Orphans in the Storm


Journal, February 17, 2015
I should go retire soon. Up early tomorrow, figure drawing at Fleisher’s. One of those days when I don’t want to let go. That feeling that I haven’t done enough. That the day isn’t finished–but I’ve run out of time and too tired to do anything more. Read till I get sleepy? The best I can manage.
I got in drawing time. I finished a painting. Finished readiing a book Went shopping. Posted on my blog… why does it feel like, not enough? Not enough. Not enough. Never enough?
It comes back to me… a young child, wanting to go on playing even when I was falling asleep on my feet. Only now I’m not particularly sleepy–but I think it comes from the same place. Playing… but what is the power of that play?
It’s been a long time since I’ve taken as much pleasure in a book as I did with Josipovici’s Hotel Andromeda. I feel such a kinship with Joseph Cornell–though I share little of his traumatic alienation. It’s the way Josipovici, through Helena, speaks of how he made his boxes—it touches me so.
Makes me think again, another dimension of what it means to be ‘recognized.’ One makes art out of oneself—to please oneself—and no one else. There’s no other way to do it, not and stay honest. But there’s an emptiness at the end that’s inescapable. What one makes as an artist–once completed, as much as that ever happens, no longer belongs to you. An artist is a person is compelled–obsessed would not be too strong a work–with creating orphans.
There was that, too, in Josipovici’s novel, wasn’t there? How did he get so many layers, so right? The orphans in Chechnya, who Helena’s sister was committed to caring for–an impossible task. Survivors of such trauma–they were feral, wild things. Untamable and violent. Who would ever want them? Accept them for what they are. So like the work of the artist, Joseph Cornell, she reflected. So like us all.
Found things. Take them up, put them together, because no one else will. And then—let them go. To be lost again. But bearing your imprint… indecipherable code inscribed.
Who will ever know how to read it?

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