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Monthly Archives: January 2013

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Once upon a time, a man named Lyon Sprague de Camp summed up the Propheteering game by opining, “It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.” Many years later, a charismatic charlatan named John Edward McGee Jr. truncated his name and hung his Psychic Medium shingle on the airwaves, fooling millions with “I’m seeing a J. He’s VERY important…” and similar claptrap. If you’d like to become a Psychic Medium yourself, there’s plenty of How To material on the Internet; just do a search on “Cold Reading.”

Ever since the summer of 2012 I have lived in the charming subsection of Sedona, Arizona known as the Village of Oak Creek (also known as the VOC). In this beautiful rock-formationed land there is much belief in the supernormal. Last December a fellow went up Bell Rock with the publicized claim that a “space portal” was going to open up and he was going to jump in. Alas, no such portal materialized for him. It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.

The last line in the acrostic refers to Kurt Vonnegut, who was my favorite writer in the 70’s, and continued to be so in the 80’s, the 90’s, and the Aughts. In his Slaughterhouse-Five he followed every mention of death with “So it goes.” It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.

Finally, for those unfamiliar with American alphabet soup, an ATV is an All-Terrain Vehicle. I can be specific about that, since I’m no prophet.

 

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This has been a week of doing several things at once, as are all weeks, for all of us. But when a few things forestalled my journal paging, the word Multitasking sprang to mind, and solved my daily problem of what to journal-page about.

David and Bathsheba are mentioned, as they were, sort of, in Leonard Cohen’s melancholy anthem “Hallelujah.” (I have listened to one of k.d. lang’s versions on YouTube approximately three dozen times.) My new avatar reminds me of Cohen, and the paleness of my face thus makes me a pale imitation. I wasn’t trying to imitate him, though: that pesky software Gravatar kept bugging me for a picture. The hat was purchased on the Redondo Beach pier last spring by my girlfriend, who gave it to me; it was the Performing Poet’s Fedora I always wanted. I have only worn it in public performance a handful of times, but many people have said it looks good, so here it is.

As for the heart of the matter, it is, as always, the human heart. May yours be full and fresh.

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Tycho Brahe, that great Danish astronomer, dueled and lost a chunk of his nose. The duel, according to Wikipedia, was “over the legitimacy of a mathematic formula.” After that he wore a prosthetic nose, thought to be silver or gold, but which exhumation proved to be brass. More than four hundred years later, Kim Kardashian had a nose job. Thus the two were fated to meet on one of my journal pages.

I never would have dreamed of giving Kim a gold nose, but the necessities of making a triple acrostic in Sonnet format demanded it. I also had to slop three lines over into the next line to preserve the rhyme scheme.

This is not my first foray into a discussion of enhancement for the sake of beauty. There was this, done in October of 2008:

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Much more recently I did a portrait of a woman whose only enhancement, far as I knew, was staying alive for a century. Her beauty stunned me. My drawing is but a rough echo:

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Friends, when it comes to Work Done, the best place for it is on the pages of our lives.

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Here is the text:

Prehensile tales of yore and more compel to take a sip
Recalcitrant curmudgeons oft complain thus get a grippe
Olfaction may be chancy on the way to Life Fornever
Suspiciousness will keep some eyes on toggle switch & levers
Perception’s doors undirtied kept that Blake bloke in the loop
Especialities for Little Deuce include a Coupe
Conveyances of sympathy enhance the Story’s arc
Then lilies and an aftershave — we’ll gleefully infarct
Investitures of efffort help to slide skate surf or ski
Vermilion may redden due to falsely hued TV
Existence–essence–let us add ENJOYMENT–let it be

Fans of William Blake–and I know there’s at least one such reading, and you should see her Lynda-Barry-esque graphicizing of Master William–are familiar with his notion: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” Aldous Huxley did a book about his attempt to cleanse his own doors. Jim Morrison’s Doors took their name from the quotation. Alas, Perception is only ten letters long, or this would probably have been a triple acrostic…

 

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Orson Welles once described Eartha Kitt as “the most exciting woman in the world.” She was a slinky Catwoman in the campy 60’s series Batman, though she was pushing forty. Owl-Like for her big, wide-spaced baby browns; an Eel for her slinkiness.

Joseph Addison and Richard Steele founded The Spectator in 1711. It ran daily for 555 issues. Its stated goal among others was “to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality…” Why do I make Addison and Steele gelid? Mainly because I like the word; but some printmaking processes involve the use of gelatin. Call me anachronistic, but I see a connection.

The three were Good Eggs who had a good run. We still remember them today. And that makes them Eggs with Legs.

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Yesterday I was hurting for time. My shift ended at 7am. I grabbed a few hours of sleep. Midafternoon, off to Cottonwood and then Yavapai College with my lovely Girlfriend; my class ended after 8 and we rolled into the driveway about 9. My journal page, which I’ve done daily without fail every day of 2013, was undone. Could I do it? Yes, but it would be a “filler” issue. Yes, but it would be KILLER DILLER filler–hey, there’s my Triple Acrostic!

(Anyone remember George Harrison’s “Polythene Pam”? “She’s killer diller when she’s dressed to the ‘ilt…”)

For the illustration, a lot of things easily morphable to Filler, Sorry about that, Phil Donahue, Fuller Brush Man, Filet Mignon, and buckminsterfullerene, you wonderful substance, you.

If you can’t make heads nor tails out of the words, remember: it’s filler. On the other hand, if you see beauty, profundity, and wisdom there, remember: it isn’t ANY old filler. It’s Killer Diller Filler.

PS RIP Phyllis Diller, from a fan.

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Here are three Graphic Heroes of mine, and they have three things (or more) in common. All are known more for their drawings than their paintings. All shook up the status quo. And all have known prolificity.

About twenty years ago, the Phoenix Art Museum hosted a show featuring Walt Disney, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. Here’s what David Bryant of THE LIBRARY JOURNAL had to say about the book made from the catalog of that show: “This book is the catalog of the Phoenix Art Museum exhibit of the same title. Brilliantly colorful, this well-designed paperback is full of whimsy, fantasy, and the engaging simplicity of its images, the work of three extremely popular American artist/illustrators. The late Haring regarded Andy Warhol and Walt Disney as two of his art heroes. Kurtz, curator of 20th-century art at the Phoenix Art Museum, gathered the works for this show, many previously unseen. Haring’s exuberant, lovable cartoon art serves as the glue uniting the work of the three artists. Brief but well-constructed essays on Disney, Haring, and Warhol serve to clarify the role of each in American popular culture. Recommended for academic, museum, and public library collections.” My trio is not as household-namey as theirs, but the Kollwitz/Adams/Crumb trio has influenced me enormously, and I hope more art lovers become acquainted with them.

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A fervent WISH/A plate too FULL/A THIN-souped dish/A KING to lull–hey, wait a minute. That’s not how this one goes.

Whether you’re after a smile or a look
Woolens hand-crafted or first published book
If you just fumfuh like long-boiled spaghetti
It all goes Uh-Uh plans torn like confetti
So: FORGET SoLILOQUIZIN’
SWOOP and SLIDE that fine horizon
Hellish hot the kiln is FIRING
Heat to FULLNESS your DESIRING

Walt Disney sanctioned a talking, singing, animated cricket to urge us all to Wish Upon A Star. And so people do. “When I win the lottery…” is the touchstone of many a wish as well.

“You’ve got to dream,” urged Conrad Hilton, and I agree. Dreams differ from wishes. Wishes are beggings; dreams require more active participants in their realizations.

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Two days ago, having just finished a journal page, I told my girlfriend I wanted to do a portrait page of someone I hadn’t “paged” before. She suggested Anaïs Nin, perhaps because I’d been affectionately calling her “Nin” (why? Long story) off and on for more than a year.

What a terrific, and challenging, subject for acrostic poetry! The biggest challenge would be to find a word that begins with an umlauted i, i.e. ï. A capital ï, i.e. Ï, never “occurs in nature” since the umlaut in ï is that peculiar species of umlaut known as a diaeresis, which is a diacritical mark that indicates a new syllable. Since the first letter of a word starts a new syllable by definition, the diaeresis isn’t needed and wouldn’t work. What to do? –Well, heck and gee-whiz, what if I treated those two pesky dots not as an umlaut, but as two-thirds of an ellipsis, i.e. .. ? Then I could put an extra line in that began with an ellipsis–problem solved. (One of the things I LOVE about acrostic poetry is the challenges it creates. Solving odd problems like these forces creative solutions.)

That wasn’t the first problem, though. The first problem was, before I got to the acrostic poetry, I had begun the illustration.  My illustration featured nudity in the form of a nude, reclining Henry Miller and June Mansfield. I drew, both with them and with Ms. Nin, not from a photo source, but from imagination; and my imagination used not real life but actresses and actor from the film Henry & June, which I’d seen only once, and that about twenty years ago. Consequently the full-faced Nin looked less like Anaïs Nin and more like Maria de Medeiros, though not much like either (I most definitely do NOT have a “photographic memory”). But the bigger problem was the nudity. Though it is not a violation of WordPress terms & conditions to include nudity, it is frowned upon on certain other sites where I might wish to post my page. I HATE censorship, but I solved this problem by self-censoring.

Before I did the portrait fix-ups and the clothing of the nudes, though, I scanned the work in progress. I leave you with that image:

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