Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the pros&cons

Other pros, renegades, go freelance, preferring the freedom and flexibility of the self-employed con to the enabling but emasculating support system of the pro. They give up corporate jets and preferred flier status and prepared itineraries, taking on the risks and headaches of commercial aviation and with it the ability to become someone else at the exchange of a briefcase, the acquisition of an overcoat, the assumption of a sports car, the rearranging of a name. The freelance con has an array of business cards, fit for every occasion, a network of partners available for temporary hire or delegated subcontracting, a freedom from quarterly meetings and graphs of financial expectations. The freelance con has charisma, subtlety, and improv tactics that the pro can only dream of.

Sometimes the con flirts with becoming a pro again: the bagels and orange juice provided every Friday morning. Sometimes the freelance con considers rejoining the system, supported by a bankroll padded by friendly insiders, freed from organizing the minutia of the details. Sometimes the freelance con solves the conundrum with a bit of lucrative consulting for the pros: a five star hotel, chauffeur, bagels and orange juice, a well endowed cheque in payment for conceptual services rendered. Win-win-win.

the magical Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
& delving into these essays:
on food & sex
on modern friendships

let it snow
let it snow
let it snow

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

merry merry

may your days be merry and bright
and may all your Christmases be white

The process:

Find snowflake graphic.

Make stencil (cut out, coat liberally in boiled linseed oil).

Stencil with paste/acrylic mixture.

Stencil with wax (used Renaissance wax, following tests of various wax options).
Dye in Tinfix dye.

Stencil with glitter.

Fold along score lines.
Stamp in silver foil. Write cheery holiday message.

Cut along base lines.
Glue together.

Fold into paper bag shape.

Insert lit candle. For optimum household safety, add 1" or so of sand before adding candle.

: the finished luminaria pictured above are the "rejects," and here displayed because they were the first ones completed (in time for a command appearance). The editioned luminaria are still in process, but on schedule for a new year's mailing.

DYP! is participating in a holiday mac&cheese bake-off, and will return next week.

Up in the Air / Walter Kirn (of course)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cynara scolymus

None of these are quite the right message, though all of them are true. What is the way to write
"We live in different worlds, speak different languages, value different currencies, eat different foods, read different books, but, here, the recipe for a scrumptious cake, the combination to the safe at the downtown bank, the key phrase to the local speakeasy, all of this I give to you, the only knowledge I know how to share"?

Instead, I doodle a bit in the borders of the paper sack, slosh some of the mediocre coffee onto the napkin, listen to the old men at the next table over discuss the talking points of congressional impasse without contributing to any further political change. On the margins I start a to-do list, to email the office of Bernie Sanders and show appreciation, to call my grandfather, although then I remember that he died five years ago, and my glance falls again on the unwritten postcard.

If the recipient were someone else I would write of all the magic that my grandfather held in his hands, the building of stone walls, baking of bread, nourishing of fig and apple trees and rose bushes, making of sausage, designing of houses, conducting along with mono recordings of Bernstein and the Boston orchestra, all with a thumb that was grafted onto his left hand from a piece of his hip after the misfortunes of Iwo Jima. But this is not that postcard, my love letter to a grandfather pontificating on politics and compound interest and drinking sweetened coffee and biscotti is different, materially different, from the postcard I am writing from a borrowed table to a person who may simply be a projection of an idealized life.

reading movie review! A reason to appreciate the season, what with a new Terry Gilliam due over here sooner rather than later, and a full-length stop-animation claymation number in French (with subtitles). Bliss.

not so blissful

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Start over, but do so by staying in place, by re-ordering the outside universe rather than trying to erase the lines of reality. Start over by embracing new experiences and identities rather than hiding in the cocoon of comfort, by greeting the outside world with open hearted compassion and generosity of a type usually reserved for the politeness of strangers. Start over by allowing the stories you've heard before to sound new again, and re-scripting the stories that have been told a thousand times to change the metaphor, the hero, the villain. Start over, at home, in the family, within the community, by leaving and returning, emptying and refilling, discarding and replacing, repainting, polishing, waxing. Start over, turn the page, turn down the blanket, reset the clocks, refold the napkins.

Start over, breathe deeply, and begin.

Heifer International Christmas catalog

Ugh. You try shoveling five inches of heavy wet snow with a bum wrist, and report back on the experience.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

the nonoccurrence or absence of something

Soon a small pile of pipes and parts has begun to accumulate on the counter next to the diagrams and wrenches and potentially useful spare parts: perhaps a truly organized worker knows to take photos every time a part is removed, labels or diagrams how they fit back together, though this is unlikely.
Soon there is a pile of faucet parts scattered amongst spares and unknown pieces, rather akin to the orphan adjectives left floundering in the margin of the paper, favorite, evocative words to be invoked and set into their proper place in a poem that has not, is not, will not be written. The pile of adjectives is a give-away, though, that requires a stronger alibi than the disingenuous claim to not having the intention of writing a poem. Anyone can casually scribble out a phone message on a pristine sheet of paper with a perfectly sharpened pencil, but to begin toying with sentence structure, line breaks, word choice, to rough out a variable or two in the margin: this begins to test plausibility.

Why read, when there are at least three Clooney films at theaters, when every night between now and Christmas is scheduled, and when the rest of the time can be filled with sleeping?

Reminder: fifty degrees in December is warm. November was warm, picnics on lakeshores just before Thanksgiving. Rain is better than snow which is better than ice. Even though it is dark and grows darker, global warming is an effective at suicide prevention. Snow tires remain in storage.