Part 12: Justy in Time

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My new 1988 Subaru Justy was a suitable ride for an artist (me) entering grad school. A hatchback, it was perfect for transporting canvasses yet small enough to fit into any parking space. 

My mother didn’t like it. She called it a tuna fish can on wheels.


My cousin called it the transistor radio.


But I called it cute.

Okay, so it rattled a little. What would you expect from a car that ran on three cylinders? Still, despite its substandard-sized tires — which had to be special-ordered from Sears — the Justy possessed the oft-envied and much coveted front wheel drive.

One frigid morning in the suburbs, for example, my feather-weight Justy was the only car able to make it up the icy incline leading to the Long Island Expressway — much to the chagrin of those backsliding Cadillacs.

Studying art, studying what I loved, I finally felt as if I were moving forward. Attending grad school was like heaven to me, but my father could not fathom why I’d left a lucrative job selling dialysis supplies in order to paint full-time.

The Devil’s Dictionary, which, quite possibly, he might have thumbed through in days of yore, defines “painting” as: “The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.” 

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No doubt, he would have agreed wholeheartedly.



But, to be fair, The Dictionary has its own definition of “heaven” too: “A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.”

If that doesn’t sound like art school, I don’t know what does.

The truth is, time stands still (in the best possible way) when you are doing what you love. The trick is finding out how to do it indefinitely.


What I Was Reading: Ways of Seeing (John Berger), Life With Picasso (Gilot), The Poetics of Space (Bachelard), This Boy’s Life (Wolff), Darkness Visible (Styron), 84 Charing Cross Road (Hanff), The Weight of Water (Shreve), The Watercourse Way (Watts), Maps of Consciousness (Metzner), Breathing Lessons (Tyler), The Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), The Joy Luck Club (Tan), Love’s Executioner (Yalom), Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), Room With a View (Forester), On the Road (Kerouac), The Great Gatsby (again) (Fitzgerald), The Book of Ruth (Hamilton), Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung).

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