My life is full of Art, but it is also full of artists who define “art” very differently from me.
My best friend is an expert, having studied and collected art for most of his life. He is also a very talented artist in his own right. We’ve had an ongoing debate for more than 40 years about what actually qualifies as art and who gets to define it. I know we are not alone in this disagreement.
“The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” My own definition of art is the sharing of one’s inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, visions, and struggles through multiple mediums.”
Wondering what all this has to do with “twisted”?
I think his choice of art is twisted…and I’m sure he thinks mine is invalidly defined as art in the first place.
The photo at the top of this post is a gift my best friend gave me many years ago. I’m sure it was expensive and to many, would be defined as art.
I just think it’s twisted.
He actually spent money on that piece for me, where as I bought myself these pieces.
Here are some more examples of “art” in his home and “art” in mine.
His is on the left, mine on the right
His choice on top
My choice is “twisted” artwork from my grandson, at 9 and then 11 years old.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying my best friend is twisted. As a matter of fact, here is my newest absolute favorite piece of art, ironically, a gift from him. Not my chosen “style” by any means but he knew how moved I would be by this piece!
I, on the other hand, by the definition of many, am quite happily Twisted.
I do, that’s who. So I will now officially, and gladly accept the adjective of TWISTED!
I am in great company, as you know if you have ever read The Shameful Sheep or Jennifer Day at The Iconophile, two of my favorite bloggers.
I really felt it while I was going through all kinds of contortions trying to photograph my friend’s art, including, taking his series called “the 7 deadly sins” into a dark closet to eliminate some of the reflection. Didn’t work, and besides, too creepy! This is as good as I could get.
It’s not just about art though.
Just the other day, a newish friend, while I was introducing him to my Bugs, asked me if I realized just how twisted it was for me to be this enthusiastic about them.
He has no idea. Even I know it is completely torqued to set up the photo shoots I have with my bugs.
Witness these, as examples…
I won’t even get started on the debate we have about Photography as ART!!
Anyway, I know this is a long post, with a lot of photos, but the topic and the recent Daily Post announcement inspired me to do less censoring than I usually apply to my weekly photo challenge entry.
I’ll end on this note.
Initially, I was of like mind with many other contributors this week. I immediately thought of these things:
But then I allowed the word to take me on this unexpected journey.
For that, I wish to express deep gratitude to The Daily Press for your regular inspiration for so many posts!! I will really miss you.
PS I have received many Twisted gifts over the years from other twisted folks. Here are a couple involving antlers…yikes.
Anyway, my last two bugs, having lived way longer than any of their female-only ancestors, passed away last summer and I was way sadder than I would have expected. It was probably much more existential grief than I want to admit…end of an era…passing of time…my own mortality, etc.
Or maybe I had simply bonded to these mild, extravagant creatures. I confess, I LOVED my bugs!!
For the seven or eight years I have raised Giant Spiny Australian Leaf bugs (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extatosoma_tiaratum) I saved every single one of the hundreds of eggs they laid, hoping for later hatchings. (It takes over a year when *parthenogenesis is the method.) I kept the eggs safe and in the medium suggested by my research on Google (warm, moist soil).
With the last batch born (39 of them) I knew I was getting tired…but not of my bugs. They are so easy to care for. Feed them and put fresh paper towels at the bottom of their terrarium every 10 days or so. No big deal. (Well, I am leaving out the part that James does for me…scrounging around for uncontaminated Blackberry bushes, cutting off several branches, and then “dethorning” them for the safety of the bigger bugs who can accidentally impale themselves on these thorns. Poor James comes home bleeding every time!)
It had become quite an extravagant hobby.
After so many generations, I was up to a whole “colony”. With each new generation, I would happily give away as many bugs as I could to good homes (schools, parents, friends, independent Pet Stores… boy, are those hard to find now…) but it was requiring a lot more of the kind of energy I no longer have due to my age or an exhausting autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s? I don’t know which.
Also, at that number of bugs, there were just too many for me to “socialize”…meaning, getting the bugs used to being handled by humans. I wanted the occasional brave guest to be able to have the experience of one of these mild monsters sitting peacefully in the palm of their hand. This last batch had basically no direct human contact.
When I could feel the end nearing for my two oldest Queens, I did not do anything to protect or preserve their hundreds of eggs in the way their gestation requires. That was a much more difficult decision than I would have thought.
When they both died, I gave them what I considered a loving and respectful send off by placing them on blossoms outside in the sun. My keeping them safe in captivity may have given them a much longer life but had prevented their outdoor experience.
I put away the terrariums, and the jars that acted as vases for Blackberry vines. I gathered books and tchotchkes to fill up the empty shelves, dresser tops and counters that used to hold giant Bug Homes for all to see. I had all those interesting-looking eggs in a bowl and just set them off somewhere on a shelf.
I have missed my bugs. I know they are not pets in the way most of us think of a pet…like a companion. I didn’t talk to them or anything, at least not nearly as much as I talk to my cats (wish I had a winking emoji for right here…)
I did try to provide entertainment for them though…exposure to different settings, and playing loud music for them. They love Comfortably Numb and actually sway in time with music, but I guess I needed copyright permission for a video I made with Pink Floyd playing in the background, because WordPress would not include it in that post long ago.
But for all those years they were such a mild, peaceful presence in my life.
Having that amazing bug activity, straight from a David Attenborough-type nature show, happening right in my living room, was a constant and graphic reminder of the miracles in Nature. The molting process alone would blow the most uninterested of minds.
I think I have missed seeing daily the natural flow of the bugs’ stages, the proof that though one life comes to an end, another is always starting…
And those gentle bugs actually made me miss my life’s work a little less. In my practice, I was a regular witness to the amazing cycle of human life……coaching childbirths, end of life counselling, with all of life’s challenges, traumas and gifts in between.
Retirement! Heck, what was I thinking???
Now this will seem like an abrupt change of subject, but we have this cat named Lucy. She was born in the wild (well, in the woodpile in front of our mountain home). She is by far the most mildcat either of us have ever had. We think she is expressing gratitude for allowing her to adopt us as her humans, and rescuing her from a treacherous life in the mountains filled with cougars, coyotes and bears….to say nothing of the below zero temps we sometimes have in the winter. She is gentle and careful and sweet and affectionate (this last, at her own whim of course…she IS a CAT after all).
And she is also amazing in that she learns after just one or two corrections. I post about her a lot. You can read her story here:
Her most vicious trait is that she hunts, chases, kills and eats spiders. I have mixed feelings about that but so far have not prevented her Spider Patrols. What can I say, I’m a hypocrite.
Last week, I had a shocking experience. I lifted a pile of papers off the table I was working on and found a dead (squashed?) BABY BUG!!! Absolutely no idea how it got there. Or from how long ago? And did Sweet Lucy do this or did I crush a new baby bug and not even know it?
I Confess, I actually cried.
And then, I had an even more surprising realization. It seemed unrelated but in my tears I discovered how much I HATE being even semi-retired. (I see maybe 4 clients a month on average.) I miss working so much. I loved my well over 40 years of being a Group Psychotherapist with a booming practice. I never got tired of it. I never experienced “burn out”. I worked hard to live the principals I taught so I never really experienced the conflict and dissonance possible in that line of work. I was really, REALLY happy being able to do the work I was doing.
AND I missed my post-retirement hobby, my BUGS!
I want BUGS and I want to WORK!
You’ve heard the old Chinese proverb “Be careful what you wish for”?
In the last 5 days, SIX live, baby bugs have appeared out of nowhere in my office. I don’t have any eggs stashed in here. No adult bugs were ever loose in this room to drop unknown eggs. I have no idea where these hatch-lings are coming from, but I do know that after the very first one, which Lucy spotted up on the ceiling, I had a talk with her to remind her the difference between spiders and our bugs. Since then, five more have hatched and been unmolested by our Gentle Hunter Lucy. She just sits and watches them until I can capture and contain them. (I cannot however, confirm what she does behind my back of course.)
But anyway, apparently, I am on my way again, with a whole new generation of Extatosoma_tiaratum.
Gosh, maybe my phone will start ringing soon and I’ll have some new clients to work with too!?!
So the theme this week is Scale and apparently it was already a favorite of mine. No surprise as the instructions were filled with the word “perspective”. That, of course, really caught my eye, and reminded me of so many photos I have taken over the years showing the scale of something from differing perspectives..
Here are just a few.
I have a collection of little trains. This is the, by far, the smallest.
Series of shots showing the scale of shells found in Fiji.
And last, but certainly not least, one of my favorite all-time posts from one of my favorite all-time bloggers, Mr. Badfish himself…
soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
“a shimmering evanescent bubble”
Oh boy, I had to look this one up…maybe because I am the Queen of Holding On, of refusing to let go of stuff, especially love and also beauty…in any and all of its forms. And PEOPLE, don’t get me started. I hang on to people, healthy for me or not. I am still in touch with almost every boy I have ever loved!!
So I had a hard time “getting” the definition of this word…
I learn so many lessons from sea shells. Having grown up by the ocean, I have been a collector all my life. But it wasn’t until an amazing sailing trip throughout Fiji, where we got to prowl along beaches so remote it truly felt like we might be the first humans to ever lay bare feet in that sand, that I realized I was a shell snob. That was my first insight into my own ageism. I only wanted those gorgeous, undamaged shells. In other words, the young perfect ones.
Even though we had to receive permission from the chief of an island to collect shells, it was the locals who pointed out I was gathering shells that might not be finished with their life’s purpose yet. Most shells are recyclable! I was stealing some hermit crab’s future home or maybe a pearl’s gestation container!
But this post is not about shells. My interpretation of evanescent is about all things with a life cycle, no matter how short or long. My lesson from the word this week is to remember how the Fijians (the iTaukei) taught me to fully appreciate beauty at every stage.
It’s easy to see and appreciate the evanescent progression in nature…
I can see the obvious beauty there…
But it’s a bit more difficult when I study the phenomenon of Evanescence while looking in the mirror!