An empty canvass contains many paintings while my hand gropes in pain to seek that one elusive composition, which is unformed in my mind.
My paintings are signed off before they are finished. My music always ends on a false note. My dreams are never long enough to be captured by my memory. My projections are reversed, my thoughtscape is deserted. I wait.
I keep waiting for that elusive word that would enlighten itself into a meaningful sentence. While waiting I just browse through the years that I have lived and wasted. None of them are real as experiences. All of them are faded memories. Like an outdated radio searching for a signal, I keep wandering inside myself to catch that one phrase which would transform my discomfiting silence into a soundless emptiness or a soulful music.
There is no sadness or bitterness in these words. They are just trying to reproduce fading photographs of a getting-forgotten past. I cannot be my own mirror, nor can I soar above myself to look at myself. I am inside myself, trying to paint the world from a room with closed windows. I am shrinking.
The world around me is expanding. The city is changing. The words that I used are no longer in circulation. The landmarks that guided me have all been erased and replaced. I am an alien in my native land.
In the beginning it must have been easy with just that one word, but now with a million choices which is the word that I should choose to write my story. I know only one story and that is mine. I shall try to narrate my story with as much honesty as possible. My prejudices and personal fantasies may percolate down these words to give a different tone and color to my image, but then, that is my image of myself; and that is what I can show. This maybe just the way I have seen my life.
I do not remember the cradle though I have seen it in my later years. I have many photographs in which I do not recognize myself. The most vivid opening scene in my narration to self is set on a beach on the sands of Marina.
It was an evening in graying tones of blue- not the depressing hue but one with a provocative calmness. One filled with pregnancy’s final moments. The one moment that anticipates a new-born baby’s sound with a fearful hope like the big pause of the clock’s second hand. It was also one of those many wonderful moments when I was doing nothing in particular.
Doing nothing is how a painting starts. You don’t even think or plan. The canvass is there, the palette clean and the brush yet to be picked up. From that emptiness shall come everything that is going to be filled in that frame. Some deliberations would come alongside spontaneity, the expected would intermingle with the unexpected, and the picture would come to present what the artist wishes than what it really is.
I shall begin now, on the sands of Marina, about thirty five years ago. That was not the moment when I was born, but the moment from when I started to live, started to think, and dream that I can dream. It was when words really became meaningful. This is a story but not fiction.