Instead of the blank page iterating the deafening whoosh of everything I might write fighting for my fingertips, I write that I was coasting downhill into a basin of verdant Kentucky summer night, asking myself, foot on the van dash, i can make anything, but i have to choose among them, so what’ll it be? the big metal train engine toots, immersion into the work. Ohio, machine suggests. Machine, the only thing better than writing about the work, and doing the work, is driving in the summer about the work.
Earlier, on tasks, I pulled into the nursery, or small business tree farm. Stella by Starlight was playing on the most excellent van speakers, and I slow-drove the long, pocked gravel road that winds past several outbuildings as it got thinner and became meandering craters nearly washed out through fields of trees too big to move, all the way to more acreage and a barn like an altar, with antlered skulls and a road sign that reads BEGIN I parked and met the white-haired ageless tree farmer who would never guess that backlit in the bright yellow summer day, standing in the dust my van had just raised, he looked like the silhouette of an old cowboy, his badass snow-white pork chop sideburns brushed back polite jackrabbit style. His arms and hands like gnarly tree roots and he stood looking out from under his hat, twirling something in his thumb and forefinger that was probably a worm or beetle. He doesn’t have a cell phone. You just have to show up.
I have not yet ever had everything in its highest order at once. It’s like the little carnival prize hand held plastic disk, thin and hollow with tiny metal balls rolling around supposed to stop in infuriatingly shallow divots only one paper layer thick and you practically had to do it with your mind instead of your wrist.
I think about the sculpture I see, I’m going to have to enter the body of work leaning into Louise Nevelson, back into the object I go, Hi-Ho. But it’s a casting object, that makes something of the space it occupies with photons at different states of rest and work and play. Recycled light, new light, LED light, wah, lights. Lights. And newton, making the visible out of the everything. Listening into the work for its voice and its breath, and leaning into the position of myself as its maker. Like I’m reminded, find someone who’s turning, and you will come around, I find Louise, sticker-together of the only somewhat related, that she clearly saw as all one.
I look into the dark other side of the porch, where the sawhorses and screen are stashed, one of the worst clutters in the place, that side of the porch is a workspace, and so it shall be. Machine points out that I have a whole roll of bronze mesh the same gauge as the aluminum, and that now it makes sense I have the bronze, for the very thing of it, different from its shadow, unlike the grey aluminum. I sigh, I’m used to the way the cars whirl but do not say, I tell Muse, do not even talk about moving away from the current work, it’s that the current work is also becoming the sculpture work, I explain. And also that I promise to be a good scout about the business of the studio as well, even though I wish I could pass it all to a clone of myself and be left to tinker with the materials while Muse and I bicker about what the thing is.
My experience, I recount, is of walking around and around pacing, partly aimlessly, partly neurotically. And up around me springs this little cottage of old barn wood, after 10,000 logistical skirmishes, slow going hand making for three years, there is this amazing place that I at least orchestrated at ev-er-y step whether I liked it or not and mostly I didn’t for being done learning how wrong stuff can go. The result is wow. And I’m not finished. And I still don’t have any other way of working, besides cobbling it together DIY studio style with whomever I can hire. I got Amish? Great… I got good woodwork. I got neighbor land movers. Well, then maybe they’ll dig me a pond. And I pace around the studio and these works rise up around me when I’m sure I didn’t have any way to make them, and I didn’t see them coming, which makes them dicey and compelling like relics of true saints.
Evenings at the kentucky place, i let the music play indoors and listen from the porch with the doors all open to the frogs and crickets, turkeys, coyotes and distant engine brakes. Except when I go inside to pop popcorn in the pan where the music in the kitchen is sufficiently loud as to verify my bless-ed aloneness. Back on the porch, though, the wind closes the door, which cans the human music and causes the night sounds to come out like stars. It’s a scheduled symphony of reptiles, insects, birds, with early to bedders, night owls, and moonlight ladies. I wonder what they all do with the sounds of the others, what is the night soundscape to them, and I decide Universe mixes Being like paint, perfectly good colors folded into others. I can’t make the sound without the picture.
What’s good about the Not, the baffle, always it comes back always to that one time. I chew my lip from the inside and look into a picture of the dark woods I keep in my mind for city meditations, and I can’t even imagine the shape of what I wonder.
Let it be lovely