I had a friend in college that didn’t seem to have much going for him. Jason was short, had a downright scary resemblance to Gilbert Godfrey and spent seven years in college just to get an undergraduate degree in Biology. Everyone liked Jay, except those that didn’t. Unfortunately for him, that included his St. Louis-based postal worker parents. He was forced to return to them every summer between the spring and fall school terms and I believe it caused him to drag out his education before feeling as if he had to make a permanent return home. In retrospect, I tend to believe his life was not turning out at the time as he may have once planned it.
But my opinion really doesn’t matter; because Jason had a dream. During the four years I knew him, he never stopped talking about it. To anyone that would listen, he’d say, “I’m a biology major because I want to find the cure for AIDS”. It was always a kind of a far-off pipe-dream; but what true dream isn’t? I don’t know what Jason is doing these days. I’m not positive I care for reasons that are anything but selfish. I probably kept Jay around in college because, at the time, his seemingly horrible existence lent a shimmer to my own less than stellar accomplishments. Though, I must admit that I also enjoyed his ability to dream.
I have thrown away more friendships and relationships than I care to recall. Occasionally, the loss of a friend was cognitive; a good opportunity to grow beyond their reach. Often, though, I fear the reasons were more about personal laziness. It’s possible that many of the instances were mutual, but I still often wonder if my approach to life and art would be different if I had more than the one or two people that I could steadily count upon; then again I guess that’s one or two more people to hold me upright than most others may have available. All of the above instances can equally be stated for a place or moment in time. What places have I stayed, that I fled under the banner of personal growth? I can immediately recall the psyche damaging environments that surmounted to relief at the moment I left them; but what of the other situations? That’s what it is you know… a place is really nothing more than a situation. When I paint the landscape of my current existence, I’m simply painting my situation and the emotions it elicits. – DN