You carried me in one night, to a West Virginian house
Under an electric nighttime sky
Bent over to protect me from the rain
How big those hands must have been to hold me.
Then later, those same hands lay cracked
Upon the table, with bleeding, peeling skin,
Due to cardboard, shoveled (by hand of course)
For 5 days a week – for health and dental.
Those hands have rubbed my head, and fixed my walls.
They’ve fixed my car, my bank accounts,
They’ve driven under squalls.
A weathered, calloused, pair of working palms
Has rowed and paddled Jay and I, and Mom,
On countless trips,
In Maine, or southern swamps.
But even clever, rugged hands get old, and cause in sons
Bright sparks of memory
Of half hitch knots, and innumerable mountain runs.
cliché – an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. – from Wikipedia.
I enjoy clichés. In fact, I think the pejorative use of the word itself has condemned unfairly a wide variety of activities and ideas that, lacking the opprobrium carried along on the ‘cliché’ title, are tremendously fun (some of the ‘guilty pleasure’ variety, see Roland Emmerich below) and intellectually rich. Perhaps there was even some tired, stereotypical discourse in what I just said, I don’t know, but here are a few things traditionally consigned to the dustbin of the trite and overused that I think are awesome and undeservedly slighted by our oh-so-modern sensibilities:
longs walks on the beach, sunsets, sunrises, describing college as “intellectually rewarding”, idealism, phrases like “one bright autumn morning”, the importance of kindness, socialist realist pop art, dystopic literature and film, zombie literature and film, camo patterned fabric, “two wrongs don’t make a right”, Firefly memes, Star Wars references, lone-hero archetypes, the renewal of spring, writing with pen or pencil, handwritten letters, the importance of being earnest, every Roland Emmerich film ever made, futuristic military jargon, cypherpunk everything, plots based on ‘found footage’, the trivial nature of money, the liberating nature of travel, ‘vintage’ photography, costume themed parties, hydrogen bomb dorm room posters, tattoos, green design, rainbows, obscure graphic-Ts, retro videogaming, War Games, jager bombs, MC Escher prints, Marxist historical interpretations, balmy evenings, light breezes, wizards.
Buy art. Especially local, non-commercial art.
I don’t mean, of course, that one should constantly be buying art and building up a hoarders-style collection of homemade arts and crafts in your home or on your property. What I mean is that occasionally, when money is available and an opportunity exists to become the owner of a piece of art produced within your community, and you find that piece to be enjoyable for any reason, then purchase it. Buy it for yourself, your family, as gifts for others, or for any other reason.
It doesn’t need to meet the standards of high art, or sophisticated composition, and it doesn’t need the imprimatur of regional or national fame. Whether the art in question be photography, painting, weaving, carpentry, live music, plays and performances, functional or non-functional doo-dads, every dollar you spend is going directly to a person you live near. You are subsidizing the area in which you live, your community will directly benefit. That’s a fairly inarguable plus.
One of the most tangible returns on purchases of local art is the introduction to some of the most interesting people in your community. People who read a lot, who are engaged politically, who appreciate food and drink and music and discussion. This is a generalization, not everyone who produces art for a living is a cosmopolitan socialite pursuing the lifestyle of a salon goer, but more often than not its the crafts-people, the musicians, the pottery workers and textile weavers, the painters and photographers and restaurantuers (food preparation can certainly be an art form) who are responsible for a majority of the best material and cultural recreation available from the neighborhood microcosm to the citywide macrocosm.
Most importantly, in my opinion at least, purchasing art at street level, from people or collectives free from the arbitration or mediation of national retailers, famous venues, or widely followed critics and commentators helps sustain a creative class existing well outside the spotlight, beyond the purview of mainstream artistic consumption. These are the people who have somehow managed to wring a living from the often inhospitable artistic world, people that invest a tremendous amount of time and energy into work that helps make the world a little nicer, a bit prettier, in a variety of different ways.
So, whenever you next attend a fall festival, or spring fling, or first friday, or other such gathering at which vendors from your street, neighborhood, or city are selling their wares, or if you stumble across paintings or photographs displayed in a restaurant or gallery, or if there’s a really good restaurant nearby – be a consumer, interact with and benefit from these artistic opportunities, its important.
I just posted this on craigslist. I thought the ad was unconventional, plus I wanted to hock my new orange honey comb gaudiness on the blog because I really like the way it turned out:
Two rocking awesome tables with painted graphic features. Truly one of a kind, or two of one of a kind, whichever. Just hit me up, 336-953-6681 or email this post and make me an offer. Or if you like what you see and want something similar let me know and I will make it for you, which will be a bit more costly but we can work it out, oh yes, we can work it out. (I’ve suggested 40 dollars but that is only for suggestion’s sake, please feel free to offer anything you want and maybe I’ll accept)