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Word Art: Spiral

Spiral was the first prototype for my Word Art that I was willing to show to other people.  (I’d tried something a couple of months prior, but the result was such a hot mess I’m not showing it to anybody until I’ve established a solid enough body of work to render said hot mess into a fascinating historical document.)  I’d cut a sheet of 25% cotton paper to fit an 8 x 10 frame I’d found in a drawer (still wrapped in plastic–where did it come from and why did I buy it?) and traced some pencil lines to define a space within the space.  Then I took a couple of gel pens that I’d gotten as a birthday present from my goddaughter and worked my way around.


There are times when the craving itself is so sweet and so strong that satisfaction is something of a disappointment by comparison.

There are other times when the reward is so sweet you wonder why you even considered denying yourself.

And when the source of pleasure is mixed with a dose of poison, how much harder it becomes.

To ride that ever so delicate balance of pleasure and pain, as if balancing profits and losses, income and expenses, how much pleasure makes the pain worth it, how much pain cancels out the pleasure?

Pain is a signal from the body that something is wrong which needs to be set right.

We ignore these signals at our own peril.

But the signals of pleasure are far more muddled, given they are known to transmit at times when a reward is the worst possible thing to be handing out.

But “such are the credentials of pleasure” that we will make a god of that which gives it to us.

Blessed, indeed, are those who take their pleasures from the simple joys of living, who revel in ecstasy but shun intoxication.

But what of those who pass through the deserts of pain to reach the oasis of pleasure?

And what, in turn, of those who seek the oasis of pleasure and find that the gleaming waters they hoped to drink from were merely mirages?

How many addicts choke on sand and call it water, lest they be forced to admit that what they endured was ultimately for naught?

Some pools grow shallower as one drinks.

Others are as deep as oceans, but long and arduous is the journey to reach them.

This perhaps is why we are drawn to the pools that so diminish, for we sometimes wonder if we will ever reach the springs that never dry, or indeed wonder if those springs are even real, or if they are merely illusions themselves.

But ever so sometimes, the shallow pools give us a tiny taste of what the springs can provide and that perhaps beyond all other reasons is why we crave them so.

But the path to the springs, to the living water, is not impossible to tread.

It demands much, but gives much in return.

But far too many mistake the path for the destination.

While others seek the destination but hope to bypass the path.

The path to the center does not come with shortcuts.

Yet it is not as hard a path to tread if one simply keeps the burden light.

How simple and yet how difficult for so many.

We carry burdens on our backs that we need not carry with us and yet we fear to put them down for fear of losing them.

We turn to our panaceas to ease the burdens that we tire of carrying and yet fear to let go of completely.

So the spiral continues, as we drink of wells that resemble the springs we truly seek to ease the heavy weight of the burdens that we know slow our journey to the true wellspring of all.

And the worst of it all is this–that the wellspring you seek can be dug in your heart and no one can take it from you once you have it yourself.

“Such are the credentials of pleasure” is a quote from the book Delusion’s Master by Tanith Lee, and a line I keep in mind when weighing the consequences of certain decisions.

I don’t know if I will ever do another piece like this, because the lines become a little difficult to keep track of after a certain point.  Even though I want the work to stand on its own visually, I also want those who are willing to try and read the words to be rewarded for their squinty efforts.

Prints of this work are available here.

The original is not for sale.

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