All is art. Art is all.
What else is there is to know?
To deny this would be to verify.
To affirm would be redundant.
To classify would be just plain silly.
Conceit, haughtiness, egoism, feelings of superiority, excessive self-pride, overconfidence, superciliousness, self-importance and condescension are the descriptions of we whose true feelings more accurately could be labeled as sadness, an emotion which then threatens the hearts and minds of those in its presence.
Conceit is the opposite of pride, the enemy of dignity and the destructive force that limits friendship and destroys Love.
Pride on the other hand is an expression of Love.
A closer look at conceit may well reveal the existence of an enormous, secret fear so devious as to escape detection even by the owner.
A smile however, bonds those who wear it and replaces that glimmer of bravado that says “you can’t touch me. “
Oops. you caught me talking to myself.
Time for all purposes is measured two ways; the way we experience it and the way we remember it.
If you find yourself complaining that life is going too fast as you age I’m guessing that you need to get our head out of Your Past and open Your Present.
Our minds when in use, think in Real Time just as they did during our first year as guests on Planet Earth as we crawled about looking for a way to rise to our feet and better understand our environment.
Fear drives us to reminisce in search of better times. We hope as we do so that somehow this will build us back up and supply us with a new vigor, increased courage, as aids to facing the problems which threaten our current feelings of safety.
We must stay in the present as much as possible.
This, not That.
This is where Life is.
This is the secret to staying young.
Lets live it.
Lets Accept The Love and Pass it on.
THE XEROIC RESPONSE TO FEAR
(A conversation between Xero Aticus
and the Psychedelic Toad.)
PSYCHO: So tell me XERO, what is it that you fear the most?
XERO: Nada, zilch, double zilch.
PSYCHO: What rhymes with zilch?
XERO: You’re changing the subject.
PSYCHO: It’s my subject. It was I who asked you what you fear; it was I who asked you what rhymes with zilch. The answer is filch, which I believe is a word for theft, which is what you are doing when you beat around the bush.; you’re stealing your own identity…
So tell me; what are the four things you fear the most?
XERO: Why four?
XERO: Okay, okay.
XERO: Four things?
XERO: Okay I’ve got it.
XERO: Toads don’t say “ribbet”; that’s the language of frogs.
XERO: The four things are…
XERO: Baptists, Muslims, Republicans and Democrats.
XERO: Them too.
XERO: Not afraid of Librarians.
PSYCHO: Why is that, XERO?
XERO: It’s okay with them if I think.
PSYCHO: Aren’t you a Lutheran?
XERO: I am.
PSYCHO: Why’s that?
XERO: Martin Luther was a Librarian in his spare time.
Life among giants is tricky.
We begin by staying close to Mom.
We venture out.
We rise up on our hind legs and we stumble.
We cry out for Mom but before she reaches us we are up again and on the move.
From Birth till Ever we search for safety.
We measure that safety with terms of approval.
We shout to the horizon “I am not afraid”.
And even when disappointed beyond words we seek additional measures of approval.
We had begun one person at a time until one day we decided “more is better”.
More approval meant more cooperation but less emphasis on being right.
We stopped experimenting.
We adopted the attitudes and belief systems of the group.
We rebelled occasionally, unhappy with having opted to be less true to ourselves in favor of what? Safety? Fairness? Fairness? Why had we abdicated our Freedom?
We had a cup of coffee in the most popular coffee shop and thought about it.
This isn’t so bad… is it?
It was a lovely spring day. The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the wispy clouds added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.
Sleepy-eyed Abner rose early that morning perplexed as usual (the man had many questions) having just awakened with a REM time voice in his head still demanding, “Go stand in line”.
“Who said that?” inquired Curious Abner.
“Go stand in line.”
Befuddled Abner rose from his state of confused repose, made his bed and his breakfast as the memory of the command “Go stand in line” continued to bounce around in his head.
After his bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds, Abner said to his still sleepy self “What a lovely spring day. The sun is warm, the birds are singing, and the wispy clouds add a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day. I’m gonna go look for that line and stand in it.”
And he did; he went for a walk, that is.
Inquisitive Abner looked everywhere for the line.
“Where is that line?” Abner inquired; there was nobody there to answer his question.
“Excuse me” said Ab to the first person he met. “Do you know where the line starts?
“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.
“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on her way.
Obedient Abner stood in line.
Eventually Abner began to fidget. Standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day even though the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.
Impatient and needing to do something, anything at all with his hurried, inquisitive self (Abner was a man with questions ya know) he decided to return to his lovely spring day walk. While strolling down the long sidewalk stretched before him Abner thought to himself, “You know, I probably received the wrong information from that stranger. Perhaps that was not the line, after all. It must be somewhere else. If I hurry to find the right place I may very well be the first person in that line; that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?” He asked this question even though there was no one there to answer.
Eventually however, someone did come along.
“Excuse me” inquired Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”
“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.
“Thank you” said Ab and the stranger went on his way.
And once again, Obedient Abner stood in line.
And as before, Ab eventually began to squirm. He observed once again that standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day; what with the sun so warm, the birds asinging and the clouds though wispy, adding a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.
And Stubborn Abner stood his ground.
Standing in line Abner wondered to himself, “If this is the line where are the rest of the people?”
Time went on. It was beginning to feel as though he had been standing in line forever.
Eventually however, another stranger approached.
“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”
“I believe it starts right here,” came the reply.
Abner thought to himself that perhaps he should invite this person to join him. That way there really would be a line.
“Would you like to stand in line?’ asked Sorta Social Abner.
“Thank you for asking” replied the stranger; “But this line is much too long” and continued on his way; “Have a nice day”.
Surprised at the stranger’s remark, Curious Abner turned around. Behind him was a line of people that seemed to wend its way into Eternity. All were waiting patiently, no one was talking to anyone. “After all” observed Abner (the man with questions) “who wants to talk to the back of someone’s head?”
But as soon as formed the words, Abner realized that he was looking into someone’s face, someone who until seconds ago had been looking at the back of Curious Abner’s head.
“Hi my name is Abner; what’s your name?”
“Betty” she replied and began to introduce him to several other people behind her. There was John, there was her sister Jeanie and her centenarian grandmother had come along; Grandmother’s name was Albina Mary.
Albina Mary had more stories in her old head than Abner had questions. (And as we know, Curious Abner was after all, a man with many questions).
Within minutes this part of the line was starting to look more like a party. And others further back, noticing that the restraints previously defined by the unspoken rules of Linedom had now been broken, began to emulate the conversational opportunities now being made available to them.
As the line evaporated into groups of animated conversationalists, everyone involved gradually migrated to a nearby park.
By the end of this lovely spring day, the sun still warm, the birds no longer singing and the once wispy clouds having surrendered their touch of pastel pleasantness to the gathering cloak of darkness, Weary Abner decided to return home, a practical decision (a part of himself with whom he was not very well acquainted wanted to stay and talk with his new friends) and he did just that; went home, that is.
As Abner crawled between Egyptian cotton 400 thread-count, crisp, clean sheets and sank into the thousand or so individually pocketed coils in his eighteen inch thick mattress he thought about the day now departing and smiled.
The next morning Optimistic Abner crawled out of bed, ate a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds and went out to greet another lovely spring day; the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.
Curious Abner (the man with many questions who now had some answers) thought to himself “I think I shall go stand in line.”
And he did.
“The human brain is an unstoppable piece of machinery that from birth to death whirrs out text and imagery at unfathomable rates of speed. Perhaps the Creative among us are not Truly Creative at all.
Those of us who are blessed with a thoughtful, interested audience may only possess the ability to quickly spot and recognize a new idea, to focus on that idea and with brush or pen, to create an original expression of that idea.”
My first retail store was located in Scottsdale AZ, a DYS picture frame shop. For the first few years this store was the only such business in North Scottsdale. It was a fun way to earn a few bucks.
There was an artist, a bit of a late bloomer, who often arrived as our doors opened, paintings in hand, her painted canvasses from the art classes she was taking at Scottsdale Community College.
Her work was horrible. She couldn’t draw a straight line with a yard stick.
At first she tried framing her own work but her uncooperative thumbs (ten as I recall) helped her to decide that a more professional craftsman would know the best solutions.
I and my team framed many of her works over the years; her work improved and we adapted to her enthusiastic, wolfish tenacity..
I gave her a biography one day, of Pablo Picasso. The first chapter described little Pablo, who, acting on his father’s advice, went to the garden, chose a flower and drew it.
He drew that floral beauty dozens of times until his hand seemed to have a mind of its own. He had begun with the expectation of becoming a slave to perfection, learning instead that the appearance of the finished work depended upon purpose and he developed the practice of rendering several very different impressions of his subject.
Having been influenced by that same chapter during my own childhood I had successfully practiced the same technique and wondered if this might be of some help to our friend. She gratefully emulated Picasso’s example on a daily basis and the quality of her work seemed to grow .
She told me one day that a major gallery in New York City wanted to manage her career; She was moving to The Big Apple; within a few years I began to see her work turn up on the walls of homes gracing the pages of Architectural Digest and American Artist.
Like the lady I just described and like many artists, I was not born with the ability to draw or sing or play the piano. I arrived with curiosity. I was born with questions afloat in my head. My earliest infantile experiments were well under way as I rose for my first step and fell again to my knees.
Whenever I hear someone describe themselves as lacking creativity, I become instantly sad. I mourn because I recognize the pain that this kind of affirmation causes.
Daily descriptions of what we perceive as our limitations, render these ideas into nightmares and the nightmares into shame, blame and often violence.
I have a few standard quips for those who regularly repeat such ideas about themselves but being a part of my memorized repertoire these “standard” retorts seem to lack credibility.
As for myself, it has been awhile since waking at 2:00 AM with the dream-words spilling from my lips, “Lee you dumb-shit-you did it again.”