Work is not really the right word for what I do. But I do sit in a particular chair in my living room. I sit with my laptop on my lap. I sit here a lot. Oft. I sit here ofttimes. In front of me is a couch. On the couch is the dog.
Above the couch are a row of windows. I sit and, absentmindedly, stare out the window. I do most everything absentmindedly. Some call it day-dreaming. I call it thoughts and feelings continuously flowing uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue.
My teachers called it “almost failing.”
ANYWAY. I am sitting in my chair and I realize I am absentmindedly staring out the window. I notice the woman across the street (whose name I dare not speak) standing in front of her large picture window. She is an older woman and I’ve see her putter about in her yard scads of times… Now I see her standing in her living room, looking out her window. Not just looking out her window – she is standing stiff and still – as if in confrontation. She is staring, staring at me. I wouldn’t expect a television actor to stop the show and look through the glass at me looking at them. It’s not as if I am standing and staring out my window. I am in my usual slumped position, eyes barely over the screen of the computer, headphones blaring music in my ears.
I am camouflaged. She shouldn’t be able to see me.
But she does.
She sees me and I’m not kidding: She, this elderly lady, gives me TWO MIDDLE FINGERS! I actually pointed at myself “who me?” and turned around, sure to see some scoundrel. But no! The eminem-style-double-flip-off was meant for me. ME! I watched as she closed her blinds.
Robert Downy Jr. is holding My Cards and the cat is throwing up worms. Yin Yang, right??!! I get it. I GET IT. I can’t have the RDJ without the 5″ long vomit-covered, wriggling worms. I wouldn’t even dream of it. I don’t even DESERVE it. I AM the worm.
The Lowly Worm.
I’ve got your stimulus plan right here: (picture me pantomiming using and flushing a toilet)
WHAT?! I KNOW! It’s nuts, but don’t worry, I have a plan. What? You are a creative and not one of those money-grubbing-pencil-pushing-number-crunching-suit-wearing-folder-filing-douche-bags? Oh, well. Never mind. Your bulging, overdeveloped right brain will miraculously begin its emergency production of U.S. currency.
Oh, silly me. Or, Blee, blah, blah as my mom would say. That was MY bulging, overdeveloped right brain trying to find a creative solution for something that is far too complicated for my shriveled left brain to comprehend. Doctors say that my left brain is all that actually remains of my parasitic conjoined twin.
But that’s not important.
Listen, what IS important is this: Stuff as much potable water and canned ham as will fit in a canvas bag and hitchhike to the least populated area you can find. It will probably be a shopping mall because nobody has any money.
I’m just kidding.
Don’t bring the canned ham – thats gross. Bring one of those shrink-wrapped holiday sausages. Okay, where was I? Why do I think it’s important to go to the mall to see the people NOT spending their moola? BECAUSE, you – The Creative, need to inspire the buyer to buy and should see firsthand where the people are milling about, imagining shelling out their hard-earned dough. This economic pickle will do something interesting for the creative community: It will separate the men from the boys, like a giant, emotionless colander. All you timid, cowering, insecure creatives will slip through the holes.
Dont feel bad, your ”creative thing” could win you the title of The Most Awesome Pictionary Partner.
But, the rest of you… YOU need to bring it.
Show us what you’re made of! There was a time when men labored their entire lives on a single artistic work. We have a word for those people: Dead. And also, dedicated. Know your market and drive your original, imaginative spear right through that teeny-tiny part of their brain that whispers, I like that.
NOW, if you are a creative that does NOT need to earn a living busting your creative butt- ignore all of those crazy words above. YOU are a purist. You design and make and create because you can. If I were Oprah I’d say that with a ton of energy and enthusiasm, BECAUSE… YOU… CAN!! Do you feel me? Knit, sew, draw, paint, print, cook, write – whatever your medium, do your thing – don’t let the staggering, smelly, urine-soaked economy drag you down, don’t be discouraged! This is your big chance to wear depression-era clothing and squeeze blood from a stone! Visit your local thrift stores for materials, scour Craigslist for deals, fish your local pond for dinner!
My brother, Zak, goes to great lengths to keep his money from The Man. (Offshore accounts, blee, blah, blah) Salvaging wood from broken-down barns, buildings, docks, whatever – and transforms them into stunning pieces of furniture, ornaments, frames, and toys. (Shameless, nepotistic plug: click here to be lathered in images of wooden beauty)
It must be genetic because My Grandpa was all about recycling WAY before it was even a thing. He made his living as a plumber and knew copper more than most men know their wives. (But who can really KNOW copper? Right?) Door pulls, garden arbors, oven racks… the whole damn house was held together by copper.
Are you picking up what I’m laying down? I’m giving you examples from my own life that you might find something relatable in yours. That makes you, the reader, feel closer to me. We should totally go have coffee and talk about how were going to rock 2009.
Richard Jenkins, Brad Pitt, Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry, David Fincher, Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant, Robert Downey, Jr., Philip Hoffman, Michael Shannon, Penelope Cruz, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Marisa Tomei:
YOU HEARD ME. These celebrated people will be attending the MMPA Oscar Luncheon and will be receiving one of those fancy gift bags that everyone drools over in Entertainment Weekly.
Is it wrong that I am caressing the cards and calling them Sugar-Bush?
Good luck cards. Good luck and God-speed.
Oh, which cards did we pick?
As we pulled up in the parking lot to our Pre-School Speaking Engagement, Jen reminded me not to swear in front of the children. I told her I would do my best but I wouldn’t make any promises and that sometimes I need to use strong language to really make my point… sometimes I need to use strong language when children REFUSE TO BEHAVE.
I’m kidding. I told Jen to stick it in a hole. She’s not the boss of me. Then she slapped me good and hard. I can’t say that I blame her.
It took a few minutes for the kids to warm up to me. My costume might have confused them. Anyway, I brought a chase locked up with wood type and set it on the floor.
When I was a kid, I saw a kid throw another kid’s shoe into the Primate Den at The Como Zoo. The monkeys approached cautiously but before long they were all over that shoe. They wanted that shoe. I was fascinated. But then I was distracted because of another kid. A mischievous boy who met his match while trying to climb over a spike-tipped, wrought-iron fence.
I love the zoo.
What in the ding-dang are these city-folk up to now??!! Putting pins in good folks and charging money for it?! I got myself some thumbtacks and I can put ’em anywhere you damn well please and charge you half ‘n what these quacks are taking. You mark my words, next there’s gonna be all kinds of potions and maybe even some of that herb smoking. I got news for you:
This ain’t California.
We like our doctors wearing stethoscopes and blue pants. We like our doctors to give us shots when we don’t feel good. We like being sent to the pharmacist. WE LIKE IT.
Oh, flibbity flam. I’ve got some noodlin’ to do. Have a look at some of Fran’s “work” for Performance Acupuncture.
Logos… What the?
One of my stalkers used to say, “I’ve gottalotta things in the hopper. A lot. In the hopper.” I often wondered if one of those things in the hopper was making a skin suit out of me. But I never asked – I love surprises. He once chased me on roller skates. I wasn’t even scared. Now, the cab-driver… the stalking cab-driver, he was a little scary. Although… he’d drive by an Old Country Buffet and was so high he’d often forget he was stalking me. He just couldn’t resist the chicken-fried-chicken.
But enough of these bedtime stories!
WE’VE got a lot of things in the hopper: A Logo, Oscar-luncheon-gift-bag-goodies, a show at a gallery, a speaking engagement in front of pre-schoolers, a bat mitzvah invitation, more stupid catalogs. I’m nervous about the speaking engagement. If I make eye-contact with any one of those children they’ll own me. The last thing I need is a room full of kids throwing lead type at my head.
In preparation for the upcoming events I decided that someone should clean our little shop of horrors. Someone did. Isn’t it cute? *Note the framed photo of Kelly Clarkson next to the hanging hammer.
Hot Plate‘s Mexican Omelette was again sending me messages. Who am I to ignore them? I just do what I’m told.
Exhausted from an earlier outing, I had my husband drive our team of horses. I was cozy warm because I stuffed hot potatoes in my pants.
While I devoured my second Mexican Omelette of the week I chatted with owner, Carrie Lewis. She told me a tale. A tale that reminded me of how dark the soul can be… a tale of the flawed nature of humanity. I openly wept as she about her passive aggressive neighbors. And, as I sipped my 9th delicious latte, I formulated a plan: I would counter the negativity directed at The Best Restaurant on the South Side by channeling the Prince of Peace, Mr. Rogers.
Who better to handle bad neighborhood karma than him? I can think of no one. I have created this card and will be making a plate asap. Reserve one (or five) today because they will be selling faster than Hot Plate’s pumpkin pancakes.
Only my fellow Minnesotans and residents of Chicken, Alaska can truly understand what it means to be cold. I am intrigued by deadly weather. Cold that can freeze a limb solid. Cold that flattens your car tires. Cold that makes your eyeballs feel funny. I braved the extreme cold today.
-21° is COLD. But a Mexican Omelette was whispering my name with such longing… I put on every bit of clothing I own and headed outside. The car actually told me to F – Off. I reminded it that we were both in this together and that if it cooperated I would fill it up with Premium Gasoline. Foolish car, choosing gasoline over Mexican Omelette!
When I was safely inside of Hot Plate I laughed… Oh, how I laughed – and saluted the outdoors for being a worthy adversary. Later that day (that SAME day) I went outside again. I actually ran to the studio. It took 1.5 seconds. Luckily my exposed body part (my bottom) was unharmed.
Where was I? Oh, yes. I risked my limbs (and bottom) to run to the studio and lay out previously written cards. Three birthday cards. The metal type was awfully cold. I wanted to lick it but I exercised restraint.
The low magenta toner has put a hold on the catalog production. I am really, really upset about it. I’d like to spend more time with the new laser printer. Understanding its quirks, its likes and dislikes. What makes it get out of bed every morning? Does it enjoy being my slave? Don’t worry, Brother HL-4070CDW – this is only temporary. Jen paid the extra $3.99 for shipping and your toner will be here Wednesday. Thank you, Jen. I mean it.
So I spent the day in the shop. Despite my tears I was able to lay out some previously written cards. I think the anguish really comes through. I am, after all, an artist. My soul is appropriately tortured. Whoa is me.