Monday, June 27, 2005

Lesser Noise

Our household is quiet lately, with Pete working upstate and Aubrey away. I’m taking a break from email and news, from the television, from shopping and (as much as possible) from phones. I’m making art, mostly, and listening to Sate’ and Smetana and Chemical Brothers. I’m visualizing, but I’m not acting on it. Not stopping to scribble notes in my book or making quick sketches to tack up on the studio walls. Not this week. I’ll let them zip on by. Zippity-doo-dah...

Orion and I built a bridge from an eclectic mix of blocks and other items that could be stacked but not very well. We seem to agree that the moment of swaying before the inevitable collapse makes us giggle most. We discovered that grapes don’t make terribly good blocks but rubber rats make passable ones.

Now that the mechanics and electrical work is mostly worked out, Ben and I are beginning the task of building the case for Dark Caravan’s as of yet untitled fortune teller. I look forward to working on this. I enjoy the smell of wood when I’m working it-- the shaping and smoothing. I’d hoped to show this piece at the World Fantasy Convention. I don’t think that will be possible as I’ll be unveiling it miles away at the Franks just the week before. Sooo…I’ll have to think of something else fun for WF.

I was thinking about some possible future where our internet relationships become our primary relationships. Already, I have dear friends with whom I interact solely through the internet. I don’t find my feelings diminished by the medium. But, I look forward to seeing those friends in person and I wouldn’t want to have less physical contact with the friends I can get together with. Touch is good. I like the weight of a real book in my hands. This is where Aubrey would call me “such a hippy” and I would remind her that I was more interested in eating love beads than wearing them, but I do remember life before the internet.
What if some horrible circumstance(or many small ones) made physical contact taboo? What if disease or environment created a need for physical isolation? Or, what if there is no catalysing event and time just marches on? I like cyberpunk just fine, but still, just now, I want to wonder about this for a bit without the hip characters, high tech gadgets and crisp dialog.

At the moment, I’m not interested in fiction. Likely I’ll see the answer when it gets here. I seriously doubt I’ll remember wondering, back here, this summer about this coming to be. I doubt I remember too many of the details of this years political climate (unless there's some galvanizing event) or which sculptures I made.
Probably I’ll remember making bridges out of blocks and rubber rats and grapes.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Orion is watching Clone Wars, sitting in his training pants (and temporary tattoo) on a comfy gamer's chair under the ceiling fan and eating a corn dog. Ahh, what a life. And, why not? He's three.

But soon, he'll be ready to start learning about cause and effect. He's learned the alphabet, is starting to read words, so linear thinking will set in. And then, it will be my job to teach him to contribute. It's so easy to forget to do this. We get busy, everybody working and doing their own things, living in their own heads. But it can be simple. Like Aubrey helping with the babysitting and picking up. And not for money, or favors. Why do we think we have to bribe our kids to do everything?? They are part of a family unit and pitching in helps them realize they are needed, and valued.

It's a challenge to me to remain vigilant in this because I get caught up in my artistic visions and thoughts and, well, okay, I get distracted because I'm a little nuts. (It comes with the job.)
This is important. We're a family unit. There are x hours in the day:x for doing necessary things and x for fun. We have to all pitch in so everybody benefits. If they learn this at home, might they not apply it to larger units, like maybe our country? We do what we can, and hope.

Phillip, my other son, is wrestling with this very issue from his point of view in the military. Monkey: Green, Black, and Brown He grew up with lots of comforts too, relative to lots of kids--though not quite as many as Orion. (I was younger and had less when he was three. )Now he's spent time in other cultures and after several years of living 'in the field' so to speak, with few comforts, he's gained some perspective but has become bitter about those who have excess and don't feel the slightest responsibility to give something back.

So, we can teach responsibility to our kids, against the overwhelming current of the media's teaching the absolute opposite. But can we do more than this as artists, writers, performers? Does having an audience give us greater responsibility?

What do you think?

If you're wondering why I haven't been posting images, it's mostly because my chief photographer is visiting her grandmother. And, uh, she took the best camera with her...
But work is going on...the SlaughterHouse is beginning to look a little scary.

And, we're still getting submissions for Tiny Stories, but there is room for many more. Please keep at it, and pass the project on.SlaughterHouse Studios: Tiny Stories

Friday, June 24, 2005

Space for Survival, Part II

Wow---Shame on me. Damn, that just about puts me in 'Trust No One' mode. Thanks for the additional information. (Thanks, Lucy, for providing the link!)

So, for everybody. Read the article hereUrban Legends Reference Pages: Crime (Triangle of Life)
At this moment, I remain convinced the safest place in our house is in Orion's massive bed.

I'll say this----when the ground is shaking there's no sense of security, false or otherwise.

Space for Survival Part I, To be taken with Part II

This information isn't brand new, but is news to me and important enough to pass on. I realize that only a certain percentage of my readers live in Earthquake Central, but almost everyone knows someone in California, and earthquakes aren't the only events that collapse buildings.
I'd be remiss, I think, not to pass this on.

THIS IS A MAJOR CHANGE HOW TO HANDLE THESE disasters: "THE TRIANGLE OF LIFE" - How To Survive an Earthquake... HIGH POINTS FROM DOUG COPP'S ARTICLE ON "THE TRIANGLE OF LIFE" - How to survive an earthquake by Larry Linn for MAA Safety Committee brief on 4/13/04.My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.
I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation (UNX051 -UNIENET) for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters. In 1996 we made a film which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul, Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did "duck and cover," and ten mannequins I used in my "triangle of life" survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the "triangle of life." This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life". The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building. They are everywhere.I trained the Fire Department of Trujillo (population 750,000) in how to survive, take care of their families, and to rescue others in earthquakes. The chief of rescue in the Trujillo Fire Department is a professor at Trujillo University. He accompanied me everywhere. He gave personal testimony: "My name is Roberto Rosales. I am Chief of Rescue in Trujillo. When I was 11 years old, I was trapped inside of a collapsed building. My entrapment occurred during the earthquake of 1972 that killed 70,000 people. I survived in the "triangle of life" that existed next to my brother's motorcycle. My friends who got under the bed and under desks were crushed to death [he gives more details, names, addresses etc.]...I am the living example of the "triangle of life". My dead friends are the example of "duck and cover".
1) Everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is crushed to death -- every time, without exception. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are always crushed.
2) Cats, dogs and babies all naturally often curl up in the fetal position. And you should too, in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.
3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. The reason is simple: the wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.
4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room, telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.
5) If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.
6) Everybody who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed.How?If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!
7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads. They are horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by screaming, fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.
8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible-It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.
9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles, says the author. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.
10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lesson I, part one*

It was 105 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, at midnight. The season of summer hate has begun. Last year we installed sprinklers in a couple of palm trees to simulate rain in the front yard. (I’m from the Deep South---I can’t survive more than twenty feet from a fern.) Yesterday it was like a steaming jungle---for eight minutes, twice a day. The ferns like it. We humans spend as much time as possible in the pool. Today was no exception.
Aubrey is in South Carolina, visiting her grandmother, Pete is working out of town. Orion and I were still swimming at least a half hour after turning to prunes. It was my turn to do a ‘silly jump”, which consists of striking a ridiculous pose (including facial expression) and trying to hold it until we hit water. Teetering on the ledge, I was frozen (think Wile-E-Coyote) making a face like someone watching the third clown wriggle out of their Daschund’s ass, when it occurred to me.
Would I pose thus if there were forty people here? People I know? People I don’t? (Would you?)
Doubtless I’m going to find out because Orion loves this game, rewarding the most grotesquely silly jumps with giggles and “that’s pretty good.” Inevitably he will put me on the spot with the finesse only toddlers wield.

I’m not advocating going around acting like a goof. Free expression is like profanity and farting in that it is inappropriate in some situations. What I do suggest is that we break through our fear of humiliation and bypass this particular self censor. In other words, when the time comes, don’t hold back.

What if we stop being afraid of the lime green crayon? Or we applaud if the movie calls for it? What if we say what we really mean or smile at someone passing by or once in a very blue moon, dance (or head bang) with gleeful abandon? What then?

I’m thinking it would work like this:
Not holding back will lead to Freedom of Expression
Uninhibited expression will encourage Freedom of Thought.
Thinking without boundaries will become inventiveness and insight and creativity.

Some of the best moments in my life have begun with the willingness to risk making an utter fool of myself.

I’m going to keep trying to do as Bill Hicks suggested: .” “If you’re gonna play , play from your fucking heart.”
“If you’re gonna make something up, you might as well go hog-wild.”

*If you’re reading this I suppose you’re excused from attending the actual class. But if you want extra credit, you could actually show up here: Balticon 40 Apparently I’ll be talking in person about creativity and other topics and leading some right brain aerobics to help us better humiliate ourselves. Lots of other cool stuff going on too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Primer, and...stuff

A few days ago we watched “Primer”, an independent film directed by Shane Carruth. P R I M E R M O V I E It's an obviously low budget film, but very well shot. I’m planning to watch it again, sans toddler climbing (noisily) all over Pete during the viewing. I missed a bit. It is a film that at first appears to be about time travel but is really about multiple universes/realities. Primer is hard science fiction to the extreme, but I think does a good job of exploring a complex concept. Oddly, the first thing about the film that struck me personally wasn’t an essential part of the story at all. The story’s protagonists are two geeky engineer types who are working out of one of the pair’s garage. These guys walked into the garage every day in shirts and ties---even on ‘no day job’ days---and worked with the same attitude you’d see in a first rate physics lab. I was thinking about this while working today, looking around at the ‘purposeful chaos’ of the studio and realized I’d like to treat my studio in the manner of Abe and Aaron. Now, I don’t have any plans to show up in better clothes. Even when the studio is immaculate, the work is messy. But a more consistant work schedule would be good. That assistant I keep knowing I need would be better, the professional attitude wouldn’t hurt, at least on Tuesdays.
I’d guess that a lot of artists work in studios attached or inside of their homes. It’s less expensive than studio space and infinitely more convenient. That said, working at home requires a extra dose of self disipline. Sometimes I forget to respect my work space. I’m nearly finished with every single piece of sculpture I have orders for or owe people for this or that. I think tomorrow, when the last of the work is boxed and ready to ship out, I might give the space a good tidy-up, bring in a coffee maker and clean cups and refresh the music supply. Yes, it’s a right-brained profession and most of us in it are a little nutty. Still, it is a profession. Pretty cool one too.

Oh---and writers, you’re not off the hook. That saying about the clean desk isn’t actually true…

I wanted to thank everyone so far who has submitted work for Tiny Stories. The more I get to know you, the more you blow me away. I’m looking forward to doing some “live” right-brain aerobics in the future---both online (I’d bet my luggage Ravyn just peered evilly at this over her glasses) and as part of convention programming. And extra, extra thanks to everyone who listed or mentioned the project on your websites. SlaughterHouse Studios: Tiny Stories

Happy Summer Everyone


Saturday, June 18, 2005


The horse's name is Ravynesque, and her owner is Ravyn, who designed and maintains my website (she's very, very good at this) and has become my good friend. Ravynesque has become inexplicably ill and has been in pain for about a week now. You know things are bad when a stomach ulcer would be good news. Tomorrow, diagnostic tests will decide what happens next. We hope, we hope, we hope.
Her website is here:Ravyn

It's been sort of a tough year, so far. Could be worse---no serious catastrophe's, but lots of moderate things hammering away at us. Aubrey decided it was all because of this little tikki figurine hanging in the kitchen. It was a gift from Ben and, as Ben tends to be an agent of chaos, we decided to try throwing the thing away. After all, what did we have to lose?

Things got worse almost immediately, beginning with me twisting my ankle when I took the bag out to the garbage pail. Still, nothing truly awful---mishaps that waste money, or time, things breaking, getting lost, minor illnesses, car problems, small misunderstandings. Just, more of it.

We are not superstitious, and decided (on Friday, before pickup) that going through the garbage would more likely produce a spider bite than the lost tikki.
And, we are not superstitious.

I'm not sure which came first, the junk going on or the junk in my head, but these past few weeks I've awakened every day to a sinking feeling of dread and almost--grief. It's taking my best efforts to get past this and get on with the day---even to leaving notes to myself the night before. Today nothing in my bag of mental tricks was working, so I decided to try the hundred word exercise. Look, I know this isn't for everybody. I know that yes, I sometimes have a tendency to ubergeekness. But it did help. I think, for me, it's about concentrating on one thing. And because this thing is short and can be completed , it's satisfying in the way that a puzzle is and has less calories than chocolate ice cream. I posted my effort below.

If you have no idea what I?m talking about, go here:SlaughterHouse Studios: Tiny Stories

As always, thanks for reading. Go be brilliant.

Comfortably Numb

“Okay, last time. Understand this procedure remains absolutely permanent?”

“Every legal scrap is signed, witnessed, with three copies filed, covering your pseudo-scientific, arrogant, money-grubbing asses. Daylight’s burning. Let’s go.”

She knows how Hell looks, smells, sounds and tastes, having been there often. But worse; crushing, smothering claustrophobic panic. Screaming skulls.

Experts said Sarah’s brain lacks some microscopic filter that protects minds from Exquisite Pain. Finally, after trials, one solution exists: removing emotion.

What about the children?
Logic’s reliable choices.

For her, no joy--or suicide.

Breathe deeply. All faith in reason.

“Don’t be afraid. You won’t feel a thing.”

Friday, June 17, 2005

Years ago, in a different life, and several complete cell generations ago, I had a collection of poems by Richard Brautigan entitled "The Pill Versus the Spring Hill Mining Disaster". I read it aloud, several times over, to my mother in her last weeks. I will always be glad I did.
I remember many details about the experiences---the smell of flowers, the wind blowing the curtains, the sound of her laughter. I remember very little about the poems, except that they were raw and funny and kicked us right where it hurts.
The collection's title came from one poem that likened unfertilized eggs to miners trapped under the earth.

It's stayed with me for all this time and tends to come to mind when I think of unrealized ideas. All those good ones that slip by because there aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week or dollars in the budget to bring them to fruition. I think I've said before that I believe that the sculpture I make on Tuesday morning won't be the same as the one I make on Saturday night, even if it's an idea I came up with the previous Sunday. I've learned that usually, if I don't do the work while the idea is fresh, I'm better off letting it go.
I try not to think of them as buried. I can see them better as snowflakes--each unique, each beautiful. You can capture one, but most blow past in the blink of an eye. Maybe someone else will catch those. Maybe they're gone forever. Thing is, once we think them, they are part of us.
But then, in the words of Batman "...It is not who you are inside, but what you do that defines who you are."

No matter what you've felt, or thought, or seen in your deepest visions, no matter if these things tore you apart and put you back together differently, no one will ever see the work you didn't do.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Shake and Bake

Ok. That's two pretty good shake ups in less than a week. Again, tell me, why do humans live out here? (Pete just pointed out that the humans who live on fault lines don't deal with hurricanes or tornadoes---and that we don't name earthquakes.) I want everyone to write amazing stories for "Tiny Stories" and we're going to do really well and we will get Lisa et al the hell out of here. Geeze. People are going to start getting weird around here if this keeps up. Ok, more weird. latest shakes

Our training is getting better---Aubrey and I got to Orion's bunk bed in about 5 seconds this time.

--more later

A Watched Brain Never Boils

I’m building the last of the kinetic pieces for “The Dark Caravan” which will join the rest of the carnival in October. It will be a fortune teller, the heart of the carnival and will feature Jack, who is its pulse.

There will be a time in September when everything else will shut down for me and I’ll put everything I've got into this challenge. For now though, I am only gearing up, mostly by finishing up other projects. I’ll need to cast some hollow parts for the fortune teller. Last week Pete suggested I try using lost wax, as in bronze casting, for the resin pieces. So I tried it on a couple of small brains. I suspended a ball of wax on the end of a straw inside the mold and poured resin around it. When it cured I pulled the straw out and put the brain in some boiling water to melt out the wax. It worked, but was messy.

The next time I tried warming up the wax-filled brain in the oven to melt out the wax. Naturally, I forgot that our oven (which is at least 50 years old) heats at temperatures that are unrelated to the numbers on the dial outside it. When I removed it after what seemed like a reasonable amount of time for 150 degrees F(but probably not for Satan’s own oven), it looked very sad indeed. But the wax was melted out.

I may try again with more careful oven supervision. We really must replace the oven. We’ve even had a couple of contractors in. They each strode around like friendly pirates, clicking pens and brandishing measuring tapes. They would come in and destroy our kitchen for weeks and get dust on everything we own and they gave us estimates that made us laugh out loud. I’m not properly motivated to bake, it seems.

I swam with Orion. Swimming with Orion means lots of jumping into the pool. Lots. Lots of jumping means not so much thinking. I’ve been worrying a visual concept for days,. Like a coin in my pocket, I just haven’t been able to leave it alone. My patience was getting thin from the constant noise of it, the nagging question.
After about the 19th jump I was climbing out more slowly, laughing more and not thinking about much at all.
Standing there on the edge, looking down through the water to the little squares fifteen feet below, that could become big squares hundreds of feet below, I found exactly what I needed.
Huh. Just like that.

Let me remind you about the Tiny Stories project, and to pass it along to others you think might want to write something for it.

To maaike: I use all kinds of media. My first was polymer clays. Then I used wood to to build the first kinetic piece. Since then I've used metals, papier mache, and occasionally fabrics and leather. I cast a lot of components in resin, like the gears for kinetic pieces and all those tiny little puppets.

To Kristi: I do use real puzzle pieces, unless they will be in positions (such as standing on end) where they could be broken. Then I use resin casts of pieces.

To Carl: Yes, swimming under the stars can bring inner piece. I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More about Anansi Boys.

Regarding Anansi Boys: I showed you, sort of, within the context of the changes I made to "Luck Be Nimble" at least the flavor of it for me. Tom Abba says it here, quite nicely:Tom Abba's words about Anansi Boys

Don't forget to pass on information about Tiny Stories . Stories have already begun to arrive. You guys are very cool...


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Tiny Stories

No more shaking today, so far. I've told you stories before about how harsh the environment can be here, once you drive past the artificial landscaping (as I do most weekday mornings). I've spent most of my life in the southeastern part of the country, even been through a tornado or two. But until you feel the ground shaking under your feet, you really can't have an appreciation of how tiny and transient we human beings are.

TINY STORIES about TINY THINGS, sort of : Bob Podrasky is putting together a collection of 100-word short-shorts. I'll be illustrating the stories in a variety of mediums. All the rules and information are posted here:
If you want to see some examples from our last brain exercise, a number of those stories are posted beginning here: One Hundred Words
I'm really looking forward to working on this one.

I'll be back tomorrow, with my usual rant. Please forgive my recent lull in journaling. Sometimes I have to spend time letting stuff in so I can pull new stuff out. So do you. We have to live to create good work. Tonight is for swimming under the stars---or whatever it is that you do.

Ok, that was fun...

I was reading and making coffee, waiting for Orion to wake. It's just the two of us this morning. Pete is away working and Aubrey is at her friend's house. We had a friendly little S. Cal shake up. No damage, but hanging pictures are crooked and all the closet doors are hanging open.
Orion has a massive wooden bunk bed. For now, being the little tot he is, he sleeps underneath. It's like a fortress. We huddled there until everything quieted.
"That's pretty scary," he told me. "Sure was," I agreed.

According to the initial USGS reports it was a 5.6 about 17 miles from here in the middle of not too much.

Still, running through a shaking house to Orion was definitely stimulating. No coffee this morning. Think we'll have some milk.

I'll be back later to post the new writing project.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Aubrey, adding her usual creative twist. I started sculpting just before she was born. She was at least ten before she realized that everyone didn't have a studio, monsters and weird carnival creatures around the house and mom's who go to the grocery store in their slippers... 

Hopefully a better look at the owls... 

Another Toy. I'm beginning to amass a collection of the 'food' pieces. I'm looking for a gallery in the San Francisco or Seattle area. If anybody has suggestions, I'd be grateful for them.  

Detail These are a wholly different animal from the figurative sculptures I showed you earlier. They are a different language and, even if only for me, have their own magic.

New piece. I was going to call it 'Dessert Desert', then I changed it to "After Thoughts", then to "My Kingdom for a Fork". Finally I settled for "Three Brains in a Bowl." 

Old Business First...

I have new stuff, but pulled out these photos while searching for images for your stories. I thought they deserved to be seen----only a handful of people have ever seen them---and that you'd like seeing them. A Measure of Grace, is the second sculpture ---or third, maybe, that Neil Gaiman bought. He bought this one outright at an art show, much to the chagrin of several collectors who were planning to bid on it. He says there is a story in here. I believe there is too. I wanted to show you the other two pieces I made along with this. I called the series "The Fugue". After I finished the third sculpture, I started Dark Caravan, and didn't make any more for the series. I would have liked to keep them together, but as a struggling artist I couldn't quite manage it. Looking at these images and remembering what it was like to create the pieces fills me with a powerful nostalgia. I want to do this again. I'm not finished with this world and don't want to be. See the companion to "Measure of Grace"

Enter the Human Element. This angel is scratched and bloodied. The gargoyle on the left is holding a pocket watch, the harlequin in the center is drinking her tears and the one on the right is peeking under her skirts. I don't really think I'd want a story written solely about "A Measure of Grace". In my mind, any story written about that piece would have to include this one too. They are locked together that way for me. I still have this sculpture here with me.
The third, Brilliance II

Brilliance II is the third sculpture in "The Fugue". And the last, because this is where Dark Caravan took over. There is a lot going on here. The harlequin's missing shoe is in a secret compartment in the back of the sculpture. This sculpture was bought at auction by a mysterious man with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. He later sent me a deposit for "Enter" but disappeared. This though, is one of those rare pieces I got lost in. I rather suspect, and hope, I'll relive the experience soon. 

You'll recognize the indifference of even this early angel. She has just the tip of his claw in her lips. This was true of the first Brilliance as well, but in this one, with her in fllight, it becomes more influence than control. 

I've been drawn time and again to the idea of feeding upon one's self. I'm reminded of Arthur Schopenhauer and his The World as Will and Ideas where he states, "The world is my idea." Though, I don't think this is quite what he meant. 

This is the first 'Brilliance'. Really, I'm not sure where this piece ended up. I remember making it and wanting to do it better. Now I'm obligated to a whole list of work, but I'm longing to do more figurative pieces. I have a frame up in the studio for a huge angel piece. It's not committed yet to a collector. I'd considered making it a male angel, so I can sculpt more skin. Sounds like a good idea. K will agree. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Where is she????

I'm off painting rats and thinking. Mostly I'm thinking and painting rats on the side. Eventually, I'll find a way to put into words what I can only see for now as images in my head.
Damned left-brained linear language!

If I manage to do that, I will post it later tonight. If I don't, I'll put up some photos of new toys.

Also, I've exchanged a number of emails with the Podrasky unit. We are cooking up a new call for stories and planning something extremely cool to do with them-----at the very least a really weird little chapbook, at best a very interesting hardcover book. More on that later.

Ahh, my coffee has perked. Keep doing what you do, my lovelies...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Heather FaerieStar - One Hundred Words

No introductions necessary for my cat, there is fur, its striped. Normally kitty spends his days eating, sleeping, purring...simple. One fairly boring afternoon, sweet tabby happens upon a cozy blanket...perfect napping zone. Paws begin to gently knead, slumber follows...bringing awake-like dreams where he finds an adventurous winged faerie friend. This laughing mischievous creature toys with whisker boy, First buzzing about velvety ears expecting quick giggling when little lion hands miss--skilled escape artist. Soon our pair settle down, whispering secrets of love and life. Listening, remembering the hunter wakes, finds warm lap, curls up.

Xander Wiggins III
Heather Faeriestar

Robert C. Johnson Jr. One Hundred Words

Ever get a sudden feeling there's more to existence than you previously even suspected? I'd known Allen since 6th grade, been mad in love from 7th. We were best friends right at the start, and he didn't have clue one how I really felt. But I'm not telling that story now. This story's about Allen's dad, sorta. Mr. Lewis’ funeral. Holding his son with these arms afterwards was an epiphany. Him sobbing, grief wracked. Such strong non sexual emotions shocked me, seemed truly alien. My heart broke for both of us. Al’s loss so very plain. Mine just discovered, unexplainable.

Ravyn - One Hundred Words

After all the months of preparation, stress, confusion, overt disagreements, silent rebellion, this incredible train rolled into her station. Then came nearly one hundred hours filled with excitement, joy, sheer terror, pain, enlightenment, boredom, anger, and finally, exhaustion. New acquaintances were made, old friends celebrated, good times enjoyed by everyone. Nobody slept, much.

My mind absorbed myriad experiences, struggling to comprehend such disparity. Emotions battled against each other without resolution.

Some stragglers breakfasted together Tuesday morning. We exchanged brief goodbyes. I pulled away from our empty hotel feeling a sharp, wordless ache inside me.

Another Balticon is gone.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Robert C. Johnson Jr.- One Hundred Words

At midnight laying in quiet darkness, seeking elusive altered consciousness. The dream sought is just an indiscernible thread hidden among dark dreamstuff weavings. More memory than imagining, never found. Always finding only dreams not wanted.

Remembering flight brings sweet melancholy. Lightness, distance, freedom, almost happiness.

As a child flying through every night, day hours crept by with longing for bedtime. Chance to shed so much weight, sad burden accumulated living ten short years. Nighttime, disconnected from that “reality”, experiences seemed crisp, sharp, tangible. Those daytimes, memories are smudgy, indistinct, surreal.

Drifting off, sloughing baggage, shucking inhibitions, clothes too, I flew.

Lost Dreamer
Robert C. Johnson

Alys Robinson - One Hundred Words

Rose. Velvet, blood, wine, old garnets caught by gaslight. Thorns prick, unmade decision, theft, deserted garden, who will know? Perfume, musk, sandalwood, enthralls, warm fog, drawn deep. Coughing, throat burning. White-fanged death howls down. Threat penetrates enchantment, fear takes hold.Running. Wolves pursue. Deep as forest shadow falls, concealment fails. Scent betrays, clinging like a lover. Comfortless, illusory refuge. Impossible hope strikes spurs into aching sides.Fluttering. Something inside beats, frantic for escape.Falling. Treetops, moonlit, twist into fantastic shapes.Tearing. Skin splits, shining silk emerges. Wings unfurl, spread luminescent, shining, across dark sky. The rest curls away, withers, crumbles.

Alys Robinson

Laura Mann - One Hundred Words

Two parallel worlds, one of indifference, the other obsession. First creates isolation, distance. Second consumes entirely. A magnet, opposite polarities enjoined as single unit. It pulls and rends, twists, torments. Riding this ruthless roller coaster again. Up then downhill again, WHEEEEE! What waits below?

Oblivious bliss, just kiss. Irrational dreams imbued with scenes of passionate things that may never be. Want and desire...craziness. I breath, sigh, cry.

Run fast? Where?

Stay near? Around here?

Choices available?

None but eternal waiting.

Hate? No, love...agony, ecstasy, prevailing adoration...causes tears flowing on soft cheeks.

He does this to me.

Phone rings.

Laura Mann

Robert Glaze - One Hundred Words

He sat there without anything to say. Staring at her packing suitcases made him feel complete abandonment. Why leave after six years? She left. Visiting favorite places they went only brought thoughts concerning suicide. Looking upon many old photos would just make nice days, go bad. Songs shared between them were now depressing. Anger ensued then vindictiveness. Shoeboxes flew from the walk-in closet, a firearm retrieved. Driving across town didn’t give much time for reconsideration. When all was said and done, five innocent bystanders lay dead, including an unrequited love.
Will we ever start believing that people kill, not guns?

My Own Evening News
Robert Glaze

Lisa - One Hundred Words

I swim at midnight, remembering Father. His teaching penny, its shocking copper taste, erased emotion, stopped tears instantly, infallibly. Hard focus tattooed my childhood mind. Night forgets murk. Water feels clear, silky. Most have gone, our desert nearly…deserted. Fear followed the attacks, then panic, violence, chaos, looting, horrible smells and finally, terrible quiet. Sandy winds scrubbed everything clean.
Tomorrow, we few will trek with great difficulty up those snowy mountains, taking trucks until fuel supplies run out or roads become too narrow. For now, floating here, memories flow past like currents, preparing me.
All is packed, including one old coin.

Lisa Snellings-Clark

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bob Podrasky - One Hundred Words

“But Dad, why must I learn from making mistakes?”
“Experience, Son,” his father said. “There is nothing like figuring something out for yourself!”
Walking together in their garden, parent lecturing child, they stepped into the warm sunlight.
“When a gardener sows seeds, some fall on rock, where nothing can grow. Others find strong, firm soil.”
He contemplated this notion. Questioning results. Accepting losses, failures. Doing better next time. Seemed sensible, yet…
“So you see, it makes sense.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Tell me then its moral.”
“Discard all textbooks. Ignore warnings and directions. Heed not your teachers. Don’t expect any help.”

Bob Podrasky

Pete Clark - One Hundred Words

Imagine vast landscapes expanding before uncontaminated, civilized neural pathways. Unfamiliar memes triggering horrific immersions in scale gone excruciatingly awry. Distance… purpose…identity.. sentience… exposed as baryonic shadows played upon quantum walls, formerly Totality, by flames ignited at Time Zero. Forces which hover just below the surface of humanity’s gestalt watering hole where everyone’s soul monkey stops, catching an all too brief yet absolutely necessary repast from unflinching, atavistic predators that never, ever cease chasing delicious morsels, swinging temptingly, piƱatas stuffed with guilt smelling suspiciously like cheesecake, whiskey and timidity. We animals must eventually lose, struggling vainly against this enemy, Instinct. Damn .

Lake You
Pete Clark
Lake You

K. Hutson Price - One Hundred Words

Broken glass crunched underfoot. Good people sleep while I roam, peeking in windows. Searching. Sniffing down her scent. Black leather gloves, shiny with age, stretched over hardened hands and a gleaming silver sappara is all the better for slitting throats, dear. Knife-points stars cruelly cut through an ocher bruised sky, lighting paths through darkness.
But which to choose? This house? That one, where Kindertoys lay strewn about like Hugo’s aftermath? Complications. Decisions. Life’s full of them. Creation? No, thanks. Destruction’s my job. Seek out sinners. End it. Michael assigns cases, Gabriel –that’s me- takes care of business, doing God’s work.

Winged Assassin
by K. Hutson Price

Lady of Shallot - One Hundred Words

Slit throats glare back mockingly through hazy vision. Could such horror truly just happen? No fanfare, hardly any emotion felt. Death seems unfriendly now, considering pronounced pain endured in achieving it. Intrinsic guilt bears down before thoughts metaphysical return. Well-pitched lies conjure justification. Metamorphosis, afterlife, glory... crackbrain rationalization. Inevitably, crimson rivers of exsanguination make reality divert, falling upon delusion, unable or unwilling to recognize what ‘IS’. Smiling sheepishly while fingering the blade with reverent sensations, I reject gratitude for venerable actions. ‘You’re welcome, Dear Ones,’ muttered by unfamiliar voice, my own. ‘Time immediate. Move along. More souls require release.’

Lady of Shallot

Rosie Waller - One Hundred Words

There is a grassy bank where I sat and waited for people who did not come.Leant myself back against rucksack, expecting damp ground working throughtrousers. Gazed at feet in front, marking grass, crushing stems too brittleto spring upright after I'd left. Became aware of earth uncomfortablyirregular beneath me. Still found contentment watching leaves waving above,clouds moving past behind them. Surrounded with glowing buttercups justabove knee height, vetches below them, unripe seedheads everywhere. Heardwind moving trees, but felt gentle breezes. Warmed by sunlight, tasting blossom on air. Absent others stopped mattering. Life was good.

Rosie Waller