Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Here, there and back again, I continue to move them around,
hoping a solution will eventually reveal itself or that my mother
will give up.
I was, and am, a tenacious little shit. This could go on for awhile.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
If you're stressed about the holidays, cut it out.
Before I type another letter, I should probably tell you that earlier today I failed to follow the suggestions I'm about to offer. I have a gift shop and it's gift season. I'm the head of a household. And there's the occasionally spectacular dynamic of the humans around me - those who are part of the solution and those who are part of the problem. And all that goes with. I have my list, you have yours.
Sometimes the clock is ticking, my brain is racing and a dozen things are competing for my attention. Sometimes I find myself slogging through the glue that is overload.
I did today, for sure. Thankfully, I stepped back before getting stuck. Still, if I were REALLY good at this, I'd have avoided that goo in the first place.
Wouldn't you think?
What I'm trying to say here is, beware. (see blog header) Don't follow me blindly. I might trip.
That said. It's the holidays. Prime season for stress. Very likely this is a good time to remind ourselves that at this time of year, we tend to try to live up to impossible standards. We have to remember that these standards are mostly created by marketers trying to make us feel we are lacking. Because, if we shop at Target, our holiday dinner will be perfect. If we shop at Zales, we can watch the game in peace. And so on.
Our memories do it too. Those fuzzy-edged, rose-colored pictures of perfect family dinners, softened by time. Who are we kidding? Our mothers were spinning. Grandmothers too. Possibly they popped a couple of Valium or sampled the cooking wine. Either way, you likely didn't see them spinning. Why not? Because your mind was elsewhere.
You're not as important to the people sitting at your table as you think you are. Or, at least, not in the way you think. They're not watching your every move. They're not going to judge you if you forgot to use the good salt shakers. They just don't care. They're not going to notice if the candles are vanilla instead of holiday spice or if the tree's a little dry. It's not that they don't appreciate you. It's just that they're living just as much in their heads as you are in yours.
That spotlight bearing down on you is yours. You put it there. Just turn it off. In a week, no one will care about the details or who gave them which present. If they do, it's their problem, not yours.
What they will remember is how they felt. What you will remember is how you felt.
I'm gonna suggest here that we think about cutting down our lists. Some of the details can go. Some of the deadlines are made-up. I'm going to suggest we simplify and spend a little more time being.
I'm just saying.
Monday, December 19, 2011
The Untouchable Torti roams the ruins. Her kittens play there. They are feral and nearly unapproachable. If I stop feeding them, they will go away and find someone else in the neighborhood that will.
These cats are fierce and feral. Mine are toys. But that's environmental. Inside, they're the same.
It's the hardwiring.
Just the sort of place for cats.
It lends something to them. They take that something and make it their own.
Today is my birthday. December 19. It's a year since I decided to take a look at a year. Between you and me, I might've picked a different year.
I thought I was broken. You might think you're broken too. But you're not. We're not.
As I watch the cats prowl, lounge and caper through these spaces, I began to notice the lines and textures.
365 days. We all lived through the same days. I wrote about some of it here. I didn't write a lot of it. Some things need time and perspective.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
This photo was taken in yesterday's late afternoon sun. Two of Torti's kittens. We're still 2 weeks away from time for trap/fix/release.
This one was taken in this morning's early light. I closed the curtains after. I don't know how Orion and Ethan would react, but certainly it would've put a damper on their breakfast appetites. It didn't do mine much good.
It's been a long time since I worked in the morgue.
Still, I'm glad for the experience and Harlequin Valentine came out of it. There's a real mix of grim and sweet. Hmm. My birthday is almost here. I think I shall call the Neil and ask for a spoken word version. I'll bet it's really, really good.
Of course I'll have to clean this up in a bit.
Reality often bites the head right off of cuteness. I'm good with that. We can't have one without the other. We'd rot our teeth out.
But now it's time to wrap up poppets so they can be on their ways tomorrow. Holiday time means artists with shops like mine are working on their days off (whatever that is.)
I've made prints available on Etsy of several of the sketchbook drawings from the year. You can find them here. I'll be making greeting cards and framed versions available too. It's taken a while and I'm happy to finally be able to bring some of this work to light. So much is still tucked away in the studio, waiting patiently.
So I'm putting on my shoes (the floor back there is sooo cold) and will enjoy some music. Don't think the zone is available today with two boys in the house, but then, the zone has levels.
Hope your day is a good mix of real and fantasy, grim and cute, dark and light.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
My days usually start pretty early. My alarm goes off before the sun comes up and this morning I beat it by about thirty seconds, having awoken from a rather scary alien invasion dream. It started like most, with unusual weather, then grew into something highly detailed and colored with that awful feeling that there's nothing to do but hide, helplessly hoping.
I woke with that, and then the alarm to assure me they weren't here yet, but it was cold in the house. It was a three-cat sort of night. Bilbo Cat was in his usual spot, curled up against Orion's back. After extricating Orion from his bed, we jumped through the usual morning hurdles and I dropped him off at school, picked up Helen and headed to the post office before it was overtaken by seniors. On the way back here, we passed a field of ravens. I stopped to take a few shots with my phone, regretting not having a better camera with me. (A second camera is definitely on my wish list---have a Power Shot sitting around?) Will trade for poppets.
It's not far, so we drove home and I snagged my camera and we headed back. I told Helen on the way that this wouldn't be our last side trip. I explained that there was a good chance the birds would be gone when we returned, but that if I didn't try there was no chance.
I've learned that I have to be willing to take these opportunities when they arise. I have to be willing to stop, or change course, or inconvenience myself a little. Art doesn't happen in a vacuum. It's more like water from the ground. The pump has to be primed.By the time we returned, many of them were gone, but Budd was there. He approached me and we talked. I learned that he's eighty-seven years old and he likes ravens infinitely more than crows. I also learned that he feeds this flock every morning at sunrise and that they are particularly fond of dry cat food.
I'll be meeting him there sooner than later, with a bag of Friskies and my camera.
This was my morning. Now I'm off to work.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
It seems it's time for the Neil Gaiman and me to make something. We talked over some possibilities the other day. I'm thinking you'd probably enjoy a new collaboration. I've got some ideas that have been pestering me to no end. I'll keep you posted.
I burned my finger on a poppet. Ask me how many times I've done that. I've decided that multi-tasking was invented by someone who hates women. Men can't do it. They're just not hard-wired that way. Man must focus on one thing at a time: Kill food. Mate. Shit.
Woman must not let the fire go out, the Neanderthal-ings toddle out of sight, the skins go unscraped, etc.
Multitasking is bad for the brain and causes burned fingers and cussing.
I'm obviously still thinking of early humans. I look at these bones on my shelf, waiting for paint and other thoughts to turn them into something else. Indeed bones must've been toys for early Earth children. Early humans were constantly in contact with Death. Death was everywhere. Present at all the events of everyday life. Welcomed and accepted as part of life.
Until, of course, religions were invented. But that's another post. It's eleven thirty and I don't even mean to be up. I'm waiting for laundry to pack for leaving tomorrow.
Currently, we play video games and watch cartoons and movies and Death is no longer welcome. In fact, its very existence is often denied. When we run out of lives, we earn more. We die over and over again. We have fewer reminders, generally speaking, as health care is better and people live longer. And are less often killed by bears. On the one hand, the information age brings us instant news of far away disasters. But that news is on screens just like the games and shows. It's not real. Does tragedy have to hit us in our own back yards for us to acknowledge Death? Have we un-friended Death?
If this is so, is there an underlying sociological movement behind this shunning of our once-beloved Grim?
It's what I'm thinking of tonight, waiting for laundry, which has just buzzed. I'm outta here for now. Hope you have a great weekend.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found?
The same old fears.
But there they are. Powerful words for me. Find yours and keep them close. I pour a cup of coffee. I tie my apron. I'm going to work, happy to be wherever this is. Yup. I'm a wizard. And so are you.
I've tied my morning apron on about 7,480 times, so far.
Hope your day is good. Thanks for being here with me.