Wednesday, October 29, 2008

letters of marque

26 September

My dear Sir,

We wish to thank you for your dedication and service to HM the Queen, and enclosed please find the license approvals prepared for your use. They will need to be verified and countersigned by a magistrate at your earliest convenience.

Respectfully yours,

Be it hereby known by this
letter that the loyal subject
Mr. John Smith
is hereby granted all rights and
privileges to be considered as a
member of the respectful order of
Privateer; and that he takes full
responsibility for the risks of his
profession; and that his first duty
will remain steadfastly as a servant
to HM the Queen.
All materials so gathered are to be reported in full to HM Customs & Excise.


This license was scripted most elegantly upon a piece of vellum, and, while its contents provided full permission to serve the Crown through murder and plunder, the happiness this document was to bring to Mr. John Smith was never realized, due to a staggering number of considerations.

The applicant, having become enamored with the potential opportunities for promotion as provided by the life of a privateer at sea, and knowing sufficiently the torturous ways of the approvals and licensing system which nominally governed the careers of this unrecognized branch of the civil service, had written a hasty scrawl while in a drunken stupor over the previous Guy Fawkes Day.

reading as a nor'easter streams into the region: quite a few new authors' first novels, recommendations culled from the NYT or the New Yorker, and mostly they make the errors common to the first novel, of an ambitious story but a still developing style.

weather the cats sleep on top of the radiator as the first snowflakes appear

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arabian Nights x194

The weather was stormy. The sun was shining. It was the first warm day of spring. It was the first snowfall. It was the middle of the rainy season.
Finances were tight. Deadlines were tight. Anxiety ran high. Emotions ran high. Schedules were overburdened with commitments, family obligations, dentist appointments, emergency room visits for a burst appendix, premature labor, a broken toe.

A previous engagement. A standing assignation. Last minute tickets to attend a playoff game, the opera premiere, a favorite symphony, a farewell concert.

Homework, science projects, lesson plans, a power point presentation as yet unprepared.

Sulking after an argument about the laundry. Flying high after a love letter or first kiss. A sudden phone call from an old friend.

reading New Yorker on artistic development [10/20/08, Late Bloomers, Malcolm Gladwell]

weather cold cold cold cold cold too soon

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

with thanks to Wendell Berry

Thinking about his travels, his tour buses, his picture postcards, his piles of Euros and pesos and lira and Deutsche marks, and he realized that his memories were all of movement: of the lurch of the bus in traffic, the steady drone of the train, the flurry of people around a fountain, the stomach dropping descent onto the tarmac. Of his journeys, what he craved was motion, and no 35mm film camera would give the rush of discovery, the harsh bump of the ferry, the movement of curtains in an evening breeze.

He needed to capture movies, with or without the supplement of sound; the sense of physical escape could only be held by the fourth dimension. His vision altered; he examined the room with a sense of purpose born neither of research nor memory.

reading Julian Barnes "Nothing to be Frightened of"

weather a bite of things to come

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

in between

Went for classic over flashy, but worked in splashes of bright orange paper.

Would love to read. Occasionally fitting in an episode of the BBC's "Black Books". Not receiving sufficient sleep.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

riding the rails

Always carry a pocket knife. Always waterproof matches. Know how to knot, how to signal with a mirror, how to bind a broken bone or build a tourniquet. Know how to absolve responsibility and how to avoid entrapment. Know how to escape a fight and how to break a nose. Know how to shoot to kill, how to shoot to maim, how to skin a squirrel.
These boys no longer have career days at school that allow for the occupations of Johnny Appleseed and Davy Crockett; the grand colonial explorations and exploitations of the empire have ended; space is not the final frontier, it is a box of gravity-free tedium, and bad food and bladder issues. The only modern route for an explorer is to disappear into the cracks of the uncharted lands of civilization, to fall between the rails. To follow in the footsteps of thieves, bandits, petty criminals, murderers, the criminally insane, the physically unusual, and disappear into the smoke and mirrors beyond dry cleaned shirts and fortnightly spreadsheets.

No time for literature, but finished mock-up #1 (the rough draft) of the portfolio. Since the portfolio project was assigned a black three ring notebook, the binding is simple black bookcloth, with cutouts on the front and back inside (holding business cards, postcards, brochures, and four accordion books showing work), and a mirror of the binder effect holding in a booklet (describing the images in the accordion books) loose in the spine.

Portfolio #2 will be the designed portfolio, featuring shibori green paper, chartreuse goatskin, and better craftsmanship. It won't be given away to the town arts group, either.

perfect, but who is ready for October?