For Robin

“As a matter of fact, as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same fucking day, man.”

-Janis Joplin

Time compresses for me in my head. Forty years ago seem like yesterday, and conversations which ended, seemed to hold threads to reweave, but of course, the pattern becomes something quite different. Is it a curse or a blessing, the course of an uneventful life, or schizophrenia? I don’t know if other people see life like this, but everything exists in moments. Which is why I love a camera and film. Life becomes linear, but sometimes cubistic, pieces are juxtaposed and changeable.

Janene came for a weekend, and I took a shot of her and my mother, and was struck by how alike they had become. She was no longer the little girl that plays in my head, even though she still makes me laugh. Time moves, and you got to keep moving with it, or it runs your ass down. Sometimes time is painful, when I visit Pat in the nursing home, and we try to weave pieces together to keep her in touch with a tangible universe that has some natural predictors.

Otherwise, time becomes nostalgic and makes today predictable when I email Ieva. We mull over her recent excellent works, my latest travels, my kids in school, or her work in the gallery. I am always so happy for Ieva, no matter what she has been through, she has always lands feet first. She is still interesting and relevant. A quiet cyclone, that few people have ever figured out. She has her own Pat, in Helga, so we compare notes, mull.

I am at a point where students come and go. They come back to me older, but you still see the kindergartner that came to you, or the excited first grader, who wants to tell you all about the art they create. Life changes, but the faces of the young are still discoverable easily. People come back, they bring their enthusiasm. One girl came back to the old room, I have just left, last spring. Oh, I remember this room, it makes me want to go home and paint. These bits of time are what we are. What defines us. What makes our lives worthwhile. And there never is enough time, but we steal it in bundles whenever we can. And the weaving begins.

An old friend contacted me after 30+ years. She had been trying to get in touch for years. As I left New York, due to contacts who seemed more concerned with coke than careers. I burned many bridges with the intensity that Sherman did Atlanta. I never mentally went back, nor did I ever want to. It had nothing to do with her or the time layer she was part of. We contacted each other for a few emails. I was very happy for her. She was a wonderful, positive, funny young woman. And still is: full of life and passion. It was good to hear from her. I was glad her life worked out as it did. She was settled, still married, and with children that adore her. Kind of a rainbow’s end.

Which is what I mean, time compresses in my head, but not for everybody.


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