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

Wednesday Night

Came home today and sat down to paint. Step by step we reach our goals, right? Added quite a bit, managed to leave a lot of white areas where there would be flowers and realize deep in my heart that dark colors are really something I need to get comfortable with. Very odd since in fabric I’m all about the darks.

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work. Remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die. — Daniel H Burnham

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

From the Quote Box

I do the best I know how, the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference. — Abraham Lincoln

Vincent. For these times

Just seek light and freedom and don’t delve too deeply into the mire of the world. — Vincent Van Gogh 

I think it’s important to remember what you’re fighting for. I don’t need to delve. I do need to recognize and resist. And I do need to keep leading my own good life because it shows it can be done and because it makes a difference for me and for others.

From the Quote Box – Joseph Campbell

To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. — Joseph Campbell

From the Quote Box – LotR

[Arwen] took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging on a silver chain, and she set the chain about Frodo’s neck. “When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,” she said, “this will bring you aid.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King