“Kallos, I’ve been wondering about things I can’t quite put my finger on. I suppose, in a way, because I’ve spent the last three years—damn near it—working on Sell The Monkey, a Memoir—autobiography, actually—I’ve neglected a part of my spirit that requires a different polish, or poison, or any number of different expressions we use to describe either one’s addiction or ecstasy. I don’t regret it, though. Not in the least.”
     “You shouldn’t. Did you learn anything about yourself you didn’t already know?”
     “Not really, Kallos. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did discover things I’d never thought about precisely in that way.”
     “Like what?”
     “When you go over what you’ve written so many times, looking for any number of hiccups—typos, wrong words used, words used too often, over-wrought or unnecessary expressions, split infinitives, being overly didactic or thinking something can be better said, or said not at all—then sure, you’ll stumble over something from your past that finally makes sense as to what was happening then and possibly why it happened.
     “Anyway, that’s not what has captured my wonder. Now I find my appetites for visual creativity have set upon me with such clamor that I can hardly go through the day without dreaming of deep-diving into huge pots of pigment. Acres of canvas, gesso’d and stretched, roll across my visual dessert like sky dunes. Honestly, it seems…and yeah, I know what’ll you say: “‘Just dive in.’”
     “So do it.”
     “Remember, Kallos; I just turned seventy-four. You were there.”
     “You’re concerned about age?”
     “Of course. Age and pain, as you know, are grumpy roommates. Pain hurts. Frustrating as hell. One can’t always do what one wants to do or should do. It’s what it is, though; it comes with the clock.”
     “But if you mean age in the sense of dying, of disappearing, no. As far as I can tell, Kallos, we only disappear to those for whom we’re dead. Beyond that…I can’t be sure.”
     “Uh-huh. So, back to your point. What’s your conundrum, if we can call it that?”
     “It was over ten years ago, Kallos, when I decided my paintings should get smaller and smaller until they’d be no bigger than a butterfly’s wing. I lied, of course. Big is in the works.
     “Now that the book tour is over, I’m getting everything ready to submerge myself into an extended period of painting. Projections have begun; ideas flit about like glittering confetti. I’m half-way through converting my living space into studio/workspace. I have five months before blast off, before I jettison into the mystery of my addiction. Painting. Process. Magic.”
     “What is it you’re visualizing? Or have you gotten that far?”
     “I think whatever appears will be about water. I can’t be sure. Part of the problem and, no doubt, the solution, lies in the fact that I live by the river. I sleep and dream by the river. Its music has threaded me into its story so succinctly, I feel both its joy and heartache in ways I can’t explain. In the dreams, water’s mystery lets me get only so close—I can almost touch it—then everything disappears, just around the bend.”
     “Then you understand.”
     “Understand what?”
     “The simple and obvious truth that mystery is a mystery because it cannot be fathomed.”
     “I suppose, Kallos, yes. And maybe its the pull of mystery that keeps us searching. I want to believe so, anyway…I’d like to find…”
     “…to hold onto…”
     “Never mind. Let’s go have lunch.”

artist, galen garwood

Galenicus, at the Battle of BVD, ca 1980

Even though I’m back home, doing what I love most, all those beautiful memories of my travels continue to sparkle.  Old and new friends everywhere were so generously caring…such a grand joy to be with everyone in Seattle, Port Townsend, Redmond; Bemidji MN; Charleston, S.C.; Savannnah, St. Simons, Island, Blakely, GA; Gainesville, and Fort Lauderdale, FL; Palm Springs, San Francisco, Crockett, Modesto, Auburn, CA, Whidbey Island and Edmonds, Wa; Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Ester Alaska. 


 For those who prefer to read via KINDLE or other digital devices.


is available  at:


  • On my experience with writer Nirupa Umapathy and her ‘Salon’ Events.
  • Great news about two new publications coming in from Marrowstone Press.
  • More conversations with Kallos  at the River.

PS: Speaking of disappearing,  long trips, saloons, whiskey, and wine, here’s a lovely new song by my friend, singer/composer Gordon Maul, who seems to know exactly where we go when we die.  Enjoy it!

Panom, Galen

Galen Garwood