Georgia Fee has been and will forever be the most important person in my professional life.
I owe all these words, and all the words that come after these to a woman I had the happy accident to meet one day on Craigslist. I love that lady and miss her painfully.
Every trenchant phrase and heartfelt plea, every joke and every song, every review and every poem has Georgia's fingerprints on them.
She gave me something more valuable than even time or money to a young writer (though she fiercely gave me and many, many others those too), she gave me faith. She believed in me, in my crazy vision for art writing to stop being bullshit descriptions wanly given and instead to start aspiring to literature. She believed that levity, humor, and accessibility, alongside depth and aesthetics, were fundamental values. She gifted me a freedom I've only ever had to fight for.
Though I write the words "professional life," my profession, this vocation is not so easily separated from "life": alone, naked and unfettered by qualifiers. Professional is a bit of a misnomer besides. Writers and artists are not lawyers. We act with ethics and honesty, but we are not professionals. We abjure efficiency and seek instead the solace of beauty, no matter how crooked and circuitous the route. We are passionate to really say something and despite all economic encouragements to the contrary, we still push on.
Georgia always understood that artists and writers are punks, pirates, rebels, lovers, poets, drunks, maudlin and effusive, all too sensitive to the slings and arrows of a harsh world.
Ours is a gang of three-legged kittens.
Georgia created through the force of her will and her love of all misfit wanderers and artful dreamers a little sanctuary from the cold, it is this sanctuary that made me. I yearn in my life to extend her grace to as many as who are willing to take shelter in it. She was one of our own. We were hers.
She too was a three-legged kitten, a dreamer, a wanderer, a punk, a lover, a poet.
She too was an artist.
(Image on top: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Last Light), 1993, Twenty-four light bulbs, plastic light sockets, extension cord, and dimmer switch; Courtesy Walker Art Center.)