One of the things I like about doing shows is watching people interact with my work. Depending on which pieces they respond to and how they respond, I can sometimes tell a lot about their personalities. This past show I particularly enjoyed watching people encounter my latest incarnation of "cactus-head lady." Some people think she's cute or funny, but some people think she's quite personal . . . it's as if she's somehow pricking them from the inside.
Text: She may seem a bit prickly but she has a great personality for a cactus and needs very little water. Low Maintenance, 2009
It takes one to know one, of course, so I understand completely.
Where do you think that character came from?
After reading the first post from my Small Works Secrets series, Russ immediately wanted to know what secret number two was. I told him the name of the essay, but did not reveal the contents, and that made him doubly curious because he said it addresses a question he's wanted to know the answer to for some time.
So you see, some of my secrets must actually be secrets, which is amazing for someone who blabs about everything as constantly as I do. Essay number two could have been written by cactus-head lady herself I suppose, so that's why I invited her to introduce it to you.
Small Works Secret #2:
D.H. Lawrence wrote: "The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. . . . In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new."
When I first read those words, my own soul stood still for a moment and then said, "of course." People often ask me about my crazy love of the desert. About how a vista, barren on the surface, can feed and rejuvenate my soul with beauty. I crave its company the way some people crave Paris or cigarettes.
My parents moved to the desert some years ago, and my mother began to talk of "thinking desert thoughts." At the time, we all laughed, dismissing it as one of her eccentricities and thinking it would pass.
But eventually the desert started to pull me close as well, and after some time I realized why: I felt at home there, plucked from my daily discomfort and dropped in a landscape that understands.
Of course, this has led me to wonder about my mother --
about how the secret places the desert has filled for me
might also exist in her, yet remain hidden.
I love the desert because I am one --
thirsty and full of prickles,
pocked with rocky outcroppings,
shifty as sand.
And tricky to get close to, because I don't make anything I do easy.
There's a desert perfection many may see but most don't need.
You have to feel a connection with the search, I guess, to want to be there.
You have to work for its kind of beauty. You have to really want it --
like the desert does, bursting with blooms after only a few drops of encouragement.
Then retreating into itself again.
Few things take root but the ones that do are fierce,
tenacious in their desire to thrive, or at least survive until the next rain.
Bloom and retreat.
Bloom and retreat.
That's a pattern that speaks to my rhythm. My soul can rest there, because it's where I live. No matter where my actual home may be.