2009 Notebook: Weak XXXVI
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3 September 2009
No. 5,305 (cartoon)
You’re a waste of time.

You’re a waste of meat.

We complement each other.

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4 September 2009
Lary’s Gone
I wonder how people really grow? When it comes to the nature versus nurture, I lean heavily toward the nurture side of the debate. I have very little in common with my biological family, but I’m very much in synch with the family I’ve chosen and created.

I’m thinking of Lary Lien; I just learned that he died a couple of days ago. He was seventy-one when death found him, the same age as my father, Morrie, and so many others.

I met Lary when I was a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy, a private arts high school. I never took a class from him, but he nevertheless changed my life. Lary, and the also deceased Jim Alley, were the two people who probably had the most influence on me as an adult. I saw that they spent their time making a lot of good art, had brilliant, beautiful partners, drank and enjoyed recreational drugs (it was rumored), and generally led what seemed to me as a teenager to be wonderful, exemplary lives. Thirty-five years later, I still think so. Were it not for Lary and Jim’s example and encouragement, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be enjoying my charmed life.

My first encounter with Lary was when he told me my mediocre, beginner artwork was mediocre, beginner artwork. He always encouraged me to work hard and make better art, and I fondly remember visits with him after I graduated. I’d drop by his house and pull out a box of new work, he’d pull out a bottle of Scotch, and we’d drink and talk and drink and talk and drink and talk some more. A little encouragement from him went a long way.

The last time I saw Lary was in 1984; that was about the time he quit making art. We didn’t talk about it much; but I recall him once saying that he’d rather be remembered as a drinking buddy than as an artist.

I talked with him for what turned out to be the last time earlier this year. I told him I wanted to do some art pieces that involved firing guns; he said he had the pistols, rifles, and space for such a project. We agreed that I’d visit “some day,” but this is one of those cases where procrastination didn’t serve either of us well.

I’m quite sad to learn that Lary’s gone. I’m just glad that he heard all of the above from me before he died. There’s only one thing I wish I’d told him that I didn’t. I have a book coming out next year, and this is the dedication:

    For Jim, Lary, and Wayne, who introduced me to the joys of art when I was seventeen, and, not incidentally, the young art women (who were much more interesting than the orchestra women).

It’s fine that he’ll never read that; he knew it long before I wrote it.

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5 September 2009
Publishing with Paper
I just published my first book of the millennium, Three Black Squares, Cartoons (sort of).

I have mixed feelings about publishing. On one hand, I believe that posting electronic files on the Internet is certainly publishing. All of the of the cartoons in the book—and hundreds more—are freely available on the Internet. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a bound volume to give to friends.

Curiously, the finite paper versions of this work seem more ephemeral than the infinite (in theory, at least) electronic versions.

But who cares?

At the risk of again being repetitiously redundant, I shall quote Arthur James Balfour’s observation, “Nothing matters much, and in the end nothing matters at all.”

6 September 2009
It Can’t Be Argued
Sally and I got into a bit of an argument tonight as we so often do. I looked for a compromise, but failed.

“It can be argued,” I began, “that ...”

Sally didn’t let me finish.

“No, it can’t be argued,” she interrupted. “I’m right and you’re wrong and that’s that.”

That proved to be a brilliant debating technique, so I shut up.

(For the record, it should be noted that I was right right right right and she was wrong wrong wrong wrong, as usual.)

7 September 2009
Parallel Creative Approaches
This morning, I saw a car with a very happy owner. He’d adorned his vehicle with all sorts of figurative and literal bells and whistles, custom doodads, and ridiculous gizmos. He appeared to be quite proud of his concoction.

I thought he was a silly person, until I realized he and I used the same approach to our creative pursuits. He cobbled together a bunch if disparate automobile parts and considered his jalopy to be his creation. I patch together and sequence lots of different sound snippets and call it my music. There’s not much difference between our creative strategy except that I’m more egotistical and stupid.

I appreciated the parallel with the car guy. It was a timely reminder that one shouldn’t be arrogant and conceited, especially when it comes to creative pursuits. I don’t believe in an aesthetic hierarchy, but, if I did, I’d probably say his motorcar was a lot more interesting than my so-called music.

8 September 2009
Five Thousand Entries, More or Less
This is my five-thousandth consecutive notebook entry. (Or maybe I wrote it yesterday; my database is displaying some alarmingly inconsistent tallies.) Such statistics really don’t matter, but I welcome any excuse to take the day off, such as the observance of a big, round number.

And so, I shall pour myself the first of several drinks and cite a couple of relevant quotes.

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”
—Anthony Trollope

“The two hardest things about writing are starting and not stopping.”
—Stewart O’Nan

9 September 2009
Tahoma Special
Julian wrote to tell me that he appreciated my formula for the Exquisite Red Wine Corpse. He reminded me that he was allergic to wine, and asked if I had a special drink for him. That’s when I invented the Tahoma Special.

To make my favorite new drink, carry one or more bottles and/or cans of Rainier Ale up the slope of Tahoma, commonly known as Mount Rainier. Place the container in a glacier-fed stream. When thoroughly chilled (the beverage, that is), drink thoughtfully.

That has to be one of my best ideas ever; I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart