This weekend i learned that even artwork is a material possession, and sometimes you have no choice but to let it go.
Iowa has been flooding this summer, as i’m sure you’re all well aware. I blogged about the floods in ames, after that happened Des Moines also flooded, and just after that Cedar Rapids and Iowa City took it in the shorts big time. As it turns out, the storage unit that my mother and i had a lot of our worldly possessions stored in was overtaken by about 2.5′ of water, and we didn’t have the means to deal with the aftermath until this weekend.
Mom lost all of her furniture except for a desk we acquired at a garage sale at some point for $5. I lost whatever nostalgia i had stored in there except for my stupid fucking beanie baby collection, one other box of toys and some lightweight box i didn’t bother to open.
I had figured that my old journals were destroyed, and i discovered they were. I’ve been keeping a journal for ten years now, and the earlier half of them is gone. My high school letter was in there, no big deal. And my portfolio. That portfolio had probably eight years or so of artwork in it. My charcoal self-portrait. The sunflower i hated but mom loved. The conte and oil pastel drawings i did in my last drawing class. The graphite drawing of a rose. I don’t even know how many other pieces. I never found my old sketchbooks or the three-dimensional artwork, and so those are probably in there somewhere, too.
I cried when i saw the portfolio. I discovered that my drawings are worth more to me than my writings. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but i think the two are incomparable. The journals were mostly full of drivel i’d written about boys i ought to have forgotten by now anyway. Which reminds me, the statue i was given as a gift once upon a time was destroyed as well. Sadly, though, i suppose that’s only fitting.
I’m grateful for what i still have: my more recent journals, all of my photo albums, all of my black-and-white photo negatives and prints. My poetry is all preserved on my computer. I have the people i love and my own life, and that’s actually worth more than everything i’ve ever created or ever will create. As an artist you imagine that the things you create might live beyond you, but i’ve never done anything of that importance anyway.