Flakes

You know it’s going to be a damned good day when the cashier at the local donut shop asks if you want a second coffee because there’s a buy one, get one free special going on.

“Oh, yes. Yes, I do.”

Coffee wasn’t all that I ordered, and forty minutes later I was leaning over the sink and rinsing grease from my lips, when I took a second to gaze back at the erratic creature in the mirror.

In that moment, I was reminded a conversation two decades past, with an older artist, a teacher in High School: Mr. Adair. He’d been in his late 50s, then, and he was a small, patient man, with grey hair clinging to the sides of an otherwise bald head. He’d always been very supportive of my work, but he’d also gently pushed me to try making abstract art from time to time. Back then, I’d always scoffed at the notion; most of my work had been portraits, and abstract art work did nothing to further my understanding of the human form. Plus, I… just didn’t like abstract art work.

At all.

Yet with the passing of time, I’ve grown to appreciate how I feel when making abstract art. For me, making complicated subject matter and densely armored creatures is like… running through a forest: it’s fun, but frenzied and chaotic. An output of raw energy and enthusiasm; freeing, but also draining.

Abstract art, on the other hand, happens in another realm of my… well, soul.

It’s peaceful. Tranquil. Lines form together, split apart, curve, and fall upon each other, and it means nothing.

Nothing at all.

There’s no end, and there’s no beginning. At most, there’s the edges of the paper or canvas. My hand charts a course with (seemingly) little deference to my thoughts or will, and I watch benignly as shapes coalesce and dance before my eyes. Memories surface, both old and new, some painful, some joyful, but in this state of mind, none of them can touch me or disrupt the drifting flakes of inspiration that translate to subtle flicks and twists of my wrist.

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