I have a few favourite books to keep me company on the edge of the tub when I run my nine year-old’s bath (this takes more than awhile, and even longer to get her actually into it). These are generally junkier books, the kind you find in the discount section, because they are going to get wrecked (water, indifference, yelling, etc). One of these books is called THE WORLD’S WORST MILITARY DISASTERS, and my favourite military disaster is the Battle of Nancy in 1477.
Charles the Bold liked wars, imagined himself a genius and had military ambitions to match. At Nancy he tried to lure the much larger army of the Duke of Lorraine and his Swiss confederates into a set-piece trap. Instead they went around. Charles was flanked, overwhelmed and his army of Burgundy utterly destroyed. A Swiss halberdier split Charles the Bold’s skull in two neat pieces. They found the rest of his body, partially eaten by wolves, three days later.
I like the story of Charles because it reminds me how often our ambtions are outstripped by reality. Charles had a dream, he believed in himself, and the universe turned him into a snacking device for wild animals.
I worked like a dog this month, putting in the kind of hours that would shame the most God-fearing medieval peasant at harvest time, and I still crashed and burned far, far below what I imagined I could do. For example, I wrote a ton, every day, but a lot of it was in service of other things, and in the end I couldn’t even be bothered to update my creative writing total for NaNoWriMo. And for the Fat Goose Craft Fair this Sunday, despite all my plans and best intentions (and several past years’ worth of sworn oaths), I still found myself dazed and confused in a swamp of packaging (packaging, packaging!) all this last week, just completely adrift in it, these sliding piles of scissors and staplers and cellophane sleeves, cards and stickers and tags and where is that thing I just had it Jesus. Even a simple product, like a drawing, just has so many ingredients –– choosing the art, scanning or photographing it, trimming it to fit a backing (card, foam board, etc), then the clear sleeve, then the information sticker (subject, media, etc), then the price. A cigar-tin story goes like this: prime the cover of a tin, paint a picture on it, varnish it, write a poem or short story, take that writing into a design program and apply it to a concertina booklet, print the booklet, trim and fold the booklet, put the booklet into the tin, apply other labels/stickers to the tin, put the tin in a clear sleeve, and finally add a packing top (information, process, price, etc) to the entire package.
I’m more or less done now, because I resolved that I would not work right up ’til the end. I cannot sell (or even sort) everything that I have, and what I’ll bring to my table is plenty and varied. I’ll have cigar-tin stories, library card art, book art objects, collage art mirrors, hand-painted notebooks and journals, original ink drawings on new and found paper, small paintings on masonite, canvas and cradled wood panel, prints on photo paper, art cube paperweights, collage art boxes, wax print monoprints on photo paper, and some copies of my short story collections.
So come by my table at Grant Hall, if you can. It’s supposed to be ten degrees(!) on Sunday –– a nice day for a walk. I’ll have some fun giveaways for buyers, including LUCKY CARD bookmarks and YOUR 2019 GLOSSARY BEST YEAR EVER! You can easily find two gifts of original art for under $50.
Have a good weekend, everyone,