Today I pushed my limits and tonight I find them pushing back, hard.
But living is testing limits. And so is stupidity. I decided to go off to play air hockey, delaying my sleep. So in the end I got only 70% of the sleep for the day which I need to keep my autonomic systems running like: being able to take a pee (when I get tired, that one fails…nothing like praying for ten minutes for a stream to flow because I couldn’t sleep) or being able to digest food. And I am likely to have more problems as time goes on as I am fully booked for tomorrow, having to squeeze a bit of sleep tonight and between getting a prescription refill (we hope!) and a visit tomorrow.
BUT, for the first time in as long as Linda could remember I suggested going out, like a DATE and wheeling out to play some air hockey (with a strawberry frappachino afterwards, MY TREAT!). Too bad that my peripheral neuropathy was very, very bad today. I learned that as trying to eat made me feel I was an air traffic controller with an out of control board full of potential crashes. It turns out that knife and fork to food, piece of food on fork, and fork to the actual mouth is more complicated that it first appears. And that is WITH all the adaptive forks and plates. But, yes, I suggest we go out and play some air hockey. Because I am planning to go back to play badminton (I really want boxing but I am being patient). So here I am, I wheeled here, and I am ready to play!
I sucked at Air Hockey. Big time. BIG TIME. I mean it was 5-0 before I got my first point. It turns out that moving the controller to defend AFTER the puck has done in is not that great a defense. Linda on the other hand (known in the air hockey world as ‘no mercy Linda’), was on good form, great defense and a stinging offence. This is the picture she wanted me to show. Because it makes her look good as she calmly watches my puck approach, already planning her counter attack. But THIS is the Linda that I saw, the one who yes, is slightly blurred because she has just slammed a rebound shot at my goal and has that leer of ‘ha ha ha, take THAT!’ which she gets when she is happy with herself. Yes, that’s right, the truth comes out….our ‘perfect’ Linda is actually competitive, at least with me. She will happily beat up a cripple, and did winning 7-2. I think it was 2, I remember getting the 1, and I hope I got another one after that. I told her that it just means it will be easier to improve my score next time.
The cinema next door was looking for part time help and I asked if they could use me at the box office and the staff guy thought they could so I will put in my application, since I have lots of experience. And it is for only 2 or 3 shifts a week the ad stated. Okay, yes, minimum wage job but I get to talk to people and go, “Hold on a moment” and then pop back up with oxygen on. I am sure to win ‘Plucky Employee of the month’ (well, I might but it seems the staff room is up a flight of stairs so I can’t go there).
I have applied for every part time job that comes by, including one to help people get assistive devices to help their with their impairments. But no call back. I just want to be out there if I can. I know that my body is getting weaker. My body was weaker today than two weeks ago, but I can at least think and move my fingers to type. I can hold my head upright and not slump against a wall. Is it the thyroid medication? Is it a plateau or a temporary thing? I don’t know but I am going to use it. When I was on the plane and the prairies, I was dying, I could see it, everyone could see it, you don’t get ambi-bagged in the middle of the floor of the family picnic if you aren’t pretty messed up. The airline treated me like the egg project, ‘can we carry Beth without having her crack open and thus we fail the test?’ (Did you have to do that, carry an egg for a day without it breaking?). Today, I am not stronger than I was then, but weaker. However, I can talk more, and suggest more and want to LIVE so hey, lets go with it.
On that note, Zed, my novel, I got the contracts for the offer for an option to make it into a film: annual rights, renew rights, full movie rights, the whole thing. I will get back to them but I remember the promotion editor (now gone) from Arsenal saying, “It is just a book, not a career.” And telling me, ‘it is not like they are going to make a movie of it.’ because I had the contract changed so I, instead of the publisher had the final say on movie and all other rights than print rights. Oh well, it seems that maybe someone does want to make one. The best thing I can do to move the movie along is write another book and finish editing the one I have written and 1/3 edited and get them published. You know, get out there, win some awards, get some BUZZ. Still it is very odd that in the same 24 hours, I am on a poster or internet as a person who is used to advertise a movie while I have the contracts for the movie options on my own book sent to me.
Okay, enough of that, and onward a little bit. I have to make the Moss Street Paint In a three part blog because I am ‘cream crackered’ (cockney for knackered = exhausted), and so I will go only a little further down the hill on Moss Street.
So, we are going down the street, and Cheryl and I look over and almost together say, “Bruegel…it is Bruegel.” And so we go over and met a really extraordinary young man. First we look at a picture of this tower he drew and it is like something the Bruegel would have painted, a very much Plague influenced picture with the rich in the tower, the people despairing below, one trying to pick the lock. It is extraordinary. Here is Bruegel, Pieter the Elder who painted in 1550’s.
And here is what I would guess is a 22 year old painter in 2009.Yeah.
Well, there were so many people who wanted to talk to him after seeing his art that I had a hard time squeezing in questions between more people coming up. (I just want to note here that it is the BUTCH who is 'doing her hair' in the background!) But this is the information I got from a guy whose name I think was David, who had NO business card. All he had was a sheet of paper which people could put their email address and he would let them know about his paintings. He told one person that he had put ‘about 500 hours’ into an unfinished oil painting. The interesting thing is not one person asked him about the price of the paintings. They were saying, “If you ever do a limited lithograph” or “If you ever do a print, let me know.” Because the art was so high quality that everyone just assumed this young guy who was wearing a t-shirt saying, “Spend time not $ (Money)”, that his paintings were in five figures. For example, ignore us for a moment and just LOOK at the painting in the background of that photo above (which he labels as unfinished). It is like something you see in a Museum.
He said he has been drawing since two. But I asked him specifically about his influences. “What books did you have lying around.” Nothing really.
But about these paintings?
“Oh” he says, “I picked up this book called something like 50 centuries of art about three years ago.”
“Was there any artists that you liked?” I asked in innocence.
“Yeah!” he said, “I can’t remember but there was like this 16th and 17 century stuff that I really liked, it was great.
“Yeah, that was the guy!” he said enthusiastically, “I really liked his stuff.”
“Yeah that was another one I liked, but I like the Bruegel guy!” (So he only saw Bruegel THREE years ago?)
“Did you see his work, The Triumph of Death?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, that was amazing, you know the way there was so much going on and I really think it changed the way I painted.”
I was looking behind him to his new work which was a tree, one side green, the other side not. I asked him if he had seen a lot of William Blake.
He looked at me totally puzzled, “What was the name, Bake?”
“William Blake, he was a painter and a poet, and he did a lot of paintings I think you would like.”
He was ripping a piece of paper off the sheet and writing down the name, “Blake, right?”
“Yeah,” I’m trying to figure out how to explain to a painter of this level who William Blake is, it is like someone coming up and going, “What is this ‘Bible’ think you keep referring to.”, so I made a stab at it, “you know the song Jerusalem that they sing in church, he wrote that. Um, he wrote a lot of poetry and then he did the paintings to them, and now he is really, really famous, but then he was just a sort of crazy guy who did printing for people.”
“That’s really cool!” says David the prodigy. I try to think what would happen if he took an art history course, and what he could do with that natural talent. Is he 21 even? Why isn’t he at Julliard? Or the equivalent for artists?
“So how many people have seen your work?” I asked.
He looked up from writing down ‘William Blake’, “Oh this is the first time I have ever shown anyone.”
I was just sort of stunned as he clearly had no idea how good he was and now thinking back he probably would have sold me one of the paintings for $250 or the like. But it would be like robbing a child. He needs someone to find him and get him a scholarship and I hope they do. Because I wonder what Dali and the Surrealists would do to his 16th Century style?
Cheryl and I just looked at each other but in the end we couldn't take him home with us so I just wheeled down the hill, where I met Horst Loewel, and we seemed kindred spirits. I stared and stared at his painting and then said, “Michelangelo in the Vatican?” pointing to his clouds.
“Yes, yes! the are so magnificent, his clouds.” Horst said introducing himself as I told him he had captured them beautifully. As I had been around Europe as had he (selling his paintings) we compared paintings in the Prado, British Museum, or the Louvre, the paintings in Berlin and OF COURSE, the Vatican (they have a great museum of art). He talked about how he was influenced by Michelangelo….and Dali, who he met in the 70’s while in Spain. I looked again at his picture and saw the glass at the front and sort of thunked my head because the ode to Dali was now very apparent. We talked about some of the pieces we had seen and where we had seen them. I myself am a fan of Max Ernst. This excited Horst who not only LOVED Max Ernst but it turns out that Ernst is from a town a stone throw from where Horst grew up.
I was lamenting that it is very hard to find Ernst in museums and he said that now, in this town outside of Cologne, there was a full Max Ernst Gallery and I MUST go back to Europe. I myself favor the black and white art of this early surrealist (you may notice some similarity to Edward Gorey).
Horst said the rest of the picture was not European but Canadian, from where he liked to go fishing. He had a boat all painted up behind him. And I guess he hauled it to lakes where he painted or fished as he liked. He was one of those people you wish you could have over for an old fashioned Salon, where interesting people pass the time by talking. Oh dear, I just went into Orlando mode there.
I am off to bed, and will leave you with another painting from the next artist I talked to, the unfinished painting that Cheryl alluded to in her comments yesterday. As for me, besides the wheatfield shown yesterday, my favorite is the portrait, which I will show you all...tomorrow.
5 hours ago