For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded and defeated us in daily life.
I can think of a lot of things about my past that please me, fun memories and good friends. But why is it so much easier to remember the hurts, the pains, the failures. I am glad to have learned the lessons from all of them. Now why can't I bind up the whole mess in a big plastic baggie, throw it out in the trash can and forget about it?
There used to be a popular question asked of older people when they were interviewed on radio or TV. If you had it to do all over again what would you change? The answer was "I wouldn't change a thing." I have never understood that remark. I sit here and fervently wish I could start all over again, change almost everything and do it right.
I would say, when asked, that most of the roles I played as an actor were either autobiographical or wish fulfillment, sometimes a combination of both. It was very helpful to call upon events of my past, both positive and negative, to supply me with images and emotions that synergized with the life of the character I was playing. But since I'm not an actor any more why do I need them? And, thus, why do they keep popping up to hurt me like mosquito bites or bee stings?
I don't appear to have any choice about it so I might as well take those memories, cut them apart, twist the pieces around, repaint them, hammer them out of shape on the anvil of my mind, make something else of them and run them through my keyboard.
The time and effort it takes me to invest my poor memories into the whirlpool of my creative mind is paid off by the repose I would never award myself otherwise. And as I pull apart the veils and uncover the grotesqueries of my vagabond past I tremble. But I also retool and redesign remorse and regret into something that may even resemble the beautiful.
To consider my sins of commission and especially my sins of omission I may feel as if I'm tending a garden of vipers with no exit for them to crawl away. But if so, I collected them. I earned them as my destiny. And now my duty is to translate each of them into something beneficial to me and anyone who wants to listen.
When Eugene O'Neill wrote "Ah, Wilderness!" he said it was the story of his youth the way it should have been. I can write about my youth the way it should have been (wish fulfillment) but only if I face the way it actually was (autobiographical). In short, I can turn that big plastic baggie of trash into art. And that's what we do.
DB - The Vagabond
May you have a bright and happy day.