Memento Mauri and new work as a band-aid

Death.  One of the most simple words to say. Death. When death hits you so closely, that simple word becomes a mountain of feelings and emotions that are not as easy to scale. Impossible to scale. Don’t even bother trying. Maurice Sendak was my dear friend. I miss him so greatly every day. Nothing eases this but as things go, my only solace while gazing into night’s plutonium shore is scratching away on my work.

On May 8th I wrote a poem called Memento Mauri. Then I did what I do, what I was taught to do–began making drawings, turn those drawings into paintings to tell the tale as best I can. My work becomes the band-aid that keeps the wound temporarily closed. Band-aids fall off in the shower. I am about 10 paintings into the 18 that will illustrate Memento Mauri. I have not been able to complete one of them. I get to about 70% finished then have to start another. I would feel bad finishing this project because(and I’ve just now realized this) SAYING GOODBYE SUCKS!


Here are a few of the unfinished images:

They are done using the palette of Blake and of my friend. They are filled with a shit-ton of symbolic little bits. Too many things to discuss here on a blog.

Like I said…not finished. SAYING GOODBYE SUCKS.

Books, one of the Pirate Twins, the death mask of John Keats. I don’t know what will come of this poem or of these paintings. I haven’t really shown it to anyone. Give me until the winter.

Also, as things go, I was working on a book at the time. A book that was so Blake that it was based on The Tyger, which I titled My Tyger. It is now dedicated to my friend and the story has changed to show how a young person will have to deal with losing something important. A cherished friend. I’m on my 4th draft of the story and second draft of the images. The story begins as such, somewhere off in the woods as I have spent many of my days. In this, the introduction it is wordless.

Then we see the loss and the utter panic that we all feel. Our actions are erratic and often times without result.

I’m gonna stop explaining the images now and just show them. These are not in order so don’t bother trying to figure out the story. Once I finish these sketches, I’ll paint the book, dedicate it to my friend, say many more times over SAYING GOODBYE SUCKS, the band-aid will have fallen off again by then and I will have to start something new. That’s my life and I’m ok with that.

I think we take our friends, the true ones and we hold them up high. We hold them so very tight that they belong to us. I’ll eat you up I love you so! They turn into what we need them to be if they are of the true sort. They help us and they show us the world when we can no longer see it.

That’s all I really have to say. In truth the images here are only about one third of what I’ve drawn. I just didn’t feel much like scanning. Sometimes I think that writing blog posts about work and life is not needed, almost a showing of vanity. I feel that way right now. This will do me no good but it will also do me no harm. I’ll just keep trying to figure new ways of saying goodbye. I’ll try to remember everything I can until my brain turns into an old bucket of pudding. I’ll just try to do work that I know he would like. I will listen to Mozart and read Blake and work. I will sit on the edge of the forrest of the night and try to make the stars burn.






3 Responses to “Memento Mauri and new work as a band-aid”

  1. Kent Spottswood Says:

    Even if it seems no one reads it, it’s important to keep a record of the creative process. Loss and sorrow are acts of creation, too. You’ve found some beautiful images and turns of phrase in your mourning. As always, thanks for sharing them.

  2. Jackie Brown Says:

    Jamison, I read this tonight with more open eyes. Damon is losing a family member this week and just had a heartbreaking phone call with her. She is in hospice.
    Saying goodbye does suck!
    Thanks for reminding me it happens to us all in different ways….

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