How Are You?

"How Are You?"

It’s a question most of us are asked on a daily basis, though it seems the expectations of a response are generally superficial at best. Most offer a brief, upbeat answer that may or may not be true without going into any level of detail, such as Good, and you? or maybe I’m alright to name a few. Rarely, I find, is the question asked with the expectation of an honest, let alone detailed, response. It is under this premise I operate from, typically keeping my replies short and sweet, quickly returning the same query back to its initiator.

As I grow older, the question becomes more complicated and perplexing. Given the nature of my work, alone in the studio, I do not typically interact with many people on a daily basis, nor do I have a variety of experiences to draw from. My leisure time is largely spent reading, playing music or being outdoors when I can. I don’t come home from work with the latest office gossip, wrestling over the nonsense and injustices of office politics. I don’t have any tales of adventure from my travels. I have no children to speak of (though I must admit O has provided me with a story or two, but that is a rare occasion). My journey is largely solitary and my process is thus internal.

Each opportunity I have to create, I learn so much about myself and my craft. I see the world in new ways. I go to places in my head, philosophizing. I pause to consider my relationship with the universe and how my mind and body are connected to everything. All the while, my art continues to grow as I nurture and mark its progress like a gardener tending to his garden. Thoughts appear in and out of my head like butterflies. I enjoy their beauty for the fleeting moments they are with me, but they often leave as quickly as they arrive, never to be shared with another. Occasionally, they might return again to impress details into my memory. I have been getting better at capturing them through a note or a sketch, but the experience is uniquely mine and often difficult to share, either because I find it challenging to put into words or pressed to recall critical elusive details, leaving the larger concept incomplete and hardly worth mentioning.

Every now and then, I’ll find myself explaining how I am to someone. I don’t think many people really hear me after the first two minutes. When I notice they’re disengaged, I wrap up my part of the dialogue as quickly as possible, wondering why I ventured to speak in the first place. The conversations I enjoy are those of a slower pace allowing for accuracy and reciprocity. When it comes down to it, I’d much rather express myself through painting, or perhaps a song or writing.

So how am I?

Just depends if you really want to know.