Thursday, August 28, 2008

times touching

Sometime during my high school years, I developed a fascination with the powerful idea of times past, and the people who inhabited them. Having been largely bored by dry classroom history lessons about the Magna Carta or the Louisianna Purchase, history finally shifted into a fascinating subject because I stumbled onto ways to personally connect with it.

Just how it happened isn't clear, but somehow I had important encounters with various media and even old objects themselves, both alone and with the closest of friends. I was fortunate to experience a shift in thinking from the merely theoretical to the specific, the personal. Certain times and places and ideas in my own history have become personal symbols for that awakening fascination, and now time and reflection are endlessly folding back on themselves, again and again.

Picking up an old object, reading a story, closing your eyes and looking: this is how one time can touch another.

* * *

evocative films
old black and white days and nights
ephemeral lives

Bakelite jewelry
mysterious aroma
when rubbed gives off life

rows of doll dresses
still sealed, unattainable
in dreams became mine

strawberry incense
joyous rain gray adventure
we bought vintage hats

an old trunk opens
antique shop morning darkness
perfumed time drifts out

who held this mirror?
peering now past old glass ghosts
her expression gone

the phantom tollbooth
through the looking glass Alice
those wrinkles in time

Brownie camera
treasured chalice held waist high
claims tomorrow's gifts

young me wrote letters
for tomorrow's me to read
which one of me lost

wearing my blue jeans
with a War-time jacket
but she'll never know

* * *

night travels in the looking glass house

Yesterday upon the stair

I met a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today

I wish that man would go away.

* * *

Hugh Means (1875 – 1965)

This photograph has nothing directly to do with my artwork, and everything to do with insomnia, sleep disruption, and dreaming. I have several recurring dream locales, and one of them is the Looking Glass House. When I have a lot on my mind (which is recently the case), this is where my dreams can take me.

The Looking Glass House experience is mysterious, foreboding, anxious, and emotionally complex. I wake up with an odd combination of melancholy and what might be called artistic urgency.

Another recurring dream I've had since childhood is the Incredible Flea Market. Here I find one amazing treasure after another: jewelry, vintage clothing, books, old photographs and ephemera, cameras, and unopened boxes and packages of dolls and doll clothing.

Sometimes I think I would love nothing more than to have one of my Incredible Flea Market dreams, but I end up wandering in the Looking Glass House instead.

These dreams are familiar, and I'm attached to them both.

* * *