Category Archives: artwork
One of the first pieces of classical music to grab me by the ears and absolutely force me to love a piece of music with no words was Ravel’s Bolero.
Miss Malek played it on a phonograph for us in the basement of the Rowan Schoolhouse when I was in 3rd grade back in the fall of 1965. Shortly after that, my father bought a record of it for our record player at home. I must have listened to it a hundred times before 4th grade. It was the first piece of music I learned to listen to with pictures creating themselves in my mind. Here’s the basic picture in fact;
Yes, it suggests to me that life is a long plodding march toward inevitable battle, a battle that one day will end in defeat and death. No one lives forever and no song continues without end. But there is beauty, pageantry, and color to be felt and filled with along the way. And the march is not without purpose. What music we will create along the way! It is glorious to be alive and provide the drumbeat for the march of the creations of your soul, your children and the words you come to live by. I do not intend to retreat to the castle as many would do. I will not cower as I await the conclusion. I will march to meet it in a glorious crescendo. And that, dear reader, is what Maurice Ravel’s Bolero is about, as far as I am concerned.
Poor Aquaman. Breathing water and talking to fish is a lame superpower. He cannot save the world without help. Unless, of course, it is a fish-based evil spawned by an underwater supervillain.
That’s what it feels like to work for an hour on making a scan of my colored pencil tribute to the Aquaman art of Murphy Anderson. You don’t see the problem? My flatbed on my scanner is too small for this work of art. So, I must scan in it in pieces, then puzzle it back together with an art-editing program. Look carefully for the seams. You can’t miss them.
But when it all goes wrong, what do I do about it? Well, I pretend it makes a good post and that I wasn’t planning anything better, post it, and move on. So stop laughing at me for screwing it up. Aquaman can’t do any better. But, wait, this is a humor blog. Go ahead and laugh. I will take what I can get.
It is an unusual position to be in as a kid in the school room to be the creative kid. First and foremost because you will forever be known as the weirdo, the spaceman, the egghead.
How do I know that? Because I was that kid. And I grew up to teach that kid. And now that I am retired as a teacher, I am still that kid.
If there was a problem to be solved, a picture to be drawn, a group assignment that required somebody to actually think, I was the kid that everybody wanted to be in their group or be their partner. (That time that Reggie and I blew up the test tube of copper sulfate in Mr. Wilson’s chemistry lab doesn’t count because, although I am the one who dropped it, he’s the one who heated up my fingers with the blowtorch. Honest, Mr. Wilson, it is true.) But if it was picking teams on the playground, I was the last loser to be called, even though I was pretty good at softball, pretty good at dodgeball, great at volleyball, and usually the leading scorer in soccer (of course we are talking an Iowa schoolyard in the 60’s where soccer was a sport from Mars.) And as an adult, I enjoyed teaching the creative kids more than the rest because I actually understood them when they explained what they were doing and why, and I was even able to laugh at their knit-witty jokes (yes, I am including those jokes made of yarn with that pun). Creative kids speak a language from another world. If you are creative too, you already know that. And if you aren’t creative… well, how foo-foo-metric for you.
And another unfortunate side effect of the creative life is that you make stuff. You don’t have to be seriously infected by bites from the cartoon bug or the art bug to be like that. My daughter is making a suit of armor for herself from a flat sheet of aluminum that she is pounding out by hand, painting with spray paint and painter’s tape, and edging with felt. After she’s done with it this Halloween, it will go on one of the piles of collections and models and dolls and stuffed toys and… Of course, sooner or later one of those piles is going to come to life and eat the house. There is no place left to display stuff and store stuff and keep stuff that is far enough away from potential radioactive spider bites. I have scars on my fingers from exactor knife accidents, oil paint, and acrylic paint and enamel permanently under my fingernails. Shelves full of dolls rescued and restored from Goodwill toy bins, dolls collected from sale bins at Walmart, Toys-R-Us, and Kaybee, and action figures saved even from childhood in the 60’s are taking over the house and in an uproar, demanding to be played with rather than ignored. (Didn’t know dolls can actually talk? Haven’t you learned anything from John Lasseter?)
Anyway, it is tough to go through life being excessively creative. I have art projects growing out of my ears. And book publishers are calling me because my award-winning book is not generating sales in spite of two awards, 5-star reviews, and generally good quality, but the only solutions they have cost ME money I don’t have. Oh, well, at least it isn’t boring to be me.
Perhaps it was a total waste of time. But I committed willful acts of art today instead of doing anything useful.
Do you see the fairies in the picture? They weren’t visible when I snapped the picture. Ironically, that is both the literal truth and a complete lie.
For those of you who are breathlessly following the weekly episodes from my first published mess of a novel, I apologize that I am not following through on my regular Tuesday feature today. Of course, I know that the number of regular followers of this novel is actually zero. Understandable because of what a confusing mess it is. But I need to explain things anyway.
This whole saga began back in 2006 when I had time on my hands from being laid off from my teaching job by the Wicked Witch of Creek Valley. I had two years worth of substitute teaching because said witch first hired me for my teaching philosophy, and then fired me for implementing it in my classroom. (She had never actually been a teacher herself, just an administrator.) I found myself with ample time to do a lot of writing, and I created my first published novel. It was inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune saga combined with Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. So, naturally, it was doomed from the very start because it had too many characters in a long and rambling plot that was three novels too long in only one novel.
And on top of those serious rookie-writer mistakes, I added getting it published long before I actually had it ready for publishing with a fly-by-night publishing house called Publish America whom I can safely ridicule and defame here after they have been sued by authors numerous times because my contract with them expired in 2014, well after the company had morphed and changed its name to avoid paying any of their authors damages. They did all the things they were accused of in lawsuits to my book. They published it without reading it (proven by some of their authors who copied and pasted Wikipedia pages and got the company to publish that in book form). They screwed up my chapter numbers and font styles intentionally to get me to pay for publishable revisions. And they marketed my book only to friends and family for five times the price of a normal paperback. They were the worst publishers I ever dealt with. But in the end, I didn’t pay them a cent. My relatives, however, bought the horrible book and refused ever after to fall for buying another Mickey Book.
The result is a large pile of garbage chapters with some good things and funny moments in them that I can use to mess around with, rewrite, reorganize, post here weekly, and eventually form into new novels. That’s why I claim that this Tuesday feature is about novel writing in categories and tags. I will take the first part of this mess and whip it up into a new book called Aeroquest 1: Stars and Stones.
It will have the whole first adventure on the planet Don’t Go Here where the entire planet’s population is trying to live within an episode of the Flintstones cartoon show. It will reach the point where the three main characters will split up and go their separate ways, Ged Aero becoming the prophesied teacher of Psions known as the White Spider, Ham Aero becoming the rebel hero in the fight against the Imperium, and Trav “Goofy” Dalgoda taking his chaotic clown act to depths of dangerous depravity. I am not, of course, trying to claim it will be good for anything. But never let it be said that Mickey ever wasted a really bad idea. Or even a really, really bad idea. Or a terrible idea. Or… well, you get the picture if you were fool enough to read this far. If you put in that kind of effort, you certainly deserve to give yourself a “Yay me!” in the comments.