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Saturday, March 1, 2014


a truck load of wood gathered while I was inside writing

Today begins the blogathon I am reluctant to set in motion. I find I would rather sleep, would rather read, would rather make some coffee, would rather feed the cat, would rather watch a movie, would rather just about anything. I find myself in avoidance behavior like I do given an assignment. Time to get out the checkbook and pay bills, I start looking for something else to do. Went to take a nap a little bit ago, because considering the assignment, I wanted to sleep. We are to get a "prompt" daily. Today's prompt was six essay questions. I felt like I was facing a final exam with six questions to answer in three hours. GO.

melvin and gail saw the log
First question: Why do I exist? Only one brief answer enters my mind. Sexual intercourse. I take existence to mean with a physical body in a physical dimension. That's why I exist. A 21 year old guy and 19 year old girl doing what they're supposed to do, got married and had a baby. They were conforming, not long out of conformity training.

done for the day
Second question: What is my purpose on earth? To live my life. That's all I know.

Third question: What is the why behind my creative work? Necessity. It's like a beagle is bred to chase rabbits and finds its fulfillment chasing rabbits. Art has been the only subject of my interest since first memories. I suspect very strongly many past lives an artist. Never had an art class. It was like I already knew how when I started. The high school I went to had an art class, but looking in the doorway at what they were doing, it looked to me like a bunch of silly shit and I didn't want to do silly shit. Growing up I was told "take business administration courses, that's the only way you're gonna make money." I hated business administration class. Failed it because I hated it so much. All the adults in my life were telling me to make money. Money was the only purpose I was given while growing up for a reason to live. Then there was church making adult life look like the worst existence possible. Go to church all the time, never drink, suppress sex, believe stuff nobody in their right mind can fall for, and live in guilt calling it God's will. Parents, public school, church and military all taught the same thing: conform and make money. Forget art, it doesn't make money. All my training to the time I entered college after doing military first was make more money. Ya gotta make money. The kind of work that paid best was the kind that took over your life. I was coming into discovering my life my own and did not want to give it away to making money. When I flunked business administration, I settled with myself that I will never make money. I'll work low paying jobs and live on little. Low paying work does not require that I BE my job. No status, no problem.

Fourth question: What do I want to be remembered for? I suspect I'll be remembered for tuning the people of Alleghany County to their own musical heritage they'd largely forgotten. Had a music store for four years that sold mountain music cds and a radio show for seven years on the local AM station of local and regional music. Helped put together a 4-cd set of musicians from the county. Gave my collection of regional music to the library. Have written some articles for Old-Time Herald magazine concerning local musicians, the most recent a fiddler named Howard Joines. Have worked with people doing field recordings and have done a few. My goal was to set in motion an appreciation that would take a life of its own, which it has done. I paint portraits of local musicians.  I'm known by the mountain people as somebody who came in from the outside and appreciated their way of life and who they are. I'll be remembered by some an asshole and by some a cool dude. How I'm remembered has never entered my mind before today. I have a name for being an artist, so that's probably the first way I'll be remembered. I don't even like to think about post-death, except for the tunnel of light and angels leading the way. The question was what I want to be remembered for. What I'd want would be something like, was good to animals. Anything that happens after the moment of my mortal frame's last breath, I care nothing about, except for my own celestial experience. Some will cry as I have cried in the past losing friends, and some will be glad, as I have been in the past. It's not my concern.

Fifth question: Three or more words why I create art. Art is fun.

melvin, gail, justin
Sixth question: A tshirt message about my purpose or mission creating art. LIGHTNESS IS LIFE.

justin, melvin, gail
That wasn't so hateful. Turned out to be fun by the end. I never ask myself why I exist. Conception happens. Writing the daily blog for almost five years, it has become my daily purpose. Just the writing is the purpose. I don't want to write or make any kind of art with an agenda, attempting to convince somebody of something. I am the anti-commercial. I'm self-taught. Everything I do is the first time. That's what I like about art. Every time is the first time. My friends who hunt speak of hunting the same way. One says hunting is better than sex, because hunting is the first time every time and sex is the same thing over and over. The chrysanthemum is my flower, the late bloomer. This lifetime is a learning lifetime. Learning has been number one since my beginning. In the later part of the life, I'm weaving together what I've learned into my art expressions.
down south


  1. Oh my goodness...First of all I am glad you entered...and enjoyed it by the time you finished...It was fun to read and interesting how much our lives mirror each other...self taught, crappy growing up years, care less for dollars and not wanting a job that requires giving up our self and love for animals...there are many others but those jump out at me in your writing..I laughed when I read how you became...sexual intercourse...that was my first thought when I wrote for this day's blog but was too chicken to write it...didn't want to offend and all that rot..I enjoyed this so much...looking forward to tomorrow and another enjoyable moment when I read your thoughts again...

  2. Love it TJ!!! I love your legacy of music and art and you being you! So glad you continue to write and share your world with us!

  3. I just couldn't stop smiling while I read this blog TJ!!! I adore your approach to life and share many of your views. Love how you tackled these multitudes of prompts. I asked many questions as options, like when you order a pizza. Maybe you only want a cheese pizza (one question) or maybe you want a few toppings (one or more of the questions). Or maybe you just want to go home and make your own dinner. However, you seemed to like wrangling yourself into answering the questions. In future days, just riff off the prompts like a you big time for feeding my soul with your youness.

  4. I loved reading this - raw, real, down to Earth! Thanks for sharing.