|Burne Jones, |
Love's Messenger Redux
Oh, I forgot to mention this: Helen offhandedly wrote me that she and her ex fiance--the FWH--were going to Tuscon together. Go figure; maybe he made it through this recent Fashion Week's festivities without showing up on a website with his hand squeezing the bulimic ass of some D-list fashion model in a pair of dominatrix shoes. I'd stake my second-mortgaged house that he's footing the bill for the jaunt. Fair enough. I can't say what I would do for a long weekend at Canyon Ranch. Probably: plenty.
Ok, enough JF shtick-stalling. On to the important, life-transforming thing I discovered at the Outsider Art Fair, to which I drove nearly 6 hours in my shabby-chic Volvo, motivated purely by the enigmatic missive I received from London [see http://tinyurl.com/4gky2k9 ].
Prepare yourself. It's big.
What I discovered still holds mysteries but I can say with certainty that The Pater Unfamilias--the married, paralyzed-for two-years stroke victim, biological father of my son I've lied about for 19 years--is trying to contact me. I don't know why, or what to do about it, or how I feel about it, and what I want from it. Correction: having sold my silence to him, I want the promised $200K for our son's college tuition, room and board, and I want the not unvaluable [ah, litotes, mon amour] Dante Gabriel Rossetti sketch. Beyond that though: don't know.
But I do know he is trying to contact me, that he sent me the envelop with the Fair brochure with a particular gallery circled, the one I found out his wife's foundation was co-sponsoring for the event.
Because when I went to that gallery--Gallery Angry--I found a sketch of myself. It is a replica of the sketch that Jamie's father drew of me when we were illicit lovers [see http://tinyurl.com/4jowk4p]. Back then, He'd drawn it in the style of DG Rossetti with me as reclining nude reading a volume of Christina Rossetti's poems. Being a collector and dealer of Pre-Raphaelite art, Jamie's dad was, I suspect, much drawn to my hair. The sketch was a love-making postlude lark, but he was a not half bad draftsman. The reclining nude in the sketch looks like the 30 year old graduate student studying Pre-Raphaelitism in London. The sketch is stored in a lock box in my attic; the memory's buried in one of the chambers of my heart, the one that needs a stent.
Anyway, the reclining nude in the Gallery Angry rendition cannot be recognized as me, not by any objective standards or leaps of the imagination. But it is incontestably me. Firstly, because it was among a group works of Gallery Angry's "disability artists" [a subgenre of Outsider Art, I guess, like My Left Foot kind of stuff], each of which identified the artist, his/her disability, and his/her representation. Pru, the Pater's wife, represents his work, hence its appearance in the NYC outsider show. The information on the Pater was sparse, so I pumped one of the two men, owners of Gallery Angry. He had a little to offer except that some artists wish not to reveal a great deal of their personal details. I asked about Pru's representation of Pater; he claimed to know little. We negotiated a price: $1850. I now have $479 left in my savings account. I know; he owes me and I paid $1850; you think I haven't castigated myself enough already about this?
But, oh god, mon dieu, I cannot describe the drawing. It's unspeakably sad when I lay it against the past but that sadness belongs to me alone because the Disabled Pater's drawing is, without question, magnificent and inspired, haunting in its tremors, stripped to raw emotion, with all the fussy and twee preciousness of its ersatz Pre-Raphaelite precursor burned away. I have not fallen in love with outsider art, but I have become vaguely nauseated by the Pre-Raphaelites--not a easy turn of events, frankly, for a woman 5 weeks into her old chestnut of a course on the Pre-Raphaelites.
As for the rest of it--what to do next, how to interpret this gesture, how not to be angry and sad at the same time?
So I'm thinking. I've made a career out of thinking. I've got a PhD in Thinkology.