<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td><font color="#FFFFFF"> <script src="/js/jquery.infinitescroll.min.js"></script> <script src="/js/imagesloaded.pkgd.min.js"></script> <style> .encloser { text-align: left; width: 100%; margin: 0 auto; display: table-cell; vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px; padding-left: 15px; font-size: 1.0rem; box-sizing: border-box; } .rightArchive { text-align: left; width: 100px; margin: 0 auto; display: table-cell; vertical-align: top; font-size: 0.8rem; padding-top: 10px; padding-left: 15px; top: 80px; border-left: 1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .33); } .encloser table { margin-right: -10px; margin-left: -10px; } .encloser th { text-align: left; } .encloser td { text-align: left; padding: 0 10px 3px; } .encloser Xtd:first-of-type{ padding-left: 0; } .encloser Xtd:last-of-type{ padding-right: 0; } .encloser figcaption { margin: -1px 0 1px 0; font-size: 0.9rem; opacity: 0.8; font-style: italic; text-align: left; } } .encloser article { padding-bottom: 0; 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} .encloser h5 { font-size: .8rem; } .encloser h6 { font-size: .7rem; } .encloser article div:nth-of-type(1) { font-size: 1.1rem; font-weight: 600; } .encloser article div.postDate { font-size: .8rem; font-weight: 400; margin-bottom: 0.7rem; } .spaceHeight { height: 15px; } @media screen and (max-width: 640px) { .encloser { Xdisplay: block; } .rightArchive { text-align: left; width: 100%; margin: 0 auto; display: block; vertical-align: top; font-size: 0.8rem; padding-top: 20px; border-left: 1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.0); } } @media only screen and (max-width:480px) { /* Force table to not be like tables anymore */ .encloser table, .encloser thead, .encloser tbody, .encloser th, .encloser td, .encloser tr { display: block; } /* Hide table headers (but not display: none;, for accessibility) */ .encloser thead tr { position: absolute; top: -9999px; left: -9999px; } .encloser td { /* Behave like a "row" */ border: none; position: relative; margin: 0 auto; padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; width: 100% !important; } .encloser td:first-of-type{ padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; } .encloser td:last-of-type{ padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; } .contentPageDiv img { max-width:100% !important; height: auto !important; } } </style> <div> <div class="encloser alignLeft" id="encloser"> <!-- Blog Name and subscribe --> <div> <div class="tableCellDisplay"><h1>&quot;Love is short, life is long&quot; blog by Patrick</h1></div> </div> <div id="articles"> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1535" target="_top">&quot;Court&quot;: A Novel</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p><br></p><p> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;COURT:&nbsp;A&nbsp;Novel</p><p><br></p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;by Patrick McCarthy</p><p><br></p><p>A neighborhood tavern, quiet, except for the crackling sounds of Christmas carols on the radio. A garland of twinkling red and green lights hangs over the large mottled mirror behind the bar. The owner, George, is slowly washing some glasses in the sink. It snowed last night, and today the sky is pearly white. </p> <p>The door swings open, setting off a small bell. In walks a man, stamping his feet, knocking off the snow. </p> <p>"Good morning, Paddy." </p> <p>"What's good about it? Coffee, with a shot of Jameson's." The stub of an unlit cigarette clings to the man's lower lip and jiggles when he speaks. A patchy reddish gray beard covers some of his deeply lined face. "Where're those brothers when you need them? They know when to hide from us." </p> <p>"Mike was in here earlier. He didn't make it home last night." </p> <p>"Oh, there'll be hell to pay around his sweet little nest.&nbsp; Makes you glad you're a bachelor.&nbsp; Right?</p> <p>"Glad? No, Paddy, not glad. But no complaints." </p> <p>"So, where's your woman today? I hear you two are taking some time off.</p> <p>"Might be more than a little time.&nbsp; Shes moving to Chicago."</p> <p>Another one will come along, he said, lifting the cup. And thats the problem.</p> <p>&nbsp;Theyre quiet for a few seconds. George begins to wipe the counter with a damp towel. The door suddenly swings open. A hunched figure with a thick scarf around the face, and brown hat pulled down over most of the head, walks in. "Gentlemen!</p> <p>"Well, Freddy!&nbsp; Lets have a look at you. &nbsp;Ah, those heartless wretches. But you look prosperous. Almost."</p> <p>&nbsp;"I can pay the water bill. The rent will have to wait." Freddy pulls a cigar out of his breast pocket, bites off the end, spits it out. "A light, innkeeper!" George fumbles in his pocket and produces a match. "Any one of you seen Markus?" Freddy asks, blowing a smoke ring into the air. </p> <p>They both shake their heads. </p> <p>"I have some news for him. Straight from city hall." </p> <p>"Will he enjoy hearing this bit of news?" </p> <p>"Well see." Freddy coughed and&nbsp;smiled.&nbsp; </p> <p>He stands up and walks to the back, closes the door to the telephone booth, puts a coin in the slot, and dials. </p> <p>"Markus." </p> <p>"Freddy. Merry Christmas, brother." </p> <p>"Same to you." </p> <p>"I was about to call you. I hear you have some news for me." </p> <p>"I do." </p> <p>"Let's hear it." </p> <p>"Are you busy, Markus? Can we meet somewhere?" </p> <p>"Busy? No. Okay, where? The Fat Dog?" </p> <p>"I just left. How about the lobby of the LeClaire?" </p> <p>"I can be there in twenty minutes. Is this about Dave?" </p> <p>"In twenty minutes." </p> <p>He hung up and walked out into the street. The snow swirled and skimmed along the sidewalks that were already shoveled. </p> <p>The man at the front desk glanced at Freddy as he entered the hotel lobby, and seated himself in an armchair. A waiter appeared almost instantly. "Can I get you something, sir?" Freddy shook his head. The waiter retreated. Jim took out a cigar, lit it, and picked up a newspaper and put it on his lap. He was thinking hard, about the risks. About Jen. How was he going to tell her? She'd make a scene. She always did, even for the small shit. Women. </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ___________</p> <p>Then Marcus walked through the turning door. He looked around the lobby and caught his brother's eye.</p> <p>The two men said hello, and stood there for a second, looking at each other.</p> <p>Lets go to the lounge, Markus suggested.</p> <p>They sat in a booth on the left side of the nearly empty room, toward the back.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>Snow already.&nbsp; Jesus.&nbsp; I got stuck once today.&nbsp; Some kids pushed me forward.&nbsp; Nice to see you.&nbsp; You look good, by the way, Markus said, amiably.&nbsp; He unwrapped his scarf and signaled the bartender.</p> <p>Beefeaters and tonic for me.</p> <p>A beer.&nbsp; Whatevers on tap.&nbsp; Just bring it, said Jim.</p> <p>So.&nbsp; Youre acting a little mysterious.&nbsp; Whats happening?&nbsp; I figure its Dave.</p> <p>Why do you keep saying that? Its got nothing to do with Dave.&nbsp; Hes gone, by the way.&nbsp; On vacation.</p> <p>Again?&nbsp; He must either hate it here, or love it somewhere else.&nbsp; Where this time?</p> <p>Florida.&nbsp; With Bruckmann.&nbsp; Hes staying at their winter home in Boca Raton.</p> <p>Those two.&nbsp; Theyre closer than I thought.&nbsp; I guess they grew up together.</p> <p>Freddy sipped his beer, and smoked his cigar.&nbsp; He looked at the table, and his fingernails.&nbsp; </p> <p>Okay.&nbsp; So, not Dave.&nbsp; Whats my news?</p> <p>You were over at the old address a few days ago.&nbsp; </p> <p>Our old home?&nbsp; No.</p> <p>You stopped by and took some photographs.</p> <p>Oh, right.&nbsp; I thought you meant I was at the house itself.&nbsp; I drove down the alley.&nbsp; So what?&nbsp; Whats this about?&nbsp; Are you following me?</p> <p>No.&nbsp; But you were noticed.&nbsp; And they called about it.</p> <p>Someone did . . . what?&nbsp; Who would give a shit?&nbsp; I was in the alley taking a few snapshots.&nbsp; Big deal.&nbsp; Hardly trespassing.&nbsp; Is this what you called me down here for?&nbsp; My photography?</p> <p>You did it twice.</p> <p>What business it that to anyone but me?&nbsp; Yes, once in the afternoon, and once when the sun was going down.&nbsp; I wanted to see how it looked at the magic hour.&nbsp; Its about lighting.&nbsp; You dont understand.&nbsp; So what?&nbsp; Have I broken some obscure law?</p> <p>It really would be better if you left it alone.&nbsp; People get kind of weird about their property.&nbsp; They might get the wrong idea.</p> <p>Markus picked up his drink and took a long swig.&nbsp; He then shook his head slowly and looked across the room.&nbsp; They were silent.</p> <p>What else, Freddy?&nbsp; You arent working?</p> <p>Im always working.</p> <p>I mean they closed the factory.</p> <p>Yeah.&nbsp; And?</p> <p>Nothing.&nbsp; If thats the great news you had to give me, I guess were done here, brother.&nbsp; I really should be going.&nbsp; Say hello to Jen for me.</p> <p>Sure.&nbsp; They rose, paid, and walked to the front door. </p> <p>Marcus was in a sour mood as he drove home.&nbsp; He lived a few blocks away from the high school where he was employed as a science teacher.&nbsp; Biology, chemistry, physics, solid geometry.&nbsp; Hed been there for the last ten years.&nbsp; It was the holidays and he was on vacation for two weeks.</p> <p>Later on, at the end of the meal, he began a conversation with his wife and mother of their daughter.&nbsp; Linda was small, slight, wore glasses.&nbsp; Her short dark hair was parted in the middle.&nbsp; She was a librarian, and recently started at the Carnegie Municipal library downtown, after they closed the North Branch. &nbsp;Theyd cut back on her days at the main library. </p> <p>I just had the most ridiculous talk with Freddy.</p> <p>I knew something was bothering you.</p> <p>I think he may be losing his mind.&nbsp; He told me I shouldnt be taking pictures of our old house.&nbsp; The one on Elmwood.&nbsp; He must have been following me in his car, but I didnt notice.&nbsp; You know, I just thought of something.&nbsp; Hes jealous of my photography.&nbsp; Thats it.&nbsp; Can you believe it!</p> <p>Why would he be jealous of your photography?&nbsp; He liked the Christmas card you sent.&nbsp; Jen told me he did.</p> <p>Oh, she was lying.&nbsp; Freddy hates my little talent for photography.&nbsp; Hes always hated it, even when we were kids.&nbsp; When dad bought me my first camera Freddy broke it. &nbsp;He always wanted to impress dad who was a pretty good photographer but Freddy was lousy at it.&nbsp; Hes jealous.&nbsp; Because he doesnt have any talent.</p> <p>But he made those nice ads.&nbsp; Hes got a flair for that.</p> <p>God!&nbsp; Dont talk about those stupid ads.&nbsp; It nearly cost me my job.&nbsp; The principal was furious.&nbsp; Freddy talked them into these ads that they never needed.&nbsp; Shot the whole school budget for a semester.&nbsp; Why does a high school need ads? </p> <p>Markus went to the window as Linda cleared the table.&nbsp; He stood there with his hands in his pockets leaning his forehead against the cold glass.&nbsp; </p> <p>Jealous.&nbsp; He wasnt that pleased at the way Linda received the news.&nbsp; She could have been jealous, too, of his talent, but she wasnt.&nbsp; She didnt have that much respect for it.&nbsp; He could tell.&nbsp; People didnt care.&nbsp; Especially most of his students.&nbsp; Not all of them.&nbsp; One or two were smart, and even surprised him.&nbsp; But the rest were hopeless.&nbsp; Without even the slightest sense of logic.&nbsp; No feeling for making any kind of valid deductions.&nbsp; What a generation.&nbsp; He dreaded the next semester starting up so soon. </p> <p>The snow continued softly falling.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _________</p> <p>Freddy took out a scrap of paper and as he looked at the numbers and dialed the phone.&nbsp; It rang for a few extra times.</p> <p>A woman answered.</p> <p>Is Dave OKerry there.&nbsp; This is his brother.</p> <p>Hold on.&nbsp; Ill get him.&nbsp; Dave!&nbsp; Its for you!</p> <p>Dave, its Freddy?</p> <p>Gimme a second.&nbsp; Im going into a different room.&nbsp; Okay.&nbsp; Anything happening?</p> <p>No.&nbsp; I had a talk with Marcus.</p> <p>Howd that go?</p> <p>He was fucking baffled.&nbsp; I did my best.&nbsp; I dont think hell be a problem.</p> <p>Okay.&nbsp; How about those other leads.</p> <p>Still working on it.&nbsp; People are too busy celebrating.</p> <p>Well, keep at it.&nbsp; And dont call again until you have something.&nbsp; Ill be back in a week.</p> <p>All right.&nbsp; Bye.</p> <p>Freddy hung up the receiver and sat for a few seconds.&nbsp; Slumping down.&nbsp; Stroking his jaw.&nbsp; He put his hand on the phone, and then removed it.&nbsp; Better not to call.&nbsp; She probably wasnt home.&nbsp; After patting his coat pockets he realized he was out of cigars.&nbsp; He knew it before touching his last pocket, but it was something automatic.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ___________</p> <p>George was gazing out the window of the tavern.&nbsp; He wondered if this was such a good idea.&nbsp; Being the owner of Fat Dog.&nbsp; It used to be called Donahues, after the name of the previous owner.&nbsp; Frank Donahue was dead. &nbsp;&nbsp;He was well-liked.&nbsp; By certain types.&nbsp; George wasnt one of them.</p> <p>People still called it Donahues even though it had a new name.&nbsp; More up to date.&nbsp; Hoping to attract a younger crowd.&nbsp; Some of them stopped by, but not that many.&nbsp; Or that often.&nbsp; George was hoping for a few good nights over the holidays.&nbsp; The bar had been a bar for almost a hundred years.&nbsp; So it wasnt likely to fail.&nbsp; Not during his tenure.&nbsp; But neither was it thriving.&nbsp; Getting by.&nbsp; Yes.&nbsp; </p> <p>George bought the place with the money he got from the inheritance when his mother died. And Dave also helped a little.&nbsp; Kicked in a few thousand.&nbsp; It was at least better than working for someone else.&nbsp; Better than being a night watchman.&nbsp; Or working the floor at a department store.&nbsp; He did those things for several years.&nbsp; Ever since the band broke up.&nbsp; </p> <p>He saw two women walk by.&nbsp; They were coming in.&nbsp; It was Brigitte, his sister.&nbsp; And someone else.&nbsp; </p> <p>Merry Christmas, George! Brigitte said happily, giving him a hug and a peck on the cheek.&nbsp; We brought you something.&nbsp; She handed him a package.&nbsp; </p> <p>You shouldnt have done that.&nbsp; I didnt get anyone presents this year.</p> <p>Oh, stop.&nbsp; Id like you to meet Carol. </p> <p>George and Carol shook hands.&nbsp; She was about the same age as the man.&nbsp; Tall, with brown hair in bangs.&nbsp; Wearing jeans and a heavy coat.</p> <p>Would you like something?&nbsp; Its on the house.</p> <p>Dont be silly.&nbsp; Yes, Id like a seven and seven.&nbsp; Its the holidays!&nbsp; What about you, Carol?&nbsp; Im paying.</p> <p>Ill have one, too.&nbsp; Is the ladies room back there, George?</p> <p>On your right.&nbsp; Just keep going.&nbsp; Thats it.</p> <p>Well, what do you think?</p> <p>About what?</p> <p>About Carol.</p> <p>She seems nice.&nbsp; Good hair.</p> <p>She said she once bartended for almost a year.</p> <p>Oh, I get it.&nbsp; Shes looking for a job?&nbsp; I really cant afford to hire anyone.</p> <p>I told her about you.&nbsp; And showed her your picture.&nbsp; She said youre handsome.</p> <p>Brigitte, Brigitte.&nbsp; I suppose you heard about Sandra.&nbsp; She might be moving to Chicago.&nbsp; But how would you have heard?&nbsp; She only decided a few days ago.</p> <p>News travels fast.&nbsp; Good or bad news. &nbsp;But we all liked Sandra.&nbsp; We really did. Carol gets a decent chunk of money from her ex-husband.&nbsp; He seems like a real lout, but at least he keeps up with monthly payments.&nbsp; They have a son, who lives mostly with her.&nbsp; You could pay her a little and shed make the rest on tips.</p> <p>Let me think about it.&nbsp; Did she say she wanted to work here?</p> <p>In as many words.</p> <p>So, shes one of your cases?</p> <p>Yes.&nbsp; Ill tell you about it later.</p> <p>Carol returned and George served them their mixed drinks.&nbsp; Brigitte was the only sister in a family of six brothers.&nbsp; She was a social worker.&nbsp; Married to Eddy, who had an electrical supply business.&nbsp; It seemed like a good marriage.&nbsp; They never fought, at least not in front of anyone.&nbsp; Now and then she complained, but not bitterly.&nbsp; Just the usual stuff you hear all the time.&nbsp; They didnt have any children.&nbsp; </p> <p>Brigitte still looked young for her age.&nbsp; The brothers agreed that their sister was an attractive woman.&nbsp; It made them a little proud.&nbsp; They treated her well without doing anything that cost them, either in time or money.&nbsp; </p> <p>The women sat down on the barstools, after plugging the jukebox.&nbsp; A few mellow oldie songs.&nbsp; </p> <p>So have your brothers come in lately?</p> <p>Yeah, you just missed Paddy.&nbsp;&nbsp; Mike and Freddy were here earlier.</p> <p>Has Freddy gotten a job yet?&nbsp; I know he was looking.</p> <p>I dont think so.&nbsp; He smiled at Carol.</p> <p>Ed had to lay someone off.&nbsp; It broke his heart.&nbsp; A man whos been with him for eight years.&nbsp; But thingsll pick up.&nbsp; Was the place crowded last night?</p> <p>Not crowded, but full.</p> <p>Good.&nbsp; Freddy says you need to advertise more.&nbsp; Was he in an okay mood?&nbsp; Jen is worried.</p> <p>Yeah, he was.&nbsp; Cant really say why.&nbsp; He strode in here like he owned the joint.&nbsp; You know how he gets.</p> <p>Oh, dont I!&nbsp; Then he must have gotten an offer.</p> <p>Actually, I think it might have something to do with Dave.</p> <p>Oh, no! &nbsp;Not that again.&nbsp; They arent involved in any kind of business deal, are they?</p> <p>I really dont know.&nbsp; Maybe . . . </p> <p>Oh, God.&nbsp; Havent they learned by now?&nbsp; Excuse us, Brigitte turned to Carol.&nbsp; Family matters.&nbsp; Youll meet them all soon.&nbsp; Theyre not buying houses again, are they?</p> <p>Like I said, I really dont know.&nbsp; Just acting odd.&nbsp; Freddy, at least.&nbsp; Very breezy.&nbsp; Expansive.&nbsp; You know what I mean.&nbsp; </p> <p>I feel sick.&nbsp; Sorry. Brigitte took a deep breath.&nbsp; </p> <p>The two others leaned forward, offering help.&nbsp; </p> <p>You all right? George asked.</p> <p>Yes.&nbsp; Fine.&nbsp; Sorry.&nbsp; Bad memories.&nbsp; Anyway, go on.&nbsp; No, really.&nbsp; Im fine. Fine!&nbsp; And you said Mike was here?&nbsp; But I thought he hardly ever came in.</p> <p>He doesnt.&nbsp; But right when I was opening up Mike was waiting on the sidewalk.</p> <p>Before you opened?&nbsp; That is unusual.&nbsp; He must have had an early appointment.</p> <p>Well.&nbsp; Yeah, probably.&nbsp; Matt rearranged the glasses on the counter.&nbsp; </p> <p>So he didnt have an appointment.&nbsp; What did he want?</p> <p>A cup of coffee.&nbsp; He only stayed for a few minutes.&nbsp; Looked a little disheveled.</p> <p>Mike? Brigitte turned to Carol.&nbsp; Youre going to get a strange idea about our family.&nbsp; Nothing like we are.&nbsp; Youll see.</p> <p>I have brothers, she said, taking a sip from her drink.&nbsp; I understand.</p> <p>And Paddy.&nbsp; Of course.&nbsp; I hear hes a regular.&nbsp; Youll love Paddy.&nbsp; Wont she, George?&nbsp; Hes the oldest brother.&nbsp; He has a carpentry business on Maple street.&nbsp; It was a coach house and he made it into his workshop.&nbsp; Hes a bohemian, isnt he, George.&nbsp; Thats what mom always said.&nbsp; Hes fixing our dining room table.&nbsp; A leg needed to be replaced.&nbsp; I invited him for Christmas dinner but he said he was going somewhere else.&nbsp; Im not sure he did.&nbsp; Do you know if Paddy had dinner with anyone?</p> <p>I think he probably stayed home.&nbsp; He likes it better that way.&nbsp; No pressure.</p> <p>I suppose so.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _______________</p> <p>After the women left George went outside and looked at the brick building. His brick building. &nbsp;It was built in 1874. &nbsp;There was a stone right under the roof in the center of the face with the date on it. When he bought the place they had to go to the records department at city hall and do some research.&nbsp; It was always a tavern.&nbsp; </p> <p>This part of the city is called The Village. Its right on the river, and began when the nearby park was originally a civil war encampment.&nbsp; </p> <p>George tried to imagine the scenes from those days.&nbsp; One old-timer told him about the whorehouses that used to be here.&nbsp; There were one or two of them that were still open until around the time of World War 2.&nbsp; Maybe his dad knew of them.&nbsp; But if he did he wouldnt have mentioned them to his sons.&nbsp; </p> <p>His dad probably wouldnt have been that happy to see one of his sons the owner of a tavern.&nbsp; After all, grandpa OKerry drank too much.&nbsp; And so did his uncles, who he never knew.&nbsp; He never heard anything about his aunts.&nbsp; Anything malicious, that is.&nbsp; Except that they werent that attentive as mothers.&nbsp; They spent their afternoons playing cards with grandma OKerry who lived in a large house. &nbsp;It was still there, up on a hill in the west end. </p> <p>What was it mom used to say?&nbsp; The OKerrys went from rags to riches to rags again. &nbsp;And she threw back her head and laughed.&nbsp; He could still hear her noisy laughter, and imagine how she looked.&nbsp; Mom acted as if shed invented that little quip.&nbsp; But she hadnt.&nbsp; It must have come from a movie.&nbsp; Or a book.&nbsp; </p> <p>But mom was clever, just the same.&nbsp; He even missed their talks.&nbsp; Not really missed in any painful way.&nbsp; He wondered if he was going to miss Sandra.&nbsp; Maybe for a little while.&nbsp; But he wouldnt lose any sleep over her.</p> <p>Then he turned and looked at the river.&nbsp; It was frozen at this time of the year.&nbsp; A few cars passed along River Drive.&nbsp; Traffic was slow today.&nbsp; As if the entire city was hibernating.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _______</p> <p>The phone rang.&nbsp; He stared at it.&nbsp; Then reluctantly picked up the receiver.&nbsp; </p> <p>Hello.&nbsp; Sullen.</p> <p>Mike.&nbsp; This is your sister.</p> <p>Oh, hello, Brigitte.&nbsp; Im just walking out the door.&nbsp; Is it anything important?&nbsp; I can call you later.</p> <p>No. &nbsp;Nothing really.&nbsp; I just wondered how youre doing.&nbsp; And wanted to wish you Merry Christmas.</p> <p>Same to you, Brigitte.&nbsp; And sorry that I havent been by lately.&nbsp; But I can call you later. In a bit of a rush.</p> <p>Okay.&nbsp; I was at Georges and he said he saw you earlier.</p> <p>Yes.&nbsp; Anyway.&nbsp; Talk to you later.</p> <p>God almighty!&nbsp; Such blabbermouths.&nbsp; Our family.&nbsp; Cant they keep anything to themselves.&nbsp; Jesus Christ! &nbsp;He sighed heavily and stared at the ceiling.&nbsp; Then he left the office, closed the door, locking it, and walked down the hall to the mens room.&nbsp; </p> <p>He looked in the mirror as he splashed water on his face and ran a comb through his hair.&nbsp; It was no use trying to smooth his shirt.&nbsp; But the tie was passable.&nbsp; He pulled it tighter.&nbsp; I look like Ive slept in these clothes, he whispered to himself.&nbsp; It was because he did.&nbsp; He sniffed the arm of his suit coat.&nbsp; It smelled like the girls cheap perfume.&nbsp; There was no way of getting rid of it. </p> <p>A crazy, stupid night.&nbsp; So out of character.&nbsp; God almighty.&nbsp; Now, to face the music.&nbsp; Susan.&nbsp; Impossible to hide anything from her.&nbsp; She had a sixth, no, a seventh, or eighth, sense.&nbsp; X-ray vision.&nbsp; Clairvoyant.&nbsp; He felt like heaving.&nbsp; </p> <p>He drove home slowly and parked at the curb.&nbsp; The driveway was still un-shoveled.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dad!&nbsp; Mom was worried.&nbsp; Is everything all right?&nbsp; Marylou asked.&nbsp; She was sixteen. </p> <p>Fine, sweetheart.&nbsp; He removed his coat placing it over his arm.</p> <p>Susan was in the living room.&nbsp; He could smell food cooking in the kitchen.&nbsp; The television was on.&nbsp; </p> <p>He went over and kissed her on the side of the face.&nbsp; </p> <p>So nothing happened?&nbsp; He never showed up?</p> <p>No.&nbsp; It all passed uneventfully.&nbsp; God, Im tired.&nbsp; And I could use a shower.&nbsp; He went to the stairs.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dinner was grim.&nbsp; Tense.&nbsp; He answered Susans questions monosyllabically. </p> <p>Did you bring your sidearm with you?</p> <p>Yes.&nbsp; Why did she like to call it a sidearm?&nbsp; She had the oddest vocabulary.&nbsp; He never corrected her no matter what she said.&nbsp; </p> <p>And later.&nbsp; Hell have to go back to prison.&nbsp; Those threats are enough to cancel his parole.</p> <p>Right.</p> <p>He rose from the table without having any dessert.&nbsp; It wasnt his favorite, anyway.&nbsp; Neapolitan ice cream.&nbsp; </p> <p>In the bedroom he answered more questions.&nbsp; He didnt want to talk about it, but he tried not to make it obvious.&nbsp; He spoke about the boy friend at length, about his criminal past, the time in prison, the abuse.&nbsp; </p> <p>He didnt spend much time on the girl.&nbsp; He kept referring to her as the hysterical woman.&nbsp; She was actually just out of her teens.&nbsp; Around twenty-two.&nbsp; About what a mess she was.&nbsp; Frightening!&nbsp; But nothing more. &nbsp;Clamming up. &nbsp;</p> <p>He could still smell her perfume even after scrubbing his naked body over and over.&nbsp; He wished he could sleep somewhere else tonight.&nbsp; At home, but downstairs on the couch.&nbsp; It was embarrassing --- that pungent smell.&nbsp; So adhesive.&nbsp; Itll go away soon enough.&nbsp; He hoped, but, strangely, not too soon.&nbsp; Tomorrow Ill be able to smell it in peace, he thought, as he drifted off to sleep.</p> <p>He woke early, dressed quickly, and skipped breakfast.&nbsp; He struggled to behave like he always behaved, but it was difficult.&nbsp; </p> <p>Why?&nbsp; And why was it necessary to not vary his pattern?&nbsp; He was angry with himself.&nbsp; And even angrier when he realized he was angry.&nbsp; It was absurd.&nbsp; He had nothing to hide.&nbsp; Nothing to apologize for.&nbsp; He did nothing wrong.&nbsp; Not a single thing!</p> <p>But he hurried out of the house a few minutes before he normally did.&nbsp; And drove away a bit faster than usual.&nbsp; Just the smallest amount of variation.&nbsp; Virtually undetectable.&nbsp; So he imagined.</p> <p>Instead of going directly downtown he ambled along the river.&nbsp; He considered stopping at the Fat Dog, but immediately dismissed it.&nbsp; </p> <p>What was the point of explaining anything to any of his brothers.&nbsp; They all had such big mouths, combined with a sarcastic streak.&nbsp; Especially Paddy and Dave.&nbsp; Freddy?&nbsp; Well, him, too.&nbsp; </p> <p>Why was he feeling so&hellip;guilty? Guilty, but absolutely innocent.&nbsp; He had nothing to bring up against himself.&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet, he had this other side.&nbsp; A shadowy, neglected side.&nbsp; It was part of him. It couldnt be denied.&nbsp; Or destroyed.&nbsp; It tagged along.&nbsp; At the remote edges.&nbsp; It was better to admit its existence. </p> <p>He had spent the night at this girls apartment.&nbsp; Just spent the night.&nbsp; Nothing more than that.&nbsp; At Sherries apartment.&nbsp; </p> <p>What a name: Sherrie.&nbsp; It sounded so low-class.&nbsp; Nearly the lowest class. There might have been a Sherrie in high school but he didnt remember her.&nbsp; </p> <p>And how she talked.&nbsp; It went on for hours.&nbsp; Prattling away.&nbsp; Until three in the morning.&nbsp; And --- this was the puzzling part --- it didnt bore him.&nbsp; He didnt listen, but he vaguely followed her monologue.&nbsp; He liked watching her expressions when she described her life.&nbsp; </p> <p>But no touching.&nbsp; None.&nbsp; Except for a friendly pat on the shoulder when he left.&nbsp; </p> <p>He was a faithful man.&nbsp; A real husband.&nbsp; Okay, if he was honest with himself, he might have liked touching her. Even more than that.&nbsp; But he didnt.&nbsp; That was the difference.&nbsp; He was better than that.</p> <p>To want to do something questionable was all right, but to not do it  that was the important thing.&nbsp; </p> <p>You couldnt blame yourself for wanting.&nbsp; Only for doing.&nbsp; If people understood that, and lived up to it, the jails would be empty.&nbsp; And hed be out of a job.</p> <p>Mike was a cop.&nbsp; A parole officer.&nbsp; &nbsp;It was busy work.&nbsp; He covered the city and some of the county.&nbsp; He had a partner, but Don was on vacation, along with Gayle, who handled the female cases.&nbsp; There werent as many of those.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>He sat down in his office and opened the file on Sherries boy friend, Victor Ramirez.&nbsp; A lost list of offenses, starting before he was twelve.&nbsp; Burglary, auto theft, forged checks.&nbsp; And two assaults.&nbsp; Both on women.&nbsp; </p> <p>Victor was scheduled for a visit in less than two weeks.&nbsp; Mike thought about calling him in, but it could wait.&nbsp; The boy friends phone calls to Sherrie were very obnoxious.&nbsp; There were about six of them, one after the other.&nbsp; But he never showed up at the apartment.</p> <p>Sherrie.&nbsp; She stuck up for herself.&nbsp; Fought back.&nbsp; Mike was sort of impressed.&nbsp; They had originally come to the office together.&nbsp; The young man seemed quiet and non-confrontational.&nbsp; But he must have a temper.&nbsp; Mexican. Hot blood.</p> <p>She made up a bed for him on the couch.&nbsp; Brought out a blanket that was new and clean.&nbsp; And a pillow for his head.&nbsp; She almost tucked him in.&nbsp; Then tiptoed into her bedroom.&nbsp; Turning off the lights. Mike had a hard time falling asleep in spite of the hour.&nbsp; It was a restless night.&nbsp; With his eyes wide open.&nbsp; The phone calls from Victor had stopped.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ____________</p> <p>&nbsp; Freddy rang the doorbell.&nbsp; It opened in a few moments.</p> <p>&nbsp;Dave nodded to his brother, and walked away.&nbsp; Freddy followed him inside.&nbsp; They went into the den and closed the door.</p> <p>Wheres Betsy, Freddy asked.</p> <p>Visiting her mom in Minneapolis.</p> <p>For long?</p> <p>&nbsp;About a week.&nbsp; Okay, so lets go over it.&nbsp; If you want anything its in the fridge?</p> <p>Im good.&nbsp; You have a tan.&nbsp; How was the weather in Florida?</p> <p>Hot.&nbsp; So, she agreed to everything?</p> <p>Absolutely.</p> <p>You didnt go off script?</p> <p>Dave, I did just what we agreed on, and nothing more.</p> <p>No free-wheeling additions.&nbsp; Its not that kind of thing.&nbsp; Just tell me, if you did.</p> <p>Dave.&nbsp; I already told you.&nbsp; Youre going to have to trust me, brother.&nbsp; Im not a child.&nbsp; I handled it perfectly.&nbsp; Youll be pleased.&nbsp; And you can forget about the deadline.&nbsp; There isnt any.</p> <p>Thats good.&nbsp; At least itll be our deadline.&nbsp; Not hers.&nbsp; And youre sure about the letters.&nbsp; Its really important.</p> <p>Completely.&nbsp; But even if there were itd still be okay.</p> <p>How so?</p> <p>After were finished, itll be over.&nbsp; Were now at the easy part.</p> <p>The easy part. Dave paused and looked out the window. I dont like the sound of that.&nbsp; Its never as easy as it looks.&nbsp; For most things.</p> <p>I can guarantee you, Dave.&nbsp; The hard part is done, and double-done.&nbsp; I know what Im talking about.</p> <p>Were going to have to include a few of them.</p> <p>Who?</p> <p>Paddy.&nbsp; I know.&nbsp; The worst of them.&nbsp; As far as his fucking talk goes.&nbsp; Hes never learned when to shut up.</p> <p>But no one else.</p> <p>Possibly Mike.</p> <p>Mike?&nbsp; What for?&nbsp; I dont see it.&nbsp; Really unnecessary, Dave.</p> <p>No.&nbsp; It cant be avoided.&nbsp; Youre going to have to talk with him, but without letting him know what its about.&nbsp; Its going to take some thought.</p> <p>If you say so. Freddy shrugged.&nbsp; Im sure I can handle it.</p> <p>Yeah, youre doing great, brother.&nbsp; But lets keep it quiet, okay?&nbsp; You sometimes have this tendency to draw too much attention to yourself.</p> <p>What the fuck do you mean by that?</p> <p>The other day.&nbsp; At the Fat Dog.&nbsp; Marching in there acting a little too pleased.&nbsp; Not good.</p> <p>I dont know who said that, but theyre full of shit.&nbsp; I was just being myself.&nbsp; A little merrier, maybe.</p> <p>Thats what bothers me.&nbsp; Like those cigars.&nbsp; And that shirt.</p> <p>What the fuck is wrong with you?&nbsp; My shirt?&nbsp; Its pure silk.</p> <p>Its loud.</p> <p>Oh, fuck you, Dave.&nbsp; Take a look in the mirror.&nbsp; You look like a priest on holiday.</p> <p>Just tone it down.&nbsp; For a month or two.&nbsp; Thats all I ask.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; __________</p> <p>After Freddy left Dave sank into his leather armchair.&nbsp; He wondered about Freddy.&nbsp; If it was such a smart idea to have told him about the situation.&nbsp; He might have been able to handle it by himself.&nbsp; But it was not his bag of tricks.&nbsp; And Freddy was the most . . . he couldnt find the right word. Unscrupulous?&nbsp; Flexible?&nbsp; He left it at that.&nbsp; Lets say, the one who would have been least shocked.&nbsp; And he was.&nbsp; In fact he took it well.&nbsp; Better than Dave would have thought possible.&nbsp; He was expecting Freddys jaw to drop to the floor.&nbsp; Not at all.&nbsp; Just a kind of mirthless laugh.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dave was the most successful family member.&nbsp; If you were to judge by money alone.&nbsp; He lived in the best house on the best street of anyone in his clan.&nbsp; Broad-shouldered, with a fit body, and gray-blue eyes.&nbsp; A tough guy.&nbsp; The most conventionally intimidating of the brothers.&nbsp; His business had brought him into contact with the rough-and-tumble world of the heavy construction industry. </p> <p>He did all right there.&nbsp; For a while.&nbsp; At the tail end of the OKerry company era.&nbsp; Dave was basically on his own, without the backing of a really strong support system. The cousins and uncles were not his type.&nbsp; He hated working with them.&nbsp; And they had no love for him.&nbsp; He eventually had to look elsewhere. </p> <p>He now worked for the city.&nbsp; Heading the public works department. </p> <p>But he still had dreams of starting his own company again.&nbsp; Even if those dreams faded a little more each year.&nbsp; </p> <p>He wanted to restore the familys position.&nbsp; He was fond of status.&nbsp; The city didnt look down on the OKerrys, nor did it put them on a pedestal.&nbsp; They were being ignored.&nbsp; It pained him to see his brothers and sister struggling.&nbsp; They should have been sitting pretty by now.&nbsp; It all happened quickly and was very disillusioning.&nbsp; </p> <p>Everything seemed to be going swimmingly but then their father suddenly had a massive heart attack and died.&nbsp; It all went south after that.&nbsp; Almost like a heavy vase falling on a marble floor and shattering.&nbsp; </p> <p>The company, first established by their grandfather OKerry, had flourished for three generations, covering nearly a century.&nbsp; But somehow it had reached the end of its reign.&nbsp; </p> <p>After Aloysius Al OKerry, their father, died, no one was prepared to take the helm.&nbsp; A cousin was put in charge and it was soon apparent that he was in over his head.&nbsp; After five years they went bankrupt, sold everything, and that was that.&nbsp; Finito.&nbsp; Kaput.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dave was thrown by this.&nbsp; He hadnt seen it coming.&nbsp; But he somehow landed upright.&nbsp; The transition from the part owner of a family business to a city employee was easy enough, and he felt better almost at once.&nbsp; Not as much weight on his shoulders.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dave was glad he had a friend in Kent Bruckner.&nbsp; Not exactly a friend, but someone who seem to think along the same lines.&nbsp; None of his brothers wanted anything to do with the construction racket.&nbsp; Dave was the only one with a taste for it.&nbsp; Kent came from the same type of family, though.&nbsp; It made it easier to get along with him.&nbsp; </p> <p>Their families also went way back.&nbsp; Both grandfathers were immigrants, and both did well in America.&nbsp; The Bruckner family was from Germany, and the OKerrys were, of course, from Ireland.&nbsp; But the cultures got along in the New World.&nbsp; Better than others.&nbsp; Better than most.&nbsp; They supplied what the other lacked.&nbsp; In many cases.&nbsp; </p> <p>The Bruckners owned a successful construction company.&nbsp; Bruckner Engineering.&nbsp; For many decades it was the main competitor of OKerry Building Company.&nbsp; They fought it out over the area contracts.&nbsp; They were seen as bitter rivals.&nbsp; Two titans battling it out in statewide field of play.&nbsp; </p> <p>But it wasnt quite as it seemed.&nbsp; After locking horns for about ten years they got together and became more co-operative.&nbsp; They began to share information.&nbsp; This practice was never that acceptable to the government, who mainly dished out the work, overseeing the bids.&nbsp; They knew it went on, but kept an eye on the two companies.&nbsp; Saw to it that it didnt get out of hand.&nbsp; Made sure that the projects were priced fairly.&nbsp; That the taxpayers werent getting screwed on their four-lane highways, bridges, and levees.&nbsp; </p> <p>Eventually the OKerrys threw in the towel.&nbsp; The Bruckners now had their way free and clear.&nbsp; Kent went in for politics and, after a few years as alderman, ran for mayor.&nbsp; He won and around that time he and Dave became closer.&nbsp; Even a kind loose business relationship began.&nbsp; Kents brother ran the highway construction company while it left him free to consider other options.&nbsp; </p> <p>Dave suggested condominiums.&nbsp; Converting old downtown buildings, tearing down others, and building new ones in their place.&nbsp; Commercial property prices were at an all-time low.&nbsp; The downtown was hurting.&nbsp; The time was ripe for revitalization.&nbsp; They went to work.&nbsp; A few condos were completed and the units sold fairly rapidly, at decent prices.&nbsp; They made some money.&nbsp; Not a ton, but enough to keep the idea going.&nbsp; </p> <p>Things were looking up.&nbsp; The horizon looked less gray and flat.&nbsp; Dave was beginning to regain his old enthusiasm for life.</p> <p>But thats when the letters arrived.&nbsp; </p> <p>A real spider in the stew.&nbsp; At just the wrong time.&nbsp; A nasty, black spider.&nbsp; </p> <p>Life was cruel.&nbsp; A real shit sandwich.&nbsp; Dave was forced to act.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _______________________</p> <p>&nbsp; Freddy drove away from his brothers house.&nbsp; The street was slick and he almost slid into a parked car.&nbsp; He was thinking of too many things at once.&nbsp; Dave was being a bit of a prick.&nbsp; But you couldnt really blame him.&nbsp; </p> <p>Freddy was not the worrying type.&nbsp; Not like Dave.&nbsp; Or a few others.&nbsp; Even when the factory shut down it didnt trouble him.&nbsp; He was glad.&nbsp; That place was a fucking dump.&nbsp; Hed be happy to see it go up in flames. </p> <p>One less smokestack to puncture the skyline.&nbsp; So primitive.&nbsp; The rust belt just got rustier. The end of a golden period all right.&nbsp; No robber barons left in this town.&nbsp; Should have put them all up against a wall and mowed them down.&nbsp; Machine gun style.&nbsp; Not that he was a radical, or a commie.&nbsp; Not like Paddy.&nbsp; Or at least the way Paddy often talked.&nbsp; </p> <p>He stopped for smokes.&nbsp; A few more cigars.&nbsp; In spite of what Dave thinks.&nbsp; Fuck him.&nbsp; The guy has the morals of a gnat.&nbsp; But at least he knew where to turn.&nbsp; Freddy had a right to congratulate himself.&nbsp; Fuckin A!&nbsp; </p> <p>He drove to his new business.&nbsp; Really, just an empty office on the third floor. Rent was a joke.&nbsp; Hardly made a dent in his workers comp.&nbsp; Not planning to live on that, however.&nbsp; Itll run out in a few months.&nbsp; Hell have something going by then.&nbsp; Plus the money from Dave helps.&nbsp; He put it in a safety deposit box.&nbsp; Told the bank not to send anything to him in the mail.&nbsp; Hed stop by and pick up his monthly statements.&nbsp; Hed decided on opening a new checking account at the bank down the street.&nbsp; </p> <p>He sat down on a wooden chair in the corner of the small room.&nbsp; Hed have to buy a desk soon, or take the one from the basement of his home.&nbsp; And a telephone.&nbsp; They said theyd have the service up by next week.&nbsp; Until then there was always payphones.&nbsp; The ones he liked best were in warm, private nooks.&nbsp; The one at the Fat Dog was good, except for the nosy people always nearby.&nbsp; </p> <p>The office was a perfect excuse for not going back home.&nbsp; It was all-night access, too.&nbsp; He could put in a couch.&nbsp; Just enough room.&nbsp; Couch, desk, chair.&nbsp; And open for business.&nbsp; Also a shingle outside the frosted glass door.&nbsp; </p> <p>Jens already a little upset.&nbsp; Not only due to the layoff, either.&nbsp; Women can always smell the presence of another female.&nbsp; How is that possible?&nbsp; Did he smell the presence of another man sniffing around Jen.&nbsp; Not once.&nbsp; Never.&nbsp; </p> <p>She could get away with murder if she felt like it.&nbsp; Come to think of it not a bad idea.&nbsp; Not homicide.&nbsp; Rather a new man for Jen.&nbsp; Itd make it easier for her when he packed and said adios.&nbsp; </p> <p>Thankfully she had that gig with the dentist.&nbsp; People always needed their teeth fixed.&nbsp; Shell probably stay there for at least another twenty years.&nbsp; Freddy wondered if his wife had anything going with Dr. Barton.&nbsp; He sometimes looked like an old rake.&nbsp; Nah.&nbsp; Hed be able to pick up on the cues.&nbsp; Jen was still okay looking.&nbsp; Still could probably attract some guy. </p> <p>He lit his cigar.&nbsp; </p> <p>The more he thought about it maybe Jen was screwing Dr. Barton.&nbsp; She once mentioned how dark and small the developing room for the x-rays was.&nbsp; She said he had to go in there with her to teach her how its done.&nbsp; At the time Freddy didnt make anything of it.&nbsp; But why did she laugh when she told the story?&nbsp; And there was a little coloring on her face, too.&nbsp; He thought of it as due to the drinks they were having at the time.&nbsp; But maybe not.&nbsp; Dr. Barton&hellip;could be.&nbsp; After all.&nbsp; Now that hed started up with Lorna it was clearer.&nbsp; </p> <p>How people could get away with so much.&nbsp; With no one the wiser.&nbsp; It was too easy.&nbsp; Especially when you worked together.&nbsp; Saw each other daily.&nbsp; This is what led to trouble.&nbsp; That daily contact.&nbsp; Its a wonder there werent orgies taking place in the lunch area.&nbsp; Or anywhere.&nbsp; Bathrooms.&nbsp; Parking lots.&nbsp; Under desks.&nbsp; On top of them.&nbsp; The floor.&nbsp; Hallways.&nbsp; Elevators.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>This is how it had started with Lorna.&nbsp; </p> <p>Now they were both out of a job.&nbsp; Hed figured the plant wouldnt last that long.&nbsp; Not with factories leaving the States for Mexico, and other third-world countries.&nbsp; Making air-conditioners was fairly technical.&nbsp; Even if the numbers kept going down year after year.&nbsp; Freddy was counting on having stable work for at least another decade.</p> <p>It startled him to show up that Monday morning and see everything locked up tight.&nbsp; He didnt get a chance to empty his desk.&nbsp; He waited until Lorna appeared.&nbsp; She was really distressed.&nbsp; Crying, yelling.&nbsp; The other workers just stood around in small groups.&nbsp; Muttering, bitching.&nbsp; </p> <p>Finally they left.&nbsp; He and Lorna went to the Fat Dog, where they sat for an hour.&nbsp; He was hoping to get laid.&nbsp; But she was still too rattled.&nbsp; Kept up the whining even after downing a few drinks.&nbsp; So useless.&nbsp; But women are like that.&nbsp; Well, there was always tomorrow.&nbsp; Lorna needed him now more than ever. </p> <p>He blew smoke rings.&nbsp; One after another. </p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; _______________</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp; </p><p class="text-left"><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1184" target="_top">the forked road</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure class="text-center"><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1184/images/or with only you.jpg" data-image="61161026"></figure> <p>This is my latest painting. &nbsp;So heavy. &nbsp;I'm surprised when I lift it up. &nbsp;It started out as a simple canvas on a wooden stretcher but by the time I finished it seems like one solid block.</p> <p>I photographed it&nbsp;this morning in the bright sunlight. &nbsp;I had to adjust the colors. &nbsp;Tone them down because of the intense Southern California radiance.&nbsp;</p> <p>What does it mean? &nbsp;I guess it represents a choice for an artist. &nbsp;Especially an older artist, who wonders what's next. &nbsp;Should he devote himself body and soul to his art, or would it be advisable to give himself completely to another person?&nbsp; To a woman. &nbsp;</p> <p>Is it really a matter of one or the other? &nbsp;Isn't it possible to have both? &nbsp;Work and love. &nbsp;Why wouldn't the work become a celebration of the passionate devotion to a special person?</p> <p>It sounds good. &nbsp;You would&nbsp;think that it's&nbsp;not only possible but probable.</p> <p>But when you examine your own life, as well as the lives of those who have gone before you, especially the illustrious ones, the great artists and philosophers, you suspect that it might be harder than it appears.</p> <p>Philosophers are notoriously single. &nbsp;They can hardly do their work if another person must be attended to. &nbsp;They are naturally solitary. &nbsp;Hermits. &nbsp;Anchorites. &nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, artists, that is, painters, poets, and sculptors, have always had a taste for the pleasures of this&nbsp;world. &nbsp;So much so that their work came second. &nbsp;Life before art. &nbsp;How can artists&nbsp;expect to create art if they haven't fully, dynamically, thoroughly lived? &nbsp;What would be their theme? &nbsp;</p> <p>But at a certain point everything is like everything else. &nbsp;Nothing is unique. &nbsp;It's all repetition. &nbsp;And when one reaches that stage he must ask himself why do again&nbsp;what one has&nbsp;already done? &nbsp;And done almost perfectly.</p> <p>This happens when you reach a distant&nbsp;plateau. &nbsp;When you pause and take stock of your journey. &nbsp;It's a peculiar place to be. &nbsp;Very absorbing. &nbsp;Not a bad problem to face.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1179" target="_top">Transitioning</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I'm finally delivering the 24 paintings to the business in El Segundo. &nbsp;They've sat around the studio for awhile and need to be touched up. &nbsp;Just small stuff like painting the edges,&nbsp;giving them a coat of varnish, and signing every one.&nbsp; They look good. &nbsp;Next Tuesday Dante, Jackie, and I will drive down and install them. &nbsp;It's all taken too long, like so many larger transactions.</p> <p>I said I wasn't going to do any more commission pieces. &nbsp;This was a firm decision. &nbsp;Someone from the past, a collector, a smart, successful, friendly guy from New York, a network tv anchor,&nbsp;recently wrote saying he's moved into a new home and needs some more of my art. &nbsp;He then mentioned six paintings that he'd like to have. &nbsp;They were all examples from several years ago. &nbsp;</p> <p>It pained me to tell him that I'm no longer working this way. &nbsp;I figured that was that. &nbsp;But today he wrote back saying he was glad for me, and backed my decision (at least that's how I read it), and is there <em>anything </em>I am willing to sell him?</p> <p>This came as a surprise. &nbsp;A welcome attitude. &nbsp;It made me wonder why I haven't done this&nbsp;&nbsp;years ago? &nbsp;Why I put myself through it, and why I was willing to make paintings that I no longer felt were as superior as they could have been? &nbsp;</p><p>But maybe I wasn't ready. &nbsp;Not everyone ripens as the same rate. &nbsp;I'm a very late bloomer. &nbsp;Only hours before the first snow&nbsp;arrives. &nbsp;Almost too late. &nbsp;It's something of a crazy gamble. &nbsp;</p> <p>I realized that this man may like the Hollywood icon paintings but he also seems to want&nbsp;the Patrick McCarthy paintings. &nbsp;This is a very crucial distinction. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'll write him and explain more fully what I've just described. &nbsp;</p> <p>A good decision, a heroic decision, keeps on validating itself. &nbsp;Keeps on spreading its growing experience&nbsp;of personal&nbsp;destiny. &nbsp;It gets you closer to where you most belong.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1176" target="_top">A tasteful life</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>If you study art history you know about the different styles. &nbsp;But if you don't study art history, and don't even like art, you probably realize that there are several styles such as impressionism or abstraction. &nbsp;Even the guy sitting next to you on the bus is aware of this.</p> <p>Or maybe if he isn't he's probably aware of different musical styles. &nbsp;He realizes there is rock n'&nbsp;roll, jazz,&nbsp;classical. &nbsp;And so forth.</p> <p>Along with this knowledge is the awareness that one style isn't necessarily and universally loved by everyone. &nbsp;It's like food. &nbsp;You can argue about it forever without getting anywhere. &nbsp;Without changing anyone's mind. &nbsp;</p> <p>People have learned to shrug it off, and not make a big stink about it.&nbsp;</p> <p>But&nbsp;there are other things that they can't treat as lightly. &nbsp;Say, religion. &nbsp;Or politics. &nbsp;When you bring up these areas you soon run into resistance. &nbsp;Very&nbsp;stubborn resistance.&nbsp;</p> <p>People have hard, crystallized opinions about the value of these things. &nbsp;They might even break out in a&nbsp;fight over whether or not a political party or a religious denomination is good or bad. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>But they wouldn't fight over the difference between German or Peruvian food. &nbsp;Or the worth of a Rembrandt versus a Matisse. &nbsp;Not violently. &nbsp;Not using fists or knives. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>It'd be absurd for someone to say either you like this almond croissant&nbsp;or I'll cut your throat. &nbsp;</p> <p>Isn't nearly everything a matter of taste? &nbsp;Or can it&nbsp;become that way?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Either people have taste or they don't. &nbsp;That is, either they've learned to take many different&nbsp;things lightly or they haven't. &nbsp;To not have taste means to not accept the fundamental freedom of human nature. &nbsp;</p> <p>A person who has acquired taste understands the arbitrariness of life. &nbsp;How humans are&nbsp;their own center of gravity and have&nbsp;an ingrained&nbsp;tendency toward variety,&nbsp;diversification, and individuality. &nbsp;</p> <p>A person with taste is willing to open friendly&nbsp;dialogues with those who lack taste. &nbsp;The man or woman with taste is noticeably very slow to anger. &nbsp;This is due to their sweeping&nbsp;experience&nbsp;of life. &nbsp;Of its multi-facetedness.</p> <p>A person with taste isn't the least bit upset if he or she is accused of having no taste. &nbsp;</p> <p>But I'd be the first to say that not absolutely everything comes down to taste.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1172" target="_top">To be is to be perceived</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1172/images/perception.jpg" data-image="55116217"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>This is my newest painting. &nbsp;Newest in the sense that it's an old one that I reworked to the point that it became a new piece entirely. &nbsp;Where does one thing leave off and another begin?</p> <p>This is a philosophical problem. &nbsp;Beginnings and endings, and how they're determined. &nbsp;Metamorphoses. &nbsp;Transformations. &nbsp;Changes. &nbsp;</p> <p>Humans have wondered about this phenomenon as long as they've been humans. &nbsp;When does dusk turn into night? &nbsp;When is a boy a man? &nbsp;When is the hamburger done? &nbsp;When does like turn into love?</p> <p>Gradations. &nbsp;Nuances. &nbsp;Shades of difference. &nbsp;Categories. &nbsp;Different species. &nbsp;Variety.</p> <p>There's something miraculous about change, and also miraculous about the unchanging. &nbsp;Take your pick. &nbsp;You can wonder about these things until you're cold and dead. &nbsp;</p> <p>What is the difference between a naive person and one who has knowledge? &nbsp;It can be determined in several ways. &nbsp;The knowing person sees many things in one thing. &nbsp;He notices small differences that are invisible to the naive type. &nbsp;</p> <p>But the reverse of this can also be true. &nbsp;The knowing person sees an overall unity in variety, the entire forest.&nbsp;&nbsp;The naive sort only sees this or that pine tree.</p> <p>The knowing person will have a kind of super-perception in comparison to the one who only looks without seeing. &nbsp;This kind of seeing belongs to the seer. &nbsp;A privileged seeing that sets him apart from others. &nbsp;</p> <p>Perception will in some mysterious way also include memory. &nbsp;That is, full perception sees what is there as well as what is not there. &nbsp;The not-there, the absent reality, the memory,&nbsp;is absorbed and consumed in full perception. &nbsp;</p> <p>In other words, in full perception the negative not-present is swallowed up in the dynamically charged abundantly positive present. &nbsp;The partial is transformed into the complete. &nbsp;</p> <p>Being enfolds non-being, like a lover holding a beloved. &nbsp;The two are one without being destroyed in their uniquely defined&nbsp;otherness. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1165" target="_top">The dramatic life</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>"Boredom is God's punishment for doing the wrong thing," he said. &nbsp;That was nearly fifty years ago, but it stood out. &nbsp;And&nbsp;leaves a&nbsp;mark. &nbsp;It has that&nbsp;long, reverberating ring of truth. &nbsp;Echoing. &nbsp;Over the decades. &nbsp;</p> <p>Truth is a strong impression. &nbsp;It arouses us, penetrating,&nbsp;sticking inside. &nbsp;Other stuff fades away. &nbsp;Faint. &nbsp;Weak.</p> <p>Bullshit is feeble. &nbsp;</p> <p>When I'm living in the presence of truth my life takes on a more&nbsp;dramatic quality. &nbsp;One thing follows another, quickly, immediately. &nbsp;And the choices seem&nbsp;important from one minute to the next. &nbsp;</p><p>Like I'm being tested. &nbsp;Every second. &nbsp;But at times I'm acutely&nbsp;conscious of the testing. &nbsp;</p><p>But who is doing the testing? &nbsp;And why? &nbsp;It's a mystery.</p> <p>It's not as if there's too much drama. &nbsp;Most of the time there's too little. &nbsp;Which isn't bad. &nbsp;But not&nbsp;genuinely&nbsp;living. &nbsp;Merely coasting. &nbsp;Being carried along. &nbsp;Wrapping yourself in a soft blanket. &nbsp;Getting fatter. &nbsp;Napping.</p> <p>This morning I got up at 6:30. &nbsp;Made coffee. &nbsp;I now only make a half pot. &nbsp;I realize I was tossing too much down the drain. &nbsp;Wasteful. &nbsp;Plus a&nbsp;half pot is stronger. &nbsp;Three heaping tablespoons of espresso. &nbsp;It can be weaker or stronger depending on the amount of water. &nbsp;</p> <p>After drinking it and studying some other art online I was&nbsp;pumped up and walked over to my unfinished paintings. &nbsp;They beckoned to me. &nbsp;They wanted me, almost like a pretty woman in the old days. &nbsp;Wanted me to touch them. &nbsp;Bring them off. &nbsp;</p> <p>So I worked for a few minutes and then a&nbsp;light struck. &nbsp;I was going beyond, overcoming the past, pressing into the future. &nbsp;It was good. &nbsp;It was me. &nbsp;It was real. &nbsp;</p> <p>I stopped and savored my progress. &nbsp;Sweet. &nbsp;Beautiful. &nbsp;</p> <p>The phone rang. &nbsp;It was Gina, calling from somewhere in Mexico. &nbsp;Like always, a mix of good and not so good news. &nbsp;</p> <p>"I found a place to live. &nbsp;For three hundred a month. &nbsp;A house. &nbsp;Two bedrooms and a &nbsp;kitchen."</p> <p>"Fantastic."</p> <p>"But it's not available until July 15."</p> <p>"Oh. &nbsp;Hm."</p> <p>The line went dead. &nbsp;I thought about it, and by the time she called back I had a minor fix. &nbsp;A solution.&nbsp;&nbsp;I want her to stay in Mexico. &nbsp;Make it work. &nbsp;Don't come back here. &nbsp;If she crashed at my place I'd end up hating it. &nbsp;It would cut into my painting. &nbsp;Big time. &nbsp;I still had the&nbsp;checking account number. &nbsp;I told her I'd put a hundred bucks in her account. &nbsp;Make it last as long as possible. &nbsp;Try to find a place with a weekly rate. &nbsp;</p> <p>"I hadn't thought of that."</p> <p>"Well, okay. &nbsp;But do your best. &nbsp;Meet some people. &nbsp;Nose around. &nbsp;Find your way."&nbsp;</p> <p>The drama of life. &nbsp; It's anything but boring. &nbsp;If you choose. &nbsp;If you dare.&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1163" target="_top">Another time, another country</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I was in bed reading. &nbsp;A book about the disastrous rebellion in Warsaw near the end of WW2. &nbsp;The Poles, aware that the Nazis were losing, decided to confront them as they retreated from the Russians. &nbsp;But the Germans, angry and also sensing&nbsp;defeat, fought back and crushed the partisans and destroyed the city. &nbsp;The Russians merely sat&nbsp;and&nbsp;watched the slaughter. &nbsp;</p> <p>"A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising" by Miron Bialoszewski.</p> <p>There was a soft knock on the door. &nbsp;It was 10:00 at night. &nbsp;It could be only one person.</p> <p>"Hi, sweetheart." Gina and her dog. &nbsp;On the way to Mexico.</p> <p>"Come in, sweetheart."</p> <p>We talked. &nbsp;I wasn't sure what was happening. &nbsp;She wasn't going to stay the night? &nbsp;And get a fresh start in the morning? &nbsp;No. &nbsp;She was merely saying good-bye. &nbsp;For now. &nbsp;</p> <p>"It reminds me of the time I left California and drove to Canada. &nbsp;We, my wife and I, stopped in Monterrey and said good-bye to Denni's sister and brother-in-law. &nbsp;They asked me what I imagined I was doing. &nbsp;Did I have a job in Canada? &nbsp;No. &nbsp;What was I going to do for money? I don't know. &nbsp;I'd figure something out. &nbsp;"You're crazy!" they argued. &nbsp;We shrugged it off. &nbsp;We weren't about to be dissuaded. &nbsp;A year later they joined us in British Columbia. &nbsp;Denni's sister is still there."</p> <p>"Why didn't you go to Mexico instead?"</p> <p>"I think we tried, but it didn't work out. &nbsp;And we understood Canada's immigration policy better. &nbsp;We were leaving the US for good. &nbsp;But it didn't last."</p> <p>"You said you felt the presence of the "Dark Lord" in America at the time."</p> <p>"I did."</p> <p>"I feel it today. &nbsp;That's why I'm leaving."</p> <p>"Well, it does feel a little creepy. &nbsp;I guess the Dark Lord is making mischief again."</p> <p>I hope Gina will be all right. &nbsp;It's a big step. &nbsp;I told her that a genuine life is made up of a few heroic decisions, and this is one for her. &nbsp;It has real consequences, and can change everything. &nbsp;</p> <p>"You're at the same age I was back then. &nbsp;In this&nbsp;case you're a beautiful young woman and doors will open for you. &nbsp;Doors that won't be as&nbsp;easy to open&nbsp;the older you get. &nbsp;It's good timing. &nbsp;People will accept&nbsp;what you have to offer."</p> <p>&nbsp;We stood in the alley and embraced.</p> <p>"I want you to come and visit me."</p> <p>"I will."</p> <p>She put it in reverse and left.</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1160" target="_top">Muddy boots</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Some days it feels like walking through a swamp. &nbsp;Feet sinking&nbsp;into the sucking&nbsp;mud. &nbsp;Tough moving&nbsp;from one step to the next. &nbsp;Squishing along . . .</p> <p>If it's hard for me it also seems much harder, nearly impossible, for others. &nbsp;It's a strange thought: if I can do it, so can you. &nbsp;</p> <p>Yeah, but I'm pretty intelligent, fit, industrious, talented. &nbsp;To some degree. &nbsp;What about those who aren't any of these things? &nbsp;Are they fucked? &nbsp;Or am I not seeing it right?</p> <p>"Hi, sweetheart." &nbsp;Gina on the phone.</p> <p>"Hey, sweetheart. &nbsp;So, the plan still happening?"</p> <p>"I'm almost done packing. &nbsp;I have a request for you. &nbsp;But you don't have to agree to it. &nbsp;Can I store a few boxes at your place?"</p> <p>"Hm. &nbsp;I realize I have a big building, but it fills up fast." I walked to the back and stared at the place, wondering where I might put some of Gina's stuff. &nbsp;On top of Jackie's area. &nbsp;Which is bound to raise hackles. &nbsp;What's a hackle anyway?&nbsp; Oh, hackles are hairs on the back of a dog or cat that stand up&nbsp;when they're angry or afraid.</p> <p>"How big are the boxes?"</p> <p>"Not big. &nbsp;Just . . .&nbsp;I could always put them somewhere. &nbsp;Not at your place."</p> <p>"Time to streamline your life, sweetheart. &nbsp;You can't allow yourself to be owned&nbsp;by what you&nbsp;own. &nbsp;You take things in, but then you let others out. &nbsp;Like breathing. &nbsp;Like shitting. &nbsp;Don't become constipated with objects."</p> <p>"Right. &nbsp;You eat, then you poop."</p> <p>"Maybe it's time to poop. &nbsp;It can't hurt. &nbsp;Ridding yourself. &nbsp;I've done it dozens of times. &nbsp;Starting over. &nbsp;It's so easy to acquire things. &nbsp;But hard to let them go. &nbsp;Shouldn't be."</p> <p>"I'm feeling better about my life. &nbsp;Thanks to you. &nbsp;I value your advice. &nbsp;You're like a father figure."</p> <p>I'm only too aware of my role. &nbsp;I read an article about the effect on a man having daughters. &nbsp;It softens his view of women. &nbsp;It makes him more sensitive to their difficulties. &nbsp;It's not a woman's world. &nbsp;Men run the show. &nbsp;For now. &nbsp;And they fight dirty&nbsp;to stay on top. &nbsp;But men who have daughters are less piggish about it. &nbsp;Even that asshole Trump is less of an asshole because of his daughters. &nbsp;He'd even be worse without them. &nbsp;If you can believe that.</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1158" target="_top">the knots of continuity</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><hr> <p class="text-left text-center"></p> <figure class="text-center"><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1158/images/kayla and patrick-1.jpg" data-image="39947425"></figure> <p class="text-left">This is a photo taken yesterday at the Farmer's Market. &nbsp;I was there with Kayla, who I had never met. &nbsp;But she belongs to a lengthy story in my life. &nbsp;The pic is a little fuzzy. &nbsp;It was shot on her phone, then posted to her mother's FB page, where I was able to copy it from my monitor. &nbsp;Not so easy to switch from one program to another.</p> <p class="text-left">Anyway, Kayla is from Victoria, British Columbia, where I spent a decade. &nbsp;My daughter Dante and stepdaughter Hannah&nbsp;were both born there. &nbsp;Now we three live in LA, and have done so for 25 years.</p> <p class="text-left">Kayla is the daughter of Kari, who I once knew as Muffie. &nbsp;I haven't seen Muffie since she was around 11. &nbsp;I was very close to Muffie's mother, whose name is Ayn. &nbsp;</p> <p class="text-left">Ayn was best friends with my ex-wife, Denni. &nbsp;We were all part of a kind of bohemian scene that happened there in the late 60's. &nbsp;Ayn lived with a well-known Canadian&nbsp;folk singer Valdy. &nbsp;</p> <p class="text-left">Kayla, at the urging of her mother, met me for lunch. &nbsp;She's already left LA for Montreal. &nbsp;I was able over two hours to fill her in on her grandmother Ayn, who she's never met. &nbsp;</p> <p class="text-left">Ayn died in the late 80's of cancer. &nbsp;I had returned to Victoria briefly and was able to be at her bedside. &nbsp;Something I'll never forget. &nbsp;It was the first time death hit me as hard as it did. &nbsp;First, but not the last. It was the beginning of my generation's passing. &nbsp;Did we imagine we were immortal? &nbsp;No, but neither did we concretely feel our fragility, or the brevity of our days on earth. &nbsp;</p> <p class="text-left">Kayla insisted on a photo, because of her mother. &nbsp;I hate pix of myself at this age. &nbsp;In fact I've never liked to be photographed. &nbsp;Even as a child it bothered me. &nbsp;I hate the way my image appeared on film or paper. &nbsp;I still do. &nbsp;But Kayla found a guy at the next table&nbsp;who said he was a professional photographer.&nbsp;&nbsp;He might have been. &nbsp;It's a nice shot.</p> <p class="text-left"></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1157" target="_top">rolling along</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1157/images/human desire large scale.jpg" data-image="15925861"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>I posted this yesterday. &nbsp;It has something. &nbsp;I'm not sure what. &nbsp;It's literally a title of a film noir movie. &nbsp;"Human&nbsp;Desire" from 1953, the tail end of the&nbsp;style. &nbsp;I've never seen it, but I looked up the plot on Wiki. &nbsp;Film noir operated from around 1930 to 1955. &nbsp;Themes of betrayal, murder, theft: basically, all against all. &nbsp;</p> <p>They didn't end joyfully, with everyone smiling and dancing. &nbsp;Either reflecting or counterbalancing the opinions of the day. &nbsp;By the middle of the 1950's things were rosy. &nbsp;All the way until JFK was assassinated. &nbsp;Then it&nbsp;changed once more. &nbsp;The overall mood. &nbsp;The art. &nbsp;</p> <p>My present painting, however, is on the upbeat side. &nbsp;At least for me. &nbsp;Bright colors, a neutral use of words. &nbsp;Nice shapes. &nbsp;I consider it a successful piece. &nbsp;I may, however, be heading to even more abstraction in the future.</p> <p>"Hi, sweetheart!" It was Gina on the phone.</p> <p>"Well, hello, sweetheart."</p> <p>I guess this is how we'll be greeting each other in the future. &nbsp;Gina is definitely into all things "alien." &nbsp;</p> <p>"I can't believe how I'm suddenly surrounded by helpful aliens. &nbsp;I'm not kidding, Patrick. &nbsp;They directed me all the way to Mexico."</p> <p>"So the plan is on?"</p> <p>"Absolutely. &nbsp;I've packed up. &nbsp;My friend has a five-bedroom house there that he rents for $500 a month. &nbsp;Can you believe it? &nbsp;The aliens have cleared my path to his doorstep. &nbsp;Really! &nbsp;Oh, even right this second. &nbsp;There was cop at the light and he was watching me as I talked on the phone to you. &nbsp;It's illegal and he could have pulled me over. &nbsp;But right before he had a chance another car moved in front of him . . . "</p> <p>"Well, be careful. &nbsp;I'll come and visit you. &nbsp;I have to paint now . . ."</p> <p>Leaving America. &nbsp;It keeps happening. &nbsp;Especially during darker times. &nbsp;It's neither hard nor easy to do. &nbsp;But when the pain gets too great we change. &nbsp;I have my fingers crossed for Gina.&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1153" target="_top">&quot;It&#39;s the future!&quot;</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I was able to make some headway painting over the long weekend. &nbsp;I observed the revelers from a distance. &nbsp;It's wise to not act so critical of people enjoying themselves. &nbsp;Many of them deserve a little fun in their otherwise grayish, ordinary lives. &nbsp;</p> <p>Most probably imagine they're leading a good life, even if they're not. &nbsp;It's not my job to dispel their illusions. &nbsp;It's hard enough clearing&nbsp;up my own. &nbsp;</p> <p>Leave them alone. &nbsp;Just a light-hearted nod in their direction. &nbsp;</p> <p>"Hey, how are you?" &nbsp;It was Gina on the phone.</p> <p>"Excellent. &nbsp;And you?"</p> <p>"Great. &nbsp;I'm driving. &nbsp;I went to Mexico over the weekend."</p> <p>"Oh. &nbsp;A good idea."</p> <p>"Yes. &nbsp;I loved it. &nbsp;I'm moving there."</p> <p>"Wow. &nbsp;You drove to Tijuana?"</p> <p>"No, to Ensenada. &nbsp;I'm going back to sell my things and return there. &nbsp;It'll take 64 hours. &nbsp;I tell you, Patrick, it's the future!"</p> <p>I'd like to believe this is what Gina needs. &nbsp;A big change. &nbsp;Get out of the country. &nbsp;Start over. &nbsp;She has nothing to lose. &nbsp;If she does what she says, and crosses that border one more time, she'll stick it out for awhile. &nbsp;Maybe not as long as it would really take to put her on the right track, but better than festering&nbsp;in Northern&nbsp;California. &nbsp; To become yourself you've gotta&nbsp;leave home.</p> <p>Every American who spends time outside of the USA becomes a truer person. &nbsp;More genuine, more humane. &nbsp;</p> <p>Baja. &nbsp;Would it be better if it was part of California? &nbsp;I wish the Mexicans would sell the entire strip to Israel, and they'd move everything over here. &nbsp;</p> <p>I lived for a decade in Canada and it made a big difference in how I see myself and the world. If things aren't working in one place go to another. &nbsp;Too many people sitting on their balls&nbsp;&nbsp;groaning in pain, too lazy,&nbsp;too dumb,&nbsp;to stand up and get moving. &nbsp;Why torture yourself?</p> <p>Speaking of Canada, one of my old friends contacted me. &nbsp;She was just a kid, and I was close to her mother, who's now dead. &nbsp;Her daughter is in LA, and we'll meet tomorrow for lunch at either the Farmer's Market or the Grove. &nbsp;</p> <p>Funny, I'll explain to the young woman how I loved her grandmother! &nbsp;Hard to wrap my head around that. &nbsp;"What a woman . . . that granny of yours." &nbsp;Odd. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1152" target="_top">Desire: frustrated or fulfilled?</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1152/images/desire human.jpg" data-image="37615215"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>I've thought a great deal for a long time about the nature, the essence, of desire. &nbsp;And how to treat it philosophically and psychologically. &nbsp;</p> <p>Buddhists teach that people need to escape desire and attain happiness. &nbsp;But it&nbsp;seems unlikely. &nbsp;And we rebel against this harsh, unnatural&nbsp;path. &nbsp;To have no desires feels too close to death. &nbsp;To nothingness. &nbsp;Not the so-called&nbsp;Nirvana that humans would&nbsp;like to reach. &nbsp;</p> <p>Desire exists for a good reason. &nbsp;To have a will is very similar to having desire. &nbsp;But like desire it needs some work done on it. &nbsp;Our will can go either way: to happiness or despair. &nbsp;If we allow our desiring-will to only seek our self-centered pleasure it will lead us to a place of lonely isolating confusion. &nbsp;Egotistical, unhealthy, impractical&nbsp;desires prevent&nbsp;fulfillment. &nbsp;</p> <p>Fulfilled desire is the best desire. &nbsp;But how is that attained? &nbsp;</p> <p>By modification, by skillfully, subtly, and&nbsp;ceaselessly&nbsp;adjusting our desires to match the clearest, factual&nbsp;reality. &nbsp;Desiring the impossible means sorrow. &nbsp;Desiring what is&nbsp;appropriately graspable here and now is the answer. &nbsp;To desire an objectively possible beautiful situation is the key to happiness. &nbsp;Desire in the service of the highest values of truth, beauty, and goodness results in happiness or at least in a state that is worthy of happiness. &nbsp;</p> <p>In other words work for the good of all. &nbsp;Not just your own pleasure. &nbsp;Recalibrate your motivation. &nbsp;You will then infallibly get whatever you desire. &nbsp;It has to do with the quality of personal&nbsp;desires. &nbsp;It goes back to your&nbsp;inner root. &nbsp;Your deepest, oldest,&nbsp;and most necessarily inalienable&nbsp;wishes.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1150" target="_top">The Thinking Stone</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I awake sometimes during the night. &nbsp;For no reason, or because I have to take a piss. &nbsp;I now look at the iPhone and note the time. &nbsp;I realize that certain hours open me up to negative thoughts. &nbsp;Between 5 and 6 in the morning is the hour of executions. &nbsp;Where the condemned are led out of their cells into darkened courtyards and shot. &nbsp;</p> <p>So, if I have grim thoughts between 3 and 6 it can be attributed to a lowering of resistance and a dim realization of the&nbsp;tradition associated with&nbsp;painful practices.&nbsp;</p> <p>I had this thought last night: what would it be like to be neither dead nor alive? &nbsp;But still conscious. &nbsp;Still the person, or being, that I am. &nbsp;Not a zombie, nor a brain in a vat. &nbsp;Rather like a stone, a cloud, or stream of water. &nbsp;</p> <p>These inanimate objects exist, but are neither alive nor dead. &nbsp;And are scientifically seen as not possessing consciousness. &nbsp;They don't have sensations. &nbsp;They simply are what they are.</p> <p>A stoic philosopher believed that people need to free themselves from a fear of death and a desire for life. &nbsp;Neither death nor life should be an obsessive concern. &nbsp;One should be liberated from both. &nbsp;</p> <p>What could that possibly mean? &nbsp;I tried to imagine what it would be like to exist as myself but without life. &nbsp;I would <strong><em>be</em></strong> but not be alive. &nbsp;Like a thinking stone, as a poet once wrote. &nbsp;A detached consciousness, free-floating, disembodied, with no sensation other than itself. &nbsp;&nbsp;A thinking atmosphere. &nbsp;A spherical radiance that could interact with other spherical radiances. &nbsp;With no borders, no roundedness, actually. &nbsp;It couldn't exactly move, since it'd require a form to go from one place to another. &nbsp;A formlessness that was able to think.</p> <p>I concluded it would be pretty dull. &nbsp;Not that desirable. &nbsp;A kind of swindle. &nbsp;Better than pure nothingness, but not by much. &nbsp;</p> <p>If this is what God has in store for humans after they die I would have to say it doesn't sound that promising. &nbsp;I think I could do better. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1147" target="_top">The fuel of meaningfulness</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Worked on the new paintings yesterday. &nbsp;I had to leave them in a discouraging state. &nbsp;This happens nearly every other night. &nbsp;But that means at the end of today's efforts they will probably be more acceptable. &nbsp;It's a price I'm happy&nbsp;to pay. &nbsp;</p> <p>Painting is endless risk-taking. &nbsp;Something I've never been fond of. &nbsp;What sane person likes risks? &nbsp;I think I've been too sane to be a contemporary painter. &nbsp;Even though&nbsp;people might disagree. &nbsp;</p> <p>But painting is different than rock-climbing,&nbsp;or alligator wrestling. &nbsp;It's not a physical risk. &nbsp;It's not even a spiritual risk. &nbsp;It's a mental risk. &nbsp;You have to be willing to look mentally unstable, even though you're not. &nbsp;</p> <p>"Hey sweetheart."</p> <p>A text message from Gina. &nbsp;She's in LA, but I haven't seen her. &nbsp;I like the uncertainty of our situation. &nbsp;</p> <p>She wrote "sweetheart" because I used that term in my last text to her. &nbsp;Then I explained it on the phone the other day.</p> <p>When she wanted to talk about "aliens" I told her about a man I once knew. &nbsp;He told me all about the "space brothers." &nbsp;Some kind of extra-human beings who he claimed to be in touch with. &nbsp;He said they were "beautiful." &nbsp;They exist a little outside the normal range of human visibility, although they can "incarnate"&nbsp;if they want to, and are given permission.&nbsp;They assist&nbsp;humans in this world. &nbsp;They even cured his wife of a fatal disease, after they responded to his&nbsp;prayer as he was driving across the Mexican desert in search of a doctor. &nbsp;He stopped and turned around and drove home. &nbsp;Three of them showed up at his door. &nbsp;They had a blue glow from their skin. &nbsp;</p> <p>The space brothers are as fascinated by humans as humans are about them. &nbsp;And one of the words they love is "sweetheart." &nbsp;It sounds irresistibly attractive to their ears. &nbsp;</p> <p>I told this to Gina, and I guess it registered. &nbsp;There's more to the story, but that's all I mentioned. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'm pleased that Gina seems to be somewhat attuned to my present style. &nbsp;For example, I prefer about three hour stretches with women these days. &nbsp;Anything longer than that makes me restless. &nbsp;I have other projects that vie for my attention. &nbsp;My time increases in value day by day. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've more or&nbsp;less divided up the 24&nbsp;hours&nbsp;into sections: for online surfing, painting, women, reading, writing, pondering, studying,&nbsp;eating and drinking, sleeping . . .&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1145" target="_top">A new intersection</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1145/images/hans-scholl" data-image="42732510"></figure> <p>I'm ready to begin a new chapter in my art. &nbsp;Today is like the shoot-around before the game. &nbsp;Just limbering up. &nbsp;Reminding myself of what's important. &nbsp;And what's ignorable. &nbsp;</p> <p>The image&nbsp;is a painting I made about 25 years ago. &nbsp;It's taken from a photo of Hans Scholl, a WW2 German war-resister, one of the leaders of the White Rose movement. &nbsp;A young man who spoke against Hitler and his henchman and paid for it&nbsp;with his life. &nbsp;He was murdered, decapitated. &nbsp;He's&nbsp;one of my heroes. &nbsp;</p> <p>It takes balls to resist tyranny. &nbsp;Big balls. &nbsp;But not everyone can fight oppression in the same way. &nbsp;I make art, and have never been inclined to join in protests, movements, rallies, or anything that involves groups or crowds. &nbsp;I am an individual, above all. &nbsp;And the art I make is designed to exist a little outside of history. &nbsp;It seeks to be timeless. &nbsp;And doesn't let itself be carried along with the flow of today. &nbsp;</p> <p>Here's a way of explaining my vision: the world exists, and some of the world is beautiful. &nbsp;I find that beauty, but realize that it was there before I found it. &nbsp;I didn't create it. &nbsp;God made it. &nbsp;I respond to it, though. &nbsp;And I then try to nourish and sustain that beauty. &nbsp;This is what love means to me. &nbsp;To foster, care for, preserve, and grow the beauty that exists. &nbsp;Art is a way of dedicating oneself to the beautiful, which has its source in God. &nbsp;</p> <p>To love a person is to work at conserving and liberating&nbsp;the beauty that they have, and to find ways of amplifying&nbsp;it. &nbsp;Love is the intensification of another's beauty. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1143" target="_top">Always so</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I looked at my iPhone when I awoke yesterday. &nbsp;At 2:00 in the morning I apparently had a call from Gina. &nbsp;I must be sleeping harder, or maybe my ringer was turned off. &nbsp;I heard nothing. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'm starting on a new batch of paintings. &nbsp;Already four of them are spread out on the concrete floor, partly done. &nbsp;How far along are they? &nbsp;Impossible to say. &nbsp;If I died right now&nbsp;they'd be finished. &nbsp;But I'm still breathing. &nbsp;Still working.</p> <p>My final commission piece was approved. &nbsp;He loved it. &nbsp;Just two more incidental tweaks. &nbsp;Then....freedom. &nbsp;A degree of freedom, but an important advance&nbsp;for me. &nbsp;Not total freedom, which is impossible as long as you have a physical body. &nbsp;</p> <p>Later in the afternoon I called Gina back.</p> <p>"I went outside&nbsp;and the city looked weirdly empty," she said.&nbsp; "Even the apartment houses seemed deserted. No one was on the street. &nbsp;I was standing there and shouted. &nbsp;Something I never do. &nbsp;Where is everyone? &nbsp;What is happening? &nbsp;Then a man walked up to me and told me it's all going to be okay. &nbsp;I didn't see him approaching. &nbsp;I said I keep sensing the presence of aliens. &nbsp;He smiled and asked me&nbsp;in a calm voice what do I imagine aliens are? &nbsp;They're no different than you and me.&nbsp; Then he walked away. &nbsp;Don't you think that's strange?"</p> <p>"Sure. &nbsp;There are times when everything seems strange. &nbsp;Hyper-strange.&nbsp; During a crisis."&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Gina was beginning to frighten me a little. &nbsp;But was I frightened on her behalf, or was I thinking of myself? &nbsp;We talked for awhile. &nbsp;She keeps coming back to this business with "aliens." &nbsp;I told her there was a time in my life like hers.&nbsp; Around the same age as she is today, when we talked a lot about such things. &nbsp;I told her about a man I knew&nbsp;who was&nbsp;obsessed with&nbsp;beings&nbsp;he called "the space brothers." &nbsp;</p> <p>"But he wasn't lying," she said emphatically. &nbsp;"He experienced them. &nbsp;They're real."</p> <p>"No, he wasn't lying. &nbsp;I was completely convinced of his experience. &nbsp;Even though no one has ever walked up to me and introduced himself as a space brother."</p> <p>"How do you know that? &nbsp;They may have different ways of introducing themselves."&nbsp;</p> <p>"Where are you right now?"</p> <p>"I'm in Burbank."</p> <p>"Burbank? &nbsp;You're back in&nbsp;LA?"</p> <p>"Yes."</p> <p>"Well . . . come on by. &nbsp;Is the wolf with you?"</p> <p>"Of course." &nbsp;</p> <p>She said she'd drive to the studio. &nbsp;I hustled around and tidied up. &nbsp;Then waited. &nbsp;And finally went to sleep around midnight. &nbsp;It's morning. &nbsp;She still hasn't arrived. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1140" target="_top">Plodding forward</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1140/images/final commission piece.jpg" data-image="2112694"></figure> <p>A few days ago I announced my irreversible decision to only paint what I judge to be worth painting. &nbsp;That is, only what comes directly from my own consciousness, or, to give it a more religious tone, only what comes from my own evolving soul. &nbsp;</p> <p>Period. &nbsp;</p> <p>So, I'll be taking no more requests. &nbsp;No more dog portraits. &nbsp;No more copies of my earlier, surpassed work. &nbsp;No more paintings to match someone's new curtains, sofa, or dishtowel. &nbsp;No more painting to fit into special spots on blank walls. &nbsp;Etc. &nbsp;Enough! &nbsp;</p> <p>What a coward&nbsp;I've been. &nbsp;I should have had more faith in my own vision. &nbsp;What a trembling&nbsp;dweeb&nbsp;I've been. &nbsp;No longer. &nbsp;</p> <p>Listen....I know what I must do. &nbsp;Step aside. &nbsp;I'm cutting myself&nbsp;loose. &nbsp;</p> <p>Well, before I made this decision I had one more piece to finish for a guy. &nbsp;We made an agreement a month ago and I'm nearly done with his. &nbsp;It's pictured here in my studio. &nbsp;An abstract piece, based on an earlier one of mine, somewhat minimalist, in black, white, and blue-gray,&nbsp;but "without stencils or text." &nbsp;I would prefer screens and writing, but he doesn't . &nbsp;Okay, so about to hit the finish line. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've done my best to accommodate his taste. &nbsp;</p> <p>I really have only myself to blame for this thorny&nbsp;path I've chosen up until now. &nbsp;I feared going permanently&nbsp;broke, homeless, shattered. &nbsp;Forced to spend my last nickel on a piece of rope which, before being evicted,&nbsp;I'd tie to my rafters and hang myself. &nbsp;</p> <p>It was an unfounded fear, like nearly all fears. &nbsp;My vision is strong, able, effective. &nbsp;I work for that vision. &nbsp;And the vision never lets me&nbsp;down. &nbsp;I've delivered myself over to the vision, hook, line, and sinker. &nbsp;Finally.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1139" target="_top">escaping out of or into oneself</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Drugs. &nbsp;Just a fact of contemporary life. &nbsp;Or what? &nbsp;</p> <p>"Man, is everyone on drugs except us?" I said to my daughter yesterday.</p> <p>"It seems like it."</p> <p>"Or is it&nbsp;just our friends? &nbsp;Are we drawn to druggies? &nbsp;Or are they drawn to us? &nbsp;I used to have a neutral attitude towards drugs, but lately I'm am becoming more negative toward them."</p> <p>"Oh. &nbsp;By the way, here are your blood pressure drugs," she said, handing me a sack from CVS pharmacy in the Fairfax area. &nbsp;She picks up my monthly prescription for me, since it's close to her apartment. &nbsp;</p> <p>"Well, it's obviously a complex issue. &nbsp;But I once believed that drugs were going to save the world. &nbsp;I can't say I feel that way today. &nbsp;For every Steve Jobs or John Lennon who&nbsp;dropped acid there must be a hundred&nbsp;thousand nameless&nbsp;junkies who&nbsp;died with a needle in their arm."</p> <p>"No news from Gina? &nbsp;Speaking of drugs."</p> <p>"Actually she called last night. &nbsp;I could feel it building. &nbsp;She sounded good. &nbsp;Alert.&nbsp;&nbsp;Clear. &nbsp;And in love with her new wolf&nbsp;puppy."</p> <p>Gina told me that the occasional street drug seems better for her than the legal ones. &nbsp;I once believed the same. &nbsp;But only briefly. &nbsp;Two or three years at the most. &nbsp;But Gina's been on a daily diet of dope since she was twelve. &nbsp;</p> <p>I wonder what it'll be like 200 years from now. &nbsp;Maybe you'll take one drug on the day you're born and it'll last a lifetime. &nbsp;</p> <p>Maybe this is what we're actually experiencing today on earth. &nbsp;The result of a drug given to the original humans, to Adam and Eve, a million years ago and still in everyone's system. &nbsp;A drug so unbelievably&nbsp;powerful that it's modified the&nbsp;genetic structure of the entire human race forever. &nbsp;</p> <p>Questions leading to more questions leading to more questions. &nbsp;Still no answer. &nbsp;Just hazy speculations. &nbsp;Like fireflies on a summer night.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1133" target="_top">we only seem different</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1133/images/%22we only seem different%22.jpg" data-image="23830092"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>I posted this work on IG and FB yesterday. &nbsp;I took the photo with my iPhone in the direct morning light outside the studio. &nbsp;You can see nearly every gesture. &nbsp;</p> <p>I thought of a few names for this style: industrial abstraction. &nbsp;Sounds about right. &nbsp;Or industrial expressionism. &nbsp;Maybe better. &nbsp;</p> <p>The name of the style is unimportant. &nbsp;Even for the style to have a name could be&nbsp;a way of further&nbsp;obscuring the meaning. &nbsp; </p> <p>A hundred years ago Picasso and Braque invented what was soon&nbsp;called cubism. &nbsp;They didn't think of it like that. &nbsp;An art critic of the&nbsp;time said the two artists&nbsp;were making paintings of "little cubes" and the term stuck. &nbsp;</p> <p>So what were Picasso and Braque doing, in their own minds? &nbsp;That's not so easy to say. &nbsp;If you could really, fully, and lucidly say it, then it, the canvases made up of little cubes,&nbsp;would never have been painted. &nbsp;</p> <p>That is, painting is a way of expressing something that can't exist otherwise. &nbsp;In any other form.</p> <p>Painting is subjectivity made objective. &nbsp;Or, more accurately, it's outwardness&nbsp;absorbed inwardly&nbsp;and reassembled again externally. &nbsp;After always undergoing necessary changes.</p> <p>Or as it has been suggested, the world seen through a temperament. &nbsp;</p> <p>Painting is the combination of my existence and the world's existence. &nbsp;Each has its irreplaceable value. &nbsp;Each will contribute something to the overall new reality called art. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's me and not-me embracing. &nbsp;Or wrestling. &nbsp;</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1132" target="_top">Sharing</a></div> <div class="spaceHeight"></div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Social media has become an important development in my life. &nbsp;I've taken to it naturally. &nbsp;It's part of my daily routine.</p> <p>But other people I know don't feel the same. &nbsp;They have little or no interest in online activities. &nbsp;You couldn't have predicted&nbsp;who likes it, and who ignores&nbsp;it. &nbsp;What determines this predilection, or its lack?</p> <p>Hard to say. &nbsp;But in my case I have an urge to share myself. &nbsp;Sharing who and what I am, always hoping&nbsp;to entertain, and above all, not to bore. &nbsp;</p> <p>Nearly impossible. &nbsp;What one person likes, another finds dull. &nbsp;But this fact&nbsp;doesn't stop me from expressing myself. &nbsp;</p> <p>Once at the gallery a girl came in and said she liked to read my blog. &nbsp;I had never met her, and wasn't aware of her existence. &nbsp;She even enjoyed my descriptions of the weather. &nbsp;I was flattered, but puzzled. &nbsp;</p> <p>When I write about the weather I'm merely copying what great writers have done. &nbsp;They reveal&nbsp;an atmosphere. &nbsp;I think I understand how the best ones pull it off. &nbsp;They simply use their senses and report what they literally see, hear, and smell. &nbsp;You'd think this&nbsp;style&nbsp;would be easy to adopt, but it's harder than it looks. &nbsp;</p> <p>For example: outside my open&nbsp;back door I see the&nbsp;green leaves of&nbsp;bushes and a corner of a white, crumbling stuccoed wall. &nbsp;</p> <p>It sounds acceptable&nbsp;because it's real and accurate and&nbsp;shouldn't&nbsp;rub anyone the wrong way. &nbsp;I'm not trying to pass it off as either beautiful or ugly. &nbsp;It's simply what it is.&nbsp;</p> <p>If I wrote every sentence&nbsp;objectively and clearly I'd probably please a sufficient number of readers. &nbsp;It'd mean I wasn't showing off or attempting to sell&nbsp;them something. &nbsp;I was only&nbsp;transmitting my actual&nbsp;perceptions, and&nbsp;presenting myself as neither enviable nor pitiful. &nbsp;</p> <p>Anyway. &nbsp;I painted yesterday and will finish a new one in a few hours. &nbsp;So far, so good. &nbsp;It points to an&nbsp;area that demands&nbsp;improvement. &nbsp;I can't take my eyes off&nbsp;it:&nbsp;"fix me!"</p></div> </article> <a id="next" href="/ajax/blogposts.html?lastpost=1" style="display:none">more</a> </div> </div> </div> <script> $(function() { $('.encloser img').imagesLoaded( function() { $('.encloser img').each(function(i) { var t = new Image(); t.src = $(this).attr('src'); $(this).attr('style',('max-width: '+ t.width + 'px; width: 100%')); $(this).css({'visibility':'visible'}); }); }); theIndex = 1; $('#encloser').infinitescroll({ navSelector : "a#next:last", nextSelector : "a#next:last", itemSelector : "article", dataType : 'html', maxPage : 500, prefill : false, bufferPx : $(window).height(), localMode : true, finishedMsg: "", path: function(index) { return ("/ajax/blogposts.html?" +'lastpost=' + (index) ); } }, function( newElements ) { $( newElements ).find('img').each(function(i) { var t = new Image(); t.src = $(this).attr('src'); $(this).attr('style',('max-width: '+ t.width + 'px !important; width: 100%')); $(this).css({'visibility':'visible'}); }); $( newElements ).imagesLoaded( function() { $('#articles').append(newElements); }); }) }); </script> </font></td> </tr> </table>