Reading Motion of Light on Water

Just finished Samuel R. Delaney’s The Motion of Light on Water: Sex and Science Fiction. Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965.

Will take me a long time to find words… I can’t remember a book that touched me, took hold of me like  this… wrenched me, wrung me out.

I was born in 1941, Delaney in ’42. I was a child and came of age in the Midwest: Chicago, Kansas City, summers in east central Michigan. Delaney, in NYC. So very different–but so much of the external social climate of a childhood in post war America, the 40’s and 50’s–so much, the same. What we shared, was the bloody sword that slices the body from desire–that creates what he called “the split subject”…

” … the space between the two columns (one resplendent and lucid with writings of legitimacy the other dark and hollow with the voices of the illegitimate)–that constitutes the subject, it is only after the Romantic inflation of the private into the subjective that such a split can even be located.”

Like Delaney, I was looking to art and writing to negotiate the chasm, but shaking off the dressing of ‘legitimacy’ was so much harder, took so much longer–the weight of the Midwest was suffocating, and sex was at the center of it, the poisoning of desire that makes the body itself an empty vessel, spiritually empty, trying to belong to something utterly alien to me, and failing and failing and failing…an impoverishment of that spirit–which is the life of the body.

It can’t be a coincidence, that I returned to making art after 40 years, at the same time that I was able to embrace sexual desires that had been latent, but buried …. for at least  that long. It’s no good being coy! Name them. You have to name them, Delaney says. If fucking is good — so is sucking cocks! Or wherever else you body wants to take you!

Forty years — that should have been a wilderness — not a desert, but a rain forest paved over. Like weeds in the cracks of concrete, something kept pushing through, pushing out into the light. Forty years…
… so many lost lives, so much damage, so many scars.

As I clicked to post this…  it came to me, that I have a whole  series of paintings and drawings of broken concrete… how the psyche seeks to find bodily expression. You do these things, and don’t know why.



EndPars-Occupy City Hall

ICE down 1 Remains of medical station after cop raid at ICE, 8th and Cherry.

the 2011 Occupy camps were an open mass movement, a premature revolutionary experiment that wasn’t able to deal with how unprepared so many were who came into the camps. They had collapsed and outlived their service weeks before they were taken down by cops. But failures are how we learn.
When I first heard that there was going to be an attempt to ‘occupy’ the ICE facility, I was skeptical. Heraclitus had a pretty good rule of thumb for radical action: can’t step into the same river twice “Don’t Try to Repeat the Same Thing”

But from the beginning, it was clear that what’s become the end Pars occupy city hall camp (a single action in a larger coalition) learned some valuable lessons, whether from 2011 or from wiser young heads) — It only superficially resembles the 2011 Occupies. Contributing to this, is the deep, organizing that preceded it–diverse groups many that had been working independently, but were prepared for cooperative, intersectional action when the right occasion appeared.

Micro-organizing is the essential prerequisite for the success of any mass movement. Never despair because you are few! You are NOT FEW!

Forget corporate cooperative Trade Unions!

Re, recent Supremes decision.
We maybe need to think of different ways of configuring unions. The ruling was pretty specific in addressing existing trade union laws. But the existing legal protections also constrict how and what unions can be. We got these laws with bloody wars–and the definitions of what those laws protected, and what unions were, with them.
This is a new era… time to forget the laws and unions as we’ve let them be defined, and begin the fight all over, for a new and way more inclusive kind of union. Trade unions are archaic. There no reason to mourn their demise. We can do better!


This is one of 5 color studies on chipboard I did in 2014. Been in the basement, and looked like it gotten moldy, brought it up to trash it. The mold turned out to be cement dust. Cleaned it, and looked better than I remember. I think these 5 together could be used as an ‘architectural’ supplements –built into a wall (their 3/4 inch, and quite heavy). I’ll take new photos of all of them.
40″ x 30″ Acrylic on chipboard
#312.jpgView more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Mourning and Loss: on the death of an animal friend

#599From a Journal entry, 2003. On the death of AriCat… male urinary blockage.

There comes a point when you’ve examined your resources, faced what is possible and what is probable, when you realize that the right course is no longer action, but acceptance.

Not resignation—things can change, and if they do, you retain the capacity and will to act accordingly,  but it is important to know how, and when—to let go.

What Ari needs isn’t more tubes shoved up his penis or drugs or being left in a cage in a vets office… he needs to feel a warm hand when he reaches out his paw, and to be left in peace to resolve his animal life into the mysterious Nothing from which he came, and to which we all ultimately belong.

I say to Zeke and Ari every night before going to sleep; All animals are equal in our dreams, for at the gates of the great dream of death, we are equal. He is not merely an object of pity—he is a fellow creature who can teach us—who, even as he nears death, grows more powerful in a wisdom beyond words or thought.

There is a temptation to grow frantic in trying to save a creature from what we ourselves fear—when if we grow still and listen, we will see that they are not afraid—and not because they don’t know what is going to happen. We are as ignorant of death as they are—only more arrogant in our presumption. and it is the presumption and the arrogance that makes us afraid. Ari is now our guide, our teacher. It’s time to let go, to be humble in our animal lives, to be sad, not out of desperation, but out of love, and because sadness, too,  is part of the fullness of life..