Prior to my meeting with artist Cedric Harper I had emailed him a list of questions including a query about his sculpture, The Book of Truth. When we later met in a coffee shop, I noticed in his hands two pieces of paper. One was clearly the list of questions. The other I could not identify. A short slip with handwritten script. It didn’t matter. We began talking and what a wonder that was. Read more here. But as I started to rise that day, thinking our conversation done, he stopped me. “Cynthia, ” he said with a smile. “You haven’t asked me yet. You haven’t asked me about the Book of Truth. Not everybody notices that one.”
I told him that I had been struck by his use of color, the creaminess of the red, the smooth white upon the branches of the trees. Most of all I was made curious by the concept. “What’s in that book?” I asked him. As we began to talk about this book, our conversation ended where it had began, with family.
In Kansas, he’d grown up in a family with a strong oral tradition. Stories were told often and life lessons emphasized. Those words of wisdom heard as a child and words of wisdom collected throughout adult life infuse his book of truth.
He worked on that sculpture for quite a while. As he so frankly shared in the previous post, when his lover died in 1994, that was a pivotal moment in his life. “I was lost. It took 15-18 years to feel like, to know that, I had a future. Part of gaining that future was creating this box of truths, of memories and experiences lived.” He handed me the slip of paper.
We may all have our book of truth. Those words and experiences garnered throughout our lives that guide us in how we try to live each day. I appreciate the fact that Cedric Harper was moved to turn his book into sculpture. Here are some of his truths he chooses to share:
- Love is the escape from everything, an abyss of mind, body and soul.
- Every time one experiences a lapse in common sense the result makes them start over.
- Faith is to believe in things that we do not see and the reward of this faith is to see in what we believe.
- People should fall in love with their eyes closed. Just close your eyes. Don’t look … A. Warhol
- If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition. If you want to know your future, look into your present action. Padmasambhava
- Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you only see the manifestations … Lao-Tsu
- Power is a drink that few can refuse …
- There is a quake that rips the soul asunder. It is the pain of remembering.