“I can’t believe you were actually able to part with (the Greene & Greene house) after all that. Do you ever go to Tucson to visit it?”– Question from Kathleen after my last entry.
Thanks, Kathleen, that’s one of those big squashy questions—how did we part with all those houses? So big I’ll devote a whole entry to it. Plus, in December, WordPress (our Mother Ship and the blog host) gives me another nudge to write by providing cyber-snow falling on the page.
Cycling back to the 70’s, I’m seeing the first three houses we sold (on consignment to FAO Schwarz). After we, the dog, and our VW camper towed them down to SFO, we watched them disappear under the street, down into the bowels of the building in FAO’s freight elevator. I felt that sweet sorrow—there went our babies, our work of so many months, the products of this crazy thing we were doing to avoid office jobs. But our babies were also our cash cows. Our work. They paid the rent and put dinner on the table. In that sense the partings became a matter of business–we made something to sell, and sold it. And, we got to enjoy that our work gave others pleasure. In the artistic sense, it came to mean that by the time we were done with one house, the next was already taking shape in our heads. Like knitting an intricate sweater, or building a rocketship, it was always a matter of next time, what can we do differently, or better? As attached as we became to our work, when a house was done, it was done. What’s next was exciting. The Greene & Greene drained us, perhaps in the best of ways, by helping us create something at the very highest levels of our consciousness, and abilities, but we were ready to move on. Charles & Henry were dictators. We had been working to emulate genius, their genius, rather than pursue our own quirks of creativity. It was thrilling brainwork, but we were ready to find out what new stuff was lodged in the wrinkles of our own minds. We were lucky enough to have a string of customers waiting their turn, and many mouths to feed.
Have we visited it in the museum in Tucson? Not yet. Over the years we visited other works of ours, and were shocked–either by how primitive they were (the earliest houses, when we knew nothing), or, later, at the scope and complexity of detail—how did they DO that? How long did it take? Who were these strangers? It was the shock of un-recognition. “They” were/are us, of course, but they seem more like two other much younger people we once knew but have lost touch with. We wonder what happened to them, and hope they are well.
Please stay tuned–in this blog I’ll continue to explore what “they” did next. Meanwhile, ask more good questions, and enjoy the snow!