Dana Gioia, the current chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, recalls his years as a vice president of General Foods. “I would come home too late, and very tired,” he has stated in his interviews, “but each night, I made myself sit down at my desk and simply copy the last paragraph of the essay I was working on, or the last stanza of a poem. Usually, I get my ‘second wind’.” With this “second wind” he became one of the most prolific, and influential American writers of our time.
I think of this when I, too, find myself exhausted by my “juggling act” of trying to make ends meet, raising a family in this wild city. And yet when I prepare a panel with freshly spread Kumohada paper, getting into the daily ritual of painting, I rediscover the joy of creating, no matter how tired I am. My spirit is renewed in the process. I find myself attuned to the details of life, rather than getting stressed by being overwhelmed. I find myself listening, rather than shouting into the void. This is our “second wind.” Such a state taps into what I now call eternal time-fulness.
Art is about being attuned to nuances and subtleties of life. I start by paying attention to the materials I use. I need to know them in the same way that a writer would know, and love, his or her words.
Minerals I use are like prisms, and they refract, more than just reflect. The color spectrum, and her subtle hues take a while to get used to, to truly see. The layering of these minerals reveals a mystery of reality; of a world full of life and enchantment. It is a world not of competition, but of complementation.
So today I pause, and consider the world around me, from the May irises on Greenwich St near my loft to the homeless (Larry) around the corner from my studio. When we do, and see the mysteries there, I think we, too, like Dana will find our “second wind.”