I have been in this Central Valley motel room since Monday. It is my fourth and last night. I brought my sketch pad thinking I'd find subjects in the waterways. The leviathan grain elevators fascinate but it's rained nearly all week so no sketches done.
On Tuesday, I worked with "high risk" kids at a alternative school next to the railroad tracks. Latino, Hmong, Thai. I feel muscular: I can hold their attention with life stories. Thirty percent graduate and get jobs. The vice principal says that's a good success rate. She tells me about a kid who gets whipped by his father because his skin is darker than his siblings'. His back bears the scars.
Tonight, within these four spackled walls, I have eaten a Carl's Jr. flame-broiled burger, washing it down with a large diet Coke. Too much caffeine so I trampoline in my pajamas from one queen bed to the other while watching the Texas Obama and Clinton debate.
I am glad I decided to bring my laptop because it's time for an infusion of beauty at the closing of the day. I have meant to write about Robert Buelteman for some time. I keep going back to his photography like an obsession ever since his sister, author Jane Ganahl, gave me the link to his website, www.buelteman.com. In his "Through the Green Fuse" series, Buelteman dispenses with camera lense and "paints" with flora directly on photographic stock. He is Michaelangelo's God upon the Sistine Chapel, anointing into life with his electric finger.
His art makes the motel still lifes go away. With these images seared inside my eyelids, I will dream of home.
One more school tomorrow.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
826 Valencia Street