Big Druid in his Cubicle - Arts on Main
BIG DRUID1 IN HIS CUBICLE2
For the DRUID, as I guess for most other people, writing about oneself is horrifying. One lies without knowing because one tries to make others see personal things in a certain way. Everything trips up equally on pretence and the refusal to be pretentious. Writing stinks, because it can be held as evidence – once written, the thing stays written. Druids and gnostics are inherently from an oral tradition. I take my cue from that arch-druid who was crucified for what he said, not for what he wrote.
In my younger years I was ridiculously religious – to the extent that I went into full-time preaching on the streets of Johannesburg and other South African cities. At the end of this phase, in my early thirties, without realising it, I fell prey to a rotten spell of lead poisoning (also called plumbism, colica Pictonum or saturnism) and was then subjected to twenty years of intense pain and discomfort. Driven to distraction I came to the inevitable conclusion that God is a fiction, but that He is nevertheless real. If you ask me today whether I believe in God or not my answer is unequivocally: “Yes, of course I do.” – and then again in the same breath: “No, I certainly don’t.”
Years ago I had all but memorised the entire New Testament and while poisoned, I was on a quest to understand every word in the more-than-twenty volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. I felt I had a keen grasp on where the notion of God came from. I also set myself the impossible task to know every plant on earth by its botanical name and to tell it apart from all other plants. Not being able to sleep at night, I managed to write about fifteen dictionaries and transformed some of them into art installations. While raising a family, I kept to a stoic, Spartan, monk-like way of life and to cope with the neuropathic discomfort, I made more artworks than anyone I knew. Working and red wine were my pain-killers – pills did nor work. When I worked, my head went somewhere else and I did not feel the bloody hurt. I had never drunk a drop of alcohol till I was thirty six and thereafter I felt compelled to drink all the wine produced in the Cape, literally. At the end of this time I could no longer walk and the doctors, especially the specialists, told me to cut down on my lifestyle. I should be thankful