“Memory is all we have. The present is a knife’s edge and the future doesn’t really exist.” I came these words spoken by the superb writer Gene Wolfe in an interview, and they resonated with words of wisdom I have heard from my mentor Steven Assael. Steven explains that memories are what we paint, even when working from a live model. We look, see, and put our recollected vision down before our eyes, and we check our work from that past moment against a new sight of the model in a later one.
Wolfe, pictured left, was interviewed by Larry McCaffrey for Science Fiction Studies, which you can find at http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/interviews/Wolfe46interview.htm.
His further insights into human nature and our understanding of human experience are worth reading. I particularly liked his description of learning to become a writer, and revisiting a much-rejected story after becoming successful. He realized the story on paper was not the story he had in his head: “What I learned to do in those apprentice years was make the stories run down my arm.”
I identify with that insight, as I am in the process of making pictures run down from my head into my arm. Here, from a palette’s knife edge, is a study I made Thursday with the models Scott Houston and Annie Jefferson for the series dealing with the modern myth of well-being, health care. I name the folders for every study in my iPad photo library so I can find them. What came to me for this study as I thought about the trust we put in health care professionals were the lines from the Navy hymn, “Eternal Father”: “Strong to save.” The words date from childhood memory and making a picture gives me something more to have.