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Dave Minton

- This is a bit of writing that has no point, is not really a narrative, works from nothing to nowhere, it's just a ramble, so if you don't want to bother with getting no payoff then stop reading now. -

by David Minton

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It was dangerous for me to come out at all, it was still dark outside, around 6am in Lexington Kentucky, I had gotten up at 4:30 because I'd gone to bed at 7pm last night, & upon waking I had 4 shots of bourbon, same as I had been doing on waking for the last 7 or 8 days, hey I'm not on your time schedule OK?,
it was dangerous to be out this early in the morning with alcohol on my breath & being unshaved for the last 5 or 6 days, in this Bush II regime in America it's dangerous to do a lot of things nobody used to think about, but now we've all got to think about these things, I put on my new Bill Burroughs hat, a standard issue felt hat bought from a Jew haberdasher for 40 fucking dollars last week, but I had the money for a change & had been wanting a hat like this for the longest time, so I finally broke down & bought one, after the sale of 8 paintings in 7 weeks during the last week of September & October & the first two weeks of November, so I'd paid my rent up through the winter & stocked up on supplies, & the hat was something needed, because if I wear baseball caps with stubble on my face then people see me as a street bum & treat me with contempt & the cops keep an eye on me when I'm walking from here to there, so the standard out-of-date out-of-
fashion dress hat like one of those hats out of a 1940s detective movie, when coupled with a double-breasted sport coat from the Salvation Army that is also slightly retro, given to me by a friend last year sometime, remarked upon by someone who saw me wearing it as "a wolf's coat, man, you look like a wolf in that," well,,,,,,,
it all works well with my balding head & sunken cheeks, it dresses me up & makes me a character & not just some schmuck who's going to ask you for change,
it's weird that this all has to be considered when a man just wants to go out in the early morning hours, when it's still dark outside, to go check his email at the University of Kentucky library, which is open 24 hours a day from Sunday through Friday night at midnight,,,,
so I'm walking along the streets of Lexington, dark, damp 50 degree weather, as an alternative to staying at home watching those dorks on channel 18 who have this early morning show every weekday from 5am to 7am before the dorks on the Today Show take over, I had some paints & some panels all prepared & ready to paint on, that was going to wait for later in the day,
My Louisville exhibit in September has been somewhat successful, now I've got my show in New York on the walls there, waiting for the end of the month when sales are tallied & expect another check, all's well, one can actually make a living at painting if he bothers to get a couple shows a year, or maybe three until such time as the prices get to where only one or two are needed per year,,,,, This is something I've never fully realized myself: that people actually can make livings painting & doing nothing else,,,, a friend of mine told me five years I should quit writing (freelancing) for peanuts at the local Knight-Ridder rag & concentrate on selling the paintings, that I could make more money at it, I was never willing to take that chance until now, I didn't believe in myself until now though I always thought I believed in myself,
I'm thinking of this as I'm walking, I'm thinking of my cabinets & refrigerator bulging full of food, I'm thinking of having my rent paid until March and it's only mid-November, wow, this is like when I quit working a regular job and went solely with the freelance writing for the newspaper & for some arts magazines in the midwestern United States, I remember then thinking you mean I don't have to have a job that tortures me? I don't have to punch a time clock & work in a library or a supermarket for straight people who are crazy? I can just write reviews & features in my apartment while I'm drinking beer on deadline days & send this stuff thru the internet to the publications who are using me? It really did take me some time to realize that one can arrange one's life the way one wants it,,,, and after I did that, after some adjustment to the so-called 'lower living standard' & the student-like poverty, it's only been in 2004 that I've realized that making a living painting paintings I want to paint, PRESENCES as I have called them, as magazine writers have duly noted, making a living doing this can actually happen, and it can get better, one does not have to live in dire poverty,
last week I was walking down West Main Street in Lexington's downtown area, where I live, I was all clean-shaven, I had on my new hat, was in good new pants I'd bought & a clean shirt, had on another sport jacket, not the double-breasted wolf jacket, a more normal one, I'd been parading myself around in this getup for a couple weeks, feeling good, showering every day, shaving, not drinking, playing basketball in the afternoons with pals, watching the football games enough to begin betting on some of them, feeling comfortable again, reminding myself it was alright to try & feel 'normal' again, eating in restaurants, buying lunches for friends who had been good to me during my poverty period, which was & is by no means over but was now looking up, at least I had some hope for myself after the sale of 8 paintings in 7 weeks,,,, man, if I could sell a painting a week every week!, yes!, average price $1100, man oh man, yes I'm getting hungry even as I'm taking it easy & exercising again & eating well & dressing better than people had seen me dressing in the previous 6 or 7 years, anyway, yes, I'm walking down West Main Street and an acquaintance is coming at me, as he passes he stops me, says "YOU'RE LOOKING PRETTY PROSPEROUS LATELY, WHAT'S CHANGED?" like he thinks I've been robbing banks or joined the mafia or something,,,, so I brag about selling 8 paintings in 7 weeks for "decent prices," though $1100-retail in the grand scheme of things is nothing, especially considering I only get 50% of that after the galleries take their 50%,,,,
This morning though I'm all grubby, I've got on my black jeans, new jeans by the way, another purchase during the last 'prosperous' month, I've got on a new clean gray sweatshirt & the wolf jacket & my Bill Burroughs hat, which someone called a pimp hat to insult me, little did they know, and I'm feeling like I need to watch myself, I don't feel threatened by the street bums or the motley folks the Salvation Army has just let out at 6am, I feel threatened by the cops even though I don't see any cops around anywhere, I feel threatened by this Bush II regime, I don't know why I should, won't it be business as usual in this United States of America no matter what radical nazis are in power? no matter what liberal mushy do-nothings are in power? no matter who is president, no matter who is manipulating the president like this dangerous nut Karl Rove, no matter what fascist bulldogs like Mitch McConnell are in the Senate, won't it be business as usual for most people in these United States of America? Won't people just accept the elected officials or gripe about them or worry about them and then go on & do what we all will no matter what? So I don't know why I should feel worried, but I do,
I pass a newspaper box, with a big color picture of Condi Rice on the newspaper inside, & poor dumb Dubya Bush kind of out of focus to her left (right in the picture, as they are facing us) looking at her admiringly & hopefully, like he's thinking "mama, wait till I git yew back down there in the barn in Texas pitchin hay where there ain't no journalists around to see",,, OK maybe I'm just throwing that in to make the guy look bad, but gawd god god look at Condi Rice, about to be anointed as a great Secretary of State, isn't she that robot droid the Bush people wheel out whenever they need an apologist to cover for some of the Bush II administration's crimes & atrocities?, shit yes, I do believe that's her, she looks like she's made of the same plastic Laura Bush is made of, only Condi's been painted in blackface & then sprinkled liberally with powder, & she's probably bald, look at that hair, it looks like a gladiator's helmet out of a bad Richard Widmark movie set in Roman Empire times,,, lard lord what is the world coming to?,,,, and yet
why am I worried about it?,, I keep asking myself this, why am I worried about it?,,,
I get to the library safe and sound, man is it crowded in here for just after 6 in the morning, I thought it would be empty, the kids are all looking at my hat & I'm looking at how many of them are tattooed & have body piercings & are talking on cell phones, every third kid has a cell phone, they're talking on their cell phones so what are they doing in the library?, shouldn't they be reading books or typing papers or emailing mom & dad for money?
I don't think I know this world anymore,
well, yes I do, maybe I just don't like the way it's changed and yet what can anyone do about change? change is the nature of reality, not just the nature of society & civilization, it's the nature of reality, let's not go there,
I read my emails, I'm thinking about that Navajo blanket Ron Whitehead & Sarah Elizabeth bought me when we were in New Mexico this past May, with the weather cooling down & still no heat in my apartment this blanket has come in handy & I appreciate it immensely, plus it's a beautiful thing, as a weaving it's gorgeous,,, but it's time for me to get out of here & slink back to my apartment, it's daylight out & rush hour on the streets, I'll feel self-conscious in my hat but my unshaved face makes up for it, I'm not putting on any airs, just wearing a hat, & I'm going back home to paint,
do you know that nothing in this world gives me a rush like making a damned great painting does? I know when the great ones are great, and there's no kick like that in the world, I get a feeling of satisfaction that is like no other, it's the one thing I do in life that makes me feel absolutely fine with everything, so I'm going to go home & get something started & see where it goes,
and the world can go round without me for a few days or a week or however long it takes for me to make this painting, interrupted by visits from pals who want to get me to play some basketball with them, only to then go out to the Loudoun Buffet to load up on roast beef with mashed potatoes & gravy, corn bread, green beans, pinto beans, fried apples, banana pudding & all one can eat, two platefuls, three platefuls, then we come back to my place & drink ourselves silly, so much for exercise, let the world go round, so why does it feel wrong-headed for me not to be more outraged at what Bush II is doing to us? why is that? I just want to paint & let the world go round for now, so that's what I'm going to do, and I would not trade places with Dick Cheney or Karl Rove for any amount of money or anything in the world,,,,
The End

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