Thursday, July 30, 2009
You know... I have completely explained myself in previous posts. I've explained that I've NEVER BEEN HAPPIER than when I sailed away in my sailboat. That is a powerful statement, don't you think? Why should anyone deny me that life? I've never been a better person than then. For the first time in my life, I was succeeding. I've tried to explain the beauty of that life, short as it was, and I've tried to explain how horrified I was to be "sucked back into" my old life. (It's more complicated than that, but I won't go into details.)
I never should have looked back.... I should have kept going, sailing south, nursing my broken sailboat to the Keys, and sold my art to the tourists... as was my plan.
But my plan had had so many difficulties... Man... And one of the main ones was that I was under the impression that I wouldn't be allowed to sell my art in Key West at the place I'd intended to do so, at the daily art festival in Mallory Square. Difficulties...
I had a weak moment, and the next thing I knew I was in Orlando, a landlubber again.
And then, LAST WEEK happened to me. Back here in Orlando, languishing with little work and little pay at the height of the tourist season, the IRS came after me. They levied my pay, and without a little help from my sister Diane, and a small pay advance from my friend Barbie, I'd be living on the street right now. Or in my van, specifically. ...In the end, the IRS backed-off, and all is well for the moment. But the whole episode gave me pause. At one point last week, as I was driving home from one of the IRS meetings, my van blew-out another tire... right there on Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando during evening rush hour. Wow. I sat there in my van, knowing I didn't have a spare tire, and I thought, "Something must change. This life isn't working."
The kicker is, since I've been back to Orlando and rejoined the legions of caricature artists in this town, I have found myself virtually unable to do any serious art. I've been working on one particular oil portrait for FIVE MONTHS, messing with it here and there, but too distracted by this city life to really "get into it." Back on the boat, art was my total life.
Let me say that again. Back on the boat, art was my total life. That is, unless I was sailing. Man, what a life. Hard, to be sure, but I've never been better at anything than I was at that life, in a sense, in my mind, and that's what counts. I had no TV, no computer, but I was active and getting resourceful and independent, and I was getting quite thin and tanned and strong, and I spent my hours reading and painting and watching the dolphins, and planning the next voyage. ...Then I made a bad decision and ended-up stuck up a Tampa Bay canal for the winter, unable to make money, not in the Keys, hating myself... And I limped back to Orlando in February, relieved at first, but quickly falling into the dissatisfaction and distraction I remembered.
And now, back in Orlando, I've nearly completed my return to chubbiness, pale skin and weak knees, so to speak.
And so... After last week, as I reviewed everything, I contacted again the folks down in Key West, and I learned that while caricature artists are not accepted at their daily art festival (too many apply already), other artists are encouraged to come and sell their work. I had totally misunderstood the deal last year.
So... Enough is enough. My best life awaits me. Next week is my last week in Orlando.
...And that is my attempt at an explanation.