In 2004, I lived in Oakland on Miles Avenue down the block from Ted Purves, Susanne Cockrell, and their son Oliver. I lived at the corner of Miles and Hudson, one house in on the west side of Miles. Ted is an artist and educator. Mary lived in the house and I lived in the garage. The main garage door didn't open, I came in and out through the side door. I would pee in the yard instead of going into the house. If it was raining I would pee into the yard from my doorway. I lived in garages from November 2001 until June 2004. They had oil stains and beds in them. I got in bed fully dressed, I watched my breath fog up, I tried to stop shivering. Miles Avenue had a high work table and I put everything on that, my glasses, my hat, my keys. My door shut by hook and latch. I kept the laptop under the mattress. When I left, I locked the padlock. I flew to New York to go to the opening of the Whitney Biennial. Somebody put my name on a list, I went to a party. The Times printed a picture with the caption "Dancing at the Whitney". In it, I danced with a pretty girl, I wore loud tie-dyed gloves. Somebody called from NYC to let me know I was in the paper. My boss saw it and fired me right off. I had scabs on my palms from cracking crabs. The shells could be sharp. I cracked a thousand a day. My clothes stank, I left them in the yard. I would take a hot bath first thing when I got home. I emerged pink and steaming. I got a copy of the paper and put it under the high table until I broke my arm again and had to move out.
My life is different: I am married, live in Brooklyn, inside the house, and I am happy to be here. Sometimes on the weekend we go to see art shows. One Saturday afternoon, we went to Printed Matter. I remembered Ted mentioning that he sold stuff there years ago. I asked if they had anything, and they looked through a binder of small books and came up with his 'Rain Work' from 1996. It is a small artwork that was created by being left in the rain. It is is reproduced here in its entirety.
Ted Purves, Rain Work, 1996.