March 11th, 2014
Almost every other weekend for almost 18 years I have had the privilege of tucking a certain young boy and then a young man into bed. Okay, we haven’t called it tucking in for a number of years now, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been there to turn down the TV or turn off the light long after he has fallen asleep. When my nephew Christian was little I used to pull the GI Joe action figures and micro machines out from under the covers so he could roll over without crushing them. Today, it’s more likely to be the remote control and corn chips, but I still sneak in to check on him. He’s grown from a slim sliver of a child into a broad shouldered man, once a tiny comma in the same bed his father once occupied, now a long, slender exclamation point.
Today, he set out to leave his mark on the world, enlisting in the National Guard. His parents, my brother Paul and his high school girlfriend Chesne, traveled with him to watch his swearing in. For months I tried to talk him out of this, wait until you are older, are you sure this is what you want? Not because I’m not proud of him, I am, but because he is our little boy and I never want him to come in harm’s way. I felt the same way about his father, when he, at the age of 33, enlisted last year. They are always our little boys, but, me, and his mother, and his Nana, know that for Christian to become a man we need to let him make his own choices. Every good parent learns this, every good parent feels its sting and ultimately, its payoff.
We will never let go of this kid, but we will let him go off into the world. He carries the best of us with him. It took a whole family to raise him: his grandparents, his parents, their partners, his aunts and uncles, even the family dog – when our pug Buffy died at 12, it was Christian who said “she raised us all,” and she did. We poured all our love into this kid and he’s grown to hold it all. Such love can be smothering, if you’re not strong enough to bear it, he’s iron and honey, steel and grace. He will serve his country well.
And, I will sneak into his room. I did last night after the recruiter drove him away. I found his television still on, so I rummaged for the remote, buried in his unmade bed and turned it off. He will serve his country, but I will continue to serve the boy, long after he has grown, long after he has become a man. I will forever be checking to make sure he is safe.
March 9th, 2014
The other day on Facebook I saw a news report about two hippies stuck at the Salt Lake City airport because they didn’t have an ID. The photograph drew my attention because I recognized the people. I had taken pictures of them a couple of years ago on my annual trip to the Woodstock Writers Festival. At both the airport and when I saw them in Woodstock, they had a little white dog with them, Hector, I believe, it was one of the things that drew me to taking their picture. That and their unique appearance. Here’s one of the many photos I snapped of them in Woodstock.
March 8th, 2014
And, the winner of Rachel Barlow’s print is Joan from Wisconsin. Congratulations Joan! And, thank you to the rest of you for participating. Please tune in again next month and continue following all the participating bloggers:
Picking My Battles and,
The lucky winner of Rachel Barlow’s print is Joan from Wisconsin. Congratulations Joan! And, thanks to the rest of you for
March 7th, 2014
What I’m looking at: The View Outside My Office Window…
What I’m listening to: Rosanne Cash’s The River and the Thread.
What I’m reading: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak.
Interesting things I saw online today: “This Insane New App that Will Allow You To Read Books in Under 90 Minutes.
My words for the day made with Quozio:
What the pugs are doing right now:
March 6th, 2014
I snapped this photo of my latest collage with my iphone. This is the draft with embellishments and still needs to be scanned into the computer and completed. I started this picture over a year ago and am only now getting around to finishing it. I tried some new things in this one including gluing on actual feathers. Although when the piece is actually finished it will be a digital print. I love experimenting with new materials to give the collages a sense of texture and dimension. A fellow photographer wondered if such embellishments transform fine art into craft. I hate such distinctions. It made me pause and contemplate for awhile what this says about art. How does one define it? What is art versus craft and is one less than another? Not only do I think these additions add texture and dimension, I think they merge the words of digital with traditional collage. There was a time when I would have found getting such a critique devastating, but in this case I didn’t. Perhaps it’s because I enjoy so much what I’m doing here, I wouldn’t stop anyway. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve gotten enough accolades with my collages that I know I’m doing something right. Funny thing is I really respect the photographer who gave me the opinion. She has been inspiring in so many ways. So I thanked her for her advice and critique, and found myself content to disagree with her. That’s a big thing for me.
This isn’t the first collage I worked on this week. A couple of days ago I posted the draft of my latest effort, Temptation. As many of you know I enjoy discovering the symbolic meaning of my art as much as the viewer. A lot of the choices I make are unconscious and I only discover later how apt they are. This often is the case with the animals I choose to include in the collages. I played with several in this one before settling on the goats, which just seemed to blend right in. I added the apples later, playing with the idea of temptation, Eden, Eve, etc. When I finished the draft I googled the symbolism of goats and found some interesting things in the first post I clicked on. Here, are a couple of meanings I found. First, goats can mean spiritual ambition. Second, goats symbolize curiosity and sampling everything around them. Third, the goat symbolizes sacrifice. All three of these themes fit in with Garden of Eden. Man’s own spiritual ambition in being disobedient to God and sampling from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve’s curiosity in seeking out what they weren’t supposed to know and what is the exile from Eden than the ultimate sacrifice of Paradise. I think the goats fit in this collage both visually and symbolically. Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts when it comes to art and it comes to life. In doing so you learn to not only believe in what you are doing but to believe in yourself.