It is Too Mysterious

JamesJarAvailableThe phrase, it is too mysterious, could mean many things. It could connote a sensation of dread or one of elation. It could be a warning or an invitation. Today I think of the phrase in a contracted form, “It’s too mysterious”, and I do so as a result of death. Each culture deals with death in its own way, and respectively, each individual does the same. Death is quite mysterious, perhaps the ultimate mystery, and yet it is the inevitable event that we all must face. But that is not why “It’s too mysterious” makes me think of death today. In many ways death is a lifelong companion. Our own personal death is always right there, at our side, waiting for that moment when it can finally embrace us. This also is a mysterious concept, yet again, not exactly the reason for my writing. Today when I think of “It’s too mysterious” I think of a very specific painting.

James Zar - "It'sTooMysterious" - 24x30 © 2015

James Zar’s “It’s Too Mysterious” Oil Painting

You may be asking yourself why you are a paragraph deep in this article, and yet I find myself here with you, also wondering. Of course part of me knows why, and yet somehow part of me doesn’t. James Zar died earlier this week, and aside from being Chet Zar‘s stepfather, he was an incredible visionary artist. Jimmy, as I grew to know him, played an integral role in the creation of I Like to Paint Monsters, and similarly played a significant role in Chet’s life. Earlier this week as I sat at my editing suite, cutting together what would become the DVD bonus features, Jimmy was embarking upon his next journey – the same journey we will all take. I was keenly aware of what was occurring, and yet was required to remain focused on the task at hand, scrubbing over his interview footage in search of the proper outtakes to include. I was watching this beautiful man, his eyes sparkling as he discussed the things closest to his heart: his family, his life, and his passion for painting. Here, in front of me, breathing, smiling, and laughing. Elsewhere I knew his body was dying. I was not sad; I am rarely sad about death, but I was something. I simply could not put my finger on that something, perhaps it was too mysterious.

James Zar image © 2014 NRG Creations, Inc.

James Zar still-image from I Like to Paint Monsters

One of the reasons that I write, and perhaps one of the reasons that people read, is to “work things out”. The process of writing helps me to wrap my mind around concepts that would otherwise elude me. As I began writing the DVD Bonus Feature article on Friday I could not stop thinking about Jimmy. I felt an obligation to memorialize him, which I am sure results from my cultural conditioning. Another part me, the part that I guard from the onslaught of societal garbage, told me to leave it alone. “Why?” I inevitably asked. “I’m suppose to”, I insisted. I struggled as I wrote that article, a struggle with myself, and that smaller part of me won out with the word “sensationalism”. That part of me felt that writing about it in this venue, at that moment, was sensationalism. Right or wrong, I listened to it, as I have learned to turn a keen ear to my intuition. 

JamesZar, "Out on a Limb" © 2015

James Zar’s “Out on a Limb” Oil Painting

I realize now, having penned this article, that my intuition was protecting me. I was not emotionally prepared to write about it at the time. Death is funny like that. It often impacts the survivors in ways we would never imagine. Had I written about it on Friday I would have been giving it only 50%…shit who am I kidding, after 3 weeks of 14 hour days, 7 days a week editing, I would have been giving it 10%. Jimmy deserved better than that! Jimmy always gave it 100%, and I owed it to him to do the same. I come away from these several days with the reminder that everyone grieves differently, and I implore you to grieve in your own way! Do not look away from these difficult and sometimes ugly things, rather inspect them more closely. As usual I find myself sitting here alive, my own personal death just behind me, and all I can say is that it’s too mysterious! 

James Zar, Inner Forest, 19x16 © 2015

James Zar’s “Inner Forest” Oil Painting

 “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
~ Mark Twain

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