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I’m on the #70 bus, heading home from South Mountain Community College after taking my AR115 (3D Design) final exam. I had hoped to do many clay pieces in the class, but the instructor sliced a clay project from the syllabus because the wire project went extra.

I did manage this tiny bowl, though.

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Yesterday was the last session of my 3D Design class before the final exam next Wednesday. We had a critique on the Wearable Sculpture project, with five teams each presenting a team member modeling the clothing. Lexi of my team made a napkin scarf with enhancements cut from playing cards, and a diadem of aluminum foil, card cutouts and Monopoly money; José made a necklace of ribbn and poptop tabs enhanced with card cutouts; I made this bird mask of styrofoam cup bases, feathers, an old pair of glasses with one lens missing–and two hearts cut from a playing card. We called the look “It’s In the Cards.” Lexi modeled the outfit, and I did the “next on the runway, we have Lexi in a smashing ensemble…” spiel. José lent his strong, silent gravitas to the proceedings.

I would be surprised if we don’t get an A.

Now I have a boatload of cards and a Monopoly set left over. The repurposing-of-elements possibilities are endless!

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Five years ago today this blog began. My intention and goal was to do at least one blog post a week. One post a week would have made this Blog Post #261 or so. On the other hand, if I’d done a post a day, which quickly became my ambition, this would be Blog Post #1826.

But one thing I’ve learned, and relearned, in these five years: Quantity doesn’t mean much in blogging; QUALITY means much more. Post a thousand blogs, and the more you waste a viewer’s time, the bigger the crime you commit.

That said, the ability to draw, to sculpt, to compose poetry, to genuinely CREATE–generally, the more time spent doing creative things, the better we get at not wasting a viewer’s time. We become more creatively fit. We try things. Go down dead ends and beat ourselves against brick. Pull out something from our psyche with hard pliers, and hurt for it. Phone it in, and hurt for that too.

It is our job as creatives to be perpetually dissatisfied, to weep over the masterwork our efforts could have been but weren’t, to try, try again until we morph to some degree from tourist to native, and to not settle into a comfort zone of facile confidence. Ours is–must be–the most important job on Earth. Our job is to be a voice of the best that Civilization has to offer.

And so, both humbly and arrogantly, we must start with self-portraiture. We discover who we are, what we like, at what we excel, and at what we may never succeed. It is important, just as it is important for a hot fudge sundae to start out both hot and cold, that our focused seriousness be alloyed with relaxed, carefree play. This enables us to explore, and it gives our inner fire some motivation and Zing.

Today I started a page inspired by Billy Crystal’s “Fifteen Rounds,” which tells the life first of Cassius Clay and then of Muhammad Ali, from victory at the 1960 Olympics to defeat many years later at the hands of Leon Spinks. I have watched the two YouTube versions of this performance at least a dozen times. The theme is pure Ali: “It’s never too late to start all over again.” That mantra has helped me get through some tough times in these five years.

Near the end of “Fifteen Rounds” a determined Ali asserts that he wants to take on ol’ Leon again. “I’m old, I don’t like training, but I’m gonna do it. Gonna do my pushups, gonna do my situps. I’m gonna RUN WITH THE MOON!”

And so will we, Friends. When this work in progress is finished enough to be ready for your subsequent view, we will run with the moon!

boy howdy

his pockets are lumpy. heavy. marbles
and a little money, a golf pencil,
bent feathers, string,
something for luck, something
metal lying on a canal bank,
and much more
he cannot remember
fifty-eight years later.
what he does remember
is emptying those pockets,
marveling at the quantity
and variety of that boystuff,
and gloating over it.

some went into a drawer of treasure,
some got thrown out,
some got spent,
and one thing was held up to the light
and found miraculous.

remenbering, the man
looks at the surface of his drawing table,
so cluttered, so discoverable,
and knows the boy
abides.

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The day after tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of “One with Clay, Image and Text.” It would be nice if it coincided with my eleven-hundredth blog post. So here is a detail from an old olive tree that caught my eye walking through the park with my good friend Melony.

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In a way this tree is a self-portrait. I made it more like myself via photoediting enhancement. It is craggy and bleachy, and has been through the mill, but it abides.

Today Tracy M gave me a shirt and a growler, found in this odd ensemble:

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Over a year ago I joined the walking program, managed by Tracy, at Devonshire Senior Center.  Some of us walk indoors at the Center, in a room with a jukebox, a piano, and a stage with steps up and down on its sides. Some of us walk outdoors on the mileage-measured sidewalk at nearby Los Olivos Park. I often do both, as I did today: a measured mile (3 laps) at the Park, and at least three miles (I did 65 laps, and it takes at least 15 laps to do a mile in this room) indoors. Tracy took my numbers at her desk. Here she is, uncharacteristically without her glasses on:

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She truly and literally walks the walk. And she is Fitness personified, ultra-lean yet not gaunt. She is a Perfect Fit for her job, and her encouragement and steadfastness enable many of us to step lively, whether we be 35, 63 or 90. Whenever I despair of the state of our country and its so-called “leadership,” a thought of what happens at the community level, with such as Tracy and her generously giving sistren and brethren helping us in good health, always cheers me up.

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In August I again became a college student, enrolling at South Mountain Community College so that I could be in their 3D Design class. The third sculptural project for the class is due today, November 6, 2017, in less than nine hours. The assignment: Make ten gesture drawings, have the instructor approve one of them, and create a wire sculpture based on that drawing.

I had never worked with wire before. It is fantastically fun to be doing so now!