Several years ago a friend in Ashe County told me about a psychic in Charlotte, one he believed was the real deal. He suggested we go see her. He'd seen her before, wanted to introduce me to her. I was curious. Upon meeting her, I distrusted her right away, maybe not a fraud, but in it for the ego was what I felt. Still curious, I paid my sixty dollars, feeling like a traveling salesman at Mother Fletcher's Whorehouse. She asked my birth sign. I said, Taurus. I told her at first I was looking for insight into self, looking for who I am. She told me to hold my hands open facing her. She wanted to see the palms. She said aggressively, the way an old aunt would talk, saying when she looks at my hands all she sees is space. She went off, telling me if I'm there about space, she's not into space, I need to go to somebody else. I told her I wasn't there about space, just wanted insight into self, for her to tell me what she sees. After another minor harangue about space, she said, "Who are you?" I said, "That's what I'm here to find out." I've looked at my hands, ever since, and fail to see space. We sat for maybe forty-five minutes. I don't recall what all she said, it's been awhile. I recognized who she was talking about. When she was done, I felt like I was on track with who I am. I asked, "Where am I going?" She said, "You're going home." I thought, what kind of lame answer is that? It's no answer. Said nothing, taking it for a cheap shot. Sounds good, but what does it mean? My mind went to religion, my heavenly home, my home beyond the sky, where I go when I die. I didn't believe that was her meaning. It has stayed with me more than twenty years. I came out of the session not liking her, felt her judgmental as a preacher, which she was. She had a church of her own. I didn't trust that part of her, either. Nonetheless, I remember finding her reading on target. I was no stranger to everything she said, except the space part. It told me she was seeing something. A recollection just now surfaced. She told me my friends pick me up at night while I'm sleeping and take me on rides in the space ship. I about laughed out loud, but didn't want to be disrespectful. Maybe they do.
I've wondered about "going home," carried it in the lazily swirling trash bin in the back of my mind where subjects stay alive, and come forward from time to time to be mulled over, chewed. A couple days ago, visiting my neighbor, Allan, we were watching a video of a tv show. I forget the title. A young guy talking to a psychotherapist on a trip of self-discovery talked about going home. I didn't keep up with the show, so I was not sure what he meant. It caught my attention. I took it for him saying that his original self was opening up, he was going home. For the first time, I saw going home as the journey to find one's original self. It turned out he was in LA talking about going home to Alabama for his grandmother's funeral, him seeing the journey a self-discovery odyssey. I was thinking I got it. I got it because I am there or almost there (here). I realized this is what I'm seeing when I've told my friend Carole a few times recently, I feel like I have come into my original self, who I was as a child, who I am and wanted to be. I am now who and what I wanted to be in the earliest years. I wanted to be left alone, left to follow my own interests. Looking back, I went for the education I needed, and headed for the hills. The time in these mountains has been occupied by finding my way home, unveiling original self, one step at a time, becoming who I am. Going home, in this way, has been my purpose all my adult life. I was so twisted up in knots by the time I left parents, the early years on my own were the worst years of my life. This explains absence of interest in a career and why I've given my life to learning, learning the principles of heaven and earth. It also explains why the Tao te Ching is my personal scripture. The Tao is the Way, the path to self-knowledge.
It would be foolish to say I feel like I found enlightenment. It is a minor enlightenment, a step along the path. Perhaps crossing a mountain range, getting a good look around that feels like I've come into something important. I do feel like I have found my home within. Art projects over the last year are coming more from who I am than ever before. All the way along with painting, I felt like I was learning to paint. There came a time I felt like I knew how to paint. Then it had no more interest. I felt like my figurative painting was cartoons, painting inside the lines. Tired of inside the lines, I set out to leave the lines altogether. Use only one color. Simple. Once an idea for something new takes a turn to the complex, I pull back and remind self it's about simple, the most simple, simple as a line of string. I've picked up things for possible future art projects, so many by now, the house is cluttered with found items. It is time now to use found materials from the collection all over the house. The paint I have is the paint I'll use, buying only white and black, because I use so much white especially. Using what I have, my own resources, putting found things together into completions I am happy with as art objects, I've found home in my art expression. In this sense, too, I feel like I have come home to true self. These objects I've been putting together over the last year come from my innermost self. In this time of the life, I am where I want to be geographically and within. How I got here, I can't name, unless it would be God's grace. It was not from my own decision making. I cannot say it was of my own doing, except aiming self in such direction, unconcerned that it will not make me money, actually makes me even more unfit to make money. Maybe it had to do with getting out of the way and letting the spirit flow as it will, allowing others to be who they are.
Yesterday I put together the pieces of the latest art project, a cedar board in the house at least ten years, 25 inches long and 9 inches wide. Looks like 5/8 inch thick. A crack ran through the center of it. Years ago I glued braces to the back to hold it together. It has been leaning against a bookshelf, in sight all the time, at least a year. I've studied it, considered what to do with it, leaning toward maintaining the integrity of the wood itself, too beautiful to cover with paint. A time came I saw it desert sand, the crack the horizon line. Thought about making a stain of blue oil paint and staining one half of it sky blue. Thought about making a line of tiny donkeys a half inch long walking along the horizon line. Way too corny. A Fifties movie poster. Bad, bad, bad. Rethink. I'd been recently searching for compositions using triangles. Rectangles and circles are easy. It turns out a triangle is a challenge. During this time of considering triangles, I saw a photograph of punk rocker Richard Hell onstage wearing a tshirt with fifteen or twenty outlines of triangles, all the same size, scattered as if dropped randomly onto the surface. I thought it a successful image made of only triangles. The image widened my scope of thinking about triangles. One day, looking at the cedar board with the crack the horizon line, I saw the Giza pyramids triangles sticking up from behind the horizon line of North African dunes. A triangle project. This was the moment I picked up the sandpaper and went to sanding. Did not want to use the electric sander. They make tiny circles. The board finished would have little circles all over it. I sanded it by hand going with the grain. Three sheets of coarse and one of fine, then steel wool. All the time sanding, I dreaded applying any kind of color on the beautiful wood and threw out the blue from my mind's eye. All sand. Made a mosaic of six triangles to fit together to make three pyramids. Raw cardboard on raw wood. The cardboard received two coats of clear spray paint to elongate preservation. Glued them into place. Have now put the second coat of tung oil on the board, a coat a day, three or four times. Calling it Red Desert after the Antonioni film. The only connection with the film is the title. A composition in triangles.
all images by tj worthington