Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moon Shadows, Brother Saviors and Everything Changes.

Mostly behind the scenes sort of work going on now. Orion starts kindergarten next week.

I know. I can hardly believe it myself.

Everything changes.

So with a tinge of melancholy for the end of his stay-at-home years, I prepare for the changes in my own time and space by preparing space for the deluge of art I know will come soon.
I don't need to see the light at the end of a tunnel to know it's there.

And I don't have to hear the whistle to know the light is a train.

So I dust and paint, clean windows, put up new shelves and pegboard.

Everyone I've talked to in the past couple of days is in some weird sort of fugue. Not desperately unhappy, just restless and dissatisfied. As I'm not really interested in trading my friends for new ones, (and hopefully, vice versa) I suppose we'll just slog through it together.

Yesterday I had a flash of inspiration for a new piece and immediately spent some time working on it and ordering the other parts I'll need to finish. It always starts this way, (the deluge)with a flash here and there. Like labor pains, coming faster and faster, lasting longer each time, until I produce something I'm happy with. Or something I fall in love with and don't want to part with for a minute, though I know it must be released into the world...or kindergarten.


How is it that artists and writers can work so urgently in the present, yet at the same time always hold hope that our best work is in our futures?

This morning Pete woke me at 3:30 so we could see the lunar eclipse. It was eerie and beautiful. One night, when I was a wee tot and the moon was full, my mother (who was talented and smart and quite lune-y) whistpered in my ear that it was following me. I tried running from it and, damn, it did follow! I ran and ran and ran until I couldn't anymore. I can't begin to tell you how much that creeped me out. I sat in the grass and cried. I hid inside. I didn't sleep well for days. Then my brother, nerd that he is (which saved my butt more than once) explained about the illusion. And a bit about our mother.

(Hmm. I think I should phone my brother soon. )

But this morning I enjoyed the site with the wonder, thrill and affection felt by millions of other humans who watched too.

If you're interested, go to Shadow and Substance, where there's a fairly cool animation of the eclipse, which (after seeing the real thing) looks remarkably realistic.

After the eclipse, I slept, but not so well. Lots of weird dreams---and I awoke sort of tired, as though I'd been running...

If you haven't looked at the moon in awhile. Do. It's good for you. If you're slogging through, chin up. Everything changes.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Strange, Blue.....and Purple

Ain't no cure for the summertime blues.

Damn. Is it still summer? Yes. The last leg of it, the end vaguely in site, tiny and way off in the distance. I've survived so far without any real harm, with stories for later and with a bit of a scrubbing and cleaning of my summer-reluctant third eye. Ouch.

Did I mention, ouch?

Yes, I will tell the stories, likely on the forums, but not today.

Still, Ravyn and I got things sort of lined up for Halloween while she was here, and I made some strange poppets which I will post links to tomorrow at a more respectable hour.

In the meantime, for night owls and those on other continents, a photo of one Strange and Spotted Poppet.

And, at the risk of suggesting that I do indeed listen to Poppet requests:

Little Purple Poppets

The late Harry Chapin (Flowers are Red) sang, "There are so many colors in the rainbow and I see every one."
His song is about crayons, sort of, but mostly about how children see things and how they are sometimes taught not to see by people with narrow vision.

It's a sweet, sad song.

Tonight, I'm not swimming. I am sleeping.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Out of the frying pan and into the singularity

Welcom to Tatooine.

Nora is visiting. We went for a short walk in the desert.

It's hot in the desert.

So we went to Ben's house for swimming and dinner.

The skies were busy today, with clouds like spaceships. It wasn't like time travel at all, but was weirdly cool.

Under the surface, we ran into a tiny diver. I followed him around for awhile.
My favorite is this one. Looks as though he's headed into a singularity. Perhaps only the singularity in my head. Either way, it was a different way to spend an afternoon.

Eventually, he got bored with us and swam away.
Goodbye little Poppet!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A bit of Static and Blogger Girl Rat

This is one of the creepier photos I've taken recently. I may do something more with it later. This is the untouched version.

I got nothin' tonight. Seriously. I've been in a roar of mental static for about a week. Some of it has been interesting stuff. Some has been worth writing down.

Some of it weighs like stone.

This happens occasionally, especially at the end of summer. Not nearly enough time has been spent in the studio, where I could let some pressure off. I tell myself that one day I shall escape this desert heat.

I tell myself to can it. Whaaa. Soon we'll be back at work, not moving like we're made of lead and all this will just be another summer survived.

If my worst problem is thinking too much, how bad can things be?

Not very.

If I have ice for my drink, how bad can things be?

Not very.

I also get that this sort of increase in mental activity is part of a seasonal cycle that begins to feel familiar. Some artists might describe it as the call of the muse, some describe a nerve-stripping, flesh crawling demon, some as simply the onset of psychosis.

I myself sometimes refer to it as Hyde. These days, I don't see it as a fire to put out so much as a storm to wait out, in as much comfort as possible.

Doe the ability to move from a moment of paralizing vision to making a list or taking out the trash indicate sanity or insanity?

I don't know. But it beats crying, tearing out hair or cutting off an ear.

Must artists be 'tortured artists'? Probably not, even if some are.

But even then I'm fairly certain the art and the torture don't have to happen simultaneously.

I took a break during the hottest part of the day, lying under the ceiling fan with Pete and watching STNG while Orion played "Sly Cooper " elsewhere, under two other fans. The commercial break, of course, left me thinking. I noticed a site gag in the "Enzyte" commercial I'd missed in the other 162 times I've seen it.

It's become nearly impossible for me to watch a commercial without imagining conversations around conference tables.

It's what happens when you watch television with Poppets. They're like little third eyes.

Awareness of certain things---like conference tables--once seen, can never be unseen.

I'm okay with that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Designated Poppet

Mostly what seems to be working during this last month of summer is dividing up the days into parts. Painting carousel, rats and other pieces that have been waiting in the studio for ages is a good thing. Now they won't be staring reproachfully at me from the shelves, and I get to re-discover details even I'd forgotten. I put some of them on ebay to look for new homes. Several people have emailed to tell me how glad they are to see Rats again. I tell them I agree.
The other parts consist of working on new pieces for Halloween, which is very much like playing, in my view. You see me working away at my bench. In my head I'm four, running full tilt through a field of daisies.
Evenings are for the Fortune Teller, who is technically done, except for sealing the glass front. Every day Orion and I get our fortunes told. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's downright creepy. Sometimes we run away.
And then there's time spent in water, for the mental reset. I've had my own demons to deal with this summer, artistic and otherwise. I make notes of lots of it. If I can't make notes, I make toys, dammit. Eventually, I'll put the notes into some sort of presentable form. One day, I'll decipher the language of the toys, which seem to contain stories like, When to Let the Poppet Drive and Lost on the Road to Crazy.

A few words on words:
A customer recently thanked me for the 'lagniappe', which was an entirely new term for me:
I appreciate the new word.
Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ├▒apa, "the gift," and ultimately from Quechua yapay, "to give more." The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean "an extra or unexpected gift or benefit."
I enjoyed this list from Mental Multivitamins of One Hundred Words A High School Student (and parent) should know.
And, some photography coolness:
Mimi Ko was featured on Hey Hot Shot this week. I'm extremely pleased to see her work acknowledged there.
If you're a photographer, Poppet-wise or other, you'll find the site interesting.
Night time is for much- needed rest, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and something cold and chocolate.
I'm currently reading The Undiscovered Mind by John Horgan and for coffee breaks, re-watching the first season of Carnivale.
I am what I eat.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Poppets Invade Charles Vess

Recently DanGuy took his Poppets on a field trip to visit Charles Vess at his studios, who was indeed kind and cool enough to let the little guys run wild around the place. I can see from the photos that they had a great time, and that one day Charles and I might enjoy comparing skull collections.

What a fun day these Poppets had!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How The Secret changed my life.


I made it through twenty pages before I began to see the visuals. I imagined a paper mache sculpture of a sheep made from its pages...on fire. I imagined the book sinking slowly into dark waters...on fire. I imagined Poppets surrounding the book...lighting it on fire.

If I wasn't bothered enough by the book, I had but to go to the website to look deeper into The Secret's hole. Had I wanted to look even deeper, I could've paid the fee to become an Abundant Member. No need. It is even more excluding than the book.

I decided not to waste the time. I have other things to do.

So right, at first I was angry. Angry at Byrne for duping people, angry at people for paying $20 for a book that tells them that whatever they want will come to them if they simply wish for it.

Fine. I want to be twenty, and a ballet dancer. In which direction should I stand as I command the universe? North, I think. Santa might hear me too, and throw in a tutu and some shoes, size six.
I realize I'm not unique. There are over 1500 reviews of this book up on Amazon alone. Lots of those are angry reviews.

After a little while, I decided it wasn't worth being angry about. I'd try being amused.

I read a few more pages. Was it possible that Byrne was joking? Laughing with others who recognize this old sham? That seems too mean-spirited to be funny, like playing keep away with a child too small to ever hope to reach the ball.
Surely that's not the case. Is it?

I moved on. Tolerance sounds good. If this book makes people feel better, then let them believe it. There's nothing wrong with positive thinking in itself. Is it possible that Byrne believes she's doing something to help people? After all, few people consider themselves to be evil, or even harmful. But, if so, why present something she made up as an ancient secret?

And, Byrne has the right to make money. This is a capitalist society. Ideally, everyone gains from this sort of exchange. So I ask myself who it is that Byrne is harming? I know who she's hurting. You do too. She's hurting the people who buy into The Secret, if only by misdirecting them and delaying actions that might actually help them attain their goals.

Then, there's the fear of one's own thoughts. I think my favorite was here:

Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.
--page 28, which also suggests that events in history where masses of lives were lost were attracted by the thoughts of those people.

Yes, you brought that car accident upon yourself with your thoughts. (I'm not kidding, it's on page 27.)

Possibly a disclaimer would help. "For entertainment purposes only."

Why is it okay for Byrne to present The Secret as though she believes it? How is it even possible for people to accept this made up, unsubstantiated method as "real" or "truth?"

Well, wake up, silly woman (me.) Some people believe soap operas are real too. Do those people deserve what they get?

By the same token do those who buy into Byrnes program deserve to be duped? After all, not all of the reviews I read were against the book. Some were from people who were keeping The Secret by their beds, buying copies for friends and family. Well -meaning people looking for answers.

Whatever...it's not like I never bought sea monkeys

Finally, I elected not to care, or at least, not to care much. Once I got there, I recognized a pattern. A gamut of reactions very similar to my reaction to the film "What the Bleep Do We Know?", the crock of shit that The Secret replaced, at the top of my list of crockery. I do, at least for "Bleep" have the fond memory of Pete and me guffawing throughout the movie. Thought we'd be asked to leave, actually.

So, how did The Secret change my life?
It cured me from the desire to "save" people from it, and whatever version of The Secret comes up next. It's not possible for "Wake Up" to be heard over the roar of such. Is it my responsibility to pull back the curtain? Is it anyone's?

For a few moments, it seemed anything I could say would be in vain.

Those were not particularly happy moments. So, as with other such quandaries, I applied my favorite rubric: The Truth is in the Middle.

The middle between begging people to wake up and dismissing them as too stupid to live might be to continue to work without losing any sleep over whether anyone 'hears.' It seems that when creating art in any form, finally one has to just do the work he loves without beating himself up worrying over how it's received.

As far as The Secret is concerned, I'll resist shaking shoulders and crying, "Wake up!"

Instead, I'll say, "Good luck with that," and mean it.

Your artist is going swimming.

g'night and thanks for checking in