Saturday, August 28, 2010
No Happy Ending
This week, I drove south from Brisbane to Sydney in my father's borrowed truck, a distance of almost a thousand kilometres. When I left Sydney to be by my father's bedside, a couple of months ago, when it became apparent that his cancer was spreading, I hadn't intended to be away very long. But having decided to live near to him for a while, there were a number of things to resolve. I had to give up the lease on my studio in the centre of the city. I reclaimed my dog, a small terrier/poodle cross that had been left in the care of friends of friends. I re-organised and down-sized my storage facility and picked up from it a lot of much-needed art materials, including several hundred dollars worth of paints, brushes and paper stock. I delivered art to impatient collectors.When I wasn't been humping stuff down flights of steps from the studio, I rummaged through scores of cardboard boxes, looking for art materials, personal effects and other items packed hurriedly by my mother and an assistant when they had to empty my house, an hour's drive north of Sydney, shortly after I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic at the beginning of the year. Nothing was labelled – there was little time then – and they had no idea of what was most useful or important to me. Old clothes, back issues of art magazines and valuable working drawings were packed together, as were books, stationery, tax files and a collection of sex toys. It took two full days to find half of what I was looking for.I can't pretend that unravelling my ties with Sydney has been easy for me. I think of it as my home and if were not for my sick father, Brisbane would be the last place on earth I'd choose to live and work, even temporarily. My work-load is still very heavy and if anything, I find it even harder to get through when I'm there. I have become more rigorously disciplined, more focussed, but it has been at a cost: lonelier and more isolated than I've ever been, I risk losing sight of what I really want from my life.