Monday, December 03, 2007

Emerging Anima/Soul

The Emerging Anima (soul) was painted in January of 2003 while I was living in Florence, Italy, on via della mosca 4, just a block from the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, and Palazzo Vecchio. This is a very busy painting, as you can see, full of life, a celebration of soul, you might say.

I was completing my first full year in Firenze. It was a very productive period. I wrote my fourth novel, Maria Novella as well as a fifth novel, The Reclaiming, during my first year's stay in Europe.

The Emerging Anima is. . . well, it is a rendering of my soul, of what was taking place in my inner world, new life or better yet, new lives were being birthed. A year earlier, I had turned my back to family and friends, walked away from my personal history/dream and set off in search of myself, the many cast aways that had been discarded along life's roadside while adapting to the conventional American standards that 'supposedly' defined what it meant to be a man, or better yet, what it meant to be human. Yes, having become disillusioned, I had finally found the courage to thumb my nose to the American Dream, the pursuit of material possessions and the proffered illusion of freedom. During this period, I was free to wander about without a plan, without labels, without all the 'have to's' and 'must do's' that had been loaded into my napsack over the years. I was no longer bound by an identity, tied to the patriarchal logically power-driven commercial standards. And during this unique period, I met Her . . .

Actually, I became reacquainted with many aspects of the feminine as you see their images emerging from this painting, but most importantly, I had finally earned the right to be graced with Her presence, the larger than life blonde woman who is emerging from the sea of the unknown with a flower before her mouth. For forty some years, I had searched for Her in the ephemeral world and it wasn't until I became lost to an image of myself and the many illusions that I once believed defined, fulfilled and sustained my existence. . . only then could I be introduced to my bride, my inner consort, the faithful one who all along has been right there within, silently bearing the brunt of my many infidelities as I turned the world upside down, searching for Her.

I often feel guilty, for having lived such a selfish life, for all of my vain and foolish pursuits. It has all been fueled by a vast emptiness, this wreckage left in my wake. Sure, mother and father, family, friends, lovers, and even my distorted images of religion and God have all failed me in many ways, as everyone is failed when the longing for one's desire is far more then human. No, this emptiness is beyond humanity's capacity to heal. And had I not been failed, I wouldn't experience the freedom to be living an authentic life today. Instead, I'd be stuck with the masses, in the Garden of Eden, blindly following and living a life void of authentic knowing.

When people ask what I do in life, most often I avoid telling them that I am a writer. My writing is harsh, it is crude, it cuts through layers of lies, the layers of lies that I was buried beneath for many years. I've had to write, I've had to expose these falsities, whether they were my own, familial, religious, cultural hand-me-downs, or the modern day zeitgeist. And I wouldn't go back and change that one bit. I wouldn't retract a single word that I've written, even after learning with the passing of time that my once expressed views and beliefs have been proven wrong. Writing, the recording of my work is simply my processes and I reserve the right to be wrong, make mistakes, and evolve as a human being. As harsh, exposing, and damaging as my work may seem at times, it is still about Her, it is about recovering what was/is rightfully mine, and if I must bear a burden of guilt for being true to self, then so be it. My life's calling, my writing, profane as it may seem at times, ultimately is about reclaiming soul.

Mel Mathews, is the author of several novels, including the Malcolm Clay Trilogy (Fisher King Press). His books are available from your local bookstore, a host of on-line booksellers, or you can order them directly from his website at:

© Mel Mathews - permission to reprint granted with a link back to

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