Friday, June 8, 2007

Use of Light

I had needed more time in Paris so until recently I had stayed on. After having played my first show, I had to come to terms with the reality that I’ve waited my whole life to express certain emotions about certain events about certain people. After this show, it was agreed that I stay in Paris and process this intersection of feeling. Not until I immersed every chakra of my whole being as I walked through the Musée d'Orsay did I begin to consider my real father. Not my stepfather or as Pip calls him, my step-monster, but really consider my birth father. He was an artist. Yes he is still alive. No we have never met. My mother had come to study in Paris from the States. He was married; she was feeble and ill. It had gone on for so long. A small group of painters had moved around him. It was she who was a model in several of his paintings that I have observed from afar. There’s not a lot to tell really. She got pregnant. He couldn’t leave his wife. She fled back to America, never looking back. She remarried when I was 12; at 13 I moved in with my Gran and with my Granddad- to this day, the healthiest choice I ever made in my life about anything. I understand him more now. To watch people look at his paintings, I see him through different pairs of eyes without the rejection. I’m beginning to get to know him by studying how he works with light. There’ve been so many visual artists in my life and I wonder if that’s because I just wanted to be close to him. Not for long, not to be the center, never that. This morning it was early as we drove into Vienna. I had slept with art books that are filled with masterpieces. Isabel encouraged me to learn about my father as an artist, not as my father as a man through the eyes of my mother. Not as a father that never knew his daughter. This is a beginning of an unknown relationship. Now how I was privy to such an intimate scene that I’m about to write of is a mystery, or was it fate. Through friends of Gran in Paris, I was invited to a family evening. I watched a little girl try and play the piano; no it was more like an electronic keyboard. The names of the notes had been taped to the keys. Someone had been trying to teach her. What a great idea I thought, although sticking pieces of tape on Tori’s Bose with the keys written out even for the most precocious little girl in the world, would probably be the right idea but definitely on the wrong keyboard. Still, I filed the thought to tell her anyway. She’s always up for a good idea even if it’s not one she applies to herself. So here I was, enthralled by the teaching methods and the little girl, Sophie. She got mad. I mean really upset. She threw herself on a chair nearby hiding her face, she started to cry. A happy quiet kind of man sat down at her small keyboard coaxing her back to it, no lie. This patient human sat with her and sat with her, ignoring the party, ignoring the grown ups- Sophie, Sophie we try again…go glower. Let’s start slower. We need a metronome, oui. But Papa …And so it went- back and forth, encouraging her with kindness and gentleness they began to make progress. She was still upset and I smiled. I woke up today in Vienna, smiling again with a new patience and many art books studying a painter’s use of light.


toritattoo said...

it's hard not to wish for what you cannot have. be careful - sometimes you build it up in your brain beyond what it really is.

spinachluvr said...

perspectives on father:
see what you can

I am reminded of your previous thought to look at what people choose to be versus their potential which you can also see

your various points of observation are also art, just like the gallery placing multiple artists together in a collection in a certain order brings perspectives that would not be obvious if seen alone

I like how you choose to view things

Anonymous said...

good luck finding ur father!!!! that little gurl will get the paino in time just have learn a tori song and she'll get!!!{lol} hope 2 c on tour wher i live at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

In art I also mostly enjoy the use of light :D

Have a great time touring babe! Sorry you couldn't make it to Amsterdam, but Pip rocked the show anyway! And I cried my eyes out during 'Winter'... please make sure you thank Tori for the great show!

love, Indra

Anonymous said...

Clyde! I think I know what happened to you when you were 12. I am so glad you found safety at your grandparents' home. The same thing happened to me when I was in college. I was brutally raped after a date with th "catch" of the campus. When He leaned in for a kiss goodnight he threw a brutal punch instead and I woke up to him raping me. When he was finished he dragged me to the bathroom by the hair and threw me into the bathtub. He left after a turning on the water and uttering something about getting clean. I managed to crawl out of the tub and onto the floor where I stayed for three days in a puddle of water, blood, semen and shame. The radio was left on--he had turned it on to mask my cries for help. After three days of contemplating my death the music had become white noise to me--that is until a simple melody made me prick up my ears. "I hear my voice and it's been HERE...silent all these years..." Something about that song made me crawl over to the phone and call my local rape crisis hotline. That was the day Tori saved my life.
I encourage you to use whatever you need to get through Clyde--the light, the music, your devoted fans, your Posse. and I am always here if you need me. With all the love and grattitude in my heart, Ellen

Nuno Gonçalves said...

Will you ever be able to forgive him though? The man that knowingly rejected you before you were even born. You can appreciate his art but won't that always be tainted somehow? Art is partly about liberating the inner emotions of an artist so Isabel was right in her advice. You'll probably find yourself in one of his paintings.

But you said you were always drawn to visual artist and it's not surprising. You are drawn to that idea of your father, an artist. Drawn or perhaps fixated, even. Maybe you're looking for a father figure in the wrong places. Maybe it's time to finally confront him. So you can move on and find peace within yourself. You more than deserve it.

And tell the northern lights to keep shining.

Happyleighme said...

i am a specimen i thought you had not studied yet... and to a point, i am, still, not tapped completely...

i relate to the dad thing - after 25 years and a two year old daughter later, married to a preacher in seminary, bumping heads with his theology... i decided to seek this sperm donor out... - tho i was a product of date rape... i thought i needed medical history for my own child - this sperm donor called dad saw it as a second chance in life... but he's a success of a man with drinkin in his life, we never speak now... our only lingo is work and work ethics... and he is a former cowboy who lived high in CO, moved back to tend to his dying father and ventured into the stock market... and gosh, as for the the art thing - grandmother - his mom, an art teacher and English teacher - my two passions kept from me and i didn't know why - then one day i met them all and lived with Grandmother and brilliant Aunt for 3 years after my divorce which i wrote and represented myself through - all of it amicable... and the story - intense as it is - has revealed itself... is revealing itself... so, for Clyde... i know this emptiness and the fullness i felt when i heard his voice on the phone in response to a letter i had written... but really, i am not sure what the connection was... it was a shift in the universe - a LOCK and latch... something turned and then stopped turning when i heard him. he is handsome and has pretty feet.
he said he'd send me to school to be a lawyer - and laughed at me over Thanksgiving when i said my calling was art therapy... then he bragged on his beautiful son, who, is truly a genious and chemical engineer...-yet has severe chemical addictions...
i declined his offer for school... he owes me nothing. he gave me an identity i can pick and choose from. that is all.

Rae said...

A little girl is about to take her first ballet exam. The room is enormous and cold, just like the three stoney figures who sit perched behind an old desk. She is six years old and begins to dance a-cappella on the hard wood floor.
After, they hand out big certificates; gold embossed. But hers has a thick red cross through it from corner to corner.
This was the day that this sensitive little girl learned to judge herself.
I guess when a small child fails to get the validation she needs, she can find herself craving for it....searching for it over and over for years. A piece of me was lost that day, and I struggled for a long time to find my way back to that bright and innocent little ballerina. But through years of feeling inferior and repremanding myself for not being good enough, and all the dysfunction that became part of who I thought I was, I never gave up searching for my true self and all that I was capable of being.
Never give up searching for yourself Clyde. You have more than enough strength and resilience to discover how powerful you really are.
You have my love always.

toritattoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
toritattoo said...

You know I come back and read all the thoughtful comments on her blog pages and it occurred to me, her writing resonates in each of us a little something, and not necessarily the same thing, just like her music. It brings out a feeling or a memory that to each of us is unique. I guess that is her gift.

Coke Brown Jr. said...

I may understand. I'm becoming my parents, now that they've left this world and I don't resent them. I probably always have been them, but didn't notice. Gay man. Don't want to be my mom, don't like parts of my dad, but can't help what I am turning into.

A complete matriarchy in life isn't any better than a complete patriarchy, but we can get both from either male or female sources... because we all have elements of both.

I misunderstand women and often am disgusted by the tendency of women to underanalyze, but also am disgusted by the violence of men, their unthinking, their tendency to kid themselves.

Maybe we need to find the source of our unhappiness with one gender's system or the other, and realize that said source probably resides in both sexes.

Coke Brown Jr. said...

Also: (sorry to ramble) If we respect ourselves as people despite what people have done to us, then we have to also realize that we are what we are partly DUE to the things that people have done to us.

Knowing how to learn and grow requires that we know that learning and growing are possible for everyone, even the bastards. Then comes forgiveness.

Rae said...

I totally agree Coke brown jr......we are all made up of the Anima (masuline) and the Animus (feminine). And each can manifest in both its positive and negative form. The Negative Anima, with his hungry lust for power and control, has been allowed to spread his fear through this earth, and she has been battered, abused and disrespected. I think, in many ways, we are all on a search for the positive Anima....our protector, our bright sun...our father.

Anonymous said...

HAPPYLEIGHME- Thank you for your bravery. I loved the honesty of your comment. Thank you for not remaining Ellen

Happyleighme said...

I reckon :) I didn't expect it to come out here and i am glad it did... Tori's music has danced a lot out of me over the years. The best is yet to become ... for all of us. Thank you, Ellen and much love to you too. ~misty

The Speaker said...

I send happiness to you Clyde.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh, & the plot thickens!!! LOVING IT ALL! ;] You're doing a grand job! Keep up the awesome work!


Amy said...


I found my father when I was a sophomore in high school. I was always curious to know "who I was." When I finally met him, he was a disappointment. He is an alcoholic who wanted me to quit school and get a job...doing what, I have no idea, but he would buy me a car if I did. Wow! He wins the "Father of the Year" Award right? I had moved out of my grandmother's house at that time, and was staying with friends. This was his idea of him wanting me to go and live with him. Well, I didn't quit school. In fact, I went on to graduate 6th in my class in high school, graduated with a bachelor's degree, and then a master's degree. I may pursue my is always in the back of my mind. I realized when I met im that knowing him did not define who I was, but it was me who determined that. I have not spoken to him in years. He resented the fact that I did not ask him to walk me down the aisle in my wedding. He never had me to give me away. I chose to walk down the aisle by myself. That's how it's always been...just me. Clyde, be kind to yourself.