Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello Sun-Goodbye Icarus

I'm on a deadline, and have no business blogging. I'll make it fast. Have you ever fallen off a bicycle? Then you know what it feels like to be at the tail end of a deadline. Lack of sleep and hyper focus make for nice hallucinations, but make it hard to stay grounded.

For instance I once pulled a series of all-nighters on an illustration deadline. I went to the client the next morning and with a wave of his annoying hand, he asked for changes. I was too tired to trash his office, so I smiled, left, walked past a bank of windows and started down the concrete stairs. I caught my shoe on the top stair and fell head over heels all the way down the long, stairway. In full view of his office and all his minions. Concrete stairs.

I might have broken my neck, but I was so tired that I shrugged mid air, relaxed, and thought, "Well now isn't this poetic justice and really quite pleasant soaring through the air, as it were...".

The foolishness of Icarus was not that he flew too close to the sun. I would if I could, wouldn't you? I mean, "Ladies and gentlemen, kids, if you look out the starboard window you will notice the sun..."

But his big problem was not ego, wobbly wings, falling, or proximity to heat. His problem was he used lousy glue (made out of goat hooves probably). If he had had Elmer's, or Gorilla Glue, then he would have been fine. Super Glue, maybe.

I am almost finished with a book project that has taken me way too long, and perilously close to the sun. Above is a peek at a design element from the book where I use the sun as motif and metaphor.

One of the ways to survive the blithering economics which attend a difficult deadline is to have a fire sale. I just sold this painting, "Our Town", to pay 1/4 of a boring bill. Goodbye art, enjoy your new home in Texas. Make me an offer, I'm in the mood. I once sold a painting for twelve dozen tamales. They were really good tamales.

HI HO! HI HO! It's back to work I go, da dum, de dum, da dum de dum...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Bed Fit For a Small God

Beatrix Potter would, I'm sure, have knit them leggings. Now I am willing to look the other way so a hungry mouse can steal a few crumbs to feed her little waifs. But when they start wearing my slippers and smoking my cigars, I get nervous. Didn't somebody say, "Mice are to be seen and not heard"--no, wait, that's kids. Not my kids, mind you, but somebody's kids. Turns out mice have a penchant for taking over the world. So it's either nip 'em in the bud (i.e. go to the mattresses) or scoot over and hand them the remote.

OK, I have to admit I whacked a couple of them. But as penance I offer the following tribute to their perspicacity, and inventiveness--based on a discovery we made in a kitchen drawer.

Boing Bed

A mouse needs a cosy place
To rest his mousey head,
A comfy nest to curl up in
And make his mousey bed.

Not too big or spacious,
Not too cramped and tight,
But made with bits of stuff
And fluff, and formed just right.

Some mice will sleep on cotton,
Some will sleep on wool,
And they make their perfect beds
Without the help of human tools.

They steal your crumbs and cast-offs,
And snatch bright colored threads,
Tuck buttons, beads, and beans
To shape their waiting beds,

You may even one day find,
And cock your head with fascination,
That they've woven in some tufts
Of housing insulation,

Though most mice find it itchy,
Since it makes their dreams
SurREal, and twitchy,

The favorite stuff to stuff a nest,
Is all the stuff they like the best,
Like shreds of toilet tissue,
Or a torn up lovey-letter,

(If it's pink and perfumy,
That then makes it all the better)

But a mouse might re-decorate her bed,
If there's a need,
By sprinkling sawdust, coffee grounds,
Or just-so sesame seeds,

Now far and away the finest bed
In the world of mice and men,
That quite compares to any nest
Of feathered bird or fluffered hen,

Is a perfect bed I spied
In the corner of a kitchen drawer,
Close to the sink, not far for a drink,
But not too close to the floor,

'Twas a small square box of rubber bands,
No more than one small ounce,
A bed of boing, a cushiony spring,
A mattress full of bounce,

The mouse who slept here, was a well slept mouse,
Completely refreshed and well rested,
And never a mouse found a mousier bed,
Or a better soft place to be nested.