make

Is Awesome Just Healthy Insanity?

The correlation between play and production fascinates me.

How in the moment that I reach the focused state of most efficient production, I’m consumed by pleasure.

How the best paid artists in the world, play at work.

How synonymous words remind me of symbiotic relationships, whereas definitions remind me of territory that needs defense.  When I page through a dictionary looking for meaning, the words are flat and seem unhealthy.  It’s like the end of the road to thought is there, whoever wrote the book is in charge, and I’m going to be wrong soon.

On the other hand if I open a thesaurus and browse through the words, it takes me on an adventure of meaning, and who knows where I might end up.  My curiosity is peaked.  I get emotionally involved in the words.  They take on a life of their own.  They don’t shrivel into the cages of preconceived notion, and kill my sense of creativity.

“Work is not the opposite of play, depression is.” –Stuart Brown

 

 

 

 

 

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A Corked Letter

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Dear Carpenter,

While looking at this patio roof, I couldn’t help but realize, that you will be fixing the wood we put up, when it rots.  Thank you for catching it in time, and preserving the piece.

Please keep in mind that the previous artist who built this home had a personality like mine, and that our adaptation to his creation, was a reflection of how he built his home(with art).

If you find yourself doubting our skills and tradecraft, realize it was good enough at the time, and that the location of this letter was determined by the worst spot on the project.  I took it down and did my best to not improve it, when I hid this here.

When you begin to cuss us for our angles and complicated frame-work, please keep in mind that the customer loved that it looked like a spider web, and we cussed our way through a day of figuring out how to put the thing up, because she wanted it that way.

Additionally, if you are wondering why the thing wasn’t painted, well, you can thank the customer for that too.  She was smart enough to invest in cedar wood, and doesn’t like to paint.

Since I am neither a framer, or a roofer, and would rather be learning how to work with rock, I’m sorry if the repairs are difficult.

Sincerely,

Benjamin 0

P.S.  Is there a large stone as the first step, at the bottom of the staircase?  Did you use it to find this note?  Cool.  Maybe you should try playing with rocks too.  Sorry about the nails, we have an ongoing love affair with fasteners.  When in doubt overbuild it, and nail the shit out of it, right?

 

Wheels Don’t Build Themselves

On the drive side the spokes are too tight. The dish has pulled aside, and riding with no hands isn’t safe.

It was never perfectly round, and the tire went flat years ago, so each bump transfers to the seat.

There are dents in the rim, each blemish a reminder of a failure, a betrayal, or a wreck.

Sand paper, a file, and a rag to pick up the shards.

Oil applied to the nipples, so they won’t strip.

Patching the tube, airing it up, and noticing a blow out in the tire.

Cutting the lock nuts off the races to free the rusted axle, wiping out the hub to shine a light inside, and taking note of the cratered belly.

Each article is another batch of new grease, and fresh bearings.

I am not a wheel, nor a unicycle. I am the frame. The brake cables. The chain.

My drive-train is intact, and this is a search for the tools to maintain it, so the cogs will take longer to strip out.

The Party and Me: A Thousand Miles Away

Will you see me in the lick of flames, in the center of the mandala of brick? I wonder if you’ll burn one of the Christmas tree’s I gathered, in celebration of my love for the return of the sun? Will the short burst of flame into the sky pass as me? Will you hook up a blower to the vents, and drink to me in the make of a white hot flame?

Who is there to mow, sweep, mop, and lay the table settings? Is there enough ice in the coolers? I wonder if that person will be there at the end of the flames, to poke and prod the coals to black. I hope the chairs get moved back in honor of me missing it, and the shovel comes out, to throw a cloud of the party’s finish into the sky.

I wonder if you choose to see me in the arch of the arbor, and the path of rocks laid down? Do you look at the sprinklers popping up, and visualize a fountain that is me, in the rainbow curtain of water flying out? I have left my art behind to represent me, and I hope it’s good enough.

The celebration is for a man. He taught me to dig, to plant, to break, to fix, and to make. He taught me how to love to sweat for free with bleeding hands. It seems fitting that I’m not there. The infrastructure left behind in the wake of my makes, is his to own and relish. Its a party I’m missing, because as I write this, my tears are billowing on the edge of my lids.

I can’t contain my gratitude for him, in a smile. I think of him when my gloves go on, because he would grunt at me impatiently, and use bare hands in muck to get it done. When my back hurts from lifting rocks, and the truck sways while braking from a load that overflows, I blame his style in me.

When I’m wearing clothes that are torn and sullied with things I had forgotten were there, he comes out in the eyes of other people judging me, and I grimace in the stench of it. When the sound of my truck makes people stare, I know I’m learning his lessons again.

If my knuckles are bleeding, and my hands become one with the tool in a cramp, I pound harder with satisfaction that my body is giving out, because he taught me how. You can’t buy what he is in a store, as work into play isn’t for sale. A good friend of mine said, “It’s better to wear out than to rust out”, and he is wearing out.

He’ll read this and know that his party is a thousand miles long, in me. As the stars shine into the light of day tomorrow, I’ll be watching over the people without homes in a church, so they can sleep in a dream come true. Shine on.

Blogging For Tears

There’s medicine in the sadness, it shines from the curl of tears on cheeks, and the crust of too many that build up.

I miss the peal of her laughter into the night, her body out the window of the car, as she screamed into the sky with the pleasure of knowing it would end soon. She’s gone now along with my hope to be with her forever. The x on the calendar came and went, in blood stains on a tub, and an email of thanks to me.

He brought me happiness in his angers. It shined with passionate release, and the things in his path were music. He made it with fury in a mesmerizing pound of rhythm, from his spirit. The altar I made for him is gone now, somebody stripped it down to burn. White lightning in the alley.

I think about him at times. He’s like me, a kid with too much feeling. He can’t shut it off. He’s curious and misses his father who died the same way. He will never be domesticated, he’s got the itch of too much mountain air for that. I hope his survival becomes more joy than pain.

What a man! He made me feel like a mountain of a worker as a kid. I never doubted the danger of our friendship, I relished in the deliciousness of somebody who cared to be good, and had the courage to be wilder. I wasn’t surprised when he left the earth, just wistful. I miss his laughter, his admiration for my spirit, and the feeling it gave me to return it.

My adoration for these people will get me in the end. I caught the fever of the road, the pitch of the boat, and the trail of happiness, in not fitting in long ago. They have pain you can taste, that builds into the burst of their lives.

Their stories are bizarre and comforting, in the extremes I know as truth. I find it in their lack of ability to conform, and the glee they hold onto so fiercely. If I doubt them, I begin to anticipate the whisper of a knife. They look me in the eye with danger, and thank me for the honor and respect that was shown, and then dance into the night.

When they grace me with a tear, I can see it bled from their soul. Their look of surprise turning into recognition, becomes our friendship. After that our union becomes palpable, and I beg them to edit their words for me. I hold onto the moment with them, as it consumes me with purpose, and I’m thankful for the secrets I won’t know.

What shines through the filter of my desire to not be a witness at their trial, are things like, “I don’t know what intimacy is.”, or “My father is in prison, and my husband was chopped into pieces in the alley.” What do you do with that? Hold your judgements for the actions, not the results of past actions. People are not what they did yesterday. They have a moment in time to share, and its gone.

The art I love most comes from people who have the courage to preserve a chance, to witness these tragedies. They aren’t stuck on a vanity streak. They look to the outside of a person, and see the trail of pain painted on their social status, and embrace the inside of that person with a question to themselves. The cost is compassion. The reward is love, and a conscience that can sleep, in a bed of art.

My friends in low places tend to die faster, but they also know how to live. If you ever get the chance to sit on a curb with somebody and hear them out, they might lie or steal from you until you learn how to do it right, but you know what? You’ll get to enjoy tears that aren’t your own, and those tears are some of the best medicine.

People on the street look out for each other. Be one. A person on the street. Humanity is the transcendence of animal nature. That to me is taking the “fight or flight” urge, and turning it into the mercy of patient kindness. If you look out for the people on the street, they remember.

Are you curious about what goes down in your neighborhood? The best neighborhood watch is done by the guy in front of the store asking for change. If he’s there every day, it may be that he’s allowed to be there, because he is actually a priceless member of your community. Give him a cigarette and listen to his story, as the next time you see him, he may just smile.

An update to this post on the following morning:

Some people choose to wear rose colored glasses, but the dust of the world builds up, and their view becomes dim. I admire the way that Dennis uses his blog to reach out and clean the lenses of them with his efforts, as a radio of the street. His latest post inspired the flow of my thoughts for this article, and following up my last post of “Blogging Makes Laughter” with this one is fitting, as the joy in embracing the less fortunate, can be seen in between the lines of his stories.