Sometimes I enjoy doing things the hard way
The long, difficult way
Without advanced tools.
It connects me to the past
To ancient humans
Struggling to make ends meet
To those who worked hard perfecting a craft.
I tried to saw dovetails with hand tools
When I made my desk.
It was hard work.
It took days.
I was sore, my carpal tunnel flared
And when I finally tried to hammer the pieces together
It didn’t fit.
But I learned
how much work
Every piece of furniture should be.
I can appreciate
The ease of modern living
Machine made items shipped to your home.
I can appreciate too
What we’ve lost.
You forge a connection
With things you built
With food you grew, harvested, and processed.
Even doing something as simple as washing your car by hand
You learn more about the state that car is in
Notice its scratches and weak points
Restore the sparkles in its paint.
I processed five gallons of grapes by hand.
When I sat in my kitchen
I mimicked the motions of my ancestors.
Women have peeled grapes
Into bowls in their laps
For thousands of years.
They spent hours upon hours
Processing the bounty of summer
To stave off winter’s bite.
They told stories while working
And some just worked
Alone, in quiet thought.
Every grape I handled
Taught me more about this food.
I learned to tell a wormy one by feel
Its rough scar tissue
Sent a shudder through my marrow.
I learned what every color tastes like.
I learned to love the Concord smell
Rich and strong and sweet and tangy.
If I’d used tools
I wouldn’t have had to stand at the sink for so long.
I wouldn’t have had the quiet thinking time
I wouldn’t have been able to practice my working posture
Relaxed enough to fight fatigue, yet always moving.
I noticed I was taking much longer than necessary
Due to my need to get every grape, save every grape, not waste
And I knew someone watching me would have felt frustrated
Just as I felt
When I watched my mother process peaches for the freezer
Always graceful, always painfully slow, yet inevitable.
After two days of work
The peaches would be all blanched, peeled, sliced, sugared, and frozen.
I felt her echo in my slow fingers
Of her, and a million women before her
All of us preparing the harvest
So we might have something sweet
I HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY BLOGGING FOR ONE YEAR. Bloggiversary? Am I allowed to say that word? It feels like a gross portmanteau… like synergy, or mayochup, or chillax, or meatplosion.
What a crazy year. I’ve learned so much. Even in the past week, I’ve learned so much. Can I even begin to quantify the learning I’ve learned in a year?
Ah, no, I can’t. Unfortunately I can’t remember what I learned. But I know it’s a lot.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned in just the past week:
- Listen to the red flags in every situation. Don’t do stupid things out of laziness. Cut carefully with knives. Use the pusher with the food processor. Do NOT do stupid things.
- Get your chronic cough checked out and fixed. You might get pneumonia and die.
- Don’t be a sedentary office worker; move. Or you might get pneumonia and die.
- Diet brain is a fucking menace. Eat your fats and proteins along with vegetables. I don’t know, you’ll figure it out. Do not ignore diet brain. You’ll end up chopping off digits.
- One cat will always be fat. What weight one loses, the other finds. This is an unassailable fact of life.
- Fingers heal like Wolverine. They refill and replace tissue with minimal scarring.
- Argue with your sister a little more when you don’t want something to happen. You can be just as stubborn as she is. Do it. Your fingers are your own and being tractable is not worth getting gauze stuck in the wound for days.
- People get gauze stuck in their wounds on purpose, then rip it out along with healing new tissue all the time. This called debriding the wound. I don’t understand why nice doctors would make people do this.
- David Tennant’s peculiar brand of crazy and rubber face feels like home. Watch more of his stuff. Something has got to fill the Doctor Who void…
- Dostoyevsky still blows your mind. Write like him. Except, with more lovable characters. …It could happen.
- You have too many sketchbooks. And only six good drawings?
- Breathe, relax. If you stress out about things like gauze in your wound, you’ll give yourself a hive.
So… thanks for a year of blogging. You’re all nuts. I love you so much.
Notre Dame burned today.
I wasn’t as upset as I should have been.
Because history rises and falls
We make things, they fall apart
People will continue to create
Which in time will crumble too
Nothing can stand against
The inexorable pressure of time.
Eons weigh heavy
Days weigh light
We continue to try to measure ourselves
Using our brief little memories
Using our collective tools
Our hearts hands minds
Our clocks, calendars, history books
Our archeology, geology, cosmology
We measure and measure and measure
With little yardsticks laid out
Against the workings of the whole universe
Much too big for us
We work together
We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors
We actually think
We’re going somewhere
With our tiny rulers
Our steps on the moon
Each page is getting a little bit better than the last one. It was fun playing with the light and shade this time around.
I’m finally getting to a point where I can actually use the software and make it do what I want! This. Took. Weeks.
Ezekiel cried, dem gray tones!
Oh guess what, now I see mistakes. Time to go to bed!!!
Here’s what I’ve been working on lately. Remember my little horror comic?
I’ve cleaned it up and added tones and published a couple of pages on webtoons. I still have more pages left to do. I’m repressing the performance anxiety, so I’m fine!
This is why I haven’t been writing a lot lately. I’ve been learning how to use digital software, how to color stuff, clean up lines, add details… resize and save correctly… pretty much everything. Still haven’t really broached color yet. Still nervous about color. Doing this in black and white is good for me though, as a value study. Maybe I’ll try color next time. Or the time after that. Or never. Heh.
So much to learn. One magical day, I will have learned it ALL, and then I’ll be done. Wait, that would actually be horrible. NEVERMIND! I’ll never learn it all. That’s the fun in life.