Thursday, July 16, 2009

On the Road to Find Out

My freshman year at college was a year of new experiences for sure. One of these experiences was an album by Cat Stevens called Tea for the Tillerman. Jon Brite, an artist in Scott Quad where I roomed at Ohio U freshman year, made the introduction. And while listening to a portion of it last night, as I do from time to time, the music and lyrics still hold up as the classic it was.

The thought I had, however, was how targeted this album was at the time it was written. It was an album from the point of view of youth, directed toward youthful seekers whose life quest was just unfolding. No wonder Stevens went on to sell 25 million albums. We hear the generational dissonance in a song like Father and Son. And in this song, On the Road to Find Out, we recognize the inner flame of the hero's quest.

Well, I left my happy home to see what I could find out. I left my folk and friends with the aim to clear my mind out. Well, I hit the rowdy road and many kinds I met there. Many stories told me of the way to get there.

And what young person has not experienced this chorus?

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out, there's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out.

To some extent, this attitude is what keeps us going, isn't it? At what point do we stop questing? At what point do we stop embracing life? Is that not the first signal that a coffin is in the next room waiting for us?

Then I found myself alone, hopin' someone would miss me. Thinking about my home and the last woman to kiss me, kiss me. But sometimes you have to moan when nothing seems to suit yer, but nevertheless you know you're locked towards the future.

Locked toward the future. At what point does this shift? For some, like Goldmund in Herman Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund, the rockets flare out. After a lifetime of embracing the fullness of experience, he returns to the beginning. Life has changed him, and a lifetime of experience has been absorbed into him, thus preparing him for the task he was not really capable of at the beginning. Goldmund, the artist, has toured the world and learned its deepest lessons. Ultimately he returns to the monastery and completes the work for which he was born.

Then I found my head one day when I wasn't even trying. And here I have to say, 'cause there is no use in lying, lying. Yes, the answer lies within, so why not take a look now? Kick out the devil's sin, pick up, pick up a good book now.

In the process of making art, the attitude of discovery is pre-eminent. At least it seems so for me. Every project is a voyage into the unknown. Sometimes you discover miracles. Other times you only catch glimpses of something escaping on the run. But it's always an adventure.

If you're interested in an evening of first hand encounters with 130+ pieces that I've created as an ever questing artist, I invite you to The Venue @ Mohaupt Block in Duluth's West End. My show, FIRST HAND EXPERIENCES, will be hanging there till July 31. The Open House is next Tuesday from 6 - 9 p.m. on the 21st.

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