Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wisdom of a Spidey-Tot

This is the first time I’ve been in town for Halloween in some years, and the first ever for decorating here.
The real problem, you see, with creating something Halloween in my front yard, is the yard.
It’s similar to the obstacle I must overcome each time I make a sculpture, i.e., I must create an entity that can hold its own in surroundings I can’t control.
When I create a painting, I can fill the negative spaces with whatever I want. If it’s going to be a scary image, the corners and farther regions can be shadowy spaces. I need go no further; the viewers will equip those shadows with horrors that live in their own minds. Or, I can surround my figure with solid black, taking it completely out of this reality and placing it in a void where anything is possible---including the figure.

So, back to my front yard. That difficult canvas. There’s not a gnarled old tree, bare
branches reaching like blackened fingers into the darkening…..
No, nothing like that. Hell, there’s not even a tree with leaves, except the orange tree. And, sheesh, how much more cheerful can you get than an orange tree??
It’s damned depressing.
There are eleven palm trees. I use the term “trees” loosely here, you understand, as a palm tree is merely an overgrown type of grass. Ours don’t even produce coconuts or dates, only date beetles, which look suspiciously like big flying cockroaches to me. And, once a year, flesh colored little worms that get in and seem to materialize on the ceiling.
So, there are eleven palm trees, an orange tree, a ring of small olive trees, a cedar fence on one side, a wall on the other, bright blue skies, mountains and happy, happy just mocking my black October soul.

The answer to the problem is, I believe, to go with the surreal.

It’s the only way, I think, to work with what’s there. Right now, in my head, I see a pack of giant rats. Right. Short trip after all the rat, rat, ratty, rat work I’ve done for the past few weeks. But really, a pack of rats, one exploring the mailbox, one on the roof, one digging in the trashcan and another climbing the fence… Looks good---ain’t happening. Not this year. Not that much time.
But I can get it started. I could make one big monster, probably the one for the mailbox. Our carrier is such a grouch. He’ll just love that.
Hmmm. So much other work to be done. Do I dare take a couple of days off to make a yard rat?
Orion is enjoying a Halloween costume on a not-Halloween day. There seems to be some connection here….but what?

Oh yeah…he’s wearing the Spiderman getup for the fun of it.

What was I thinking? I somehow forgot about doing things for the fun of it.

There you go. Problem solved. Just like that. Cup of coffee, started writing and figured it out. Hmm, I think this is how I meant this journal to work in the first place. Thanks, guys! I’ll keep you posted along the way. Would you be interested in watching wire and paper become a giant rat?



K said...

I think you might find we would. We have boring lives. (Well, I have a boring life.)

The pic of SpiderOrion is lovely - he's even doing that authentic Spidey crouch!

mooney said...

Yes, Please and Thank you. We like watching rats come to life.

jordan's mom said...

Would we enjoy watching you create something from scratch for our favorite season and holiday?

Absatively! (To quote Graham Coates, a rat-like creature in his own right...)

As you were describing your HappyHappyJoyJoy yard, I was rather struck by the circle of small olive trees, which conjured up images of a rather depraved Fairy Circle...Maybe you could play with that for a future year?

FYI - I had a long-time maintenance client stop by for a session not too long ago, and she noticed right away my growing collection of ratties on the coffee table and light stand.
"Oh, how cute!" she exclaimed. "Look at all the little mice!"

I set her straight pretty quickly.

Carl V. said...

Pictures of the rat in progress would be great although I was really looking forward to your ideas on how to make oranges look scary!!!

Quixotic said...

Yes, yes! Would love to watch a Halloween rat creation come to life!

Carl V. said...

Nice Anansi Boys reference, Jordan's mom! I'm almost finished with it and am enjoying it immensely.

Really_Rather_Not_Nice said...

Surreality is the way to go, indubitably.

One of my favorite-ever Halloween decoration ideas came from William Joyce (Author/Illustrator of George Shrinks, among others) who takes giant inflatable parachute-material balls, and paints giant blood-shot eyes on them.

Then he and his family idyllically play with the giant eyeballs while waving at the neighbors.

I love Halloween.

Rats, giant or otherwise, are always interesting, especially in their various stages of creation. I have a couple of poems about rats, but one is awful and the other... actually the other is about mice, and doesn't apply, and was too cutesy to mention... so... I don't really have any poems about rats.

Or swamp monsters really.

No rats or swamp monsters.

I need to get to work.

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