Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer,
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother--- they're here.
From ' A Little Night Music,' by Stephen Sondheim.
I spent the weekend at my elderly mother's house a couple of hours from here, tending to her and tidying up her house. In the process, I found a box of letters I'd sent to her, from age 17, when I went to college, to my late 30's. Now THAT'LL make you think, the rereading of letters from your younger, naïver self. There were letters that announced the beginnings of love affairs, that anticipated with delirious joy the same marriage whose abrupt ending was to be tersely and defensively discussed in a letter several years later, letters that told of pregnancies, of the antics of children, of moves to foreign countries. My voice was by turns exuberant, anxious, hopeful, disappointed, confident, devastated.
And, at at time when I simply CANNOT paint ONE SINGLE THING (yes, it's happening again) how comforting and disconcerting all at once to read this excerpt from a letter written to my mother in 1982:
'My painting is going well. I'm thrilled. At last the gap between what I want to do in paint and what I can do is narrowing.'
So, though I know it already, by heart, the letter tells me that icky painting times such as the one I've been experiencing do end. You just have to keep on working. I'm not going to show you the hideosities I've been producing in the studio of late, but I could, you know. I could.