self-portrait with dachshund

everything about me now is a little softer, a little rounder, a little more out-of-focus.  the past (the distant past, not the recent past) seems clearer and closer, perhaps even more real as i scratch under the surface of memory, fact and the fiction that always accompanies it (the fiction often more true than the fact.)

the sharp edges of youth have eroded, those uncertainties, those fears (some do remain, as they probably always will), washed away with the passage of time; decisions made early in your life that determine the course of your life affected by the prevailing winds, terrain, minerals, resources so that what you thought would be ‘carved in stone’ has been rubbed smooth by that which you have no control over.

they say you determine your future and perhaps, in many ways, they may be right; there are things you can do that will chart your future course, but for many of us, happenstance has been the better plan, or at least the happier plan.   it’s not for everyone, the future looms large now, uncertainty a less pleasing sensation than it was even a few short years/months/days/minutes/seconds ago.

bleached out as you are by the sun (or any other light of scrutiny, examination, divining), your edges more an aura than something you could grab a hold of, hang on tight to, steady yourself, right your course, or even retreat and re-focus your energies (the es of life), you may find yourself, as you have in the past, letting go, sighing, ignoring, blinded by the light.

and try as you might to make those determinations, the ones that will prepare a future for you that will rely less on chance and more on, on, on, whatever the opposite of that would be–could it be planning?–matters not, the course is set, you’re already a deep canyon and the future is your delta,  its shifting sands your future, but not your end.


7 Responses to “self-portrait with dachshund”

  1. January 14, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Thank goodness for strategic dachshund placement! A foot or so south, and your photo might have turned into this: http://fredhatt.com/blog/2011/07/26/freudian-analysis/tumblr_loplm66jdr1qduycso1_500/

    • January 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

      I’ll take that as a compliment. Freud is one of my all-time favorite painters.

      • January 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm

        A compliment was most definitely intended! The peril of communicating via comments like this is that it’s often hard to convey the right tone. What is meant as light and playful can so easily be interpreted as harsh and critical. I sure hope I never come across that way with you, and that you know I was aiming for playful and funny. I don’t know, Robert, but my comfort level with you online is very high, and I hope my familiarity (on the internet!) doesn’t offend.

        That said, your photo did made me think of how often classic paintings of nudes also include animals (Manet’s Olympia comes to mind as an archetype), as though the animal offers some visual distraction from the naughty bits. I think your S-P w D falls into an esteemed tradition, indeed. I didn’t know you were a fan of L.F., but I thought you might enjoy a reference from the Art Institute!

      • January 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        Offended? Oh god, not at all. re: Lucien Freud, I admit I’m a bit of a stalker where he’s concerned. Two of my all time favorite shows were his retrospective at MoCA in Los Angeles and a print and drawing show at MoMA a year or so later. The images are indelibly burned into my brain. His paintings, like those of Alice Neel, reveal something about the human condition that transcend mere portraiture. I left both shows emotionally and physically drained. It’s possible that I swooned in a Stendahlian moment of ecstasy (or like to think I did.)

        Also, Mr. Williams, I think you’re one of the most intriguing humans I’ve met in a long time, online or off. In fact, the whole tumblr community, let me amend that, most of the tumblr community we hang out with have been a delicious and enlightening experience. Someday I hope we can sit down across from each other and share a beer, a laugh, and maybe a tear or two.

  2. February 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    A poetic reflection. I’m glad that you clarified that the dog is a dachshund since in that pose it looks more beagle-like. Since I am so sun-intolerant, maybe my edges haven’t faded as much. I’ve been working on reflections about reflecting on the past called “The Shattering of Time” which does contend that the past has sharp edges, and we are usually left with just the shards to reflect upon which can be deceptive.

    Speaking of Alice Neel, have you seen the documentary about her? It is a bit hard to track down, but a friend insists that I watch it since it focuses so much on the reconciliation of the artist and self, or motherhood in her case.

    • February 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      I have not seen the doc on Neel, but I’ll look for it. Wouldn’t you agree that our perceptions of time and memory are colored by the event itself, the moment in which we’re remembering, and the reason we’re looking backward?

      • February 15, 2012 at 8:17 am

        Yes, I agree on all points, and that “memory” is relative and never fully objective. In that way the edges certainly soften and fade. I think that’s sort of what I meant by “shards” of time from the past that we grab for. We can only glimpse at little slivers of the past that we carry forward but can never have the 360 degree experience since our memories are so influenced by other events.

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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