art


Random quote of the day:

“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”

—Federico Fellini, The Atlantic, December 1965

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“My feeling about technique in art is that it has about the same value as technique in love-making. That is to say, on the one hand, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and, on the other hand, so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity.”

—John Barth, interview, Prism (Spring 1968)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“If more people could only comprehend that an artist must create because he has to create, because he is possessed by his art! The artist is only a very tiny part of the universe and should not receive more attention than anything else on earth that gives us beauty, joy and replenishment.”

—Pablo Picasso, “What Life Has Taught Me,” Music Journal, Jan. 1962

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Pam and Lynn after walking the labyrinth at Forest Lawn, May 2006

This weekend my lifelong friend, L., came over and it was so great to see her. (We met when we were 12. We are considerably older than 12 now.) We talked and piffled around with crafty things. Didn’t get a helluva lot done, but that was largely beside the point. She did a little stitchery and, after abortive attempts to do some knotwork, I wound up working on a WIP, a piece of bone I’ve been carving for literally years. I call her Schnausicaa. I work on her for a while, put her down again (usually for a long while), then pick her up when she calls to me. I do think we’re getting close to the end, but she tells me she isn’t finished yet, so I’ll have to go with her instincts.

Mostly L. and I talked, watched stupid TV shows and made sarcastic remarks about them, ordered in Mediterranean (kebabs and falafel) for dinner, and just were…friends. It was the first time I had hugged another human being since February 2020 (the last time L. came over for a craft day), just weeks before the shutdown. I (we) may have cried a little. But mostly we had fun, the kind of comfortable fun old friends have, no need for heavy duty entertainment, unafraid of silences, unafraid of expressing whatever needs expressing.

(We also lived together for almost five years in our late 20s so neither of us has any illusions about our respective housekeeping abilities. L. is the only person I would dare allow in this house in the pandemic-careless state it currently is in.)

Pam and Lynn at their apartment in the olden days

I’ve had other friends come over and we’ve sat outside separated by 10, 15, 20 feet on the lawn to talk, but L. and her husband ,C. (more like my family than my family), are both immunocompromised so they’ve had to be especially cautious. C.’s mom died of COVID in December. I wasn’t especially close to her, but she was someone I knew and liked, and the mother of one of my closest friends so it really hit home. It put a human face—if I needed one—on all those stats and numbers. Because, really, each of those numbers was a human being, precious to someone.

But now we’ve all had our vaccines, all my friends, and if we aren’t living wild and carefree, we are at least able to venture out now and again. I am a creative introvert so being on my own is not a burden for me, not like it is for some. Except, of course, when it lasts a year and a half.

I may have hermit-like ways, but I’m not truly a hermit. And old friends are a blessing one really can’t have too much of.

Schnausicaa (WIP) with snake goddess

What with being sick on and off for about three weeks, then trying to make up for a year and a half of household neglect in two weeks (impossible), I haven’t done any creative work in over a month and it was really weighing on my psyche today. So I forced myself to open my Rev. Kirk file and DO something.

I only got about 500 words, but at least I’m crawling forward again. I think I can feel the road beneath my feet once more and know that it really, truly is still there.

Tomorrow my oldest friend is coming over and we will be doing crafts all day. I haven’t seen her since February 2020. I cannot tell you how happy it will make me to see her.

Random quote of the day:

“The performance art of drag is a sacrament, performed in the spaces that have been sanctuaries to so many—Gay nightclubs and bars….Drag is about our shifting fluid selves and about expressing something within ourselves that is true and holy and important.”

—Rev. Caitlin S. Cotter, “Sun in Drag” Sermon, June 18, 2017, Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“I’ve come to the realisation that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time, that the majority of the stuff that I do is totally intuitive, totally about where I am physically and mentally at any moment in time and I have a far harder time than anybody else explaining it and analysing it. That’s the territory of the artist anyway: to be quite at sea with what he does, and working towards not being intuitive about it and being far more methodical and academic about it.”

—David Bowie, “Sermon From the Savoy,” New Musical Express, 29 September 1984

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

I was having a conversation earlier with a close friend about schoolyard trauma—the name-calling and taunting so common in the proto-teen and teenage years—and I explained to her that I learned early on that humor could be my great shield against the worst of it. I was a freak, you see. I had an early growth spurt, so I was 5’3” by the time I was 9, 5’6” by the time I was 11 or so. I topped out at 5’7” in high school but by that time most of my contemporaries had either caught up with me or surpassed me. However, those early growth years—and my red hair—made me stand out. Anyone who stands out in elementary school, who is in any way not average, is going to come in for abuse. Fortunately, my size helped me avoid the physical side of that, but that was not the case with verbal abuse. So I developed a wicked sharp tongue.

I grew up in the Oakwood section of Venice, California. Back in the olden days, it was a poor section of Los Angeles, and quite diverse ethnically. There were some white kids at my school, but mostly not, and I only ever had one close white friend before junior high. Everybody supported each other, though, helped each other out. Oh, I won’t paint a pie in the sky portrait here. It may have been a Rainbow Coalition, but kids being kids, there were fights, and playground posturing. and tough talk. I learned early on the advantages of having a sharp tongue and have spent most of my life trying to overcome those early habits (mostly successfully, but it’s surprising how that schoolyard bad mouth can surface out of nowhere). Even back then I laced the tough talk with humor. If I could make the other kids laugh at my adversary they were more likely to leave me alone. I was raised by a mother with her own wicked sense of humor, so I had a good example set before me.

As I transitioned from the tough neighborhood to the more mixed environment of junior high (ages 12 to 14)—middle class and even some upper middle class mixed with the tough kids—I discovered even more the benefits of humor. I’m an introvert, but I learned to be something of a class clown. If I could fake extroversion and hold up that shield of laughter—laughter not directed at the cost of someone else—they were less likely to pick on me. And if any of the mean girls got catty, others would sometimes counter it with, “She’s funny. Leave her alone.”

I’ve carried that shield with me most of my life. It’s such a fundamental part of my nature I couldn’t let it go even if I wanted to—and I don’t want to. I don’t want to be mean, I don’t want to be sharp-tongued, but I find it infinitely healthier to keep a well-trained eye out for the absurdities of life and of people. Naturally, this creeps into my fiction. I’ve written both comic and serious stories and novels, but even my most serious novels are well-laced with humor. Sometimes it’s character-driven, sometimes it’s, well, frankly bordering on slapstick. I just can’t leave aside those absurdities. They are everywhere I look.

I don’t think they undercut the more serious passages of my writing, but I’m inside my own head and may not have an objective eye there. I cut out some of the humor in rewrites, but not all. The few times I’ve tried to cut it all I’ve wound up eviscerating the life from my stories. It’s my style, you see. It takes a long time for a writer—I guess any artist—to find the style that is uniquely their own.

So it’s best not to look a gift Muse in the mouth. Sharp tongue or not.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Rules have no existence outside of individuals: otherwise a good professor would be as great a genius as Racine.”

—Henri Matisse, Notes of a Painter

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The older you get, the more loss you experience. The more loss and pain you experience, the more you need your art.

—Lucinda Williams, National Public Radio Morning Edition, Feb. 9, 2016

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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