The Little Close Encounter

Go out into the woods they say. Commune with nature they say. Draw strength from all beings. Yeah. Well sometimes you go into the woods, think deep thoughts and write a big book. Othertimes you go for a walk and stuff happens.

I thought I’d record some of the beautiful bird songs Tuesday so I used my phone. I was almost instantly sorry I wasn’t video recording. As soon as I hit the record button of course all the birds stopped singing, so I take a few steps toward the birds I can see and hear…

The next thing that happens is two birds tumbling through the air together whooped down on me out of nowhere and continued on their way. Whether they were enjoying what we called in Zoology Class a ‘cloacal kiss’ or were joined in a turf war I didn’t get a chance to find out.

Things Overheard and Remembered

Overheard at a diner recently.

One guy exclaiming to the couple on the other side of the booth, “Natural causes? They’re sayin’ he died of natural causes? Who the hell dies of that?”

Long ago, in a tiny galaxy far far away…

Many many years ago, at some quilt-related something or other, this appeared amongst a set of blocks on display.

It wasn’t originally crumpled. I think I did that as a gut reaction when it was brought to me. I may have tossed it over my shoulder at the time. I have never much liked the notion of “the quilt police” and I sure as hell don’t like sneaky little people who leave anonymous mean remarks about someone else’s work. I didn’t much like the willingness of AQS to roll over for a woman who complained about male genitalia on a quilt that contained no such thing.

When I was a quilt show bureaucrat I often said that while I carefully read all comments and suggestions about our show, the rage-filled and non-constructive ones which were anonymous got put on the bottom of the pile. I feel strongly that if you have something to say, you should be willing to put your name on it, if only so someone can follow up with you, get the rest of the story, give you more info etc. Start a dialogue. Maybe sign you up to help improve things.

As I recall we didn’t tell anyone about this little note but I fished it out of the trash and it went home with me. See the little dot at the top of it? That sucker has been pinned to a little bulletin board in my workroom doorway ever since. Geesh, you’re thinking, that’s sort of grim. Why be reminded of stuff like that?

I kept it there – and look at it regularly – as a reminder that people of all walks of life act this way. Quilters aren’t some special lovey-dovey society that is uber sharing and kind and respectful. All the little sub-genres grumble and laugh and point at all the others that don’t follow their interests and “rules”. Quilters are just people, like you find everywhere else, good and bad, and all the rest of it. They fear things they don’t understand. They try to make themselves feel better by putting others down.

This week there’s been chatter on the web about other people in the quilting world, small as it is, using social media to ostracize and bully others who aren’t like them in any number of ways. Secret facebook groups make it easy to get people talking about other people. Remember that old cartoon – on the internet no one knows you’re a dog? Well eventually, if you’re hateful and mean, the truth comes out. Doesn’t matter what circle you’re traveling in, there are mean people who try to control with rules and bullying everywhere.

I don’t like their behavior. Sometimes I spare some pity in their direction, that their whole life is so fear-filled, so control-lacking that they will do anything to anyone else to try to gain an upper hand and a sense of superiority. Sometimes. Other times I can convince myself to ignore them.

These days I don’t think that ignoring bullies is the right thing to do. If you choose to wear an offensive shirt or hat I will try very hard to converse with you as a human and I hope you will do the same. If you are rude to me or someone nearby or generally offensive in your comments I’m going to tell you to stop. Gently at first but firmly. I will not give you the satisfaction of whatever it is you’re trying to do. Hate is wrong but frankly I think you’re mostly full of fear – fear of difference, fear of failure, fear of being outside. Ignorance and fear, the great instigators of hate-behavior. I’m sad your life is full of all that garbage but I’m not stepping in it.

What will you do next time you encounter someone who makes racist or sexist or whatever sort of hurtful, ignorant remarks?

He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies on the creation of what is good. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, Looking Things Over

Not as vivid (ever) as it was wet, but I’m still pleased with the colors and with that dry brushwork in the center. Guess those UK guys are having an influence.

I did this one this morning – a little smaller, smooth hot press paper. Was too wet to do any dry brushwork on it so it borders on aurora rather than evening-lit trees.

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud. — Émile Zola

TGIF with Molly

What’cha been doin’?

I’m waiting for the paints to set up in my new travel palette. What colors? Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Red, French Ultramarine, Indigo, Sap Green, Hooker Green, Burnt Sienna, Sepia. All Daniel Smith except the sepia which is Winsor Newton.

And through circumstances too difficult to explain, I ended up with a wad of my own hair from combing and brushing and set it out for the birdies to use as nesting materials. A tufted titmouse got right to work on that.

NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-eight

Tonight, everything seemed to have changed to green

The Green Party

Suddenly the world is green
and it will be greener still
for days the woods have hung
out lace and put on blush
festooned birches with tassels
this morning a few green shrubs
tonight green everywhere!
tonight the owls and peepers party!