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October 2nd, 2007

Fingerpaints



I suspect I wrote a journal entry about my love for fingerpaints in the past. The topic sounds a great deal like the sort of topic upon which I wax grandliloquently. I received a gift of fingerpaints well into my adulthood. I found myself surprised by the way in which painting with fingerpaints proved a liberation. I found that creating with fingerpaints removed a great deal of the pressure from the process. One self-expresses, with the tools at hand. The tools at hand drip from one's fingers. Nobody worries.

My memories of childhood fingerpainting provide little comfort. I often committed the minor but irretrievable error of "one blend too many". In "one blend too many", one discovers the joys of how blended colors make new colors. Then one discovers the agony
when one too many blends renders everything a kind of brown. Playdough aficionados know just what I mean. The person who realized the use of fire as a cooking aid similarly felt dismay when it burned down the village when unchecked. All good things deserve moderation.

I plan to acquire a new set of fingerpaints, from some store for brainy children which sells its wares under a sufferably cute trade name. Then I can seek to do things as much fun as the cylindrical green painting which could define itself "either way", and thus was named "cactus/dolphin". In fingerpaints, one does not worry, by the way, whether one has drawn a cactus or a dolphin. It's all good in a "dinosaur/telescope" childhood wonder way.

Fingerpainting differs from painting in other ways. The difference amounts to a liberation from craft. I respect craft, but I often think that people need to liberated from it--in the same way I respect holiday casseroles, but rarely wish to eat them.
In fingerpaints, one serves oneself as an audience of one. It's a bit like writing a weblog.

All those musicians and scientists keep telling us that we are all made of stars. But I wonder if fingerpaints might metaphor just as well.

on waning



I noticed that my sister posted on her weblog a family picture taken during my last trip to Arkansas. I'll post it on my weblog now, with thanks to her for making it available.

The fellow on the left is my younger brother, who is thirteen months my junior and yet light years my intellectual superior. The woman beside him is my sister, who is five years younger than I am, but who in my mind is still my "little" sister. I am the fellow on the right, while my father's wife is beside me. We stand before my father's house, where I lived from the age of 16 until I got my own place--home and yet not the place I grew up. My father must have taken the picture.

I think that it's sad, in a way, that so many great family photos get taken in connection with funerals (in this instance, our uncle passed away). I wish that more jovial celebrations also prompted such gatherings. Perhaps it is time for my family to host one of its infrequent family reunions.

I learned a few things during that trip. An Arkansas first cousin who is but two years my senior has a little boy I think of as barely more than a toddler. That young fellow is now serving in the military in the war zone in Iraq. Another cousin had a two year old girl I had never met, who was an angel named Lydia. I saw a dear first cousin, and then realized it was the first time in 25 years or so that I had seen her. Where did the time go?

Where does the time go indeed? So many people I should call or write. So many places to go and see. So much good to do, and so little good done.

Tomorrow is another day on which to begin.