Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Message in a Bottle

   This morning I set my alarm to get up early while everyone else is sleeping, the house is quiet, the cats lounging in a shaft of morning light.  I didn't get up to cook.  I got up so I could write before I cook.   I'm thankful. So thankful.
 I'm just happy to be here, Bob.
  I'm not sleeping well.  Poppet stories invade my dreams, wake me in the dark, trail behind the night as it leaves and bloom before my eyes in the light of day.
  I've made poppets for many years.   My fingers have shaped thousands.   I can make them with my eyes closed.  I can make them behind my back, underwater, in a boat or with a goat.
Poppets have been a constant through nearly two decades of this human's curriculum, the dark days and the light. I've made them through hopeless tears and with joyful abandon.   
   Poppets are bigger inside than out.  The number of poppets that fit on the head of a pin equals the number of ideas that fit on the head of a pin.  Yet, look what a single idea can do.
 I'm thankful for the journey I'm on. Many of you have traveled with me.  A few have been with me from the beginning. I'm thankful for you. My stories are yours too.
  Poppet stories, like poppets, are bigger inside than out. The books will be too. They won't defy gravity, but they will defy definition.  They will if I do this right. Chances are, I will.  I've certainly done my homework.  And I'll put my heart and soul and the best of everything I've learned into them.
  I know this, because I am already. 

  After the turkey, the shopping, the apocalypse, Santa and the New Year, I'll be asking you to help me launch this project.  I don't know how many of you are here. (I'm a little afraid to ask.) Writing this blog always seems a little like putting a message in a bottle.   But if you're reading this, you're very likely interested in what a poppet might have to tell us. 
A few of us can do a lot. Silly humans.

  I hope you find happiness today.  I love all of you. Thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Colder Air

Was colder today with a winter-hued sky.  First day that even remotely seemed seasonal.   I'm still dealing with back pain, but it's not debilitating.  No sudden moves.  Bend but not twist.  Really, the thing that's most likely to get me - if anything does - will be one of my classic Wile E. Coyote moves to avoid stepping on a cat.

  Otherwise, a breakthrough with the book, which has cast its own light over everything else.  It makes the rough spots look softer and gives the darkness perspective. It gives me an espresso shot of willpower.   A long time reader of fiction, I understand why there are so many stories about protagonists who must battle opposing forces and why those forces are often personified. Sometimes it seems that to accomplish a goal we have to fight battles as well as jump over hurdles.
Honestly, I have the deepest admiration for anyone who manages to out-maneuver the absolutely obdurate daily grind. 

It's 5:32.  I can stop now, or I can have coffee and go back into studio for a little longer.  I figure I'd better use it while I've got it.  Off I go.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to paint a 2mm Cardinal

  A winter cardinal that would fit easily on a grain of rice.  I don't paint rice, but these sit quite well on the branches of trees that fit on Poppets.   I thought you might like to see how it's done.

Hope your Wednesday is good.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Works

        I've just poured my third cup of coffee  and settled back against the microwave heated pillow.  It's one of those herbal scented, buckwheat-stuffed things I got as a gift several years ago from a good friend.  Little did I know how valuable a gift it would turn out to be. It's lost most of its scent and looks a little worn, but leaning on it relieves the pain and also forces me to sit straight, therefore avoiding the hunching that put me in this shape to begin with.
  Silly artists!  I'm here because I stopped swimming and started sculpting sitting crossed legged on the sofa in front of the television.  Months of this back-straining position combined with an over enthusiastic game of Frisbee and voila! an injured muscle that leaves me slightly skewed, so that I seem to lead with one shoulder as I enter the room like a drama queen from some forties flick.
  I'm fixing this as I type, sitting with excellent posture in a chair that allows for such.  I'm thinking of the little repetitive things we do that trip us up.  Sometimes the stumbling is moderate - like my being incapacitated for days.  Sometimes it's the big trip - like getting lung cancer after all those little cigarette breaks.  But more often it's accumulated time and quality lost in by repeating damaging or, at the very least, inefficient behaviors.
 Life is full of those.
  Here's another one:  I have a herd of cats. That's as inefficient as it gets, but I love this herd and they bring a whole level of warmth and entertainment to this house.  I recently relocated their feeding area to the back of the house, near the garage studio.   All this time I've fed them in the kitchen - why?  Because their food arrived in the grocery bags with ours and it seemed convenient to feed them in the kitchen.  But it's not.  Given that we have white tile floors, every speck of food shows and it's time consuming to keep it spic and span enough for a kitchen where we humans eat. 
  But in the back, near the concrete-floored studio, out of sight of where we take our meals, once a week is good enough.  A big tub of dry food with a scoop, a stack of cans, a trash bin for the empties and the studio sink for water and clean up.
  Yes, this is a small thing and boring.  Stay with me. 
 All of us creatives complain that we can't get to the 'real' work because 'we don't have enough time.'  If time is so valuable, why do we waste it on these little things?  My challenge to you is to go through this week paying attention to the little repetitive time-wasters in your routine.  Pick one and fix it.  The broken drawer on your desk, the scissors or keys or reading glasses you're always looking for.  The object you have to walk around that could be moved with a little room rearranging. 

  Minutes add up over time.  I wish I could get back the ones I've spent cleaning the stupid cat area two or three times daily.  But I don't want to waste  more time looking back.  I've just saved myself somewhere around twenty-eight hours per year. That's more than a full day of cleaning kitty kibble.  And that's just one little thing.  What if I fix ten?
 Fix something that nibbles at your time.  It might lead to fixing something else.  You might eventually find yourself with a little extra time to do something that makes you happy, or to sort out something else that trips you up.

Have a good Sunday, fellow traveler.



Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Hierophant

So much sobering news worldwide.  Always.  Household and family, always.  Today I'm full in studio to catch up on photography and send things to people who are waiting.   I'm thinking about books as I work.  Already I see our electronic devices replacing paperback books.  I see this as a positive step, even though I have shelves of the little treasures.  I also see a future for paper books. Beautiful ones to be treasured, some that blur the lines between art and book. The kind of books we will collect.  Of course, nothing lasts forever.
I'm also thinking about the word book.   It derives from the bokiz and the buche for "beech," ostensibly referring to the beechwood tablets that preceded paper, at least according to etymologists found on this magic box.
I think many books will evolve into digital formats, but not all.  Likely we'll continue to use the word 'book' for long after paper books become rare things.  Language tends to persist in this way.
But for now we can still enjoy our 'real' tomes.  I know I'll continue to include them in my work because I persist that way too, even though I'm rarely without a reading device.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. 
The Hierphant is as complex as any of the Major Arcana, but in my mind, he's mostly about balance and perspective.  That seems very wise to me. 
I'm off again, back to Poppets.  Hope your day is good.