Archive for May, 2014

From the Editor’s Perch…

May 27, 2014

Editor’s Note:  My Memorial Day Poem is a little late, but started on time.

Spuds

soldiers

The big grocers sell potatoes; but around here we grow spuds:

those hefty, solid, compact tubers,

the kind of vegetable that thrives outside small towns,

avoids schooling, and feels at ease in the dirt.

They marry early, often, and keep watch over whatever kids are around,

set a null course, and end up feeding the military.

Cause spuds don’t mess around.  They give their all.

Aside from navy beans, there is probably no vegetable more patriotic.

You eat a spud, and you’re eatin’ something which gave you your freedom.

You eat a spud and you’re tastin’ sacrifice and honor.

An’ if you’re afraid of a little dirt in your food…

Hell, you don’t know this land.

 

Photo from Google Images

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From the Editor’s Perch…

May 18, 2014

Carl1 (1) Carl1 (1)Web

Erasing Yourself

 

One of the hardest things when preparing your home for sale – beyond the enormous amount of work involved – is scrubbing the place of your personality.  We like to believe we’ve added something.  It’s a very special place and first, of course, we found it.   Homeowners, before they are anything else, are like happy, ruddy-faced beachcombers returning with a ‘found object’.  Perhaps it’s a conglomerate with a bit of barnacle, aggregated gravel, some seaweed and a seagull feather stuck hard to it – all with a greenish, slippery touch that doesn’t immediately suggest itself as a paperweight.  But this is what the realtor is for – for making this connection; for painting this realization!  Because then, after finding our home, we realized its potential.  Initially, it wasn’t that paperweight you see resting on my desk today.  Oh no, no, no, no…  A lot of effort, dare I say talent for this sort of thing, and money went into creating what you just saw.  Our place, though small, is a jewel, with tremendous sparkle in a one of a kind location which should provoke a quick sale at a high price.   All we really hope is that we can find the person for it that will appreciate it properly.  And all the realtor really has to do is to show it!  We smile and nod emphatically.

 

The realtor often doesn’t quite see it as we do.  Their excitement level may not be ours.  They might make a few suggestions, besides asking open-ended questions such as, “What kind of person do you see as buying a place like this?”  ‘Well,’ we supposed, ‘individuals much like us!’   (We smile and nod emphatically again.)

Or, they might not be suggestions.  “Those cat silhouettes (hanging on the window and inner door frames) should go.   Lots of people don’t like cats.”   “That moss on the patio stones should be pressure washed away.” – “But moss is beautiful.  It’s a romantic detail that defines a patio bower and fits it within the community of the other vegetation.”  The realtor shakes their head.  “It’s moss.”   – “But I like moss.”  Deadly pause.   We walk back into the home.  “The chandelier needs to go.  And everything in the kitchen should be packed away, except maybe for two canisters and a bottle of wine.”  “No personal pictures.”  “Think empty.  Space is better.”   “And, of course, it all needs re-painting.  But I wouldn’t bother about that.  The buyer can handle that after the sale.”  “And are we far enough out that they could cut down that cedar, or what are the rules here on that? ”  He asks, staring out the picture window.    –  “Don’t cut that  cedar.”  “It’s in the view.”  – “But the view is more than some stiff scene way in the distance which could be replaced by a painting.  It’s also trees and vegetation, and things closer by, that move!”  –  “The buyer is not going to care about that.”  – “Well, you might tell him that it can get real hot here in the summer on this hillside and if he cuts down that cedar he can figure on paying about $150/month more for watering.”  –  “I’m not going to tell him that.”

 

“You don’t like moss.  You don’t like trees.  You don’t like cats.  I can’t see us bonding,”  I tell the realtor halfway through our stroll.  He doesn’t respond; just looks at me.

“But,” I continue, “I don’t suppose that doesn’t mean we can’t work together.”

“It’s not what I like, or don’t like,” the realtor explains.  “As a professional, it’s my job to tell you the things which will help you to realize a quick and profitable sale.  And what I have been mentioning are those things.”

I nod my head.  “I guess my personality isn’t  worth much.”

No one says anything, and we continue on.

In the days that pass, what I can’t stuff into a carton for transfer to our new home, I farm out like a foster child, or trash.  For quite some time it will feel like we’re living in a motel.  My office has even developed an echo.  And I’m about ready to leave.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

May 17, 2014

Land Ho!

Paul Eenhorn‘s Movie “Land Ho!”  has a fine official trailer.  Take a look!

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-first-trailer-for-martha-stephens-aaron-katzs-road-trip-comedy-land-ho-20140516#.U3bXgn3r49E.facebook

Travelling Expenses…

May 16, 2014
Genius Nominee, Paul Eenhoorn, Displays Winning Invitation.

Genius Nominee, Paul Eenhoorn, Displays Winning Invitation.

Paul Eenhoorn Nominated for Genius Award

Well!  Look who has popped further into prominence.  Seattle’s Stranger Magazine honors our own with Genius awards each year.  And the nominees are all notified via cake.  (I guess you can have your cake and eat it too.)  Two recently prominent Indie Films have catapulted Paul to this status (among other contributions).  Read about it all here:    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/05/15/the-2014-genius-award-nominees-are

There’s an old interview posted on this blog somewhere… but where, eludes me now.  Can’t find it.  Wait!  Here it is!   https://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/im-not-going-any-deeper-than-that-ill-start-to-cry/

Photo taken from web article.

This just broke!  It was learned less than one minute ago that the cake was chocolate.

From the Editor’s Perch…

May 12, 2014

Identical  Businessmen11

“You’re the Devil”

 

My son asked me if I planned to continue participating in live theater after we moved to Ohio.  And I said that I wasn’t sure.  But that I’d probably “continue writing my serial fiction, because I enjoy making up stuff.”

And he said, “What’s the point of writing stuff, if people don’t read it?”

This gave me pause.  “You’re the Devil,” I replied.

 

What is the role of failure?  Success seems all important.  People kill themselves for lack of success.  It’s the all too common reason for suicide.  Why is success so important!  Why does it badger us so?  Failure seems a particularly human affliction.  It is hard to imagine a squirrel hanging itself, because it feels like a ‘loser’ – or a bird, or an ant, or a worm for that matter doing themselves in.  Lemmings run off of cliff sides.  But does an actual feeling of despair initially sweep across their community beforehand, so that they lose all bearings?

And if success is so important, where does that leave mediocrity?

Very few of us are successful.  Fewer still are wildly successful.  And even the wildly successful often remain ambitious – or even moreso.  And history has shown us (in quite lurid detail) that ambition is insatiable, and probably makes us – even more suicidal!

Yet statistically, the vast majority of us must be mediocre.  There is no logical way around this conundrum.  So what is the role of failure?

 

More than anything, we tend to react to failure as if it were the Devil’s pronged fork.  We distance ourselves from the pointy end as much as possible!  “I’m not a failure.  I’m successfully earning a living.”  “I’m on my way to success.”  “I am learning the ropes.”  “I am supporting my family of five, all of whom are way above normal.”  “I am helping the less fortunate.”  “I’m in an internship! J” “I could be more successful, if that’s what I really wanted.”  “No one is a failure who has friends.” “I feel I’m already a success.”  Or, perhaps the most desperate, “I’m a good person!”

Sorry.  You are nearly all ‘losers’.  You are not ‘dying with all the toys’.  And you are not  ‘the winner’.  The good news is that this is only sounds harsh if you think it does.  Otherwise, it’s a source of wry humor… which, (to my way of thinking), is God smiling.

 

But where does this leave the artistically inclined?  Most artists will become, like most others, mediocre.  Even most successful artists earn a living with difficulty.  Artists must push an enormous burden to raise a family.  And, their activities are more often than not, self-centered.  It is very hard for an artist to distance him/herself from the prongs of failure.

So, to get back to the issue raised by my son, ““What’s the point of writing stuff, if people don’t read it?”

Well, you know, (my son), the cup is always half full.  Very few of the solutions, and most of the problems of my artistic life have come from the people who have ‘read it’.  An audience can be a burden – even a hex.  If you don’t believe this, just attend any artistic ‘talk back’.  There is usually a moderator present to protect the creative type – both from the ‘haters’ and the ‘lovers’.  Once you have raised an audience, there are packs of hungry egos out there to both want it / and to demean it.

As for money…  Once people pay for something, there is this feeling that they own it.  And people pay an artist, because they want more of the same thing.  But, if you’re not paid a cent, no one owns you.  And no one tells you what to do.

 

But, even acknowledging all of this, if you’re mediocre, people might ask, what is the point of producing more work?  That is, if your art accomplishes nothing, what’s the point in making it?

In responding to this, I think back on a Sunday morning brunch my wife and I enjoyed years ago in a Portland Café.  It was upscale and sunny.  And we were visiting with my wife’s Uncle, a retired architect.  And somehow the conversation turned to religion and he suggested that wasn’t going to church a waste of time?  He pointed out that couldn’t the time be much better spent in doing some social work that would actually help someone?  His eyes showed concern.

‘And that’s what we’re doing now?’  I laughed to myself, as I enjoyed the fresh coffee.

 

“What do the people who aren’t attending Church do with their Sunday mornings?”  I might have asked, sharing his concern.  “Do they consume a big breakfast?  Do they sleep in?  Do they visit friends?  Do they go duck hunting and blast a couple birds?  Or maybe snag a fish and smack them on the head?  Do they watch the pregame festivities on TV?  Maybe work in the yard, or catch up on some home repairs?  Or maybe they read the New York Times?  Or maybe they are still up drinking beers?”

 

But the larger – more serious – point my wife’s Uncle was dancing around was “what in the world does going to Church on Sunday morning actually accomplish?  How does this make us more successful?  How does this make other people’s lives more rich and meaningful?  Does God listen?  Will it change anything even if He does?  Isn’t it possible that this whole ‘God’ thing is just one big shame and that they are all just wasting their Sunday mornings over there blowing smoke?

 

People without faith can’t understand that the foundation of faith is doubt.  Attacking the faithful only makes them stronger.  People like my wife’s Uncle are actually the shoulders that the religious stand on.  (Look at me.  Here I am!)

 

Because doing things to no purpose is actually a spiritual activity.  And the Devil just hates this sort of thing.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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