The Don Hatfield method of relating to the world has always been to volunteer tons of intensity. This fact arises from an early obtained sense of missionary zeal. I figgered that since I got serious about Jesus early on--the whole damned (literally) world should get serious about Jesus. I got "saved" at 8 years of age in the Redondo Beach, California Church of God Independent Holiness in 1955. My mom and dad were not big on this event, but they did not stand in the way of little Donnie. My parents had watched my brother Dick sail off to fight the Japs in the Pacific in 1943 and had seen my other brother, Harold, make touchdowns for USC in front of 100,000 screaming fans in the LA Coliseum. If 8 year old Donnie wanted to hang out with a few weird church people--hell, that was no big deal.
It was April of 1959 when my sweet Dad dropped dead at his job on the corner of Rindge and Artesia in North Redondo, CA. It was like yesterday. The phone rang at 7:00 AM and Dad's co-worker Sandy told me that dad had a heart attack and that it was not good. I dropped the the phone, screamed at mom to get up, and ran down the street in my pajamas to Kenny Goodreau's house. Mom didn't drive, but Kenny's mother did. When we pulled into the gas station where dad worked--his lifeless body had been placed into the back of a cop car, and I began a process of grief that lasts to the present day. I was introduced to the notion of conditionally at that moment. That catastrophic change can sweep into your life at any moment became a constant bed fellow for Don Hatfield.
Only recently has "sweeping change" become a kind of dear friend. In the last 4 years both of my brothers have left the planet along with my nephew Steve, my aunt Ruth, my cousin Larry and a bunch of friends and acquaintances. Two of my closest art buddies have just said goodbye to their prostates while a few others have had the big zipper (open heart surgery). Change is happening aint' it? Its fun to know that I am in the cue. My last words to my brother Harold were, "...I'll see you in a little while....I'll be right behind ya..."
I like the ending of Cameron's Titanic where all the passengers who froze to death in the North Atlantic meet again on the ball room steps to welcome the young lovers to glory. Even Cameron had to throw in something nice and warm to offset the misery. Maybe we are all Avatars who will open our eyes someday and be 11 feet tall and have tails and blue feline faces.
Maybe you are a tough guy who knows that when you croak--its lights out. I think I believe that what you think about something does not necessarily make that something true. Anyway, the point is, I choose to believe that there is something more going on in our lives than getting high, getting laid, getting rich, getting smart, passing it all on, and then kicking the bucket.
The shifting around in our lives, the changes, the interruptions that come at us from within or from without, are confusing as hell. Change makes you hate God, makes you want to kill people, makes you want to kill yourself sometimes. You don't have to travel very far from where you sit to see that this is true.
The reason that God is so anxious to bless America, and since I speak for God,--is that our system is designed to mollify change, to ease change, to deny change, and to crap on change in general. Its hard to picture somebody crapping on change, but Od Nurdrum has done it in paint.
So instead of kissing up to Jesus whose style of absolute love and unique claims got him murdered by the church and state--we suck up to the collective (Jung) and create our own totem of values based roughly on our immediate environment and and fight like crazy to convince ourselves that everything will be alright. Good luck!
Listen--there are no unbelievers in the world. Even the most God hating SOB has cut deals with existence and believes that they are smart deals--at least as good as the next guys. "....I didn't ask to be put on this planet, so why am I now being fed this line that I had no say in creating.." What line?--that there is meaning, hope, a future, a saviour. I hear this all the time--at the gym, coffee shop--everywhere. Everybody has their own belief system, has cut their own deals, and is working it out in their own way in the brief span called a life time.
Call it getting old, getting sick, getting successful, getting something--its all change. You can give up, fight back, bitch, take a cruise, or go to Weekend With the Masters--it doesn't matter. We seem to be stuck here on this spinning ball bumping into one another and saying: "....excuse me, but I am in a hurry, and have things to do...I am on my way to embrace change..." Yeah right!
What some are doing is creating a legacy that they hope to pass on--noble indeed, but usually confined to the rich. What are they passing on?--a big fat repository of effort concretized in a will designed to give the next generation a shot at permanence. Although we all pass on something--some get to hire trustees to get it right--others, myself included, hope to pass on nothing--may it all evaporate when I die. In other words--may the misery, suffering, treachery, hate, abuse, violence, and indifference that I have let loose in the world disappear when I die. God, I hope so. I don't give a rip about the paintings I have done. I plan to give away most of the art I do from now on, which can be disposed of in anyway collectors see fit.
I know that many of you are "concerned" about Don Hatfield--I have lost my house, studio, credit rating, credibility, honor, mojo, authority, and a few pounds--maybe even my mind. I am smiling big as I write this--I love all of ya. So......? Please be relieved to know that I am dying and only have a little while to live, and so is everybody that I love so dearly--including you. I have no terminal ailment--I am talking about what is going on in me--not to me. I have cut my own deal with existence like everybody else. Here is a description of my deal: The thing that was planted in me when I got saved back in Redondo was dead right--the pressure cooker of change is the pressure of love absolute. Suffering, confusion--misery in general is temporary--comfort and joy are real--and the Steelers will win the Super Bowl. I have lived 64 years and have experienced a thing or two, and I have this hugh CONSTANT in my world--my television. Not really. Let me start over in a new paragraph.
I am so happy that I have gone crazy--to say nothing about all of the blessings that are being heaped on me--zero debt, zero commissions, zero whatever. Free at last to practice putting endlessly. I have all of my art supplies locked up along with everything else in storage. I am thinking seriously about quitting painting for a year or so. I am going to write a how to oil paint book on my new Power Mac and ride my $5000.00 bicycle until I drop my weight to between 164 and 173 lbs--down from 250.
The above is another way of saying that I am going to STOP until I get clear direction. I know that I have the ability to screw everything up, and I may continue my great enterprise of going to hell in a hand basket--but I doubt it. I have never been allowed to flop around aimlessly for long. Whatever or whoever has grabbed me in the past will probably do the same this time. This is fun. I am not as filled with as much fear and anxiety as in days past. My read on life is being confirmed on the left and on the right--yet I feel that I know nothing. I am seeing Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost under every rock and stone. I am even toying with the profound notion of terminating tobacco since it dulls my ability to be clear headed.
In short I am going to become an Apostle like Robert Duval in his movie by the same title. He walked around asking God what to do all day long. I don't plan to go to jail for murder, however. There are some old farts down at Peets Coffee who have consented to ordain me--so I am not dodging any religious bureaucracy.
So there you have it--more pithy aphorisms, more profundities, and some love for good measure--Don