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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


on dan osborne road near hwy 18

The guy who put up the sign is making his living, or supplementing it, scavenging scrap metal and hauling a load on the back of his pickup piled up high, as much as it will hold, to Wilkes where he can sell it for a little bit and maybe have gas money for a few weeks. We'll see more and more people scavenging for scrap metal, aluminum cans by the road, plastic, anything that can be resold as we begin our slow journey to becoming like Latin America; the rich and the poor. In Mexico the rich have walls around their houses with broken glass in the cement on top, or spikes, what have you. In the Old South the rich had walls around their houses with broken glass on top and spikes to inhibit the poor from entertaining thoughts of robbery.

It must be strange to live inside walls so high you can't see out. Like an animal in a cage, the cage becomes the safe zone and the animal is not comfortable outside the cage where everything is so uncertain. A world of barbarians the other side of the gate, all of them eager to have your nice things for themselves. Now we have gated communities, country clubs and underground shelters to keep the rich separate from the thick-fingered masses. It's probably no more strange inside the walls than outside them. It's all human existence. This world is where we walk our own spiritual path however we choose. One can be born into unlimited wealth and one can be born into gypsy poverty. One can be a buyer and seller of camels in Egypt or a tea merchant in Thailand. We're each one walking our own path, only some of us know it and some don't.

What we do is not what's important. It's how we do it. I enjoy watching a ball game on tv or a race, something where everyone is functioning almost flawlessly and to the max of humanly possible. I like to watch a guy in the outfield run full-tilt, make a flying dive and catch the ball in his glove just before it (and he) hits the ground. I like to see a bullet pass caught at the full extremity of the receiver's flight through the air to grab it out of the air with one hand. I have to respect a guy who can drive 190 on a race track all day in intense heat and noise, win or lose. It seems to me like anything a human can do has the potential to become art. A mechanic who seems to have intuition with motors is an artist. Art is not restricted to galleries and not always made by people who call themselves artists.

Children drawing pictures illustrate how they are feeling inside and the image they see in their mind's eye, putting it together into a story in one picture. A few months back, the Head Start program in Sparta had the kids draw pictures for us at BROC where we give them a certain amount a year for children's books for them, in memory of Homer Reeves. The pictures are now on the wall at the BROC office, all of them. There may be 20 or so. I walk in there and I'm the same as in MoMA in New York. Each one is art itself. It's easy to find the most balanced and happiest kid and it's easy to find the most miserable kid. The ones in between are full of stories the kids could explain with much animation.

Listening to a kid tell the story of a drawing is to my way of seeing, the essence of art. I like to read relationships the kids have with other family members, and themselves in all sorts of ways they see themselves. They tell a story in one picture, and it's spontaneous. It didn't take any period of time to think about it. it started and grew into what it became. Watching a children's movie with kids is fun no matter what the movie is. I can watch them with kids, but not by myself. I tend to see the humor through the kids, who laugh like crazy. Watching Weird Al videos with a half dozen kids is a good laugh. I can't help but admire how he can connect so well with kid humor and make kids roll on the floor laughing.

I found by chance a quotation from HL Mencken yesterday, At eight or nine, I suppose, intelligence is no more than a small spot of light on the floor of a large and murky room. My entire being recoiled when I read that. It told me Mencken didn't pay any attention to kids. I've seen plenty of intelligence in kids that age. They may not have advanced degrees, but it doesn't make them uninteresting.


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