I paint and write every day. I think about projects, current and future, the much of rest of the time. Even when I am not physically producing, I am inputting and assessing things from a creator's standpoint. I notice what I am noticing. I store thoughts, ideas, observations for future integration.
When I use the word machine, I do not intend to de-humanise my process in any way. If anything, I am even more organic, fallible, sentient in my approach than before. It's primarily the output to which I allude and the churning nature of my inner mechanics. Over time they have been constantly updated and fine tuned to my circumstances and environment. They have been put through a steady stream of rigorous tests, physical, moral, emotional and metaphysical. They have been pushed close to the point destruction numerous times and because of it, through adapting, have become stronger, more streamlined, with more clarity.
I have stubbornly surrendered my bold and reckless feelings of immortality and replaced them with new sentiments of acceptance of limitations - temporal and physical, gratitude and 'make the best of what you've got to work with' attitude. As do all, eventually, I have had to face some hard, hard lessons, my knees have been buckled, my belly has been sucker punched, I've had the air knocked out of me. I've been on my knees, begging, flat on my back, bleeding and in the wilderness, stumbling, utterly lost and distraught.
And yet, here I am, still. My resolve has hardened, my outlook has broadened and in-look has substantially deepened. None of this I asked for. It was thrust upon me. Life! Life! I've got one. It is messy, ragged, precarious and precious. Fewer things now are taken for granted. Essentials: like my teeth, my eyes, my hearing, my digestion, my mobility and my consciousness. All of these things have been put in jeapordy over the last half a dozen years.
When I look in the mirror now, I cannot fool myself. The open eyed and open minded young man who for so long commanded the helm is no longer present. He has been replaced with a more hardened facade. One that is wrinkled, sand blasted, worn. Youthful zest has been replaced by weathered knowingness, the slightly weary and wary gaze of a survivor.
Of course, none of this is unique to myself. I know that. It's a rite of passage. What I am doing, is expressing the process and outcomes in my own away. I am recording my experience of this stage of life passage. Sharing it. The reason for putting it in words is two fold. One: it's an interesting challenge for me, one that helps bring form and clarity to it all, adds to my insight, fractionally lessens the burden. Two: for eventual readers of these words and thoughts there will be, for those who have been through or currently going through similar, a comforting and perhaps fortifying assurance. We're all the same, we're all one - that vibe. And for those who are younger, yet to reach this point, these messages can serve as a harbinger, a map, a parable that may serve as a guide, a foretelling.
Cause this whole fucking experience goes way beyond what you can imagine. Each of us is tested not only to our limits but beyond our limits. Who knew? Who signed up for this? We all did, apparently. And then what? Mission completed, we vacate. Game over. We return to the vastness.
But in that gap, in that time between eating dirt and turning to dust, during the few years or decades left, in which I currently reside we are treated to a fierce new flavour. My mouth is full of it right now. My head is, too. It possesses me, in fact. It informs my decisions and choices, artistic and otherwise. It's a whole new stage. There is no manual, per say. You've got to pick and forage for your plans and strategies of your own. But as long as the passion has not died, as long as there are a few more "fuck you"s to mutter, a few more dreams and aspirations to not give up on, a few close and meaningful individuals to care for and about, as long as there is breath, there is hope, there is reason to carry on, to continue to grow, build, make and materialise.
You learn that as long as it's not one of those times when you've got no choice - then you've got choices. And you know now, you've learnt; choose wisely. Or recklessly. As you see fit. It's your life trickling through your fingers... make the best of what you've got left.