Friday, August 08, 2008

Praying for the gods?

A while back, Beliefnet put up this article: Praying for Satan's Soul. In The Laughter of Aphrodite, Carol Christ writes about the effect an Elie Wiesel story had on her, where the main character prayed for the soul of God for letting the Holocaust happen.

It's common practice for who pray to pray to the gods but what about praying for the gods? Would it actually need to be done? What would the prayers be for? Continued well being? A change of heart, like those I mentioned above? A good pair of socks? (or was that Dumbledore?)

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

As the Tomato Turns...

I'm kind of glad the last week and a half is over, mainly because I am so tired of myself. Last Sunday, the owner of the gallery presenting the Tomato Art Fest emailed me a question: "Would you be willing to do more of those little paintings?" So I decided to see what I could do.

Apparently, not much. At least, not as much as I thought I should be able to if I could just get out of my own damn way.

Monday was great. I cut the boards, built supports and glued them all together. Gessoed. Cussed a bit when said gesso dried too fast and cracked. Still, I love this craftsman phase. Saws! Hammers! Industrial Strength Glue! What's not to love?

But by Wednesday, Captain Oblivious was in full command. I had it in my head to go back to some of last year's ideas. "I know! I could try to work out the snail! I love that idea! What about the cherry one that has a little critter embryo in it? That can easily be adopted as a tomato..."

This was one of those times where the good Captain just needed to be shot. I lost two days to the Captain before I realized Meg meant "more paintings like the one you turned in last week."

So Friday, it began. The Great Painting Frenzy. Tomatoes in various "poses." Painting in phases because the paint would just turn to mud otherwise. Sleeping, eating and feeding the cats as the paint dried. At one point, my back hurt so badly from sitting, I vowed I would never sit again when this was all over. I also got so tired of hearing Dave Shuffett because KET4 decided to run a weekend long Kentucky Life marathon and I just never got around to changing the channel. I ended up getting four tomatoes finished:

I've also noticed something...well, stupid about myself when I delivered the paintings yesterday. I have to keep a clamp on my mouth because I can just feel the urge to start babbling when I'm around Meg. She has nothing but great things to say about my work. She has even given me a standing offer to bring her more work to hang in the gallery.

...and that's the problem I have to get over. I'm not in school anymore. I'm not going to get constructive criticism here. I have to stand on my own two feet. The work is good or it's not. I have to fight the urge to just start babbling about what I can do to make it better next time. In my own head, I can always do ever so much better.

Secretly, I wonder when everyone is going to figure out I'm just not that up to par. Until then - or I can just get over myself - I'm going to keep plugging away anyway.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paintings and whatnot

It's Tomato Art Fest time again! This year, it was a bit of a struggle to come up with ideas and when I did come up with one, I usually didn't know how in the world to carry it out. I had cityscapes hiding inside of tomatoes and whole universes leaking out of slices, complete with stars, planets and galaxies. Tomato shaped bubbles floating in the air (the background gave me fits on that one.) Hermit crabs and tomato shaped clouds.

Here's what I finally came up with:

I call this one Medusa. The lady at the gallery said it reminded her of a children's book about a little yellow baby boa constrictor who didn't want to grow up because he didn't want to turn green. She told me the name of the book twice and my ears just didn't have their gloves on for some reason. I never did catch it.

I finally called this one "Oh, Hello!" I worked on this one off and on for six weeks and the composition changed at least three times, maybe four. I felt I went out on a limb with this one because it has an actual background instead of what I usually do. I worked on this painting right up until two days before it was due at the gallery. Even the photos I took of it came out strange.

I told someone that I felt the same way about this painting as I imagine a parent may feel about a kid: you can't help but like them but you just know they're going to end up on the street, possibly in the wrong part of town.

This is Ode to Wazowski. That's about it's real size. I tinkered with this painting after the festival last summer. It was a plain little thing, with its little tomato self. I picked it up again this year and immediately saw it looking out at the world.

And yes, it's that Wazowski.

In my world...

Bast has to put up with some real dumbasses...(one of these is a repeat - it's there for continuity.)

Bad PR Decisions

Well? Have you?

Why can't more mail be this interesting?

It's been a while. Is that a dustbunny moving across the floor?

Hey y'all. I've missed you.

Well. What's been going on with you?

What? Oh, the late unpleasantness? It's calmed down, for the most part. I don't know what brought it on. All I know is this: after five days of peace alone, I refused to take the blame for whatever it was. I was told "It takes two to fight." True. That said, it only takes one to go crazy. Since then, there have been a few more instances where I have been called a smartass (and?) as well as rude, hateful and impatient (Hello, Pot!) All I can say is, "Whatever. Blame me for Iraq and Darfur if it makes you feel better. I just don't care anymore."

If I did, I'd never get anything done because I'd be a roiling mass of frustration, hurt and anger. That's a type of craziness I just do not need. If it makes me look rude and hateful, then so be it.

Let's get on with the good craziness, shall we?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oh happy day - I am not the only member of the Cult of St. Crazy.
Oh sad day - I am not the only member of the Cult of St. Crazy.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I feel like the worst person in the world

Please feel free to skip this entry. I just had to tell this to someone. Anyone. I realize how awful this entry makes me appear but I just can't carry this around anymore.

When I first moved to this house, I had some rather...interesting neighbors. They were a couple in their sixties, I guess. He always wore overalls and tinkered with his trucks and she always kept her hair jet black, no matter what. More often than not, he would stay in the backyard and work on his truck, never saying a word while she stood in the back door and yelled at him. She had a unique way of it, starting out normal but slowing down toward the end: "Ah'm gonna kick. Yore. Aaaaaaassss...."

Now I've taken that guy's place in the neighborhood, except the bar has been lowered. All I need now to be a classic redneck is a snaggle toothed old man with his PBR sitting in an old lazy boy on the porch while his equally snaggle toothed old dog sits chained in a yard under an old crate.

I really think I'm going crazy - or the other person involved is. Either way, I wish I simply had the skill to deal with it. I should have just walked away but for a variety of reasons, all of them wrong, I didn't. Now, the point seems to be moot.

We would usually see each other about twice a week - Thursday and Sunday. She usually drives because I am, in her words, "a wild driver." I started noticing things in the last few months. The first time or two it happened, I just thought it was odd. Then I started to catch on. For example, sometimes she would ask me all kinds of questions about something, like how to get to a certain place. "Turn here? Go straight? What about this light? Turn or straight?" The problem would come when I anticipated the question. She'd turn of me and snarl, "Don't tell me what to do! I'm not as stupid as you think I am!"

Other times, she would get stuck on going to a certain store or restaurant, say, to the same Goodwill or Subway every Sunday or CARES store every Thursday for weeks on end. If I said something about it, she would make it a point that store was the very next stop because she urgently needed something from it.

(Okay, I admit it, I am slow. I should've said, "I am so tired and bored with Plaza Art Supply and the Frist. Don't even think about letting me near those damn boring Meerkats at the zoo and ugh, that same ol' art collection Georgia O'Keefe gave to Fisk. My god, I just can't bear the thought of eating hummus with the fresh tomatoes and pickles at that greek restaurant across from Vanderbilt on 21st...")

Anyway, yesterday was a good example. Things started very well. We were getting along and laughing, especially about how bored I was of going to the local CARES store because we go there Every. Time. We go. Out. She laughed as she said, "You just can't take it anymore, huh?" and I said, "NO!" As we shopped in Portland, she joked a bit about how broke she was. She forgot to stop at the bank that morning and she may have to borrow some from me. Okay. No problem. I was also joking about some laundry I needed to do while we were out.

Remember what I've said here.

Not fifteen minutes later, we're pulling into the CARES parking lot. "I just need to find some jeans to go with a shirt I have." I should have just stayed in the car. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. I don't know. I just know that one quick look told me that it was same stuff I'd seen the last few times we visited.

After that, she got more and more quiet. She only spoke to me long enough to borrow five dollars for lunch and this sparkling conversation:

"Do you want some of my chicken?"
"Not really, why? Do you want to trade for some of my fries?"
(as she shrugs her shoulders) "No. Are you taking your burger with you or eating it here?"
(I'm thinking, "huh?") "Does it matter?"
"I only asked a question! I didn't ask to have my head bitten off!"

I tried to start a conversation once or twice and it was like I wasn't even there. That's how it was all the way home, until a pickup came up behind us on a back road. She literally started snarling about "those damn bright lights. I can't see the road!" and it progressed, somehow, to me. It started out as: "Next week, you can take the car but I won't be going. I'm cutting back on my trips." and it ended up as "I am 62 years old! I can't even have a life because of you! I'm tired to staying broke buying gas, carrying your freeloading loser ass everywhere! I'm 62 years old!" She kept screaming that: "I'm 62 years old! I'm 62 years old!"

I knew what was coming but I stepped right into it anyway. "What does your being 62 have to do with anything?"

Now she's screaming as loud as she can. "Do you think I like hauling your loser ass around? I can't even have a life because you need the car!"

"What are you talking about? It's your car, you have it 24 and 7. You can do whatever you want! Anytime!"

It's been over twenty something years since I've seen her in a rage. Even so, this one surpassed anything I remember from back then. She started screaming even louder about all my faults. No matter what I said or did, she screamed louder and louder so she can't hear me even when I'm screaming back. I'm a loser with a bad attitude who bosses her around and if she had someone to help her raise a such a rotten thing instead of a wimp, things may have turned out differently. (This is the person who once declared, "I'm never getting angry ever again. It's not worth getting that upset over anything.")

I'm not blameless in this. I fell right back into that pattern that hasn't seen the light of day in twenty something years and I surpassed it. During all this rage, I went from feeling like I was a powerless, confused ten year old again to the one thing I said I never wanted to become - hateful, abusive and crazy. I gave just as bad as I got and I had a hell of a lot of memories to draw on.

(So go ahead, world. Throw whatever you want at me. I don't think you punish me any worse than what I'm feeling. I let myself down by becoming exactly like her. All my hard work over the years to fix myself, gone in an instant.)

Mind you, we're still on the back road while all this is happening. When we got back to my house, things got even more out of control. She got out, fueled by the fact that I slipped up, stood in my driveway and started screeching about how I am ruining her life and I am never bossing her around ever again. I could have caused a wreck back there with my crap. She can't even go to CARES without me worrying her to death. She'll go where she pleases, when she pleases and there's not one thing I can do about it. "Do you think I like sitting around while you do your filthy laundry? Do you think I like sitting in the car while you do your shopping in Wal Mart? I don't even feel like talking and you just keep yakking away! Yak! Yak! Yak! GET YOUR JUNK OUT OF MY CAR SO I CAN GO! I AIN'T EVER COMING BACK!"

All the while, I'm on one side of the car, trying to do exactly that and I can feel myself shutting down. All I can say is, "What are you talking about?!" She's on the other, grabbing what she could of the stuff I bought and was throwing as hard as she could down the driveway. Still screeching how horrible I am and she ain't ever puttin' with it ever again to the whole wide world. Then she sat in my driveway for at least twenty minutes and I spent the next two hours waiting for the cops I was sure would come. I just didn't know what they would be told - that I tried to murder her, I assaulted her or we were simply disturbing the peace and I was worse than the armpit of Satan. I was honestly surprised when no one showed up.

Now, despite everything, I can't help feeling overwhelmingly relieved. It's over.

I have to say a bizarre way, all that screeching was pretty incredible considering the cold she had. I bet there'll be stories for years to come: "It was a cold January night when the Banshee started screaming, all the way from hell..."