Sunday, March 18, 2018

Land of opportunity

I’ve described my life lately as being “insulated.” There is a peace that naturally comes from sleeping during the day, and barely leaving the house until I leave for work again, after dark.

This weekend, I’ve been far more social... I went out with friends and heard 3 different bands play.

I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to connect with people!

Most people said “welcome back!” Even though I’ve been back for 5 months. Almost no one has seen me, because I’ve pretty much been a hermit. I think that was necessary. But now I need to take care of myself, and part of that is socializing outside of work.

At the most unexpected moments, I saw people who seemed genuinely happy to see me, hugging me and telling me how happy they were that I am here.

There is no place else like Grand Marais. There are other small towns... tiny towns. But they usually are not the county seat. They are not usually nestled between a vast body of water and a vast forest.

My brother says Fayetteville NC is large enough to offer a lot to do and small enough to do it all. I disagree. Grand Marais is the land of opportunity.

Life is still personal here. Sure, you have to think outside of the box. But you know what? There is still a lot of unboxed stuff here.

So I spent my weekend hugging, engaging in sincere conversations, and being inspired.

I told a friend that it feels like summer. Or vacation. All it was was a weekend in a dream town called home.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Time

Life is passing by very quickly. I have had a couple people tell me recently that time speeds up as you age. It does seem to do that. But a second is still a second. A minute is still a minute.

I think the balance has shifted. I have more time behind me than I do ahead of me. The teeter totter is angling down.

Other people have said that time doesn’t exist. It is just a social construct we’ve created and maintain to manage events.

It’s easy to chart the events from birth to death on a timeline, and this is useful! But I think it is a construct that we will outgrow.

I’m picturing time as a finished painting, and I can only see one brushstroke now. All that was, still is. All that will be, already is.

Or how about a notebook being written in with a ball point pen. The story is being written in indelible ink, but my body confines me to that one tiny moment of interface between pen and paper. The “present”.

When the paintbrush of my body is put down, I will be able to step back and take in the whole picture.

When I talk to groups of kids, I often ask them whether they believe that I truly am a spaceman, and that I can time travel. The younger kids tend to believe that it is so, the older ones, not so much.

So I note the time at the beginning of my talk, and the time when I finish. We travel through that 10 or 15 minutes together, into the future.

Spaceman? Yes. I come from a planet in the Milky Way galaxy, called the Earth.

This made my day

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

BEST TEXT EVER

Hey Tim - I don't think we've met before but I'm Will Moore, I work with Rhonda at WTIP. I know we just had you on the air, but I recently discovered a strange disc labelled "Flash Meridian" at the thrift store here in town. I found out it's a creation of yours, and has been for a long time. I'm so interested in this! What a cool local project! I'm wondering if I could do a feature on you and Flash Meridian and how it started and evolved over time, the music and the writing, etc. Would you be interested in talking about that? Please let me know!

(from March 29, 2017)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Forgiveness

Sometimes people cross a line that is difficult, if not impossible to step back over. In my battle toward forgiveness (yes, it is a struggle), I am playing tug of war with my instincts for self preservation and comfort. In other words, safety and well being.

If a person lies to you, and then asks your forgiveness, what does that mean? Once trust is shattered, there is no switch on the wall that you can flip and restore things to the way they were. Nor would such a mechanism be wise.

To live is to discover facts about the world around us. Nothing has changed except our awareness. The hot oven rack is still hot. Do not touch it without a pot holder or making sure it has cooled first. The blister, even after it has healed, will remind you to protect yourself.

When you realize a person has lied to you, you no longer have the option of trusting them. It would not make sense.

So what is forgiveness? I’m not sure. Maybe forgiveness is an honest assessment which takes into account a person’s strengths as well as their weaknesses or limitations, and deciding that they are worth wearing an oven mitt.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Acceptance

From an early age, people respected my ability to draw pictures. Or at least they were supportive of my love for drawing.

When I was in Jr. High, I could attract a crowd of other students by drawing animals in the library. They’d call out “can you draw a squirrel?” Or “Draw me a horse!” And I would. Anything they asked for, I drew, and gave them the drawings.

That was my role. The one thing I was good at. That, and making people laugh.

I didn’t think much of it. It came so easy to me. But what a wonderful thing, looking back. I wasn’t good at sports, or math, or English, or paying attention. But I was known as the kid who could draw.

“How do you know where to start?” They asked questions, but I just drew. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how not to.

As I got older, I always drew for fun. For myself. For a friend or two. But I sort of froze up when I tried to do something for a show or “serious art” for a person’s wall.

Expectation killed the fun... Fundamentally changed my approach and my attitude.

I really had to learn to let go. Like when I made art with my brother. There were no rules. There was no judgement or expectation. Just a lot of laughter and joy. Whether we were writing stories or poems, painting our bodies, taking photographs or any other creative whim, we had FUN, and those remain timeless pieces of art.

I think my brother “gets me” in a way that few can. We were right there together in the creative flow, playing and laughing. And this was when we were adults, by the way.

Our Boundary Waters photos were like no one else’s. We can still recite the poems we wrote there.

Eventually, I was able to let go of that baggage and have fun painting in my studio. Especially after my daughter was born.

Acceptance by other people is not something I strive for, as odd as that may sound. If I paint for acceptance, you can be sure no one will like it. So I do me. My fish are in the treetops. Don’t like it? Look somewhere else. Find what you love.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friday, March 09, 2018

Day jobs

I’ve worked so many jobs over the years. Back in 1979 I worked in a nursing home when I was in college. I guess I’ve come full circle on that one. But in between then and now I worked as a summer camp counselor and horsemanship instructor, classroom aide with severely multiply impaired (SXI) children, I worked in commercial heating and cooling, managed a deli, waited tables, I was a Realtor, dispatcher/jailer and barista to name a few. Currently, I am a nurse, artist, photographer and minister.

I think everything I do impacts my writing. This includes my roles as father, grandfather, friend, brother, son... and my hobbies like roasting my own coffee beans and acting. All of those experiences go into the mix, augmenting what comes out.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Motivation

I have an urge to create things, whether they are paintings, written stories, digital art or any other medium.

I create things first for myself. I love the act of creating something. I love to see a painting come together on a blank canvas, or a story or essay appear on a blank page. So the act, or process of making something is very enjoyable, and I like to look at or read what comes out.

That is a good thing, because when I look at the stats on my blog, I see that very few other people look at what I put there, and I’m sure even fewer read what I’ve written.

I’m ok with that! Of course I’d like to have a wider audience, and maybe that will come about in time. Sometimes I think people might discover my writings after I am dead. Better late than never!

I do like to get approval from others, but that, or the lack of it doesn’t make or break me.

What’s really fun, is when someone in the mainstream media picks up on what I’ve done. That is really validating for me.

Chris Casey from the Duluth News Tribune, Jason Davis from ABC Channel 5 in the Twin Cities, Will Moore from WTIP and others have covered my science fiction autobiography, which I’ve been working on for 18 years. I love that, but if approval from others was more important to me, I’d have given up long ago.

I share my work on the World Wide Web because it lets me easily self-publish. I like to share what I’ve done with friends, and it is an opportunity to widen my audience.

I didn’t grow up with social media. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my teacher saw that my two best friends and I were making a little newspaper. He supported us by involving the rest of the class, and “publishing” our project by mimeographing it. I’m doing something similar today through my blogs and my Facebook page.

I don’t think I’m much different than other people. I think we’re all unique, and we’re all similar at the same time. We all have our different talents and motivations.

It seems that people think I’m different. I guess I like to focus on things we have in common.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Spirit

We are all intrinsically spiritual. Our spirit is the real us... the invisible part of us that animates our bodies. It’s the part of us that dreams. The part that wonders and creates. We need the physical part to inform the intangible part, and also to express or translate our thoughts back out into the physical world.

If someone asks what I look like, I might send them a picture of my face. It looks a bit like my father’s face. And my grandfather’s face. But my body is not me. It’s just the vehicle I ride around in. It’s an incredibly complex tool I use to explore the world, and to express my feelings. The real me is unphotographable.

We get a limited time in these bodies... a limited time to use these fingers to hold a paintbrush, these vocal chords to tell a story. So the creative marks I leave on the world are spiritually driven.

Monday, March 05, 2018

winter

I love the winter because it is here. The weather changes, like our moods. It’s just a fact of life. I always thought winter lasted so long here, but it seems to be zipping by.

Last spring I longed for the summer. It came, and it was wonderful. Then it was gone.

Ten night shifts in a row seems long, so I don’t think about it that way. I just try to live in the moment. Next thing I know, I have four nights off.

Seasons and work schedules pass quickly when you’re doing other things.

But these are the seasons of my life. Zipping by.

I have my favorite, but they all have their own beauty.

Maybe on my deathbed, I’ll wish for one more LOOOOOOOONG winter.

coffee

The ephemeral art of coffee. There's something about knowing that I roasted these beans at 9 last night... with friends here... olfactory cells anticipating this morning as the chaff wafted up into my face... and brewed them when I woke up. It's all for that moment when the molecules interface with the cells on your tongue. The taste message is sent to the brain. Yes. The taste is rich and delicious. But again, that knowing... it enhances cooking and makes it art.
For several years, I have been brewing my own espresso at home. I work the night shift, so I want my lattes at about 8 or 9 pm. This year, I am roasting my own coffee beans!

I've always loved coffee. I remember when I was little, my mom would have ladies from the church over from time to time, and when they left the table, I'd go around and drink the dribbles out of the bottom of all the cups.

Years ago, there was no espresso available in Grand Marais. I just wanted a cappuccino! So I bought a commercial espresso machine and opened a coffee shop/art gallery and housed it in my 1948 Great Northern Railway caboose.

My cafe is my own kitchen now.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Me again

I’m me again. Maybe more me than I ever was before.

I never thought I could be so connected to a place. But this is the one place my piece of the puzzle fits.

I actually ceased to be me when I left here (for a short visit to NC in the fall). I thought that move was permanent, and it terrified me. I kept telling my brother, “I want to be me again.”

People ask why I hated NC. At first, I gave long, convoluted answers, until I realized it was because NC is not Grand Marais.

I was traumatized. Still am, from the adventure. But there was a gift. It ripped me open, and since coming home I am oozing with creativity and joy.

As I told my friend today, “I am full of joy. The kind of joy that is always on the verge of tears. I feel very blessed (for lack of a better word). Humbled, grateful, content, fulfilled... HOME.”

I know I’ve been verbose over the past couple of months. I don’t apologize for that. However, I am feeling that it’s time to think about trading the pen for the paintbrush. For awhile.

Same thoughts and feelings. Different medium.