Friday, October 26, 2012

Why Bother...

PATIENT NOTE :  I have now been at this struggle for nearly two years. If you have followed the blog, the journey has been challenging, enlightening, devastating, occasionally entertaining and a host of other -ing words that describe the journey. As you can see there has been a huge 'gap' between my last post and this one. Explaining this is not quite simple. So, I will just say that the life of a patient in many ways is beyond our control and sticking to even the best made schedule has become at best impossible... I think that THIS is one  of the toughest challenges a patient faces. I will even go so far as to recommend to others that you just don't waste much mental energy on running your life to the minute. I am blessed with a wonderful family and fantastic support group of friends who, without their presence in my life I would most likely be dead from exhaustion just trying to keep it all together. I have also been lucky (as I have mentioned before) that the side effects for me have not been debilitating in the least - comparatively. Given all this, where does that leave me?

Someone asked me once, how having cancer has changed my life. Answers came flooding in, but before long my head was swimming so I needed to take a moment to figure out how to come up with a response to my friend's question without sending them screaming from the room with madness, or putting them into a coma induced by excessive detail... Here goes. Having cancer brings everything in your life to an absolute crushing halt. It sounds simplistic, but the rest of the world keeps speeding on ahead as usual as my world is completely brought to a stand still. Imagine one of those huge boulders in the desert that seem to have been just placed there. Perhaps an even better image is that of a large Zen boulder/gravel garden. The swirling patterns of pebbles around the large stones is a good example of my day to day life at times. I feel 'stuck' among the rest of the world, destined to weather things by myself, unable to move with the flow. I feel like some kind of schizophrenic actor where on one level I try to maintain the image that I am flowing along with the 'normal' world; paying bills doing work, doing all the other regular things that people do. However, the other face, is my private one, the one no one sees, the one that occupies MY 9-5. This one can get really, really ugly. It is SOMETIMES a good place, but it is getting harder and harder to discover the good in my space.  Why? You can probably guess... If, during the past two years, I had had ANY indications that my cancer was controllable, maybe keeping my chin up would be easier. But, it simply hasn't. 

I try to look for positive answers, things around me to give me hope, and for the most part it is all seemingly melting into a big vat of cliche-driven bull-shit. Now, please realize that this in NO WAY is a reflection on the support I have received from family and friends during this time. Without their support I am sure I would have already given up and not be here. Like the boulder though. I sit, I sit, I sit. I wait. Hell most of the time I could not tell you WHAT I am waiting for anyhow. Am I waiting to feel 'sicker' - since I don't 'feel' like I have cancer? Am I waiting for some test to tell me 'You're cured! You can now move on with your life!' Am I waiting for some doctor to throw up his hands in the air and say. 'Sorry, Scott. There is nothing left to try.' 

Swirling around all this is all the other stuff that life tells us we have to be concerned with. Keeping up with the mortgage, making 'final arrangements', trying SOMEHOW to lessen that burden for my family. Knowing that financially my life has been a failure in this regard... we have no 'nest-egg' to fall back on, no stocks to cash in, on which the family can depend. Hell, I don't even have enough in actuality to dig a hole in my back yard and put me in it when the time comes. I am sorry that this sounds like some pity party, oh-whoa-is-me, but I cannot help it. Dove tailing on all this is the list of 'what-ifs', and 'what I won't be able to do's'. The fatalistic part of me made a 'bucket list' - then the realistic side of me understands that living out a bucket list requires loads of money - money I don't have, so why bother. 

In this struggle, I want more and more to have someone, somewhere tell me what my 'expiration-date'. The simple fact that no one can do this is fast becoming my biggest frustration. Now I recognize that there are always a host of reasons that doctors cannot do this. So, I am left reading faces, expressions trying to get some idea of where I am headed. 

Well, I will try to end this entry on a bit of an upswing, despite not really feeling that way anyhow.... I am, despite all my bitching and moaning, blessed with people who seem to care so much for me that I just don't feel deserving. I feel that I owe them great things to be done with the time I have left. This is another example of the kind of thing that spins in my head as I sit, at home in my chair trying to put together reasons to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING that might add some meaning to my day to day existence.  

This week, the weather has been beautiful and my dear friends Kristen and Kelly came up to help get my studio ready for Fall work. Their energy and support for me, all along this journey along with that of my family friends, clients and customers who seem, to deem, my artwork good enough to purchase. This continued support makes me willing to keep going, to keep creating, to keep fighting and to remember that the effort I make along the way can provide me a way to deal with all this junk and some how keep going...


  1. Pt 1: About 12-18 months ago, I came across your blog. It was about art, the quality of life, the meaning of life, unemployment,and daily living. It was about struggle. It also spoke strongly to the theme of what it meant to be a man. To be a provider. To make a difference in the world. To achieve. To make an impact. Many of those issues struck a chord with me during a year of unemployment as a middle aged man, potentially needing to redefine who I was or who I was to become. You are a great writer and in that sense, not just a graphical depicter of images, but a true artist.

  2. Expressing your view of the world and sharing your perspective. Changing the views, perspectives, and values of others as a result of implanting images in their mind that affect how they live out their journey. You have changed the images in my mind not necessarily because of your graphical depictions in a media but because you have affected my worldview because of who you are as a person and what you have done with your artistic endeavor along your life's journey. As difficult as it appeared to be at times against your own true self, you opened yourself up to the world and revealed your innermost vulnerabilities. You have told the story of Everyman and Everywoman in the flow of Humanity. The weakness. The chaos. The search for meaning. The effect of the world against the individual. The seeming lack of control and influence over things that are larger than any of us alone. The deep need to have friends and family. How many artists have there been that perhaps sketched drawings or painted pictures but had no lasting impact upon humanity? They are also artists. But we start out only as practioners of a skill. Perhaps we are fortunate enough to add some practioner's knowledge. If we are committed, perhaps we gain experience. And perhaps one day, someone looks at what we have done and says we have ability. But is Art about Knowledge, Ability, Skill, and Experience. Perhaps. But the greatest artists have faced the Void and gone into a Realm where no timid soul has ventured before. Their bravery and bravado put the deep life experience's into their unique expression.

  3. I am only one small witness about you and testimony for you across the country and this globe. I started a blog because of you. It is about Art, Daily Living, the Artistic Endeavor, the Journey, and reaching one's Unique Potential. It is about making an impact during our time here in the flesh. It is about asking the deep questions. Although I have returned to work in Boston, I see things differently now. I have a different balance towards my daily walk. I sketch on the commuter train and the subway. I take photos with a different view towards how they could be used in my artistic endeavor. So how is the world of art changing and what part have you played in todays art? You have been part of the Daily Painting initiative. Art is a more "democratic" experience whereby many more people practice the craft. It is a movement. You have been a part of its early formulation. And perhaps it can be said that the dailiy artists influence others through their art and that they enjoy being appreciated. But perhaps you have shown it is more than that.

  4. As you know, the truly great artists changed the world by affecting the worldview of others through their expression. And like the Olympic champions of old, we observe that the torch gets passed from generation to generation. But the Olympic endeavor message has similarities to the artistic endeavor, the triumph of humanity over the the struggles of life, the noble message of pure things that are to be aspired and expressed rather than the base things, the physical/mental/emotional struggle to be the best, to reach one's unique potential, to leave a legacy, to get it right, to be remembered in the flow of humanity. We each have a part to play. I am part of your legacy. You have made a difference in my life and how I see the world and what I should do in my time remaining however long that should be. I also am preparing to pass the torch along the timeline of the artistic endeavor. But it is not just about art, is it? I am more sensitive to my frailties and my weaknesses. My limits are more known to me today. I am bounded and constrained. For me, much of your message is about how short a time we have here in this life. To surmise otherwise is a fool's errand. There is great wisdom about the human condition in your story, Scott. So I endeavor,in my small part to play on this stage, to pour myself and my life's experience into others. And may attempt to do just a little art along the way as one medium of expression. But the true artists have changed the world. Just as you did for me. Thank you. jim

  5. Jim, I have no idea if Scott ever read what you wrote, but if he did, you have justified his existance and battle in a way no one ever could. I would like to copy and share this with his family when the time is right, what a gift you have given to those that love Scott and have believed in him and his passion. I'm in tears as I read and write, but I am finally at peace because you have put into words that Scott's public journey has made a difference, it matters, and it will change the lives you and others who read this forever.

  6. Reading this whole thing has brought me to some important realizations. Things that have been lacking in my life recently and this has brought light to them all. Scott when I first met you I was struggling with unemployment as well. Your passion and desire to make it as an artist brought me hope and really inspired me in so many ways. I was in the middle of graduating from college and make a mark on the world myself. Strange as it may sound but I was going through the same mental struggles myself trying to make ends meet without a job and find relief from the experience of feeling worthless even for five minutes. Seeing you, talking to you about the things that bothered you and you dreamt about in our first interaction gave me a much needed boost. I needed to hear and witness you. You and Kristen came at a point when I needed to hear what I could be and could do because when I graduated. I was petrified that it was the end of my art career and in a way it was for a while. I haven't touched a canvas in two years since I have graduated struggling to pay my bills and exist in the world. I have made excuses as why I haven't painted and the bottom line is that I have been uninspired and felt afraid. But I have a painting in mind that I am going to make JUST for you. Your life does and will forever matter Scott. You just don't see it. -Ashley C.

  7. Ashley, I can't wait to see your painting, you are a phenomenal artist. Scott's legacy is that he wanted everyone to be appreciated for whatever it is that they do. I often argued with him (mistakenly) because he wanted "juries" to be banned from shows. I was wrong. Art is for everyone, that is his dream. Keep making art.

  8. this post makes me cry every time I read it. I realize just how much he did appreciate his support group and how selfish I was when I didn't understand his pain. I have a photo of us that day, the last time Scott was really "Scott" I will treasure it always.