I’m being haunted by the good ghosts of 1997.

Two weeks ago, I got the itch to build a new desktop wallpaper for my laptop to replace the current one which has been there for a few months. I saw something that day that evoked a voice I’ve let sit silent, and I wanted to wake up that voice and weave it into something good. That voice spoke of an image I drew in November ’97 when I was in the throes of hungry creativity during my two-month stint of hardscrabble unemployment in North Carolina. During those two months, I wrote poetry, I drew art, I listened to music, I met people, I had a new relationship with an awesome girl. Even without a job, I was producing. I was in the springtime of my life.

The vision was to use this drawing, a box with circular vines weaving in and out of the box, in a layered tableau of drawing, ripped paper, a cherry branch, a few vines curling around, stick pins, all softly front-lit and backed up by a textured background. I could do everything in Pov-ray, but I needed a scan of that drawing. I remember scanning it some time back in ’99, so I searched my hard drive and all my backups for the image. It was nowhere. Disappeared to the ether. So my only option was to scour my room for the drawing and attempt to rescan it.

In my search, I managed to unearth a treasure. I found my birth certificate. Found some more poetry from North Carolina. Found a stack of love letters. Finally, I found it: the drawing, and all of the drawings I had created and compiled between late 1997 and 2000. Bingo.

I was really, really into vines, banners, fineals, things draping from suspended bars, very fine lines, crosshatching. Still kinda am. I had several mechanical drawing pens, and I used them with much attention on making the most miniscule drawings. I would fixate on an image for hours, touching here, shading there until I was satisfied. It was like sex. After all the work, something beautiful would be created.

In the span of a few hours, I had dug out and set up the scanner on a very obsolete computer and I rifled through my stack of drawings to find the best ones to scan and commit to pixels. Spent some time the next day cleaning up the vine box drawing while listening to Nine Inch Nails and Rush concert dvds. I was happy. For the first time in a while, I was happy again. Not just the memories that returned while I meditated on my art, but there was the happiness from meditating on art itself. Having a mind quiet enough to draw. And it was there that the Eros returned.

If life is not lived to create, then it is a lie. I can’t get any more truthful than that. The reason we are here is to create things that will outlive us. And I’m feeling that drive again, like it is the springtime of my life. I am insane for having kept the voice of the muse silent for so long.

Kind of shameful, really, that I kept quiet, but I kept quiet because of the shame; an endless cycle. I had created so much that the amount of crap scaled upwards with the output and I started seeing it; instead of loving all my babies, I hid them away and stopped producing. I heard the voices, the wrong voices, in the coffeeshops, on the message forums, in the channels, rambling about talentless hacks who take themselves too seriously, and that had a very chilling effect on me. I stopped producing and it became winter. The Very Long Pause.

I’m not finished with this image yet, but I will be soon. I worked on it all day yesterday and spent today taking care of necessary things instead. I don’t want to be done with the voice when I’m done with the image. I want to keep drawing, keep writing poetry, get back into music, keep speaking with that voice, the muse. To emote. To love again. To take my failures and abortions in stride as I keep up the creativity. To be a producer.

I’ve been living a lie. It’s time to speak the truth.

Update (Feb 3, 2008) The image is finished. I put the final touches on it a few days ago, and now comes the time to share. Enjoy!

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?