Thursday, June 22, 2006

Art And Story By Loree Harrell

Towards The Next Step
Loree Harrell; 2005
Loree Harrell; 2004

Stories have to be told or we lose them. That's what he said to me and I think he was right. The next thing he said to me was, And when we lose the one story, when we lose the seeds of the one story, then we lose the threads of all the other stories that came out of that one story, and if we lose too many of those threads, then whole lives become unraveled in a way that means they never existed.What he didn't tell me is how to tell all those stories in the allotted time, with all the ordinary livingnesses that have to happen along the way. Which made what he did say a practicably useless truth and left me with knowing I could never be done, could never complete the thing fully and correctly, which left me with a certain level of hopeless in the middle of me.
For awhile I thought that quick sketches of as many of the stories as I had the will, the time, and the energy for would be enough, that what was important was to record as many seeds and threads as I could and come back later to the stories, but that didn't work out so much. For the one thing, the new seeds and threads kept coming as thick and fast as the ones that came before and so I couldn't get back to the earlier ones and flesh them out; and for the other thing, when I did get back to them they weren't the same. Gone or changed beyond retrieval. A practicably useless truth.
I have not a lot of use for things which are true but not practicable. These things are generally a waste of time and, worse, end up wasting more life than they give. An eating up of energy, and a triggering of angsts, and a paralyzing of humans into too little or too much movement. Freezing them in place, or scattering them in a frenzy of seekings. I am no seeker, I am a doer. One step to one step to one step, not always - rarely - in a straight line, but, nonetheless, one step to one step, stopping at each station to do what is there to be done at that moment, setting aside the before and the after, and then one step to one step to one step to the next station. Which leaves a lot of things last, and many threads left open, but I can't be worried about that. Someone else will have to do the finding of, the weaving on to, those things, and that's just how it is.
He's different. For him, things have to be whole and finished, the picture has to be as complete and correct as possible before it can be started. I understand that. In truth, I not only understand it, but wish it for myself. It seems like such a refreshment to be able, to have that ability, to work with one thing until it is done. To understand the patterns of history and future and present until you can declare it good or irrelevant and shift to the next thing. I admire that. Admire it and respect it.
On the other hand, I know a lot of people who do nothing but seek in perpetuity. Constantly reading the latest and greatest instructions for and ten steps to, always looking for a guru to sit at the feet of, learning one set of dogmas on top of the last, until, at the end of each of too many days, they have done nothing. Do those stories need to be told, too? Yes. Probably. I don't know. But are those the stories I will tell? No. Yes. Maybe. We'll see.
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