Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Frankly speaking

A few days ago I had written this really horrendous post about my kids getting the stomach flu, and how it made me feel all maternal, but then, after re-reading it, I decided to delete it - it was just too gross!  I mean, vomit just really isn't that interesting or funny; the gag factor is too extreme.

So I think I need to cleanse myself and write about something beautiful and pure, and the first thing that comes to mind (aside from my kids, and after the aforementioned stomach flu experience, I need a serious mental break from them) is my father.  His name is Frank William Kirk, and he is about as gifted an artist (just my opinion) as a person can be.  He creates these GIANT oil paintings with intensely colored foliage and surreal humans entertaining each other or themselves, and occasionally a dog or two.  He spends hours upon hours out in his studio, and he is as passionate about his painting as my son is about his pacifiers, and that's saying A LOT.  (why aren't we told sooner they are actually baby meth?)  Picture a balding man with a mustache, wearing a paint-splattered apron, listening to jazz and totally focused on capturing the reflection of light on a tiny and perfect leaf upon his canvas.  (I have to go back for a moment to the mustache -- I have never seen him without it!  For my birthday every year I BEG him to shave it off, but no go.  I have finally come to terms with the fact that it will never happen.)  Anyway, his whole WORLD dissolves in that solitary leaf as he is painting it.  Can you imagine?  It's like total transcendance!  I have always desperately wanted to be as passionate about something as my dad is about his artwork, and to be so extraordinary at that something that ordinary life pales in comparison.

But aside from his artwork and his talent, my father is also the kindest and most gentle human being in the world.  He is generous to a fault, he would die for his dogs (Gucci and Bear, currently.  Don't even get me started about their names.), and he absolutely worships my mother (a whole other blog entirely!). 

Yes, yes, he has his faults.  Namely, a keen ability to detach himself from the real world.  Here's an example: we would take these two-month long family vacations in Europe, and by the end of it we were so damn sick of each other that my brother and I would be giving each other hourly bloody noses, my mother would be hysterically screaming she wanted a divorce, the car would be on its last legs and emitting black, putrid smoke from its hood, and there would be my father, frozen and squinting at some hedges in the distance, trying to figure out exactly what shade of viridian green he would use to capture their essence. 

And while he is so kind and gentle, he also has an incredible temper that flares up at least once or twice a year.  He has been known to slam doors so hard that china and stuff falls off the wall, and his favorite euphemism when he is really angry is, "Oh, go fuck yourself!"  I personally have grown to love this saying, and try to incorporate it into my daily conversations as much as possible.

It was definitely intimidating to have a such a gifted and extraordinary man for a father.  Especially considering that he came from an extremely poor background, he worked himself up to the top of his field as an art director in advertising, and he followed his dreams in only a way that I can ever hope to.  And even though my actual artwork is pale and weak in comparison to his behemoths, I could never, EVER, ask for a better father or a better human being to live up to.  So thank you, Dad, for all you have done and all you continue to do.  You are amazing.

So NOW will you shave your mustache?

By the way, his website is: