"I seem to stand outside the realm of God's mercy."
-- John Cheever
-- John Cheever
I can so relate! This quote has stayed with me for decades. I have a bookcase devoted to writers and poets, along with their journals and notebooks. I love reading their journals and seeing inside their heads. Those journals fascinate me. It surprises me sometimes to see that these favorite writers and poets that I admired so much struggled with a lot of the same pain and insecurities that I do. Sometimes when I come across a line that stays with me I'll write it down in a notebook I keep. From time to time I'll look it over and it gives me ideas for my art or it will give me my own starting points to write about.
I woke up this morning and just had to paint. Had to. I haven't felt this strong an urge to get to the canvas in a long time. I tossed and turned last night with so many thoughts in my head. So I was surprised I was driven to the studio so early. Cheever's quote kept coming to me all night and I dreamed strange dreams intertwined with that theme. Dreams about childhood and all the crap that was hammered in my head. Without going into gory details, suffice it to say that my Dad has always made it quite clear that no matter what I do I am never going to measure up to his expectations. So I feel quite at home with Cheever on his thoughts.
On my Dad's last visit we had another terrible argument. We've always had an antagonistic relationship ever since I was a teen. I think it's the Taurus in me. ;) Mom used to always act as the buffer. Since she's been gone, I've tried to make more of an effort to be, I don't know, more civil. So I was trying to point out some of the good things I've done: being the only one of five children to graduate from a university, made it on my own without ever asking him for a dime, done pretty darn well for myself, etc.
All I got in response was more of the same disappointment, blah blah blah. So, thinking over all of this, I realize I am never going to please him. And thanks to a very dear, very wise friend (thank you, David!) I am reminded that you can't please other people; only yourself. You do the best you can and you go on.
So, fast forward to this morning. I'm painting away and end up with this painting: I call it A Different Realm. In this realm there is room for mercy. For everyone. ;)