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Word Art: The Rules of the Game

This piece was started in the middle of the Upper West Side Folk Art Market (because I needed something to do while waiting for people to drift past my table, squint at my work, nod, smile and wander on) and eventually finished at home a week or two later.  While sometime I can crank out a piece in one sitting, other times they get picked up, worked on, set aside and picked up again later, like a knitting project.  I’d wanted to see if a directional change in the words would work or not.

The Rules of the Game

The Rules of the Game

The rules of the game seem obvious at first.

The lines are drawn, the boundaries clearly defined.

You can see the squares in front of you, each step in sequence that leads from one side of the board to the other.

Every step forward can be seen from where you stand and the spaces to either side of you are not, in your mind, spaces that are meant for you ever to tread upon.

Those squares belong to those on other paths.

And then one day you find yourself pointed in a different direction completely, and all the spaces in front of you are nothing as you expected.

You’re not even sure what the endgame is anymore.

All you can do is work you way forward and discern the path in front of you on square at a time.

You might look longingly at you intended direction or you might even wonder if where you are currently pointed is even where you are to wind up.

And sometimes you wind up so upside down and backwards you’re not even sure which way to go.

Advancing feels like retreating and retreating feels like advancing.

You’re not certain if you even want what lies at the far end of the board.

But it’s where you are pointed and so you muddle you way forward by somewhere in the back of your mind, you start to wonder if there’s a way to change direction so you have some sense that your life is controlled by your own hand and not another’s.

And finally you make a move and realize that you are not a pawn, you never were a pawn, you merely moved as if you were one.

That power and freedom didn’t lie at the far end of the board–it was exactly at the place you stood and it always was.

You were free to move at any time, but you were told you could not and now you can see that you were sovereign always.

It’s at least a little easier to follow than Spiral and a good deal less depressing to read than Exile.  Perhaps I’m getting the hang of this.

Prints of this work are no longer available.

The original has been sold.

1 comment to Word Art: The Rules of the Game

  • This is a very cool piece with a very true message. In life there are no rules. Only the ones we make up as we go along.The only problem is most of us don’t realize this and try to fit in the same neat little box as everyone else. That’s what I take from this.

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