Saturday, May 23, 2015
"Get yourself a wife..." (socrates)
you'll either be happy or a philosopher. hmm, i've tried to be happy and a wiseguy. it's been a bumpy road on my own. and watching 'the salt of the earth', a documentary on the photographer sebastian salgado and reading his autobiography, 'from my land to the planet', i accept his statement, 'i could never have done it without leila.'
damn, that's the missing piece. a wife, for a man or woman, gets the creative goods out into the world, plus washing the dishes while you paint, sculpt, write, or sing. without that support, i've fallen through the cracks! yet, to be fair to myself, i always preferred women who had a destiny devoted to creation. they needed the wife i could never be.
let's see: virginia woolf had leonard woolf, william wordsworth had his sister (his poetry went to hell when he married somebody else.) what is a wife for the artist? a man or woman dedicated to your work. for example, sam wagstaff devoted to photographer robert maplethorpe, supplying money, collecting photographs, giving him presents of significant art works. both died of aids, if i remember rightly.
and that happens to many a creative being (symbolically) while helping someone else. it's so easy to become busy being the handyman every sane woman wants. i watched my father doing it all: fixing the plumbing, working on cars, repairing the the roof. with her last partner, my mother had a blackboard in the kitchen with lists of things for him to do. and there was always a lot, since she switched from one fixer-upper to another.
and speaking of space i've always lived in small rooms, presently happy in a 214 square foot cottage (at least with advancing age, i can grab something when i start to fall). yet to bring a wife and a dog (let's face it, it goes with the territory, and i'm not a dog lover, though five dogs live next door). it's very easy to feel crowded and claustrophobic. alas, it's happened more than once. i do admit i love cats and am feeding a neighbor's calico for company.
i'm between a rock and a hard place. money needed to woo the woman, which i don't have. young ladies expect to be treated, older ones don't want you living off them, too many men searching for such security. and i've never been properly trained. true, i remember a french-canadian film where a czech immigrant poet survived on his wife's sewing, making his children absolutely miserable.
and accidents happen, kids arrive surprisingly, and then what? boy, the documentaries like the one of painter alice neel filled with her two sons' bitterness. if creativity the first love, the second and third get short shrift.
and actually, i find myself letting go, much as i enjoy reading my poems and looking at my pictures. a lot of people out there creating, who do have wives, far be it from me to expect to compete.