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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Its all in the timing


I've just returned home from the Delta. I can't stress how important it is for an artist to return home to their native land once in awhile... it isn't easy - but the payoff is always there if one is open to it.

Sources are so primordial. It all goes back to wandering in the cotton fields when I was so little they towered like trees above my head... and cicadas... and even mosquitoes! I spent a great deal of time dreaming about Bill and Sookie while heading up and down back roads that haven't changed much in close to 100 years.... certainly not in 50... and I wondered WHY am I so obsessed with these Charlaine Harris characters? I am not convinced in the power of pop culture, Dark Shadows and all that.... but still... when I read TODAY that Charlaine was born in 1951 in Tunica, MS, well - now I KNOW. She went to college at Rhodes in Memphis and it is one of the creepiest, surreal cities anywhere - that's not to say I don't love it, in a strange, comforting way... but it isn't American in many ways, anymore than Louisiana.

So, Charlaine, your characters feel like family to me... and now I know why. I thought I might be going through some close to mid-life obession but its just homesickness... and the strange life that an outsider lives amongst the natives. My mom reminded me of how horrible the mosquitoes were - (I had a recurring nightmare as a child that I was being crucified on a cross in that box of mosquites that was featured in the OFF commercials of the day...) so maybe my obsession with Bill the Vampire somehow relates to THAT??? An art historian or shrink could have a field day with that one.

The drawing above is a portrait of Mr dd. No, he doesn't look like Bill the Vampire but I realized recently that one of the first, most compelling things he professed to me during our passionate courting days: "I am Yours, You are Mine." That was a first.

I never waited tables but I always knew the score. I was never seriously interested in those Delta Boys because I think I feared they would take my life away, tie me down and I'd never see the world. Mr. dd and I met each other at the right time and the right place, otherwise, well, there is no telling what part of the world I'd be hanging my art in.

Now I go back and I cherish those Delta Haunts for their resonance... I wound up at Po-Monkey's last Saturday night... a place I visited with a bunch of girlfriends and nere-do-wells (sp?) afterhours way back in the mid 70's. I was maybe 16. I had no idea where we were or if I'd made a mistake hanging out with these night owls who only wanted to drink MORE beer with hopes of getting into our pants. Instead our car broke down and we sat in the dark on a gravel road singing pop songs all night.

I spent last Saturday with a view an the Indian Mound Bayou from my window and wishing Mr. dd was there to experience the wonder that is the Delta. A friend from my youth and I walked through the soybean fields and picked up pottery shards and I realized today they are likely made from the same clay that Lee McCarty has used for 50 years.

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