Saturday, March 04, 2006

Chapter 25 - Concrete Vision

The day before yesterday we drove north after letting the dogs have one more romp at Bonita Dog Beach. It was a sweet scene, the water at high tide like lemonade and turquoise with deeper sweeps of blue out further, people laughing and playing with the happy dogs of all variety. Hank ran for the entire time, had no interest in fighting or dominating other dogs and Lucky wallowed in a tide pool with a satisfied smile. This is probably the last time they will be at their beach this year. It felt good to be driving out of the heinous Ft. Meyers/Bonita Beach area and, as if a goodbye gift from the land which is indeed bonita in spite of the strip malls, I found a bunch of rusty old bolts and metal pieces in a rusted barrel while adding air to a tire at a Circle K. I was actually more excited about this find than wandering through a great bead store.
J and I discussed art yesterday. She is reading Rand’s Fountainhead and it is sparking observations and ideas, primary among them the notion that mediocrity has always outgrown and outshined, even strangled genius, truth...

We got to our Flying J outside of Tampa and waited word from the TNT promoter about last minute entry into Artwalk at Baywalk. We have heard disparaging things about the woman who heads it up. Apparently she was very tight with the Howard Allen people and ran ACE for them for awhile before a falling out where she was canned. Anyone who could get in tight with those rude, obnoxious people has to exude and wellspring some of the same poison. Also another crafter who said he would never do another TNT show told us she "went off" on his partner at a show. She replied to our request to be last minute entries at Baywalk with: “Sorry it took so long to get back to you, there was a family emergency…” This of course sounds innocent but she most likely put it together that I was the one who had previously entered and was accepted to one of her shows but had to back out due to lack of funds using the excuse, worded exactly like hers… Well, it’s kind of funny if that’s the case but the fact that she doesn’t know we actually didn’t have a family emergency hints at a real mean bone sickness in this woman. She is probably just stringing us along and will not allow us in at last minute. J wants to leave now anyway. I would like to wait until the last minute as we have heard this is an okay show and any extra money would be useful as we are moving to South Carolina now to get a place, Greensboro, S.C. being the cheapest place in the Union to live according to J's thorough research on the subject...

So we stayed there the night and in the morning went about our usual tasks. I was again very excited to wake up since I had made more concrete bead sculptures in the night. I had mixed the cement, added Ritt dye powder (Scarlet red) and poured some of it into a rusted bolt glued onto a triangular piece of copper that had been glued onto a triangular piece of rust. Then I snipped some 24 guage copper wire and stuck them into the red cement in the bolt like hair implants. I was so into what I was doing, an almost autistic childlike reverie, that I failed to comfort J when she came upon a passage in Rand that brought back the terror of her childhood, waiting for the beatings of her stepfather, pleading with him not to do it...I kept losing the wire in the darkness while she was crying, so into what I was doing I only half heartedly asked her what the matter was. She showed me the passage after she had talked herself off the ledge.

"Listen, what's the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me--it's being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who's had some disease that's eaten his brain out. You'd have nothing then but your voice--your voice and your thought. You'd scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you'd have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you'd become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you'd see living eyes watching you and you'd know that the thing can't hear you, that it can't be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it's breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own..."

Of course her family looks the picture of normalcy on the outside, and although they have made half hearted attempts at atonement it was with a scurrying, shifty, and ultimately harmful attitude. Always ready to fold in on themselves like a plant that abhors the light, to commiserate, rationalize "G was suffering from depression and he had a terrible temper..." "We may have been a little strict..." "We've said we're sorry..." I have even heard, in the beginning of our marriage J's brother say his older sister "exaggerates" and "she brought a lot of it on herself"...This about a girl of 5 or 6, when the beatings began...Truly though, like in the quote above and like in Dostoyevsy, the worst is the wait, the true torture is that her mother would make her wait in her room for the beast to get home, to get worked up and then to come down the hall.

And after all this the last thing J heard from her mother, over the phone, before walking away from the whole family, was, "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?"

Hopefully she will never see or hear from them again...and truly since that departure my sweet baby has made some incredible strides toward recovery...

Upon wake up I located the colored cement pieces and turned them over in my hands happily, like a kid, knowing this form of childish passion is probably the truest form of my capacity to create art. I had also made some concrete beads with copper wire in them and these came out well...After that we went about our morning routine. J went in to use the bathroom while I let the dogs out and tied them to the van. I took the white tarps that covered the load on top, then loaded all the bins back in, watered and peed the dogs and went in to use the bathroom. Then we went to Starbucks to see if the TNT promoter had emailed us.

I found my cup from the day before and went in while J waited in the car reading. The cup was in pretty good shape so it was a suprise when the man said (loudly): "Uh, umm...okay...If you bring back your cup from the day before the refill price doesn't count. But I'll let it go this time..."

I laughed and told him I had just bought that cup of coffee at a Starbucks down the road but their wi-fi was out so I came here...

The crowd staring at me looked like they didn't believe me, nor did he...I wasn't shaken though...

The promoter had not emailed us but I was in a leavened mood and when the Arab man sitting next to me asked if there was a store nearby where he could buy cigarettes I offered him one of mine. "What kind are they?" he asked.

We decided not to wait around to find out and headed north, feeling better with each mile...


Anonymous Susannah said...

Sorry to hear of J's stepfather. Bastard.

1:09 AM  

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