“The source of my difficulties has always been the same: an inability to accept what to others seems natural, and an irresistible tendency to voice opinions no one wants to hear . . .” ― Isabel Allende
I hear the birds singing until the last drop of light juice squeezes out of the perfect sky. The dark winter filters out of my mind.
34 years ago I am running back to my house. Running down empty neighborhood streets with the sun slowly setting like a Willa Cather novel. There was not a care in the world and I, who worried about everything, felt such peace.
There was the day in the middle of watching the Children of the Corn, I ran outside to get on my bike and chased this rainbow down to the ends. I thought riding all the way to the end of the neighborhood would surely bring me closer but it was still the same distance.
I stopped and turned around and just rode with the wind in my hair for awhile until dusk.
I slept soundly every night in my rural town. Just the crickets and the moon shining in my window on our one acre patch of land overlooking the prairies. These were some of my best memories.
My father’s words always letting me know how lucky I was.
I reach forward searching for the medicine that forbids my fear to end me. Sometimes strength is not enough, so I reach deep down inside me and pull Her out. She guides me along taking no apologies, seeking no regret. Only unanswered quests of conquer for what’s rightfully hers. I feel her pumping in my chest, exploding her power of belief unto me. I use her will and power to feed the strength that wears me down. I fight the fear with every ounce of matter inside my body.
Sucking Raw Cartilage. Eating from the inside. Spooning up the remains. Driving in too deep, where to wince is to scream. Open up and tell me, who I’m suppose to be. Show me my destined self. Scoop me up into arms that rage with fire. Silence envelopes even her best. Goddess tells me everything, I only cry. It’s the pain of everyone. I worship her because it’s okay, because she creates life.
I hope, I dream, for life to envelope my creations. My god-like manifestations. I want, I crave, for the reassurance that I give all I can. I, the selfish egotistical artist contriving ways to speak for the ones who can’t.
Remember when life took hold? Remember how I fit inside you?
All that time we were spinning on the icy bridge and into the white van head on, my seatbelt was stuck. The more I pulled the more I wondered if it was better to hang on to it or drop to the bottom. The spinning around and around was the dark calm before the impeding crash, on ice, on a bridge, on top of the Mississippi river. When we didn’t crash, by a hair, my almost death was not my only problem in life.
It was the failed friendships and duties and loyalties lying in a sea of quicksand, sinking with no return. It was me trying to pull the seatbelt out to save my one last friendship .
That was a death that I in my 20’s accepted because I thought I was not understood and had a terrible sadness.
The thing is… it’s true when they say the rope burns at both ends, it entropies and cannot be repaired. It’s true when I tell my son to be grateful for the good people in your life because they only come once.
Selfish wants and impulsive desires that see no one but yourself. It was Ithat was the asshole time and time again.
I take this accountability with nothing to show for it. Empty hands left with the hidden guilts, when the past should have been the past. How I wish someone would have told me my wants were not better than friendships and integrity. I was not better than them. But I wouldn’t have listened anyways.
The day I stopped working… buried by moving layers. My work was self-reflective. It drained me in a good way, but then 6 years working with people with developmental disabilities, took over my emotional supply. It wasn’t about me anymore. This ultimately was a good thing, I cherish to this day.
But at the time I told myself, a “real artist” would not have gotten so immersed in the lives of others.
Afterwards, I met my now husband and my thirst to be loved became attainable. A love that smothered the sad longing in all my best works.
It now feels like making new ideas from the dead skin of others. This process is a thick dry rope and painful in my hands to be climbed.
Illustrations and art works from the desk of little monique.
Writing, writing, writing. Start with the sketching. Painting and mixing, painting and mixing, mixing and mixing. Painting, painting, painting. Stopping to look at books and look at other artworks . Getting lost in the diaries of David Wojnarowicz, his beautiful raw writing.
Go back to it. Push the paint in harder, let go, then gently lift and fade the brushstroke out. Smash the brush in so that the bristles spread out like life trying not to let go. Like you’re scrubbing your toilet. Take your finger and spread. Close your eyes, breath in, try again. Take a rag and violently scrub off the color until there is nothing. Stare off into space asking “why am I doing this?”. Look over at the right side, the side that actually looks good. Take the Light Portland Grey and quietly watch it work into your surface to make things right. There, now it’s… just another… ( 5 hours later) Play more music…
Now bring yourself in close to the painting like you’re blind and need glasses. This is the intimate private conversation between you and your soul. In goes the details, like the wisps of hair, like memories pushing their way back in, but can only get there half way.
Now the glaze. The beautiful thin linseed glaze or cold pressed walnut oil. Embed the gold leaf and pencil writings right into the paint.
When you go to change something else, you stand in front of your art and realize you don’t want to change a thing. That is when you know that it’s done.