art


Random quote of the day:

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life….This is the artist’s way of scribbling ‘Kilroy was here’ on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.”

—William Faulkner, The Paris Review, Issue 12, Spring 1956

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Because I have an abiding love for folklore and all things odd, because I create art out of the liminal aspects of the world in which we live, I can’t very well be in the business of passing judgment on stories of the strange. Folklore is a living, breathing thing, a constant new creation from the imaginations and the deep psyche. So if someone tells me a story of a personal encounter with fairies, or about the ghost they saw, or the strange lights in the sky, I treasure these stories as a peek into the spontaneous eruption of spirit and imagination in the world. As long as human beings roam the earth, new beliefs and tales of the marvelous will erupt from the aether. This is the wellspring of creativity, the fundamental food of imagination.

By necessity, this food is always going to come at us from the fringes of society. It will never be found in the dead heart of academia because by its very nature it is the antithesis of academia. Academia is about cataloguing and studying that which is; folklore and the folk imagination is about creating new from old and old from new, and it is a rich source of spiritual replenishment. Academia has many important functions and I demand that it stay rigorous because we need the rigorous walking hand in hand with the fanciful. Both functions make society cohere.

I don’t buy into everything with one hundred percent credulity. Healthy skepticism is a necessary function of living in both complex societies and less complex. I grow impatient, however, with those who have taken up skepticism as a replacement for religious belief. Their skepticism is as sweeping and dogmatic as ever any organized religion. Theirs is an unhealthy skepticism. The marginal, the liminal, the odd, and the fanciful enrich the world. The more skeptics try to suppress it, the more creative ways the underworld finds to rise to the surface. One of the best analyses of the liminal I have ever seen is The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen. Mr. Hansen uses exhaustive detail and thorough analysis to show why it will never be possible the suppress this underworld.

Yes, we all know about the excesses that beliefs of any kind are prone to, the persecutions that arise from the bonfires of unquestioning faith. That is not what I’m supporting here, what I’m cherishing, because that is not about the spirit. That is dogma—and I do judge dogma. If academia is the antithesis of the creative upwellings of the psyche, dogma is the antithesis of the spiritual. The silly stuff, the stuff that stretches credulity is as necessary to the health of any society as skepticism; it is the breath inside the lungs of culture. The danger comes from the other side of society’s fringe, the extremes of belief, the codifying of the spirit, the hardening of the arteries of fancy.

Judge not lest ye be judged. Judgment, sorting out the good from the chaff is healthy; judgment, the trumpeting of one belief system over another, is a form of societal death. I open my arms to extreme possibility, not to the extremes of judgment.

I was initially drawn to this deck when one of the people I follow did a reading featuring the Knight of Swords (yes, that guy again) and used the Familiars deck. The suit of swords in that deck are crows and as some of you may remember, I have something of a thing regarding crows. I thought, “Oh, I have to get that one!” (Any excuse to buy another deck.) But in poking around on Amazon I came across the Crow Tarot by MJ Cullinane. It looked great, and since I didn’t have the money for both decks, I bought that one.

I can’t tell you how much I love this deck. It’s not only beautiful it just—I don’t know, feels good. In the interview I did with the deck, when I asked, “What are your limits as a deck?” it answered with the Moon, which I took to mean, “I dwell on the shadow side and illusions.” But I haven’t found that to be so. Maybe if I work with it a bit longer I will, but so far I have found it otherwise. “How can I best learn and collaborate with you?” I asked. “I will show you play and wonder, new ideas.” (Page of Cups)

As soon as I took the plastic off the deck and looked at the first card (The Fool), the crows started cawing outside. This is not such an unusual thing as I feed the local murder and they’re always about in the neighborhood. But the timing was amusing. All through my two readings they were cawing and making noise walking around on the metal roof of the art room (also known as the bird’s room from when my pet starling lived there). They don’t often do that—but I had fed them a couple of hours earlier so maybe they were saying thank you?

This is a very “jumpy” deck. I’ve started using a loose shuffle technique to give cards a chance to “jump out” of the deck while I’m asking a question. (As the saying goes, “If it falls to the floor, it comes to your door.”) With the Aquarian and the Marseille, which I’ve also used recently, that didn’t happen too often. It happens a lot with the Crow Tarot. Also, it’s not uncommon for a small group of cards to turn themselves perpendicular to the rest of the deck, as if trying to reverse themselves. If that happens, I push them back in that reversed position and keep shuffling.

My friend came over Sunday for a “craft day,” something we do on a semi-regular basis in order to encourage each other to do work on projects outside our normal range of arty stuff. (She’s a painter, I’m mostly a writer, and taking an arty break from our usual disciplines sometimes shakes things loose in the more “serious” projects.) It’s also a great excuse for kibitzing. I was showing her the Crow Tarot because it’s so beautiful. She was going through it and talking about how she wants to get a deck and do daily cards, but she was also talking about her current struggle with her painting. She wants to go in a different direction and she has a clear vision of what she wants to do, but something inside her is resisting, holding her back.

She handed the deck back to me and I was just about the put it away when The Fool jumped out and landed on the floor between us—reversed for me, upright for her. I read out the reversed meaning, assuming it was for me, but it didn’t seem to fit my current situation without stretching things. I put the card back and asked her if she wanted to do the card a day thing with this deck. She did, and shuffled the deck, eventually turning up the top card: The Fool, upright.

“…The Fool card asks that you have faith in the universe and live fearlessly. You will come through the storm. If you allow hope to replace fear, imagine the adventures you have waiting.”

“All right, already,” she said. “I get it.”

I should also note that my card of the day for yesterday was The Fool. Upright. All right, already. I get it.

Random quote of the day:

“Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don’t they try to understand singing birds? People love the night, a flower, everything which surrounds them without trying to understand them. But painting…that they must understand.”

—Pablo Picasso, interview in Cahiers d’Art, 1935

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“[Art] doesn’t have to do anything. It just has to be there for the fierce pleasure we take in doing it…”

—Raymond Carver, The Paris Review, Summer 1983

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”

—Banksy, Wall and Piece

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

—Anne Rice, Foreword to The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Art is the illusion of spontaneity.”

—Japanese proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Kamala Harris was right in the Democratic debate to bring everything back to Trump each time. He’s the real enemy here. There were Democrats on that stage who I like better than others but any one of those people would be a better president than Donald Trump. But I think I’ve watched my last debate. I’m sure my Twitter timeline will be relieved, as I couldn’t stop live tweeting. I’ve watched all the debates so far and my opinion hasn’t changed much. I have certain people I’d be quite unhappy to vote for but several of the remaining candidates I’d vote for happily. #AnyDem

An interesting side note: I’ve said uncomplimentary things about several of the candidates but the only time trolls have come after me is when I’ve said uncomplimentary things about Tulsi Gabbard. I am not the only one who has had this experience. And I am such small potatoes on Twitter. They must be very well organized. Good thing I don’t respond to trolls. It’s no fun for them if you don’t engage and they stop playing.

Russian bot, Russian bot
Fly away home—
Your pants are on fire
And you’re all Putin owned.
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Yes, there are many tragedies in the world we need to pay attention to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a day to remember the murder of nearly 3000 innocent souls. Politicizing that is pretty reprehensible, no matter which side of the debate it comes from. Especially since 9/11 is an ongoing tragedy. People are still dying as a consequence of what happened that day. In honoring the fallen of 9/11 we are also honoring those who still struggle with illness and death because of it.
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Every act of artistic creation is also an offering to the Universe.
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Dear Everybody Who Needs Money From Me: I’d love to donate to your project/cause/campaign but I’m on a fixed income. Doesn’t mean I won’t donate when I can but if I donate to one thing I probably won’t be able to give to another thing that same month. My sincere best wishes to you.
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Even at my advanced age I can still sing all the lyrics of every Beatles song. You never forget the things you memorized in your youth. Unfortunately, this is also true of every commercial jingle I heard when I was young.
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Whenever I’m doing a piece of art and I say to myself, “I’ll just eyeball it,” every time I hear Louis Gossett Jr. saying, “Don’t be eyeballin’ me, boy.” Every. Fricking. Time.
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I was reading about the psychological theory of behaviorism one afternoon, but each time the notifications rang on my phone I picked it up to look. The irony of this was not lost on me.
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I hit the wall of character motivation on the novel and had a painful slog trying to get through it. I wasn’t believing this character’s reason for acting as he does so I couldn’t expect anyone else would. I did a partial re-read and reorganization to see if that would shake anything loose and after some reworking I came unstuck—at least for that particular problem. I’m not sure that part of the novel works, but it works for now, and I’m moving forward.

But not quickly. I pushed through a major hump a few days ago so at least that section of the story is finished. I’m past the 90k mark and closing in on the end of the book, but I still have a ways to go. I’ve never worked well from outlines. They usually kill an idea dead for me. Part of the problem with the current novel is that I know everything that happens until the end rather than making it up as I go along and that’s turned it into a real slog. However, I feel I have to finish this one, not only because I’ve come so far, but for the sake of my own spirit. I need to finish a substantial piece of work. To prove something to myself, I guess. That I’m still a writer?

I look forward to typing The End and putting this one in the trunk for a while and moving on to something else. It’s not my best work. Most writers I know feel that way at the conclusion of a novel, but in this case I may be write. Er, right.

Until I reread it many months hence, of course, and temporarily suffer from the “this is the best thing I’ve ever done” delusion.
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Euphomet, Jim Perry’s high strangeness podcast, has become my very favoritest. There are many fine podcasts out there, but I love Jim’s sensibility and his openly inquisitive tone. Check it out here.

Random quote of the day:

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”

—Orson Welles, quoted by Henry Jaglom in The Movie Business Book

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

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