The title of this post derives from the splendid, brutal novel Cool Hand Luke. Luke and his fellow fugitive Dragline are on the lam from prison personnel and their vicious, man-hunting hounds. Drag says he knows where they can get ahold of some nice, [generously-bosomed] country gals. Luke avers that they can’t be messing with women when they need to be making good their escape. “This bein’ free is hard work.”
And so it is. For me to be free of the matrix of indebtedness, ancillary guilt from being subsidized, and the various life-sucking distractions this evil world constantly proffers, I’ve taken a small, no-Internet-access apartment and a full-time, low-paying job that I can leave at the end of the workday without it following me. I’ve worn out my shoes to the point of harm, and then got a new pair that abraded the flesh atop my Achilles tendon into hamburger. I buy my toilet paper at the Family Dollar and my dollar-ninety-nine breakfast burrito at the QT.
But life is good. I had a wonderful day yesterday, my daughter Kate calling to ask for a guitar lesson and/or a movie (we saw the execrable FANTASTIC FOUR, knowing it would be bad, because that’s how we roll), and afterward, by prearrangement, I spent the night on the living-room couch of my ex-wife, getting the best night’s sleep I’ve had in many days. And today I had a quick and convivial lunch with the sweet and steadfast Joy Riner Taylor, and tonight we’ll be out on the town, not too lavishly.
While I was at Joni and Kate’s I saw one of Joni’s houseplants–she says a schefflera–in a planter I’d made a long time ago; I didn’t remember exactly when, but guessed ten years, then curiosity compelled me to hoist it up high and read the underside (I sign and date almost all my ceramic works). Sure enough, I’d done it in 2004. I was delighted to see it doing what I’d made it to do.
Bein’ free has been such hard work that my artwork and poetry have been nearly nil of late. (I put in eleven and a half hours of overtime last week, and public transportation and pedestrianism also take their toll.) But, Friends, I am finding my feet. Expect more from this source, well before the end of this month.