No facial scars. No prosthetics. No outward signs of dementia.
I’m no life of the party, but I can mix if I have to. The Captain? He played it more like a dope fiend addicted to his own antisocial personality disorder. He set up his final voyage like an absentee landlord. He began the trip cabin-bound. A recluse. A shut-in. Then, in a turn-around stark enough to keep one step ahead of head-shinkers, he turned on the juice as motivational speaker. “Knute Rockne of the high seas.” “Moses of the whales.”
That ain’t me. Sure.
He was motivated, all right. Obsessed. Some might called it “possessed.”
And that’s the point. Term it fire in the belly or passion or even madness. That’s what I’ve got, all right. I’m lousy with it. So full of it I could burst.
So what white whale am I yapping about?
Creation. I’m here to tell you that I have to create. I’m not talking about any yearning or desire or hopped-up want. I gotta create. I just gotta. Plain as that.
And don’t go confusing this with Shelley’s gothic go-getter who danced with the devil in order to become God’s number one Facebook pal. That’s the completely wrong angle on this creation thing.
I need to create art. Fine art, pop art, high-brow, low-brow, call it want you want brow, I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later art. Absurd fixation or blind pursuit, I really have no choice.
A little piece of me dies whenever I cut off producing. And I’ve died plenty over the course of my life. This world has a funny way of putting artistic types up on a pedestal, sighing in awe-like wonder, and then making no allowance for them in the nine-to-five, time-is-money, money-is-money, everything’s money scheme of things.
But I’m not complaining. I’m no martyr, and besides, I much rather be a satyr. Or is that a satire?
So what’s my kick, after all? I’m struggling for that elusive balance, baby. I’m desperately searching to feed this hunger without starving my family. To reconcile my life as a renaissance hack with the life of a mere mortal in these here United States. To somehow, some way avoid the military and stay out of hospitals and avoid IRS audits and not to burn bridges or my integrity, all the while managing not to knock off whatever’s left of my spirit. Aye, there’s the rub. It’s enough rub to last a lifetime.
So I keep on keeping on. Maybe with a couple more tricks left up my slightly worn sleeve. What else can I do when I hear Ahab calling?
It’s time to chase the whale.
It’s always been time to chase the whale.
I’m no Ahab. But I’ll probably go down with the whale.