Art motivates my life. I goof on it at most moments, regardless of where I am, what I am doing. The only time this is not true is when I’m in real trouble. If I think I’m dying or in a tight spot somewhere, my brain empties of typical thoughts and my muscles and bones take over and I find no beauty in the sky or the sea or the people I am with. Art is meaningless. Other people are almost invisible. Everyone is concentrating on their own lives and there is not much to wonder about, maybe how the fuck did I get here, but beyond that it is only the body working and if you are levelheaded there might be a plan, but plans never seem to amount to much and everyone is a robot and motion is rote.
Art. A painting. There is one painting that has always stayed in my mind. It is like my lungs, my heart. It’s the lone wolf on a snowy ridge overlooking a little town. The scene is upon a vast landscape and the houses have fires burning within. There is white breath coming from the wolf’s nose. When I was a little boy I had asthma and I couldn’t breath very well and my parents sent me to spend humid summers with my grandmother. She was at a high elevation and the air was clean and cool.
The lone wolf print hung in the room where I often struggled for breath.
I’d spend hours looking at the wolf and his body would move as he breathed in and out, and I thought to myself that someday I would be that wolf, able to breathe, alone looking down upon the world. I ended up doing just that.
My grandmother’s original print of the lone wolf arrived in the mail today. It caused me to tremble as I held it in my hands. She bought it in the 1920s, so it is about 100 years old. There is a slight tear in it near the wolf’s head. The thin line looks like a wisp of snow and blends in with the ghostly weather bearing down upon the town below.
A famous historian once said we are all social isolates. I believe this to be true. Isolation has always held more interest for me than socialization. The trick I learned is how to socialize in an isolated way. This mode of interaction gave me an advantage over most people, since few knew what I was doing, particularly women.
I have only recently discovered love. If nothing else, life is about change and so I have changed, but the art of the wolf is a permanent fixture in my mind.
I am posting this little rip in my facade because an old friend died yesterday. His name is Timmy. We fucked up in tandem and traveled together for years. Also, I’d like to dedicate these words to Lone Wolf, an Indian I used to know. When I looked at his face, I’d always see the painting of the wolf. Lone Wolf was disturbed, angry at everyone, everything and once I fed him a habonero pepper because he told me he was a true brave, afraid of nothing and he’d eat that pepper like candy. I thought he was going to asphyxiate, but after it was over he said, I’ll never forget you or this day, thank you.
Chances are Lone Wolf is dead or in prison.
We don’t know ourselves … but maybe in some mysterious way, we know art and it becomes a substitute for who we are and we use it like clothing upon our body, like a name for the calling across the divide.
Art. A painting. A life.