Sunday, September 13, 2009

For posterity, and for those of you who don't know, I will preface this post by saying that I have now officially started attending classes full-time at Southern Maine Community College, working towards an associate degree in liberal arts, with a concentration in arts. This decision regarding my field of study was motivated by my strong desire to one day illustrate my own children's books , as well as by my lifelong interest in art and all things creative. So far, I am enjoying the experience-- I love the campus, and I like the challenge. The very, very real challenge.

Tonight, my assignment-- should I say, one of my many, many assignments-- is to do four cut-paper compositons focusing on line; diagonal, horizontal/vertical, curved/organic, and mixed. Black on white. And maybe that's the root of my problem.

Black and white are not colors I'm used to-- that stark contrast of one idea against another, of, let's face it, wrong against right. Maybe it's in my nature to strive for the familiar ambiguouty of grayscale; maybe it is through a psychological compulsion towards things that are hopelessly complicated that I find myself accidentally fraying the edges of the black paper against the white, creating the illusion of gray. I rub the dry rubber cement peaking out from under the sides of what should be neat-and-tidy edges, balling it up for easy removal and creating ugly little messes that I hate, but can never seem to clear away completely, no matter how furtively I try. Maybe I don't believe the art I create deserves to be free of them. Maybe I don't consider myself above this moral haze.

For those of you paying strict attention, yes, I am making a metaphor about my life out of my art homework. This is why I'm not an english major-- I don't need any more help with that bullshit.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where no one involved is really right, no one is the good guy? Everyone could be considered a villain in some capacity, but there's no hero to be found? The situation I've found myself in, there are no truly sympathetic characters, just a lot of people who are in constant flux, gaining and losing sympathy for each other in their oddly parallel weaknesses. I've aligned myself with the character who is, perhaps, the least sympathetic of all involved, and find myself almost violently defensive of his basic and inalienable goodness, despite the story building around him, determined to cast him as the weakest link in a paper chain. Defensive of him to the extent that it's put strain on relationships that should be absolutely uninvolved, maybe ended one. Depending on the point of view, I could easily be getting the silver medal insofar as blame and immorality, despite my efforts to hold onto the ever-vindicating (ha!) virtue of honesty, or at least, honesty in amounts directly proportionate to the sum of my affection and respect for the recipient. Coming in third-- again, depending on viewpoint-- is a woman I don't want to expound on, really. A woman who I doubt I could speak about with any modicum of impartialness, a woman I did not know at all outside the influence of this sphere of insanity which we've, all three, been sucked into.

I mean, some with a little bit more emphasis on insanity than others, but I digress.

What is, of course, compelling about this situation, wrought with vice, is that it does not exist but for the one perfect virtue. Love, the greatest motivator of our strengths, so often the backdrop to our most hurtful mistakes. Love, in it's brightest, burning red can't help but reduce the blacks and whites of this world to nearly indiscernible shades of gray. I don't go to or remain loyally and defensively at his side without it, nor is he compelled to mine, nor is she pushed or pulled by either of us. Nor are the bounds of our own quiet consciences violently tested without it, nor are any of us kept awake at night, nor are any of us compelled to wake in the morning. Nor are families built without it, tested without it, wrecked without it; rebuilt, retried, continued on without it.

Nor, it seems, are words written without it-- and not just by me, right now. Love, the great muse. Reading the words of my mirror, I am challenged to keep this ode to love so reverent, challenged once more to strive towards grace, challenged, as ever, to wipe desperately away at the mess to see what lies, and is beautiful, beneath.

On with it.