Well, it's done.
As soon as I did it, I knew I was going to be sorry. I made the decision that, so much time had gone by, it didn't matter. A couple of more months wasn't going to make any difference.
But it stings; oh man, does it ever.
Tonight, I packed the last of my art supplies.
All my pencils, pens, erasers, sharpeners, leads, holders, curves ... all boxed and wrapped and ready to go for the end of the month.
I've packed my papers and pads already; these were the last things left out. I think, somewhere in the back of my head, I thought that at least I could draw on any paper if the inclination so struck me. I could scribble on index cards, printer paper, envelopes ... anything at all. As long as I had my pencils and pens out, I could reach them, touch them, hold them -- and use them.
Now, however, they're sealed beneath cardboard, flotsum and jetsum, plastic bags and padding from my daughter's burp-rags. They're locked away, safe for the move, where I won't be able to even see them again until after the move.
In truth, I know that so much time has gone by I couldn't draw anything. Much rust must be scraped for me to even get back to the low-level where I was before. I haven't practiced, I haven't set aside the time I need to do it. I've been busy with work, family, friends occasionally, and when I wasn't busy with all that, there was football to watch, blogs to update, cigarettes to smoke, groceries to buy, and a million other things that needed doing. My artwork was again set aside, just as it has been so many times in the past, to collect dust in the corner, patiently waiting for me to come back and pick it up again.
One day soon, I won't be able to anymore. My hands will be unsteady, my eyesight too poor, my joints too achy and stiff to wield the pencil anymore. One day, my world will be dark and my heart unable to stretch itself onto the smooth blank surface of the paper. One day, the graphite won't obey my commands anymore, and on that day I will weep bitterly, longing for the lost years when I let my talent be buried and forgotten, wasted amid the ruin that once my life was. I'll wish for one more of those lazy afternoons I spent wiling in front of the television back, so that I can spend it sketching and being creative. I'll pray God for one more chance to exercise that ability that He so graciously bestowed upon me, despite knowing that I would waste it instead of cherishing it. The fat, wet tears that roll down weathered and wrinkled cheeks will be as fleeting as my youth was, and the ability to render what I see will be dimmed as my vision fades to foggy darkness, testaments to my folly and stupidity that has cost me so dearly ... more than once.
For now, I have taken one concession ... one tiny cheat that I took, probably subconsciously.
I left my Graphire hooked up to my computer. Photoshop is still installed on my computer.
Can ten minutes a night really hurt? Well ... maybe fifteen. :)
I don't want to spend the end of my life sorry for everything. There should be one thing that I can do and do well, even if it's not as well as others. It's something that I love to do; shouldn't I do it then?