Art is subjective. What one dislikes, another likes. The tanka poem above is not a tanka but a comment made by a reader that I made to look like a tanka. When I was in high school, I painted paintings that garnered attention and won awards. My parents, however, didn't share the same enthusiasm, and told me what I was painting was ugly and not real art. It wasn't long after that I quit painting. I'll never forget the day when I received a letter from my parents while stationed in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta that read: "Your mother and I visited an art museum today and saw many works on display that resemble what you did a few years ago. I wish we'd encouraged you. . ." My father's words made me angry and I felt like writing him back and saying: "Thanks for nothing!" I'm glad I didn't.
I am an individual in an insecure world that values the herd instinct and one-up-man-ship.
As a child I tried hard to fit in, but never could; I believed in fighting for the under dog, wasn't afraid to march to a different drummer. When you have a high IQ, aren't one of the crowd, do and wear things others don't, and know how to organize and get things done, there is a prize to pay.
You are misunderstood, misjudged, attacked behind your back, rarely to your face, and it's usually by the same kind of people. Recently a person I considered a friend called me a tyrant and a bully, and said I brought about the downfall of something valued through the world. I realized at that moment, that he didn't know me at all, and therefore, could never have been the friend I thought him to be. I'm a damned good organizer but I am not the best leader. It's hard for me to be mean or to fire someone, or to criticize another's work. I usually let people do their own thing and empower them to do so. Many times people took advantage of me and I let them do it. I didn't want to rock the boat. Vietnam and the life I brought home to the U.S. and back to Southeast Asia to the Philippines affected me greatly. I am no longer the Robert I was in high school who was an athlete, weight lifter, award winning dancer, and eccentric individualist. Going through a marriage with a monster that tortured me and my children for eight long years, in addition to my advancing age, 60, has weakened me. The guy who posed as my friend, never saw me in action, the person who wrote the criticism above never heard an adverse word from me, my life dedicated to a journal I co-founded and steared to success the past 7 years.
The Wonderland Amusement Park, where things are never what they're supposed to be, where all is changing, the truth hurts, and from this hurt, we grow or torment ourselves. The poems you'll read, the haiga you see, are my diary for the past few days. All are my compositions. I hope they inspire you to open up more in your writings, to be faithful to your muse, and to encourage you to take chances, regardless of what the herd says. A strange place, this park, hiding under the dragon's shadow. Enter at your own risk. It'll repulse or inspire you . . . the infamous, "either or."
robert d. wilson
Dedicated to Moira Richards and Ray Rasmussen