Michael Keaton, WIP


My vacation, which started a week ago and ends at 6AM Thursday morning, has seen some really hard work and really fun play. Yesterday was hard work: I helped my brother Brian set up his yard sale, and that involved heavy lifting and moving of dozens of items, including one of the biggest pre-flat-screen TVs ever made. About nine hours later all unsold items, including that honker of a TV, and display apparatus, including a long, heavy, falling-apart table about as heavy as the TV, had to be re-stashed. Wisely, Brian had me put the table where it could be conveniently taken to the alley for bulk trash pickup.

So today my back and legs are sore but my brain is fresh as a daisy, thanks to a long and heavy series of sleeps, commencing at 7:30 PM and continuing through the night. And for the first time in quite a while I felt like doing some hard brainwork/artwork/ acrostification in the service of portraiture. I’d just watched THE FOUNDER, the story of Ray Kroc’s discovery and gradual appropriation of the McDonald brothers’ revolutionary fast food method. It is more fascinating and horrifying to watch than a train wreck. And yet again I was left with an admiration of Michael Keaton’s skill and versatility.

I went a day overdue returning THE FOUNDER to Redbox, and it may take yet another day, and another $1.62 down the drain. I’ve been sketching, not only Keaton, but others involved in this incredible movie, and I’ve yet to do Jeremy Renner, actor turned producer, and Laura Dern, whom I also admire, who plays Kroc’s first wife, and gives an outstanding performance as a strong, supportive woman who was exploited, neglected, taken for granted, and ultimately cast aside. She will go next to Michael, smaller but with more time taken to get her right.

And then there is the acrostic. I’ve met the challenge of making MICHAEL the same length as KEATON, by conjoining the A and E in a way we don’t often see any more. I think the poem will be iambic, because I’ve had much more experience with iambic versifying than any other meter, and I will need all the help I can get with this one, since I intend to make each line of exactly equal character length, as befits a “true” acrostic, unlike the cheats I usually do. That is why the area between MICHAEL and KEATON is gridded. (Hint to aspiring acrostifiers: Microsoft Excel is a good place to do double-or-more acrostic construction. Format the cells to be of equal length and width, put your acrostics in the first and last columns, give yourself plenty of in-between columns, and hack away. NOTE: An easy way to add columns is hot-keying Control-Plus; subtracting, Control-Minus.)

But “Aesop,” the most familiar and least confusing of the AE possibilities, is trochaic, not iambic. But “Aesopian” IS iambic, and so one minor hurdle is jumped. There will be many others, especially since I stuck “batman” in there, in lower-case incognity.

Is this hard work or hard play? It is both. Please stay tuned!


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