On Not Being Able To Paint 
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019
The eye should find out what it liked:
attacking creatures must be really within myself.
Something that often for months together
when beginning to make marks on the paper,
I tried drawing an imaginary room
bit by bit.
But I had no notion how
or where to begin.
It was more a dreaminess
that was the result of a half-waking spatial nightmare,
surrounded by an infinitude of space rushing away.
A garden looking down on it from above:
with an urge to study what they were actually about.
A girl in an underground train:
a harmless and innocent creature,
as well as a nasty one.
A transfiguration comparable
in a small way
to the transfiguration of falling in love.
The peaceful summer morning
into a raging fire or a blasting blizzard.
The death of an oak tree by its voraciousness,
the sheer ‘thusness’ of its existence in space.
The rows of dots in the body of the mannikin,
the gradually growing sense of its ‘thingness.’
The same idea of a deadening routine
being hauled back over the abyss.
What happened when the drawing that emerged
was nothing but an unrecognizable scribble?
It became clear that they were not only clues.
It did not feel entirely like a retreat,
it felt more like a search.
An inherent as well as an implanted morality,
a going backwards perhaps.
Then I began to notice something else:
a going back to look for something
which could have real value,
if only it could be recovered.
What were these spiritual dangers?
Fear of new possibilities,
the separateness or togetherness of objects.
What should have been dialogue
would degenerate into an extreme monologue.
The childish belief in oneself
as the center of the universe:
the irreducible ‘I’,
The Angry Ape and its rage
but also the urgent need for controlling
the anger they themselves aroused:
‘That which is above is within.’
No fixed boundary between twilight and darkness,
only a gradual merging
with violently distorting results
totally dependent upon
the transferring of matter
from outside to inside
and from inside to outside
a fear of being mad:
losing all sense of separating boundaries.
People must surely be afraid
that their hold upon reason and sanity
An experience so intimate and vital
must be kept remote and safe
from the cold white light of consciousness.
I now remembered Goethe’s idea of colour
as something which happens
when white light and darkness meet,
where white merged into red,
A meeting of the conscious inner eye
and the blind experience of colour as something
moving and alive.
Having reached so far
it was now much easier to understand
the potentially sinister aspect of creation
the comparatively sophisticated destructiveness.
Guilt and remorse
certainly threw further light
on the nature of such moments of illusion,
experienced in physical love
combined with in-loveness,
and how such shut-out parts can remain
primitive and cruel.
All these meanings
must not be seen or known,
a state of blissful transcending of boundaries.
Symbols used for thinking about the creative process,
no one differentiated from the other:
All the excited mess.
It was safer to remain ignorant,
now it was necessary to ask another question.
There is more of the ‘me’ in the ‘not me’
and more of the ‘not me’ in the ‘me’?
 Field, Joanna. On Not Being Able to Paint. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1957.