San Francisco,
Morning of May 22, 1999.

Dear Emily,

The sun laid quietly on the grass, where daisies blossomed and danced, hushed by the strong northern wind blowing heavily over the large square where beggars peddled for filthy coins and people walked steadfastly. The pathways of gray concrete snaked along the curbs, highlighting the contours of the square, which rested quietly in the middle of very tall buildings which housed flags, ads, and billboards. I was alone, painstakingly alone.

The scenery could have been a perfect inspiration for a poem.

But watching the men and women strolling around in their unique, yet blase style, left very little to my imagination since the scene proved itself so strikingly real that no one, in their right mind, should have thought about finding Art on that square and its inhabitants.

My thoughts, involuntarily, led me to a simple conclusion: That square, although unique in its own sense, was conspicuously common and I should disregard it as I would disregard many other things in life, such as stupid movies, vulgar people, idiots, or any other form of life that should be placed in the level of complete contempt.

My cynicism pervaded every inch of my body and, without an explanation or a strong reason, it completely vanquished my artistic instincts. My feelings kept telling me there was nothing in this world more mundane than a square, and flowers, and grass, and people walking.

So where is the poetry, dear Emily? Where is the Art? Yes, for if there is no Art form in a square, and people, and grass and flowers and sun, what else is left for one to talk about in a Saturday morning enchanted by coffee, muffins and bagels?

Yet, and you will be able to identify our old conversations in this paragraph, I believe Art should not be consumed by the ordinary or the extraordinary for there is little one can do to define what Art really should be, or, for that matter, what poetry should be.

The most intense feeling in the world could have taken place just before my very eyes in that square and, being myself completely oblivious to it, it just rushed by me like any other passerby. So Art, to answer your question, for whatever it is worth, is in the eye of the beholder for someone else should be able to find something more artistic on this square than I do.

Am I just incapable of such unsolicited deed or feeling? Do I lack the talent needed to see through the glass windows and weary eyes what other artists could identify in a heart beat? Or, maybe, and I stress the possibility, am I the one who's right and indeed there should be no Art in this square for it is, above anything else, just a simple, old, and dirty square?

Art, my mind mate, is only an attempt not a definition.

Be well,

-- Jake Stockton

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