Too Much Information

Not too much information as in yuckee stuff that I don’t want to hear, but too much information as in way too much good stuff that I do want to hear, but just don’t have the capacity to take it all in. My inbox is overflowing. It doesn’t take too long to throw out the bad stuff that slipped through my spam filter, but what do I do about that intriguing story about the origins of the universe that’s a month old and I still haven’t gotten to it?

One of the great satisfactions of advanced age (I know that 73 isn’t all that advanced, but I’ve had more than one 5-6 year old refer to me as a grandpa) is the knowledge and understanding that comes with it. A lifetime of dealing with life does have its rewards. Life has been (and continues to be) a sorting process. Who am I? Who am I not? What is enjoyable and what is drudgery. What is productive, what is helpful, and so on. What is within my capacity to process and absorb. I think that my curiosity and interests are bigger than my ability to deal with them. A great deal of this maturing, I believe, is grasping what is simply a passing fancy and what is buried in our DNA. For instance, I have a friend that loves to build hot rods. I think that his creations are absolutely wonderful, and there is part of me that would like to do it too. Even though I know how to change the oil in my truck, rebuilding the engine feels like a bit much. The time and effort to learn how to do it easily outstrips the level of reward that I would receive. Even changing the oil involves time, energy, and facilities that interfere with the creative things I already know how to do and that give deep abiding joy. I don’t really want to be an auto mechanic, but an artist, that’s something that I can really get my mind around.

Focusing on our calling is paramount for accomplishment. Doing lots of other stuff is called wasting time. Time, for each of us, is a measured commodity, even if we are given a pretty healthy portion to work with. We come into this world, and we go out of this world, with only so many years in between. I don’t know that time is really wasted. If one believes in failure as the great teacher then I must be learning lots of stuff. Divergence just means dealing with other parts of life that aren’t directly related to the primary focus. Sometimes this other stuff is just in the way and won’t move until we move it. Sometimes this other stuff winds up supporting the primary focus and needs to be acknowledged and accommodated.

So what is our primary focus and how do we know when we’ve reached that place? Hard to say. It depends, as I see it, on where we are and why. Again, my understanding is that we are always in that place. It is like sitting in front of our fireplace with nothing to read. After we have built a library, it is then a simple matter of pulling a book off the shelf. But until that happens we can find ourselves going to bed early because there is nothing else to do. All of it is relative and all of it needs to happen before we can do or be what is intended for us in the beginning. Whatever state we’re in has been influenced by where we’ve been and contributes to where we are going. If we are into apples, it doesn’t matter whether we are the first one in the basket on the bottom or the last one on the top, it is all the same bushel of apples.

But it is so easy to get seduced along the way, especially when we are young and innocent. I like climbing trees for apples, even if the goal in the end is pie. Maybe I want to be a tree surgeon. Naa, I can climb a tree now and then, or better yet hark back to childhood memories, but I’ll never get my apple pie if I obsess over trees. There is a lot of satisfaction in building bookcases, but it will be a long time before I get to snuggle in front of a warm fire with a good book, if I spend my time doing carpentry.  I speak about what I know. I have a garage full of tools and lumber.

Our calling, primary focus, or whatever you want to call it is indeed essential to our greatest performances. Just remember that great is a relative term and not an absolute. Perhaps big and small might be more useful terms. The bee that pollinates my apple tree is a very small creature doing a little bit of work that is multiplied millions of times over into something that is exceedingly great, and profoundly important. Each of us fall into places of comfort and ability, situations that get very difficult and wearisome if we try to talk ourselves into something that sounds better. More money is nice, to a point, but money really doesn’t buy happiness. More comfort is nice but not when it rides on the backs of others. When we relax and deal with what we know, in the best way that we know how life becomes so much less cluttered. A walk in the woods is definitely good for the soul, but unless we are foresters, we must all return home, to our primary focus, our callings. Lots of good information is bad information if we are constantly tripping over it in pursuit of our lives. I guess that means I need to go through my online closet and dispose of all the stuff that is interfering with my calling. All this good stuff is not going to go away, it just doesn’t need to be in my way.

Pictures for Your Ears

I have, in my own experience considered artists as ones who dealt in pictures. In my latter years, I have added words to my repertoire. I still think primarily in terms of images, but words can evoke images quite well.

Recently, my friend, Bill Skubi put out a Limerick Challenge as a means of lightening the load from our Corona Virus isolation. I woke up this morning about 5:00 AM with verses coursing through my head. Here are the results. I hope you have as much fun with them as I did doing them.

There was a young man with the flu
Who didn’t know what to do.
He drank lots of milk,
And likewise the ilk
Until he began to moo.

There was a young man with the flu
Who didn’t know what to do.
He looked at his face
In the most extraordinary place
In the shine on the top of his shoe.

There was a young man with the flu
Who didn’t know what to do.
He added a toodle
To the whole kaboodle
And had a toodle de do.

There was a young man with the flu
Who didn’t know what to do.
He got on a plane
With nothing to gain
And flew away with the flu.

There was a young man with the flu
Who didn’t know what to do.
He sat on the pot
While deep in thought
And created a terrible pew.

Albert Rose 3 24 20

Where From Here

Many of my acquaintances, both friends and family, go for Facebook to keep in touch. I do have a Facebook account, but I don’t use it much. It’s too exposed and crazy to suit me. I’m hoping that this blog will provide me with a good venue for discourse, with those that really want to talk to me. I will keep the Facebook account because there are those that I want to stay in contact with that don’t do anything else.

The whole tamale

Now that I have my website up and functioning, where do I go from here? There are lots of things that I want to talk about. And it looks like you will have to taste the whole tamale to keep up with it. The different facets of my work and interests will be covered under their respective pages. I see the blog as being the vehicle for my philosophical and emotional expression.

One of the more important things that you need to know about me (those that are close to me already know this) is how irregular I am, and I don’t mean gastrointestinaly. I mean that I find it difficult to keep up with a routine. It can work for a while, but then something will change. Please don’t expect these missives every day, every week, or even every month. I will make every effort to stay with you, but every morning at 6:00 AM forever ain’t gonna happen. You will be able to gauge (if you care to) how things are going by the frequency and vitality of my writings.

One of the big advantages of being 73 is that I have had a lot of time to work through this stuff. I find it very difficult to form any coherent understanding of my behavior while I’m in the midst of it. But once I’m on to something else, hindsight usually gives me a clearer view of what has really happened.

I so firmly believe that we are not a world unto ourselves. We exist and function as communities. However, we all have our own unique and vital contributions, hence this site. I look forward to knowing you better, my friends and compatriots, and sharing myself and what I see as important.

In the Beginning

Welcome to my first Blog Post. I’m 73 years old and just now getting to this valuable tool (blogging). I’ve been doing art for virtually all of my life. It’s been quite an odyssey, and never quite realized as expected. Being an artist is kind of like being a parent or a citizen. The title identifies a very general class , but does not define at all how it is expressed. Being a citizen simply means that I live in a particular place with legal rights specific to that place. How I choose to live my life has only an incidental relationship to its title. Likewise, being an artist only indicates where my talents and inclinations lie, not how I’ve chosen to express them. Parenting, as does an art career, starts with a naive ignorance that only goes away with time and experience.

Read about my famil history and early upbringing