Human beings can't stand much reality
Two days ago I received a letter from the Welsh Arts Council saying that they were having to reduce the number of illustrations in 'Arts in Wales 1950-75', and that my painting 'Synaesthesia - It Will Draw Blood From The Wind' will not now appear in the publication.
I am very disappointed. It has been the only good news for a very long time and now the carpet has been pulled from beneath my feet.
Once again I am trying to gather my broken thoughts and establish new momentum. An emptiness grips my soul.
I am becoming totally immersed in my drawing and painting. For years I have sought an undiluted commitment to my work. Ironically the despair of the past months has given my mind and soul the necessary re-alignment. Madness is near, but as long as my thoughts are clear enough to give continuous image projection, what does it matter?
As long as I don't hurt anyone, for that is very important.
The day passed in blinding light. Night came on with a vast blanket of depression. Into the space that God puts in front of living things. I will go forward!
"Human beings can't stand much reality". (T.S.Eliot)
It seems to me at this moment that my life is 'real' only in painting. If I get close enough to a woman where 'empathy' occurs, then she requires certain things of me. I am thus dragged unwillingly into a life that does not accord with the one in which my painting breathes. Can anyone ever enter 'my world' and embrace me in it forever?
Cherry has noticed that there are two separate identities in my being. She knows immediately by my eyes and says that the one she loves has gentle eyes that sparkle. The other John is remote and detached with a lack of expression in the eyes. She is not imagining this. I know that she is right.
1979 has been the most traumatic year of my life by a long chalk. This love for Cherry could utterly destroy me if unfulfilled. I am in a state of fearful depression. I must give the children food.
As the days have passed and the domestic drama has unfolded it has revealed nothing with any degree of certainty; and as this year has given me torment far exceeding anything known before, I have been finishing the painting "The Room When No One Is There". I look in front of me at the fruits of this agony. Perhaps it is my most powerful painting yet.
I am alone on the rocks at Petitor beach. Blackie roves about happily. The gentle lapping sound of the sea, liquid against rock, is pierced by a sudden bark from the dog. I call her and she comes panting alongside me.
The sky is now grey but it remains pleasantly warm and an optimistic feeling that the sun could break through at any moment, prevails. I realise that I am completely at peace and the thought has come that even if it should rain I would be happy even though a long walk home and a soaking would follow.
The inner voices have become audible again; they comfort me. Three girls come into view. The need to paint and draw and work with clay fills me. It is a second rising tide, which flows through my veins as I sit a few feet above the physical sea. Children and youths have appeared and shout obscenities from the cliff-tops to the nudists on the other side of the beach. It really is very sad and pathetic. Now the three young girls join in the chorus and shout "Bender boy."
It is possible that they are now directing their attentions towards me. The content of their words is tediously repetitive. They are barren of vocabulary. Their goading continues interspersed between ever increasingly long silences.
Offshore three figures in a boat jerk their rods as if in answer to the suggestions that the crude girls are still making to the nudists.
It grows colder. My black Morrocan shirt waits for the sun. Fossils and rock indentations support my body. Minute shells shelter adequately in infinitesimal ridge cracks on the rock shelf.
A young authorative voice rings out, "Piss off".
There is a measured silence. No response.
Blackie wanders near the water. My awareness of things present and memories is intermittent. It has become difficult as I write to know what I am or should be concentrating upon. I feel as though the urge to write is ebbing.
Detumescent words shrinking to the size of the tiny shells; I can perceive them no longer.