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I’d rather be painting

Indigo Girls at Park West in Chicago, Septembe...

Indigo Girls at Park West in Chicago, September 18, 2005. (left to right: Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Indigo Girls were on “Q” the other day. They’ve been making music together for more than twenty-five years. In that business, apparently that’s a long time for a group to stay together. I guess because I work alone, that thought seems strange. I’ve been at it for twice that long and I can’t imagine stopping. That would, indeed, be breaking up with myself.

What struck me listening to them talk was when one of them said she considers herself a workaholic, loves her work, but thinks she works so hard because she is afraid of death. I consider myself a workaholic as well. I love me work, I love to work hard, and if I am not working for any length of time, I am not a happy person. But I also know how to play hard. And actually, my work often feels like play.  Sometimes I question that: if it is play, what does it mean.  But these thoughts don’t stop me from painting.  I just keep going.

As I come closer to the inevitable death, I feel even more urgency to work, to produce something worthwhile. If my work is, after all, play, then it still needs to be meaningful, have an effect. As far as I am concerned, non-verbal communication, which is what I do in my paintings, is a major part of being alive. It’s how I sing.


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