Cover of I Remember You My Future

‘I Want To Be:’ Tamar Asadourian’s I Remember You My Future. . .

337
0

A “new unspoiled unchained order,” where the extraordinarily gifted are free to live in their own “solitude,” and not in an “isolation” imposed on them by the “chains” of the existing order, is what Tamar Asadourian seeks:

Let the mild breath of God disperse the boundaries

of understanding.

Let the very deep azure of solitude reveal its angels

and replace isolation.

Finally let the autumn leaves and cold rocks and fresh mud

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

fill up the old screaming chasms and fashion a new ground.

Many of us know Tamar as the accomplished pianist, a prodigy who, at 16, was widely acclaimed for her “intelligence, creativity and performances” at New York’s Carnegie Hall. This newly published collection of her work, I remember you my future… (Naregatsi Art Institute, Yerevan, Armenia, 2022), reveals to us the artist and the writer as well. The poems, the short prose pieces, and the artwork assembled in the handsome volume explore, with a shocking sincerity, what it means to be “human.” The young artist dives deep into her soul to “recite psalms of woeful introspection,” but also to “Thank [God] for my life.” Tamar may offer God “my purest praise,” but deep in her heart she knows that there is no peace on this earth for “the darkened children/in need of your bright light.” “I hear those who suffer,” she writes with disarming simplicity.

The poems do in fact are an unbridled expression of the “fear and pain” Tamar lived through in her 40 years on this planet. The young artist — most of the poems included in the book were written before she was in her mid-20s — is torn between her thirst for life — “Please don’t take it from me now. I implore you. I have yet to write, yet to sing from my heart that which you have given me . . . let my life be still on the agenda, not my death,” — and her knowledge that the “years ahead” will not happen. The connection between Tamar’s life and her art is evident.

The hurting youngster makes no attempt to shy away from the truth of her, and of others’, suffering. Indeed, rather than succumb to her “thoughts growing dark,” she begs for love, and for her grandfather’s “unstoppable victimless power, that strength of endurance,” so she can keep up the fight. The irony of her, “I thank you in advance for tomorrow, even if tomorrow ends a little early,” has no hostility, no aggression in it. ”I feel death upon me. And I don’t want it” is uttered with the same openness and honesty.

Most eye-catching in the attractive volume is Tamar’s artwork. Her compositions give the viewer the sense of the artist having approached the canvas with the “spirit of spontaneity” she writes about in “Painter/Poet.” Her creations are impactful and have enormous visual appeal. Most evocative of her inner pain are the five Self Portraits which become increasingly anguished with her years. However, even in her darkest moments, as when she writes of “the burden” of living, or of “my funeral,” what inevitably stands out is her commitment to expressing it all “wholeheartedly and truly.”

Tamar’s greatest virtue is perhaps her awareness of the imperfections of her work. The artist in her understands that achieving the “profundity” and the “humanity” of the greats, like Rembrandt and Shakespeare, takes toiling. She writes of Beethoven’s and of Gorky’s “constant reworking” and “endless versions and revisions” as part of the “creative ordeal.” The striving youngster well knows that “I have a long, long way to go . . . to be as great in my own art. . . . I’m under no illusions.” In fact, most of the pieces included in the book could be seen as “first drafts,” astonishingly perfect in their imperfection.

Topics: Books, poetry

The depth of Tamar’s insights leaves one in awe. This is how, at 17, she comments on the overwhelming presence of “tragedy and its sorrow“ in the arts:

There is a force, unseen and unheard even by the artists themselves, that attracts us

instantly to that which disturbs us, that which is able to take us where we do not want to go,

that which reminds us of what we try to forget.

It is unfortunate to me, that though its words are so loudly spoken, no one seems to be

listening.

In another instance, she writes of her habit of coming down “in the middle of the night just to play chords on the piano. . . . All this time I’ve been convinced that nothing could replace the commerce I had with that instrument. But I’m starting after all these years to realize that lines can vibrate too.”

Sketch of Beethoven by Tamar Asadourian

Speculating about what the “more years and years” Tamar begged for would have done is pointless. Tamar’s brilliance, the easy flow of her prayers, and her outspokenness are humbling enough. Tamar may have been stripped of life, but the book, a gift of the selfless collaboration of devoted family members and friends, gives her the ”more years and years” she was “desperate” for. I remember you my future… is evidence that her creativity lives on, even in death. The haunting part though is that the ailing youngster was pleading for love — “I am empty,/Because love/has not strengthened me,” — when, in fact, she had been given the “Gift Of Love.”

Mark Silverman, Tamar’s one-time piano teacher, has said that “Tamar is a genius.” Genius is a “burden” society may yet have to learn to tackle adequately. Rather than accommodate an individual who has total devotion to her own truth, or “an artist of uncommon sensitivity and intelligence,” to borrow the words of New York Concert Review’s Jed Distler, we often alienate and isolate the exceptionally gifted and make them long for other realms. In “When My Muscles Fail,” Tamar writes:

I sought to walk elsewhere, to some different place,

And, finding none on earth,

Scanned the heavens, and unto that

Vast space flew: …

However, “Even in this world of sorrow and gloom,” the ailing youngster glimpses, in the simple things of nature, the possibility for purity and peace. She writes of the “hand of woe” perchance relenting, bidding her stand in a “sunny yard . . . [where] there can be an entire symphony of hopeful voices.” Contemplating a possibility is liberating. Reconciling the “possibility” and the “chains” however is, at best, a struggle. A painful struggle that Tamar lived through heroically. Cognizant of the “burden” of her gift, “Genius, is often useless,” she wrote.

 

 

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: