When I set up this blog, I imagined its main focus would be my artwork. I admire artists, regardless of their medium, who can return to a blog almost day after day to showcase their new creations, or a work in progress. This does not seem to be my pace however.
While it is true that I spend the greater part of each day writing, I do manage to set aside at least three hours a day, or rather a night, for whatever art project is in motion at the time. I hear myself say these words, “whatever art project,” and this alone seems to highlight my own quirky style. The words “spur of the moment” would fit as well. I do not have the notion of grand projects to envision and complete over time with perfect and unrelenting focus. In a word, I think it is clear by now that I get distracted when it comes to art. Some ideas, and the supplies to bring them to life, can sit on a shelf for months, even years, before I feel moved and ready to tackle them. Then, sudden inspiration can land me sitting on the flour with a project for 12 hours straight until it looks and feels right. This is what happened with Roderick’s plane.
He built this in the 90’s. I did not even know it existed until after he passed away and his sister informed me that she had it stashed away somewhere and would retrieve it for me to have, if I wished. So within a short while it hung in my bedroom, and it bugged me, somehow.
It bugged me that Roderick had put much creative energy into building it and now it sat against a wall, motionless, meaningless even. And to be honest, the yellow spot it added to my space did not suit my eye. So I added a makeshift nose, and a patch or two of the fashion paper I normally use when I make gift boxes, lest I deface Roderick’s work by doing anything more than that.
Meanwhile, the mood to trim down my belongings struck me, almost to the point of being obsessive, I will admit. Ever since we had a flood – was it two or three years ago? – I have this unshakable notion that I want all of my most cherished belongings to fit in one travel bag. My first step was to let go of the ashes. Roderick does not belong in a container on a shelf, after all. The next step has been things. The plane suddenly appeared on that list, spontaneously, perhaps inevitably.
At first I thought I’d sell it, feeling it might be offensive to Roderick that I give away something he had made from scratch, but then I realized that he would have given it away. In fact, if there is one thing I should have learned from him, it is detachment. He was not attached to things. He even gave away his car, years ago, to someone who needed it more than he did at that moment.
So I decided to give the plane away. This, somehow, inspired me to give it a new skin. I no longer felt like this would deface Roderick’s work at this point. The moment I understood that he would gladly give it away, that plane took on a new, playful spirit, as if this act of letting go had suddenly restored its soaring ability.
Today, Roderick’s plane went to its new home, with Crystal Porter. She took it to her school across the street, which is named after her grandmother, The Mary Elizabeth School. This is so perfect and if it is true that objects can serve as occasional beacons for spirits returning to visit for a moment, then Roderick can enjoy youth and health and playfulness where little children gather to learn, carefree, beneath the wings he built. This, I think, honors him far more than if I had held on to the plane on my simple wall, like I had held on to his ashes on a shelf.
Thank you, Crystal.
PS: As for fitting all cherished belongings in one travel bag… mission accomplished also, or rather all necessities plus room to spare for cherished things of reasonable proportions.