Unveiling an art exhibit during a pandemic full of unknowns has gotten me thinking about uncertainty in general. In the recent past of human history, at least as I read it, “uncertainty” about the weather, if a restaurant was open or not was more normal – in general things tended to be more uncertain, unplanned and unscripted. We didn’t have phones and the ability to search for information at our fingertips, no digital assistants or handheld calendars to organize our days, we couldn’t “know” in advance when a package was arriving much less know about a person. Things unfolded over time and that was mostly okay.
Jerry Seinfeld’s term for this is “garbage time” – quotes and a link below:
“Garbage time is when a moment is not planned and optimized to within an inch of its life. When a conversation is not fraught with meaning and purpose. When an interaction or event is not filled with expectation — and accompanied by the resulting pressure to live up to those expectations….. Garbage time is the best time. With co-workers. With employees. With friends and family, and especially your kids.
Garbage time isn’t weighted by the expectation that a moment will be special and memorable and perfect.
Garbage time just is.”
And I think we need garbage time with ourselves too. Times when however we feel, whatever we do or don’t do is just fine. Especially during a pandemic.
My new coloring book poem “How To Draw A Dragon” covers a bit of the “garbage time” territory, the dragon in my book wants everything to be just so while the rabbit wants to be playfully creative. The rabbit just wants to be.
Below are some photos of the printed version of “How To Draw A Dragon”. In my last post I mentioned working on a portfolio page about this new book – so I’ve begun that here. Storyberries said that they will likely have this book on their website the first week in September – but there is some uncertainty. Pandemic you know.
Speaking of uncertainty and time: my Odditorium exhibit at Caplan Art Designs is being done a bit differently – pandemic again – and who knows how it will go. While the opening is officially the first Thursday in September it won’t be the big party of times before. Masks are required to visit the Gallery and there will be appointments arranged at other times, art will be shipped or delivered in a safe way and this virtual page used as a catalog. For my artist talk videos like this will serve – the videos and the virtual page will both be used by the Gallery rather than the physical presence of either the artist -me – or a large group of the public on one evening. So really rather than a single night opening party every day is the opening! At least that’s the thought. But who knows… and it’s okay that it’s uncertain.
What I did know for certain was that all of the paintings needed to be framed before delivery to the Gallery. So I’ve spent most of my time last few weeks doing that. Below are a few pieces newly placed in frames.
Random unplanned unscripted associations were how I got the ideas for each artwork in my Odditorium series so a little more uncertainty about the exhibit itself isn’t really a problem. Of course I hope for sales – I almost can’t help hoping that – but I don’t have big expectations. My main hope is that people will just enjoy my artwork, that it will brighten their outlook at least a little, give them a sense of comfort and care as we all cope with this pandemic. The funny thing is that this hope of mine, that my work will lift spirits, is something that I may never know whether it worked. And that’s okay. A songbird doesn’t know when it’s music is enjoyed either.
Here’s me all masked up to deliver the artwork. The gallery owner didn’t wear a mask because we had to talk business and I’m deaf and lip read.
After our conversation I left my art in the Gallery in boxes. Not very long later the owner sent me this photo of the paintings hung on the wall!
From now on I won’t be physically at the Gallery at any point. The main things I’ll be doing are the videos and the virtual page plus I will be supporting the exhibit by talking about the inspiration for the artworks and the Odditorium book on social media.
This is all *very* different. In the before times (pre covid) I would physically go to an opening party. Lots of people would come. I would give a talk. I would talk to people all evening long and go home exhausted (and happy) with a hoarse voice from having talked almost nonstop for 4 hours.
It’s not the same but this year I did 5 different videos on my YouTube channel of me talking about why I do what I do. Here’s a table of contents, so to speak, of the videos:
ABOUT ODDITORIUM https://youtu.be/-kkCVoAQejk
Household surrealism as a way of coping
What Clancy is doing
Three Things Inspire Clancy’s Art
Why I make art by Clancy
The food this week was much better! I made a pot of my magic beans and have been using my precooked pinto beans for burritos inspired by this recipe (I omit the meat in the recipe) https://www.theseasonedmom.com/easiest-burrito-recipe/
Besides wrapping burritos in foil and baking them as per the recipe above I had a craving for some roasted vegetables. So I made my bean, onion and cheese burritos and put them in some boat shaped ovenproof dishes. Then I covered the burritos with chopped zucchini, corn and bell peppers that I tossed in Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning mix. A few slices of tomatoes and shredded cheese completed the dish. I covered the boats with aluminum foil and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Then I removed the foil and used the broil oven setting to toast the cheese. With hot pads on the table I served the boats directly from the oven. So yummy!!
My “garbage time” evening reading is: Ireland by Frank Delaney, The World Of Edward Gorey by Ross and Wilkin, Making Mischief by Gregory Maguire.
May we all have some good restorative “garbage time” this week. And some good food. See you next Monday.
15 thoughts on “Dragon, Odditorium, Time and Burritos”
You have such a calm, gentle and accepting approach to life as well as to your creative work. I wish I could be more like that. I don’t even get into a zen headspace when doing yoga. Even when I am relaxing, my brain is firing like popping candy. What is true for me, however, and what I can identify with that you wrote above is that the experience of operating in a pandemic has taught me to let go of some of my control freakery. The demands of my life mean that I am still juggling several schedules but I have definitely let go of medium and long term planning because truly what is the point right now when everything changes and those developments are outside our control? I was actually telling my son’s doctor the other day that my skills for long term planning have atrophied a bit because I have not had cause to use them in 18 months. I am also learning to reduce my expectations of myself (because really I only put that pressure on myself) and am learning to just accept things. I go back to the classroom soon and even my lesson planning is a bit looser because who knows what is going to happen with potential lockdowns or periods of quarantine. We made it through all of last year without a single case of Covid in my preschool but I feel like our luck is probably going to run out in that regard.
Anyway, all of that splurging out of my thoughts is really to communicate that, just as I have tried to adopt your approach of appreciating small chunks of art time, I am trying my best – as much as my hard-wired brain permits – to move towards your approach to life in general.
It has taken me years to get to being able to have a regular practice of creating a calm, gentle and accepting headspace. I think of it now as something I continually practice. My brain fires as you so aptly put it “like popping candy” all the time. What I practice is the acceptance that my brain does this without demanding that it stop. I practice awareness of it like a vague awareness of a radio that is on while I’m cooking: i am aware of my popping brain but maintaining my attention/focus on the food (or whatever I’m doing). Most importantly I (mostly) no longer shout at myself for feeling certain ways. I recognize that the feelings happen fairly predictably. For example when I recently delivered the art to the gallery my control freak button was engaged: the traffic was stressful to me as were the non-mask wearing people. Also I worried about being able to hear well enough when the Gallery owner and I needed to talk. My brain also popped ahead to worry about whether my videos sounded strange. The last two worries are ones I have often so they were easily recognized as habitual brain muzak. Even so I had to do a *lot* of practicing awareness of my feelings and the awareness that the feelings were “par for the course” and then letting my feelings happen and pass away naturally as they do. That’s what I appreciate so much about the Jerry Seinfeld concept of “garbage time” – feelings will come and go by themselves if we let them blow through, without attaching significance to the fact of having a particular feeling or brain popping action or change of a plan.
I really think the pandemic is returning us to a former, pre-smartphone sense of time: an awareness that everything changes and much is outside our control. So that’s what I’m practicing: making plans but holding them very loosely, flexibly. I do this practicing in small chunks just like my small chunks of art time. My hard-wired brain often shouts “feel this don’t feel that!” and I practice remembering that these feelings are guides only – not gods who must be obeyed upon pain of [insert-horror-here].
I am very glad if my practicing-out-loud helps you! You are special and worth all of the calm, gentleness and acceptance available!!
I am relieved you didn’t have any instances of Covid19 in your preschool! I will hope hard for your continued health! ❤
I am so grateful for our chats and for your wisdom.
And I am equally grateful for our chats and your insights too!! I appreciate you!!
I just watched your YouTube videos because I knew they would make me feel good. And they did! That love and kindness comes through so clearly in all of your art.
Oh good!!! I’m delighted to hear that my videos made you feel good!! I’m so very glad you got some love and kindness from me!! ❤❤ I will do more….😊
I’ll look forward to them. The world can use all the love and kindness it can get right now.
Thank you!!!! And I appreciate your posts and the sharing that you do to add love and kindness to the cultural air we all fly in!!
You’re welcome–and thank you!
Wonderful! I’m glad your exhibit has gone forward despite the changes. It looks great on the gallery wall. I’m especially delighted by the measuring spoons one. It tickles me extra for some reason. I’m glad it’s placed centrally in the exhibit hanging since it’s got less bold color than many of the others and may have been overlooked otherwise. Did you design the order they were hung in or did you leave it up to the gallery folks?
Garbage time is certainly anything but wasted. It’s interesting how important it is in relationships, and one of the few ways I’ve found remotely that creates it between me and another person is playing a non-timed game together online. Like an old-fashioned card game where we can kibitz back and forth in the chat organically like we might when we’re together. Most other forms of online simultaneous time or phone calls have that expectation problem that messes it up.
Thanks for another happy Monday post!
Thank you!!!! I’m so glad you liked my post and the measuring spoons art piece!! The Gallery did the wall arrangement – the owner has an excellent eye and I trust her!!
I’m delighted to hear you’ve creatively found ways to have garbage times with other people!! Yes, that is so important to our mental health!! So glad you’re taking good care of yourself!! And I’m delighted to have given you another happy Monday post!! Thanks again!! 😊
This post is filled with treats for the heart, eyes and mind. Wishing you much success with the exhibit.
Thank you so much!!! I want to give people like you many good treats!! ❤