I love Doug Varone. I always find his work visually stunning, hypnotic, and to resonate with my life in some way. I first saw his work as a broke grad student a few years ago when I ushered for a private showing of some of his works-in-progress at 92Y. Doug Varone is also one of the nicest, most down to earth individuals I have met, which is highly rare in my field. As I was lugging gym mats across the studio for additional seating, Mr. Varone wandered by, Diet Coke in hand, “Hi there, I’m Doug, how’s it going?”
I love Doug Varone, his silver-hair and piercing blue eyes.
Last year in Boston, I attended a performance of Varone’s Chapters from a Broken Novel at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Spellbound, I took in these vignettes (chapters). Afterwards, in Q & A, Varone said that in building this work, he pulled quotes and ideas he’d collected over the years in his journals. The act of going back through years-old journals let him see himself, his life, and his work. At that moment in time, I totally identified with this idea of a broken novel. My life in the last few years has had some chaotic ups and downs for which I am just now coming to see some of these events for what they represent: the broken yet beautiful places in my life, beauty for ashes, if you will. Varone’s work covers a range of emotions from lighthearted one-off fits to melancholy heartbreak.
I have a habit of throwing away journals once filled, as a way of moving forward. However, I decided to look back at the one or two I still have to see what “chapters” emerge. Maybe, I’ll eventually be able to connect the dots for myself – there is a lot of unseen in-between with these quotes, and yes, some of them are really “special.”
You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star; you’re asking for too much; you make a living by what you earn; you make a life by what you give; It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for; Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t; Hate that I love you; Never let life’s hardships disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even saints or sages; Daydreamers are good at solving complex problems; Sometimes you have to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve; It is cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, & the waste of spirit; Art is a visceral encounter with the most important ideas of our faith; I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and career; I wish I’d known that not being perfect is okay; The worst feeling is when someone makes you feel special, then suddenly leaves you hanging, and you have to act like you don’t care at all; You know I love you when your mistakes never change my feelings about you because it’s my mind that gets angry, but my heart still cares; McDonald’s hamburgers contain only %15 real beef while the other 85% is filler & pink slime; I’m mad for: always being nice, apologizing when I didn’t do anything wrong, getting attached, & making you a HUGE part of my life; I pledge to live my richest life, take control of my money, be a source of support & inspiration for others striving for financial freedom; Our sense of concern for others gives our lives meaning; it is the root of all human happiness; If you didn’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears, don’t invent it with your small mind & share it with your big mouth; Don’t mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, & my kindness for weakness; Forgiveness sets the captive free; Forgiveness is letting go of what might have been; What should matter is whether or not you can live with who you are; You are not the thing(s) that happen to you, no one can steal your happiness if you remember who you are; you are healed, not when the pain goes away but when a purpose is revealed for your pain.