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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

THE CASE POCKET KNIFE


alberto giacometti

The car is running now. I'm keeping the fuse out for awhile to see if it and the dead battery are related. The power antenna is on that fuse, no radio reception. I can live without the noise. It's odd at night with no interior lights. I keep a small flashlight in a pocket. It's like a pocket knife, so handy once I carried one that I take it every time I leave the house. Years ago my neighbor, Allen, mentioned that he never carried a pocket knife. I said something like, if you carry one for a short time, you'll carry one all the time, they're so handy. I noticed about a year ago he's carrying one. Must have tried it. The pocket knife is a good tool. I use it every day. It's a Case Sodbuster, single blade, black handle, stainless steel three-inch blade. For what I want in a pocket knife it's just right. The object itself is a memory of a friend I worked for several years, a true human being. He died by surprise, and I was given his pocket knife. When a friend dies, I ask for something small of no value, a memory. I'd had a few pocket knives up to that time. One was stolen by a guy who came back after taking it, carrying a pint of liquor for me to have a drink with him, I'm the best friend he ever had. I didn't learn til next day that I drank my pocket knife. He sold it and bought some cheap liquor. His brother who then lived in a trailer a short ways down the road told me his wife's wedding ring was missing from on top of the television where she left it. Brother came by to see him with a bottle of liquor to drink with him while praising him up and down as his best brother and best friend. He, too, didn't realize til the next day he drank his wife's wedding ring. Another knife I carried several years I found under the bed liner in a Toyota pickup I'd bought second-hand. It had a 2 3/4 inch blade and a bone handle. It was a good knife for a long time. Then this Case Sodbuster fell into my hand. 

alberto giacometti

I kept the blade sharp, though not razor sharp. A blade too sharp, I cut myself. I cut a finger less frequently using a dullish blade. Carving the bark from rhododendron branches to make walking sticks, I like it razor sharp. I sharpen it on the stone with meticulous care. Carving the bark away is easier with a sharp knife. It gives me insight into why people who work with wood like sharp tools. The sharp blade takes the effort out of carving. None of the walking sticks I carved before are what I want for self. I'm finding walking is simpler with a stick than without. Walked about a half mile today with a new stick carved for myself until it was relaxed in hand and flowed with the rhythm of my steps. Going up and down hills, it makes a third foot. I found the stick I wanted for my own and carved it to what I want in a walking stick. It is comfortable in hand, lightweight and strong as oak. I like the way it walks on the ground, on pavement and gravel. Having a good stick may inspire me to walk more. Walking is not fun anymore. I stay on the pavement, knowing what's in the woods. I don't want to go down the trail to the waterfall and come face to face with a bear, anything, coyote, coywolf, wolf or mountain lion. I have 99% confidence that if I were to come face to face with one of these, I'd be all right. I believe I could handle it, though with wobbly legs. My legs would be so rubbery, so boneless, I wouldn't be able to move. It would take all my focus to stay upright. I don't want the experience. The best way I know to avoid such a fright is to stay out of their territory. I'm happy to have them here, but I won't go in the woods anymore. Hunters I know will not go into the woods without some kind of stopping power, a hunting rifle or a pistol. They know what's in these woods. I've seen photographs of three different bears in the woods across the road. 

alberto giacometti

I keep a box of band-aids readily accessible, though have not yet needed one. I take care with the knife. It has become my friend. Some years ago, I had a fright that I might have lost it. Couldn't find it for a few weeks. Finally, cleaning under the car seat, there it was. I was so happy I promised I'd never lose it again. I'm always aware of it while carrying it like I had $500 in my pocket. It's like my cat Caterpillar, I don't want to lose her either. The knife and I have been a lot of places together. It's been a handy tool hundreds of times. Cut some string, open a box that came in the mail, cut some rubber insulation around a wire, even a screwdriver for tiny screws. Italian/Swiss/French artist, Alberto Giacometti, only used a pocket knife making his sculptures. Before WW2, he was with the Surrealists in Paris. He went to Geneva during the war. All that went before was over. He wanted to find something to do as if no one had ever made any sculpted image before. He carved little one-inch human figures of soap and kept them in a match box. The war over, he returned to Paris and started making his elongated human figures with clay, and his brother, Diego, cast them in bronze. Whenever I see a Giacometti sculpture, I'm in awe that he did it with a pocket knife. He has inspired me in my own making of things, images or objects, to use the simplest method and tools possible. His studio was a small room with a table in the middle that he could walk all the way around. A little room with a small bed and a table lamp was his home. He was the same as a monk to his art. Constantin Brancusi kept his bed in his studio. He, too, was a monk to his art. They were the punk rockers of 20th Century art. Brancusi's studio has been moved to the Pompidou modern art museum in Paris. 

alberto giacometti

I'm discovering so much in my art forms during this time of my life that it really keeps me going when other people my age recline in front of Faux tv and gripe cause ever'thing's wrong and nothin aint right. I was pulled into negative thinking much of my life, until I caught on. It took surrounding self with negative-minded people to such an extent it was more than I could live with. I had to withdraw from that thinking. It's been a long time learning to allow. All the time I believed we had democracy, I felt like it was important to keep up. Now that all our media is propaganda, I don't know where to turn to find what's happening. I've come to take all the news as fiction. I don't care anymore. It's about time. The only place that is important is in here, within. Out there has no relevance to my life. What do I care if Lindsay Graham of South Carolina pledges his allegiance to Netanyahu? I'd rather carve the bark off a walking stick than worry my mind over our fickle "representatives." They turned against us, so I turn against them. The politicians are such huge disappointments, they don't rate my attention. Cops who kill somebody in USA every day don't like it when their one-way war turns into a two-way war. Then it's blame the victim time. Best place for me is to stay home. My home is my studio. I feel like my art is at its beginning. I've always felt like that, every step along the way. Carving walking sticks has been so much fun, I think about a couple of big rhododendron trunks on the ground that have been dead several years. It would take months to carve the bark off them. I see them in my mind's eye smooth white wood the tung oil finish turns to honey gold. Don't know what I'd do with them. They're about eight feet long. I think about bringing them home and leaving them on the ground near the house to study them walking by. I wouldn't want to make something functional of them. Home is where I belong, doing my art, carving my sticks and writing to you. 

alberto giacometti himself


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1 comment:

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