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
enemies. 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
was good. 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
journey. 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.
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
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.