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.