hard work

E.B. White & Winding the Clock
anarchy | apocalyptic | beauty | dystopian | evil | excellence | freedom | friends | gratitude | happiness | hard work | healing | hope | kindness | love | maturity | real friends | redemption | spiritual teachings | vulnerability | wholeness

E.B. White & Winding the Clock

Of late things have been hard. 

My heart is broken. Broken again, for the 3477th time this life.

“Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time,” wrote E. B. White, to a despairing Mr. Nadeau. The actual first paragraph of White’s letter said:

“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.”

I must say, on this journey, I have met some extraordinary people. Amazing, wonderful people. They hail from disparate walks of life, different races, different cultural backgrounds. Some  are immigrants, no two from the same country of origin.

They share a love for Freedom.

They are passionate. They are quirky. They are independent. They tend to be wildly intelligent and creative and brimming with life.

They tend to be honest.

Right now some feel inconsolable.

I feel fortunate to have encountered these souls, who are all, as I am, beset with difficult feelings.

People I considered friends have shown their true colors. I know now who really has my back. It’s painful and it’s good.

I counseled some lovely friends: “We must think of ourselves as the Londoners during the War. They thought God had forgotten them. God-Goddess-All-that-Is hadn’t forgotten them then, and hasn’t forgotten us now.”

But E.B. White that masterful wordsmith said it better:

It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

So tomorrow I will rise too early, as always. Luminate coffee with coconut creamer and coconut sugar, beguiling and delicious. I will wind the clock.

Hope
Of the season, and a milestone
art | beauty | business | errors | hard work | psychosis | redemption | Sabin Howard sculpture | WW1 Memorial

Of the season, and a milestone

My latest on Medium Online is “The End of the Beginning: Eight of Sabin Howard’s Doughboys Get Ready to Go Back to Europe.”

I wrote it to share–to celebrate–a milestone: Sabin and his stalwart team have finished principal sculpture on the first grouping of eleven figures from A Soldier’s Journey.

I’m so proud of our sculptors Sabin, Charlie, and “Raymond.” They’ve worked with focus and dedication through long hours and difficult situations.

I’m also terribly proud of our good-spirited models. They also worked hard over the last year, especially during the quarantine months. Everyone has made sacrifices and accommodations for the good of the project.

This achievement is hard-won. It’s sweet for us.

It makes it worthwhile, almost, to have to deal with the belligerence and incompetence of outside parties. They’re a necessary evil. Doesn’t make them easy to handle. I brace myself before every phone call, conference, meeting, and visit. I’m always relieved when contact concludes.

It’s true that I have a particular failing in not tolerating fools gladly. My shrink has been yelling at me for a decade about that. Regarding my lack of patience for a**holes and idiots: it’s not exactly ego syntonic, it’s just not exactly ego dystonic, either.

But back to the trolls. What’s the point of being an aggressive jerk with people who are working hard, in good faith, toward a mutual goal? It mystifies me.

We were actually threatened with a “bloody fistfight” because the global pandemic posed challenges for our shipping plans. Do you believe that? HELLO: THERE’S A GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

And we were threatened after we had formed a quarantine pod, lived together, and worked together, all toward this end: meeting our deadlines.

The “bloody fistfight” folks are petty and unhelpful. Then there are the incompetent folks: “Thank you for your patience while we slowly and belatedly attend to an important matter that you told us about two months ago and then again last week. That matter we assured you was well in hand a month ago.”

Grr.

And there’s the guy who actually tried to tell me what to write. I thought I managed that situation well. I explained that my diction could have been worse. I didn’t tell him to go f**k himself.

It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. I surmise that everyone living within a 75 mile radius of Washington DC is some species of awful. People far from the Beltway incorrectly assume that one political party is awful and the other is okay, depending on their personal predilections, and which media they allow to them what to think. It’s actually far more widespread than that. The whole DC area is toxic. Political party doesn’t matter.

The sole exception is our brilliant attorney. But he’s from the heartland and he lived in Germany for a while. He hasn’t been spoiled with the DC power-lust.

And so this is difficult for me. And yet, and yet… Sabin and the team have completed the first 28% of A Soldier’s Journey, and it’s beautiful. Uplifting, gripping. My husband’s skill is amazing. I’m so proud of him and so proud to have served the process in my way.

Love and chaos in the time of the coronavirus
anarchy | apocalyptic | dystopian | friends | hard work | healing | hope | life and death | missing people | passings | vulnerability

Love and chaos in the time of the coronavirus

The world is rife with panic and pandemic.

People are sick. People are dying. The COVID-19 respiratory illness is sweeping across the globe. No place will be spared.

Italy is quarantining. Have the Italians stopped their millennia-old practice of bussing on both sides of the face in greeting? 

I bet they have. Kissing is for the inviolate.

The macrocosm is a mess. In the microcosm, in the tiny whimsical, poignant slice of All-That-Is that is my personal life, a chaos stew bubbles.

One friend died of a drug overdose. 

Did she intend to die?

I was close to her during grad school. I remember her talent, her intellect, and her bright smile. Could I have done anything else to help her?

A beloved family member succumbs to cancer, by degrees. He’s in palliative care now. It’s hard to watch a good man die.

A beloved friend is mentally absent. Something has claimed her wonderful intelligence. She tells me the same stories over and over, sometimes beginning the anecdote mere seconds after finishing it.

I have pulled away from a friend whom I love. I can not tolerate her lack of truthfulness and lack of consistency right now. Usually I can shrug off her failings because I remember my own flaws, and because I have in mind her many wonderful qualities: her extraordinary generosity, her capacity for lovingkindness, her playfulness. But right now, the lack of truthfulness and lack of dependability feel like too much chaos, in a world that is seething with chaos.

Life in the studio
art | authors | gratitude | hard work | marriage | Memorial | redemption | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture | sculpting | WW1 Memorial

Life in the studio

Since August 26, I’ve been ensconced in an office in my husband’s new studio. Sabin and his team are sculpting the National WWI Memorial.

I have a life in the studio.

I’m the project manager. I’m also Human Resources and CFO of Sabin Howard Sculpture LLC.

There are plenty of non-glamorous, essential tasks in this job for which I roll up my sleeves and apply the grease of my elbows. I’m not just talking about sweeping the floor, emptying trash, and lugging around bronze sculptures, though I’ve done that, too.

I mean things like running payroll, signing checks, tracking hours spent on each figure… Project management is a first cousin to juggling. You know, 1000 balls in the air, and they’d all better stay afloat.

Along the way, I engage in more pleasurable activities–like writing articles. Here’s my latest on Medium, entitled, “The Many Faces of Sabin Howard’s National WWI Memorial.”

Given our interest in WWI, a friend took me to the DGA to see 1917 when it came out. Great movie! Highly recommended!  I wrote a review.

I take photographs almost every day; our daughter put together a video for us. Her YouTube video shows us getting back to work after the holiday break.

And here’s a video that I put together. It’s a little rough but fun–it shows Sabin and his crew taking the memorial relief outside into daylight to see it out doors, the way visitors will see it once it’s installed in Pershing Park, Washington DC.

So I do find ways to exercise my own creativity on this journey alongside my husband.

Medium Article & YouTube Video about Sabin Starting Sculpting
art | excellence | hard work | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture | sculpting | WW1 Memorial

Medium Article & YouTube Video about Sabin Starting Sculpting

I posted an article in Medium relating our first few days in Sabin’s new studio, sculpting the National WWI Memorial, A Soldier’s Journey.

It’s been an intense month as we prepared to get to this moment, when Sabin and his team are actually sculpting.

We had a brand new studio–unfinished–to contend with. Indeed, guys were still in the studio grouting tiles when we started work the first day!

The team of sculptors is first rate and the models are terrific.

We had photographers here on Day 1 and Sabin was captured talking about sculpting. It’s a short, sweet YouTube video:

There’ll be more videos and Medium posts as Sabin’s sculpting progresses!