Every morning, I wake and flip on the radio, and every morning after a very few minutes I turn it off. I find the brittle language, the constant spew about war, death and destruction exhausting. This morning, my little dog drowsed on the bed and I sat at the kitchen table, eating dry cereal topped with sliced strawberries and almond milk. The radio was on, and a man described drones buzzing the skies of Afghanistan while he and fellow prisoners closed their eyes, knowing they would not hear the missile that killed them. These drones were moving past the speed of sound. Even though I knew that soon there would be a discussion of the great and fabulous imagination of Dr. Seuss, I turned the radio off . . . went and sat on the porch to drink my tea and watch the flowering pear tree, pushing new green leaves against a still blue sky while the tiniest of finches danced from branch to branch.
I know the world is plastered shut with violence. I know that the human need for violence needs to addressed, revealed and never concealed, but I am tired of hearing narratives of violence and violent conversations about a life that could be peaceful and peaceably discussed. Change your language and change the world. Speak about beauty and live beautifully. Speak peace and live peaceably.
I thought about a brief ten minute video I watched recently of 'the artist as a young man'. . . Eskae, an artist I have known all his life – since that night he drew his first breath – on film, speaking 16 years ago about the language of living, the language of art, while he and Crayone painted visual narratives, at the request of its owner, over the entire interior and exterior of a house in Napa before its demolition. Floors, walls, ceilings, bathroom fixtures -- everything touched by joy. The touch is gentle, the lines graceful, the images quirky ironic and potent; the transformation extreme. Politics without violence.
Give it a listen and watch as one artist creates a lively environment of gratitude and rebirth in a structure that will soon be splintered and shoveled off to the landfill, making art for life, for living, even in the face of death.
I may be prejudiced – Eskae, after all, is my son – but I find both this Bright Moments video and what this young artist has to say remarkable. Sixteen years have passed, the house is gone, much has happened, but what he says about language and art still resonates today.