Why I’ll Never Be an Artist

My mother says I’ll never be an artist because I haven’t suffered enough. She has just finished telling her rock-picker’s story.

My cousin is an artist too, and he’s sitting on the couch, in my living room. His mother is my mother’s sister. She agrees. That’s right, she says. You two know nothing of suffering.

Nobody says anything then. Except History, which grudgingly opens its case and starts drawing the old bow back and forth across the strings.

For forty five years, the Buddha repeated: “I teach only suffering and the transformation of suffering.”

Our mothers wipe their noses. They have been crying. They are still mourning their own mother’s dying. How little they knew her. The things they never told her! There is so much they didn’t understand.

And into their eyes comes a light too lonely not to recognize.