My heART

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I am having an affair. I didn’t plan it, or go looking for it. Its as if I have been groomed all my life to come to this. The likelihood that this would happen first showed up when I was five years old and in kindergarten. I used finger paints, a lot, and loved the feel of using my hands to make very advanced designs, not knowing the destiny I was calling forth with every primary-colored swirl. Now that I am grown and mature and sensible, I use oils, brushes, a camera, and glass. My attraction to the blossoming pink tutu’s in the Mimosa tree out in the back of my Gramma’s yard, at nine years old were signs I would fall someday as well. The ballet they performed in the spring breeze was just for me. My private ballet…company. They danced just for me, way up in that treetop. They allowed me to learn that Pink smelled sweet and fragility is to be respected. No wonder varying shades of the delicate hue have been my favorite colors for most of my life before this time. Since I’ve given myself over to this affair, they’re all my favorites. (Naming a favorite is just too much responsibility for one color. Orange and Turquoise are currently vying for the job, but I refuse to play that game on good advice. My Muse reminds me the Colors use a play on light to seduce and not to fall for it, but they arm wrestle me, like Ellie May on steroids, in particularly at the paint store.) Later on, I would use denim and a sewing machine to conjure up my future, but that is another story.

My entire life before now has been an overture for this affair. The crude crayon covered Easter eggs that only I thought were exquisite or the mud sculpture in my dad’s garden, albeit created at the expense of his prize pepper plant were early signs. I needed the bright red tiles on the mud roof, and nothing else would do but the peppers. He didn’t understand. My father would never care for the love of my life. I had to get used to that early on. He said work was all there was but I never listened to him. When my drawing of a Christmas tree, spindly, and sparsely decorated with dots of color was displayed in the school cafeteria one year, I felt anointed. There were others of course, but mine was the best. My mom told me so, and she also said I was a fantastic hair stylist, and that I should pursue that. I did for a while but outgrew it as I got older. My love has now finally come along, as the song says, and now is all I get, all any of us get, so I am trying to pay attention. I have worker hands, and sometimes, the spirit of an unjaded child. I have learned how to fly and I can only hope that the sky is as limitless as is said.

The affair is the first thing I think of when I become conscious in the morning, the last fading thought when sleep takes over at night. I am in constant contact with my Muse but never fully satisfied with his presence no matter how prompt he is or how long he stays. I always change something about him and he lets me, agreeing that it was the right move. I think he turns me on the most when he is disheveled. The pleasure I derive from the interaction we have is tainted by the needs of the outside world to be attended to-the animals need to be fed, the plants watered, the bills paid. There’s the lawn, the dust, the oil spot on the driveway. Instead of just accepting that it is what it is, and integrating it into the reality of my feast or famine lifestyle, getting comfortable with its never ending expectations, I dwell on the possibility that I am neglecting what may be more important in favor of the stolen time we share. Like eating, or sleeping, or answering the door when a package comes that I know can wait. I can’t be bothered when we are in the zone. There are days when we shack up in my studio and no one sees me but the mailman when bad timing forces us to say hello. If I don’t check the box, bring in the paper, the buildup will bring intruders inquisitions, greedy time stealers that they are. My love is the squeaky wheel, the crying baby, my drug of choice.

When I am tending to the everyday mundane, not playing with him, I still see him everywhere. Innocently invading my private time with glimpses of obscure patterns, thoughts and sounds that embody him. Running errands, I pass a new building under construction and I think I see him standing on the scaffolding one hundred feet in the air, smoothing a coalescent over an abstract cement and steel skeleton, and I marvel at the myriad experience in his vast resume. Among others, he built the church I used to attend as a child, leaded the magnificent sanctuary’s stained glass in his spare time, he says. Walking the isle at the grocery store, I see his effect in the quirky attire hidden under the bland smock of the young clerk passing me, the purple streak in her hair, the tell tale tattoo that peaks from the sleeve edge. He is unfaithful, my love. Yet he never leaves my side. I share him without restraint and covet his complete attention at the same time. Curiously, his age never occurred to me. We exist now, for how long it has been or will be is of no consequence to either of us. I fall harder with each passing minute, each encounter.

Unwavering confidence in his grip makes me doubt my ability to dance with him when he leads me to the floor. He goes into it with complete abandon, not acknowledging the familiarity of the steps. I follow with trepidation at times, complacency or panic at others. When I am certain of his next move, and become liberated enough to follow along elated that I have learned the intricate steps, he evades me without leaving my sight. The clarity of his intention only comes when I still my thoughts and let the dance lead me where it wants to go.

My love expects nothing less than courage from me. It is my Achilles heel when I stare at a blank canvas or page and he is nowhere to be found. His lazy brother, Procrastination, shadows him at times and lingers as an uninvited guest that has worn out his welcome long ago, but I let him stay and make small talk, as an excuse to avoid the first stroke, the point of no return. The uncertainty I feel when my ugly step sisters, Doubt and Guilt gang up on me, warning me he’s never going to commit, overwhelms me at times and anger at my Muse’s whimsy, his clumsy handling of my emotions, boils over. I vow to walk away and never look back. But the freedom is boring, the longing sensuous and immobilizing. With urgency, he tugs at my heart until I become aware of him again. Look at me, tend to me, be with me love me love me love me. Then in a defiant split second, I can regain my composure with the discipline of a Tibetan monk, and cease to protect the affair from my ambivalence. The dance begins again.

I want to be free of this monkey on my back but know I cannot live without it. So I try to flow into it. Contentment comes with the gentle resignation and acceptance that I will never leave him and vice versa. Like a surprise party that has been let out of the bag Intuition tells me that he is planning a big change and I need to be open to new directions if I am going with him. I am inspired by his perseverance. He drives this bus and I am merely a passenger riding free of charge. He doesn’t need my forgiveness for anything, yet I give it over and over. The end result of his skills can prompt tears when I see it perform so deftly in the hands of The Masters. I am jealous, envious and proud that my love can influence so much with so little, or so little with so much. When we are taking a break, I sit in harsh judgment of what he has left for me. There is the illusion of lacking of that certain perfection that I have witnessed in his dances with others; my sisters insist I remain suspicious of his motives and look for a real nine to five if I am smart.

Pleasure is our cocoon and Truth is our blanket when he comes to call. We cuddle with the gentle adoration of a mother holding her child in our cloistered world where he teaches me that I cannot make a mistake he won’t love and I accept that he is all knowing. I know he has a million protégés, and a million more are waiting for him to come to them. Our time together seems to be so compressed that it goes by without notice, with day long hours and month long days. I get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach after time with my Muse. Oh yeah, food. Sometimes there are too many cooks in my kitchen and it makes for a rough night of sleep. He says fresh basil can make dirt taste wonderful. I take his word for that.

He will help anyone that seeks him out. He won first place in the neighborhood association’s Christmas yard decoration contest, but let Old Man Henderson take the credit. He mentioned the cardinal that visits my bird feeder sought him out for help in building her nest and he could only oblige, naturally. He even arranged for the autumn leaves on my deck to pose for a photograph but would never admit to it to anyone else. There is nothing that he won’t pursue. It’s in his genes. His mother is Necessity and his father is unknown. I don’t know from his heritage. It doesn’t matter to me. We all have to come from somewhere, some one, sometime. He stated that he invented the camera as a file system for his realities and proof that he exists for those unbelievers on the Internet. I use one as a vent for my vanity, thinking that the technological capture of moments makes them somehow permanent and a declaration that I have a good eye. I secretly want my pictures to secure my immortality but I know nothing is immortal…even time has a “use by” date. I think the camera is an ingenious device, but I am most impressed with what he did with Braille. My Muse has no pride or guile when he tackles a project with me. Whatever I want to use is ok by him. I love that about him. When I let him take the wheel, I can see with the eyesight of an eagle and agility of the most deft Cirque du Soleil performer. Youth and all its attending props are always accessible when I know he is on his way.

When I am vulnerable he comes to me and shows me how to use my pain to help others feel better. I cannot wait to share his nurturing with my children. Its so much more sustaining than the facsimile I distribute. Everything is at hand and nothing is as far away as the last minute to him. My mistakes are opportunities for him to show off. His favorite holiday is the Summer Solstice. There are not enough hours of light in all the others and light is his favorite tool. Everyday is his birthday but he refuses gifts. He says giving is his nirvana. When he is accepted, he is ecstatic. He boasts he guides the hands of sculptors and looks over the shoulders of musicians, massaging their thoughts before the paper and pencil meet. I feel his breath on my neck at times. He says all children are gifted no matter what anyone says or does to prove otherwise.

My polygamous Muse is ubiquitous. He allegedly roomed with Shakespeare for a time, but says he found Leonardo a bit more optimistic. Rodan was his student for a while to hear him tell it and Michelangelo was cool before his time. Maxfield Parrish and Peter Max are the ones he declares could be his brothers from another mother. Edison was his first cousin on his father’s side he informed me as I changed all the light bulbs back to the old ones in my studio. My Humanities professor seems entirely too familiar with my Muse. Note to self: keep an eye on her, though I wonder if she could fill me in on some of his frailties. He takes full responsibility for introducing Resistance to Union. They fell in love and Beauty is their offspring. He is prideful like that. Says Patsy Cline has the only voice he wouldn’t mess with and Michael Jackson is still an A student, despite his checkered past. He introduces me to other potential lovers to test my devotion and I am only human. Brad Holland, the famous illustrator, is appealing, and I find myself wanting to plagiarize his relationship with my love when I have a brush in my hand. But there is an unwritten rule in all his dealings - it doesn’t count if he has already been there done that.

He claims he was engaged to Helen Keller for a while, and I believe him. My love was also tight with Jimi Hendrix and SRV, went on the road with both of them. He briefly dated Janis Joplin but Joni Mitchell and drugs broke them up. I can see where they would have fun together since his sense of humor tempers any pain and tempered pain makes for great music. Each in their own time is a mantra I am used to. Mommasox and The 2009 Ukraine’s Got Talent winner are so young, but such formidable apprentices. He says there are people waiting for me to communicate with my craft as well, and I have to find a way to make that happen. I am apathetic to their need and resent his refusal to do it for me, but I will find that way, I have to or he’ll make good on his threat of departure. The kindest blackmail I know.

I love when it rains and he is in a working mood. On those days, Deep Forest is the only cd I can seem to find oddly enough, with its strange languages and funky aboriginal chords one would think it impossible to sing along, but I know the words even if they are my own. My hands are especially nimble when he is holding them in his and there is no affliction that can stop them when he is in control. My love coaxes me to relax, but trusting him takes blind faith and I am not as proficient at that as I’d like. He admonishes me to organize and prepare for epiphanies and endearing creations along the way. I think I may be nesting when I slam the hammer down on yet another Mikasa china plate or helpless mirror under the old towel. The mosaic pieces that emerge are cells dividing.

The understanding of my style is so dead on I often get the feeling that maybe my love is a female in a remarkable costume. Perceived androgyny makes things easier when he is showing me how to explore shapes. When something I loved is no longer an option, my Muse makes enough noise to wake the dead and I hurry to silence him while I think of a way to carry on. The clatter is annoying but the diversion assuages my anxiety. He knows how to put things in perspective. After all he explained, everything is mine, it’s all just stored in fancy lockers called malls, theatres, forests, oceans, arenas, museums or libraries. I have all I really need and all “stuff” really belongs to the earth no matter how it came to be, be it diamonds, trees, people. It all passes on to the next generation of unwitting students when we depart this existence. The fossils and arrowheads I collect are proof of that. I lament how many have ignored him in the past at their own peril.

He loves to shop. My back aches from being led around thrift stores (his favorites) and hard-floor antique shacks. I buy whatever I can afford for him, since I know I will use it too. I am his sugar momma and will buy those baubles before I pay the water bill. Water is everywhere, but that crystal is the only one like it. He has clever taste. Dumpsters hold junk I would never touch, but he calls them treasure chests. I find trinkets here and there when we peer in, and later he shows me how valuable they really are. One mans junk and all that. Once, after a particularly spectacular night of dreaming, I made a headboard for our bed from roadside cast offs he coaxed me to filch. A rich friend, possessor of all things Neiman and Bergdorf’s, begged to buy it from me and I was flattered that she wanted to own my lovely junk. I suspect from her contrived and gilded palace, she and my love are not really on speaking terms but it’s really none of my business. I declined her generous offer but now I wish I hadn’t. He said he would build something with her after her husband dies. I was shocked at this admission of a time in the future spent exclusively with her, but her future and his plans are not mine to tamper with even mentally, so I say nothing, nothing at all.

I suspect he is the one who taught me how to forgive. Says he can’t breathe around grudges. Forgetting is one of the future projects he promised we’d get to when he has time. After all, he is always on the move, lives rent-free wherever he wants, and I’m just thankful there is enough of him to go around. He teased I could accompany him into eternity if I would finish up that last project we started. But I can’t seem to complete it to my liking no matter how tempting his oft said pitch. I see the manifestation of that same offer he’s made to myriad others, in museums, architecture, bakeries, music and books. I will jump on the eternity bandwagon when it is my time, but he said I have yet to do my best work, that I have a hit coming up on my life’s path and if I sit stubbornly behind boulders of confusion my sisters have kicked in the way he’ll leave me behind. No idle threat-he means what he says. He’s nothing if not honest.

As I tear our keeper-favorite pages from magazines I declare I will revisit them just to keep him quiet. When he takes away the safety net below my precarious perch on the tight wire of do or don’t, I remember the pages, their pictures the culmination of millions of occurrences that had to happen for them to meet my eyes, reminders that if it can be dreamed it can be created. I can do anything with him in my heart. I have tangible proof. He’s inspired so many, and what makes me so special that I won’t be the one to succumb to his charms? I am too hard on myself and to regard the outcome of our work before we start as insignificant is rude, according to him. Success in anything is only commensurate with self-approval, after all, and that is so hard, but he insists that it is the most liberating thing one can master to be happy and to make our relationship viable.

I will expect him to orchestrate my dream tonight to suit his mood as I drift off with my own destination in mind like every other night of my life. But what I do, make, arrive at is never of my own assembly. His desire to show me the way is as strong as mine is to make my own, but he doesn’t really care if I follow him. No skin off his nose. He’s going and if I want to come along, let’s rock and roll. That’s what makes him so intriguing, his illusive beckoning, playing hard to get, and his faith in me. I think together we make a pretty good team.

I have to go now; he is waiting…on my pillow. Patiently. My Muse, my love, and my soul’s sentry, Creativity.

Created: Jul 18, 2010

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