Going to chill for a week or so, everybody. Set off on a photo excursion or three; sit half asleep somewhere and let my imagination go. Won’t be long, and then it will be Spring, thank the bleeding …
* * *
He finally had to go on vacation, they made him. “Look at all these leave hours you’ve accumulated,” his editor complained, “It’s like three years’ worth.”
“It is three years”, he told him.
“No vacation in three years and you wonder why you come in and stare at the computer for hours before you come up with the art I need.”
“You’re forgetting how often I work from home.”
“No I’m not, I’m counting those hours. But you don’t do any better there, either. And the thing is, when you do come up with something, it’s just not very good.”
And that hurt his feelings.
“You’re burned out and got artists’ block. Get out of here. Go do something.”
“Something fun for chissakes! Go someplace. I don’t want to see you back here for three weeks.”
That was Friday afternoon. The three weeks wouldn’t even start until Monday. He went home and sat on his couch in his underwear eating corn chips and watching ‘60’s sitcoms until Tuesday, not even bothering with the junk he generally killed time with on the weekends. Cultivating boredom, he called it. Only, it dawned on him sometime Monday, he wasn’t cultivating boredom at all, just thought he was. He felt disconnected, an overwhelming dread of not knowing what in the holy heck-fire to do with himself. What was the meaning of it all? What was his point?
This sense, or lack thereof, had happened before. When his collegiate idealism ran smack against reality. Life, it turned out, had flaws. The world would not change according to his expectations, and that had caught him by surprise. He had dealt with it then by running away.
He decided to run away again.
He got off his couch, showered, went down the street and had a decent breakfast. While he was doing that he booked airfare and hotels. Then he went home, checked his passport (still good), threw some clothes plus a couple drawing pads into a backpack, sent a couple emails telling a select few where he was, and left. O’Hare to Miami, Miami to Bridgetown (he felt bad about not going through Kingstown but thought he might take the boat across later), Bridgetown to ‘The Island Of The Clouds’, and checked into the Frangipani. There were certainly better places now, but he preferred his old stomping grounds. He put on his trunks and a very loose, short-sleeve shirt and a straw Panama, grabbed a beer to go at the Whaleboner, took a looping route through town past the elementary school where he was a teacher for two years, cut up the hill and used the boardwalk for a bit, grabbed another beer at Jack’s which he downed while walking along Gibbons beach, swung around on Lower Bay Road to Lower Bay Beach (heck of a lot less populated than Gibbons) and plopped down in a chair in the sand in front of Dawn’s.
About 80 degrees, light wind blowing from an achingly gorgeous aqua blue Caribbean, sun into its descent back over his shoulder. Waiter at Dawn’s brought him one of their rum concoctions. He gazed out to sea, let his mind wander. When the sun went down he drifted back along the beach, sat out on the Frangipani’s big veranda, watched the boats bob at anchor in the harbor, watched the lights twinkling off the water. Kept his mind wandering.
He repeated the same walks up the beach, sat in the same chairs, gazed out at the same sea, for several days and nights. And his mind wandered. And finally, his mind separated from his body; floated free into its own creations. An entity in and of itself, separate and unconfined, free to create. And in creating, created the artist. Created himself. He hadn’t been disconnected; he had been too connected. He hadn’t run away; he had run towards. Run into.
‘There,’ he thought to himself as the weeks passed, ‘There I am’.
* * *
BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations and rarely have anything to do with each other. Duality and such …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.