Showing posts from January, 2019

Thoughts on Art: How It Feels To Give Birth

My daughter was born the day before my 27-week prenatal check-up.  Her father noticed at 1:00 AM in a hotel room on Airline Highway in New Orleans that I was literally crawling to the bathroom every half hour because, I said, I had to pee.

"No, you are not having that baby now," he muttered into his pillow. But I did.

I went by ambulance to Charity Hospital, got stuck with a needle, and held the nurse's hand so she could tell me when to push because I was no longer feeling contractions. By 3:00 AM, Baby Yaya slid out and screamed at the world - not fearful, but annoyed. She was cold and wanted people to stop messing with her. She's still that way.

I knew she would be okay despite being early; that she was a complete entity of her own, not a part of me. I was just the vessel.

There's a moment like that in the creative process, if I'm lucky. Sometimes I'm focusing so hard on the details of my work that I am absolutely dumbfounded by the final product; I ha…

Just Trying to Get Through This Like Buddha

A girl of about 14 came up the driveway and offered to shovel - from my car straight to the road, she specified, not the full circular drive - for $40.00.   I laughed.  That's a $50 job at least, just my side, and she doesn't know about the gravel and the carpet. There was $3 in my wallet;  I gave it to her for taking the time to come up to the cottage.

My snow shovel was rescued from the side of the road this summer. It's sturdy and can hold more wet snow than I should lift.

I developed a snowplough method of push-and-dump.  I learned that leaves are easier to shovel with snow on top of them.  Also, the carpet in the driveway makes for easy snow removal.  I was happy to see the green moss, but wondered whether it was actually harmful to uncover it and let it be snowed over again.

I'll admit I had a little bit of fun. Deer were hiding under the trees, and the foxes ran through the yard too fast for me to take a picture of their frolic. Even the cardinals seemed pl…

Goodbye, Dr. Hofstadter...Book Club vs. The Next Series of Digressions

Today was our official last discussion on Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - kind of like an Ozzy Farewell Tour, because we've already agreed to go back and discuss sticking points once we've cleansed the palate, so to speak.  Also, we didn't really talk about GEB's content, but about our group.  We talked about talking about GEB.

I'm impressed that after spending 2.5 years reading one book we're eager to go on and tackle another one.  This is a great collection of people who digress well. Excellently, even.  We asked our ringleader, Lee, whether her initial vision of the study group matched what actually happened.  Not so much, but she's pleased with the outcome.

We brought to the table - literally - the following books:
Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel DennettThe Mind's I, Hofstadter & DennettKant & The Platypus, Umberto EcoThinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman The Order of Time, Carlo RovelliThe Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to…

On Jazzmen and How the Light Gets Out Again

Being creative is like pursuing the Golden Fleece. It's a challenge to pin down the visions floating in your head, put them into a language that hopefully others can read and discuss. Getting to the end, actually completing the project, is the next trial. Once your ugly is baby outside your body, you have to be brave enough to share with people. If that goes well - if enough people can read your language - you will be asked to talk about yourself. Ouch.

But then there you are:   the light came in through your cracks and reflected outward, taking your soul into the world with it. 

Jerry Jazz Musician ran their first Short Fiction Contest in 2002, with my story Coloring Outside the Lines. In preparation for the 50th Contest, Joe Maita is running brief interviews with previous winners beginning Monday, March 7, 2019. I highly recommend you submit your best short fiction to this online magazine. But this is not why we're here.  We're here to talk about Wynton Marsalis.
The f…

Carving the Light - How to De-focus the Negative

I've come to a crossroads in my creative spurt -  there's a skunk to be drawn on scratchboard.  I have a colored pencil project to finish first, and the ink on canvas will have to wait.  Scratchboard requires me to turn my head completely around.

Here's the stuff.  A fine coat of clay is applied to thin cardboard, and then India ink is layered on top of that. The artist uses a stylus  to scrape away the ink and reveal the clay underneath, which is usually white.  I had a tiny artistic tantrum after I accidentally bought a sheaf of rainbow-coloured scratchboard, but I own my mistake.  I did it to myself by not reading carefully. I can use the rainbow to practice without wasting the good black and white board; it's been a while since I worked in this medium.

When I took photographs at The Academy of Advanced Imagery I focused on light and shadows, the interplay between them.  I'm very figure/ground oriented - I see both concurrently, always, seeking balance with o…

Refrigerator Magnets: A Team-Building Exercise

My friend Meg played the catalyst this time. She bought me a Zombie Magnetic Poetry Kit and informed me I was to take it to work.

"You have a kitchen at your job; I don't," she said. "So this is for your work-kitchen." Roger that.

I scooped up a few words, sidled into the break-room and stuck them on the refrigerator door, trying to guess how many minutes I'd be blamed. Even if someone else had done it, my reputation would precede me. By the time I got back to my desk, I was envisioning HR's gentle admonishments in my head, so I went back and pulled all the death, corpses, and creepiness.

Not an hour later, I found a new message:
find out how unstoppable you canbe
...and then I realised someone had gone and found the word be in a different set of magnetic poetry, and in fact had severed it from a longer word, in order to complete her message.

I say her, because I knew it had to be Roxanne Jackson, who happens to be a wise person and Certified Profession…

Update on Things: Deconstructed Corvid 1 - Fibonacci

Due to...logistics? Technique? My innate laziness?...there does not exist an original of this drawing.  To have it on my wall I had to order it from myself via Zazzle. So this is the first and therefore most valuable copy of Fibonacci Raven. I will try to explain. I started this project on blue grid-lined paper (you know, the one that doesn't really render the lines invisible like they said it would.)
In a fit of inspired doodling, I started inking the original sketch.  And then I kept going.  Before I knew it, I had an almost fully-inked drawing on the wrong paper. I decided to try scanning it anyway.  To be honest, I like the gridlines.  They feel architectural, or something.

Also, I'm messy.  There was a blob of purple paint on the page, as well as several wrinkles.  And I'm lazy and didn't want to re-ink what already looked pretty damned good.  I did some judicious scissoring; it took a few scans and cuts to excise the blue lines I didn't want to show up on the f…