‘NOTHING TOUCHES ME NOW’ by Richard David Lawman

It lay on the floor, in thousands of pieces, a shattered symbol of people’s faith in me.  And I watched it, staring for hours, hoping the drugs wouldn’t distract my attention, or cause my mind to dream up blurred visions that would confuse me.  As I watched the clay pot, staring intently for hours, a lump of guilt built inside of me, as piece by piece, the pot reassembled itself, and inch by inch, drop by drop, I was filled with the faith others have shown in me.

Being a creator is scary.  One can’t comprehend how it’s done, as one doesn’t want to become aware of the process, of all the tiny wheels and cogs, their alignment and relationship with one another, or see the blueprint of the mind; because once someone sees the blueprint of the mind, it crumbles away, your awareness of the part of the universe least discovered by yourself will kill you.  It’s like fumbling in a darkened garage for a screwdriver, but realising that the whole point is not to find the screwdriver, it’s to fumble around, discover other objects, put them down, rearrange everything, and then one day you might find the screwdriver – but that’s not the point.  Whatever you do, don’t turn the light on.

I had no idea how I came to be like this, in an old, weathered terrace, red bricked and tired, housing my creations in it.  The lives of those next to me seemed so crushingly plain and unexciting, and frightening, but most of all, alluring.  I knew I needed normality, some mundane responsibility to ground me, but it never seemed to come.  How old am I?  I have no fucking idea, absolutely no idea whatsoever.  Maybe forty, fifty, or even twenty.  I can’t remember.  Nothing in this shell bears any mark of time, no comparisons can be made, no calculations carried out to determine how old this bag of bones is.  But that’s not the point.  But what was the point?  I needed to reach a level, find a place whereby I was unaffected by the world around me, find a place in which I could create my masterpiece, the one that would let me go, the one which I could sell to an art collector for millions, retire and rejoin the real world after so many years.  I needed to find a place in which nothing touched me.  Nothing at all.

The creating happened when it needed to happen, and it came in every form.  I am a painter, a sculptor, and a writer – although I haven’t written for a while.  The problem with my painting and sculpting is the fact that with such acts of creation, came the need for my inner self to balance the world I was living in.  In the heightened ecstasy of creation, came the desire to destroy, to undo and to reset everything so the process could be started over again.  I have no idea how many paintings I’ve painted, but there aren’t many left to show now.  Most of them have been destroyed, by myself, in fits of the most violent temper.  Burnt, on a fire, whilst I wept sorrowfully beside them, wishing I could undo what I had done, but realising, that by this very process, I was undoing what I had already done.  The world didn’t deserve my creations, and with my temper, came a worldly responsibility which compelled me to relieve us all of my hideous creations.

But there was something which stood out, something I had never destroyed, and never could.  It wasn’t made by me, but it was affected by me.  My son made it, years ago, the son I never saw anymore, and fleeting reminders raced through my mind: blurred pictures, muffled voices, echoing and drowning each other out, making it impossible to manifest a figure or a voice in my head, to remember what he looked like.  That was my guilt.  It was something I could never destroy, because my son made it because he had faith in me.  Why?  Again, like with most things, I had no idea.

The gift was a small clay pot.  It wasn’t atheistically beautiful, or particularly well made, it wouldn’t have ticked the boxes those retards who call themselves art critics.  It did its job, like all art should – it moved me.  It made me feel something different, an emotion which dripped bright sky blues into the inky reddy-brown of my world, drop by drop, the colours would change and everything would become lighter and more beautiful.  It made me feel like nothing touched me.

I can’t remember the last time I ate, or the last time I drank or the last time I slept.

The fury came over me again.  It came from the back of my head and rushed forwards, drowning my consciousness with rage.  I tried to fight it, I tried to reason with it, but it made me feel so furious.  It came all because when I picked up my cup of tea the glass coaster was stuck to the underneath, and before I could catch it, it peeled off, crashed down and shattered on my perfectly clean floor.  It fucking shattered everywhere.  I could have remained calm, and brushed the pieces up, but I didn’t.  I threw everything near me at the walls, I grabbed the side table and turned it over, I frisbeed my only remaining glass coaster into the television, spiking the glass and sending a delightful spiders web across the screen.  I tried to fight it but I couldn’t.  Next, I found my hammer.  And then it all really started happening.  My latest sculpture, the bust of Orwell, something I had been working on for months, my greatest work to date, met my hammer and blow by blow, it was reduced to crumbles of marble on my carpet.  A nose lay here, an ear there.  It was horrific.  The tears welled, and I crashed to my knees.  Exhausted, I crawled through the splinters of glass and marble, cracks of the TV glass delicately filling the air.  I gasped for breath, for some sort of explanation; it took me five minutes to breathe.  It wasn’t long before the comprehension of my actions hit me, and sure enough, as it always happened, the rage filled me in seconds again.

I found it and held it, for the last few seconds, this old, clay pot with it’s badly carved inscription, “I believe in you”, and I savoured it, knowing I wouldn’t be able to resist.  And then I hurled it against the wall.

The next morning, I left the house for the first time in months.  It was windy and there was a chance of rain, but the cobwebs, thick and sticky, couldn’t cling to the rafters of my mind.  I didn’t need to comprehend what I saw, for I knew it already.  I savoured every moment of it, as I watched that small clay pot reassemble itself, magically knowing how to piece itself back together, and leaving no traces, no marks, nothing other than another blurred memory thrown into the depth of that haunted mind of mine.  I knew that other’s faith in me would always outlast my own, that without others I was nothing, and that was something, that with a gentleness and a subtleness I always dreamed of, pushed me out, into that dreamland, that state of mind I always fantasised about – and now I could create my masterpiece, the thing people would remember me for.

The end was in sight.

But had I been here before?  How many times had that old clay pot reassembled itself before my eyes?  How many more miracles would need to take place before the message sunk in?  I still had no idea, because as I walked out in the light, I thought to myself,

nothing

touches

me

now

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Richard David Lawman is the chief Writer/ Director/ Producer of ‘The Putty In Your Hands’ production company. He can be found and contacted at  http://richarddavidlawman.com/ and http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/richard-lawman/24/966/182

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