My imagination often tortures me. Does yours get the better of you? When I was ten, The Blob (trivia-Steve McQueen’s first leading role), gave me the night sweats for an entire year and I wouldn’t venture near anything resembling a vent. Next it was Goya who tormented me with his painting, Saturn Devouring His Son. A father eating a child does things to a twelve-year-old’s mind. For quite some time, I stayed away from utensils and my dad. Even a can of peas and carrots had its way with me. A reoccurring nightmare at age fourteen–cubed carrots screaming as they were mercilessly squashed by brutal farmers wielding cast iron shovels, while the opportunistic peas rolled away to safety.
Today, (as I sit in my sub studio watching leggy spiders flutter by like creeping creative angels) imagination helps sometimes but not always. Brain shit rattles around like the crap I might throw up in my attic or shove into some dark basement corner. Emptying mind bins of mildewed magazines that smell worse than the son’s wrestling singlet after a dual meet is futile. Piles accumulate with no end in sight. Most of this junk is unusable and will be thrown onto a flimsy folding table for a grand going-out-of-business sale. This is my writing process. This is my art process. This is what I do. Peas rolling away to safety. When fingers get boxed-in, ideas flatten beneath cast iron shovels.
There is also something else my imagination does. This is the worst part of all. It self-inflicts pain whenever I mind-travel to places I should never go with people I should never go with. Sometimes, I disregard my sadistic demons to ride bareback on the gorgeous, powerful Percherons there. Magnificent beasts that galloped off Bonheur’s painting, The Horse Fair. Year by year, my dark matter loosens a bit more. Nights now mimic spaceflight. I survive by staying awake. If I don’t sleep while dreaming, I can’t get into any trouble. When I misbehave, the spiders stop hanging with me. They always know my truth. And without these creeping creative angles, my imagination might just get too strong a foothold. If this happens, I’ll never be able to find my way back. The spiders know one more lousy truth about me. My sense of direction absolutely sucks.