Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Case of the Missing Title


Time is passing too quickly, as it always seems to. But not without progress. Two more pieces of work have been completed for the art exhibit in July, and several more are in the pipeline. I met with the other artist, Valerie Herrero, with whom I will be showing, and we came up with a title:  "Journeys Collected and Contained." Our art is visually very different, but we found, to our delight, that we share many underlying themes and concerns in our work.

The piece in progress in my last post turned out rather differently, but, I think, much better, with the addition of an old brass printer's block of a man's image.  Now there is a face to go with the name on the bookplate that gives the piece it's title. Here's the final version, with a detail shot:
Ex Libris Friedrich Stockler. Mixed media 18"x 10" x 2" 



Several of the items I used were brought back from my time in Germany during the 1990s, such as the bookplate, the brass box, the crucifix figure, and the papers that form the background. Note the date, 1921, just barely visible on the paper to the right of the man's image. (If you do Ctrl + click on the image, it will open at full size in a new window.) This is an actual sheet taken from a hand-written notebook, written (in German) in 1921. I was afraid the ink would smear when I coated it with acrylic gel to attach it to the backing, but fortunately, it did not.

I also completed an assemblage box whose title is still pending, because I can't make up my mind.
Mixed media assemblage in wooden box. 15" x 9" x 10"

Detail of the Over-door. Behind the head is a German 5-mark note c. 1930

View with the light off, taken at an angle to show the crucifix above the final door. 

Mysterious things are hidden in corners, such as this book (of spells, perhaps?)
The top, sides and back are collaged with esoteric devices and symbols. This is the top.

One side; detail below

Fibonacci's equation, the mathematics of the spiral. Sacred geometry. 

As for the title,  originally it was simply "Enfilade", meaning the view through a series of rooms that open out of each other (as was the case in the era before separate hallways for passage.) But a friend pointed out that enfilade can also mean a volley of gunfire. Nope.

Meanwhile, I was reading one of Donna Leon's fantastic Venetian mysteries, The Golden Egg. I came across this sentence, addressed to her protagonist, police detective Commissario Brunetti: "Come in, Commissario, and I shall tell you mysterious things."  Wham! This became the title, minus "Commissario."  But I wonder if it was too long? Especially since I want to include the attribution:

"Come in...and I shall tell you mysterious things."
Donna Leon, The Golden Egg

Maybe. I still love it!

Next idea, "Mystery Lives Here." Not too bad, but sounds rather like a slogan? Or something.

Then, I came across another quotation, from the artist who originated box art, Joseph Cornell (he is my god.) "The Light of Other Days" is Cornell's epigraph to Bel Canto Pet, his written homage to the great Romantic-era mezzo-soprano, Giulia Grisi. I think that could stand alone, without the attribution. Those who love Cornell as much as I do, would get it. 

So, what shall it be? I have until July to make up my mind. Meanwhile, back to the studio! Here are some glimpses of what else is cooking. 

Miniature icons, for an homage box for the old-time icon painters

A box of little buildings, awaiting their fate

And Cupid crucified, waiting for his box to be completed. (The big wings will likely go away. He's cupid, not an angel.)
And, on a final note, I was accepted as a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists at their recent Spring Membership Screening. Yippee!


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Slow Progress

"Ex Libris F. S."  7 x 17" Assemblage box in progress, 02-11-18
The holidays were wonderful, as ever, but not a time when I can work on art (other than my annual Christmas card) or do much of anything else outside the celebration. I am a slow worker at the best of times; trying to put on some speed, without condensing the process too much, is a challenge. How does one condense a process anyway? One thing I'm trying, is Tai Chi. Loving it so far, and in fact it does seem to help my concentration.

The piece shown is one of several in progress in my studio at the moment. It may or may not turn out like this. Seeing it here, it is rather more somber than I realized. Or perhaps it's more a matter of what's lacking in the photo: the absence of the play of light on the brass of the oval box, the missing depth the wax gives to the image at the bottom, and the texture of the pebbly surface of the antique book cover.

The title derives from the small bookplate at the top, which came from a German flea market during my happy time living in that beautiful country.

I have not yet made the box in which the work will be installed, and to which the frame shown will be attached. At present, it is far too cold to work in the garage, where my carpentry happens. Thus, there is no depth dimension given in the caption.

But, the new year brings new possibilities. I'm getting back into the groove, back to work. That's the important thing!

Inspiration is a guest that 
does not often visit the lazy.   

 P.I. Tchaikovsky




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Off to a Fantastic Start!


In March, I posted about reviving this blog as part of starting a new phase of my life:  Retirement! And what this would mean to reinventing myself as a “full-time” artist. Happily, my new artistic life has gotten off to a fantastic start. 


One of the works in progress from that March 5 post featured a cast-paper bookshelf filled with tiny books that I’d made. I was able to finish the entire piece in time to enter it for the annual Salon Show at The Gallery 4 in Pittsburgh’s East End. The gallery’s original email, notifying me that the piece had been accepted, ended up in the spam folder (!) but luckily I found it in time, and dropped off the piece at the gallery three days before the opening. The title is "Death of a Bibliophiliac."





As mentioned before, the piece is a tribute to Dutch artist Peter Gabrielse, with a nod also to Joseph Cornell, who also used antique star charts in his work. I was raised Roman Catholic, so the sight and smell of many candles burning  is something that always evokes my childhood. The stack of books that the ladder rests on are actual vintage books, some from German flea markets obtained when I lived there during the 1990s. The thickest one is a prayer book that was bound (sometime in the early 19th c, if I remember correctly) in paper recycled from an even older book, a common practice throughout the history of books. I started to disassemble it to use the pages in collage, but went no further when I saw the old printing underneath the spine.


Below is a photo of the piece installed in the gallery, with apologies for the poor quality. The lighting was subdued to lessen glare, but made it difficult to photograph with my phone. (The almost-impossible-to-see etching hanging above my box is by Ciara Gray.)
                                                        
Death of a Bibliophiliac, 2017, mixed media assemblage box, 26"x 12"x 8"
If I needed further encouragement to pursue my artwork, this was certainly it. Full-steam ahead on the other works in progress! As well as a list of 6-10 long-planned pieces that are embryonic rather than in-progress. Fodder for plenty of posts.


MEANWHILE, on the first Saturday of retirement, my dear friends Sharon and Dave threw a retirement party for me, attended by many of my favorite people and filled with good food, conversation, music and their three friendly dogs! It was truly a labor of love on their part, and I am so grateful. It was a very special way to start retirement.

Later that week, I went with friends to see giant glass flowers by artist Jason Gamrath at Phipps Conservatory 
Water Lily by Jason Gamrath
Next, we attended Phipp's annual May Market sale, where I purchased a hand-made garden ornament, which will no doubt feature in a future post. 

The next evening was the opening at Gallery 4, which lasted several hours and enabled me to meet some other artists, as well as another gallery owner who expressed interest! But I quickly realized that if I kept up this social pace, I would be too tired to make art. It's time to slow down and get back to art-making!


BACK IN APRIL, pre-retirement, my friend Kris and I made an excursion to Ohio to the Akron Art Museum to attend an exhibit, "Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose". This included contemporary artists who had been featured in Hi-Fructose art magazine during the first 10 years of that publication. We went on a Thursday (I took the day off) because that evening one of my favorite artists, Beth Caverner, (www.followtheblackrabbit.com/) was giving a talk. In a humorous and thought-provoking presentation, she shared the ups and downs of her artistic journey, and the breakthrough which set her on the path to her artistic blossoming. This was her discovery that people respond more readily on an emotional level to animals than to fellow humans. And so she began sculpting her signature clay menagerie, animals in attitudes and situations that convey human feelings. The label for her piece, below, states that "These animals communicate through gesture, with their body language acting as a metaphor for human psychological states...often responding to events in her personal life. Unrequited refers to Cavener's lack of feeling desirable after having her first child."

All the art in the Hi-Fructose show was stunning, very contemporary, and incredibly well-executed, even if not to my personal taste. A sampling of the art on view:

Unrequited (Variations in Pink) by Beth Cavener



Cement Truck by Wim Delvoye.


ratspiderbat by Fulvio Di Piazza

Incantation by Martin Wittfooth

Embraced #1 by Ronit Baranga

ON THE DRIVE to Akron, Kris and I had a discussion about “being an artist” and what attributes allow one to claim that title. Not that either of us really has anything but personal observation to go on; we are not up on our “isms” and contemporary art criticism is like language from another planet. In spite of our lack of art-world creds, we decided that nothing beats an interesting idea, well-executed, in a well-designed work. This includes conceptual, installation and performance art.

Here’s what else we came up with:

·         ORIGINALITY. The Japanese have been making wood-block prints for generations, yet every print-maker of note, while using time-honored techniques, has had something new and original to say. In short, avoid clichéd images. Milk cans in a field of daisies and tropical sunsets have been done. Millions of times.
o        What you can get away with:  paint the above, with the intent of irony. Make this clear.

·         ABILITY. The legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser observed that everyone at the Push Pin Studios (which gave us numerous classic ads and posters) could draw. It’s OK to break rules, but not if you’re doing so because you could never come up to snuff in the first place. Of course, there have been great artists (Joseph Cornell, for one, whom I revere) who never drew. But what they did, they did with total command of their materials.
o         What you can get away with:  do “bad” drawings deliberately, with attitude

·         AUTHORITY. Show hesitancy in the work and the viewers will know, if only on a subliminal level. So, you can draw like Leonardo but you want to make images of people with rubber arms and faces askew? Go ahead. But do it like you KNOW you know how to draw but are choosing to suspend the rules (see above), because you have something original to say, and you’ve made the conscious decision that dodgy anatomy conveyed it best. 

No particularly original thinking here, but it was an interesting discussion! 

I CLOSE with an observation on retiring:  I expected retirement to be a big adjustment; it is, after all, a total change in my daily routine. What has actually happened, is that being able to call my time my own has taken no adjustment at all! In fact, it was keeping up the employee mind-set for decades that took adjusting to, and I quickly sloughed that like a snake shedding skin that no longer fit. I am grateful that jobs provided the wherewithal to keep a roof over my head, but having spent all that time doing tasks many others could have done, I am now free to pursue that which only I can do:  my own artwork. Yippee!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Preparing For a New Beginning


In the April of 2010, I started this Collagitation blog as a means to present my collage-a-day project, “3SIXTY5”, in honor of my 60th birthday. Now, in 2017, it will be reborn as a platform to document my journey from full-time employee to full-time artist. 
As of May 5, 2017,  I’M RETIRING!!

Much has changed in seven years. There have been losses (my dear mother passed away in 2013) and gains (I got a new knee and the house got a new back porch); but what has remained constant is my desire to do my artwork, with my full attention, whenever I choose, and without interruption.  That’s a lot of emphasis on me, my and I.  Surely there are greater reasons, beyond personal fulfillment, for why people are given talents? This too I will discover, in time.

A man is not old until his regrets take the place of dreams. 
-Yiddish proverb

Meanwhile, here is a sample of what I’ve been working on. All of these were begun within the past 12 months; none is finished yet.

This first piece is entitled "Owl for David Caspar Friedrich," who is one of my favorite painters. (http://www.caspardavidfriedrich.org/the-complete-works.html)

"Owl for Caspar David Friedrich"  

Making tiny books for a library assemblage piece

The books in their gothic bookcase. The rest of the interior of the assemblage box is in the works.

This piece was inspired by another favorite artist, Peter Gabrielse, whose work I discovered last year on Pinterest. His website is here: http://www.petergabrielse.com/ And if you are into interiors as much as me, on my Pinterest page you can see photos of his home in Normandy (as well as his artwork) https://www.pinterest.com/diakea/peter-gabrielses-world/ though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish rooms in his house from those in his work.

By the way,  most of the photos of Gabrielse's home were taken by London-based jewelry designer and photographer Kotomi Yamamura, who travels all over Europe every summer taking photos (MAJOR ENVY!!), and visits Peter. You can see her work here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kotomi-jewelry/albums  I recommend scrolling through her albums, there is an amazing assortment of inspirational things to see! Unfortunately (for me) her blog is in Japanese.

You can also see boards of my painting, collages and calligraphic art on my Pinterest page.

Finally, one more work in progress, tentatively entitled "The Cosmos in Her Hand." Another tribute to my love of books, reading, and the allure of old objects.



That's it for now! 

Watch this space!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Murder on my mind & saved by the book

The Murder - Paul Cezanne, 1868
I mentioned previously that my recent involvement with the Bizarre Bazaar Shoppe seems to be encouraging me to notice and explore--perhaps attract?--some darker aspects of life. In mid-August I was called upon for jury duty, and learned during the selection process that the case was a homicide. 

The Dark Side was creeping closer again, this time with no fantasy element whatsoever to buffer the chill.

Although I am a mystery fan from way back, the idea of determining someone’s guilt or innocence as a murderer, in real life, was daunting. As it turned out, our task was to determine the degree of guilt (first or third degree murder, or manslaughter) because it was already established that the defendant was the killer. Oh, good. That would make it easier, right?

Well, it did make the process simpler, in that incontrovertible, physical facts are just that and there was plenty of evidence (the details of which I will spare you.)  In spite of the considerable efforts of the Defense to convince us the defendant believed his life was in danger when he acted, you can’t fire a gun from across the street into an unarmed man’s back, and call it self-defense. Not only that, he killed the wrong man, a friend of his intended victim. (A person in the wrong place at the wrong time; which could happen to any of us, at any time. Random dark-sidedness. As my son would say, Welcome to planet-fucking-earth.)

The jury deliberated for only an hour before reaching a verdict on day three of the trial:  First degree murder. 

Nevertheless, putting a 36 year old man behind bars for the rest of his life, murderer though he is, is not without psychic consequences. We, the jury, had no other choice. But still.

As a friend said afterwards when we discussed my experience, “You’re watching peoples’ lives fall apart in front of your eyes” and you cannot help but be emotionally affected. At the end, I was left with a profound sadness that lasted for days. Sadness for the victim, the perpetrator, his children, their mothers, all their families; for communities where random murder has become almost normal; for our society as a whole where such things have become common and no one seems to have an answer.  I hope this is as close to murder as I ever get in real life.

Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh PA, c 1904.
Designed in 1883 by Henry Hobson Richardson. Build 1884-1888.



Well, something interesting happened during the days of the trial, which convinces me yet again that there are seldom coincidences, and our mental frequency, our state of attraction, determines what we draw into our lives. Yeah, it is definitely anti-climactic, after the above, to talk about a book I discovered, but I think it demonstrates not only the Law of Attraction in action, but also the power of words in the hands of a Master.

On the morning of the second day of the trial, I finished the book I’d been reading (a mystery by one of my favorite authors of the genre, Donna Leon). There's a lot of down-time while serving on a jury, so at lunch time I headed to the nearest discount bookstore in search of reading material.  I came across an author named Walter Mosley. There is an author named Mosley that I want to read, but I couldn't remember the first name. Was this him?  On a chance, I bought the book.  

As it turned out, Walter Mosley was not the author I had been looking for, but that didn't matter once I started reading.  In the book, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Mosley writes eloquently about the human experience, through the often harsh lens of the contemporary African-American experience. Coincidence? 

Even though the book is not a mystery story, it was uncanny how settings and events in it related to my experience of being a juror on a black-on-black murder case. The book's protagonist, talking to a friend about a shooting victim, says:  “…so you think [the shooting] was just some mistake, somebody thought he was somebody else?”  Whoa! A person in the book has the same unusual surname as a person mentioned during the trial. The motive for the murder in the book is a love triangle. Also true of the real murder... 

I felt as if unseen forces had "sent" the book to help me cope emotionally with the surreal experience of the trial. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is  filled with Mosley's lively imagination and wit, and plenty of compassion. In spite of the often gritty settings and events, it was a joy to read. The contrasts and similarities between the fictional and the real shape-shifted in my mind as I read the book during recesses of the trial.

I finished the book, sitting on my sunny patio, the Saturday after the trial. I started to cry, and could not stop. Ptolemy Grey is a very old man, who dies at the end of the book. With a 91 year old protagonist, this is not a spoiler. But my tears went way beyond the death of an endearing fictional character, obviously, and the catharsis was intense. I couldn't start another book for days, because this one kept resonating in my mind and heart, softening the memory of the trial which also continued to haunt me. 

So, many thanks to Walter Mosley for giving me an escape valve for the head of emotional steam built up by jury duty and its consequences, and to whatever Power sent the book to me when I needed it most. To attract a book like The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey into my life, I would almost do it again.

"The great man say that life is pain," Coydog had said over eighty-five years before. "That mean if you love life, then you love the hurt come along wit' it. Now, if that ain't the blues, I don't know what is."

Walter Mosley, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Moonrise over the patio, 3 days before the trial started.

I’ve also learned that Mosley is the creator of the celebrated Easy Rawlins mystery stories, which I've not read, but will now. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Invasion of the Flesh-Eating Slugs!

My cat Shadow is an avid hunter (note the flexed paw at the ready.) Being mostly solid black, he is, literally, a shadow and hunts in perfect nighttime camouflage. It is not unusual to awake and find a small, furry trophy on the back porch. Occasionally, it might be a feathered trophy, which is worrisome because I love birds. But, what can I say? He is a CAT!

Recently, he brought home a kill that I did not find until after others did. Specifically, ants, and one gluttonous slug. Rhymes with ugh! I can’t think of any garden creatures more hateful than slugs!

RE the above photo, I get the feeling that the appearance of Bizarre Bazaar Shoppe in my life is bringing certain tendencies of mine to the forefront. I find myself looking at skull jewelry a lot lately. Find myself practicing gothic blackletter at my calligraphy desk. Even thinking about getting a tattoo.  And I don’t think I would have, pre-BBS, bothered to photograph a flesh-eating slug.

Be that as it may, the advent of BBS has been totally a positive event, no doubt about it! Tectonic plates move faster than my art career, so every bit of exposure helps. All exposure is often a springboard to more opportunities.

At Bizarre Bazaar Shoppe, you are intrigued but never feel like you’ve wandered into some pervert’s private realm. I overheard this comment while putting up title labels for my works: “Look at this! It looks just like the thing in—what was it?  Oh--The Addams Family!”  (The movie, of course. I wonder how many younger people who saw the movie, know about the TV series? Let alone know about Charles Addams himself??)

Like Addams’ classic cartoons, the offerings at Bizarre Bazaar are an immersion in what I would call Classic Creepy. Often sincere, sometimes tongue-in-cheek. A strong ambience of Edgar Allen Poe and Victorian gloom pervades the space. There are lamps made from animal spines, taxidermy, dolorous poppets, dusty relics of dubious origin, vials of secret potions and other references to arcana and dark magic. There are also enough references to white magic to keep it just this side of Knockturn Alley. However, if one night a year to celebrate the dark side does not suffice, here is a place to get your Halloween fix year-round! (See my previous post for a peek at the shop, as well as links.)

And, as everyone knows, Pittsburgh is Classic Creepy’s hometown, thanks to George Romero and Chilly Billy Cardille, with whom my teen-aged self and  friends spent many a horror-filled Saturday night with the TV on and all the lights off!   MMWA-HA-HA-HA-A-A-A!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Collagitation now at the Bizarre Bazaar Shoppe!!

Recently I had the opportunity to consign 17 collages for sale in the Bizarre! Bazaar! Shoppe, located in the Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery satellite location at the Waterfront, in Homestead, PA. I first discovered BBS while delivering a painting for an Associated Artists of Pittsburgh group show at MWFA in June. I was so taken with the intriguing shop, I put together a little album of my own macabre art, showed it to the lovely Proprietress, who then  invited me to bring in some pieces to offer for sale there!

You can see some of my collages in the center image.
It was great to pull all that art out of plastic sleeves in binders, where most of it's been stored since 2010, and put it into frames (a process which is worthy of a blog post all its own. Why did I think I could mat and frame 12 pieces in one afternoon? Daft!)  Here are photos of some of the pieces in the shop:

Never Looked Better
Cadaveric
Mixed Anatomies (top), Masks (bottom)

My Dark Heart

Remorse (on easel)

Spiral Staircase (top) and Party Hat (below)

Grouping of the above, along with Death on the Wing (top left) and Aunt Letitia's Parlor (Tribute to Edward Gorey) (lower left)

If you're in Pittsburgh, please stop by the Waterfront in Homestead and take a look!  Most Wanted Fine Art (#9 on the directory map in the link) is located on Amity Square behind Leow's Theater, across from Starbuck's, next to the Gap. (Ironic, no?)

Bizarre! Bazaar! Shoppe is the brainchild of Dr. Morose and Miss Macabre, aka Nick Noir and Macabre "Mac" Noir. Artists, performers, entrepreneurs, magician, seer, they encompass a variety of talents, sensibilities, and knowledge both arcane and mundane, in their amazing personages. And they are really nice people!
Nick and Macabre Noir
Here are some other links to their worlds of mystery and decadent beauty:  Nick’s dark and delightful instagrams;  Mac’s instragrams.

Here are links to the original posts for some of the artworks at BBS (I've changed some of the titles):
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/09/cadaveric.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/08/collage-for-august-24-2010-mixed.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/10/masks.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/08/todays-collage-fatal-attraction.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/08/collage-for-friday-august-20-strasbourg.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/09/remorse.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/09/death-on-wing.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/10/victorian-parlor-tribute-to-edward.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/08/collage-for-saturday-august-21-scream.html
http://collagitation.blogspot.com/2010/09/haunted-house-my-sisters-ghost.html

As you can gather from the name of the shop, Bizarre! Bazaar! caters to those with a darker sensibility. Capitalism with a twist! I’ve been interested since childhood in the macabre. Like my Mom, I loved ghost stories and scary movies. Still do. I’m also interested in the sinister aspects of history, art and literature and I thoroughly enjoy producing collages in that vein. Although my work isn’t all “dark,” a lot of it tilts in the direction of irreverence and irony. It’s a short slide down a slippery slope from that to outright tilted. So…why make “dark art”?

Dark art is, first of all, fantasy. Fantasy without the pink-tailed unicorns and glittering fairy-godmothers come to save the day, but like all fantasy, it is an escape from reality. It can also be an attempt to explain an indecipherable existence, or to build a safe space against an intolerable one. Or simply a way to amuse yourself. Or, perhaps it is just us trying to get comfortable with our own mortality.

Death can be a great enigma to us body-bound souls, lumbering about in our meat machines. (Are we driving it, or is it driving us?)  I guess we usually envisage departure from the meat machine as a traumatic experience, even though, "we" are not destroyed, only sent on to the next leg of the journey, or perhaps reunited with the Source. Yet death evokes all kinds of worrisome questions: Will it hurt? (I doubt if it will be comfortable, if only because the m.m. struggles against its demise.)  Will I go to Heaven?  (Only if you truly believe you will—click your ruby heels together and repeat three times…)   Will I see my departed Loved Ones? (I certainly hope so!) Will I meet the Grand Overall Designer?  (Not if you believe that’s some grouchy, white-bearded patriarch, sitting on a cloud smiting and smoting and generally behaving like a prick.)

Albus Dumbledore, revered by many of us, said:  “To a well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”  So why do we Fear Death?  Probably its simple fear of the unknown:  we can't know for sure what is really, REALLY going to happen beyond that portal. Some of us are comfortable with Mystery, others not so much (they have Religion, the great comfort blanket, instead.)

My very perceptive son recently commented that there are people who get psyched out by the realization that there is whole, working skeleton, right inside them, all the time! “Ewww, creeeeepy!!!”  So let us get used to the fact that we all carry our own creepiness within us. Putting it into artwork is, I think, preferable to letting it turn us into monsters (which, as we see every day on the news, Religion can certainly do.)

NOTE:  if you are the easily offended type, please disregard the parenthetical statements above. HA!!

Another individual revered by many of us, the inimitable Edward St. John Gorey, was asked by his long-time friend, Paul Theroux, (quoted in Theroux's excellent book, The Strange Case of Edward Gorey) why "stark violence and horror and terror were the uncompromising focus of his work." Gorey replied, “I write about everyday life.” In other words, being alive is not for the timid. Witness the Gashleycrumb Tinies! So we use dark art to help us cope, help us laugh--or at least grimly smile-- at the bigger Darkness ahead and within.

Speaking of Albus Dumbledore, I once took a “Sorting Hat test” years ago, on one of the many Harry Potter sites. It put me in Slytherin House. That explains a lot! I was not pleased at the time, but now I say, Wear Your Darkness Proudly!

There is darkness inside all of us…
We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. 
Some use it as a shield to hide behind, others as an excuse to do unconscionable things. But, truly, the darkness is simply a piece of the whole, neither good nor evil unless you 
make it so.    
Jenna Maclaine, Bound By Sin

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