Back in the day.

‘Cavewall 001’, 11″ X 19″, pressboard, gypsum, acrylics, 23,000 b.c.e.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I went to school with the crazy idea of finding out why I paint pictures instead of talking to people. I was refused entry unless I admitted first that they know more about art than I do. Never! I yelled at them in a long winded written rant about ivory towers and professors with more credentials than artwork after their names. This didn’t help my quest. So I tried art history. And learned that some people do know more about art than I do. Actually, more about the business of art and why art happens. However it all seemed to revolve around where you were accidentally born, and who you accidentally met on the road to art fame. I was born next to a steel factory in Glasgow, Scotland. And I still haven’t accidentally met anyone famous who needed their egos boosted, which seemed to be the point of most art history. One day, as I attempted to finally speak out loud about my thoughts, I once again saw stars spinning in my face along with the professor leaping at me to prevent my precious skull from smacking into the cement floor. ‘Why don’t you try anthropology!’ she said. ‘I don’t like insects, is that good enough? I replied, still thinking I knew more than anyone else. After my head stopped spinning I learned of the usefulness of anthropology in my search for why I paint pictures. Studying humans might apply well. Aeons passed by very quickly in anthropology. I found an endless supply of reasons why I paint pictures.  To have someone pat me on the back and say ‘aren’t you clever’, was a good one. Women like artists was another, although they always seem to like the guitar player/mammoth hunter better. To impress the neighbours in the next cave seemed to be the best one. Then I discovered that no matter what I found out, I would still have to speak outloud. In front of the humans I was studying. Dammit! All I have are pictures, my voice isn’t loud enough, I would fall and crack my valuable brain on your concrete steps, and then what. But they wouldn’t listen to my drawings. And I’m still not an anthropologist. But I think I have a good idea of why I like painting over speech. The entire message of the image moves at once at the speed of light.

In The Beginning

If we take everything seriously, then we make everything serious! 

Sometimes difficult circumstance can lead to interesting creative possibilities. If your under pressure its usually beneficial to be positive and for me that is creative. The paintings may be hideous, but they can be a relief to express. And I think all human artwork is a sign of hope, and the positive. We are all creative. And a relief of tension can make you laugh. Hopefully.

This story takes place a long time ago, after the cavemen ate the last dinosaur, but before the flood washed away the evidence. There are no pictures, well maybe a few, it is just a story.

The caveman entered the small cave with a lamp, a flask of grog (fermented anything) and a pencil he had made from a stick in the fire. And he decided he would invent writing. He decided he would write a story to impress his girlfriend, something with sex and violence and other things he didn’t know of yet. He was a good storyteller. He wasn’t a very good hunter, if you know what I mean. He wasn’t much of a painter either, according to his drinking buddies that actually saw the beasts.

He would take the bits they brought him and throw them on the ground and draw with his fancy invention. A pointy burned stick. They would get drunk and howl with laughter at him. Make that a bit bigger, no now thats too small. BaaHahaha!!! He just laughed with them, drank more grog than anyone else, and dreamt of how many more girlfriends he would have when they finally went back out on their hunting parties.

This is the story he wrote in the cave that day : (Any familiar names or dates are purely coincidental or completely accidental. Whichever one saves my ass better.)

In The Beginning

They found themselves in a hostile environment, both of them quite new as to the despicable nature of others. In a box barely big enough for one, let alone two fully-grown humans. Surrounded by coveting lechery and defeat. Like scavengers, looking for what is left. These people had only the strength left to feed on each other, and anyone that falls from society’s favour, as long as they are nearby.

The only thing to do was make the best of their meager space to exist. And to that end, young man set about decorating the walls, of this their ‘Cave of Treasures’. His new bride was in great distress upon learning she would have to bear children, like the animals. This was not what she had expected. No one mentioned that beforehand.

“I was lied to!” she would wail and lament in great sorrow.

And he would say, ”Look, look at the pretty picture on the wall.” Intentionally avoiding the issue. That she had been lied to. She was exactly right. But he didn’t want to be the one to tell her. So he continued to show her ever more elaborate pictures to distract and amuse her. At least temporarily. He promised himself he would tell her, eventually, that he had taken the fruit.  And as the fruit brought knew knowledge in him, it also brought its opposite. He could lie, tell untruths. When asked, he knew he could point his finger, and he did, at her. And now she suffered a fate he could not imagine. He felt dismay and despair at his own behaviour. He had brought her great pain. He would have to tell her, someday. But not yet. Another story for now. The truth can wait.

  He had been walking in the garden. Thinking of what to eat for his dinner. Everything looked so good, as it always had. As it should be, and always will be. Or so he thought as he wandered along in paradise. 

‘Hey!” said a voice from the undergrowth.

“Wassup?” 

 Adam was stunned, he only knew of one voice, and this wasn’t it. 

“Who, or what are you?”

Adam asked the voice, now in the trees, now all around him. 

“I live in this tree.”, said the voice.

“I eat its fruit!” 

 Adam saw through his euphoric view of the garden, a great tree, the one he had been shown before. It shone like no other tree. It shone from the inside. 

“The other voice told me this is poison! But it is so beautiful!” said Adam, now speaking to the voice from the tree. 

“Smell the flowers. There is no beauty as great as the aroma of these flowers.” The voice informs Adam. 

Adam does, and is intoxicated by the smell. ‘But it is poison, how can this be?’ he cries.  And at this point, Adam is lost. The smell of knowledge is doubt. ‘How can this be!’ he thinks in his stupor. ‘What have I done?’ ‘What will I do?’

‘She will never believe me’, thought Adam, as he sat at a rock face painting yet another goat. Pondering how to tell Eve of the true dilemma they faced.

“No more easy ride.” He had said once.

“This is easy street!” He had also said.

“Exactly what ride are you talking about?” asked Eve.

“I don’t recall being on a ride!”

“As far as I remember, everything was good, now it isn’t!”

“Why is that Adam?” she would ask repeatedly. “What did you do?”

He had painted a picture of a beautiful flower.

And had shown her, hoping to tell the truth, without actually lying. Then he could always say that he had at least shown her. She would be tricked the same way he had been. Or so he thought at the time. Eve never stayed amused or satisfied for long.

Adam realized that he would have to come up with more complicated explanations for her. She deserved the truth. But his knowledge also brought despair. He couldn’t tell her the truth. She may leave, and never come back. She may fall prey to the ‘monster in the trees’ he had created in his own mind. His fear told him his lies were truth. It never occurred to him that he would be the one outside. But then again, this is the beginning of time. Adam and Eve have a long way to go.

His explanation to her had to be a puzzle, or a riddle. Far more than one pretty picture at a time. One so complex it would take her forever to find the truth. That it wasn’t her fault.

“Remember the garden, my dear?” asked Adam of Eve.

“Rides, gardens, easy street, what are you talking about?” she replied.

“All I know is there are horrible creatures outside!” she lamented.

“What about me?” she howled in despair.

Adam persisted, and pressed on with his tale,

He had been walking in the garden. Thinking of what to eat for his dinner. Everything looked so good, as it always had. As it should be, and always will be. Or so he thought as he wandered along in paradise. 

‘Psst!” said a voice from the undergrowth.

“Come over here!” 

 Adam was stunned, he only knew of one voice, and this wasn’t it. 

“Who, or what are you?”

Adam asked the voice, now in the trees, now all around him.

“What do you want? That tree is poisonous.”

“You should be careful.”

He was very concerned for the stranger’s welfare as you see. 

“Come over here! Help, I need help!” the voice became frail.

“Why won’t you help me, come closer.”? 

 Adam had never had the opportunity to see deceit. Never, in his apparently immortal existence, had there been a lie. Why should there be? Why would there be? 

With great concern Adam leaned forward, closer, to have a look. 

“Closer!” said the voice. 

And as Adam leaned closer, he lost his footing in paradise, and fell into a dark pit, at the base of the great tree of knowledge. 

“Cool!” said Eve. 

 Adam could not see, but he could feel the object of the voice. It was a vile wriggling wet bundle of snakes. 

“EeeewWW!!” she said.

 The snakes bit Adam, repeatedly, and poisoned his mind. They brought pain and fear and despair. But he fought them. Tore them from his arms. And Adam struggled away from them, back up the steep walls of the pit of nothing. He rejects this knowledge. He was tricked into knowing pain. There was no reason for this. Adam scrambled his way back into the eternal paradise of the garden. Feeling as though his absence was also eternal. His lips just forming the words. 

“Why? What?” 

 When a great voice thundered into his ears, shaking the whole universe. 

“What have you done?” asks the voice of all voices, nothing like the voice of deceit. 

 Of a sudden, Adam feels violently ill. The poison in his blood brings terror. Terror that he will have to spend any more time at the base of this horrible tree. Being bitten forever. It seemed eternal when it was happening to him. He would have to think of something. 

“I didn’t do anything!” he howled. 

“You are sickened! It does not matter how. You cannot stay in this garden.” booms the universal voice. 

“That’s not fair!” Eve clearly states her opinion of the rules.

“Hey! You are just making this up, right?” Eve asks innocently, falling asleep, like a cat.

“I’m just telling a story, its all true though!” Adam decides not to let her reply.

Adam becomes pale, a shadow of himself. 

“I have been poisoned.” wails Adam.

“Tricked, I was tricked and lied to!” he screams in pain and despair. 

“It does not matter. But the liar is also poisoned and must go with you!” the judgment in the voice was undeniable and irresistible.

  

Eve fell asleep before Adam could finish his latest version of the truth. His mind raced with what he knew as truth, he could not burn it out of his mind now, and the lie, which was so much easier. He cannot sleep.

Adam leaves, to find a beautiful moonlit night. A walk to their small piece of ground for growing their food would do him well, he decides. Time to think. Perhaps the seeds he had pulled from his skin and planted here would be growing. Adam rounded the final twist in the path through the bush to be overwhelmed by a familiar scent. The seeds had grown, and very well he could see, in the rocky ground. The plants were blooming, and Adam walked through them in amazement. He touched the flowers with his hands. And, without a thought, licked his fingers, the aroma was so enticing.

  

 Adam trembled, not daring to tell the truth and spend eternity alone with a hideous companion. He could not bare the thought without feeling ill. Adam thought of his partner, Eve. Eternity with Eve in the Garden had been bliss. If he had to leave, then anything was preferable to the constant panic and distress of the tree. He had no desire to know of knowledge. 

“I was standing here, in the garden, looking for something to eat.” says Adam.

“I was reaching for that fruit there, when Eve came running by, and accidentally bumped me into this hole at the base of this tree here!” Adam’s mind is reeling with the complexities of lying. He could not conceive the complexities of omniscience. And so he kept lying to a voice to which one cannot lie. 

“Even if she did not do it on purpose!” Adam intoned.

“She touched me. So she is poisoned also! She should come with me!” demanded Adam of the garden. 

“So be it!” says the universe.

“But Eve will not know of your time with the tree of knowledge!”

“It is done!” booms the voice of the creator.

“She awaits you in the cave of treasures, which you must find!”

“Paradise will not return until you tell her what you have done!” Adams physical universe shakes to pieces beneath his feet. Before him appears a great doorway, he does not know what to do.

“Begone!” the great voice roars. Adam walks through the great stone doorway. Shuddering at the crash as the door slams shut. Adam looks up to a vast grey plain, eternally distant, with cracks and steaming holes, and molten rock everywhere!

Adam looks around himself. He sees hills in the distance, a dark mist hung over reality itself now. He watched for movement in the distance. The animals would gather with Eve. They would want to know what had happened. And she would have nothing to tell them. He had to find her. In a cave, the voice had said. Bring her treasures, he remembered. Looking around Adam saw a vast grey plane, nothing but giant black boulders of obsidian, jagged and razor sharp. The ground was nothing but grey dust as far as he could see.

 Adam saw movement, a herd of goats, moving up a hillside toward a dark shadow in the folds of black rock.

He began his long and dangerous trek toward the distant mountains.

The caveman woke up. The walls around him covered with the black scribbles of his new invention. His hairless chest, another reason his friends laughed at him, caked with vomit from the grog party he had the previous night. His twisted leg was throbbing from passing out on the cave floor. Food was on his mind, and some more grog, and later he would bring a woman to his secret cave, tell her his story and then they would have sex, that always made him feel better.