Saturday, September 19, 2009
long ago i kept my journal entries in swirling black and white fragments of phrases. i drew this piece in 2000, not long after i finished my MBA with a minor in doodling (just kidding), and took a job in management consulting. i was living in minneapolis and commuting to work in seattle every week. with a nearly four hour flight each way, i had plenty of time on my hands to doodle, and doodle i did. i hadn't looked at this page for years, and wow was it fun to pick through it to see what i remembered. there are bits of songs and films i loved, snippets of languages i was learning, and names of places that were important to me, including 'simon delivers', the name of the local grocery delivery service i used because i was too damn lazy to go to the store on my own.
but what i see more than anything here is restlessness. there's a lot about upheaval, change, fear of darkness and the search for light in this piece. my life was good. i had a great job, great pay, great benefits. but as the story so often goes, it was someone else's life. i wanted out, wanted to follow my heart as an artist but had no idea how or in what way. i can still feel how desperate i was at that time to break free but was too afraid to do it.
while creating this i visited one of my best friends in rome who was doing her dissertation research at camp vatican, as she called it. she showed me a beautiful carving on a chapel wall with one of my favorite phrases to this day, 'post tenebras spero lucem', (latin for 'after darkness i hope for light') which i am sure is tied to a biblical story but to me was simply a beautiful metaphor. that is in here, as well as another favorite, 'notice the lighted display for the next destination' which came from the automated voice on the tram at sea-tac. i heard it enough that i started believing i'd see the light one day. i had a lot of time for navel gazing and dwelling on metaphors back then.
looking back on this piece makes me feel like i've done the right thing following my path as an artist. back then i felt like i was spinning my creative wheels and going nowhere with my art, at times in a very eyerolling twentysomething angst kind of way, but it really was devastating to me at the time. who knew that nearly ten years later i'd feel younger and happier than ever, and that i would look back on that career choice with gratitude. if i had started making art full time back then, i'm not sure it would have been as fulfilling to me as it is now. by taking another path i learned things i never would have learned, met people i never would have otherwise, and it afforded me the opportunity to travel.
i wish i could go back in time and tell myself that everything was going to be OK. i was working toward something even though i didn't know it. right now i'm working toward something even though i have no clue what it is. but i do know now that every fragment of life leads to something else.
see more interpretations of the word fragment chez nathalie.