Inspiration, like anything else, must be diligently cultivated.

A couple weeks ago I rescued a large picture frame from the side of the road. In case anyone was wondering, no, I am not above dumpster diving, so long as I do not actually have to go near a real dumpster. The frame needed a coat of paint, and the painting was ripped, but otherwise, SCORE!

It is now leaning under the eave on the lanai, while I figure out what to do with it. Our apartment needs more art. I had an idea to paint, weave, and frame a palm leaf, as they often fall into our lanai and we just toss them back onto the other complexes property. (don’t judge us, the palm trees are theirs after all) But after waiting for the next frond to drop, I noticed it had started to decompose while still on the tree. Not bringing that inside. Numerous Plan B’s have swirled around my head each as impossible to nail down as the next.

You see, I used to love to paint, and sculpt, and doodle, and make any number of pretty messes. But I haven’t done any of that, in earnest, for years. Partly it was practical, I lived for so long in cramped quarters with others, and my easel was in the way, or taken over by a roommate’s presumptuous artistic attempts, or possibly most often, I was simply too self conscious to make art in a fishbowl for others scrutiny. And I got frustrated by the mess I was making.

After coming to Honolulu I bought a sketchbook and some pencils. I figured what could be more inspiring than the contrast of natural beauty in the tropical sun and abundant life around me, with the dirty urban reality that marks imperialism and capitalism’s influence on the island. There is no shortage of perspectives to capture here.

There is only one problem. Art for me, has never been about capturing a perspective, nor about creating one. It has always been about the mess that art makes, any inspiration seemed to happen quite by accident in the midst of chaos. I have spent many years battling my propensity for mess-making, and a natural consequence, I think, is that I had to let go of my propensity for art-making.

Now I am in need of art; or more likely, I have always been, and am finally realizing what a sacrifice it was to give up.

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