Monday, August 24, 2015

MOUSE, CRUCIFIX AND CHAIN


HOLLIE WITCHEY


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EMBRACE YOUR STUPIDITY

You know you are a hillbilly when the waitress at the diner takes a spider off your hat, gently releasing it out the door, before taking your order. "Ringworm summer" is nearing an end. Who knew one little kitten could wreck such havoc in our lives. Shewho got it. Cheeky got it. And for some reason I seem to be immune. All those years of less than stellar house keeping have finally paid off. My homegrown fungi stood steadfast, not letting the ringworm in. Soon the quarantine will be lifted, the kitchen will be done, and I'll be able to freeze to death in a treestand....without guilt.
    I turned 83 on Friday. I never would've even known that, had not little bro Duke called with best wishes. For years I've forgotten other's birthdays. Now I forget my own. Seems only fitting. Then on Sat. we all gathered at Wolf Lake to bring it in in style. From two year old rug rats poking their fingers in my birthday cake, to 90 year old elders taking it all in with wise smiles, I am an extremely lucky man. Beautiful supermodels, kids screaming, kisses from Shewho and dog fights under the picnic table. Who could ask for more?

    My life when viewed as a microcosm is perfection personified. 10 years in SF, 10 years in NYC and 20 years in the Catskills has refined my craft to the degree that my art work comes relatively easily. I don't so much "make it" as "discover it" in the shadows of my mind's recesses, hanging it on the wall, laying it on the floor, plopping it on the front lawn. There's no anguish involved in its creation. But then when the question is inevitably raised (and it always is) Do I sell? Do I show? I fall silent. Why not? I have no answer. I feel the pressure. Why have I not met the most basic of expectations? My stomach turns.
    Do I need a show or a sale to make work? No. Obviously I am known as an artist because I took an outsider's approach, forgoing the gallery or museum system, out of necessity. Recently I did an interview with Chuck, for a little magazine. We sat in the same room, smoked up, emailing Q and A's back and forth. It was a fun exercise.  I was afraid of whining about how fucked it all seemed. But to my surprise we both took it seriously enough to dig a little deeper. I realized one of the most important aspects of being an artist was not knowing what you are doing and embracing it. How I've made it this far in such ignorance is a victory of sorts. If I was even a little bit smarter I would've quit this shit years ago. Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MEBRAK


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UTILIZE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

  I'm finally back at the shack. Shewho got a kitten that gave her kitteneyetous. She finally got a cat that wants to snuggle (unlike the aloof Cheeky) and she can't touch the thing fer fear of catching more cooties.. Thankfully this all coincided with the return to running water and cable TV at my place. Banishment was coming. The kitchen is far from done, but I can make coffee and take a bath. Comfort is returning. I was now able to give Jerry, my '84 Ford pickup, a chance to rest, and get off the commute. Too bad it came to late.
    This morning, after installing new belts and a water pump, Jerry overheated on my way to Glen Wild. I made it home, called Shewho, who was in Michigan. Don't ask. I had to get her AAA digits, in order to get towed back to WSS. Ect. Then I dialed Triple A. FUCK! "Press one." the voice commanded. I was down to two rotary phones, a truck with a blown head gasket and a tree down in the front of the house. I looked at my feet. And there was a little white slip of paper. I picked it up. It was an old fortune cookie fortune. It read: Utilize what you have been given. I hung up the phone and called Shewho back. She made the tow happen from Michigan. That's only one of the reasons why I love her.

    So now it's me and the cat with no food (cat or person) in the house, four beers, and a can of sardines. That will be dinner for the two of us. I know I should get a push button phone, but I just can't bring myself to buying another crappy one. They all die too soon. I know the rotaries will outlast me. Their proud bakalite sturdiness will withstand anything, even I, can throw at them. Not so the pick up. Jerry's showing his age. He's got so many issues i don't know if he'll even make it through the winter. Another $2000 and the For Sale sign is going on. I don't want to. I'm more attached to him than I was to Shirley. But if he doesn't keep going, the concrete truck may have to be called. At least they won't make me press one. Utilize what you have been given.
 

Friday, July 31, 2015

SMOKIN'


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CONFESSIONS OF A TROPHY HUNTER

I confess that I am a trophy hunter. No, I haven't killed any lions with British names lately. But deer season is quickly approaching and I know of at least two good bucks (I haven't named) I will be trying my damnedest to put on the ground. I didn't used to be a trophy hunter. When I first re-started my hunting "practice" I was more than happy to take any legal animal. If I had a doe permit I shot a doe. If it was spring I took a jake turkey. I didn't worry much about big racks or long beards. All I cared about was putting meat in the freezer. But that was 20 years ago.
    Years went by. I got better at reading sign, hunting the wind, keeping my scent down. Unlike my ability to get a show of my art, the art I was doing with gun and bow was getting easier. There is nothing so boring as an easy activity. This is what pushed me to the pursuit of the mature buck and turkey. This was a challenge. There was nothing easy about it. What drew me back to the hunt in general was the difficulty level of actually bagging a legal animal, as well as contextualizing this activity in my overall art work. You think the internet is against guns and hunting? Try convincing the ultra-PC art world that killing one of God's beautiful creatures is a valid action. That difficulty remains.
   And now we are in the age of "internet shaming". If Bambi was released today deer hunters would be as scarce as that big buck. So my confession to chasing the trophy must be further defined. I DO NOT hunt for trophies only. I hunt mature animals and ALWAYS butcher and eat them.The taking of Africa's big cats has always seemed wrong to me. There is no sharing of meat with community and the fees mostly remain with the PHs and outfitters that are throw backs to the colonial days, catering to the ultra-rich. So when a rich mid-western dentist books a lion hunt he depends on his hosts to do it legally. I can't believe that this dentist wanted to target an iconic, easily identified, black maned male lion with a GPS collar. But I may be wrong. Maybe he's that stupid and evil. What I do know is CNN, BBC, and every other news outlet, big or small, is calling for blood, without due process. We all know who Cecil was now. He joins Bambi's mom in the anthropomorphic heaven. We also know Dr. Palmer's name, who remains in hiding. Good move doc. Your head may be on some crackpot's wall very soon.