The Aftermath

 “Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press up from the subconscious”

                            – — Carl Jung —


“The Cave you fear to enter holds the treasure to seek.                

                        —Joseph Campbell —


( NOTE: The following post is meant as a commentary about myself. Critical thoughts that are a reflection on myself. And are not meant as a criticism towards any group or individual.)

This post has been on my notepad for several weeks. It has been on the forefront of my mind for a while now. And I can no longer avoid it.

It is tale  of what drives my Creative Endeavors.

I was going to post this on Facebook page. But I did not want it flagged by them. I have had enough of them doing it to me over the last year. And don’t want to do anymore time on Double Secret Probation that restricts my account.

I refuse to call the last two years by its real cause. 

For me, It was and still is…….

The Abbey Normal Hodge Podge.

During this time, I have killed plenty of trees and a long with time on notepads trying to figure out how to get back on track. Only to have things shift. Again.

And this blog is about my Process. 

Almost every morning, I read a passage or two from The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity by Ryan Holiday. I got into Stoic Philosophy a few years ago. And I try to incorporate it into my everyday life. Am I perfect doing this?  NO! For me it is about attempting To Move the Needle. It also recognizing that the Needle goes up and there are days when it goes down. There are Ebbs and Flows. Peaks and Valleys.

Why I have to do a monthly re-reading of Bruce Lee’s Be Water .

I never could.understand anyone who read something just Once and then proclaimed, “I read that book and I 100% completely understand it.” To me these types of people are more full of themselves than they are of any real Knowledge and Wisdom.

For Me Moving the Needle is about engaging My Curiousities, My Imagination and Coming Up with Possiblities  So I have to keep going back to my books and notes.

Going layout My Various Pieces to my Process. 

Last fall, I was hiking Griffin Sculpture Park and started to think about the idea of my own workshop and workspace. 

I walk into the Woods seeking the Ever Elusive Muse. It is one of the sculptures I spend time meditating with. Every time I go there I notice  something new about some of the sculptures. The place satisfies my need for being outdoors and being amongst art. Explore to create.

Also around this time I was reading Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford. He shares how in this Digital Age that taking time to use one’s own hands to make is just as important mental knowledge. And a person these days needs a Mind and Body exercise to be balanced.

I found this show on T.V. called Brojects about two brothers who build these crazy ideas at their cottage property. And I was starting to get some ideas of my own.

How could I get my outdoor time and work on my various skills and art endeavors at the same time?

During the Abbey Normal I got tired and worn down by the distancing, restrictions, phone calls and Zoom meetings that always seemed to bring more bad news. And further postponements.

But there was a small glimmer of light coming last fall that things are going open up again.

Once again, I went to my notepad to get my ideas down on to paper.

Abbey Normal shut down the camp where I have been for many years a part of the Project COPE program there. The outdoors rope course design to instruct the skills of teamwork,tust,  communication,problem solving,planning,decision making,leadership and esteem. It had also been closed down due the distancing requirements. What I like about the program that is also about Working on Moving the Needle. 

So what was next for me?

In the coming Spring, I was going to go to camp on Fridays after work. Set up my tent on the course. And then on Saturday do something on the course. Whether it be course instruction or maintenance work. I was going to do something.

This area of camp was going to be my Workshop.

I had not been camping during this time because of the restrictions. Many of the places had limited capacity. I just wanted to camp with some sense of seclusion that the course had.

I also miss having a campfire under a clear, starry night sky. I can have a fire in my yard. But I don’t get to see many stars.

There were some other things I wanted to do at camp.

I had some Outdoor Art Project Ideas for my Instagram Art Project

Take an exercise of Solvitur Ambulando. (Latin. “It is solved by walking”.) And some cues from the book The Wander Society by Keri L. Smith. I found a topographical map of the camp and wanted to use a more detailed exploration of the area known as the North Woods.

I got a hammock that fits in my backpack. I was going to hang it up by the creek. Do some reading. Maybe spend some time trying to assemble the ideas in my various notebooks into something. 

Spend some time being Analog. Get away from the Digital habit I fell into during Abbey Normal. I was just trying to keep myself “amused” while I work my job all day by myself. 

These were the things I was going to attempt to accomplish for myself.

That was the plan to restart my 2022.

Then came…….The Monkeywrench !!!!

It was announced that Camp Schoellkopf was being sold to cover the costs required for the National Bankruptcy Settlement. Shortly, after this announcement the camp was sold off.

So now……

I have to keep these goals for myself. And find another path. I am just not seeing That Path at the moment.

So I am going to be taking some cues from Rolf Potts and do some Vagabonding

Read Don Quixote. Again. 

Just finished reading No Country for Old  by Cormac McCarthy. It made even more sense this time for me. Also I should be reading even more Cormac McCarthy.

And finally, I just need to keep referring back to Austin Kleon’s books.

Move the Needle(s). 

Somehow.

Someway.

Try to find the “The Good” (as told by Jocko Willink)

This is now a matter of…..

It is what it is.

And was what it was.

Closing Credit Song.

 Jane’s Addiction “Just Because”

The Piling Mass of Words 

Before I start. Where have I been the last few months.

Stuck in the Never ending “Abbey Normal” that is now going into Year Three. 

There has been supply chain issues for the last.year.However, when it.comes.to having my plan disrupted by the Monkeywrench in the gears. My supply has never run short these days. Every time, I sat to down to write I got Monkeywrenched by something unforseen. And I had days when I just say to caught my breathe and wanted to write. But exhaustion came. And if.someone called me, texted me, knocked on my door,.etc. I was.going to need Bail Money. Because there was going to Be Blood.

And now here is the too long delayed blog post.
Sisyphus had his rock.
Prometheus had fire.

I Know how those two mythical men felt.Now more than ever.

 I have my notepads and notebooks. And books that I carry with me. Everyday they are with me. I have the one I do my Morning Pages in and through out the day. I will make additional notes in. I try to generate one page a day of ideas and observations. I also note songs, movies, tv  and books to remember for later. 

The Notebook(s) is to keep working on and with my curiosities, interests, obsessions and fascinations.

The thing is I am the Only One who will ever see the actually pages. I do enough critical analysis of myself and I don’t need the “help” from anyone else. 

However, if there is an idea I come up with while doing this exercise. That idea goes into another notebook.From there try to see if the idea can be built into another form. What might the idea be shaped into.

In a way I am taking on the Bruce Lee idea of “Be Water”. And find out what works for me. Eliminate what doesn’t. The best style to achieve is that of being An Individual.

It is about getting myself back into a State of Play with writing.To keep feeding the Idea Machine in My Head. And seeing what they become. Will every one of those ideas work? Probably not. The best I can do with them. And if I am lucky. Is to be .250 Hitter. Trial and Error Hitter or in this case Writer.

Because. As J.D. Salinger said,

“At the end of the day, you’re in your own stew.”


 Guided by Voices “Trust Them Now”

Scrolling, Scrolling, Scrolling

I have remained employed  through the last  year and a half of what I refer to the “Abbey Normal” . But I have been pretty much on my own at work due to social distancing. I am by myself in a 10,ooo square foot room to do my work. But the work load has been very low most days. So I try to keep myself amused. 

Social media is a gift and a curse. I am posting mainly to keep my mind active during the day. Can I find something amusing? Can I possibly write something amusing or interesting to go with it? I just need to keep going. I have to amuse myself. And I post just to get these various ideas out there.

I want to learn new things daily. Explore my own curiosities. Channel surf. Example. I need at times music playing in the background as I attempt to take my notes and with “Some Assembly Required” make them into a blog posting. (Which lately I fell out of habit with doing. ) And the song by the band Missing Persons – Destination Unknown for me was the right song on my feelings of curiosity. And came to find out the singer performed on Frank Zappa  albums. It is a detail like this that puts me into “The Wormhole”.

There are two books I have been slowly reading the last few weeks. For me. They are about how can I take a.different approach or have a different outlook on my various creative endeavors.

In a world of rules and regulations about what should be created and how. This book is a reminder that you can remember how you started being creative before you came into contact with the “systems”. I have to give credit to where I found out about this book.

https://austinkleon.com/2020/12/19/lynda-barrys-what-it-is/

https://austinkleon.com/2021/08/03/rob-walker-on-curiosity/

And this lead to me reading his weekly newsletters.

https://robwalker.substack.com/

I try to read more these days the articles that inform me. Rather than the ones that are designed to outrage. Those ones are way to easy to find.

I rather want to Stay Curious. 

Explore. Discover. Create.

My laptop computer is down. And this post was written using the WordPress app  on my Kindle.It is just another tool and I have to adjust to its nuances. So Yes. Additional swearing was involved.

And I have quite a few notepad pages to go through and assemble future postings. 

Per Cogitandi

…..Overthinking

Nimis cogitantione

…..Too much thinking

Non satis actio

…..Not enough action

I am not sure why from time to time. I have to take certain words and phrases. And then type them into an online translator to convert them into Latin. I have never taken Latin in my life. Yet, for some reason I find the language intriguing. Am I trying to learn something? Or am I faking some degree of implied wisdom?

Like everyone this last year. Time and Space went to war with each in other. Everyone’s head went spinning. And without direction.

I had intentions of tackling a whole bunch of projects. And they paved a way to my own Hell. That I will spare spelling out the details. Because they are just another way for Spinning Out. Not solving anything either

Behind this door is way too much clutter. Piles of books. DVD’s. CD’s. Etc.

Notebooks. Note Pads. Index Cards.

Pieces of projects that are still Requiring Some Assembly.

I really wish I could finance having an assistant. Or as Neil would sing.

With all of my collective clutter of Works in Process Struggling to Make It to Progress.

I raised by own Audrey Jr. And I became its Seymour. (Hopefully, you get this reference)

It is like this post. I start making notes for it a few weeks ago. And I kept adding to them. But then when I started to actually type out this post. Then came the Interruptions. The Distraction. They were Everywhere. But when I had the notepad out. They were gone. And to keep my moment of peace. I kept feeding the ideas on to the paper. And later as I reviewed them. I have to accept the Ideas where everywhere and going nowhere. And quite a few ideas got broken up and placed on other blank pages for future consideration.

Lou Reed’s 2003 album The Raven. The songs are based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Talk about being a writer with a cursed existence. However, I have been meditating to the last song on the album. Guardian Angel.

Reminding myself. Everyone’s Creative Process gets messy and ugly at times.

Curb the Over Thinking.

The Point to Keep in Mind. Is this….

“I Don’t Know” and…

That is my Starting Point

In my experience, responding to any situation with the phrase “I don’t know” is the equivalent a lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite. It is a nice way to spark anger and start an argument. Why am I responsible for having the answers other people do not even know themselves? Beware of anyone who entitles themselves an expert. I am not an expert. Yet I have some knowledge of things. I have questions.

It took me a long time to make peace with the idea of “I don’t know”. Why bullshit a false answer? It is better to admit to my own Knowledge Gap. And seek to find an answer or a new and different Possibility. Marcus Aurelius’ stating “The Obstacle is the Way” has become my internal mantra. The last year has proven this to be true. At least for myself.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you                              and you’ll never learn.

            Ray Bradbury

The year that was and the year ahead of me is one of Reworking My Own Process. My own Education. It is more about My Own Process. Real education is about process and not a final product. I need to be more in the library and the workshop of my own making. And avoiding the bureaucracy of learning via the Established System. I do not need to fund Gate Keepers and such to let them tell me how I should be running my process. Though, I am still seeking those willing to take on the role of a Mentor. A fellow Wanderer. Or two. Makers. Builders. Dreamers. Inquiring Minds. It is about taking Direction without being hung up with making specific Destinations.

                        I am always doing that which I cannot do,                              in order that I may learn how to do it.

                                                Pablo Picasso

I became a fan of the show Brojects. It is a show about two brothers who commit to building projects around their cottage. And they are not professional builders. The projects really embrace the idea of Trial and Error.  

I relate this show to a quote from Nick Cave.

“All of our days are numbered. We cannot afford to be idle. To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all because the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it. Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world; a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame, great things can be constructed around it; things that are massive and powerful and world changing. All held up by the tiniest of ideas.” (from the film, 20,000 Days on Earth)

The picture here is a cut from a 70-year-old maple tree that used to be in mom’s backyard. Last fall, as I was cleaning up what was left of the tree. There was this piece and I thought maybe I could make an outdoor table out of it.

How?

I DON’T KNOW.

Right now, I am just working on stripping the bark off. And it has been a very slow process that still has a way to go.

After that is done. What is my next step?

I don’t know.

Yet. Maybe?

This is my Daily Meditation. Something to take a break to focus on.

It is just the time for me to just Make. Do. And just Move about. Rethink and remake my own Workshop Space. And once again. Just Do. Turn on My Music and Tune Out as much of my distractions as possible. Mistakes will be made. But that is what duct tape is for. Why the pencil has an eraser attached to it. And in more extreme moments. Band Aids.

As Chase Jarvis posted “Make It Til You Make it”.

And Maria Forleo’s saying that Everything is “Figureoutable”.

                          The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good” sense

                                                -Pablo Picasso

From Out of the Rabbit Hole… What am I Hearing?

It is the time of Strange Days that seem to continue with no end in sight. Everyone wants a Guarantee of Safe Return to Normal. And how is there going to be one?

People want to known. And want to avoid curiosity. Curiosity is asking questions. That can be a bit dangerous in this climate. Right now, no one is listening to anything out sign of their own echo chamber.

I am only here to state my own Case for Curiosity as relief to these current events.

I have been trying hard to eliminate as much as possible the News that I expose myself to on a daily basis. And I do not start my mornings off with exposure to it. Somedays, it is just to catch a Weather Report. Which can bring about an aggravation all of its own.

During the work week, every morning I start prepping my breakfast and lunch for work. And getting my Creative Work Load of books and notepads into my backpack. I am not a morning person and I need to wake up and get the brain cells firing up. Local radio is for the most part repetitive music that I can tune out into the background. Don’t get me wrong. I do like AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Metallica. But do I really need to hear Back in Black, Bohemian Rhapsody, Stairway to Heaven, Money or Enter Sandman again? And I do like these songs. In order counter this dilemma I stream WFMU’s Wake and Bake Morning Show hosted Clay Pigeon. It is an eclectic blend of music that is all over the place. Going into a Sonic Rabbit Hole with music does wonders to help with the waking up process. The Mental Exposure to Wake up. Along with the 2 Mug Fills of Black Coffee.

And then it is off for my morning commute. I have to take Route 33 (aka The Kensington) into the downtown Buffalo area. This road is basically how to quickly get from the airport located in the eastern suburb of Buffalo to get into downtown Buffalo. It is not a road for the timid driver. It is a road where the speed limit “unofficially” seems to be set by a Secret Division of NASCAR. It may be posted at 55 MPH but it goes about 65-72 MPH. And there at times that it has the driving etiquette of a Mad Max movie. I keep pace drinking my coffee and more music. This time I tune into Buffalo State College’s 91.3 FM. I am not trying to relive or reconnect on some level to my past college days. It is that once again the music playing on the station is different. I have to Tune In mentally rather than being Tuned Out with the same routine music.

I channel surf the radio when I am on longer drives. I also keep a notepad on the passenger seat to mark down stations and times when I hear a song that catches my ear. Most stations these days keep a playlist on their websites. I do my own research about what I experienced. I also use the pad to mark down landmarks or whatever I may notice during my traveling about. As I am getting older, the idea of “I will remember later” has become more of myth than a reality. And I should act accordingly. And I Write it down.

An example of this. One morning I heard a song that really made my ears perk up. I looked down at the radio I thought I was on 91.3FM but I had surfed into 91.1 FM the Jazz station out of Toronto. I am not a Deep Diver when it comes to Jazz music. I have some John Coltrane and Mile Davis CD’s and that is about it. But I did my research later that day. And determined the song was Rose Rouge by St Germain. Never heard of them but the song got my attention. And I downloaded their album Tourist. This is no where close to what I listen to on a normal day. I find this album to have a meditative quality for myself. It is different. It works for me. This is good.

Some late nights I have been listening to Gustav Holtz’s The Planet.

And The Best Radio You Never Heard podcast is another way I break out my normal music listening routine.

My Suggestion for you.

Take sometime for yourself and channel surf. Explore. It will not hurt you.

Analog Re- Setting

“Research your own experience for the truth…

Absorb what is useful…

Add what is specifically your own…

The creating individual is more than any style or system.”

– Bruce Lee

A year ago, I was doing my own self review. And what I needed to change up for myself in the months that were ahead. I wanted a more Analog Existence. Do more actual live events. Concerts. Museums. Places. And do actually Experiences. But then IT struck. And I do not want to say its actual name anymore. Because I hear that name almost 100 times a day now.

Due to social distancing with its requirements. And places with reduced occupancy. The upcoming Winter months. I am going to be pretty much on my own until March/April. So I had better make peace with it. Or at least try to get better dealing with it. Especially, towards my own works.

I really have to do better at getting away from the screentime. And accept the irony that my work needs a computer to get posted at some point. In a way, it reminds me of the “cut the cord on the detonator” scene in action movies playing metaphorically in life.

I am Trying and Re-Trying to implement habits that get my existence into more of An Analog Setting. I bought a Journal. This is something I can take with me and leave the laptop or tablet behind. The purpose is to work out ideas for other projects I that I want to try out to see if I can make them work.

The quote I found that I wrote on the first page for myself.

It is helping me to generate ideas. But I am not going to show those pages here. I learned along time ago, until the first draft that ideas get a lot of criticism. Most the criticism is draining rather than constructive. And part of rediscovering my own process is to align with what works for me.

The other Daily Reminder to Myself is to Walk.

Turn off the phone. Take out the ear buds.

Walk. Observe. Listen. And Keep Walking.

“It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

In a social hypermedia world, doing this is, is a rebellious act.

Pause (D)

NOTE: On My Instagram Page, I usually do not write anything to go along with any “art” I make. I only do that with the camera photos I take. But with this one it was different.

I have been out of synch with routinely doing my Creative Works.

Back in March, with the Quarantine announced. I did not get any time off from my job becuase I work for what is deemed to be an “essential business.” (And I am not going to say which one. But it is not health care related) The work flow at the job dropped considerably. (But given things now. I have a job).

Time on daily basis became more of an abstract for me. So plenty of time. Right?

I bought Extra Art Supplies to fill the time since pretty much everything else was shut down. I was going to experiment with new ideas of working with my own personal artistic work

.What happened?

Nothing.

I somehow hit the Middle Button. And I did it to myself.

As Daily Life became ever changing moment on what the answers were and the actions need to get through this time. And being an Election Year the Volume on Everything got Amped Up. Vasts amounts of Noise.

With the Powers That Are changing where the finish line is and extended the tunnel as not to be able to see the light of the virus. I call the “Abbey Normal”.

I needed to Escape All of It. But I did not. To keep myself amused during the Slow Work Day. As I work in a now Socially Distant work space. Approximately, 100K square feet to myself for the day. I got addicted to Facebook postings. And For Better (Most likely Worse) Facebook just became a way to keep my brain firing with something.

So My Art Time suffered because I let myself get caught up with too much noise about a situation that I can do very little to fix.

There were many days I just stared at the blank piece of paper in front of me. I would take the crayons make a few passes on the paper. Stare back at that piece of paper. And Just Crumple It Up. My Free Throw Game at the Recycle Bin did not improve. But I was making more attempts. At least in Throws.

Finally, got One Art Piece to work out for me.

Because as a now work and create on my own. (For the most part) The problem was (and still is) that I am judging My Work before it is ever finished. I have to remind myself that the Process > Product. Now, More than ever.

I Am Stuck With Myself. And I had Better Make Peace with that.

I have to Stop Myself from Getting Caught Up with the notions of What is Quantity and What is Quality with my Creative Self. Because it makes me sound like a politician. That’s the last person I need!

Recalibrating

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It is hard to believe that I spent this much time away from doing my work with this blog. The 2 week Quarantine is now over 6 months long. The Quarantine seems to be a Hodge Podge of Abrttary Rules and Fragments of Information. I will leave at this.

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix

I learned the lesson that I have to put my own “oxygen mask” on myself first. And I did not do such a good job with that for the last few months. I was and I am still writing on an almost daily method. I have lots of ideas on several notepads. However, my daily structure of work also got infected by Hodge Podge Methods. The lesson is that ideas without a specific way measure to measure them is not a course that inspires Action. In order to spark my own momentum I have to reestablish my own Specific Routines.

I do have a lot to say and write as I review my notepads.

I am in the process of reconfiguring them into more manageable form. Even if the environment and society around me seems far off course in trying to do that. And the 2020 Election Noise is not helping. So why look for it to help even?

I just want you to know. I am here. I am working. Again.

There is the song “Blown Wide Open” by Big Wreck has become my current theme song. And for meditation in these days.

F=ma , And I Made Art With It

(Or least in my view something that perceived to be art.)

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The following post is an idea I had last year. And I did not like how it was coming together. I put it aside. It got lost in my files of notes.

Researching items and services on the Net. A lot of noise is readily available. Customer Reviews are pretty much hack and cliché writing. Along with being divided. It is the greatest thing (5 stars) or it pretty much sucks (1 star). Does anyone know the concept of “Ebbs and flows”? There is the compromise of the “middle ground”. Nothing is perfect. But some parts do function. There is the concept of Wabi-Sabi. The Japanese atheistic view that the world is “imperfect”. And yet still is able in some way to be functional.

undefined It seems to be a “broken world”. But there is a chance for repair. The Japanese concept of Kintsugi (“golden repair). They would take broken pottery and fill the cracks with gold, silver or platinum. it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. This what history is. It is the Good. It is the Bad. And trying to amp up one side and deny the existence of either. It is a Fool’s Game.

It is these concepts that lead me to try something different for my

Instagram Art Project.

Searching my book shelves trying to find a certain title. Came across the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff” by Richard Carlson (1997). I forgot I even had it. And I don’t even remember how I came to have it either. So, over the next few mornings I would skip around and through the various chapters. Chapter 53 really stuck with me that I kept rereading.

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undefinedThis mug was on a shelf. I colored out the organization’s name because what I want to do here is not meant to be a slight to them. The place I got this one from has been part of me for close to 40 years.

I get a mug from them almost every year. Plus, out of them. This one had the color I wanted to use. So, I whacked it with a hammer. And then I set about trying to reassemble it back together. I wanted make a reminder for myself. That things and people have their time and place. But time is going to change two things. It is what time is good at doing.

And at a consistent rate on top of it. History. Good. And Bad. undefined

Ending up “Humpty Dumpty-ing” it.

Less than 30 seconds to make the pieces. And about two weeks to glue as many of them that I could glue back together again.

The pieces would not go back perfectly. Even after trying to grind a few to get them to fit.

A lesson in Unintended Consequences. My original plan vs what happened. Along with me lower quality of mathematical abilities. My “calculations” were very “off”. My imagination for how this was supposed to go vs. the reality of my best of intentions.

Gorilla Glue is a messy “medium” to work with. It does have strength. It does bond. But it is inconsistent and imperfect in doing so. A bit of Wabi-Sabi came to play. In the end, I couldn’t fit all the pieces. Had to surrender the effort. Maybe the empty spaces are those things that need to forgotten. Or maybe it is for the idea to clear space for new things to fit.

undefinedThe Mug with all of its imperfections is back on the shelf. The place and the organization are still going to be there for me. It is what is was. But time is changing what it is in the moment. That is the cycle. I know my view may not be completely shared by those who were and are there now.

Everyone, got their own “Mug”. But everyone views and interacts with it with their own internal process.

Good. Bad. Complete. Incomplete.

History.

Imperfect.

Yet still functioning.

Still evolving.

With and against time.

As it always will. And none of us are the Center of the Universe.