I included a shot of this guy in my last post, but he is now complete and I wanted to update some photos to show him off! He has been in the works for about 2 years. The process started with acquiring a box of deer bones from a hippie's basement, and then working on them for many months; scraping off tissue, removing bone marrow from sockets and crevices, and bathing them in peroxide baths to leech out fats and whiten them.
From there I reassembled the spinal column, constructed wings, and carved a head from wood. The tail was formed from a broken drummel flex shaft wrapped in wire, followed by feathers, and the beak from an old couch leg I found in an alley behind my old place. I ordered the eyes from a taxidermy website and used cribbage pegs for the decorative quills on the head.
It's funny that I never admitted until now, 12 years later that he was one of my first big crushes. Like, omega crush. At the time, I think his head of coppery curls and his dimpled smile that sealed the deal. He would come by sometimes and bonk me on the ponytail and my junior high school heart would skip a beat. He was 4 years older and my camp counselor - completely unattainable but beautiful, inside and out.
I think beyond the overwhelming pre-teen drama that was bubbling up underneath my each and every pre-teen pore, I was drawn to him because of how he approached my internal turmoil. It was the first time in my life, that summer at camp, that I began to question whether or not I prescribed to the beliefs that I was raised with. I didn't know what I thought anymore, and not knowing made me ache to my core. My blue skies began to fill themselves with the black smoke of hellfire that I feared would consume my immortal soul if my doubt was left unchecked. His kind smile and gentle demeanor beckoned me to come forward with my terror. We talked a few times, and he invited me to share lunch once. I still remember the ketchup dripping down my fingers from my hamburger, as I tried not to look like a slob. I thought I might throw up a little as he casually opened the conversation. He asked me if I liked Bob Marley. My brother had just introduced me to Bob Marley, so I was able to recount the one song that I knew with the confidence of an expert. As the conversation progressed to the matter at hand, my woes of eternal damnation, I found myself speaking more fluidly and comfortably. My thoughts were no longer masked by my rose-colored crush glasses. He was a believer and I wanted the secrets. I needed them.
At that time in my life, I needed somebody who understood why it was so important to me that I believe again. Somebody who could comprehend my terror and shame. What I didn't know I also needed, was someone to tell me that I wasn't crazy or bad. He reassured me. He told me that it wasn't wrong to question what I believe, that thoughts are thoughts. It was like a warm spring rain, hearing those words. The burden that had coiled itself tightly around my heartstrings eased.
The point is not whether I came back to my original beliefs or not, now or then. The point is that he was the someone there, at that turning point in my life, who offered solace and wisdom in the way that my soul required it. He did not tell me what to believe or not to believe, just that I should "be good and keep thinking". His coppery hair caught my attention, but his genuine compassion is what made me remember him long after the crush had dissolved.
He popped back into my head this morning, and I wanted to see what he was up to, how he was doing. I looked him up. He died 6 months ago.
I am trying to feel good about the decisions that I make and how I am live my life, by and by. Some days are hard. I constantly question what I am doing and battle the lulls my soul endures while I scratch out yet another new copy of my soul's Constitution, practically daily. It is strange to feel my own ethics, judgement and sense of self-worth shapeshift around me and feel more like an observer than a participant. Does my lack of participation make me an asshole or a victim of circumstance? Am I failing in my obligations as a decent human being? It's maddening.
I pray to the waters that carry me farther and farther downstream that I remember myself by the time I get... well... "there", I guess. And I pray that when I get there, there will still be time for me to do something lasting. Just so long as I don't dwell long enough to breathe deeply the opiates of mediocrity, I think I can keep my vigors about me.
I hope you are carrying on, too.
Here is some art that has been going on...
Wall/ Window Hanger
King of the Road (maybe finished, maybe not)
(embedded text sampling: fuck your glass ceiling constructions - fuck corporate oligarchy - fuck the police state - fuck private interests masquerading as public opinion - fuck racism - fuck your oppressive worldview keeping me from mine - fuck toxic food - fuck your false patriotism - fuck your fear of liberation - fuck your wanton disregard for personal responsibility - fuck your unwillingness to engage in the greater good - fuck sexism - fuck deceit and emotional negligence - fuck progress without vision - fuck vision without progress........)
Animal bone & carved wood marionette
And last, but not least.........
My dad's new CD...............
(Featuring cover art + 1 song by Sarah Anderson....)
******MELODIES, MELLOW DAYS******
Original sax compilations and music by John Anderson