591. January 31st….Last day of the first month…vs…first day of the last month…

From the MInd of the Manic

“Night Beast” ©Robert Redus 2012

” I subscribe to the myth that an artist’s creativity comes from torment. Once that’s fixed, what do you draw on?” – David Byrne

So January is making way for the shortest month of the year…I’ve little opinion of January…either way…but like each and every month…if I pay attention I will see emerge what is significant on my own…personal horizon…I am then left with the choice to either do or not with regard to my observations…

Observations much like advice…have value given they are something that directly changes the situation in a way that the outcome is what I the observer/advicee  am seeking…but not always…. The Tao Te Ching 24 says:

“The kind of person who always insists
on his way of seeing things
can never learn anything from anyone.”

Many times an observation may become an entry…the first few seconds of a thought…the method it begins with is not and more often never what it finishes as….

in January….I revisited a great deal :

  1. The less I have…the more I appreciate…what I do have
  2. Admitting the truth and Telling the truth…are two very different methods of arriving at different truths…
  3. Even a really bad plan is better than no plan at all…
  4. The amount of air inside of an apple is what makes it crispy…
  5. Many interests have many distractions…
  6. Divide by 2…in most cases
  7. The harder and smarter I work…the luckier I will become…
  8. Any age is to old to be…fooling yourself
  9. I prefer Romano cheese hands down over Parmesan
  10. It’s easier to slip than slide in most cases…

so there you have a wrap of January…2012…..

“My dad liked how January went with Jones.” – January Jones

557. August 4…Reality beat out Intention…soundly today….but it was on the rocks with a twist of lime…an umbrella and a few cherries…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Aftermath of the ‘Battle of Wits”” ©2011 Robert Redus

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

the notion of intention against the backdrop of reality…or vice versa….superimposed or transparent matters little…as the intention has one stab while the reality another….true with people…events….ideas and very much so with producing art…

what intended to be a wonderfully productive day in the studio…did not at all become that reality…rather…a day of questions and answers…reflections…dialogues..inserting…mundane and irrelevant topics in between slices of highly processed white bread to discover that…what I know…I know to be what…I know….. unavoidably a topic of historical dissertation…languish…enlightenment and…silent revelation…no doubt…

yet the unsolicited….still barks at the gate…while the rest of the pack has lost interest and slumbers snuggly in their dens….dreaming again of the chase…and the fall air crisp at the nostril….

so the paint never left the tube today…the solder did not run…..a lengthy way of getting here…from there…and as a painter…it is perfectly alright…to spend this day…pursuing the reality rather than the…intention…and yet

my accomplishments today were…

great….

“Nice guys finish last, but we get to sleep in.” – Evan Davis

541. June 25…”Come as you are…Leave as who you’ve always wanted to be”

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Wonder” ©2011, Robert Redus

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy

“it was the first time…but my insides said I’d done this many more times than today….sure I was going to end up drinking grape flavored drink mix out of pot…with a small white plastic spoon..and that’s when the road would begin to wind its way to where I was going to sit…for a long time…I still think of those days…when the heat would suck every bit of breath from my lungs…the creosote bushes would stink up the air bright green…and every now and again…the devil would stir the earth a few miles away…kind of a warning in a way…taught me to get a bit closer to the things that hissed evil….maybe like putting a finger on a fast spinning tire…mumbly peg…or those boiling asphalt roads at sunset…alive…waiting…deep bites…it sometimes blows west in the mornings…bringing the scent of the river to my door…a mildew fragrance…like them old books in the box…in the closet…and I guess it was killing time in a way…spending something on something else…that neither one had that value like those TV sets there at the parking lot carnival…where the guys with the whiskers and missing front teeth…called us up there acted like they knew us…wanted to make us a deal…”you boys like that push push?”…5 dollars each…he’d hold open the canvas drape…she sat on a cot covered with blankets…picking at something under her fingernail…”how bout dope…good  Jamaican tops”…it was almost like ringing a door bell and running… but running really slow…or getting a peek at her breast and acting like I didn’t see anything….turn my head left…right…look a little at the floor…raise my eyebrows…as if I was going to say something…just puff my cheeks…instead”….from the Black Eye Project

we played with the Magic 8 Ball last night…at a birthday party…a gift that sure opened it all up…I had a Magic 8 Ball…I kept it in a blue metal safe…really it was a box with a red plastic dial that made it look like a safe…but as far as security…there was none…the stuff I needed to hide..cigarettes…love letters….the  playing cards with the naked women on them…the one’s I took from my father’s sock drawer….they’re  buried in a jar in the backyard of the house I grew up in…

when I asked a question to the Magic 8 Ball…it was a real question that the answer was generally very pivotal to my future…the answer…was one I believed…and believed with every ounce of my being….needless to say…”Ask again later“…was a torturous answer as I felt as I was standing on the precipice…and my life depended greatly on knowing the answer to “if Connie really liked me“…in the event that she did…my plan was a forward progression…or at least as forward as an overly shy…fat kid…could progress….if say the answer was “Definitely No“…she was off of the radar immediately…as the word “Magic” in the Magic 8 Ball…clearly defined that there were powers out there that were far more capable of answering the question in my life than…I was…now on the flip side….when the answer aligned with my desire…my life was illuminated….I was on the path so to speak…everything was…where I wanted it to be…often I would ask the same question again…maybe due to insecurity or uncertainty…and if the answer was different…things would become confusing…

there is something about having a great amount of security…just as there is with having none…I think having a lot of security is like sleeping under a bunch of blankets on a really cold winter night…while having none is like riding in the back of an old pick up truck driving fast down a long dirt road…with nowhere to go in mind….just where you are…right then…and I guess they both are good for what they are and good for what they’re…not…

Robert Genn…an artist who writes about being an artist defined what it takes to keep the grip on the life in art he used descriptions and attributes to define this grip…they are:

curious…philosophical…passionate…energetic…obsessive-compulsive…self-motivated, entrepreneurial…loner, non-joiner, outsider .. hard worker…patient…exhibitionistic…egoistic…individualistic, resistant to prior programming

I went to bed last night thinking about these…and how each of these traits are also the same traits that make living well…like a great barbeque…I guess everyone can say they are all of these to some degree…and they are admirable traits….so in essence everyone is also an artist….to some degree…just as everyone is a doctor or a high wire acrobat…or Las Vegas Show Girl….to some degree…this led me to the idea of what would you rather be…I guess than who you are…right now…it reminded me of the movie…”The Parking Lot Movie“…where on the wooden parking gate is the phrase….”Come as you are…Leave as who you’ve always wanted to be“…and I like that….

We have a lot of opportunity awaiting us….and I think the whole…”Come as you are…Leave as who you’ve always wanted to be” thing really if you think about it…takes great deal of the guess-work out of the equation…sure I realize that the Magic 8 Ball…entrails and tea leaves are the definitive method of getting it…not to mention the “On-line oracles“….In the poll…the choice…”Other“…that’s the one I’d like to know about …so comment and tell me what “other” is for you…and even if it’s Wombat Handler….the same attributes apply

I’ll consult the Magic 8 Ball to see if you’re not just…pulling my leg…though….

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” -Wizard of Oz

539. June 21…The Night with Amma….now it’s time to start figuring…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Never Stop Dreaming”

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” – William Congreve

I find the little obsession of painting small and on paper has turned into a ritual that much like breathing….has become necessary….it is as if I’ve left someone standing on a dark corner…if I don’t paint in the morning…perhaps I’ve forgotten something…and there it sits…just out of my brains reach…wondering…what is that small little tiny thing that keeps biting me…as I’m staring at the string tied around my finger…..all of the notes written on my mirrors…just the things that make the everyday…unlike every other day…..just like last night….did….

last night some friends and I spent the evening and very early into the morning with Amma…everything about it was mesmerizing…from the moment I stood in line to trying to go to sleep at 4:45 this morning…my first encounter was with a woman who had come from India just to be a part of this…she has been living there for the last 30 years…and the air around her was so powerful…everyone there was stunning…every event was magnificent…the food made me think of simplicity…yet every bite had such a complex flavor…the music was hypnotic…and overall…I felt like I really belonged there…we sat and talked with a woman selling flower offerings who lives in the ashram in India…she overflowed with compassion…and was so genuine it was delightful…refreshing…

we all held tickets …”L3″….around midnight the “I’s” were being taken…I guessed 2 am before we’d see her…it was not until 3… if all of us had been told we’d wait almost 9 hours….we probably would have left…yet looking back today…I would never consider leaving…next time we have a better plan…I said to my friends before it was my turn to see her…”This had better be transformational”…it was beyond that….

I laid in bed at 4:45 this morning…I could hear the truly “early birds” beginning their day…and could hardly close my eyes…even though I was very tired…it was wonderful….

I’m not really sure what I walked away with…or maybe left behind…but I do know it was something…and something that will continually leave it’s mark….the experience left me…alone but filled me…tethered me but set me free… 

I asked and it was given… and was invited to the ashram….

I’ll send postcards….. 

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

504. March 18th… “The future influences the present just as much as the past.”…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“The  Dreams…These Days” 2011

“The world has no room for cowards.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

waiting for “it” to happen is the expectation of the unknown…married to the unlikely…giving birth to the improbable…that being said…having no expectation…nor being attached to the outcome…sounds so luxurious…so spiritually enlightened that there hardly must be any room at the top….for elbows to move freely or breath to even have a faint odor of bad….

I’ve tried all of my life to have no attachment to the outcome…and I say “tried”…as my nature is to define some end…with some result that kind of looks like I want it to….rather than having some void that gets filled with something at the end of it all…and hopefully it’s right up there with what I want it to look like…and I think I’d rather experience a bit of disappointment like playing horseshoes…rather than…not having any idea of what to expect and having to look up with the inquisitive look…that sort of says…”this is it…right?”….

sure expectation is as arbitrary as no expectation…but it is like a road map…it might get you close…and close just might be good enough…I once drove to Washington D.C. without a map…I knew the general direction…knew clearly if I saw signs that read Louisiana…Montana…or Nevada…I was going the wrong direction…so by narrowing the blinders down…I had a pretty good Idea of what to expect without all of the expectation…well it did take a little longer than normal…but I saw some wonderful country….met some great people and found places I never wanted to go to again in my life….

so maybe what I’m really trying to say is having some expectation is normal…but defining and qualifying every second may be a little extreme…not to mention…filled with grave disappointment…

traveling…my father…had a time schedule that was +/- 3-5 minutes….so you had to have it wired up tight to even think a vacation was going to be a relaxing experience…a vacation seemed like a drill…without crawling under the desks or standing outside waiting for the alarm to stop …his rationale was destination far superceded the experience of getting there…he was kind of a…once you a arrive…then it’s party time…sort of guy…yet he never did when he arrived…where as my brother and I rebelled against this attitude and found that as we got older and traveled together…”there”…really meant nothing…it was like retirement…while experiencing…the “getting to there” far outweighed….everything…granted we did end up in some precarious/dangerous situations….but hey …it was those things that made the travels epic…

there was never any expectation of there other than we both knew there was there…but just weren’t sure exactly where there was…other than “that a way”

these days…expectation and there are in a bit bolder type…and I’m not sure if it’s the need to know or the uncertainty of not knowing that really matters…as both of them seem to meet…offering a similar outcome….I think it’s the arbitrary nature of life that has calmed some…now it’s more important to acknowledge the ramifications…weigh them out…verbalize…”I’m not as young as I used to be”…. rather than just realizing that certain things are going to happen…and broken bones…cars with sketchy titles…strange red-headed prostitutes…named Ursula… large amounts of something that clearly doesn’t look right….and helping people unload a trailer in the desert at 3am…is just a-okay….and a part of everyday living…well at least a questionable…part of everyday living…

I have to admit…I’m liking having expectations…gives me opportunity to fill up a calendar with stuff I want and need to do…it creates a schedule and places I need to be at certain times to see certain people…it is giving me some good socialization…and letting me appreciate the time I spend in my studio painting…it has also sharpened my ability to decline things say no more easily…and realize out of the 24 hours in the day…I can do with them what I want…but can’t change what I’ve done with them…so expectation has made my time valuable…

I do know that the here and now…ye old present…is where I reside and that moment is truly the only one that matters…yet having no moment after that is as confusing as having no moment before that……

present expectation: “being, existing, or occurring at this time or now while looking forward or anticipating.”….it’s simple….combine both dictionary definitions and PRESTO!!!!…..and new word combination that has chance and uncertainty yet filled with knowing and little risk…10 times….better chances of winning that giant purple stuffed bear…….

“Life is largely a matter of expectation.” – Horace
“It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.” – Voltaire

 

489. February 9th…Who’d win in a bar fight…John Coltrane…or Sun Tzu…your vote counts…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Gato’s Idea” 2011

“I find in working always the disturbing intrusion of elements not a part of my most interested vision, and the inevitable obliteration and replacement of this vision by the work itself as it proceeds.” – Edward Hopper

I…like many young boys…fell in love with my first grade teacher…Mrs. Womack…a fine beauty as I recall…the picture perfect…”Life” magazine model of 1964…I loved her so much…I asked her if she would wait for me until I got a little bit older…you know maybe 11….or 13…she in turn declined my request…had a conference with my parents…and set me straight on what love was and somewhat how it worked…the age gap and all of the particulars…I was okay with this…a little disenchanted but nevertheless OK….

I’ve noticed lately I’m saying “Hmmm” a great deal more than I ever have…and pausing more when I talk…I don’t think it’s serious…instead I believe I’ve arrived at a place where I think more before I act…and I never really planned on getting here…frankly I never even thought about it…but here I am…maybe Socrates quote…”The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” is making sense…

I am at that point in my life where quality far out weighs quantity…and my batch processing mind…has chosen to look at the petal rather than the entire garden…call it a mortality wake up call…if you will…but what counts is not the amount of it all but the essence of it…the purity…and truth…we will find what we are searching for…so it’s imperative…that is defined clearly…worst job on the planet has to be the royal taster….

John Coltrane’s  recording…”A Love Supreme”…epitomizes life as I see it…called the greatest jazz album of all…Coltrane…recorded this entire album in one session…it is a culmination  of old and new…has  4 very distinctive parts…”Acknowledgment”… “Resolution”… “Pursuance”….and ends with “Psalm”…here is a perfect example of putting it all together when putting it together counts…

when putting it together counts…it is a dynamic of all of the elements being well placed…honed…accurate…and ready…right timing to avoid the bloody nose…therw is no magic…no right place right time…no luck…it’s all about nature…like a scorpion…they are designed to sting….

if you’ve not listened to “A Love Supreme”….do…it just might change a few things…

“The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”  – Sun Tzu

415. September 20th…. “It is weight that gives meaning to weightlessness ”

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Babe” 2010

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot

I’ve thought of the times…I’ve chosen to accept something that I was originally opposed to….and yet  by accepting it…I am in essence saying I will accept contradiction and acknowledge it as now it is Ok to be in my life…..rather than going with the natural confirmation and agreement….that takes most of the bumps out of the road….

I think maybe it’s the …”Some“…is better than the… “None“….mentality….and I suppose in  dealing with hunger and thirst….some is better than none…..seems most everything else outside of that….doesn’t follow that rule…it really translates to…”I’ll get what I can even if it isn’t what I want…for right now“….kind of like the filler in hot dogs….don’t know for what or why….just that it is…..and hopefully when the void is filled with anything…it appears to be the ideal thing…..the only thing…the best thing…..with a little luck…maybe it is…..

sure sitting around and waiting for whatever “IT” might be….to come knocking on the door…doesn’t seem like the likely alternative…and probably isn’t…..as what we want requires we cross the path of that object of desire more than once….yet moving our direction as well…and perhaps at that intersection……the magic may or….may not happen…and often what we don’t get in our lives is really the blessing…..as it may illustrate itself one way…yet appear an entirely different way……

the lack of certainty increases the possibilities of what may happen as well as increase the unknown….”with big risk comes the possibility for big success“….yet trying to achieve that success…via personal compromise….may only bring a fleeting glimpse of the success….as it passes by…and everybody waves from the speeding car…..I’m not suggesting we don’t compromise…..compromise is necessary to make it all work….but to sacrifice a piece of ourselves for the hope of something we don’t want to transpire…..seems like cutting off a finger….just because we’re not planning on using it…..anytime soon……

we strive for the what we know to be the best….how ever we define “The Best“…may be particle board dining room furniture with real fake wood grain from Country Dan’s….or a coffee table by Isamu Noguchi…..but the best is still the best…..and the best for our soul…..hovers there waiting for us to know a truth…..rather than a confetti of uncertainties…..and wavy glass that blurs the vision….while we move forward…. hands in front of us…stepping with uncertainty…and overly cautious….

the answer….any answer is the correct one…..if it is doing what you…me….everybody wants it to do…..even if the truth is questionable….or untrue…..or not even a matter of truth…..

the Tao talks about defining a stream by its componants….yet to identify a particular componant….is impossible…..we can not reach into the water…grasp a piece of “Current” or “Ripple”….and have an answer…..but we can observe the action without the action being a real tangable…something that explains how the stream works….but without any real explanation…..

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu