Category Archives: strange and wonderful ideas about life

Art Day Novel Illustrations

One of the main things I have been focusing on in my art work is the art of illustration. For example, this is a character illustration for the book The Boy… Forever.

This illustration is also from the book The Boy… Forever. It is a pen-and-ink illustration of a moment in the story when Anita Jones and Sherry Cobble are being held prisoner through mind control by the evil vampire/dragon, Tian Long.

The boy is Tanis, a living mummy from ancient Egypt, kept alive by a horrible process the villain is intending to use on at least one of the imprisoned girls.

This illustration is part of the exposition from my comedy science fiction novel, AeroQuest 3 ; Juggling Planets. It explains about the residents of the planet Djinnistan being genetically engineered humans with bizarre characteristics.

The evil Dr. Havir Bludlust has created these humanoid mutants to aid the human star empire known as the Imperium to make excessive profits from the people they supposedly govern, but actually enslave.

A heroine from AeroQuest 3
One of the dragons from The Boy… Forever.
A late-for-class illustration from The Boy… Forever
Another novel I am working on at present with many illustrations is A Field Guide to Fauns.
The rest of these illustrations will be from A Field Guide to Fauns.

The novel takes place in a nudist park where the main characters are mostly year-around residents, it is also the reason why they appear nude in a majority of the illustrations. It is not a book of pornography, however, just as being in a nudist park is about living a sensual, nature-filled life, and not about people having sex. I will not categorize this as a young-adult novel, though it will be tame enough for kids to read.

Devon, the main character, loves to draw. Hence, the illustrations are drawn by him.

This is Devon Martinez’s self-portrait. He tends to draw people as mythological creatures like fauns, satyrs, and nymphs.

He tells the story in first-person narrative. He doesn’t start out as a nudist. But he is thrust into the middle of it because he is forced by a tragedy to move in with his father, stepmother, and twin stepsisters.

They are full-time residents of a nudist park. To live there, he has to get comfortable being naked.

Part of what the story does is define what Devon thinks a faun is and how they should be treated. Hence, the central metaphor introduced in the title.
Devon at his job as a handy-man’s assistant.
A faun and his stepsister as a nymph.
Jose, an example of a satyr.
Devon wearing a suit. It is not a 100% nude novel.

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Filed under artwork, humor, illustrations, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

You Are Not Alone

Well, here I am now. Shut down and quarantined, not because I have Covid 19, which I don’t, even though I can’t prove that. Rather, it is because I am a high risk individual. Coronavirus could kill me easily. And also because the world is shut down around us. No school. Officially for this week, but probably for the rest of the school year.

So, what will I do now? Well, write more on my novel, of course. But this is not the 19th Century. There are ways to reach out to friends and family instantly, by phone, or Skype, or Facebook, or instant messenger… And you need to check on them. Keep them from feeling isolated and alone. Especially if, like me, you or any of them are at risk from this pandemic. We are not living in the days of the Black Death or the Spanish Flu. We are able to actively connect with others to keep the depression monsters at bay. And no one gets physically sick from a phone call. (I honestly hope that is the truth.) I talked with my octogenarian parents last night, and texted my 60-something sister just to talk and reconnect. My daughter talked to her grandmother in Iowa. My number two son has online friends in Europe and South America. We have family in the Philippines. And I can write this blog post for you. How is your family doing? Do you know somebody that is at risk? Reach out to them. It may be the phone call that saves their life, and then the invention of the telephone will be validated and justified.

And hopefully, with the use of modern communication devices, you won’t infect them with anything, and they won’t infect you. Not even Mr. Grupp.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, illness, inspiration, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Randomness

Today’s artworks for Saturday Art Day are all filled with random things put together by chance and whimsy in order to mishmash together some kind of point about surrealism. This would be because this is a surrealist blog, and I am a surrealist artist and writer. Either that or it is because if you put fish in your ears, the color of the sky changes to swirling gold and purple. Those are some powerful fish!

Clowns and dreams and singing sad songs for love in the circus tent of your dreams.

Of course, Surrealism is more than just a pile of random things. As Salvador Dali did it, the random images were made as realistic as possible and connected together. There was some reason behind the juxtaposition of these otherwise unrelated things (like the line-up of weird uncles you get at the Thanksgiving table when your great grandma had nine kids, seven of whom grew old enough to have families of two or more kids, and everyone within driving distance is invited to grandpa’s farm house for a big-family family meal (even if they had to put a second kids’ table in the storm cellar).

Do candles, a naked breast, flying children, and Prince Young John Travolta mean anything?

Of course, the meaning that ties it all together can be a secret or hidden meaning. Salvador Dali was deeply in love with his wife Gala, who was thirty years younger than he. He had an older brother who died before he was born, making him forever feel like a “replacement child”. These things are expressed in his paintings. Did you ever discern that from his paintings of melted clocks and discarded masks being kissed on the lips by giant ants?

And what the hell does this even mean?

The Little Fool?

Subtitled; a novel of limited intelligence?

And it is a colored-pencil drawing of a candle, an empty skull, a budgie, a book, and a weird little goofy ghost dressed like Mr. Peanut… without the monocle or spats… does that make him naked?

And a pencil? Why?

Can you tell from my artwork that I chose a career of being a public-school English teacher over becoming a commercial artist or a cartoonist? Or that I was the victim of a sexual assault at the age of ten and then never told anybody about it until the guy who assaulted me was dead? Or that I was so afraid of my own body when I was young that I eventually had to become a closet nudist as an adult? And what does my artwork have to say about all of that?

And do you understand why Salvador Dali is an artistic hero of mine? And I love the movies of Stephen Spielberg for the exact same surrealist reasons?

If you regularly read this blog, or even just look at the pictures, you may have seen all of these pictures and heard all of these ideas before. I didn’t make this post from anything new. The only thing that is new… is how I randomly chose to put all of these things together in a way I haven’t done before.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, insight, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Go and Catch a Falling Star…

You may have looked at the name of my website here on WordPress and wondered, “Why in the heck has that fool Mickey called this thing he writes Catch a Falling Star?”

The answer is, he named it after the first good published novel he wrote at the insistence of the I-Universe Publishing’s marketing adviser. Very poor reason for doing anything, that.

But, the secondary reason is because of where that title came from. Look at the first stanza of this poem by John Donne.

So, now, you are justified in asking, “What nonsense is this? That doesn’t have any coherent meaning, does it?”

And you would be right. These are impossible things that I am being ordered to do by a very religious cleric in the Anglican Church who was originally a Catholic, but, in the time of Henry VIII Catholicism was made illegal, and he wrote this poem about not being able to find an honest woman in his drunken, wasted youth anyway. He is ordering me here to not only “catch a falling star” (and catching a meteorite with your bare hands has rather hot consequences), but also to have sex with a semi-poisonous plant, explain why we can’t go backwards in time, determine whether and why God might’ve given Satan goat feet, listen to probably-nonexistent humanoid creatures singing, find a way to avoid anybody ever looking at me with envy and then doing something to me because of it, and, most importantly, find a place where the wind blows in a way that fills your head with facts that actually makes you smarter.

Challenge accepted!

It is exactly what I wanted to write about. Impossible things actually being accomplished. Finding the meaning behind alien beings from outer space developing an intense love of I Love Lucy television broadcasts and Mickey Mouse Club music. Discovering why intensely shy people need to embrace social nudity. Defining who is actually a werewolf and who is not, uncovering who and what real monsters are. Singing songs so sad that it magically makes people fall in love with you. Talking to clowns in your dreams and getting real answers to the meaning of life, love, and laughter.

Catching falling stars is the stupid idea that this wacky, idiotic little blog is about. It is what I write about constantly. You have to kill me to get me to stop. So, there is your fair warning. Read on at your own peril.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, goofy thoughts, Paffooney, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Beautiful and Brilliant

I have looked deeply and longingly at my own writing time and again trying to determine what is good and what is poorly done and what is the best that I have written. How does one examine what is good? What are the standards that you must meet?

I had a writing teacher who was teaching a class in fiction writing and said to us, “You write fiction to create that special bittersweet something, that je ne sais quoi, that you need in order to come to terms with reality. Everything necessary to say something that satisfies a nameless desire.” I wish I remembered his name so I could credit him with having said that wise thing. Or, at any rate, I wish I could remember the name of the wise guy that he was quoting.

So, basically I am trying to capture in prose something that I have no idea what it is, but both you and I will know it if we see it. Easy-peasy, right?

Good fiction that I have read and liked makes me feel something. If it is truly literary quality, like the novels of Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett, and Mark Twain, it will make me both laugh and cry. Funny things balanced by things that hurt to know and make you weep for characters that you have come to love. If it is a downer kind of novel, as some very good bits of science fiction and horror fiction are, it will make you laugh a little, cry a little, and think a lot; think with dread, or despair, or even impossible hope. Steven King, George Orwell, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury are good examples of this.

I am grappling with how you do that. I am not fool enough to think I am some sort of literary great. I am a school teacher writing stories for school children, stories I wanted to hear when I was a kid. Stories of good versus evil, good people coming together in the face of chaos. Heroes, villains, and clowns being heroic, villainous, or foolish. And themes that both warm and chill your little blue heart.

. So, what can I do besides keep on writing and keep on trying and keep on begging people, fools, and children to try reading my writing because they will like it, even if it is the least best thing I have written?

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Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing, writing humor

A Fatal Case of Hope

I have been avoiding talking about politics for more than a year even though it is a rich source of potential comedy material. The idiot-criminal President continues to bumble and blather and make money and do crimes he automatically gets away with in spite of the law. It’s easy to jape him and make jokes, but he black-heartedly continues to do things that benefit him and devastate me and the issues I care about.

This is Skye Johnson , the newest illustration for my newest novel, A Field Guide to Fauns.

After the South Carolina primary, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are now clearly the two leading candidates and most likely to become the Democratic Nominee. I will vote for either one. In fact, if Bloomberg steals it by out-spending everybody else, I’ll even vote for him. Donald Trump is the death of everything I care about in life. His position on health care, the environment, education, the arts, and on and on… is poisonous to my way of life. I may not live to see him defeated in the election. But I hope to last just long enough to be able to vote against the !#$%#%%,

In the meantime, I have forced myself to go back to work in the classroom, the thing that was killing me in 2014. And I have so far avoided the flu and death while making enough money to solve my immediate financial woes. I put in an extra day this last month beyond what I reasonably thought I could survive. And I am feeling good about that, even though I am still unable to afford the health care I need, and still feel awful on a daily basis.

So, do the good things in my near future still outweigh the bad on the scales of my continued existence? I think they do.

My work in progress, for which I am marshaling my ability to draw fauns, and I am using this blog post to show you illustrations for it, is about life at a nudist park where the family in the story is dealing with the after-effects of child abuse, divorce, and alienation of family members. It is about issues boiling in the stew-pot of my own personal experience. And about how love can ultimately overcome those issues.

Mandy Clarke and Mandy Clarke;s tongue.

I sincerely hope that Trump gets dumped in November. If he wins, and if I am still alive, that misfortune will seal my fate. I will not survive beyond it.

But if you can’t control your fate, and if the airplane is crashing, you might as well enjoy the ride down to the ground. I am doing a novel now that imagines life as a full-time nudist. My family will never accept it in real life, and my skin flakes off with psoriasis almost as badly as a leper, so I will never live that life. But you can do things in fiction that fly far above the limits of your real-life wings.

If I can keep up the work pace as a substitute teacher, I will actually have enough money to get by. That will be a welcome relief. And I might reach a level of life that approximates what I had before 2012… With a bunch of novels in print that didn’t exist before that year. No future fatality will overcome me. I exist here in my words. And words and pictures are my hope and dreams.

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Dibbletey Dobbletey Doo

On Wednesday I subbed again for a science teacher at Long Middle School. They were eighth graders, the chest-thumping apes at the top of the monkey-house food chain. There was an AVID class with too many at-risk and under-disciplined kids in it. And the Long ESL classes contain too many rabid monkeys who don’t understand monkey-English well and are liberally dispersed through-out the harried eighth-grade teachers’ day. In other words, the Wednesday job caused me brain damage from which I haven’t recovered from fully at this writing.

So, today I am obsessed with finding the magic necessary to avoid having any more teacher-meltdowns and brain injuries like that 6th period debacle. (“Debakkil” is a magic word, but it is an evil magic word),

In the Disney animated classic Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother uses a magic spell called (in a song) “Bibbety Bobbity Boo”. In the course of singing the song, the old F-G turns a pumpkin into a carriage and mice into horses, the swayback horse into a driver, and the dog into a groom. I need a spell like that to remedy the monkey-house meltdown syndrome that I was victimized by.

So, here is how “Dibbletey Dobbletey Doo” will work.

The spell is cast initially on a male student, a monkey-like being swinging from the light fixtures, but obviously smarter than the other male monkey-students. You could magically turn his raggy clothing into a ball gown and embarrass him completely (which would be true to the metaphor, but would turn him into your worst nightmare)… but don’t. Instead, tell him that he is smart enough to be a leader. Put him in a position of power, making him in charge of a group, and telling him his consequences will be either a reward for good leadership, or the blame for the bad behavior of the group. Remind him that he has natural leadership skills. If he speaks to others respectfully, they will be respectful to everybody. If he shows them how to behave properly, they will use him as a positive example. He will get the credit for the good things they will do.

“Dibbletey Dobbletey Doo!”

It works. We had a poster project to do in groups of four. They were supposed to create a diagram of the mechanics of the four seasons of the year, with a sun and four representations of the earth with its axis and equator tilted properly in relation to the sun. That’s the kind of assignment that can result in the explosion of the science lab or the total cannibalization of the substitute. But I made it successfully work in four out of five classes.

Why did it go wrong in that last period? 1. Classes that are out of control for the regular teacher are impossible for even the best sub to control. 2. Too many students in one classroom are impossible to control when you have more groups than work tables. 3. Supplies run out at the end of the day, and empty pens and markers become projectiles. 4. Eighth graders all need to take mandatory naps in the afternoon (using sedative darts and a dart gun when necessary) but no school or principal is aware of that fact. 5. Cranky afternoon baboons grow longer fangs than they had in the morning.

So, Mickey must revise and rework this particular spell for the afternoons. And he must refuse the next job coming from this particular teacher.

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Filed under education, horror writing, humor, insight, kids, magic, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching