Looking Up

•October 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Office Mondrian

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Pocket Aesthetics

•October 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When your pocket photo looks better than some corporate artwork.

I saw the flash go off in the dark, but I was already trying, one handed, to load the back of a pickup truck and didn’t have time or hands to stop and look at what photos my camera was capturing on the not-so-sly. When I looked at the results later, I found this little gem, which somehow looks like it ought to be rendered in oils on a ten foot canvas and hung on the marble walls of a corporate lobby in downtown Chicago. Not that I’ve ever seen such a lobby or such artwork on display before. Ever. Anywhere. 

I wish I could actually take credit for it. The best I can do is take credit for admiring it, but I guess art is in the eye of the beholder, so I’m the one responsible for calling it art, even if I wasn’t the one creating it with any kind of intention. 

Diverted

•October 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

At least it was a scenic detour.

I knew I’d had quite enough social media for the day when I overshot my bus stop by two stops. Looking up from a post that I now can’t even remember, I realized that I didn’t recognize where I was and was heading further into unfamiliar territory. The next stop was Woodman. Did I know a Woodman? I knew a Woodley. I had to consult my location on Google Maps to confirm that, yes, I was out of my zone. 

It was a reasonably simple matter to get back on track: get off at the next stop, backtrack by one station (if I’d only missed my stop by one stop I wouldn’t have needed to backtrack at all) and carry on with my day as if my own inattention had not diverted me from my normal routine. 

I figured that I might as well look around myself and see what this diversion was bringing to my attention. Whenever I find my routine disrupted, I try to think of it as a message: that this might be the inciting incident for some story in my life. This might be the moment in which something significant crosses my path, simply because my path has changed. 

If there was significance to this diversion, it has not yet become apparent to me, but the day is young and I’m keeping my mind open.

No Thoughts. No Prayers.

•October 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

No. 

My thoughts and prayers are not with the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. 

My thoughts and prayers are not with Puerto Rico.

My thoughts and prayers are not with the waterlogged folk of Houston (yes, that’s still a thing) or the wind damaged folk of Florida and the Virgin islands (also still a thing). 

My thoughts and prayers are not with kneeling football players or standing veterans or DACA, or DAPL or ACA or POTUS or #IDGAF. 

Because my thoughts and prayers mean nothing to these people. 

Giving “Thoughts and prayers” to the newest trending disaster is lazy and selfish. 

Yeah, you fucking heard me right. 

Lazy.

 Selfish.  

I guarantee, that not one single victim of any disaster in the whole wide world is thinking to themselves “well, I’ve lost everything of meaning in my life, but at least strangers are thinking and praying for me.” 

No.

It is an act of self-comfort. When faced with the discomfort of a dangerous and unjust world, “thoughts and prayers” make us feel better. It allows us to acknowledge how very terrible this awful event has made us feel without lifting a single finger to provide real aid or enact real change. 

It is passive participation in another person’s misery, tragedy, suffering, and injustice. It is a useless, selfish, empty, and increasingly meaningless gesture. 

If I am not willing to act then I don’t deserve to feel better

If I am not actively working with my hands and words and votes and time and money to ease the suffering of now and prevent the suffering of tomorrow then I don’t get to ignore the suffering of others with a clear conscience. 

And neither do you.

•October 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Morning riders.

Fellow Traveller

•September 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

#peopleofmetro

Clearout

•September 28, 2017 • 1 Comment

Birds don’t keep their nests.


The studio is full of boxes again. Mostly I find myself ignoring them a best as I can- the goal is eventually to put them into the new storage shed, but we need to put up some additional shelves before we can do that, so in the meantime they lurk around the edges of my mind. 

They’re mostly full of mementos: old notebooks and sketchbooks and memorabilia from high school and college. It’s not valuable stuff, just sentimental, but I find myself beginning to wonder whether I ought to clear a bunch of it out. What is my responsibility for holding onto memories, anyway? Is it necessary that I keep everything or can I curate my personal artefacts to only the ones that please me and make me proud? Is this curating or censoring? Are these objects the true measure of my self or are they raw material from which I can collage a work of some deliberate meaning? 

Often, when I look back on mementos from particular eras of my life, I find myself embarrassed- sometimes for my candor, sometimes for my artifice, sometimes for my painful, painful naivete which manages to be both artificial and candid at the same time. Is it really worth holding on to these mementos that inevitably put me into A Mood for several days after each encounter?  A part of me thinks that keeping these memories, however unpleasant, keeps me humble and reminds me to stay out of the kind of trouble that might lead to deeper problems than a little self consciousness. Another part of me believes that if these were important facets of my past then I would’ve actually, you know, remembered them. Without help. That carrying around the added burden of these old, discarded skins of former selves is adding an unnecessary burden to my journey.  Cicadas don’t keep their shells. Snakes don’t keep their skins. Butterflies don’t keep their cocoons. Life’s too short. 
For all this deliberating, I still don’t have an answer in mind. Maybe I’ll get rid of some things, maybe I won’t. But it’s time to at least stay asking whether it is worth making the change.

 
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