The Sale of Christianity

Up until 312 ad Christianity was a minor group of unorganized souls following the teachings of someone called Jesus.  They had very little in terms of organization and even less in the area of political or social clout.  In 312 Emperor Constantine had an epiphany on the battle field and believed it was the Christian God that gave him victory.  It was from this point that Christianity began its climb form a simple faith to a fully blown religion.  It was a relatively fast start, by 313 it was recognized as an acceptable, even  preferable, religion in the Roman Empire. By 324 Constantine had declared himself leader of the Christian faith, although still not declaring himself Christian, people began to loose their lands and titles if they did not convert, positions in the empire would not be given to non Christians, if effect Christianity had arrived. It took many years but this was the the first point where Christianity entered into the political power realm and has continued to grow and flourish in this field to this day. I am not about to give you a long and elaborate history to Christianity and politics, there is enough of that online to keep you going for a life time. You don’t need me to teach you history.

Just so as to keep this focused Christianity was not the first or last religion to take this path and it has never been a good path.  Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam have all attempted and are still on the same path and all we need do is look at the middle east to see how well that is working out.  Having said that I would like to address the followers of Christianity specifically, although it is applicable to the other religions as well, who have chosen to follow their faith and worship the God they have come to believe in without having to politicize, without having to force their belief system on any one else, if you take in all religions there are literally billions of these people.  They quietly worship their God, proselytizing not by force but by example, teaching love, understanding, and compassion, by example.  My heart and support goes out to these folks and it is for them that I write this piece.

At this point we skip a whole bunch of sad and terrifying history including the rise and dominance of the Catholic Church, multiple crusades, witch burning and other less than proud moments in the development of the modern Christian empire.  We have arrived once again to world where the leading power has ingrained religion so far into its political system that it is difficult to tell which is running which.  In the past three decades we have moved through an American President who was forced out of office for having a sexual affair with an intern, too another president who was accused of not being a Christian and chastised for his wife wearing a sleeveless gown that some felt unbefitting a First lady, to a Presidential candidate that , among other things was deemed unworthy because her husband had an affair. All of these indiscretions shouted loudly from the roof tops in a country that supposedly has separation of church and state. Now until this point all this is is cheap politics, the religious right trying to enforce their high moral standards on the rest of us inadequate sinners.  That is until the fundamentalist right elects their savior, a man whose wife posed naked in a mens magazine and starred in a porn movie, a man who did a cameo appearance in a porn movie, who has five children by three wives, and this is the high moral choice of the religious right. Now, I don’t really care about his wifes past, it is just that, a past, I am more than willing get on with going forward.  As far as five kids by three wives, I not getting my world in a knot over that either, I am more concerned with what he brings to the table today. (As it turns out what I just pointed out are about the best things he brings to the table). The problem is I didn’t sit on my high moral pedestal preaching the greatness of my God and the high moral standards that he demands.  It would appear that the high moral standard required by the fundamentalist right is nothing more than to get elected and hate gays.  In effect religion has sold out to power, there is no other way to describe it.  They refuse to give basic rights to any who do not believe the same as them, and at the same time cry that their rights are being taken away.  Sorry kids, giving others the same rights you have does in no way diminish the rights you already have.  They refuse to help and aid others in need saying that they need to take care of their own first and then the only people they take care of is the elite few at the top of the food chain.  They convince the masses that refugees and immigrants are evil and will destroy their lifestyle while they sit back in their pearl mansions and watch the poor suffer.  In fact the only concern they have is protecting their own wealth and lifestyle.  Now I am not really telling you anything that you don’t already know, I am merely taking the long road to my point.

The ultimate point to this rather long winded aberration is that Christianity is at risk,  not from throngs of brown people flowing in and taking over your world,  not from gays and lesbians wanting nothing more than the same rights you have, not from transgender individuals that just want to use the appropriate washroom for their chosen identity, not from women who just want control over their own bodies.  It comes from a much more dangerous and devious place, it comes from a small group of individuals that want to use your religion as an instrument of power. At this point you should probably realize that you have more in common with Islamic refugees than with the Religious right that is attempting to control government, these refugees are fleeing exactly what is happening in America now, the consequence of religious domination of power.

The real danger for Christianity is the rest of the world that is viewing this from the outside is seeing the hypocrisy and judging all Christians with actions of the few.  If you don’t think this is dangerous look how western civilization to a large extent views Islam, Christianity is next.  As a society in general we need to get control of religion in general, Those that chose to worship any religion need to be free to do so within the reasonable constraints of civil laws and these laws need to the same for not only all faiths but all people regardless of faith, color, or any other relatively unimportant factors.  Practice your religion in your homes and places of worship, let society make allowances for the practice in public spaces if need be but don’t expect your religion to be part of the daily function of businesses and public institutions.  If you let your religion live and thrive on its own while protecting not only your own right to worship but also the rights of others to worship in their own way chances are all will be well.  Remember that any rights you take from someone else you ultimately take from yourself.

Most of what I have written is strongly slanted to current events in America and I had truly believed that in Canada with our history of inclusion we would avoid a large part of this.  However I am seeing the same trend here as we saw leading to the Trump administration and it is truly troubling.  It is not just the gathering power of the religious right in politics but also the increase in outward displays of bigotry and racism that we are seeing on an almost daily basis.  Make no mistake, this is fed by people who have the sole desire to impose their morality and beliefs on you and benefit themselves in the process.  Ultimately they will fail, historically it is inevitable, the problem is that historically when it does fail it fails in a sea of violence and destruction.  We can avoid that, we have the ability to keep both our belief systems and our democracies intact but we need to be aware and we need to be willing to allow those who differ from us to exist along side us.

I am going to make one last point here, it really deserves a blog of its own but it is really digging into me.  I hear far to often the phrase ” We shouldn’t be helping others when we so many of our own suffering” or something similar.  Firstly this usually comes from people who have no interest in helping anyone other than themselves, ie. people who think Saskatchewan doesn’t need a bus system because they don’t need it themselves.  Secondly, we have the ability to do both, again this is an excuse created by the few at the top of the food chain in order to protect what they think is their entitlement of wealth, again, we can do both. Thirdly, and most importantly, there is no us and them, people in need are people in need.  Just because we won the where you get to be born lottery and ended up in one of the wealthiest parts of the world does not absolve us of the humanitarian need to help lift others up to our level. Conversely it lays the responsibility directly at our feet.   “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,” Luke 12:48 KJV.  This self entitled attitude of because I was born here I have a right to live better than 80% of the rest of the planet has to stop. Literally tens of thousands of people die daily on this planet for no other reason than having the misfortune to be born in the wrong place and time.

The essence of almost all religions is to be serve both God and those less fortunate, the goal of almost all religions is to attain a position in the good graces of God. Somehow I don’t see the accumulation of wealth power and personal comfort as a leading contributor to any of this.

I believe that almost all of us do too little and put myself at the head of that list. At this point of time in my life all I have to offer is words and they are only useful if some they contribute to action.  I need you to justify my words by acting, save your religions, save your selves but most importantly save those most in need.   ric


The Last Blog

I have come to the conclusion I write these for no other reason than my own venting, something like my art, created for no other reason than to try and fool myself into thinking that I contribute to the planet.  Well guess what, I don’t.  This blog has a readership of about seven people most of which are my family and my art is soon to become scrap metal.

Yes, that last paragraph is no more than deluded self pity searching for a band aid.  The title itself is a lie, although at this moment it is exactly how I feel. I know that in a day or two, if I make it, I will settle back to making my little sculptures and being angry at local politicians.  What I need is a bit of time and a bit of distraction to get out of myself, I have dealt with this most of my life and I will continue to deal with until I don’t.

I have known for 20 years that it is likely that at some point I will take my own life, depression that goes so deep that you sit in a chair and pray for a heart attack.  Depression that drives you to tie the rope to the tree or hook the up the vacuum cleaner hose to the exhaust on your van.  These are places I have been and these are places I have come back from.  I didn’t find my way back because some one sent me hopes and prayers or worse some inane words of wisdom about suicide being the easy way out.  I neither need nor want your words of wisdom and certainly do not want your self righteous religion (for those of you that find strength and support in your religion great, but leave me out of it).  I found my way back because I managed to hang on to that little strand of life long enough for some tiny thing to drag me back into the day to day world.  I have found my way back because one of my kids has sent me a text telling me they loved me, because one of my grandchildren randomly sent me a picture of us together, because I friend randomly showed up just for coffee.  I have been far more fortunate than many that didn’t make it back and someday if I don’t be gentle with my memory, I, like many others will have tried as best we could.

I am still winning and have no intention of giving up anytime soon but like most that suffer this disease I live with the possibility that it may at some point win. I do not want your sympathy or your pity, I want you to understand that there are a lot who silently suffer through this.  I want you to understand that simple acts of kindness will do far more good than canned advice or tired cliches.  I am vocal and I could care less if I offend you but there is a very large group of scared and lonely people that suffer in silence because they are constantly told that there depression has something to do with their short falls and/or any thoughts of suicide they may feel is due to their selfishness.  It is a tough enough fight without being guilted by people with no idea.

As I said earlier the title is a lie to try and get pity but it is in fact some what true.  Over the last few years I have done several blogs on depression and suicide and they take a toll not only on me but on my family.  My children have come to know far more about me than they ever needed too and I fear that it has caused them much pain and concern.  This is not fair to them and now that my grandchildren are reaching an age that they may chose to read my writing I fear it will do the same to them.  This will likely be my last article on depression at least for a personal view point.  I am not sure whether I am actually going to keep the blog alive, I am tired, I am frustrated, and am no longer sure that I am relevant.

What ever happens I will survive for a while longer, and I do hope I can find a way to positively influence something somewhere.  We are living in a world that seems to be becoming completely self orientated, the rise in Nationalism, protectionism, and racism, along with a blatant disregard for the environment is a reflection of people that no longer care for anything that doesn’t directly and immediately affect them. Slipped off topic for a moment, so take care of yourself and just take a moment or two to take care of someone else.


Trickle Down Morality

For years the conservative sector of the political landscape has tried to feed us the trickle down financial theory that says if we give the wealthy more benefits they will take their new found increase in wealth and invest it thus creating a better economy.  This has failed miserably and has given a smaller portion of the population an ever increasing larger portion of the over all wealth.  The people that control the wealth do so because they are obsessed with accumulating money and power, they will generate wealth on their own behalf regardless of what we do.  If there is a market they can find or create that will show profit that is what they will do.  Giving them tax breaks will just allow them to accumulate more wealth, as is obvious by separation of wealth that we are now experiencing.  Economies grow when there are people with money that can purchase products and services and the more of these people there are the healthier the economy becomes. The job of corporations is to find a way to create the products and services to fill that void and they are good at it.  They will continue to manufacture as long as there are markets but if we choke off the markets by creating a large class of people who are barely surviving the wealthy will just hoard what they have and the poor will become poorer. Basically what this means is that trickle down economics translates into those that have protecting what they have at the expense of everyone else on the planet, ultimately creating a 21st century version of an hereditary monarchy with the rest of us becoming the serfs.  History relates us event upon event showing us the failure of and the resulting revolutions that destroy these ruling class scenarios complete with bloodshed and mayhem. Fundamentally the only people that benefit from trickle down are the elite and it is there as a tool for them to maintain their wealth and position.

Now that I have ran off on a tangent on the economic version of the trickle down theory I will explain how this translates into our morality.  The most common version if when you hear the ever popular statement that we have no right to help people in another province or another country because we still have people in need right where we live.  The vast majority of people that use this to justify not sending aid to foreign countries or not allowing refugees into our own country are merely attempting to protect their own lifestyle. Their interest in helping those suffering locally is usually limited to using at an excuse to not help some one else. The truth is we could solve our own poverty and inequality with very little effort but we are not willing to sacrifice anything from our personal lifestyle to do that.  We consistently elect governments that refuse to make any meaningful inroads into social programs that would assist those on the edge.  On a personal level we vilify the poor and refuse to extend ourselves out assist those in need.   In this country a large percentage of those that are in need could be helped if we as individuals made an effort to guide them to agencies, both government and non-government, that currently exist and could be of benefit.  In general we are much happier to be keyboard warriors (and yes I am aware of the irony) and post useless memes on Face Book about how people are lazy and shiftless and refuse to get out and help themselves.  We live in the ultimate fear of someone getting something that we don’t think they deserve and even worse it may in some small way impact what we have.

This of course is multiplied many times when you add in people who are different than us and make us uncomfortable because they have different beliefs than us.  After all why should we help starving people from some third world country that is being destroyed by wars and turmoil even if in many cases we are either directly or indirectly responsible for these events.  The answer is simple, they need help and we are able to help them. In most cases our fore fathers came here as one form of a refugee or another and we have been given the opportunity to grow and thrive but now that we have reached this comfortable level of success we have become the top of the moral pyramid and are going to protect our little kingdom with all of our power.  History tells us as long as there are those being held back by those that feel the need to protect what they deem to be a birthright there will be conflict and invariably those being forced down will win.

We have the ability to make many lives better at very little personal cost but we feel this need to maintain our place in the hierarchy and at the end of the day it is our own soul that we sacrifice.  There are two things that have always confused me. First are religious orders that seen to believe it is their calling to send missionaries out to foreign lands to convert the unwashed masses but fight tooth and nail to keep them away from their own homes.  And secondly religions that preach eternal life and the importance of a spiritual relationship with an omnipotent god but yet seem to feel that we have to fight for and claim ownership of real estate.  All of the the major religions teach the importance of love and charity but seem to fall short on the application of it. There are of course wonderful and devout individuals who apply and live this but for the most part religions are more interested to building monuments to their own greatness at the expense of all else.  Any god that needs monuments and sacrifice to fulfill his ego seems to me to be some what misplaced. Go forth and worship whatever god you choose but maybe try doing it by showing the love and compassion that is called for by the religion you chose and maybe by doing it without enforcing the boundaries of your own fear and prejudice.  After all, assuming there is one, the decision to who is righteous belongs with god not with us.

Morality is not something we can stick in a box, even if it is a church or mosque shaped box, it is something we must live and share or it is just a possession and of no more value than an unread book or and uneaten sandwich. Morality, like wealth is valueless unless shared. We can help, and not with words and memes, but with real action and support.




End Of The World As We Know It

As I am sitting at my computer, looking at my pile of books scattered around my desk and contemplating on just how irrelevant my life has become, I recall watching something of television last night about REM digitizing their song “It is the End of the World as We Know It”. I have always hoped that as the technical revolution came upon us it would lead to people having a better understanding of the world around them. It seems that the opposite is happening, the few people that take the time to access the information available seem to use it only to further an agenda rather than to understand an issue. They take information, dissect it, and pare out anything that they deem to not be supportive of their agenda. They use Google to replace any real understanding and crown them selves well educated and knowledgeable based on their ability to type in enough searches to find another opinion that supports theirs. This is not knowledge, knowledge is information fermented with understanding and contemplation and add a little common sense you may acquire a degree of wisdom. We, in general, are no smarter, no more knowledgeable, and no wiser that we were 50 years ago. Just more opinionated and less flexible in our thoughts. We have basically created a group of pseudo-intellectuals that lack the depth to form an opinion and who are espousing opinions they do not completely understand on people too lazy or unable to access and understand an issue.

One of the casualties of this thinking is negative justification, we see it daily in political banter. One group condemns the act of a politician and another group justifies the action by listing similar actions by a previous politician. The premise that a previous bad act or decision by some one justifies another act or decision is ludicrous. To be specific justifying Trudeaus slow response to native water issues by pointing out Harpers inaction on the same issue bears no fruit. The problem still exists and energy would be better used to force the person in charge to make positive steps to addressing it. This type of argument and justification is ever present in all areas. I recently read an article that suggested British Colombia had no right to address the environmental issues of the Kinder Morgan pipeline because of their history of bad environmental policies. Not to even wade into the pros and cons of this issue it remains that to justify an environmental decision based on a previous failing is similar to justifying punching your sister because you have already punched your brother (yes, an over simplification). That particular decision must be weighed and decided on its own merit and to suggest differently is just to negate your own argument. We need address issues as the individual issues that they are, we cannot justify making bad decisions using previous bad decisions as a foundation to move forward on.

To take this one step farther, during the last American Presidential race I heard Donald Trump during one of his speeches say that we should start killing the wives and families of terrorists because that is what they were doing to others. I will confess this was singularly the most disheartening thing I have heard this decade. Not just because it was said, but because I knew that many people believed it. My entire belief system is that we improve our lot by becoming better people, we cannot achieve this by justifying our bad acts by other peoples bad acts. If we just retaliate in kind we are just different sides of the same coin, it is then just a fight to see who the best barbarian is. The same applies to other areas, I constantly hear the justification for not adhering to environmental responsibilities because there other countries that are worse. Again being irresponsible and justifying it by the lack of someone elses responsibility, my neighbor killed a man therefore it is OK for me to beat a man up (yes, another over simplification). The truth is we are responsible for all of our actions and while it is important to attempt to positively influence those around , be it individuals or nations, we must always attempt to do our best to maintain our own standards to the best of our ability.

Having said that I have to confess guilt in this very area, I am not an educated man, what knowledge and understanding I have comes from a lifetime of reading and hours in front of a computer. I have often been guilty of searching for facts and events that would further my opinion and ignoring or at least minimizing facts and events that were counter to my point. I like all people, do have an agenda. I will always put social programming and equality before a balanced budget, I will always put environmental issues before corporate profit and regional prosperity and will not deny that. There is a balance that can be reached and I will support that to a degree but will always lean to my own belief system, hence agenda.

If we have financial disaster it will cause great strife and needs to avoided, however if we have an environmental disaster it will cause not only great strife but also much more death and suffering if not the end of life completely. We can and have survived many financial upheavals, we are resilient. However if destroy the environment it is not likely that we will be able to come back. It has been argued that we are over reacting to environmental issues and even if that is true or partly true the stakes are just to high to take that gamble. We will lose nothing in the long term by taking care of the world we live in, we take care and maintain our homes and our cars so they will last longer and serve us better, why not our planet.

We currently sit on the edge of a cliff, we are torn by trying to maintain what we have to feed our own self interests and by the nearly certain knowledge that if continue on this path we will tumble down the cliff. We are being pushed and pulled in both directions by people, groups, and corporations that all have agendas. We are in constant fear if we change we may destroy our standing and status quo but also if we don’t change we may lose everything. For me the answer is obvious, I am not willing to take the chance of destroying my grand childrens future in the hopes that the environmentalists are wrong. We are bombarded with half truths and misinformation from both sides, we are played by corporations and politicians for their personal gain. Social media is the tool to the best organized and ignorance and fear is the tool of all. This is truly the end of the world as we know it, although we may survive there is absolutely no doubt that the world we know today will be radically changed over the next 50 years. Let us try to make the best world we can for our descendants. Each one of us must some how search through this maze and find a path. Let this path be your own, do not let people who stand to benefit from your loss convince you that a short term gain is worth long term loss. Just ask Judas how that bag of gold worked out for him.



Ungrateful Refugees

Are you aware that we have a group of refugees in this country that came in a mass of around 8000 souls.  They were a largely illiterate group who were branded dissidents in their home country for defying the power of the church and for refusing to take up arms.  They ended up in Canada because some left wing artist took up their cause and made a deal with the Canadian Minister of the Interior that not only gave them land but also promised a small amount of cash to help them develop the land.

Once arriving in Canada they traveled to Saskatchewan and were given additional concessions in the form of schooling of their own children and no military service.  This wasn’t enough and many refused to swear the oath to the crown as well as to agree to give up their communal life style.  On this note they began protesting but this gained them little and most moved on. A few stayed in Saskatchewan and to a degree assimilated.  It took another 5 years before they allowed their children into schools and many remain a tight group, who up until recently still used their native language for religious services.

The balance moved on to British Colombia where they were able to acquire land and take up the communal and pacifist lifestyle.   They continued to grow and prosper as did the ones that remained in Saskatchewan and became farmers.  However, as in many groups they had there one section of fundamentalists that just couldn’t be satisfied.  This small splinter group rebelled against general societal standards and became known as the Sons of Freedom.  They began to protest what they considered an aberration of society for the most part using arson and bombs, destroying an estimated 20 million dollars in property including government buildings, schools, and much of their own property along with that of  the other refugees who chose a different path.

Now just who are these violent and ungrateful souls that came to our country bringing with them little but their need and went on to attempt to alter our society to meet what they believed was the correct way to live.  They are no less than the Doukhobors that fled the bloody regime of  Nicholas II of Russia with the help of the Quakers and that of Leo Tolstoy to attempt to achieve a better life in Canada in 1899.  They are a very real and very integral part of our unique Canadian heritage, their actions changed some laws and  had and an affect other laws. They played a large part in the settlement of many parts of Saskatchewan and southern British Colombia and to this day play a role in the our great society.  If your or your ancestors name ends in off, such as Popoff this is likely part of your history and it is a history to be proud of.

This is but one brief story about refugees that have come of Canada, there are many similar stories of different groups.  Each group brought with it some of the good and some of the bad, it took time for it all to settle out but at the end of the day Canada was enriched by their presence and every one of has gained by their input.  Whether it was the Irish, the Italians, the Ukrainians  or another group, each bunch brought with them ideals that both changed and formed our country.  It would be easy to look at the actions of the Sons of Freedom, a very small percentage of the whole and brand Doukhobors as at best unsavory and at worst terrorists. However we can look at history and see the whole picture and I doubt there is anyone that would be willing to take that stance today.  And just on a side note there was a significant movement even in 1903 to not allow foreigners in because they would corrupt our country and take away from those already here.  Some things just never change.

My apologizes to my many Doukhobor friends for having painted them as terrorists but the unfortunate truth is if they were arriving today that is likely the brush that would be used.  Most of our ancestors came here fleeing either starvation or religious or political persecution, much as most of the refugees that come to our borders now.  Personally I find the hypocrisy of those of that have been sheltered denying shelter to those in need singularly repulsive.  To loosely quote something I read many years ago ” you climb the ladder of life with one hand extended upward for help and the other extended downward to help” I am sorry but can’t recall the origin.  Please, always remember that what we have now is gift that we have received and not deny the same gift to those that follow.

Not sure what the next blog will be but I do have one started on Religion and one on the day to day of my little world, I guess it will be a surprise to all of us.  Take care of yourselves, your families, and your friends, but never forget it is a very small world out there and we need to remember that we who who are doing well have a responsibility to those that suffer regardless of who and where they are.


Creating and Surviving, My World My Art

Committing to Spring

Overall this has been a successful winter.  For the four of you that actually follow the blog you are aware of the struggles with depression and although they were still present it seemed significantly less intense this year.  Generally everything went swimmingly until I ran out of food, money, and firewood towards the end of February. I ended up going the best part of a month with not much more than rice and macaroni, although let us not forget the infamous meal of sardines warped in cheese slices.  When the cupboard is empty and there is no gas to even try to get to the food bank it is a soul trying experience, however it was easily survivable and once I got groceries that first hot dog smothered in onions was a truly religious experience.  I need to keep in mind that even at the worst point during this I was eating better than 70% of the worlds population.  It is easy in our isolated western civilization to forgot how bad it is for most of the planet and feel self pity. I need to remember this and on the good days make sure I am putting something back.

I went outside this morning to get the meter reading to submit for my power bill, a task much feared as this is going to be a bad one.  It was cold, windy, and inhospitable and set the scene for what would be a bad experience.  And it was a bad experience,  having run low on firewood the beginning of March I was forced to turn on the electric baseboard heaters of the 15th of the month in order to make the dwindling wood last to the end of the season.   Even though I kept the house around 12C (55F) and continued to use wood to warm it up once in a while it managed to increase my consumption by 800 kwh roughly four times what I would normally use.  That translates into about $120 on this months power bill for 20 days heat.  To put this in perspective I would estimate my savings by avoiding the use of electric heat to be around $1300 over this season.  Although that really isn’t that much in the real word real of house heating that three weeks of electric heat translated into 25% of my income for that month thus making it one more little financial problem. After all of that, it is really only a small problem and can be dealt with hopefully over the next month.

Having consulted the weather gurus and inspected the last remaining firewood I made the decision to turn to electric heaters off.  It will be tight but if the weather stays close to what is forecast and and I scavenge around a little I think I can do it.  Like all small but annoying problems this one was rooted in a larger issue. I ran out of firewood not because I miscalculated or was to lazy (as is sometimes the case) to haul it but rather because I lost use of the trailer I was using to pick it up. In spite of a great and valiant effort by several friends to get more wood hauled we just didn’t make it.  In order to not repeat this little issue again there will be a concentrated effort made to upgrade my tired chainsaw and to purchase a semi reliable 3/4 or 1 ton truck by mid summer.

All of that aside  spring is here, and I am going to get out and make life happen.  I have been sort floating in the abyss for the last month or so struggling to make it to that illusive moment when life regenerates.  I am announcing that it officially happens this coming Saturday. I have a large number of projects staring me in the face, the most of important of which is finding enough money to keep the power on and to pay Praxair and fill my welding tanks. I have three commissions sitting, one of which I may be able to complete with out the use of my oxy/acy torches so as soon as it warms up and drys up enough to work out side on to that I go.

On ward to what is happening her and now. My fantasy of getting my chicken house built this spring is likely just that, but I am holding on to getting the gallery space at least partially complete by the end of May.  As I have mentioned earlier I am no longer doing shows and events so I will be relying on my friends and patrons to help me sell my work and it is my intention to spend this summer creating.  I am going to expand out into some larger and more off the wall work but I am also going to step back to some of earlier more fundamental and simple constructs such as the dogs and cats that were so much a part of my early times.  I am looking forward to a summer of self indulgent creation  and a return to the simplicity of art for the sake of art.

Be good out there my friends, we all have so much so let us take just a little of what we have and spread it out to those in desperate need.  It is one planet, one humanity, there is no us and them when people are suffering.


Almost Made It

It is March 15th and the 14 day forecast is for good weather, I have gone the entire winter without having to use the electric baseboard heater I use for back up.  Today I turned them on.  I was so close, within half a cord of firewood, of making it.  I am not completely out of firewood but what I have remaining requires some preparation and unfortunately I am not moving so well these days. It is also too close that if I should get a cold snap I wouldn’t be able to keep the house warm.   I hauled and cut as much wood as I could along with help from Dayrl Gran , Jo Kasper, Eric Afseth, and Jamie Pollock who all made at least one trip out with contributions to the wood pile. I unfortunately lost the use of the little trailer I was using and instead of concentrating on replacing it I attempted to acquire a truck that would have been more efficient and cost  effective. Unfortunately that didn’t work out and here we are.

This has really worn on me, I am tired and frustrated with myself, the turning on of the heaters not only represents a failure to make it through the winter but is going to take away from already sparse funds that are needed to acquire a truck and even more importantly get the studio open again.  Today it has bee three months exactly since I worked on any of my own work in the studio.  This is partly because of the cold snap that began in Dec. (below -20 it is just to hard to heat the space), the lack of firewood to heat it once it warmed up, and lastly the lack of money to pay the tank rentals, fill the welding cylinders, and by consumables (welding rods, cut off discs, gloves, etc.).  The first two issues are self correcting once the weather warms up, unfortunately the last problem is on going and unless some art sells will not self correct.

I am not sure where this is going to go.  I have worked harder this year than I ever have before to try and keep it all functioning.  I have accomplished more this winter than in any other winter I lived out here but it still isn’t enough.  I am effectively in the same place today as I have been every year, doubting myself, wondering what kind of bizarre fantasy I was trying to live, and hating that I am dragging my friends and my family down with me.

What bothers me the most is that it seems every time I sit down in front of the keyboard I am wallowing in self pity.  The truth is over the last 10 years I have had a better life than I thought possible and yet it seems everything I type is negative.  I have no idea, I am not sure that there is an answer.  It seems that typing it out and sharing lightens the load a bit, but I fear all it does is burden others with my issues.  I am still kicking, I will likely make through the week (even though I am now on day 3 of no cigars)  and maybe the sun will come through and heal these old bones so I can keep on going.