Sacrifice for Art

We all make sacrifices. Once upon a time I was just like every other teenager with the artistic temperament. I had vague, uninspired aspirations of sitting in cafes, writing poetry while wearing a beret and a clinically depressed scarf, and...? Being artistic, I suppose. I also wanted a husband and children, and I didn't see how, in any way, these dreams did not exactly gel with each-other. Who would be feeding these kids while I wandered the streets of Paris, bereft and cold and artsy? Details. So, goodbye Paris or New York or Seattle or some other artsy city where the artsy folk gather. I have joined forces with the creatively bankrupt by squeezing several ungrateful children from my fruitful loins. I wear sensible footwear. I don't know what books I am supposed to be reading or what bands are good. In fact, I just found out a band I find to be cute, fun and inoffensive enough to consider making space for on my Iphone has NO CRED. None.  They are, in fact, in a car commercial right now. And it's not the first time I have liked a band whose song was featured in a car commercial.

By the squishing of my belly, I knew this was happening. Increase your hips, decrease your hip. But it's not just the dreaded fogey state that I am working towards that disturbs me. It's my lack of curiosity. At some point, I stopped seeking art. The art made by others. The art I should be making too.  The Great American Novel I am supposed to care deeply about birthing into the world just sort of pales in comparison to Great American Baby I birthed instead.

I try sometimes. The other day I got the wild idea of reading a Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel while nursing my little guy instead of playing BeJeweled on my phone. The kid would have NONE of it. I practically threw the book in frustration, wondering how on earth I was going to be able to maintain any semblance of intellect or sensibility with a brain that was filled only with facebook updates, grocery lists, and the slow, smoldering anger I feel towards dirty dishes.

But I looked at his smooth cheeks, his silken hair, and watched the milk slowly drip from the corner of the slackened corner of his mouth. MY milk. And I realized what I had was the Real McCoy. Because art is nothing more but a reflection and elevation of commonality. Without the mundane, there would be nothing to rise above. The art does not begin with pen to paper, but with my flesh and bones eking out a small patch of dust to flourish in. The art is in my milk. In the dirt on my floors and smudged across my children's face's. Someday I will have more time to ponder truth, to pontificate. But for now it is in a picture I draw in the dust on my entertainment center, and the brief moments when I can steal away from the dull roar, view it from a distance, record it with my fingers and make it beautiful.