You’re anchored at the finish line. You’re sixty two! “MANIFESTO # 2”

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It took me sixty two years to understand this. Sixty two years. And it is now, at this point, precisely now, when I can already see the sign where it says – faintly – ‘finish line’ – and at this point, only at this point I feel the slings and arrows hit me like a heavy anchor and I’m buried in my own ground body ground parts.

I’m paralyzed and I realize – finally – what it means to BE an artist and to live to have become THE artist and what it feels to be an artist and why it is we are FORCED to build this WALL around us, live in this BUBBLE of conquered loneliness. Why? BECAUSE it is all TOO MUCH!!!

We just want one thing: ATTENTION.

And that is all. Attention and then, we leave. I promise you.

We just don’t want the small talk, the noise, the logistics of who will be in which car, the airport waiting time, the press deals, the interviews and the horrendous questions.

We just want to see the interviews already out and spread across the pages but then, after a few hours, we lose interest. “Fuck them”, that’s our response because big is never big enough. “OUR” B.I.G. is monstrously big. It’s matched only by the universe and never by a double spread or a 4 hour documentary. We’re mean, petty because our attention demands a MORE they simply cannot grasp.

We cannot stand to be lonely and we just hate this immense resonance of silence which brings about so many questions and memories and memories and memories and memories and memories and memories and questions like a crazy loop and it doesn’t stop. It’s an anchor of sorrow, a sling and arrow of despair because the head is pure fuel and the image only lasts while they look at it.

Do you understand me?

The image only lasts while they look at it.

WE EXIST ONLY for THEM.

I EXIST ONLY FOR YOU.

I have no life.

My own private life does not matter.

I EXIST ONLY FOR YOU.

The ARTIST EXISTS ONLY FOR YOU.

No wonder we are an abyss of loneliness, of solitude. The one Billie Holliday sings, the one all of us passion junkies of over reaction and sentiments, junkies of ballads of passionate dependence…we feel…all those things which you…the audience …do not and will not. Ever.

And from here – close to the finish line – I’m paralyzed and I semi frozen with the fear of a simple knock on the door. I feel as if I’m always wrong, always fleeing, escaping as in a Kafka trial. But I know I’m no Joseph K, I hammer this into my head and yet, when I watch Jagger and Richards in a slowed down version of a sweet smile between them, knowing they’ve been at it for seventy years, I cry. I burst into tears knowing or fearing this may have been the last time they did it, was it in Cuba, in Rio, in Mexico? I so notice the ephemeral -“ness” as in the monster in Loch Ness as….never mind. I notice the love and tremendous hardship that goes into the maintenance of love, the battering of humans, just as Shakespeare describes or, say, Beckett in all his doom and gloom and humor and….. the conclusion to all this bitter suffering of an existence, no matter the smiles, no matter the antioxidants and the partying….. what it really all means when you reach my age is that you see your PAST.

You relive your PAST as if you were that rabbit drawn by Saul Steinberg, sitting atop a turtle.

You live your retrospective, you cry your dead, you scream for the real carnal love and lust you once had and parked so well, you ….anchor your body language more carefully now because your joints ache and your muscles and inner organs no longer play the tunes they once did.

And what it means to be an artist and live to be an artist and what it feels to be an artist and why it is we are FORCED to build this WALL, live in this BUBBLE of conquered loneliness.

This is the WORST of all. It’s a NO WAY OUT thing because… you have placed yourself there. So did all the ones you admire.

You are SIXTY TWO and you hear your neighbors loud and clear because their dinner party is loud and clear…

And they chat loud and clear just like all social media is loud and clear and so useless.

You have reached your finish line.

 

Gerald Thomas

September 17, 2016

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