The Portrait of the Artist by his or her Mother

by Christos Polydorou

Like most artists I have a very powerful relationship with my mother. Because my father has always been emotionally unavailable to me, and recently, won’t even take my calls, I expect my mother, in the few minutes we speak each week, to be both my mother and father. Earlier she put our dog Betty on the phone, and I burst into tears. What it is about animals and children is that they return us to a place in us which we were certain we had lost, a dimly lit innocence, a cove, where the waters of eternal youth flow. I had never had a dog before I turned thirty three, and the relationship I have with that dog is unlike any other relationship I had known. It had never occurred to me that there can be so much love, and understanding, across species, before, as there might be between a person, and an animal. I have become more sensitive to this kind of bond now that I am older as opposed to when I was younger, when I was more rigid, more insecure, more unaware of the scope of my feelings, where they could take me if I just let them wash me away into the logic of their pentagrams. These are the two most important loves in my life, I would say. My mother, and her little dog. The loves of my life.