Category Archives: self portrait

Upon Further Reflection…

c360_2016-11-17-09-59-24-855

My 60th Birthday Self Portrait

Time dictates lots of things.  I am not now even the ghost of what I was back then.  I look more like Santa Claus than my father or my grandfathers ever did.  You may notice that, even with glasses on, I have to squint in order to see who I really am.

It is normal to do a bit of self-examination after a milestone birthday.  But I never claimed to be normal.  In fact, I doubt after the results of the recent election that you could say I was anything like the common man at all.

I was raised a Christian in a Midwest Methodist Church from a small Iowa farm town.  But I have since become something of an agnostic or atheist… not because I don’t believe in God, but because I don’t believe anyone can tell me who God is or how he wants me to be other than me.  But I am also not at the center of the universe the way most religious people believe.  I believe that all people are born good and have to work at being bad by making self-centered choices and making excuses to themselves for behaving in ways that they know are wrong.  God doesn’t forgive my sins because he doesn’t have to.  I am tolerant of all people and most things about them.  To sum up this paragraph, I am nothing like the dedicated Christians I know and grew up among.  The actions of the new, in-coming government and dominant political party convince me that intolerance, self-interest, and rationalizations are the norm.

mickeynose

Sometimes my nose gets really red and my hair bozos out for no particular reason.

I deal with the problems of life by making jokes and forging ahead with carefully considered plans in spite of the doubts others express about my abilities, my choices, and my sanity.  I prefer to do something rather than to sit idly by and do nothing.  Yet, I never do anything without agonizing over the plan before I take that step.  And like the recent election, things usually go wrong.  I have failed at far more things in my life than I have succeeded at.

I am told I think too much.  I hear constantly that I make things too complicated.  People say I should do practically everything in a different way… usually their way.  But I inherited a bit of stubbornness from my square-headed German ancestors.  In fact, I inherited Beyer-stubborn from my Grandma Beyer.  In all the time I knew her, I never saw her change her mind about anything… ever.  She was a Republican who thought all Republicans were like President Eisenhower, even Ronald Reagan…  but not Barry Goldwater.  Someone convinced her that Goldwater was a radical.  That was almost as bad as being a Democrat.  I, however, have strayed from the Beyer-stubborn tradition enough to change my mind once in a while, though only after carefully considering the facts on both sides of the question.  Nixon changed me from a Republican like Grandma into a Democrat.  Fortunately, Grandma Beyer loved me too much to disown me.

mewall24

In my retirement, I have gotten even more artistical than I was before.  This is a picture of me with my fictional child Valerie.

So how do I summarize this mirror-staring exercise now that I have passed the 500-word goal?  Probably by stating that I do have a vague idea of who I am.  But I promise to keep looking in the mirror anyway.  One never knows what he will see in the map of his soul that he wears on his face.

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, birthdays, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

So, What’s Wrong With Mickey Now?

I know you read the title and immediately thought, “Oh no! Not another self-reflection post where maudlin Mickey complains about what he thinks is wrong with himself and is usually eerily right on the money, although it is strange and bizarre and will probably never be corrected.”

But it is what successful authors do. I have seen Stephen King reflecting on his own career and writing process. I have seen Seinfield complain endlessly about every little thing that happens around or to him. And so, I plan to do it too. Though I probably will do it wrong and be terrible at it, so it will work the same way as my terrible poetry, making great poets better by comparison.

That which is pretty bad about me now includes the fact that my productivity has really fallen off. In the last decade, from 2012 to 2022, I have written and published 21 books. I have written this daily blog almost every day, and I have drawn, colored, or painted more pictures of various kinds than I could possibly ever keep track of.

But my storytelling has slowed in a molasses of forgetfulness, confusion, and lost thoughts. My drawing has slowed by arthritis pains in my fingers and hands. And if I can claim that less output is made up for by distilled and concentrated power, maybe I can pull out of the triple-bummer tailspin I’m in. But I am also pressed to prove that the concentrated stuff is actually better.

My following on WordPress is dropping as more and more I reveal the real me in these goofy little essays. I am being followed more and more by nudists. But the more nudists follow me, the more normal people who wrongly believe nudists aren’t normal people will unfollow me and swear off following any more Mickey-like nudists. And the irony is that less and less, because of health conditions, can I be actually naked. But more and more I am being emotionally, spiritually, and candidly naked. Naked in my beliefs. Naked in my soul. More and more leads to less and less which become more and more again. Maybe my followers on WordPress will do that too. I am linked to and followed by the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation) and https://histonudismo.wordpress.com/. I seem to be making more sales of my nudist stories thanks to Twitter nudists who gleefully share everything they like about nudism.

And I have been really having a time about being the unluckiest human being that somehow managed to survive every dark turn in 66 years of life on earth.

The car that I was hoping would be the last one that I would ever need was destroyed by a Dallas pothole. Its replacement is giving me a hefty car payment I was hoping to never have to pay again. My wife’s bedroom ceiling collapsed on her bed. The plumbing in our house is seriously malfunctioning and beyond my pocketbook to repair. As is the bedroom ceiling. So, the luck part of my personal mojo is up to its lifelong bad old tricks.

But the baseball Cardinals have won their division this year. And Aaron Judge hit 62 homers in the American League this season. It ain’t all bad.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, humor, Paffooney, self pity, self portrait

Humble Pie

The difference between who you want to be and who you are is humbling.

The recipe for humble pie requires good, clear eyesight.

And you need a reliable mirror that only shows the flaws in the reflected image, not in the mirror itself.

And you need to look at every detail in the whole of you. Even the secret things that you tend to conceal from everybody, especially yourself.

And writing a novel, if you do it right, is a form of baking humble pie.

The good and the not-so-good is reflected in reviews, which are often written with mirrors that have flaws.

But what you see, if you are honest with yourself, can show you that, even though you are far from perfect, you are exactly what you are supposed to be.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, commentary, empathy, feeling sorry for myself, irony, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Diminishing Man

We get smaller as we age. Both physically and mentally and in terms of property…. smaller is what we get.

The car problem was solved by buying a new car (a new used car.) I bought a 2015 Ford Focus that I am quite happy with in spite of the fact that I will have to pay for it for 72 months and may well have to give up driving for medical reasons well before that.

But then the car problem got significantly complicated when the insurance company, instead of totaling the car that hit the pothole and giving me the current value of it less the deductible, decided to okay the repair of the transmission, in spite of the fact that the total cost couldn’t have been more than a few dollars less than the total value of the car. So, I will pay $800 to get back a beat-up car that I no longer want or need.

As a writer, I am also diminishing in my ability to produce output on my laptop keyboard. My mind is still churning out story ideas and daily progressions, but my fingers, arthritic and covered with numerous band-aids, can’t seem to control the typing anymore. Just typing this paragraph forced me to correct letters that seemingly for no reason appear in the wrong space, even in the wrong sentence, paragraph, and wrong page. How does that work? Muscle twitches? Not remembering where the proper letter goes? Or possibly the curser is simply wandering for no reason, highlighting and deleting things at random.

Just as the fairies I have been obsessively telling stories about lately have diminished from human-sized in the Middle Ages to three inches tall today, so too have I become much smaller as a storyteller than I was when I was teaching. I used to have 6 captive audiences 5 days a week. Now I have had 28 pages read on Kindle in the last week, and only made $2.25 in the last month as a writer. Definitely not challenging James Patterson for space on the Walmart bestseller display.

So, I am tiny now. Less well known than I was as a school teacher. Less wealthy than I was two weeks ago. And, if you measured me with a yardstick, probably shorter than I used to be too. Only three inches tall before you know it. And not even any magic to overcome my disadvantages with.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, commentary, humor, Paffooney, self pity, self portrait, writing

Drawings Made from Real-Life Models

Yes, one of the two models in this painting is me.
He was wearing a Royals Little-League shirt, so I changed it for a better one. The ’85 Series was decided by an umpire!
He was actually a she, wearing a bikini top, and Asian-American, not Native-American.
You probably guessed already that she was not actually blue.
The dog was real too.
From a Yearbook photo, but Sasha wasn’t wearing a hat. She thinks I made her look like Charlie McCarthy.
Only the girl in front wearing her Carl Eller Vikings jersey was real.
The people were real, but the flag was photo-shopped behind them.

1 Comment

Filed under art editing, artwork, colored pencil, Paffooney, self portrait, studio

I Sweetpotato What I Sweetpotato

If you are as goofy and cartoon-obsessed as me, you may remember that Popeye the sailor was known for the catchphrase, “I yam what I yam”. And if you do remember that, it will not surprise you that, when told a yam is another name for sweet potato, Popeye was furious. “It cannot be!” he argued. “I would not say I sweet potato what I sweet potato! That’s ridicumess!”

Well he has a point.

But I would like to talk today about the things that I sweet potato, and why I sweet potato those things.

First of all, I yam a humorist.

I yam this thing not because I am funny. You may think I yam funny because I say really goofy things for no apparent reason, and then keep on talking long enough to convince you that I did have a point to make, but my brain leans so far to the left that I am hardly right about anything.

And I make bad puns a lot.

You see, I have to use humor constantly to deal with all the hard things in life, because being too serious in the face of the world’s basic uncaring cruelty only leads to depression and taking a beating from life. In fact, I can think of any number of situations in my past where I avoided a beating only because I made a joke that made the bully laugh.

So, being a humorist is a survival tactic. Humor keeps you alive.

You see someone like me has to face all the pain and heartache and cruelty the world has to offer by using humor. The real reason is that, when faced with a bad situation, if the humor gland can’t empty itself of all the jokes it produces, it will begin to swell. The humor gland is located either in the brain or maybe in the behind (I am not medically qualified to tell you which it really is), and it can only swell to a certain point, and then it will explode. This is very bad thing for you, if you survive it, and certainly unpleasant for anybody nearby.

But the joke, properly launched at the target, will make somebody laugh, even if it is only the humorist himself. And laughter is the best medicine. Unless it kills you. You have to be careful not to die laughing. The angels will be offended, and the demons will all laugh too.

But I yam not only a humorist. I yam also a teacher.

I began to realize that I might be a teacher when, in graduate school to get a remedial master’s degree to help with the fact that plain English majors all starve to death, I discovered I had a talent for explaining things in simple terms. And then, immediately afterwards, I discovered I had an even greater talent for being ignored while the people I was explaining to made the mistakes they wouldn’t have made if only they had listened to me, before they failed spectacularly, and then realized how the solution I had explained would’ve made them succeed instead. There is apparently no better way to learn an important lesson.

Teaching is, of course, a pretty cool job. You tend to have the summers off. And you get paid for summer because they split the amount of money you earn for the year (which considering what a babysitter makes on average per child and per hour is far too little for the hours you put in) into twelve monthly pittances.

Of course you are expected to have a university degree (although no teacher college in the world can teach you what you really need to know in order to face that many little monsters… err, darlings… every day) and preferably some grad school, and a certification to teach in your chosen subject, and an additional certification if you are going to teach more than one subject (and ESL and Speech and Journalism, all of which I was expected to teach, are separate certifications) and you have to take hours of additional training every single year, and you have to get re-certified every five years, and… Well, you have to be basically smarter and much better-educated than Bill Gates… But the school janitor will probably be making more money per month than you do.

Anyway, it’s a job you just gotta love. I yam a teacher.

And really, there are a whole lotta yams in my basket yet that I could tell you about. I yam a Red Skelton fan. I yam sometimes a nudist (when I don’t have to put on clothes to keep myself from scratching all my psoriasis-plagued skin off). I yam also an artist (of the type known as a cartoonist). I yam pig-headed sometimes, and I yam Grumpy sometimes (so I go from being Porky to one of the Seven Dwarfs.) I yam a lotta things. And my sweet-potato basket is large.

But I can’t talk about all of my yams today. Too many yams are bad for my diabetes.

But here’s one last yam. I yam a storyteller. And I have a free Kindle e-book promotion this weekend. The book is the first in my series of AeroQuest books. It is a science fiction story with a humorous bent. And I mean, it is seriously bent in some places.

So, click on the link and get yourself a copy. It’s funny. And I will save the other sweet potatoes for another day.

1 Comment

Filed under humor, metaphor, novel writing, Paffooney, self portrait, writing teacher

Off-Beat Self-Portraits

This picture was intended to look like it could’ve been my son, so the face came from an old black-and-white photo of me when I was ten.
This is me as a nudist child in my current home’s backyard flanked by two nude Butterfly Children.
This is my purple-mouse avatar.
Eli Tragedy, my red-clad Sorcerer character from Dungeons and Dragons days is also really me.

Me as a happy new nudist
Milt Morgan is a wizard, and also a character who is half me and half the Other Mike from my childhood.
Milt Morgan as a child. Also half me.
Another purple Mickey.
The serious part of Mickey

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, Paffooney, self portrait

Fritterday

If you are old, forgetful, and retired like Mickey, you may have the same problem Mickey does with remembering what day it is. But he has a solution. At the end of the week, he simply has two Fritterdays. They take the “Fri” from Friday, and the “turday” out of Saturday…. But wait just a gol’ danged minute. We have to get the “turd’ out of there because nobody likes those. And we do that by changing the “u” to an “e” which means we also add a “t” to it to change the long “I” sound to a short “I” sound because “fritter” can mean wasting something, especially time, because that’s what you do when you don’t even know what-the-heck day it is. Fritterday! Fun times for the hopelessly forgetful.

And it is fun to be retired and not have anything to do… but put eye drops in each eye three times a day from three different colored-coded bottles so you don’t go blind from glaucoma… and pick up the package for the Princess at the Post Office because the doorbell is broken and nobody hears the package-delivery guy when he knocks… and go to CVS for more bottles of eye drops because they finally filled the prescription three days after the doctor phoned it in… and the Medicare paperwork needs to be filled in at the pharmacy… and you get 4 free Covid 19 test kits just because you are old… and… phooey! It is hard to make a run-on sentence like that fun. And the grammar-check program hates it in a mixture of blue and red squiggly underlines.

But you found things you didn’t even know you had lost, like paper doll clothes that had fallen off the paper dolls because the little white foldable tabs don’t stay folded and need to be given a little dab of glue. And the rubber bands you use for your ponytail because haircuts give you psoriasis sores and you don’t cut your hair anymore because of them, but they are all back in the same sack again because you found them scattered on the floor while you were cleaning in order to find the lost package-claim slip that you mislaid… apparently under the bed… the one you needed to claim the Princess’s package which contained… a white stuffed tiger toy all the way from a game company in Japan… because it matched the stuffed tigers she had as a child and she won it by playing an online game. Boy, howdy! Another sentence or two the grammar checker hates!

Annette Funicello from the cutout paper doll on the back of a 1960’s Cheerios box looks good in the cowboy getup… err… cowgirl getup you found under the corner of the bookcase. You have liked her since you were a boy. You once had a yearning to see a picture of her naked, but that never panned out. She was a Disney star and not allowed to even think bad thoughts, let alone pose for any nude photos. She was in the Mickey Mouse Club, not the Playboy Magazine Bunny Club. Darn it!

But the mind still works, and you’re still not blind, and you enjoy enraging the grammar-check program, and you cleaned your room without meaning to. You even wrote most of this messy blog post in second-person point-of-view without realizing you were doing it.

Hang-dang! A Fritterday! And there’s probably another one coming tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, cleaning genii, commentary, doll collecting, humor, Mickey, photo paffoonies, playing with toys, satire, self pity, self portrait

Characters From Superchicken

Superchick

These are a few of the main characters of the old story which is now my newest novel.

Superchicken is Edward-Andrew Campbell.  He is basically a me-character.  His embarrassing nickname, from a Jay Ward cartoon that used to be on TV Saturday mornings, was actually my nickname in junior high and high school.  Many of the emotional changes he goes through and the embarrassments he endures to be a super hero were based on my own experiences.  But he definitely embraces the nickname as his superhero name in a way I can only wish that I did.

Brent

Brent Clarke is the outgoing athlete sort of kid who was definitely not me.  He becomes leader of the Norwall Pirates because he pitched for the softball team, and because anyone who met him naturally assumed he was the most important kid in the group.  Others look to him for leadership even when they don’t need it.  Making friends with Brent is one of the most difficult and important tasks the Superchicken must undertake.

Miltie223xx408

Milt Morgan is the wizard of the group.  He is obsessed with magic and imagination. And though Brent is nominally the leader of the group, all their evil plans and hair-brained schemes come from Milt’s imagination.  The picture of Milt is drawn from me as a boy, but in reality he is the other Mike from my childhood, the one with a rather tough life and a heart of… well… maybe not gold, but at least silver.  He is also the one who insists on making Edward-Andrew part of the gang.

Sherry Cobble22

The Cobble Sisters, Sherry and Shelly, are a pair of identical twin girls.  They are both nudists at home on the farm place and at the nudist club in Clear Lake.  They are problematic for a shy boy just discovering girls, but Sherry definitely pursues a crush on the Superchicken and tricks him into a family camping trip at the nudist camp.

Novel Pix sc2sc

Sherry at the Sunshine Club

anita n supe_n

Anita Jones is the shy girl who has a crush on the Superchicken.  And he secretly has a crush on her.  But she is also the girl who becomes, completely by accident, the first girl that Edward-Andrew sees naked.  Love and hate, embarrassment and attraction, she is the one girl whose opinion seems to matter most.  I, of course, will never reveal the real life girl she is based on.  I could never live that down, even though we are both now more than sixty years old.

So those are a few of the main characters that make this novel work for me.  They are real people to me now that the novel is written, just as they were once real people when I was a boy and living the nightmare of being a mere boy in a world that needs heroes.

1 Comment

Filed under characters, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

424 Days in a Row and Counting…

Days like today make me wonder about how long I can keep going. It has been so many years since I last had a day in which I felt no arthritis pain anywhere in my whole body, that I can’t actually remember what that felt like. With my movements and activities curtailed, I spend most of my retired life now sitting on my bed with my laptop, drawing paper, and colored pencils. I have been watching Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix, the Duck Tales reboot on Disney+, and numerous history videos on YouTube. And I have been writing a novel about teen depression and trauma, and, at the same time, a novella about a Fairy named Poppensparkle being taught magic by a master wizard who is a selfish idiot.

My bankruptcy is paid off, and my taxes have been paid for more than a month. I still have to get my second booster shot of Covid vaccine, but there is nothing else on my calendar for this month.

My writing has been increasingly going harder. The Pubby review exchange continues to get worse. The reviewing of others’ works is becoming harder, while the quality of reviews I get in return continues to get worse. Others don’t even read the books, just cobbling together reviews based on the comments in other reviews.

On WordPress I lost my ability to have ads on my site. Too many nude figures. No matter how innocent they might be. That is a loss of only pennies. But I may have gotten labeled an adults-only site even though there is not even remotely a hint of pornography.

And my views have drastically dropped from a year ago when my “Nudist Notions” post blew the number up to the highest I ever got.

Book sales are driven by Pubby reviews, so those have dropped off too.

So, the best thing that I can truly say at this point is that life is good and I enjoy being alive…with the complaints I registered duly noted. And today is about self-reflection, so I followed my overall plan for one day. And I have posted something 424 days in a row.

2 Comments

Filed under autobiography, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, self pity, self portrait