The Writer and Shelby Foote painting

The Writer and Shelby Foote

"The Writer and Shelby Foote" contemporary figurative painting

“The Writer and Shelby Foote” contemporary figurative painting. acrylic on canvas. 24 in x 30 in.

“The Writer and Shelby Foote” contemporary figurative painting

The Egret sings, and I grow old writing it down.

A few days ago, I saw a guy wearing one of those tee shirts that read, “I just do what the voices in my head tell me to do.” How true that is for some of us. For at least six months after Delta writer Shelby Foote passed away, I had no doubt that I had to do everything I could in my own small way to make up for the loss, as if I weren’t pushing myself enough already. I tried to be reasonable about it, but how can a nation drowning in fast-food, strip malls and televangelism afford to lose a cultural icon and artist and thinker grounded in the past the way Shelby Foote was?

Needless to say, Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans didn’t help me get back to “normal”.

Mental illness isn’t all that funny, but sometimes I can’t help but laugh at myself, even when I am really suffering. I push myself to all sorts of crazy extremes to make my art, and sometimes I make the most irrational decisions that all seem perfectly reasonable at the time. Only later do I realize that I haven’t eaten in 18 hours or slept in 24 or that I forgot to put on a shirt or that I haven’t gotten a haircut in 6 months or that I own a warehouse full of mosaic tile but not the house I live in, etc.