Category Archives: artwork

Dragon Paffoonies

Part of the joy I find in the family Dungeons and Dragons game is in making Paffoonies, the story-based pictures that illustrate and elucidate the characters and other things that enter spontaneously into the game.

anvil 2

I don’t invent every part of the image and concept myself.  Some inspiration comes from the game books and published adventures, while others come directly from the players and the way their imaginations shape characters and events.

Many of the Dungeons and Dragons Paffoonies began life as character sheets.  That’s why there are numbers, strength numbers, intelligence numbers, character levels, dexterity, skill sets, and magic items listed all around the character image. They more or less morphed over time into illustrations done in colored pencil on colored paper.

I enjoy drawing wizards and apprentices, warriors in action, castles, and dragons.  I have used the game as an extended excuse to draw vast quantities of them.  And now I have a resource to mine for Paffoonies to lace my blog with.  They provide a sort of sugary spice that I love the taste of, and I will continue to share them until the end, even if they disagree with you and give you reading indigestion.

C360_2017-08-11-17-46-22-053

I am working on a new piece that is D & D Paffooney- related. I will keep you apprised of the the progress here until it is finished or until you get fed up with it.  Whichever comes first.

C360_2017-08-19-09-03-15-446

Paffoonies are my own thing… pictures and stories melted together… loony, cartoony, balloony, pink baboon buffoons brewed together in a big pot.  And I will continue to use them for acts of Dungeons and Dragons nonsense.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, Dungeons and Dragons, humor, Paffooney

When the Old Mind Wanders…

10277312_545955055513607_4451936173664294288_n

When the old mind wanders…

They tell you you’re just too slow.

But thoughts like mine drift everywhere,

And the edges of the universe… are a place to go.

 

Maybe I should write in red.

And argue with the voices

That rhyme inside my head.

And break the rhyme scheme 

Here and there

Because of what they said.

Eden

Or maybe I should write in blue

Because I’ve been thinking in the nude

And laying all my secrets bare

Which really might be rude.

C360_2017-08-06-21-19-37-889

 

But the old mind wanders…

In the form of a poem,

And breaks and squanders

Tallest waves in mere foam.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, clowns, goofy thoughts, humor, nudes, Paffooney, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Imaginary Friends

Toccata and Fugue

When you know someone has an imaginary friend, something like Elwood’s six-foot invisible rabbit called Harvey, don’t you immediately think that person is crazy?  I do.  But I have imaginary people as friends. I think most writers do.  So am I crazy?  Probably. But hopefully it is a good kind of crazy.

It began with imaginary friends from books.  The Cat in the Hat was my friend.  Jim Hawkins was my friend, as was Mowgli and all the members of the Swiss Family Robinson.  They entered my dreams and my daydreams.  I told them my troubles the same way I listened to theirs through their stories.

I began to have imaginary friends that came from my own imagination too.

galtorr-primexvx

I used to tell my mere human friends about my friend Davalon from outer space.  I told them that he was real and secretly visited me at night to talk about being able to learn about humans on earth by walking around invisibly and watching them.  I got so involved with these stories that my sixth grade class began saying, “Michael is from Mars.”

Island Girl2z

When I was a teenager, I began having conversations with a faun.  His name was Radasha.  He was a creature from Greek Myth, a sensual Dionysian creature who, in his child body, was both younger than me and way older than me.  I didn’t realize until much later in life that he was the result of my repressed memories of a childhood sexual assault that I was the victim of.  I could talk to him about my fear of nakedness.  I could tell him about my blossoming interests in naked girls and their bodies.  I could talk to him about all the things I was somehow too terrified to talk to my male friends about, even though none of them had the same reluctance to discuss sex.  Ra was imaginary.  But he helped me heal.

Then the story-telling seriously began.  I used Davalon as one of the main characters in my novel Catch a Falling Star.  I created Torrie Brownfield, the baby werewolf to express the feelings I had as a boy about being a monster and secretly terrible and deformed.  Torrie is a normal boy with a condition called hypertrichosis.  I am working on The Baby Werewolf now.  And then there’s lovely Valerie Clarke.  She is the main character of Snow Babies which is a finished novel, edited and proofread and ready to publish.  It is I book I will have to find another way to publish since the recent death of PDMI Publishing.  She is not a me-character, based on my own thoughts and feelings.  She is based on former classmates and students who told me things that express the sadness and isolation of growing up female.  So she is even more imaginary than my other characters.

They become real people to me.  They have their own point of view. They talk to me and I learn things from them.  But they are imaginary.  So am I crazy?   Yes… as a loon.  And happy as Elwood P. Dowd to be that way.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, being alone, characters, commentary, humor, imagination, insight, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Theme Songs for Living Life

You know how in movies and on TV they play a soundtrack behind the action of the show?  And how, sometimes, if the movie or TV show is any good, it enhances and underscores whatever is happening to the main theme of story and the action that expresses it on the screen?  Yeah, that.  A complex idea that lies just under the surface of consciousness, a something that somebody sometime thought up that actually works and can work quite well.  But why does it work?

Put as simply as I can say an idea that is so layered and complex, it is because that is how real life works.  Yeah, there is music in the background of every life.  It plays almost unnoticed until that point where you suddenly realize how it defines your very soul.

20160424_180408

Through childhood and junior high and high school, I used to joke with my two sisters that every song that came on the radio was my favorite song, my theme song.  Every new Beatles’ song, or Paul Revere and the Raiders’ song, or Elton John musical fantasy was the song that defined my entire life.  Yes, I really was that fickle.  But I was also responding to a sense that who I was had to change into something new as often as you heard a new song on the radio or bought a new record album.  (Yes, I know some of you have no idea what that is, but I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s, and I make no excuse for that.  So deal with it.)

I hope you have listened to some of the YouTube song-thingies I have added to this post.  They are not picked at random.  They are some of the key theme songs of my goofy, pointless, and fantastical life.

The Astroboy opening theme is here to represent my early childhood.  When I had the courage of the irrepressible imagination of childhood.  I soared with Astroboy through every black-and-white episode I could get hold of in the 60’s.  At times it met getting out of bed early to catch it at 6:00 am, just after Channel 3 came on the air in the morning.  At times it meant rushing home as soon as school let out because it came on only half an hour after the last bell, and the school was on the north end of Rowan, while home was as far south as the town went.Astroboy

I really used to believe that I would grow up to lead a heroic life and make a name for myself that would inspire others to greatness too.  We are uncommonly stupidly when we are children, and we need simplistic theme songs to wake us up to life gradually.

The Eagles provided the theme songs of my high school and college young manhood.  Trying out life, at times boldly, and at most times timidly, I had to “Take It to the Limit” as often as I could manage.  It turned out that due to irrepressible social awkwardness, my greatest presses against the walls of my existence were all academic in nature.  We learn by doing… and failing… and trying again.  The songs become more complex as they weave themselves into the background of your life story.

As a young teacher, shy and soft-spoken, it was impressed on me that discipline was about controlling behavior which you had to do by being stern and unyielding, good at rule-setting and handing down punishments.  But with my goofy temperament and non-threatening clown face, I soon learned that that road only led to misery and heartache for both me and, more importantly, the students.  In the 80’s I learned that you had to follow Bobby McFerrin’s philosophy of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  I learned that you don’t teach someone lasting lessons by pushing them from behind with paddles and switches, but by leading them forward with jokes and obvious joy in the lessons you are teaching.

snowflake12

Now that I have grown old and awful in the winter of my life, the songs that express my personal themes are classical music and complex with snowflakian symmetry and stark, cold beauty.  I would talk about a few more particulars, but I am now well past 500 words, and if you don’t have the idea yet, I’m sorry, you are probably never going to hear that music yourself.  But don’t worry… be happy.

5 Comments

Filed under artists I admire, artwork, autobiography, commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, insight, irony, music, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Becoming

The classic line from the visionary poet Theodore Roethke;

quote-being-not-doing-is-my-first-joy-theodore-roethke-262576

But the truth is, before you can BE you must first BECOME.

I know what you are probably thinking.  “What is this idiot rambling on about now?”

Well, sometimes you simply have to spout a lot of love and hoo-haw and just pretend it means something.  That is the core, I think, of what philosophy is all about.

But maybe a list of what I have already become will get the idea knitting itself together.  You know, a list of the things I can already just BE.

I have already become college educated.  I have a BA in English and an MAT in Education (Master of the Art of Teaching).  Those letters my college years bestowed upon me are only an “N” short of being an anagram for BATMAN.  So I have almost become BATMAN.

I have also finished becoming a teacher.  In fact, I have spent 31 years becoming a teacher.  I have gotten so teacherfied over the years that I am actually now becoming a retired teacher.  I haven’t learned the art of retired teacher yet.  It is still gonna take a bit of practice to start getting it right.  But I can get a kid to sit down and shut up with just a look.  I can read the mind of a glum-faced student and know we are about to have a bad day.  And I always know when to tell a really awful joke so that the students know their only hope of keeping their lunch down and retaining their sanity is to ask me to please get back to today’s lesson.  So I can BE that, at least in theory.  I am still BECOMING retired.

DSCN5320b

Why-ever would I draw myself as a naked boy?  I have inexplicably weird urges sometimes.

I am a living, breathing human being.  I have been that now for sixty years and eight months.  I have practiced it enough that I can BE that without even thinking about it.  Well, not now, just most of the time I don’t have to think about it.

But I did make a huge mistake fairly recently in applying for a chance to be a blogger for an AANR-affiliated website.  Yes, that’s right, the American Association for Nude Recreation.  I signed on to write about being a nudist.

I am asked to write a review of the nearest naturist park, the Bluebonnet Naturist Park in Alvord, Texas.  I am hoping to find a day for a day-visit that won’t find a lot of people there.  Ummm.  How did I get roped into BECOMING a nudist?  Is it too late to back out now?  Or would that be UNBECOMING?

But most of all, I have labored long and hard at BECOMING a real writer.  I have two books already published.  Aeroquest and Catch a Falling Star.    You can find them both on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  But don’t buy Aeroquest.  Those cheap burgle-binkies don’t deserve to make any more money off of me.  I have another book coming out soon from Page Publishing, Magical Miss Morgan.  It is a book I am really proud of, though these foofy publishers have done nothing to help it and a lot to mess it up for me.
cool-school-blue

But, I must admit, I have just finished reading Mitch Albom’s masterpiece, The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto.  It is a miraculous, engaging read that made me laugh and made me cry and made me fall in love with the story.  And it is so far beyond what I can do that I must write a review on it, maybe tomorrow, and gush praises all over it.  I can only dream of BEING a writer like that.  It proves to me that I have a lot more BECOMING to work on.  Sorry, Ted, I am just not there yet.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, goofy thoughts, humor, insight, nudes, Paffooney, philosophy, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Doodley Doo

C360_2017-07-18-21-10-43-332

Yes, I was doodling again.  Doodling is the kind of thing doodlers always doo. I am not the only secret sinner who doodles.  My children doodle too. Except, number one son does his best doodling on the piano.  I don’t mean he draws on the actual pianoforte instrument. He makes meandering melody that sounds almost polished, almost professional.  He amazes people with his musical fingers and his musical ear and, especially, his musical imagination.  Number two son doodles music too.  Except he’s in love with the guitar.  Seriously.  He’s doodling out chord progressions and sonorous soulful melodies right this minute.  He can play Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 on guitar.  It is so beautiful it makes me weep.  And the Princess?  She draws anime characters and doodles more like me.  Except, as you can see, I draw doodle-dogs and doodle-cats and make you wonder if they have spats.  Look at the paw, the paw with the claw.  Is it the doodle-cat’s claw?  Or the doodle-dog’s paw?  One way’s peace, the other war.

And that is my wisdom for today.  Doodling is natural.  Churches should not call it a sin. Everybody does it, in one way or another.  And though it doesn’t usually create high art from nothing, it does lead to the eventual birth of masterpieces.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, doodle, humor, metaphor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Well, I Still Ain’t Dead

879261033-Edgar-Allan-Poe-Life-Quotes

Yesterday I posted a long, sappy golly-yabber about things I had to tell you before I die.  I had experienced chest pains in the night and was rather planning on dropping dead somewhere during the day yesterday.

But it didn’t happen.  It was the same arthritis pain in the left side of my rib-cage that sent me to the cardiologist twice before.  So this time I got by planning to be dead today, and then, happily, it turned out that this morning I am still here.  See, pessimism works!  You only get pleasant surprises that way.

C360_2017-04-01-08-23-09-870

But I really do believe that it is the trouble we have in life that makes life worth living.  I have value as a human being because I can use my creativity, determination, and relatively unstable mental condition to take on any problem.  And if I should happen to be defeated, like I was in my quest to save the swimming pool, then my barely sane and somewhat loopy work ethic simply moves me on to the next crappy Mickey trap to figure out how to get the cheese out of it without getting killed.

c360_2017-02-15-22-09-06-930

So I ain’t dead.  In fact, I am still following my own personal yellow brick road.  And while tomorrow is not guaranteed, I can still sing and dance like Ray Bolger and Judy Garland as I am off to see the wizard.  And no, I don’t think I’m Judy Garland in that metaphor.  At least… not most of the time.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under artwork, autobiography, healing, health, humor, Paffooney, pessimism, strange and wonderful ideas about life