What I Should Have Said At My Father’s Memorial Service
My dad’s memorial service was this weekend.
There were a lot of old Artists there.
They come from an insular world in which Art is the only worthwhile endeavor, where “selling out” is the worst imaginable sin.
More than a few people got up to extoll his virtue as an Artist, his lifelong commitment to Art and being an Artist, and his keeping his promise to himself to always make Art.
They spoke of his legacy: His art.
(I guess I don’t really count. To them.)
I was in the room when they said this. They said it to me.
I saw the heads nodding along.
Invalidating my actual existence. Relative to almighty Art.
Old wounds scraped up. A roomful.
I’m told I went up and said some words.
I’m told I was generous.
Here’s what I should have said.
Art isn’t a legacy.
Art is poison pigments in glass cases.
Art currently taking up space in an empty house, needing to be housed until what… some magical surge of interest?
My father died alone. He died alone because he put Art first.
It’s not fucking noble. It’s childish, delusional and deeply selfish.
As was he.
My father was not there for me. He was there for Art.
He loved me when it was convenient.
Your precious Art cost him his family.
It’s ink marks on paper.
It’s not noble.
You are delusional.
I’m his fucking legacy.
Art can go to hell.
You want legacy?
Kiss your kids.
If they still talk to you.
If not? I guess you have your fucking precious Art.
What I should have said.