The usual rhythms of the rat that lives within one’s room are erratic by one’s own habitual standards. This being of course one’s animal nature which in the Darwinian sense tends towards the expeditiously mercurial. That lumps one’s obsession, one’s concern, one’s passion and a few other randomly visited sides that form into a singular, sometimes unfathomable, beast. One that is just as unrecognizable as that left to right reflection that pretends to be me. Something that I would at times rather do without but creeps back in at night when I am powerless to stop it. Just when you think your having a good day, the rat shows up. And like any Rattus norvegicus, its greatest talent is an ability to gnaw into anything and then contaminate it. Mine own is especially adept at spoiling otherwise perfect thoughts or leaving its droppings about so that there seems an unwholesomeness about one’s self that makes one wish they could throw out the baby with the bathwater. But, without keys to the 110th floor sky deck, its just something that annoying as it is, one has to endure.
I was told by an old friend who in his young adulthood had studied at Pratt in New York when many of the European emigres were still depended upon teaching jobs to keep their studios warm enough for the art dealers to visit. He related a story whose source was most probably Franz Kline, the abstract painter whose famous colleague, Willem de Kooning, once received a studio visit from Leo Castelli the art dealer, who was interested in buying some of his work. As Castelli walked up the stairs to de Koonings studio he saw the hall lined with exceptional examples of the artist’s work sitting out in the hall as if on their way to the alley. Upon seeing de Kooning, Castelli inquired why the studio was empty of everything but a primed blank canvas where all of his finished work was stacked outside the door. de Kooning replied, “because I have to find that damn rat!”