Saturday, March 29, 2008


It begins as a fluttering touch on the outermost edges of awareness, betraying nothing until it has roused more than a cursory acknowledgment. Demanding attention in the gentlest of ways, it draws out those buried elements left too long unattended- starlit dreams, air-breathed hopes, even the dangerous yearnings and beastly darkness all begin to stir. Still it teases until, able to bear it no longer, it’s reached for, grasped at.

It responds in a most peculiar manner: dodging, eluding, leaving fingers dusted with the silken touch of memory, fading into the realm of barely recollected what-ifs unless given some sort of form, be it in a painting, prose, or a song. Even then it’s rough, a poor reproduction. Rougher still is the clumsy ‘bringing together’ that occurs afterwards.

Strange indeed, is the first attempt of any artist to bring out the full beauty of the half-forgotten spark that tickled their senses. It produces embarrassment, which quickly spirals down to shame if left unchecked. The prudent let their work lie, a difficult feat after the frenzy of inspiration and grittiness-of-clenched-teeth tenacity to push through to the end.

It’s well worth the wait.

The next visit to this earliest of efforts is done, this time, with a shield of emotional distance in place. This detachment allows for an honest (as honest as anyone can be of their own creation) assessment. And more often than not, something astonishing is found.

The piece has begun to blossom. Difficult as a cactus to handle perhaps, but nevertheless, worth nurturing. Afterwards each shoot, each petal, each needle bursting forth (some from whimsy, others from careful deliberation) is either carefully placed to add to the whole or, with driving agony, discarded for its failure to contribute to the moment, the purpose. And yet this cascade of fallen whispers adds its ghost to the living composition, making it more vibrant, full of layers mostly hidden, yet as essential as the nerves underneath our skin that dictate this or that action.

So. The rough draft does have its place.

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