Draft 1—4/27/1997. Fostex XR-5.
Draft 2—5/3/1997. Fostex XR-5.
Draft 3—4/8/2002. ACID.
Draft 4—4/17/2005. ACID. Tweaked 4/1/2006, 3/21/2010, and 5/9/2010. Tweaked and mastered 5/15/2010.
Draft 4.5 9/6/12
Art, I think, was written some time between 1992 and 1995 when I was rediscovering the written word because a word processor made it so much easier than a pen or typewriter. I suppose you could call it a mythologized autobiography.
The samples are a collection of sounds based on my body and household objects—such as chairs, a CD jewel case, a ceramic bowl—struck with the pattern dumdadadum.
Most of the MIDI programming was of the samples, some of it in repeated patterns and some of it random, plus a synth pad, a sine wave bass, and a “sax”. On top of that are live performances on three whistles: a slide whistle, a small wooden whistle (like a recorder), and a water whistle in the shape of a bird (a child’s bathtub toy). And voice.
The second draft is basically a recreation of the first.
To be honest, I have no recollection of how draft 3 was put together. It looks like I recreated the sampled tracks, sample by sample, within ACID, then rerecorded the MIDI synth and live parts into the VS-880 and then transferred those parts to the computer (I did not begin to record directly into ACID until the end of 2009). Draft 4 is really just a remix.
I remember losing a part off a new toy, the rubber exhaust stack of a road grader—my third birthday and my first memory. I remember losing my soldiers in the crack between the trailer house and the attached tar-paper shed that was my room, wondering where they went and if I’d ever get them back. I remember sleeping at my grandparents’ house: plaster falling off the walls, leaving lath and cobwebs and, behind that, long dark spaces—my aunts and uncles had populated with sinister stories of ghosts and monsters and murderers—those aunts and uncles taking subtle vengeance because their father bought candy for me, none for them. I remember my dog, named after a girl at Sunday school, my father, and a gun going out to the woods, after the dog had jumped on me and scratched me with her claws, making me cry—and only my father and the gun coming back. I remember the nightmare of the great white horse chasing me and the nightmare in which I was blind. I remember every word from my father’s mouth being a spike of sarcasm in someone’s heart. And every action a source of disappointment to my mother. I remember waking up in my own bunk bed unable to find a way out—all four sides had become walls and it was a moonless night. I remember my parents separating, then reuniting—and the trip to California that was worse than any nightmare. I remember school, the boredom, the repression, the meanness of children, the meanness in myself, the shifting pecking order abetted by the teachers, all the little ways you can get into trouble or simply feel bad about yourself.
And, then, I remember drawing.
Drawing was my first language, the only articulate way things could come out of my head. Teachers would try to take control of it. Parents would look at it with worry on their faces as though fearing contamination. Classmates would admire it, seeing in it something real and true. Little of that mattered. What mattered was that I could speak. Drawing was my freedom. Drawing was my chance to respond to the world without rebuke. But as I lost childhood it became a private matter not to be shared, nor to be explained, nor justified. My thoughts could flow on paper. My eyes could be indulged. I could try on new personæ. There was no censor or judge—only my own timidity.
Art is my most lasting happiness and my most enduring companion.
There came the hormonal flood, where not only each cell, but my being was drowning, sweeping me away to erode and crumble with the pressure, becoming something less human than I had been. All was confusion. My single interest was girls, but with each girl I looked at I felt fragmentation and shame, like bits of me breaking off and dying, like pieces stripped off by a storm to wilt like untended cuttings. Yet I was that storm, flooding and disintegrating myself. My whole body was an erection, was like a plant, was stretched tight as though with fluids of longing. And the pieces would break off and shrivel—no rich soil to nurture, no safe haven for taking root.
Drawing is my sense of place and of peace. I have formed a self compatible with paper, that speaks through paper and seems to live on paper. This is the central self from which all others branch out. Coherent, substantial, connected, sensual—all other selves are but a weak imitation always wishing to come to life.
My isolated, drawn self, from which spring fragments in search of love. The connections are tenuous. You could almost say telepathic. Like a tree spreading seeds, thousands of those fragments would fly out on the wind, each one released by the sight of a woman, as though she were the one who could help me grow. Each one faltering. Each one landing in the wrong place. Each one withering of shameful thirst. And still, the peaceful, isolated self, drawing and unperturbed by the risks of human contact, maintaining its life on paper, calmly watching those insipient selves decompose.
I remember drawing.
- Prose poem