Friday, December 30, 2022

Last Post for '22

 Last Post for '22


Buddy the Christmas Cat

 I've started and discarded several posts over the last couple of weeks. I start writing about the stone, but the weather has been rainy and cold, and most of the work has been stalled at the 'sit-and-stare' stage. I haven't made much progress. I'd include musings from the Suburban Hermitage, but not very much of note has happened around here. That is a good thing. I'm not going to make any comment looking back at the past year, or forward to the new one. I am grateful for what there is to be grateful for. I grieve the loss of what has been lost. I pray for the wisdom to perceive God's will unfolding in each given day.

some bug eating my bush

We held our Christmas open house the weekend before Christmas. Going into the event felt like getting down to business, not play. I wasn't really enthusiastic about the whole thing. It felt like we were doing it because we didn't want to not do it, and it seemed like a strained effort as much as a celebration.

But the gathering was quite successful, despite my low spirits. Mary goes all out for these things, and she has a real gift for creating a festive household. We had a small tree, tinsel, lights, and Mary fixed a huge pot of chili for the party. My friends John, and Mike came over, and Jeff drove all the way up here from Hemet. Mary had guests from Tai Chi, SGI (Buddhist), and her Jungian discussion group, along with our regular guests, Linda, Andrea, Harriett, Bob, and Holly. Many of these folks had not been here before, but everyone mixed well. Several of the guests were impressed with our house. 

It's easy to forget that we do live an odd sort of lifestyle, and this home is unique. There is no media here: no cable, no TV, no stereo. Unless Holly plays guitar, there's no music. We depend on conversation, and storytelling. There is artwork all over the place, and it's all original stuff- no prints, or posters. No food comes from a can, or a mix.  

Being host, you circulate,  sort of play the room, and keep your spider sense tuned in to the vibe. The vibe was good, and the afternoon to evening gathering was relaxed. Mary's chili was a hit. Everyone seemed to find a good conversation somewhere. My artwork got a ton of attention, way more than I was ready for. Of course, it feels good to receive praise for the work, but it's also unsettling in some strange way. All in all the evening was a success, and it left me feeling more in the Christmas spirit.

Thu, 12/29:

 It's been cold, and overcast all day, and the rain  started about an hour ago. Too dreary to work. I walked a couple or three miles this morning, got back to the house, and checked the computer. I was out of the chair, and away from the desktop within ten minutes. Lacking other media, the computer has been my portal into the world outside the homestead for years, now, but I've become just plain sick of it.

 Read another essay. No. 

Check up on the latest outrage. No. 

Catch a glimpse of the toxic insanity, the sad sick mess our world has become. No. No more. 

I'm just hating it. And I'm not the only one. I talk with my few friends, and they're feeling it too. I end up making the same speech over and over: we can not change the mess, or stop the madness. So we have to play defense, stay focused on the immediate good we can accomplish with what resources we have to accomplish it. I preach about disengaging from the mess, but it's not easy to do so. Disengaging is taking a long view of things, and we live life hour to hour not age to age. On the day-to-day level it just gets depressing as hell.  I used to spend three hours or more every morning going through the bookmarks, reading opinion and news, going though the comments sections, and jumping in here and there if I think I have something on-topic to say. No more. Of course, I still visit American Digest several times a day, and I'm following several serials over at the Arkhaven page. Maybe I'll maybe check the headlines at Ace of Spades, but I'm no longer clicking through to the articles.


Here's what's up with the stone.

I started with this:

 I turned it up vertical,  cut a base, and knocked out some rotten rock:

 Now the problem is dealing with a flat face, and two very uneven sides:

I did not plan on this being a major project. I figured I could find some simple form in this splinter of rock, and finish it up in a few weeks. I figured wrong. Sometimes the sitting and staring part yields nothing more than more sitting and staring.


Until this started happening:

This may turn out pretty cool.

Maybe. We'll see.


Monday, December 5, 2022

The Winter Stone

 The Winter Stone


A new week, a new month, November is over, and I'm starting in on this odd shaped hunk of desert stone. This small white mountain is streaked with brown and black, and it weighs in at fifty pounds even. Much of the material won't be workable. The rock is triangular in cross section, and it has a big, very flat face on one side, and a very irregular surface on another. 
Flat is hard to work with, and there's a crack across the lobe at the top end that will probably have to be cut off. The result will be a lot of scrap, and a small finished carving.
I got more done Wednesday than I had planned. I was just sort of noodling around getting a base line established around the thick end of the rock, but one thing led to another, and I ended up cutting the base, and working it flat on the sanding board. This seems to be a softer piece of alabaster than the one I just finished. We'll see, as I begin to grind on it.
Truth to tell, I'm approaching this project without much in the way of enthusiasm, or inspiration. It's work to do, and a bunch of problems to solve. It will keep me busy for a while. I'll end up with something cool to sit on the shelf, and that something will sit along with the sixteen other cool pieces I have sitting on shelves around here. Will someone want it? Will someone choose to buy it? Doubtful. But this is how the business of Art proceeds. 
You just keep doing it it because there is nothing else you'd rather do. It's fun.  You keep doing it because if you stop doing it then you're no longer an artist. It's important to be an artist, right? Besides, what's the alternative? Watch some TV? Go on line, read articles, and drop comments? Better to work. I didn't make a conscious decision to disengage from news and current events. 
I mean, I did not sit down, think it over, and decide that all the time spent keeping up with the news is time spent falling behind in life. I didn't decide to quit like deciding to quit smoking, or drinking. I'm just sick of all this shit, and I'm not going to feed on it anymore.  My internet travels don't go much further than American Digest, and Arkhaven comics. And I'm fine with that. Energy has to go where it's needed. The news cycle does not need my energy. Creating something, even if it's just carving on a rock, does require my energy, and the task channels my energy, and effort into something beautiful, or so I hope.
I keep doing it because it's important to keep creating. It's what we do in our small imitation of God. It should be approached with joy, but it has to be continued whether joy is part of the process or not. If you work only when you feel all inspired you won't get much done.