Archive for November 25th, 2012


I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving over the last couple of days, trying to think of things that I’m thankful for and I began to realize there are no actual things on the list.  There are people and moments but no things.  And I guess that’s the way it should be.  But it made me wonder about what particular things  do have meaning for me.   What would I take if I had to grab but a few things and flee, say like the recent storm victims or the people in the areas where the wildfires bear down on them?

The actual loss of my house and studio might be difficult but they too an be replaced.  Outside of these structures, the list is still pretty thin.  A few photos, a few notes and letters and perhaps a painting or two.   A handful of books but they can also be replaced.  But no other things that I feel would leave a void in my life if I suddenly were to be without them.  No jewelry or family heirlooms. No memory jugs like the one shown above.   No priceless artifacts that I sought for years to find.  Very little, actually.

I sit here in my studio and look around at a few of the paintings that I hold on to and think that I would hate to lose them but it comes to me that they also represent moments and emotions for me.  Inner things that I hold already.  They actually are souvenirs of past moments,  like   family photos.  I’ve said before that seeing a gallery full of my work is sometimes awkward at first because it feels like I’m looking at my family photos on the walls for all the world to see.  And that’s not always the best thing.

Interestingly, I find this lack of things very liberating.  And that is something for which I am thankful.

Here’s a fitting  song, Souvenirs,  that is sung by here by John Prine and Steve Goodman, who wrote it.  Goodman also wrote The City of New Orleans , recorded most famously by Arlo Guthrie.  Most people have little knowledge of Goodman’s songwriting since he died in 1984 at the age of 36 due to leukemia.   There is another song  here by Goodman after  Souvenirs that shows more of his talents.

And I’m thankful for that, as well.

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