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

Watercolorists of YouTube

First off, I LOVE that so many of the youtube videos about watercolor are UK guys. You get to watch them paint and listen to their wonderful accents. They’re generally very good and good teachers. This one I just discovered uses a blow torch to dry between goes – none of that namby-pamby hair dryer stuff. Nah – blow torch does the trick spot on! This fellow is from Australia I believe.

Holy mackeral. Slap on that paint and dry it! (Part Two is here)

A Very Good Mail Day

Small box on front porch
inside reminders: freedom
hard won and maintained.

Thanks @WAMCradio for the tshirt and mug but mostly for being who you are – a strong center in a world that needs both news and arts. Also thanks for a World Peace Poetry postcard in the mail.

And according to one of those silly facebook quizzes, if you can’t find me, here’s where not to look (I’ll be the one wearing a First Amendment tshirt…)

One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honour or observation. — Sir Walter Scott

Today’s Mail and Thoughts

Tonight as I was leaving work, I was chatting with another co-worker (also in the “older” bracket of my worksite) about stuff. I was telling him what my next month’s goals were – world peace poetry postcards, sent also to legislative/congressional sorts etc. We both expressed amazement that all this stuff had been going on – for one week. Felt like months. He felt the same way.

As I drove home I was thinking about the chat and it now occurs to me that what I’d been describing – passing along articles and tweets and screenshots of tweets to my facebook pals, explaining how to vet things, where to find primary sources, keeping the story in the news – was much like what I’d just seen on a live feed of Elizabeth Warren talking to a protest crowd at an airport. She was holding a megaphone (apparently non-working) but she and the crowd had fallen back to the Occupy human megaphone technique. She’d say a sentence or part of one and the crowd around her would repeat it verbatim so the people in the back could hear it.

So be it. I can be like that. I can be the pebble tosser that maybe finally pushes someone to make a call or a donation or to talk to others about what’s going on.

Also today, I made a bigger than normal donation to WAMC our local public radio station. I rely on them for news and commentary and they’re rightfully concerned that the federal funding for public radio will be pulled. It’s not a big percentage of their budget but it’s a meaningful one. They added 1/3 of the amount they’d lose onto the fund drive that’s about to start and will keep that money squirreled away just in case.

I want to make a donation to ACLU but I need to button down the info for my company match first. Not gonna throw away the match!

Came home and this was in my mailbox. Between these and my big safety pin I think I’m in good shape.

Twitter anyone?

I am always looking to see what User Number people are when they’re on Twitter. I got in fairly early, March 2007, just as the membership curve leapt upward and I’m perhaps unjustifiably proud that my Twitter number is 2,720,811 and that I know a few people with numbers quite a bit lower than mine.

Having said all that, I suddenly wondered today – what about my follow of @WhiteHouse? I had read that our new prez was going to continue under his own account @realdonaldtrump (Twitter number 25,073,877, member since March 2009). Huh. For the record I don’t follow @realdonaldtrump although I have the search for him on speed dial so as to verify various issuances.

Somewhere just now I read that Mr. Obama had returned to his own Twitter account so I went over to follow that. Of course I had to check out his number:

I knew I liked him!

The answer to my question is that the White House account was apparently closed and re-created, clearing the decks of followers etc.

So there you go. All and more than you needed to know about the pecking order of Twitter. For the record I re-upped following @WhiteHouse. Seems to be a more official set of tweets so far, coming from a web-based client. The Don tweets from a droid.

What You’ll See and Not See in 2017

So it’s a bizarre thing to be a blogger and an artist and writer. Part of the reason I blog is to share my process and work in progress along with whatever catches my eye or ends up in my camera. Sort of journal/diary-like but not too personal.

Truth be told though, part of being an artist and writer is getting your stuff out there into the public view and these days almost every single entry form says something like “cannot have been published, even on a personal website.” Just this year Quilt National relaxed its view on this but after all the years of such a big fuss being made over what constituted publication, I didn’t feel comfortable showing this quilt until it was done.

And frankly, the whole thing makes me laugh since on a good day I might get ten to twenty visitors and a few of them are my mother. So yeah, previous publication, big deal.

But, you have to play by the rules of others when you enter their arena. So you’ll probably be seeing more painting and photographs than poems etc for awhile anyway. More musings about process and life. Not like things will change that much but just in case you’re reading this and you’re wondering what’s going on.

Alive and well in Wales!

Had a most wonderful time at the writing workshop. Seven students, four tutors and many pages of writing and thought. And hours of chat about writing. So much goodness and so little news. 

I have a lot of photos of mostly landscape to upload but I need a better internet connection. So hang in there and know there’s more coming.