By Twilight Stray
There are two secret languages that I know from birth, as innate as the animal that looks through my eyes. The animal looks through my eyes because the eyes are it’s own. And the artist uses my hands, because they belong to the artist. I know two tongues, both drawn by the line. They are both as innate and old as the animal within.
My art is cave drawings scratched onto sandstone in a prehistoric, native manner. It is the renaissance of light being painted like angels and halos from my pencil-lead. I am the first thing to dirty a paw, dirty a hand with red clay and press it to cave walls, to say “Yes! This is me, this is what I am, and now others can see it as well.” Now I sketch long limbs, heavy paws and heavy fur. And I leave my mark. My mark is wolf, and my mark is my art.
I live a double-exposure life, trapped in a moving picture. I see wolf and girl sitting under a tree, wolf and girl stopping to examine a dropped feather, wolf and girl following the railroad tracks. Cameras have not become advanced enough to take these pictures of what I am, of what seems so obvious when seen through the right lens. So I must make my own pictures. I must draw wolf on the railroad tracks, wolf by the tree, so that they can see both parts of the picture. I must make paws and teeth and tails and narrow chest and shoulder-blades moving under think ruff because they can’t see them- a handicap that comes of not having the right equipment, I suspect. I wonder if what I see as the shortcomings of others is some failing on my part, but the thought passes.
So I pull out my Prismacolors and sketchbook and pens, and the animal looks out and marks a page, and the girl who is an animal looks out thorough eyes that are her own and leaves her mark too. Those marks are one and the same.
My second tongue is the written word, howls captured in bottles and pinned to paper with loving devotion and attention to detail. They still never sound the same as when they were left to float on the wind, but things pinned in the stone script of an Arial font never do. Dry ink does not have the liquid quality of language. But I make do with my metaphors and poetic musings, trying to convey what people are too deaf to hear, too blind to read. My frustration at what is so clear to me and invisible to others makes me lament whatever cosmic misstep that made things so hard to communicate. I try so hard to communicate.
I say I am a wolf, I say I am a girl. I say I am an artist and a traveler of many a novel, and many a world. And all good travelers leave their mark, just in case they need to find a way back or see where they have been.
By Twilight Stray