Saturday, July 31, 2010

No help from the human.

So, not so much writing in the morning. It's Saturday, after all, after a week that was sort of a stress cocktail. So after four days of putting up posters, calls, worry, self-recrimination and walking, I'd begun tell myself I'd let go. But stopping to look out every window I passed said otherwise.
Then our neighbor called to say she'd seen Soosi at her front door. She was okay! She was near! We could catch her again! Somehow. We set out two traps--one with tuna and one with salmon. Being me, I managed to get my clothes fairly inoculated with fish juices. And possibly my hair. And in the desert heat, it didn't take long for the scents to get pretty interesting. Soosi touched every part of the outside of the traps and even managed to snag a bit of fish through the bars, but she wouldn't enter either. It made us wonder----the tip of her tail is crooked--looks as though it was broken when she was barely a handful of kitten.
Finally, Spencer convinced me to let it go for the night. He sung "Little Bo Peep." He tends to be of the sort that believes in things working out the way they should. I tend to be the fool trying to control her universe. I relented. I was tired and hot and smelly. I went out to retrieve the trap from our neighbor's yard. She met me there and just as I reached her, she said, "Well. would you look at that." Soosi had followed me there and waited just behind me. She ran away when I turned, but I was elated. Possibly she hadn't forgotten me or at least the stench was working.
I came home, showered and we sat watching television with the front door open. Moments later, Soosi cautiously ventured in. Eventually, she was batting at my feet and suddenly, in my lap.

Now it's time for a glass of Merlot and for putting stuff into my brain instead of squeezing stuff out. And petting. I'd better enjoy. I've got lots of work ahead of me, silly human.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Soosi returns

As I type this, Soosi is safe and sound and purring in my lap. Lesson learned. Silly human story in the morning. I must shower. I smell like sardines and not at all in a good way.


Friday, 105, more cat games

It was a little cooler today---105 or so with clouds. Still oppressive, but the work I've been doing is of the sea, and wind and bits of autumn. It helps, but I'm still affected by summer. I don't even have the motivation to get into the water. Aubrey theorizes that we forget summer when it's over, the way we forget pain. That might explain why people stay in the desert. I still hope for this place, that technology and money will be put into solar, wind and design for living here.

Have you been following the greening of the Empire State building? Pretty interesting stuff, and hopeful. We've been taking our own small steps in this house, and also in the studio, experimenting with natural casting products and reducing our footprint. It's a process that takes effort and motivation. Not so much immediate gratification. Then, it's immediate gratification that helped put us here. Time for changing.

Our neighbor phoned last night at about 9:30 to say Soosi was in her front hedge. Yay! We tried to coax her with food and she did actually eat from a small dish in our yard. But there was no catching her, especially with the Tortie chasing her away when she got close to the house. Too many hedges and hiding places. Frustrating, but we were very happy to see her well and staying so close. It may be another long night of cat games. Still, there were moments, sitting there in the quiet darkness, that were meditative and peaceful.

Now for food. I'll need the energy for tonight. Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Current Somethings

I find myself in familiar, hateful territory. This is the time of year when the desert sky is blinding, the ground is too hot to touch and many of us hide indoors feeling heavy and slow. Orion is spending a vacation week with his dad and Soosi, our little wild kitten, found a small hole long hidden by a desk and escaped back into the outside where, apparently, she wanted to be. We spent the last several days giving her photo and our number to neighbors, calling the shelters and walking, walking, walking. There's no finding a cat who doesn't know it wants to be found. We spotted the tortie several times, but no kitty.
Finding the hole may have solved the bunny mystery (two small ones got into the house last year) and saved a bit more energy. Assured that we've done all we can, we've decided to stop kicking ourselves, but we're feeling the pain of having loved and lost. No warm fuzzy feelings for us today.

What would Poppet say? You know. Take a step back for perspective. It's awfully hot lots of places. Everyone has hurdles, hurts, obstacles, losses. It seems that these days most of us live on the edge of worry.

It's always something. We live these old expressions, then we understand them.

I'm going to do what I do at the end of every summer---propel myself into an October state of mind. My head space is ready. Now to prepare my work space and the shop. I've created a category for Halloween and one for the Poppets that are retiring. It seems a difficult time to implement new visions. Then again, maybe this is exactly right.

What's your current something? What will you do about it?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Summer rages on. This is Soosi, an abandoned, feral kitten newly rescued by Aubrey, who phoned me first thing this morning. She told me very simply, "I finally caught your kitten. Bring Neosporin."

Our Untouchable Tortie still won't let us near her, but seems content to hang out in the greenhouse and eat the food we provide. Maybe, in time, she'll learn to trust us. It's a sort of understanding.

Soosi and I bonded quickly and already she's had a nap on my pillow, purring happily in my ear. There's a cat in this house and, on this summer evening, our world feels right.

Monday, July 19, 2010

nearly august

It's Monday.

Not your typical Monday, I suppose, unless you work at home. It's the heat. It's getting to me. It does every summer and this summer is no exception.

I watch too much news, true. I watch too many science shows. Also true. Then there's the web searching--every topic is its own rabbit hole.

Then she sort of wandered away...

Ok. Now it's Tuesday evening. Please forgive my absence. It's the heat. I think things, but before they get written down they're vaporized by the heat. And that's inside. Outside I mostly just hear a ringing Noooooooooooooo!
Been here.
Done this.
It's the desert. Summer's running right into hell season. We're doing okay, but not okay enough to get us all out of here. It's winter in Minnesota on opposite day. Can't leave, so we adjust and adapt.The pool water is 90+ degrees, but it's pretty good for night swimming.
Same thing though---persistent every summer is the question. At what point will we be unable to adjust and adapt to this climate?

It seems to me that this desert would be a good place for makers and innovators to create living spaces suited to this place. To develop more and better tools for using wind and solar power.
Possibly they're here, but I'm not seeing them.

That's it. I must stay on the surface. Keep things simple. I'll spend some time under the fan, and try again tomorrow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday morning

It's 8am and 95 outside. I sit with a cup of coffee with my feet in the pool, watching the water for unfortunate beetles and spiders that drowned in the night. I very carefully place them on a piece of card stock, arranging their legs. A couple of beetles crawl away. Good for them. Spencer walks around the corner, he's brought a bread pudding. "What's happened to your hair?" he asks. "Heartburn," I reply. I change into my suit and dive in. The water is like silk. In a couple of hours, we'll only be able to walk on shaded areas of the deck. My friend Kevin says it's hot in Chicago, and Ravyn says she's never felt it so hot in Virginia. It's supposed to be 114 today.
I'll wake Orion and we'll get Aubrey and go to the library. Books for him, DVD's for us to play in the studio while we work. I'll make art and Aubrey will pack Poppets to send on adventures and new homes.

good morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Procession and a little light.

A number of photos of "Procession" and a few words about other things.

We proceed. We move forward. Where one story ends, another begins. None lasts forever, but the procession does, nearly. Maybe. Poppets understand humans better than we might think.


Exit Through the Gift Shop was sort of the documentary I'd expected. I've a real appreciation for street art and it didn't disappoint. What I didn't expect was that the film was more about Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) than Banksy. I just erased the rest of my paragraph, because the film is summed up more elegantly here:

– the story of an accidental artist becoming an overnight sensation, while his hero looks on in horror.

I'll say I was alternately amused and angry.


As I type this, Morgan Freeman talks about the possibility of alien life. I don't know why I'm giving this a minute. I so wanted this series to be good. So far, Through the Wormhole has been(insert juvenile alternate titles here)....disappointing.

The Untouchable Tortie has returned. I'd nearly given up. Thought she'd found a home or was off to her own next adventure. But she showed up a couple of days ago, thinner than ever.
So naturally, here we go again.

I think this might be my favorite photograph of "Procession" so far. It makes me want to paint.

It's nearly 8pm, and still feels like an oven outside. Tonight we swim. Floats for everyone. We watch movies from the water. Then, when it's over, we just float and talk. Then we just float. I like the floating part.

I made Poppet lights. They're watch-battery powered. Outside, they remind me of fireflies. I like that too. Swim now. Sun tomorrow. Here in the desert, we're constantly aware that a little light is sweet, but a lot of it can kill you.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

small things

Started the day with a quiet swim. Birds and insects all get the same greeting. "Hello, beautiful!"

Temps all week in the teens, including today, so Spencer and I looked for a movie to escape into. (The kids are away this weekend.) Found two that look interesting--City Island and Exit Through the Gift Shop (first choice) but only showing at 9:30 tonight. Oh well, it will be hot still and it's Banksy.

Visions all night. The more life I experience, the more I tend to believe in a sort of balance---a sort of pay-as-you-go system, checks and balances. Like drive and anxiety, intuition and distraction, perception and sadness. If there is indeed an equation less than an inch long that will unify all knowledge of the universe, there must be some sort of balance. That's how equations work.

We head out now to buy vegetables at a local growers market, and sunflower seeds to plant between the corn. I see art in everything today. Composition in objects, human beings as poppets.

Sounds like a sort of insanity, for sure. But the household runs, kids get to school on time. I'll take it.

When I opened the door, the delivery guy gave me the smile that delivery guys give to pretty women. I am pretty today. I don't know why. I'll take that too.

I'm off, into the bright, white day in the desert. I'll let you know what I find out there.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Where was I?

I haven't written for a bit. I sort of went away to do the difficult part of my work. It's not that I haven't thought of you. I've thought of you often in the past week. It's become a habit of mine, to think of you, my fellow explorers, whenever I find something interesting. After so many years, you've become part of my inner voice, so that in moments of discovery, the words flow with ease and clarity. But not so much now, sitting here in the real world of my desk, my coffee and the tactile comfort of these familiar keys. My poppet stands like a sentinel by the monitor, always keeping me connected to that other place. Is it possible to love a tiny inanimate object? I love this little poppet most of all my poppets. I have a lot of poppets. This one, the-poppet-who-lives-on-my-desk, is the Scarecrow to my Dorothy.
True enough, I realize that what I love is the idea of the poppet. I love what poppet represents just by being a poppet, in the way I love all poppets. I love this one more because we've been 'there and back again.' If you've ever found yourself smiling at a poppet through real sadness, you likely love a poppet as I do. If not, you likely think the rest of us are a bit whacked. No worries. We are.

Anyway, I didn't even mean to go off on a poppet tangent. It's just that I see it there, looking at me as I try to cobble together a couple of sentences that make sense.
It's difficult to write about a thing when you're in the thing. Or---it's difficult to write it well. The thing I'm in is a creative transition. No, it's not climbing a mountain. But yes, it is. Just a mountain of a different sort.

Sigh. All of this sounds overly dramatic to the point of stupid As I said, it's difficult to write well about the moment one is in. Still, this is the stuff I'm supposed to be telling you about. Let me reel in the poet and let the geek speak for a minute. I seem to be in a major transition. I don't know this yet, for sure, but, yes I do. My vision is shifting. Again, not a big interest to anyone except others who explore inner spaces. But it is a big thing for me, because a vision shift is like the tide rising---it lifts every boat. I don't know yet how the art will be affected. But I know that in twenty years I've had only one other experience like this. And my work changed a great deal then.

So that's where I've been. It's not the sort of change that can be worked into the schedule, like finding a new technique or medium, or starting a new project. It's the sort of thing that takes over, so that you have to stop for awhile, and breathe and rest and think. It's not the sort of thing that you decide to do. It's something that happens when you don't expect it, like yesterday's earthquake.
---We're okay. We have a lot of crooked art on the walls but nothing actually fell. We huddled in the doorway for a minute that was bigger inside than out. Slow motion is real.
A 5.4 doesn't seem like much until it's close. Then, wake up.

So that's where I've been. Traveling fast and far through unfamiliar inner spaces, contained in a body walking on shaky ground, in a little pellicle of desert, on a world at the edge of a galaxy, hurtling through an ever- changing universe.

What've you been up to?