Drawing by My Girl, 2009
Day 14: Gratitude - What five (5) things are you most grateful for from 2011? #reverb11
“An amateur artist is one who works all week at something else so he can paint on Saturday and Sunday. A professional artist is one whose wife works so he can paint all the time.” Ben Shahn, American artist 1898-1969
1. Grateful for my wife
I have loved her since she first sat behind me in 12th grade Science class. Our first date was Senior Prom. A year later, I had to go into the service; she married and divorced; I married and divorced. I made it my mission to find her once again. It took ten years; I will never let her go. She’s a tough critic of my art and writing; most of the time she thinks I would be more successful selling khakis at Kohl’s; still she leaves at 8 and returns at 8, so that I can be this. She is the saint in my story.
2. Grateful for my girls
My art was my first love; it consumed me, satiated me, but it never jumped into my arms, or cried on my shoulder, full of fever. Art isn’t love like that. I never had children of my own, yet here they are; 40, 35, 12, and 9. They were gifts received by circumstance. Grateful doesn’t begin to encompass what these girls give me. On Friday nights, when they all gather round, it is so loud, they can’t hear my heart, but I can. I act the curmudgeon, so don’t let them know how much I treasure the moments when they bound into the room.
3. Grateful for my family
My mom lives with us in her own little apartment that the county calls a Registered Living Unit. Someday, I will tell you about the absurd law that regulates such an apartment in this county. Anyway, I count my mother as one of my girls, and I’m grateful for everything she does daily; she was the first one to insist that I should be an artist, no matter what others might say. She is my unconditional fan, so I must discount everything she says about my work. Sorry, mom.
My brothers, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my in-laws; there are so many loving, supportive people in this family that could be saying, “Why doesn’t he get a real job?” They don’t; at least they don’t say that to me. They are always there for me.
4. Grateful for my online friends
I have met more incredible artists, writers, and heroes this year than I could imagine. They give themselves to the arts and to others without fail; they set high standards that make me work harder, and better, than I thought possible. I am, daily, grateful for these souls I’ve never seen or spoken with, yet they move me in life to a place high above where I once walked.
5. Grateful for my locals
From the local galleries to the local farms, there are those who advocate for artists, who advocate for a better world, who advance community when the world seems more isolated. I am reclusive, I am most comfortable at home, but this year my locals have pulled me out into the open air of community. A year ago, I would leave home with sunglasses on and hat pulled low; now I’ll stop and have a word with folks, because I feel welcome in a world where I once was worried.
I am grateful for much, but not for things. I am indebted to you; when you read, I am real. I am not an imaginary friend, I will be true.