.  What is art if it does not leave us open to suggestion?  In this regard is it not just a bit like hypnosis?  We are suddenly focused in a manner outside our normal experience.  We see beneath the familiar and find something anew.  We are enticed to consider alternative possibilities – not through the logic of rational discourse but by way of the allure found beneath common human experience.  The ultimate language of art is intuition.  It reveals a truth that has always existed from within us yet it has often gone unrecognized.  There were simply no words to suggest its validation.  It’s not math.  The sum of its impressions never delivers the identical response in any two individuals.  In fact, the response varies within the same individual from day to day, moment to moment – from one event to another.  Art is a mercurial truth and cannot be held to a precise quality.  It provides an objective truth because its essence is universally perceived and yet it is subjective because it is meaningless without a human emotional response.  Art is a communication not beholden to words.  In fact, unless you are the poet or a bard whose product requires painting with words, then words themselves only diminish your message. 

A painter is wise to leave their message entrapped in oil.  Verbal explanation distracts the viewer from the art work’s impact, diffusing the painting’s energy.  Words corrupt.  They are the tools of a rational medium that often as not dissembles and distorts a meaning best left unspoken. 

de Kooning

What is the meaning of “yama dama ding dong”?  How about “Papa-ooma-mow-mow”?  How much time are you willing to invest to try to translate these sound-words into a literal meaning?  Don’t bother.  Once you speak these sounds aloud with feeling you will capture their meaning.  There are some experiences in life we just aren't meant to cogitate over.  We absorb a pure expression in oils.  We don’t puzzle through it as though we were plotting the artist’s moves in a challenge comparable to a game of chess – not if we want to be enriched by its sensual nature.  Sure, an academician may write a thesis on de Kooning’s disassembling of women as an act of love on canvas… and it would probably be interesting.  However that isn’t the experience de Kooning felt in the rapture of the moment when he put brush to canvas. 

I’m tempted now to dwell a moment on that word rapture.  I don’t think it’s a simple, pure feeling when held in the human heart.  Neither, for that matter, are the emotions associated with the act of making love.  There is mystifying complexity involved in these feelings.  If you are searching for nirvana then maybe you should take up spiritual yoga or the like.  Human passion is discordant, loaded with conflict.  It can be a vibrant, delicately balanced mesmeric suspension.  It can be an electrical storm, traumatic – a feverish surge.  Attempt to contain it and it explodes.  Wondrous life.


Those are the words.  Leave them for the letters you write when you can’t be with the one you love.  Otherwise, hold her tight and do something for her that is beyond the mere making of words. 


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