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Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Today I made some business cards. I made only eight, because there were horrible consequences to not manually feeding the label stock into the printer. The printer decided to teach me a lesson by mangling three pages of stock and leaving variously-jammed, hard-to-remove stock-sections hither and yon. Somehow some printing ended up occurring on that green-feltish roller thing inside the printer.

So I spent much of an hour opening front and back and top and drawer pulling out little accordions and rectangles and origamis of stiff paper. I THINK it is all out but I’ve had enough for one day and will do no more printing.

But pictured here is one intact card and two recent ceramic creations. This is a baby step toward the goal of monetizing my fine-arts efforts to the point of being able to fully retire from day-jobbing. Not that I don’t love my day job. It is just that I have three lifetimes-worth of important things to make, and only at most twenty years to make them.

Why twenty? Well, I’m sixty-four right now. My mother is a bit less than twenty years older than I am, and though she is still able to enjoy life, her memory and other faculties have declined sharply in the last couple of years, and my DNA is half her. The other half came from my father, who left us via myocardial infarction on January 5, 1983, at the tragically-premature age of 49.

So, Friends, my meter’s running.  If you’d like an original creation of mine at an astonishingly reasonable price, please shoot me an e-mail using my onewithclay@hotmail.com address. Include the amount you are willing to spend, and a headshot and personal philosophy if what you want is a custom portrait. No job too big, nor small!

I was doing my dishes this morning, enjoying the use of the Bachelor’s Tip regarding hand-washing dishes, which came to me a few days ago:

BACHELOR’S TIP: When hand-washing dishes, every fourth time or so, don’t open the soap bottle. instead, just run hot water over the closed nozzle. There will be enough post-nozzle congealed soap to make your dishwater nice and sudsy, AND you’ll prevent that nasty, gross Congeal Buildup.

This Tip should have occurred to me years ago, but I wasn’t paying enough attention. And so it is with much of our life’s endeavors. We do things a certain way because we have always done them that way. We don’t think of better ways.

So the word destiny floated up from the suds in its metaphorical way. And it made its way to one of the blank index cards I have on hand, and it was surrounded by other stuff, thus:

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The Role Model and Hero I refer to is my Glendale High School classmate Dolores Gail Wager Quintero. In her storied lifetime she has had two full careers, one as a Government agent and one as an inner-city teacher of science and mathematics and general knowledge. And that’s just the visible portion of the iceberg. Among many other achievements, she also earned a tailor’s license and is handy enough with tools to have rigged up her own dash-cam for her vehicle, the appropriately named Fit.

Years ago Dolores was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, and if she had cooperated with her doctor’s prognosis, she would have been long gone. She did not and she is not. She was supremely proactive in her medical care, doing extensive research and not taking anything for granted. She pays attention to both opportunities and pitfalls. So ought we all.

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On impulse I picked up an unfinished acrostic poem from my cluttered card table. I had just had a nap and felt refreshed. Great luck! The double acrostic was IMPULSE CONTROL. Impulsively I spent 45 minutes finishing the acrostic, no mean feat since the only word I’d written besides the bookending IMPULSE and CONTROL was “FDIC.” Greater luck! Impulse control, and the increasing lack of it, played a major role in the poem’s composition. Look at the lines and you will see that they start evenly, almost stodgily, and then get wilder as the poem rolls along.

The greatest luck of all was having just read an article about the plague of Internet trolls ruining things for everyone. Epiphanatically I realized I was writing about the ultimate, impulse-control-challenged, troll of all, the mad Tweeter King.

Three successive weeks last month I bought a sculpted heart from my friend Deborah Hodder, whose work was on display at five15 Arts on Grand Avenue. I asked her if I could use the hearts in my creative expression. She enthusiastically assented, and went so far as to suggest performance art. This post is a performance of sorts. One of Deborah’s hearts is in the image above, and it and the two others I own are in the image below, along with a bird I sculpted a few weeks ago.

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Here is the poem.

Impulse Control

Invigorate your system with a dose of cold Hi-C
Investigate your president as if FDIC
Mull Holland Mueller Malkovich and high-fived CEO
Meticulustfully to see how to and fro we go
Perhaps we grapple with a loss and cray-cray now and then
Upanishads and Spanish moss seduce a soul unpent
Let’s lift and drop and call a cop for grins or grim diss-honor
Seek chicks and sex and cello vex S Kubrick meets R Donner. O
Entre-penury of late is loose and on a roll
Engagement and no rules reveals the Season of the Troll

 

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Here are the boxed earthly remains of my younger brother next to an urn I made at the Thunderbird campus of the Phoenix Center for the Arts. I knew while I was making the urn that the odds of it being suitable as a vessel for Brian’s ashes were small, but that I needed the practice; and it is helpful to learn what doesn’t work, on your way to making something that does.

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First to demystify the title: decompressed, it is “You want to know what is REALLY going on? Are you SURE?” And a good look at the image reveals the title as well.

Would any of us want to know, on a level approaching omniscience, the nature of Reality? Scientists seem to strive for clues and answers along those lines. But it would take a fearless person indeed to cast aside presuppositions and wishes that things be a certain way, in exchange for unwished-for glimpses of Truth.

This is relevant to me now because, in my country at least, mythmaking propaganda is on the rise. It is not confined to a political party or a religious or nonreligious belief. Algorithms seek and find an individual’s way of thinking, and the exploiters who designed–or purchased–the algorithms then capitalize on that knowledge. In my own case, my internet feed sends me unasked-for “Art events in your area” information, and links to liberally-biased news items abound. The phrase “echo-chamber effect” describes this phenomenon well.

It is insidious and is dividing us. Since it also unites us into special-interest tribes, it is also well-nigh irresistible. So when I think of the questions I have posed, I get these answers:

Do I REALLY want to know what’s going on? Only when my thirst for true knowledge is greater than my fear of being uncomfortable, or horrified, or devastated, or suicidal.

Am I SURE? Paradoxically, I am more and more sure that it is dangerously self-destructive to be sure about almost anything. It is important, though, to choose basic precepts upon which to behave and act. So:

Harmlessness is a virtue. Hatred of fellow beings is poisonous. The most valuable currency is Quality of Life. The most valuable consideration is the use of one’s time while alive.

A few corrolaries to these basics are:

Black lives matter. Love of living creatures compels Goodness and Mercy. Every precious moment is an opportunity. Self-awareness is vital to self-improvement.

Peace be unto you, my friends.