Dec 31, 2009

My Blue Sky

When I was about 11 or 12 my parents divorced. My dad moved out. Eventually since he worked with American Airline, he moved to their main airport, Dallas/Fort Worth. For quite a while I flew there every other weekend. I got to know Fort Worth really well. After a few years he moved to Miami. I was there the week that Hurricane Andrew hit. It didn't seem so bad until the next day. All the trees over ten feet high were on their sides. I forgot the name of the little island we used to go to all the time. I think it was called Boca Raton(I might be getting it confused with another island). I loved it there. A beautiful island just off south beach with a cool lighthouse and a quiet beach. After the hurricane that beautiful island was practically decimated. Today it doesn't look so bad. But I remember thinking how fragile nature could be. A whole island. Beautiful one day, completely destroyed the next. Before that day it had withstood decades of storms.

But Dallas was first. I remember it was around '88 and I would stay up late and watch Saturday Night Live which was live because it came on at 10:30(because of the time zone). I remember how it felt staying up in bed listening to my walkman and seeing the strange town lights outside. Feeling a city I didn't know. The way the world felt. The clothes we wore and the styles. The kind of music that was out(B-52's, Salt And Peppa, Tears For Fears, the last hurrah of hair metal, the cool indie music of the time). It had a feeling. Almost a taste. I have no idea even how to share that. Maybe if I ever make a movie in that time I can do something to get that feeling.

Then, just as now, I had feelings for girls. I had one in particular that I liked. I remember thinking as the airplane left the tarmac that every second is taking me farther away from her. I remember seeing the san ramon valley where I live and thinking, she is somewhere down there. She is within my vision right now. And I still can't see her.

I would land in Dallas, look to the sky, it's billowing clouds that seem to reach so much farther then the clouds back home. The sunrise(I'd often take the red eye flight saturday morning or friday night). The colors, so many more than at home. Dallas was flat. Later it was Miami. Which was more flat. You could see the sky stretch out in every direction for maybe fifty miles. It was so much bigger in these places.

Those clouds, that sky, it was mine. Everyone I knew(aside from my dad) was living under a different sky. Their clouds looked different. The blue that they saw was a different hue(being thousands of miles away and a different time of day). Everywhere I looked, this all belonged to me. No one else shared it with me. It was my world. My blue sky.

I went away one summer when I was 17. I had a pretty steady girlfriend, but I was in love with this girl who I had seen the last few years. Usually around town or at local concerts. We would always look at each other like two children across an empty school yard. I had finally spoken to her the last few months. She was the hot goth chick and I was the lead singer in a band. And there wasn't a lot of those around at the time(now there's plenty). We were nothing alike but perfect together. I was just obsessed with her(I'm that kind of guy I guess). But I still had my girlfriend and I was going on vacation for like three weeks. I came back to find my goth chick had kind of dated my good friend and my girlfriend had broken up with me. Both of these turned out to not be a big deal and with my new cache as lead singer to a band I had psuedo groupies. I went out with one of them and then unceremoniously dropped her(and I'm not proud of that) the moment I started hanging out with the goth girl. We started going out and that lasted for many years, till about after college. But that was the happiest years of my life. I did the impossible. I got the girl I wanted above all others. These things happen.

All my time living my different life in Miami and Puerto Rico that summer had left me with nothing when I came back. Luckily I was able to pick things up again. But it did solidify my fear of having my own place, alone, with no one to share in the highs and lows. Just my own blue sky. Ever since I have a really hard time being alone and single.

I went on a cruise the summer 2003 with my mom and my sister. One day it was completely clear out. I went out on deck to draw. I looked out. The ocean was one uniform navy blue color. The sky was it's deep blue reflection. Everywhere I looked, it touched the ocean. No land. A desert of water. It was my sky. I had a hard time believing even fishes and sharks would be out this far. Just a bunch of people on a boat. And I only knew two of them. I felt alone. I felt like all this space was crushing me. I looked away and decided not to see the emptiness.

I started watching Roxanne with Steve Martin on Netflix on Christmas. I thought about how this was the movie to watch if you've ever had a muse or some one who inspired you. And I liked it. I loved it when I was a kid. But it really put in my face that this whole thing was kind of a little bit too Cyrano de Bergerac for my taste. All this stuff I wrote in this comic and blog. And I got mad at myself. I didn't want to talk anymore. I didn't want anyone to know my inner thoughts anymore. People don't share those things because other people hurt them. And I got hurt. I obviously didn't want to. Cyrano doesn't win the girl in real life. But we all know I lost whatever this was. We all know I didn't get the girl. Or any girl that would satisfy me. Whenever I met any girl I liked recently, I mean really liked, she was taken. I became a friend. And I think, I can't talk about this girl, or having a broken heart because one will never talk to me again. Wouldn't I feel better if my failures were only known to me? Maybe.

The movie I watched the next day was Breakfast Club and Alley Sheedy says something like "When you grow up your heart dies." I didn't want my heart to die. I didn't want to lose hope. I didn't want to give up on one of the only three things I want in life(to do a comic and to do a film would be the other two and I've done both independently and pretty soon for real). I'm the kind of guy who makes things happen. Who can do the impossible. Weeeeell, except get a girl I like to like me back. That is harder than anything else. Maybe it's impossible for me. So I give up. I let my heart die. I disappear into nothing.

I look at the sky. I look at the vistas around me. I see nothing. I want that beauty back. I want that person who brings it back. Who brings the color to the flowers. Who makes the sound of waves a symphony. Whose simple gaze at me is like an x-ray blessing. Who makes me smile uncontrollably.

I have a lot of great things happening in my life. The friends I hold close are the best ever. I have a publishing contract, interest in my movie, interest in my other very big project. But...I just DON"T CARE. Right now I am looking at the very real possibility of having lots of money, versus being broke. It's literally a roll of the dice. And I do not care either way. I share all this with no one. I go to sleep alone. Every once in a while I'll wake up from a dream or maybe just have a certain mood and I imagine there is someone next to me. I don't know who. Just someone I would love. And my arm goes over there, and the bed is empty. My life is empty.

I told my sister that I might pull an Ambrose Bierce(look him up, at least I'm not planning on doing a Hemingway) and if I did I would keep in contact with only her. I can't look my friends in the eyes and pretend like I like another minute of this shithole place. I have potential jobs that would take me away from here. I can just disappear and never be heard from again and still do what I want somewhere where no one I know will ever see me again. That is where I'd have my own blue sky to make my place in and maybe find happiness. But...I don't know.

My heart is what fuels me. Not money, not attention, not compliments. Just expressing my heart. I'm not looking for sympathy. To me, sympathy is like excuses. It don't change shit. I know my friends care. I'm looking for something that friends can't provide me.

Right now, I am sitting at home on a wednesday afternoon writing this. There is no one I like. No one I love. Not for many thousands of miles. Her sky is not my sky. Her clouds are her own. I can look and look and I won't see what she's seeing. I see my own blue sky. She sees hers. She shares it with someone else.

I have my lonely little view. The hills wedging me in. It looks like the end of a tunnel. Uncertain, indistinct light blinding me. Filling me with nothing. Empty. Dead. No joy. I'm still driving towards that emptiness.

But I am longing for the sky I used to share. The one I want to share again.

Our blue sky.

I'm finished.


Dec 8, 2009

The Muse

"The muse in her purest aspect is the feminine part of the male artist, with which he must have intercourse if he is to bring into being a new work. She is the anima to his animus, the yin to his yang, except that, in a reversal of gender roles, she penetrates or inspires him and he gestates and brings forth, from the womb of the mind."

"Andrea del Sarto, an Italian painter born in 1486, was famously married to his muse, Lucrezia, whose features so closely approached his ideal that he made all his female figures in her likeness"

This article seems to paint the muse as manipulative. I'd like to mention unlike these examples there are plenty where the artist and muse never spoke at all. Salvador Dali got a sexual thrill from showing audiences his sexually charged pictures of his muse, his wife Gala. It's pretty clear he never even had sex with her.

At first it was all about her beauty. Then it became all about how special she is. Then it became about what she meant to me and how she inadvertently helped me out of one bad situation and then directly helped me out of another one six months later that no one could give me any real advice on but her. That was when I was hooked. That was the point she wasn't just an ideal but something more. My muse. Thats why I think of that Beatles song "She Said, She Said". Like there is a wisdom in her that was ethereal.

I thought it was funny when I realized recently that my feelings are kind of split. The part of me madly in love(I know, I know, I already covered this) with the actual person. And the part that wants to keep a distance. The part that wants to just see her as this angelic form of light. It's crazy. And I'm crazy. Then I had the realization. I started calling her a muse for a reason.

Because these things happen(to paraphrase Magnolia). They happen to artists. We specialize on some specifics in our art and those specifics can be embodied by someone. Mine are a mix of the sexual person I am and my personal fetishs. Razor like, seductive eyes, thin but shapely bodies, brown hair, sharp features. It didn't have to be like that, I've liked plenty of girls with big round eyes. I've liked plenty of girls who were not super thin(not that I even have anything against girls with some weight I just haven't dated a girl like that yet but I've been really attracted to a few) but I obsess over my fetishes which is different.

An artist need to be driven to be doing art that very well might not make money for a long while. You need to be obsessive. You need to have a will to never give up. All of these traits lend well to mad love. To just gouts and gouts of passion. It is the only way to survive as an inspired artist instead of a guy who just draws well.

I had a muse once. And we were madley in love. We only cared about one thing. Us. And when that ended I was so lost. My life went down the tubes. And then after a few years I met my current muse. She was a friendly girl and in retrospect I am sure she knew I liked her at first sight. I vaguely remember walking into the coffee shop, her asking what I'd like and that moment of just frozenness where I just looked at her with no intelligence. I saw her and my mind was frozen. And I think I smiled, acted like a human for a fucking second and snapped out of it. I told her my order but I must have lingered in that small subtle and indefinable way because she kind of had that knowing smile like she knew she blew me away and was flattered. After that I was in everyday. And we did kind of share that weird smile like we wanted to know what was up with each other. It was all friendly and my art stepped into high gear. I found out she had a boyfriend and it just fucking burned. Like a mental burn. Just stinging and sizzling. Fuck, I'm still mad about that dude. Don't even know why.

It was funny this one guy at this barbecue asked me about the origins of my comic and I told him how much I liked her and how unreasonable I was about my feelings and not giving them up no matter what anyone said. Then I mentioned how I never really hung out with her other than once. She was single. And I had a girlfriend. And truthfully, even if I didn't, even though I had healed so much, she was still too much for me. My self worth wasn't quite there. Now I think of us as equals. But back then she was still something no one should touch. The guy asked how about when we first met. I said at her work, but she had a boyfriend. And the invectives that came out of my mouth. That mother fucking shit. Fuck that guy. And so the guy was like, oh you knew him. I was like no. But fuck him. He aint me. When we switch places I'll fucking shake his hand. Till then fuck him. Then this dude was laughing. And I lightened up and said, no seriously, I love her and she is so sweet so fuckthatguyIhatehim( I was kidding but method acting is easy when you mean it).

In one of the articles I read the question was asked, if the artist never met this muse, would he ever had been successful? Would he ever reach the heights he did? My answer is no. She made it worth it. And nothing else would have, I might not be here at all. I needed her. The inspiration because of who she was, how she was, all that. It inspired me to go on. And her outside beauty was the closest I could ever get to the person she was inside. I settled for that. And now knowing her better. It is so hard to look at her. She is too bright. All of a sudden real feelings of romance spring.

When I was a kid and just started drawing I realized one day that I could possibly recreate some girl I had seen. This was before the internet, before social networking, before everyone had cellphones. This was when you saw a beautiful woman and that was the the one and only time you would see them. They would fade into memory. But I could draw them. I could make them real in some sense. Real for me.

I brought this up the other day in conversation and my friend said he never heard of that. I said I thought all artists thought about this when they created art work. A song could sound like the feeling a woman gave you. A painting can feel like the moment you saw her. Words could recreate the way she bit her lip and smiled modestly. Maybe other artists think like this. Maybe it's just me.

I try to recreate her on paper. If I can get the slightest feeling it is her, the slightest true line, I would be happy.

I cannot kiss her. I cannot hug her. I cannot hold her hand and look her in the eyes. All I can do is sit at my drawing board and try to capture one true thing. Just one.

And maybe for a second it can almost feel real. Almost feel like she is with me. Almost like she feels the same way I do. Almost feel like it is her eyes looking directly into mine.

That is the power I want. This is the closest I can get.

And it never works. All those hours. All those slow precise brush strokes. Not one was good enough. Not one made her real. Not one equaled the feeling of really looking into her eyes.

Sometimes I think ten years from now, if we never see each other again, we'll think of this graphic novel, these paintings, and we'll be with our significant other, and wonder what could have happened. What the other person really was like. What opportunities we might have missed. Did they mean what they said? Do they still remember me? Does it after all this time still mean something? If it ever did?

And other times I think of what an idiot I am. How presumptuous. How there is no way I'll ever know what she thinks. How maybe she is just a girl. Maybe she never felt that deep connection I felt. Maybe I am nothing. And will always be nothing.

What do I even want? A relationship? I don't know. To get married? Definitely not. To have kids? No. All of those things in the future, maybe. But not right now.

The only answer I can come up with is Passion. That's what I want. I want burning fucking passion. Is that love? I don't know but it sure feels good. I have passion looking at her, hearing her, everything. Just seeing her be so painfully shy and so fucking cute when last we hung out. I was so awkward and not myself and she couldn't barely look up. It took me forever to realize she was being so shy. At some point we were talking and she brightened up. Part of me saw a cute kid who was guarded and scarred but still innocent(in the same way as me). That was the part of her I loved. But also the part I wanted to heal. Probably because that was all I had done for so many years. The other part saw the incredibly sexy woman she was and how much power she could have over me with the slightest look.

I have the kind of passion that could meet those eyes now. I'm 100% again. In my art work. In my words. And lately those words I have written, those stories have finally payed off. In order to become a writer or artist you have to have more passion than anyone else. Any amount of surrender will stop you forever. So you have to have a passion so strong that nothing can stop you. And even then I have so much more passion in my heart, that it eclipses my passion for art and writing. It wins over the other two. It burns like cities on fire. I have that for her.

I know I'll someday fall in love again. Maybe this new girl will be my new muse. Maybe it will all go away. The graphic novel. The girl from my comic. My feelings. Just gone from years of never seeing her again. From being with this new woman. And this whole thing, this whole house of cards I built will just collapse in on itself and be forgotten.

That makes me deeply sad. To think that this means nothing. People say I won't let anyone into my heart, but the truth is I want to. I want to badly. If only to lose myself and spend time away from this situation I cannot change. My greatest asset is that I know exactly what I want but it is a curse also. Because sometimes you cannot have what you want. I do feel better because we are friends now, but...on the other hand I may never see her again. So yes, I wish I met some person who was nice and smart and liked me and maybe I could forget. But then again some people are irreplaceable.

Maybe I do see her again. And the truth is, it will be my guard that is up. Sure, I'll be friendly, I'll chat. It will be friendly and normal. I'll make jokes like I always do. Be the little clown I always am. And just like the stereotype, I'll be hiding my sorrow. Playing through it. As long as she's laughing she'll never know I'm crying inside. Thats why when people who know me see this blog they always can't reconcile that I am this way in my writing but the opposite in person. That is my defense. My facade. The outside me. The inside me is this comic. This blog. But I would still do it. Put up the comedy act. And honestly it would all be worth it just to see her smile again.

I think of all the stories of Davinci and Mona Lisa. How that one painting, those subtle paint strokes, how that amounted to centuries of meaning for billions of people. When I die this might be the one true thing that lasts. The one true thing that I ever did. And yeah, it may just mean something to only me for now. But this is all of me.

So...she remains my muse.