Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Before you put the cart before the horse or the horse before
the cart, either way you must remember the cart and the horse are matters of
education. The conventional thinking is that horses always go before the cart,
however it occurs to the educated person it might be better sometimes to put
the cart before the horse. For example, in crossing a field of land mines.
Friday, August 4, 2017
mr170804 My mistake, too?
I’m writing my autobiography. Is it to be my mistake? Should I be doing something else? I think about the world situation, and I remember what Signora Maria Guaita said: “Only artists and poets can save the world now,” she declared to me when I visited her in Florence. An old resistance fighter during WWII, I pay heed to and I honor her view.
But, here I am, writing about my life. Is this what an artist should be doing to help save Earth’s human life sustainability? Is this what an Emeralda Warrior should be doing? That old warrior, Maria Guaita, has her story—and the story of Il Bisonte, her printmaking school—in books.
Seven months and 450 pages into my autobiography, I read a memoir titled, My Mistake, by Daniel Menaker, a well-known writer in New York. Menaker wrote an article about his brother’s death—the second article he’d written about this tragedy and his self-blame. It was rejected.
He told his analyst about it. But his analyst, he writes:
“Instead of responding to the umbrage I’ve taken, he tells me that my brother’s death is threatening to turn into a nuclear integrative fantasy for me. Nuclear because it is becoming the center of my unconscious emotional life. Integrative because it creates a shape, a terrible and beautiful structure, for everything in my life that came before it and has happened afterward. And a fantasy because for reasons of unconscious conflict and patterns, I’ve begun to inject its occurrence into many parts of my history upon which it has no rational bearing.”
The analyst illustrated this nuclear integrative fantasy by what we know of the lives of survivors of the holocaust. Menaker continues to illustrate, from his experience with an example of nuclear integrative fantasy in meeting a woman whose brother had died, and who dwells on this in conversations with everyone she meets.
Is this a good use of time?
Friday, July 21, 2017
sp170720 Stuff of a saga
In a time when story finds more interaction in video games
than opera or movies, the stuff sagas are made of is still the core of these arts.
In pop literature, I think James Michener did great things by the way he gave
his readers a grounding in primordial time and space in books like Hawaii, Alaska and others.
When I designed and built the Halfwood press, at times
working alone in my woodshop—a pencil and paper handy—phrases about the press’
origins came to mind. Like cookie crumbs I followed the trail of the press, a
serial of logical sequence. I compared this to movies like The Red Violin. I imagined people’s involvement with the Halfwood
press over time. I created a saga like that of that violin, a musical
instrument designed for beauty and functionality just like the halfwood press.
Someone observed that in the crafts and the arts that you
master your instrument and then the instrument masters you, or that artists and
their instruments become one in the making of fine arts, crafts and performances.
If I am an artist—living at a time when story finds its greatest interaction in
video games—then the halfwood press is the stuff out of which a saga may emerge—the
back story for a great hybrid game.
Taking my cue from Michener, I built a sequence of events
beginning with The Women Who Fell to Earth
and which courses through the history of sailing ships named the Emeralda I and
Emeralda II, then to the design of the etching press. My blend of printing
press and musical instrument, the halfwood press, travels from 18th
Century Spain to the muddy bottom in the Pacific Northwest waters. After
two-hundred years it emerges in another story—autobiographical in part—a digital
component added-on which makes it part of the Internet of Things—IoT.
My desire for a suite of Games
for the gifts of life, I have the right stuff for a saga, a back story for a
suite of games I call Emeralda. The
saga has the unearthing of skeletons of a man and a monkey, along with a halfwood
press chest. In another part a Russian man, dying in the far north, engraved
his life story on ivory parts of a facsimile halfwood Press, telling how the halfwood
press came to the northwest; and, in the finale of my screenplay, Swipe, a precocious Brazilian street kid
grows up to be a globe-trotting teacher of printmaking.
I love the chain of events in words I was given to write—the
best gifts I could have received for my part in designing and making of the halfwood
press. Now I want the stuff of its saga to be the spine of a video game and a
Who will help?
Friday, June 23, 2017
ap170623 Saving Earth’s human life sustainability
Why write an autobiography?
When I came into the world, the belief I met was that any little
thing was a chance for growing conscious of humanity in a relationship with
Nature. By the time I had lived twenty years, my belief encompassed all Natural
things—stones, trees, animals, birds, fish—and I took my role to be that of an
artist and a teacher. To be an artist, I had to teach. Survival of that element
of humanity to see every little thing as a chance for growing conscious of
humanity’s relation with Nature depended on me teaching cultural arts.
Mechanization was constantly growing, too; and often the
demands of mechanization were counter to consciousness of Nature and our
dependence on Natural forces. By the time I was forty, I had been adopted, it
seemed, by a being showing me both Natural and mechanical forces and they are
By the time I was sixty—around the year 2001—I could see the
balance of survival tipping to the mechanical. Now that I am seventy five, the
victory in the contest between Nature and mechanization is almost won by the
latter. Humanity no longer controls the forces of mechanization. It is a fact,
as one of the authors said in a book I read when I was in my ‘thirties, that
mechanization takes command.
Mechanization has disrupted even the simplest human
reactions—such as one human making eye-contact with another human meeting on a
sidewalk. Plugged in—either with ear buds or only mentally—most people I meet
walking avoid showing any signs that they know I am there. I feel like a ghost;
I can see them, but they cannot see me it seems.
People acknowledge a dog, yet do not acknowledge another human
being. Humans put out extreme efforts to husband their vehicles above all else—devoting
huge sums of money to buying and maintaining their cars while wasting and
ignoring Natural things such as humans.
Is it only Americans who behave this way? Probably not.
However, among the inventions of Americans is entertainment and the mediums to
distribute the power of mechanization overwhelming Nature, so that billions of
non-Americans fall under its power, too.
The endowment of cultural arts allows those who practice and
teach them to see the others’ meaning, and to sense an understanding of the
reasons that people hate Americans for having destroyed so much of Nature that
Therefore, when I was in my ‘fifties and my thoughts
encountered those of a few other Americans by way of the mechanical means of
communications—TV and books, mostly—I believed that my teaching and artistic
role had found a value that transcended my expectations as an ordinary, limited
Natural human. The mechanics of goal-setting is a helpful method to keep one’s
bearings when the forces of mechanization overwhelm me.
What is this writing - this blog - worth? Six months ago I made a
commitment to write my autobiography. This project is conditional, however. If I
wrote my autobiography within the same framework as autobiographies were
written in the past, it would be like wasting Natural resources. It would be
like a person facing a walk in a desert and pouring the contents of a water
canteen into the sand as if this were the first step toward a successful
It would be a waste of the most precious of all resources
given to me: Time. Therefore, in the spirit of human creativity, creating an
autobiography must have an artist and teacher’s touch. It must use the best of
what mechanization has to offer to achieve the most human of goals—Earth’s
human life sustainability.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
os170606 Tiddlywik-ing my autobiography
Inspired by an onyx apple
I am writing my autobiography, and I have been at it for about four months. I work on it every day—sometimes all day—when I’m not corresponding with people about printmaking and my Halfwood Press line. When I tell people about it, I’m probably guilty of humble bragging. That’s when you brag about yourself behind a mask of self-deprecation.
It’s something like this: “I have to realize that writing an autobiography today—if you’re not somebody famous—is foolish on two counts: One, you’re not famous so who cares? And, Two, no one reads books any more.
It could be that I am famous, but not famous to millions of people—only a few hundred. The only big number I can claim is the number of people who have watched my videos on Youtube. One of them got over 22,000 views the last time I looked.
There is another reason for writing my novel, and it’s a secret—even to me. I am what people call a visionary, or a creative person. I’m not happy about that because there’s no demand for people like me. (Humble bragging again?). Since there’s no demand, I’m lonely—an outsider to most peoples’ circles of friends and professional associates.
In other words, I don’t know what I’m doing.
On the upside of this, however, is that I’m free of encumbrances, such as non-business telephone calls and social obligations. Even my close family members leave me alone to do what I think is important to me (and what I hope, in the end, will be important to them, too).
Here’s the point of this essay—I have in my collection of memorabilia a red onyx apple. It’s one of the things that will be discarded when I die because it’s of no apparent value. They sell for about $20 from carved gemstone suppliers. Here I paraphrase one supplier’s claims:
“Onyx apples remind people of the magic and mystery of fairy tales, and the legend of good versus evil as in the Garden of Eden. Their properties are ever-potent, a symbol of trust, growth, sustenance, and bearing fruit. Apples have also historically been used for happiness and drawing love, as well as divination rituals. Onyx is a stone of inner strength, persistence, willpower, and concentration. It keeps you focused, to develop into a master of self-realigning perceptions, emotions, actions, thoughts, and more. It purifies your inner monologue, to help you think more positively. Because as we think, so we believe and behave. This is a stone that can change your life.” – Sage Goddess
Yet I wouldn’t throw away this apple as long as I live. It was a gift to me in 1965 from my teacher in graduate school, Professor Geoffrey Bowman. It is a souvenir from Mexico, and he brought it back because I took care of his house and cats while he was gone.
Now, writing my bibliography, the onyx apple is mentioned in connection with my description of the two years I was in graduate school. As I said above, there are two reasons not to write an autobiography—being unknown and no readers—and the onyx apple, as the Sage Goddess wrote, has the power to focus on becoming a master of self-realigning perceptions, etc.
This I interpret to mean that the apple onyx may lead me to a reason to write an autobiography, which is to realign the emotions, actions, thought and more. The “more” is to create an autobiography that is a game more than a mere tome. It might be simple: make the apple, including its image, part of the autobiography and then use a wiki platform to provide the user (reader?) with an interesting experience in pursuing the links associated with the onyx apple.
Online I find several types of wiki platforms, one of which gets high ratings by writers. It is a called tiddlywiki. I'm going to download it and try it.
Monday, March 6, 2017
ap170305 Close call: Wake up call
Yesterday I walked from our home in lower Queen Ann. I was
with four blocks of my destination—the Trader Joe’s store at the top of the
hill. It was there that Lynda and I planned to meet. We coordinated my walk
time and her bus time. It was about 1:05.
Walking on 1st Avenue North I came to Blaine
Street, and I was looking down the sloping street at the Number 4 bus, waiting
there. I was startled by the sound of a vehicle skidding to stop. There, about
ten feet from me, was a black SUV that had almost hit me! I froze—like they
say, like a deer in the headlights. I looked at the driver—she was aghast. I
felt meek and I hurried out of the way.
One second was all the separated me from serious injury or
even death. She may have been going about 10 miles per hour—a little slow
because at that intersection there is a jog where Blaine meets 1st
Avenue. It takes about 27 feet to stop a car going this speed—about one and a
third times the length of a Sports Utility Vehicle like hers.
As I resumed my walk, I began playing back what a difference
that one second would have made. At ten mph, a car covers about 15 feet per
second. One second would have been enough to smash into my right side, probably
breaking my hip and femur. I’d probably be thrown a dozen feet besides,
hitting who knows what on my body: My head? Shoulder? What the overall impact would do to my back—operated
on five months ago—shoulders, neck and head is hard to tell. If not killed, I
could have been hospitalized for months.
Visualizing different scenarios in my imagination as I
walked on, I wondered how, would Lynda be informed of my situation. Would
medics go through my things, my wallet and cell phone and know to call her (assuming
someone called 9-1-1)? Lynda would be on the bus by then, heading up the hill
to meet me. Would she hear her cell phone?
What about the SUV driver? Yes, this close call was partly
my fault because I was looking the other way, distracted. Was the driver
distracted, too? Was she looking at her cell phone, or paying attention to a
kid in the back, perhaps? Honestly, I was too shook up to think about walking
around to her car window and talking about this, cussing her out, maybe, or anything.
I don’t even know if we made eye contact.
I’m pretty sure it was a woman; and as I reached Queen Ann
Avenue I hoped I would see her parking her SUV. My thoughts collected now, I’d
be pretty sure I’d have a talk with her. I didn’t see her, though. From Blaine Street
she could have gone the other way down Queen Anne Avenue.
I would never know for sure what happened yesterday when I
was in that crosswalk, but I know it was a wakeup call. Old men like me shouldn’t
go walking unattended if they don’t watch out. My mind wandered; I wasn’t
watching out for cars—like a little kid. It’s cool to think young if you’re a
creative artist, but not cool if you are in traffic.
What if I’d been hit? What would happen to the art in our
gallery, and the software experiments I’m working on? I believe I am doing
things to ensure that the art and the gallery is useful and helpful to Lynda,
and to our two daughters and their families. I will die—run over by an SUV or struck
down by a fatal heart attack or stroke; and that’s the bottom line of why I
spend my time the way I do.
That is why I’m pay Nellie to learn and develop database
management for all that I’ve made; and bookkeeping, using our family assets as
content to her databases and financial accounting. That’s why I refer always to
the dumpster story
to underscore the alternative to valuation and dissemination of the gallery’s
contents for the benefit of my family and community.
 The dumpster refers to the inevitability of discarding my entire life’s work into a 10-yard dumpster at the time of my death in order to clear our gallery and storage room so as to leave no obligation to family and friends.