In addition to blogging I like to torture myself with art projects including painting, writing fiction, and songwriting. In the span of two months I worked on three such projects, the first being a short story which I entered in the Write Michigan short story contest sponsored by the local library system. The story was about first love in the ninth grade (her name was changed) and was based on my own experience. Writing it was cathartic and surprising – I remembered small details that had been buried for decades. The odds of getting selected as a finalist were pretty slim, over a thousand entries, and sorry to report my story was not selected. Something I thought would help my chances is that the story has it’s own humor and authenticity. Past contest winning stories published in yearly anthologies are not happy stories, instead focusing on difficult subjects.
Art project 2, I saw a notice for art entries for the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts 2019. I had not picked up a paint brush in years but decided do an acrylic painting. The big question was what to paint. My thought was paint a night time cityscape with two women in an alley. I didn’t have models so I used photos of young women off a yoga clothing website. I do technical illustration for a living so composing the picture went quickly but when it came time to paint the picture I couldn’t capture what was in my imagination. The two models turned out well but the night scene ended up being a strange surreal composition which I worked and reworked until it had nothing to do with my original idea, but was interesting in it’s own sake. I entered it in the festival but sorry to say it was not selected. I repainted the scene twice now, the last time removing the girl’s clothing which at least adds a dimension of risque. It occurs to me the question I should have asked myself originally was not “what do I want to paint,” but rather, “what do I want to say.”
Art project 3, I decided to write/record a new song. The song is called “I am a Scientist.” It’s a ballad about a scientist that goes to a salvage yard and builds a rocket car from a 1960 Plymouth. He meets an alien in outer space that resembles Marilyn Monroe (except for the extra eye) and the two get married on Planet 9. They have a daughter they name Frankenstein whom they encourage to become a doctor or a nurse (and one day heal this universe). Frankie has other ideas: she wants to be scientist. I am collaborating on the song with my buddy Scott, producer, accomplished guitarist, and owner of Frontier Recording sound studio in Copemish, Michigan. When the song is finished I’ll post an mp3 in the songs page/ tab of this blog.