Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What have you done that has been inspired by Art?

          I have decided to take a little brake from answering questions to ask you one. What have you done that has been inspired by Art?

           When I was in Kindergarten, my teacher gave us a piece of paper and told us to make a squiggle on it. Then she told us to turn that squiggle into a picture of something. I made an "S" type squiggle then turned it into a swan with wings and a beak. Since this did not take me very long to do and the other children were still working I continued my picture, adding water and seven Cygnets, one of which didn't want to get in to the water. When the time was up my teacher had us go to the front and show our work. Everyone had one squiggle that had transformed into one thing. When it was my turn I showed my picture and told my story about the poor swan that was afraid of the water. My teacher was so impressed that she hung up my picture on the blackboard.
          I am now 34 years old and I do not draw any better, but the other day when my youngest son was coloring at the table, I sat down, borrowed a piece of scrap paper and drew a squiggle on it. I asked him what he thought it was and he said that it looked like a crown so I turned the crown into a queen. We continued on until we had a queen, a castle, a wizard, a dragon, a knight, a minstrel and a carriage. He asked me to write a story and this is what I came up with.

The Great Queen:

              There once was a great queen, who thought she was the most powerful creature in her kingdom. One day a wizard from a neighboring land came to visit. She summoned him to her throne room.
            “Great Wizard, seer of all things, am I the most powerful creature in my kingdom?” she asked.
The wizard looked into his crystal ball and said, “My dear queen, you do have many great things. The strongest army, the fastest coach, and a mighty castle.”
            “Then I am the most powerful,” she interrupted excitedly.
He shook his head and replied, “No there is another creature greater than you. A dragon lives in your mountains and he is older, wiser and more powerful than you.”
The queen decided that this would not do. She sent all her knights to defeat the dragon, but none returned. She sold her fastest carriage to put up a reward, but no one could best the dragon. Years went by and soon the castle and the queen were in ruins. One day a minstrel came to visit her.
            “I can slay the dragon!” he told the sorrowful queen.
            “I have nothing to offer you in return,” she said.
            “I only ask for your hand in marriage,” he said smiling.
The queen agreed and the minstrel departed. He returned a week later with the head of the dragon. The queen, being a woman of honor, agreed to marry him. They traveled together all over the world singing the tale of a foolish queen who lost it all trying to have everything.

  The forum members at  http://www.devinwrites.com/ write flash fiction contests every month inspired by a photo prompt. The same is true of my poem Forever Mourning. My friend was going to throw out a chalk picture he had done for class: an orange sunset over a bridge. I asked if I could have it and after looking at it for a moment Forever Mourning came out.

Forever Mourning
Time passes so quickly
Like the water that flows under a forgotten bridge
The sun sets on our lives casting shadows across our loved ones
Leaving only the memories of their existence
And the colors behind

The cool water that rushes down river
Whispers a song of sorrow to the weeping wind
It tells of hate and anger
That has long since been abandoned
Opening up to love and friendship that can never end
Since the forever mourning current carries us away
We can only hope to reach the ocean together one day

So until we can walk along the beach
With the sand between our toes
And the foam tickling our ankles
I bid you farewell
As the sun sets beyond the horizon
Leaving only our memories
And their colors behind.

So, in other words, art inspires writing and writing inspires art.  Just look at the success of comic books. Think about that next time you create something, even if you don't think it turned out. One day it might inspire someone else.

Edited by:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I don't know what that sticky stuff is but it is my job to clean it out anyway. Answer to question 12 of 100

12. What is it like working with your husband on his business? Do you enjoy doing this work?  Is it a good way to be in close contact with someone you love? Describe a day in the life working to ship his items.

     I think I am going to approach this question in reverse. First of all what do I do? On the surface, I place the media items that my husband sells into envelopes or boxes tape them up and add labels. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes, however. We get the media items in used and abused condition, which means they have to be cleaned, tested and refurbished in order for us to truthfully sell them. Now to someone that has never done anything like this before it might sound easy, but let me tell you it can be challenging. For one thing, some people do not use their items for their intended use.
For example, I have cleaned game systems that have been used for the following: bug motels for ants, spiders, or roaches; cup holders for all kinds of liquids; paint or fingernail polish splatter cloths; ash or smoke trays; stash holders; litter boxes; sticker books; art canvas; candle holder; you name it and I have probably cleaned it off of a system, controller, or game. Even as I write this, I just opened up a Super Nintendo System that is so yucky you cannot even identify what is in it by the slimy remains.
 We buff CD-based items, clean the contacts on cartridges, iron wrinkled manuals, and clean controllers with poor response until they work like new. We believe it is a labor of love to breath life back into used and abused items. When everything is cleaned and tested, my husband artfully displays them for sale. When an item sells, I get a list, which I pull for that day of packing, I double-check the items to make sure they are ready to go, and then I pack them appropriately.
      This brings me to my next point: the art of packing. I have to admit when my husband and I first started this business we made all the classic rookie mistakes, like using too much tape, adding newspaper as padding, packing boxed items in envelopes or just wrapping them in paper or newspaper, and packing items in used food boxes. As we matured as a business, we have learned that the post office does not care about your package. It is just an item that must be moved from one point to another regardless of its contents. You cannot expect them to handle it better just because you write “fragile” on it. You are lucky if they read the address correctly, let alone anything you write on the package. It just is not in their unionized job description. Therefore, this means you must pack each item as if it has to survive a natural disaster on its way to its destination. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on peanuts and bubble wrap; the free supplies provided by the post office are adequate to get the job done. This knowledge comes from the experience of packing over 100,000 items over 12 years.
      Are you still with me? Good! Now this job is not for everyone. It requires long hours, dedication and knowledge of the product. So, what are the positive and negative aspects of this job? For the most part, they are one and the same; it all depends on how you look at it.

     a.    You get to set your own hours. There are days when we get up at noon.
     b.    There is no one telling you to get to work; you can work whenever you want to.
     c.    There is a sense of pride gained in bringing dead items back to life and then    sending them to new homes all over the world.
     d.    You get to spend many hours with someone you love instead of only seeing them at bedtime.
     e.     There are times when we watch netflix, or listen to music or audio books while we are working.
     f.    Media surrounds us; my husband has estimated that if he started today and played one game every day for the next twenty years, he would not have to repeat. That is just pulling from our own personal collection and not including the extra inventory.
     g.    We work as a machine every part essential to operate.

     a.    Most of the time we get up at noon because we didn’t get to bed until five AM to get that last package packed for the morning pickup. To make our bills we work almost everyday from the time we get up until the time we fall into bed.
     b.    You have to answer to customers who want to know where their product is, and they can be more brutal than the worst boss.
     c.    It is a lot of hard dirt, work, and long hours to make abused things like new again.
     d.    Spending every minute together can be stressful, especially when mistakes are made, because there is nowhere to escape until the situation is resolved.
     e.    Working in the same room means you have to listen to the same music, sometimes on repeat to avoid having to stop working to change it.
     f.    There is inventory in every room in the house. Yes, there is even product in the bathroom.
     g.    All parts must be present if one of the gears are missing or broken the machine brakes   down. This means that there is little time to pursue other interests like my writing or music for my husband.

     So what do I have to say in conclusion to those of you who have been brave or stupid enough to read all of this rambling? First, you paid money for your items, try treating them like it. Secondly, although many have tried, this job is not for everyone and even though we are not always the lowest price out there, you can buy with confidence knowing we have put our all into making everything we sell the best it can be so you can enjoy it for generations to come.

Edited by:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Love is just a mouse click away Answer to question 11 of 100

11. Talk a little bit about your relationship with your husband. How did you meet and how did you two come to fall in love? 

     Love is just a mouse click away.  Nowadays that phrase does not seem very unusual but in the early nineties it was a big taboo. The internet was just starting to bloom and there were a lot of people who thought it should just be left alone. For a young college student who was living on her own for the first time, the prospect of talking to people around the world was too tempting to pass up. 
      After graduating from High School, I moved to Dillon, MT to attend the college there. One of my first classes was a computer course. We learned about sending email and browsing and writing form letters. One of my friends showed me a great sight called TalkCity.com where you could chat with people from all over the world. From then on I spent every hour I could on there. At home I downloaded the new MIRC to my computer so I could chat with sounds and music.  One day I was having trouble with my computer. I had brought a new printer because the programs on my computer were not compatible with the ones at school and I could not print out any of my writing. I went on MIRC and asked if anyone could help me. My now husband answered and in just a few minutes he got my printer installed.  We started talking every day, first on the computer then on the phone and found out we had similar backgrounds.  After talking to him for nearly a year he invited me to his house for Christmas and I accepted. He flew to Montana then we flew together to Wisconsin. The rest of what happened is another story; needless to say, almost a year and a half after I asked for computer help he asked me to marry him and I said yes. We have now been married for fifteen years and he is still there when I need him.  I am not saying that our lives have been all roses and peanut butter cups but the best part of it is that no matter what life throws at us to upset the balance, we have always got through it together. If I could go back in time and do it all over again I would not hesitate to repeat it all.