As many of you know from past newsletters, I've always felt need to mention that the only way this world can become larger and less concerned with inessentials is to reveal ourselves for what we really are. With that simple task should come an understanding that we all share the same human concerns and doubts, all go through the same life trials, and that no one is all that different than anyone else.
With that, I'd like to answer a few questions and possible misunderstandings about yours truly, the humble Dude.
1. The Sketchbooks
For years, I heard people speak in virtual whispers about the dedication and drive I put into my sketchbooks. Yes, it's true that I work hard in trying to learn new things, but most of this over-the-top dedication stuff is pure myth. The truth is I forget more than I remember, and that I have no more discipline than any of you out there. I have to draw and practice things over and over to actually get it. Some people like to climb trees or sew quilts. I like to draw.
The Social Truth:
Since I don't have anywhere near the kind of active social life I had in my 20's and 30's, I find myself spending most of my life alone at a drawing board. Sometimes I get sad being alone so often, but that's OK. I mostly like being alone. The drawing board or easel is where I want to be--the only place I actually feel safe and sane from an increasingly bizarre world. Most people after a certain age know what I'm talking about.
The other truth about this supposed dedication of mine is that if I don't draw every day, I go a little crazy. For me, this "dedication" is nothing more than some kind of compulsion no different than someone wanting to grow 12 acres of walnut trees, or mending socks.
2. Another undigested bit of beef:
Another truth is, that talent-wise I'm barely any different than most of you. I've always been a moderate learner. Not slow--but certainly not fast either. Sure, I had a natural talent for art as a kid, otherwise I'd be doing something other than what I do. I might be someone growing those walnut trees.
Like most of you, I was in the middle, talent-wise. Anyone who's ever attended art school knows of the various prodigies who came in painting like masters barely before their first semester. I've seen my share of them over the years and what they have is apparently just as natural to them as being good in Particle Physics is to someone else. It's pretty certain they'll have shortcomings in areas you probably excel at, and you never know how these people are going to turn out in the long run. You are what you are, right? The truth is, I've never been anything like those exceptionally gifted learners. Just look at the early sketchbook drawings my 17 yr. old daughter "Super" has been posting online to see the truth in that.
The only thing that perhaps did separate me from others, one that nobody can really explain, is some kind of compulsion or drive I had to make something of myself.
The truth is, I've always hated the idea of being ordinary. To me, ordinary is something to be feared and warned about. Ordinary is someone who just floats through life oblivious to where he stands in the world, cares little of self-improvement, or trying for real accomplishments.
My dad--a very nice, ordinary guy, who woke up everyday to drink his coffee, always went to work in shirt and tie, who got along with everyone, always brought in his bi-monthly check to dutifully provide for the Rude family--has little in common with the iconoclastic, mold-breaking son he produced. Hell, I don't even drink coffee.
The eccentric artist
In many circles I'm known as a outspoken, trouble-making eccentric who's critical of everything and who finds fault with anyone who can't find ways to improve their faults. Which would be true.
Let's see...what other common truths can I dispel about the odd-duck known as the Dude?
While I'm thinking of a few dozen more, I wonder if there's not a bigger truth to all this. That most people are actually content and happy being just "ordinary"--living their lives like my perfectly normal dad, enjoying their morning coffee, going about their daily duties, and not rocking any boats.
For me, I'm happiest where I feel safe and productive. You all know where that is...
Till next time,