My twin brother, who keeps his versions of the past in order, would think my credentials for finding out what really happened are as suspect as the credentials of a conspiracy theorist. For when I am looking for proof or citing proof it often now has to do with what I see in art work that I look at in my head or in museums, and that remains forever in my psyche. My past in visual terms, the paintings I see, and then my visual images of the places from my life and what can be known from these places of the people who inhabited them. A full world that is now more real to me in visual than in verbal terms.
Real in much the same way as the paintings in museums that, since this search began, have told me so much about my own story. The deep dark forbidding woods of Hobbema capturing the deep dark woods I knew when very young and tried to believe for so long were comforting. The knife’s edge sexual horror and slasher death in Gorky so much like things buried deep in my memory, maybe too deep to ever coax out of darkness. And then memories entailing hope that come with the colors in a Deibenkorn abstraction, or the sight of a Matisse bronze girl, or light and color in anything by Monet, or the life in the Hellenic era statuary of the ancients when sculpture could for a time get beyond the merely ideal, or in everything in life, hopeful and horrible, seen in the eyes of Bellini Madonnas. These images in museums in some ways on a footing with the strong visual pictures I retain of actual people and places. I am not big on allegory or myth, nor on the archetypal, and yet I know as much as I know anything that where visual images lead me has taken me as far as, or farther than, any other versions I have known or concocted.
Partly as an insomniac and partly out of fascination I would when young retrace in my head patterns of life. As in looking close at every girl of every stripe that I had ever slept with, and then every one that I had wanted, the way right now I look at each of these new people in this unexpected time of change. And then I would, and still do, run through the rooms of museums where I am moved, knowing exactly what painting is where, knowing when to look right or left, knowing what is ahead.