Friday, June 23, 2017
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.
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.