Monday, February 26, 2007

Chipping wisdom

Lots of folk are digging out of snow and we are smack in the middle of basking season again. I refuse to feel guilty on this one. Believe me, it won't last long. Still, today we ate at the famous Sherman's Deli---outside---and I had half of an obscenely large Reuben sandwich. (The rest sits quietly in the studio refrigerator, snarling softly, waiting for midnight.)

The cool air and warm skies won out and I decided to try the canopy project after all. ( A wind storm several months ago destroyed our largest and I mused on replacing it with a huge papier mache...thing.) It's a fairly large undertaking and I can't really take days off to work on it, but I've decided to chip away at it in bits until it's done or I admit defeat. (Not likely, but it could happen.)

Let me say something about the wisdom of chipping away at something. I don't employ it often enough, though its logic is indisputable. It seems we wait too often. We wait and we lug our dreams around like wet baggage because we can't let go, but can't convince ourselves to find time for them. Short term goals gobble up the long term plans and the days go by and we arrive at the future blinking in surprise.

It's not like time travel.
It is time travel.

Thirty minutes. Maybe just once a week. Maybe the thirty minutes consists of cleaning a corner of a desk to work at. Possibly it consists of staring at a blank sheet of paper and thinking about the "it" we want to do.
Maybe it consists of finding a blank sheet of paper to stare at.

It is, after all, as they say, a process. Wise folk, who've written books, produced plays, learned the piano, shaped their bodies, and mastered difficult languages will say it works.

I would tend to believe them.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Ben and I spent hours in studio, with the fortune teller. Scuba gear would better serve to replace missing safety goggles with the air hose attached.
I couldn't find the scuba hoses.

If we don't clean the studio soon, we may have to torch it and start over.

Ravyn and I spent hours working on some very minute details for Poppet Planet. Hard work, but the technology was good. Instant, instant, instant. Not quite flying cars, but pretty damned good. I began to truly appreciate the effectiveness of fonts. Seriously. Once I saw it, I wondered how I missed it before. Huh.

In between there were the usual phone calls and emails, writing and schedules, people stopping by.

In the evening Orion and I went to Vons. We made it an adventure in silliness. When we got home, we put everything away and made "anti- smores", which is Ritz crackers and mini marshmallows, stuck on with peanut butter and toasted in the broiler of an old and sometimes slightly sinister-looking oven.

We made a game of who could stick the most marshmallows on a cracker without stacking.
Then we ate the loose marshmallows left.
Then, while we watched them swell (poof) through the oven door, we made up words with poof.

"Look, they're slightly poofy."
"No, they're quite poofious"
"Sir, the poofericity is increasing."
"But yes, they're oh so Poofilicious... don't call me 'sir'.
"Sorry, your Poofness."
and so on in the manner that makes four-year-olds collapse in giggles.

The giggling may have gone on longer, but in just moments, our anti-smores were quite brown and, once out of the heat, quite ordinary looking but very tasty.

It seems there are never enough moments like these. There never were. We tend sometimes to work hard, investing in our futures, when finally we might find out if we invested enough in good memories.

But there were some. Thank goodness for the some.

Eventually, there will be more. Because, as our dear Mr. King says, "Everything's eventual."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Where'd I go?

It's like time travel. Really. Once again reminded with the force of a slap to the back of the head that time is not, never was and never will be a constant.

I lost several days.

Sometimes I comfort Orion when he doesn't want to go to bed--which is pretty much always-- by explaining how sleeping can be like time travel. How you can close your eyes and poof! it's a new day.

It's not so much like that when you're older. Except when you're deep in schedule hell. Then the two hours of sleep you grab between gigs or flights or shifts can vanish like a vicious trick.
But I still remember when it worked like magic, when an anticipated morning, ages away could appear just by closing sleepy eyes and counting.

We're hip-deep in work, including finishing up the fortune teller. We've stretched past our deadline for this piece,even the reset one. Ok, we missed it, but don't want to admit it, even to ourselves. It won't matter so much in the long run, but for now, it means that the moment the last detail is in place, we'll photograph it, film it in motion and send it off to be crated without spending any time enjoying it.

It goes this way sometimes.

As Ben and I work on kinetics, Ravyn works to get Poppet Planet in place. We're gaining on it. Poppet Planet includes a registry of all the original poppets. If you've adopted an original poppet and want your name on the registry, cool! Just let me know at

Also, this is the address where you can now send your Poppets On Tour photos.

More later. Your artist's brain is winding down. Time for sleep.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It Is What It Is Day

I make lists. Lots of them. Lists can break otherwise daunting tasks into specific, clear elements.

You don't build a barn or give a dinner party without making a list.

Then there's the other benefit of lists---the forgetting. Once something is put on paper, under the unauspicious heading of "Tuesday" or "To Do", you can stop worrying about it. You don't have to remember once it's on the List. You can dump it right out of your brain for now.

What a relief.

It's like that with journaling. Still, try as I might, I've never been able to fill a journal, though I'm very fond of notebooks. Hardbound with narrow, crisp lines, I must have a dozen of them on the bookshelf, none of which have more than a quarter of its pages filled. I'd like to complete one front and back, top to bottom-- fill it with ideas, private thoughts, drawings and lists. No success yet. I begin quite well but, eventually, will furiously scrawl an idea that comes too fast for neat, sane lettering. I end up with ten pages that will be meaningless in six months. Or worse, I'll shortsightedly tear out a page or two----generally sketches to pin to the easel.

The Purist in me (not the one who will only mat paintings in white or won't buy a cover or tribute CD, and who is totally sane, but the other Purist, who occasionally gets lost in details, and whose sanity is questionable), will deem the notebook voided, game over.

I've tried folding the offending pages, or marking them off with a paperclip. Nope. Even then I can't ignore the missing pages. That's a little crazy. But only a little.

Personally, I'm referring to today as Mostly Reading and Eating Various Forms of Dark Chocolate Day.

The flowers are nice too.

In our backyard is an object Pete named "The Ghost of Thanksgiving Past." He refers to events which, when told, make a longish, weird story I may tell someday.

I'll tell you now though, that the aforementioned events left me with two things:

One is a fairly strong aversion to ever consuming pork again.

The other is a a pig's skull inside a bird's cage, which has been drying in the desert sun of our back yard for several months.

In addition to being Mostly Reading and Eating Various Forms of Dark Chocolate Day, I'll refer to today as The Day the Pig Had His Due Day. In other words, I know, today, exactly what the skull wants to be.

Damned inconvenient. Then, as the button sent by Lord Daecabhir says, It Is What It Is.

It's not like I didn't know this was coming. Creative storms are preceded by warnings.
And I knew, eventually, that fucking pig would talk.

Still, it's damned inconvenient.

In Stephen King's short story "Everything is Eventual", Mr. Sharpton says to Dink;

"Because creative people aren't always in charge. And
when they do their best work, they're hardly ever in charge.
They're just sort
of rolling along with their eyes shut, yelling Wheeeee."

So it turns out that one of the things I did this Valentine's Day was to float a pig's skull and jaw bones in a large doubled ziplock baggy of bleach solution, which will send billions of microbes currently living on the bones to that wondrous potato salad in the sky. The smell alone should keep cats and raccoons away, but just in case, I put the whole thing back in the birdcage, out of reach.
The whole defies photos. Do your imaginary best, and know it's even more gruesome.

Tomorrow then, will be time to unwrap a new notebook. Wheeeee!

Hope your day has been at least as good.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


We spent the afternoon and evening at the home of Ben's grandparents, Silvia and Woody, where it was not cold at all, where the grass was soft and cool under our bare feet and the children ran around for hours.

The grown-ups connected in chairs under canopies, some drinking, some smoking, some eating from the buffet around the pool. Later, under night skies, I wandered between groups, hearing snippets of stories. They were the kinds of stories kept folded neatly away in back pockets, waiting for just such an evening.

I sat for a time with Woody, who tended bar. We talked about art and vision, and eventually got around to Death. I, having lived just long enough to have a concept of how much time I might have left and Woody, who turned 90 in October, are now bound as are any two kids who saw the monster under the bed. There is strength in numbers.

Ben took our photo but had a little trouble with the focus. It occurs to me now that, after a certain number of margaritas, this may be how we actually looked to him.

Jameson, Ben and Pete.

Nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world.

Palm trees aren't really trees.

That's all I've got. Everyone's art is packed and on it's way. Tomorrow is for movies and Oreos.
Monday is a list I refuse to look at for now.


Monday, February 05, 2007

growing pains and bright spots

I've said before that learning to be an artist doesn't prepare one for running an artist's business.
No wonder I'm burned out. Yes, I know having your own business is challenging, satisfying, interesting and all that. It's just fucking great.
It's tedious and tiring and exasperating too.
Mostly though, it's necessary for many people.

Very soon I'll spend a couple of days in the studio for complete immersion in work on something that's not on the schedule...and music. Soon. These days generally choose themselves. When they arrive, we tend to recognize them, don't you think?

For about five seconds I considered focusing solely on the studio business for a year. You know, get everything in order, then make art.
PPffawwww. Uh. No. I'm not willing to invest that much of this present into that future. Tried that in my twenties. Stupid then, even more stupid now. Balance is better.

Not to mention that this plan would go against my New Year's Resolution and wouldn't be at all like time travel.
Besides, it assumes I actually have a choice. Silly, arrogant girl-thing.

I'll stick to trying to find a balance right now, between practical and fantastical. If you have a good trick for that one, please share with the rest of us. Perhaps it's not a balancing act, but a dance.

Wow. Suddenly I feel much better. I'm so glad we had this little talk. Thank you.


I've meant to mention Ravyn's tiny Valentine-painted foals. I've seen several of them in person. Very sweet.
eBay - Animals, Collectibles items on

And to remind you that the Romatics at the Slaughterhouse pieces are still up on ebay for a couple more days.

Now for tea, and stories for Orion.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A day of Making

I made my hair different. It looks like this:

I made a pumkin pie. It looked like this:

I made time to read. It looked like this:

I made "Queen of Hearts." She looked like this:

Sunday. Hope yours was good.

Friday, February 02, 2007

b r e a k

Burnout approaches.

I am a LIAR.

Here I go again:
Burnout arrived a few days ago and your brilliant artist here decided to ignore it. Seemed like a good-enough sort of plan, this ignoring. After all, last time Burnout stopped by I'm fairly certain I put on a spectacular show of ignorance. Let me was mid December...right around my birthday. Oh yeah, I remember now...

Well, Hello Burnout, my old friend!
Come in, come in. Put your feet up and I'll make you some hot apple cider and throw in a movie. Blanket? There you go. As Good as it Gets? That's the ticket. Maybe a little Colbert Report with popcorn. I'll get out the down comforter and a nice anthology. How about some short stories--d'ya Like Gene Wolfe?

Soon you'll be feeling much better....and getting the hell out of here.

Learn from my screw-ups, please, you guys. I'm am.