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Sometime today, maybe even as I’m writing these words, this blog will receive it’s 2,000th page view.

I’m not sure how much of a milestone this is, really. I started this project without thinking much about where it was heading. I needed to write simply because I needed to write. I stumbled on subjects without plan or design and sprung them on an unsuspecting world.

Despite the urge for utter self-absorption this blog feeds, what feedback I’ve received from the outside world pleases me. Strangers are finding my words and reading them. Friends are seeing within me things I never could have described to them.

This post, where I finally said farewell to my late mother and to the house where I spent my childhood, remains my favorite. It’s probably among the most powerful things I’ve ever written but I can’t claim much credit for it since it pretty much wrote itself without my help. By last count, it made six people cry. Including me.  Every time I read it.

For this post I earned the praise of one Lisa J. Allen, not merely a former editor but a treasured friend, one of those rare individuals who could be critical without being unkind. It also got the attention of Brian Eggers, an old friend from high school who I haven’t seen in maybe 15 or 20 years. I could go on about the unexpected connections this exercise in vanity has uncovered, but you get the point. It’s just like the ripples in the pond, only bigger.

Most of all, though, thinking about what to say has uncovered threads in my own creative development that I may have overlooked had I not consciously considered them. Today’s example is Charles Demuth, a early 20th Century American painter of some notoriety whose work I like a lot. His health was poor and that, in combination with his lifestyle, ended his life pretty early at age 51. He was born on this day in 1883. While I was reviewing his work this morning, I came upon what was one of his better-known images, My Egypt, which came near the end of his life as he was contemplating the architecture of his home town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

My Egypt (Charles Demuth - 1927)

In this image I saw a mirror of myself, contemplating my own home, a little older than Demuth was when he painted it and hopefully not so close to the end of the line.

Saginaw, July 2011 #8 (©2011 by Richard X. Moore)

Was I conscious of Demuth’s image when I was shooting this? No.

But it was in there somewhere, buried under layers of memories and fears and hopes and whatever else might make up the recollections of a lifetime. I connected with it and brought it into my own experience. It became a part of one long and memorable weekend that was filled with pain and pleasure, regret and promise, happiness lost and suddenly rediscovered.

If my work can somehow touch someone else this way, then I will have succeeded as an artist in the way that’s most important to me. Call me hopelessly romantic if you want.  I plead guilty.

RXM

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