Trying to Just Keep Focused on Better Times

I have a bottle of champagne ready for the inauguration next week, but dread the days leading up to it. How could we possibly have bred that many willfully ignorant insurrectionists! And so many grifting politicians who manage to keep them that way. Decency surely will return….I am hoping anyway. Time will tell.

I still get away over here to the apartment to write. Ellie’s kitchen story is coming along. Just not that fast. The printer and I see the written word, paper and the “feel” of things differently. He says that I am an artist/poet and he is a printer, so of course we would not have the same vision. I have ordered the cover papers and hope to have him do the printing of the sheets that I will then fold into signatures and bind. And then with luck and effort end up with a stack of Trusting the Tether Line poetry books. I will post that stack when I get that far.

In the meantime, the daily marks book continues.

Even though a marketer says that a pen is fine line, doesn’t mean that it is. A .5 is definitely NOT a .05, which is what I was hoping for. Is it too much to ask to find a .05 black artist pen? Apparently so. I will continue to look.

I wish I knew what Edward Gorey used. Maybe his drawings were done much larger than what I see in illustration books and cards and I just think he had very fine pointed pens. It just seems hard to get those mid tones when the line is too thick to create shaded areas of small parallel lines.

Anyway, this is good practice for whenever I get back to relief printmaking.

It is three o’clock and I am going to have a glass of wine before having to go back to the house. I will drink to the friends in Australia who have had to cancel the textile conferences due to limiting crowds and border closings in the rise of Covid. It will make the next time they gather all the more special.

I’ll have a double!

Til later.

More Mark Making

Once I drew in this couch, I just had to finish it. Then the cat page.

Then just a few shoes.

I only draw in the early mornings while watching the news. But the news here has been so compelling that I am drawing more. Also could be drinking more. I reached into a wine bag our son brought down at Christmas time and this one came out! Perfect match for my new way of drawing.

The bottle has led to the next set of pages.

The couch drawing suddenly brought Edward Gorey to mind. I am going to look up more of his drawings. It was all the parallel lines that made me think of him, not the heavy black marks. Like the whiskey glass above and the Yum Rum bottle seem more Gorey-ish.

I have done more writing about Ellie. And today we get the first of two Covid vaccines. We will remain on tinder hooks while the next eight days of this administration stays in power. Stomachs are clenched and revulsion arises every time I have to go through Brasstown and see the disgusting display of Trump signs plastered around a corner gas station that fewer and fewer cars seem to be parked near.

All for now…til later.

Better Days Ahead

This came yesterday from my son! Perfect timing and a mate to the first Trumpty Dumpty book that Gwen Diehn sent me earlier. We are in for a rough ride with that many crazies in our country and the massive amount of enablers in Congress and security staff.  Quite an eye opener for ourselves and the world.

This fat fellow was outside the den this morning enjoying a newly found nut and watching the news with me.

The last few days I have been obsessively working on the clothes page.

This is so much fun! My pen ran out of ink so I went down to the studio to hunt for more and found a half dozen that I hid in the back of a drawer because they were getting hard to come by. It is a pen that Gwen Diehn and I decided years ago was the best for pen sketching….a pilot V ball…..05.

So armed with all six to bring upstairs, I could not resist turning the page and drawing in the new subjects…my couch, pillows, cloth scraps bag, lamp, and the long stitched piece I made about travels in Australia that I had framed when finished. The next page has Patches by a window with sun shining.

This going to be so much fun. This is as addictive as eating peanuts! And I am getting more confident in doing the drawings with no hesitation.

My need for writing seems to be more satisfied with working on poetry and short stories. I received the new black inks yesterday and have laid out the pages with the new tether lines in Microsoft Publisher. Next step is make perfect copies for the printer to follow up with in making twenty copies of the book. Hopefully he can use some of my papers from my stash when I printed my own books…poetry paper has to feel right.

Here is an excerpt from the first short story I am working on about old Ellie in the kitchen.

Title: What Would Jesus Do?

She turned on the kitchen tap to clean the morning’s harvest of six potatoes, four carrots, two bird-pecked tomatoes and one large onion when she heard the preacher on the radio ask, “What would Jesus do?” Stupid question, Ellie thought, he’d do what he always does, the right thing. These preachers always tossed out two options for Jesus while addressing a congregation of people Ellie thought might be a bit dense to even waste time deliberating on an answer. One option was nasty, mean, thoughtless, and the other was kind, forgiving, tender. Of course Jesus was going to go for the latter. He had years of practice and did not need those who had to think about it advising him. Why didn’t those preachers use their Jesus connections to find out something useful?

“Is the neighbor’s dog ever going to stop barking?”

“Would you get a knee or hip replacement?”

“You had a way with water. Do you have any idea how to elevate these vegetables beyond soup?”

That’s a few paragraphs down from the start of Ellie’s story where she is standing over the sink and waiting for her gospel music hour to come on the radio. Here is a bit from that part:

When Gerald died one of the first things Ellie did was turn the radio dial off his right wing talk show in search of anything else and stopped when she heard the deep tone of Mahalia Jackson singing, “Take My Hand Precious Lord”. Hearing that took Ellie all the way back to little white dresses, shiny shoes and her dearly loved Louise. They were bittersweet memories of a childhood bereft of any affection beyond what their housekeeper bestowed on her. Every afternoon on her break Louise would push her way into the front porch rocker and hold out her arms. Ellie would scramble up past rolled stockings to a generous lap of folds and flowers. As the chair rocked slowly back and forth she would tell Louise all about her day, making it up as she went and keeping her ear close to Louise’s chest to hear the rumbles of suppressed laughter deep within. After twenty minutes or so, Louise would lift Ellie down, grab her little hands and say, “Pull!” Ellie went back to her swing, Louise into the house to start dinner.

Anyway, my daughter tells me that a short story is between 5,000 and 10,000 words. I am just under 1500 so far. 5,000 is likely to be more where I end up with each story in a book titled, Kitchen Stories.

Once I get Ellie sorted out and on her way, what about a young gay guy who is found doing yoga in his kitchen while the coffee brews? It’s my book, my stories, so why not? Now that I actually put that down on the page, I can sort of see him…slight form, dressed only in his PJ bottoms, blonde hair and a tattoo he is wishing wasn’t there. He is going to have to hold that Warrior pose til I get back to him.

Okay, better get back to it.

Til later.

A Very Good Day!!

We woke up this morning to what looks like a sea change in the country. Thank you to the voters of Georgia for getting us to this day!

Anxiously watching the news these past few days I have been working in my new marks sketchbook. Here is the evolution to where I drew in it this morning.

I turned the page and drew some more quick line drawings of a couple of things in the room and then a less structured outline for filling in with marks.


Then on the short page drew myself with one earring.

Next I thought to pattern her scarf.

Turned the page to make a new outline to fill in and then sketch models with jackets.

This morning I filled in one of the coats and gave two of them an earring and the third a scarf.

What I am really enjoying is the tight structure imposed on the random drawings. I get to be loose and tight at the same time and on the same page. I have no idea where this is going but I would not mind filling the entire book with these types of illustrations. Four more ink pens have been ordered. No writing has occurred to me to put in the book so far.

But I have been working on my short story about Ellie, the recently widowed older woman in the Kind Gesture story….the novella that can be found on my website.  The other day I left her finishing off her lunch, reminiscing about her childhood, and getting ready to dig a hole. When I first wrote about her, she was fixing lunch for her friend, Margaret. She is an abominable cook and a recent vegetarian which actually allows for poor cooking. All the short stories must have a relation to the kitchen. If I did not set limits I could be all over the place….more than I am now.

And I have redone the tether lines for the book and will make perfect copies to take to a printer…..just as soon as my Epson ink shows up. Just yesterday we received mail sent three weeks ago.

That is it for now. I need to go back to the news and see what is going on.

Til later.