The Zoey Blog: Paint a hundred paintings... FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paint a hundred paintings...

Patiently awaiting the record store to open today so I can go slap my money down on the counter and drag home the new Pearl Jam record, "Backspacer" but the stores aren't open yet, and Zoey is asleep in the backseat of the Jeep. Yup, conked out cold. We slipped out for coffee this morning, and to give Mom some quiet, stress free shower time with all the accessories -- taking your sweet ass time, perhaps peeking outside, carefully choosing what you'll throw over your skin -- and by the time we got back, which is usually the case, Zo was out. Kinda like the Tigers are on the verge of being in the AL Central, only sweeter and less awe inspiring. So now the Zed has full on absconded with my car, albeit in bird chirping, wave crashing beauty of the driveway but the car is out of commission nonetheless. I have no interest in scooting back out into the waking world, driving all the way back into town, and then waking her up when I get to the record store. Nope, doesn't sound even remotely fun or fair, and so there she partly down, Mom close by sipping her coffee and enjoying the quiet of a Sunday morning above the beach. I'd bet my best socks that she's itchin' for "Backspacer" too though.

While waiting I uploaded Cameron Crowe's little vignette documentary about the making of the record and wasn't three seconds in when Eddie Vedder said, "It's like with painting or something, a friend of mine said, paint a hundred and see if you're good at it. After a hundred maybe you'll know," and I pressed pause and slipped back on over here.

I'm seeing life more and more in those same this or that and then some of that other stuff, maybe try this thing too, and then see what fits and keep doing it until you figure out if maybe, just maybe, you're good at it. It's the way life goes whether you dig that philosohpy or not. There are plenty of square pegs in round holes out there, and plenty of people doing things fine when they might do doing other things great.

Paint a hundred paintings...I like it. I wonder if Eddie would let me keep it?

Does anyone anywhere do anything a hundred times anymore? Everything's so accelerated and so disposable that I wonder if we'll ever get back to taking the time to really do the things we love justice. We bang everything out, from music to writing to machinery to relationships, and none of us take the time to really get it right. Sure, maybe we stumble into the right thing, maybe we accidentally get good at something but we don't necessarily earn all of our accomplishments anymore.

June's grandfather in Japan, Tomio, was a sign maker. As far as I know he did it his whole life, and he was good at it...very good at it. The word revered might be off the mark a little but the word respected is not. The way he did business and the mastery of his craft, whether it was the calligraphy his hands blessed or the artistic eye balanced with his keen sense of purpose (for what is art if it is just an empty island) helped to make his entire lifetime one long apprenticeship. The respect that Tomio was afforded came from a lifetime of learning. It was a journey, and was never, not even in the final years of his fruitful life, a destination. It had always been a journey. I'd venture to guess that such a life is near an impossibility now, save for a few fortunate trades and professions. The time it takes to really know something, and to understand it's intricacies is no longer in balance with the economics of an accelerated now. It doesn't pay. Time is money, and for all the wrong reasons. Time indeed should translate into money, but not across the shortest span.

The whole idea makes my head spin and I wonder what kind of world Zoey will be inheriting. I'd venture to say that art and skill and commitment to those pursuits will either be absolutely valuable, because of it's rarity, or almost worthless save for the circles of appreciation. It seems as though every generation has handed over the reigns of creative integrity to the next, but none have stumbled headlong into a new world of technological trump cards. Time, in this here and now, is indeed money, and Tomio would not have had a lifetime to apprentice...He'd have had a few years at best. Nothing great, or perhaps, nothing as great as it could be, can be created without some significant investment.

Paint a hundred paintings, indeed...I wish we all had Eddie's luxury.


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