Was it Steve Jobs who first made us aware that we were living inside of boxes? I’m not sure. But it’s so hard to be sure of anything in this changing world, isn’t it? I guess none of us likes being defined by the boxes to which life consigns us. But hey, that’s life.
Two of the boxes that most define me nowadays are Artist & Senior.
I chose neither of these. The first box is one I was born into and shaped to fit because of the family and society that raised me. The second is the box everyone of us is forced into should they live long enough.
I was advised long ago to shed that artist box and get a real job. I really tried but over and over potential employers discovered that I was only pretending not to be an artist. As I grew older and society began to measure me for my senior box things began to get really uncomfortable.
Being an artist had been difficult enough but until I became a senior I had no idea how it felt to be a true outcast. But I’ve been a lone survivor for a very long time.
Over the past few weeks I’ve made an attempt to contact other survivors like myself, those floating about in their own boxes, trying to find a friendly shore on which to land and build something suitable and worthwhile.
I thought there was a solid shore but I guess that was merely an illusion. So these days I just float, imagining that somewhere out there are other artists, some like myself who have at most 20 or 30 more years of life, perhaps 10 more years of making art. I’m trying not to be sad over this failure. At least I tried.
I am the first artist-in-residence at the Doucet-Hennessy house in Bathurst, New Brunswick. My new exhibit opens to the public on Wednesday, July 3
By the way, I strongly identify as Irish. Yes, technically I am Canadian and one might suppose that today I would be celebrating Canada Day. However, for reasons I’ll not go into at present, I prefer to celebrate the Heritage passed down to by my ancestors, the Hennessys and O’Tooles among others.
The Don’t Forget You’re Irish art exhibit opens to the public July 3. Drop by Tuesday to Saturday for a cup of tea and a chat at the historic Doucet-Hennessy House in Bathurst, New Brunswick. If you play Celtic or Acadian music or any sort of traditional folk music, we hope to have informal music sessions on Saturdays from 2-4. Bring along your acoustic instrument and join us. Music workshops are in the planning for September.
Do I try to understand, do I ask for clarification?
Do I do nothing and say nothing?
I prefer not to listen to vicious accusations.
I prefer not to listen to drunken babble.
I am unable to communicate with anyone whose brain is muddied with drugs or other addictions.
Do I do nothing? Do I say nothing? Do I walk away?
My phone number is in the book, I say, call me anytime before 9:00 in the morning, we’ll make plans to get together. Every morning I wait. The call never comes.
Whatever I do I risk discrimination.
When I was young I was always there with a helping hand and a kind heart and a receptive ear. All my life I paid forward. I expected no guaranteed return, hoping that honesty and kindness would reap a good life and a loving family and a strong community. I was so often surprised and occasionally dismayed to discover that that is not how life works.
I am getting too old to fight anyone else’s battles or solve anyone else’s problems or even to sooth anyone’s imagined slights.
For my own peace of mind I turn around and walk away.