Monday, August 27, 2007

After Hours

It's early morning and I am sitting down at the railroad tracks after a long bike ride. As I listen to Coast to Coast AM on the radio, I watch a policeman sitting in his patrol car across from me in the parking lot of the railroad museum. His arm is propped up upon his open window and he is talking to his cohort beside him as they drink coffee. Soon, an unsuspecting motorist comes flying by, speeding on the highway. The patrol car's lights turn on and shine brightly into the night and the police car tears off after them. "Got'cha," I think. "Most likely drunk." Nothing is more stupid than to go speeding through this small downtown on an early Monday morning when the police are bored and listless and the rest of the world is asleep. It's like smoking marijuana at the policeman's ball -- you're bound to get arrested.

My attention and focus turns back to my thoughts. These sleepless nights are a time for me to gather myself. I think of Rosa at home in her own bed. We spent the day apart yesterday after a small fight. I was already struggling with the alcoholic aspects of my life and our little spat didn't help. Wanda and many in Alcoholics Anonymous always told me to wait until a year of sobriety before starting an intimate relationship. I can see why they would say that now. Excessive drinking is the ultimate in self abuse, and I wanted to abuse myself yesterday for my quick temper and rash words during my and Rosa's silly argument -- a kind of poor man's atonement.

A glimmer of hope in yesterday's gloomy unveiling was the discussion I had with my father about painting. "I want to paint grand railroad scenes," I told him. My father grew excited and we both drove down to the railroad tracks late in the evening to look around and find possible scenes for my oil painting endeavors. "You can sell paintings of the old 1887 depot," he said excitedly. "People would love that stuff." We stood next to the old semaphore in front of the recently restored caboose as we talked.

"I want you to turn your attentions to something positive," he said. "You are brilliant in a way. You have a talent that none of the rest of us possess. You could always draw anything."

My father saying such things has always made me uncomfortable. I don't think of myself as brilliant at all. I think of myself as rather mundane. Actions speak louder than words.

"Don't you think most schizophrenic people are creative?" he asked as we sat down on a bench.

"I think their extreme creativeness makes them crazy sometimes," I replied. "Us schizophrenics are so sensitive and aloof about life. A minor setback for a normal person sends us into a tailspin. Where one person will throw themselves into their families and work, we will throw ourselves into something where we can express ourselves abstractly like art, math, or music."

"Interesting," my father said with a thoughtful look upon his face.

"Of course," I furthered. "Most people can't make a living painting railroad scenes downtown."

"That is where you are lucky," My father said. "You have your blog money and your disability money. You have an income so you have the time to paint and be creative. It is all rather bohemian when you think about it."

I smiled. I loved my father's use of the word bohemian. I have always longed to be an artistic vagabond -- wandering from place to place, painting scenes of small town Southern life.

"You promise me you're going to start painting?" he asked as we got back in his car.

"I promise," I said. "I just need some help with the initial start up cost of paints and supplies."

"I am going to be your benefactor," my father said, driving us home. "Like the Church was for Michelangelo and all the other great artists and musicians."

I laughed and patted my father on his leg. He can be so grandiose at times. Like the time he gave me the book on how to be the next Einstein. He means well, but he can get a little carried away. I haven't painted in years and really don't know if I still can. My father thinks I will be the next Van Gogh. It is the stuff dreams are made of, and it is good to have a dream for a change.


WhistlinGypsy said...

Exciting! there is research that supports the idea that the brain chemistry of highly creative people functions differently than others. vivant!

Summer said...

Now I'm excited! Paint!

KYRIE said...

I can't wait to see ur paintings.
And I think painting will be relaxing for ur mind as well, especially whn u are feeling down. It can be yoga for the soul.

If u hv a scanner, u could share some of ur paintings with us in the future.

Hopefully today will be a better day for u. Cheer up bro. I on the otherhand am stuck with a bloody migraine again today. Curse the wretched insomnia!!

pai said...

don't let it pressure you. Only do it if you want. I have a feeling you will be good.

Art is only fun and "cathartic" when you are doing it for yourself. If you want to paint, then pain. Or photography, or writing. Do it or don't but only do it for you.

I"m an artist, too, and I haven't really felt like drawing in a long time. Maybe it's time for me to create something too. :)

Tiffanie said...

Sunday you said you debated on going to a meeting... did you?

Josie Two Shoes said...

All relationships have their ups and downs, Andrew, I'm betting Rosa will be back on your doorstep today. I'm sure you'll remember to tell her you are sorry if you said things you regret.

I love the way your father is starting to respect you for your individuality - instead of making you feel incapable he is realizing that you have special gifts and your own path and purpose here in life. I think it's delightful that he is willing to help you out with painting supplies - you must promise to post your work for us to enjoy once you have started!

Have a good day, love yourself - we are our own harshest critics, so often undeserved.

Barb said...

What a blessing to be loved so dearly by your Dad...something even adult children cherish!

I covet that relationship!


Mom's Blog said...

It's called the "Father's Blessing".. not everyone gets that gift. When my mom was alive I would turn myself inside out to find something she be that excited about... come to find out later she only bragged about me behind my back... My Dad has been gone since my early 20's I loved your story this morning because I can only imagine what it is like to have an adult relationship with my dad.. Thanks for sharing this precious moment.

~Vital~ said...

Andrew...I left you a comment about 3 post back, "Ravenous". Please read it.

Serendipity said...

if people believe in you, don't you think there is a good reason behind it?
i've been trying to write a novel for years, then i finally just sat down and did it. and what a rush of pride to know you did it.
do it man!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you and your father getting along and having a good time together. A number of days ago you seemed pretty negative about him.

Stacy said...

You must be so excited! (I know I would.) Have fun painting and let us know how it is coming along.


Oh how exciting!! I love that your dreams can come true..and I hope your dad realizes at how brilliant you are as a writer, too!! Painting is so relaxing,.that should help you with your emotions..what a way to express them but through the rush of the rails!! I know you'll do well!! :)

CJM-R said...

You are so right, it is good to have a dream. And it so wonderful to have your dad believe in your dream and want to help nurture it.

I bet you will still be able to paint, as I believe it is something that you don't forget and with practice it will all come back even stronger than before.

My husband just started art lessons a year ago never having painted a thing. Watching his art evolve has been amazing.

Well, here we all are ready to cheer you on with your art...

Go for it!

Tee said...

Andres, if you are really interested in painting take a look at this website. This gentleman offers art lessons at a very reasonable rate.

2 The World U R 1 Person, 2 1 Person U R The World said...

I've always wished I could paint, or at least do charcoal scetches. I admire the way one can create a picture with their hands. It's probably why I'm so into photography. Taking a picture is my way of creating that picture. I know I'm not alone in that I can't wait to see what you come up with. You'll have to add a whole new feature to your blog of just your paintings!

Take Care!!!