boxing is easy, love is much harder

boxingiseasy4xboxingiseasy1x

boxing is easy, love is much harder; a book art object, front and back covers, 6 x 9 x 1 inches.

I have three quotes for this one

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu

Boxing is smoky halls and kidneys battered until they bleed.
~ Roger Kahn

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Snowing today, which means I have a push-shovel workout waiting for me at home.

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guys who die at sea

 

GUYS WHO DIE AT SEA –– a library card art set connected around the theme of doomed naval men. The titles in this set are:

An Introduction to Naval Court Martial Procedure by Arthur Dyce Duckworth (1943)

Early English and French Voyages by Henry Sweetser Burrage (1923)

Naval Courts Martial by David Hannay (1914)

Histoire de l’Atlantique by Jacques Léon Godechot (1947)

No Place to Hide by David J. Bradley (1948)

You can read more about them here.


And then it was 2018. Most of us (?) went back to work today even while the office buildings remained sullen and half empty from desperate trips to Florida or diabolical viruses. Right now my coworker is barking like a dog. I thought more people would be here today, she coughs and coughs.

three library card art sets

These make up a set called “math and physics things” –– algebra, aviation, networks, relativity and combustion processes. With the science cards I just draw what I please, as life is short and one only has so much time to invest in an illustration for “Introduction to Modern Algebra and Matrix Theory”.

This one I call “SOCIOLOGY AND CULTURE LIBRARY CARD ART SET” –– economics, elites, social reality. This theme allows more in, given the endless expressive nature of the human face and form.

A set on writers and writing. Now we can be a bit more specific: Heroic Poetry, by Sir Cecil M Bowra; The Penguin Book of American Short Stories; Ezra Pound, by GS Fraser; How to Write Short Stories, by RW Lardner; The Poetical Works of P.B Shelley.

With all of these I’m just trying to assemble something varied and lively. You can see more of my work here.

cigar-tin stories number sixty four // hope is a waking dream

Can you guess what anniversary is tomorrow? On some level you probably can, instinctually, because it’s the kind of thing you feel, deep inside, all the time. Something you very intentionally don’t think about but somehow still remains. Ignored but always felt.


I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Last year’s effort was really more editing than writing, and reaching the goal of fifty thousand words by month’s end was relatively easy (this is the upside of a drifting attention span –– one has so much stuff in the way of half-finished, half-assed stories just lying around, all these notebooks and text files with titles like “late_summer_2015” and “fragment_38”). But this year I’m determined to create entirely new writing, at least a story every day, so while the output is lower, it is, at least in terms of the project’s energy and intent, better. Today is Day Seven. My word total at the end of yesterday was 8072, which projects an end date well into December. We’ll see about that.


I don’t consume much in the way of writing advice or tutorial (one doesn’t need research into a decadent and insolvent enterprise), but a remark by Salman Rushdie sticks with me: don’t listen to anyone. And if you doubt this, then just look around at how many seminars and courses and coaching there is on offer, and ask yourself why so many writers are really in the business of teaching (with festivals and prizes as secondary industries).


Standing in line at the bank. The people in front of me seem to be in pajamas? One woman (people get so upset these days when I say ‘girl’, but all I mean is that she seems young) stands there with a hoodie in her hand, letting it drag on the floor like Linus and his blanket. Her friend one spot ahead holds his bank card and some form in one hand, an unlit cigarette in the other. The acne and missing teeth prompt me to add holding single unlit cigarette to my ongoing list of NEGATIVE INDICATORS. This is a Kingston-centric project and perhaps I can get a local grant for it –– pitching it as some kind of ironic and wholly negative tourism scheme, with a David Foster Wallace-ish title like A FIRST CLASS TICKET TO THE UNDERCLASS or something. I mean, people already love the prison tour.


C’s strike is into WEEK FOUR. I had a feeling that this would be a long one, in that it represents a watershed moment for management: if they can keep the hammer of using temp and contract workers to fill most positions, then they can effectively bypass the union. Even better, eventually they can shrink it out of existence.


When I start thinking about my own workplace, it suddenly occurs to me that my department (and several other ones in states of mild anarchy and persistent disrepair) would become a wilderness if it wasn’t for our collective agreement. I mean, Jesus, the talent show is pretty thin as it is, but who would you get if there was no security, no dental plan? People would just cycle in and out, taking what they could, expecting nothing, and effecting just as much.


At the end of the day, a coworker regularly breaks into a run when he gets within fifty yards of his car. It is an enthusiastic, heel-kicking kind of run, like little kids have, spontaneous and effortless. It always makes me stop and stare.


In some fit of sleepwalking or psychosis, I visit No Frills at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. I fully expect the worst. In fact, I’m dressed for it, as if going into a robbery –– black toque, black jacket, scarf, black gloves, running shoes, burial money. But the experience is weirdly quick and u-shaped, less Guantánamo Bay, more seedy tavern where you just run in and use the phone. I celebrate by giving away my cart to a woman who offers me two dimes and a nickel for it. “I looked into my wallet and thought, oh no!” she says. “That happens to me all the time,” I reply, walking away.


And then more work: trying to make new things for the Christmas season and the two-day Fat Goose Craft Fair on December 1st and 2nd. In the links below you’ll find some of the newest stuff, a book art object, cigar-tin story, art journal and mixed media collage. And then all I can do is keep moving.

Have a good week, everyone,
djb

Draw things, paint things, write things, make things.

a track meet and some art sets

So: we get a notice about my daugther’s upcoming track and field (in fact: cross-country running) event, which will be held at eight a.m. one morning at Fort Henry Hill. Really the notice is about there being no bus available, so the parents are responsible for bringing their kids to the meet.

And at this I make a face. And the reaction to my face-making (in fact: my face) is standard, even universal –– not just at home but at work and everywhere these days.

“All the buses were probably used up taking kids to school,” my wife says.

Which is a bit like saying we’re doing your surgery without surgical gloves because we used them all up on the other surgeries, but whatever. I am trying to evolve, go with the flow. It’ll all work out, everyone says, all the time, regardless of the appalling shambles under discussion, and everyone gets really uncomfortable or even agitated if I continue to comment, and starts asking me why I’m being like this, and are you in a bad mood?, so I am doing my best these days to just look away, look away.

A teacher will be waiting halfway up the hill to direct students to their meeting spot, the note reads.

“There you go,” my wife says.

Luckily, I have the kind of elastic, it-will-all-work-out (read: not really) job that allows for this kind of thing, so at 7:50 this morning I find myself driving my daughter up Fort Henry Hill. There is no signage about any track and field event. There is no teacher. Instead there are just distracted clusters of parents and kids, milling about, some walking in the general direction of … something? In my personal lexicon of disorganization I call this the Bullshit Bingo Deluxe (with extra cheese).

I think back on my own track and field events in school … those fluttering clusters of white participation (Participaction?) ribbons (white was the colour code for: yay! you exist!), the jumpy chaos of wholly unprepared kids under half-assed supervision (most gym teachers only liked two things: winners and cigarettes), mass dehydration, the weird kid who took a dump in one of the urinals …

Eventually, after traipsing uphill across some wet fields, we find some spot which bears the same psychic hallmarks of another crowded area I remember, the one just back from the betting windows at the race track: a sort of dedicated pandemonium, with plenty of screaming kids for backdrop noise. Finally a teacher shows up with some sort of list, and Oona gets some kind of sticker, AND DON’T LOSE THAT STICKER, and let’s not even talk about her behaviour or the way she was dressed (there was a woollen poncho involved), and I leave, and start the walk back to the car, to go into work, late.


In more coherent news, I’ve started creating new library card art according to themed sets. The first two I’ve done are Dante and the French Revolution

dantev3x

dantev1x

dantev2x

dantonx

frenchrevolutionx

robespierrex

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