On August 30, Kanye West won an award for being a brilliant artist of some sort. During his acceptance speech he claimed that awards shows were ridiculous, called himself an artist’s messiah, confessed to smoking pot, and announced that he would be running for president. A year ago, maybe even a month ago, I might have sighed and muttered, “Oh, Kanye,” but this time, with the nagging realization that I probably have more deadlines than talent, all I could do was think about how I will never be able to write like that and have people support it. Everything felt so meaningless.
In James Lord’s A Giacometti Portrait, Alberto Giacometti often refers to Cézanne out of reverence for his work and competence. At one point, Giacometti says, “Cézanne discovered that it’s impossible to study nature. You can’t do it. But one must try all the same, try—like Cézanne—to translate one’s sensation.”
This blog is late. I don’t mean a couple days after deadline. No, I mean it’s-been-months-and-I-still-haven’t-found-a-topic-to-write-about late. I have so many emails sitting in my inbox kindly, and more recently, desperately, asking me if I have a blog written yet. And would I please, please, please write something?
My grandfather was a builder. Self taught, he came home after a grim year in a WWII German prison camp, took a few architecture classes on the G.I. bill, and began building houses that still stand all over Winn parish. He could make anything out of nothing in particular, and as a child of the Great Depression, he had grown up tough, gruff, and unbelievably resourceful.
Photograph by Lyle Trush. www.lyletrush.com
When I was about seven years old, my grandmother let me sit at her electric typewriter. Her office, housed in a cold and unfinished basement, had equine pencil drawings from a talented granddaughter on one wood paneled wall and photos of her and grandpa posing with a variety of friends on another. The chrome chair boasted about seven mismatched seat cushions of differing colors, textures and sizes. On the back of the chair hung oversized wool sweaters, cotton throws and a crocheted blanket of a startling mixture of colors. The result was a chair that looked something like a tiny vanilla cupcake loaded with five inches of layered pink, yellow, blue and green frosting, sprinkles, and patriotic flags, all sliding off to different sides.