LOVE, crumbsroom

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As previously threatened in my other thread, I'm going to make a space to air out some of the writing I've done over the course of this pandemic. Making things public is mostly a trick I use to be able to consider something complete and move on, but any all criticism or encouragement is welcome if you have something to add. Also, anyone who is looking for a place to dump their own creative projects and (if wanted) get feedback, feel free.


I've also, for some time, wanted to make a thread that exclusively deals only with things from the art world I LOVE. There is no room for the goods or the okay's here. Only what I have made a special place in my heart for. This may entail anything regarding music, painting, film or movies. I will try and write and general overview of why my love is warranted, which will then create an ecosystem of my deepest influences, and the chum that I churn out under the hope some of their talent has rubbed off on my over the years.


It will be a thread I only very sporadically post in, but I'm just creating this space now so it is here when I am taken with the spirit.



I'll love crumbsroom the day he praises James Wan. Until then, we'll be sworn enemies.

One of the things I LOVE are farts. Just imagine those being blown into James Wan's face.



YOU DIE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY

When youíre born in December, everyone is older. Even in kindergarten you can be the youngest.

They all looked at me when my grandmother brought me to class. When I kicked the teacher in the mouth. I could only be sure they stopped looking when I snuck out the door and followed all the gates I remembered passing on the way here. All the way home. Doing it backwards somehow makes it work. So great when I recognize the house I live in. I can see it, still faraway, but walkable. A haunted crabapple tree on the front lawn as usual. Shedding caterpillars as I walk beneath it.

I sneak into the basement with the cardboard boxes and find hockey cards. Hear my grandmother washing dishes upstairs as I read statistics on the back that I donít understand. I donít think Iíve ever seen a hockey game before.

Upstairs the phone rings and my grandmother answers the phone. She says Iím not here, but when she hangs up, she comes into the basement and finds me caught beneath all these shadows.

Iím pretty sure I had a Gretzky rookie card down there. I have a good memory and can remember these sorts of things. It would be worth a fortune now. I sometimes mention it to my grandmother, but she denies I ever brought anything of value back from my mother. Gets angry. Calls me a liar if I donít drop the subject. But I know she throws things out. Lots of things. I used to believe her when she said she didnít. But she does. You can never tell what will be next.

She took me upstairs and told me everything would be fine. Brought me back to school. On that first day. Screaming, Iím sure.

The teacher covered her mouth as she pulled my legs back inside, again.

Or that would have been the smart thing for her to do.



MY UNCLE, THE VAMPIRE (part 1)

Looking up at my Uncle Evan that first time, I thought his hair might be an avalanche. It seemed any loud noise might send it all tumbling down on top of me. He had grown it long, but instead of loosely hanging down to his shoulders, it grew sideways and levitated above them. Wherever he could, he had tucked it behind his ears, as if this fastened it to his scalp. But whatever hadnít been tied down, stuck straight out into space. A ledge of ominous hair, casting a shadow down upon me. Trembling at the slightest motion. Black enough to have been rinsed in coal dust, and yet filled with cracks where light from the lamp behind him brightly shone through it. My eyes were drawn towards this light, to these empty spaces where pieces of it had already come loose. I got the sense I should have been looking elsewhere.

Introducing himself to me, he wanted to know how old I was.

"Youíre getting older all the time.Ē

He said this as if it were something I could bring a stop to but for some reason hadnít. When I answered his question, he said four was a very good age. Better than most. It was always better to be young than old. And he should know. While most people thought he was only twenty-six, he was much older. ďIím actually turning one hundred and fourteen this year. Iím a vampire.Ē

He wanted to make sure I knew this meant he would never age. But even more importantly, that very soon, much sooner than I could ever believe, I would catch up to him. I probably didnít think this was possible, and he insisted I should continue believing that as long as I could, but he insisted it was true. One day we would be the same age, then not long after this, I would be even older. Older than he would ever be.

But until that day, he would keep making sure to ask me my age whenever he visited. Then be sure to laugh at me a little louder every year. It seemed to delight him this idea that I would one day begin to wrinkle and turn humpbacked, while he would always look exactly as he did now. His hair always a hovering threat above me.

He was not ashamed of being a vampire as I would have expected. In fact, because of his predicament, it had instead become the responsibility of the rest of our family to adjust to his habits. Never the other way around. Behavior that would have been inexcusable by any other one of us, was to be expected from him.

But most bothersome to my grandmother was his dismissal of basic etiquette, and how as a vampire he could never be trusted to be on time when visiting us. No matter how early he and my Aunt Cathy were expected, they almost never appeared before dusk. If even the faintest trace of daylight remained in the sky as they pulled up in front of our house, Evan would be forced to scurry furiously across our lawn to get himself inside as quickly as possible. Nearly kick down the door in his escape from the sunlight.

This rattle of our front door bursting open was always how we knew we were now among the undead. And with the clatter of their boots stomping towards the kitchen, they would soon demanding the dinner that had been sitting in the oven all these house waiting for them. This was of utmost importance. As he was always sure to say at some point, the quicker he ate, the quicker he could go home.

ďYouíve gotten older, havenít you?Ē he would say to me as he took his place at the dining room table. Because he never took off his sunglasses, not even when he was about to eat Christmas dinner, I could not see his eyes. Only the smile that slowly came creeping across his face. ďI warned you about that, didnít I?Ē

It was true. Every year I did feel older. And just as he promised, he always was quick to claim how he still looked exactly the same. Which he mostly did. Except for his avalanche of hair, which seemed to be shrinking with every visit. With more and more of it now tucked behind his ears, and less and less seeming like any kind of threat to the safety of those standing beneath him, I tried not to look at it as he made a point of laughing at me. I was getting to the age where I would have felt bad to see anymore of it shake lose. Drift harmlessly down onto the mashed potatoes he had begun to pile upon his plate.

And as I took my Christmas dinner with me to eat in front of the television by myself, I just let him keep laughing about what an old thing I was turning out to be. Being that he was a vampire, you came to expect these sorts of things.



minds his own damn business
I guess I missed my opportunity for an editorial preview.
__________________



minds his own damn business
I thought about the first few songs I ever heard for about 30 seconds before realizing what an impossible task that is. I got my copy of JL/POB when I was 13, so not that one. "Nap time for lil' crumb, let's put on that lullabye about mommy and daddy abandoning him."



I guess I missed my opportunity for an editorial preview.

I still have stuff I'm not so likely to share on a public forum. And those are not as easy to let go of.



I thought about the first few songs I ever heard for about 30 seconds before realizing what an impossible task that is. I got my copy of JL/POB when I was 13, so not that one. "Nap time for lil' crumb, let's put on that lullabye about mommy and daddy abandoning him."

As a child, I only remember that one song from that album. I don't recall the first time I heard "Mother" though. Only that my aunt used to talk with great hostility about that particular song because she didn't want to imagine John Lennon as a whiny, suckhole. Of course her discouragement was all I needed to start compulsively listening to it (probably also around 13). It gave me the courage to become my own brand of whiny, suckhole.



Regarding "Remember", I have a feeling I first came into contact with it right after John Lennon was murdered. I had no idea who he was. Barely even knew who the Beatles were at that time. I just have memories of my father playing it over and over again, and him telling me about what had happened to the guy singing the song. As he did this, I would look intently at the childhood picture of Lennon that is on the back of the record cover. Imagine that kid pounding on the door to his home. No one answering. Being shot. The sound of an explosion at the song's conclusion always felt more than fitting. It seemed to capture the volatility and fear I felt listening to it.



minds his own damn business
I don't recall the first time I heard "Mother" though. Only that my aunt used to talk with great hostility about that particular song because she didn't want to imagine John Lennon as a whiny, suckhole.
What? It's not like it's "Working Class Hero" . "Mother" is a very brave song, I think, the opposite of whiny. There's some other Lennon cuts that would qualify as self-indulgent whining, but not that one.


You may have heard the National Lampoon parody of Lennon around this time?




Regarding "Remember", I have a feeling I first came into contact with it right after John Lennon was murdered. I had no idea who he was. Barely even knew who the Beatles were at that time. I just have memories of my father playing it over and over again, and him telling me about what had happened to the guy singing the song. As he did this, I would look intently at the childhood picture of Lennon that is on the back of the record cover. Imagine that kid pounding on the door to his home. No one answering. Being shot. The sound of an explosion at the song's conclusion always felt more than fitting. It seemed to capture the volatility and fear I felt listening to it.
Thankully (I guess) I had some familiarity. When my parents gave me their mono 60s records, for my Fischer Price turntable, I was already a big fan of Meet The Beatles, plus "Just Like Starting Over" was on the radio a lot at the time, and my parents were talking about how great it was that he had finally gotten a hold of his issues and was working again. They had bought Double Fantasy before the murder. It was really strange, but it's weirder how this kind of shooting was so much in the culture at the time. This was right around the same time that "Who Shot J.R.?" was a huge deal, and Reagan and the Pope were shot within months. Plus, there was Buckwheat, perhaps the most tragic shooting of them all.





What? It's not like it's "Working Class Hero" . "Mother" is a very brave song, I think, the opposite of whiny. There's some other Lennon cuts that would qualify as self-indulgent whining, but not that one.


You may have heard the National Lampoon parody of Lennon around this time?





Thankully (I guess) I had some familiarity. When my parents gave me their mono 60s records, for my Fischer Price turntable, I was already a big fan of Meet The Beatles, plus "Just Like Starting Over" was on the radio a lot at the time, and my parents were talking about how great it was that he had finally gotten a hold of his issues and was working again. They had bought Double Fantasy before the murder. It was really strange, but it's weirder how this kind of shooting was so much in the culture at the time. This was right around the same time that "Who Shot J.R.?" was a huge deal, and Reagan and the Pope were shot within months. Plus, there was Buckwheat, perhaps the most tragic shooting of them all.



My aunt is someone who is all about surrounding herself with art she thinks is 'cool'. She could give a toss about emotions.


A song that is all about showing vulnerability, to such ears, just sounds like someone crying for their mother. Such an uncool thing to do.


This is the only artistic calculation going on in that head of hers.


Also, if it gives perspective, my aunt unironicallt wears a beret (no, no one in the family has yet told her it smells like cat piss)



minds his own damn business
My aunt is someone who is all about surrounding herself with art she thinks is 'cool'. She could give a toss about emotions.

A song that is all about showing vulnerability, to such ears, just sounds like someone crying for their mother. Such an uncool thing to do.
Oh, she probably really liked "Working Class Hero" then Btw, Lennon was never working class (although his natural parents were), and the whole "if you want to be a hero just follow me" is him at his most self-righteous and narcissistic. One of the fascinating things about the album is how suddenly it oscillates between his aggrandizing and deprecating impulses. You see this throughout his interviews as well.


Also, if it gives perspective, my aunt unironicallt wears a beret (no, no one in the family has yet told her it smells like cat piss)
That's actually the very expensive Chanel #1, Eau le Pew.



(I LOVE) EDGAR DEGAS


















Impressionists are king. The beginning of nearly everything that matters. With their undisguised brushstrokes, they allow us to see the work of the artist. The physicality of painting. Turn the canvas not only into an obviously artificial artifact, but in doing so, turn our gaze inward to the passions and struggles of the artist. The common becomes extraordinary. Light and composition and line become a reflection of internal temperment, not external contours. The mystery living inside everything becomes revealed. And is immediately obscured. The beautiful contradictions are endless in impressionism.

Degas is King of the Impressionists. Particularly obsessed with documenting the lives of artists, it is the in-between moments which he chooses to paint them which add a disquieting effect into the work. Ballerina's frozen just before they hit their pose, inelegant, cramped, sometimes seeming pained or frightened. They often stand upon darkened stages where they seem to be shedding the colour the emit. It slips off them like grease as they are illuminated. Also, just check out his use of perspective and composition. He frequently paints from a vantage point which make rooms seem impossibly large, dwarfing the performances. Makes them almost tremble as if intimidated by so much space surrounding them.

While still somewhat tethered to some of the more traditionally classic approaches of the painter, Degas somehow also seems ahead of the pack of his decidedly more avant-garde brethren. In many ways, he seems to predate surrealists. Showing us something commonplace, and yet there is always something beneath the surface that makes us feel uneasy. Something is wrong. Nothing is as beautiful as it should be. And yet, I keep staring, as if I'm falling in love with something beneath the paint.

I love Degas



THE GOOD PARTS OF SHANNA LEE

As an early riser, the sun was always the first to see Shanna Lee pull herself from her blankets, move towards the mirror, and check to see if her beauty had survived the night. Being the prettiest girl in Salt Seeall, the morning could not help but tilt all its influence into her bedroom window in hopes of waking her before any of the others. At times, it would even come to her suspiciously early, and she would almost feel she was being watched as she went through her daily preparations of combing her hair, rouging her cheeks, plumping her eyelashes and powdering her nose. It turned out that no matter how tightly she bundled her curtains shut, the sunlight would always find a way in to help make her beautiful.

When Shanna Lee could not be made beautiful though, she would be bedridden. The light that continued to fill her room would only make crawling back beneath the covers unavoidable. Even in the dark, where it was easy to convince herself that at least some parts of her must have still been beautiful, the risk of sunlight remained too great. On days like this, when there was no way of telling what parts were better than others, it was always easier to just wait for the day to leave the room, and the night to fill it. Maybe tomorrow she would be prettier.

One could never tell how Shanna Lee would feel about how she looked any given morning. It never seemed to correspond with how beautiful she actually was. But on the day the chimpanzee got loose, and went rampaging up and down her street, there had been encouraging signs that this should have been a good day. She had just been about to come out her front door, allow herself to be seen by any stranger who looked her way, when the animal jumped on top of her. It was a terrifying sight. Pulled to the ground and held there by the longest and hairiest arms that had ever dared touch her, her screams hardly contained words. And as the hands of the animal took a hold of those most delicate features, they showed themselves quite easy to stir about and ruin, as pretty things almost always are.

By the time the beast had been shot and killed, all Shanna Lee wanted was to be taken inside, where the comfort of being back beneath her blankets would maybe stop her sudden ugliness from hurting so. She could feel the warmth of the sun laying upon her face differently. Could no longer sense what part of it she was supposed to look out of, or what part she was meant to scream from. After the animal let go, nothing had gone back to where it was supposed to. Not as sheíd expected. Instead, she could sense everything slipping further and further out of place as she lay there on her front stoop, vulnerable to the looks of anyone passing by.

Because she was dying, she did not have time to get the name of the man who finally came to carry her back inside to bed. Sitting next to her, he did not speak of what happened to her face, or how much of its beauty remained stuck to those powerful fingers of the monkey lying dead outside. Instead, he talked only of all the pieces of her it never had the pleasure to touch, and that he assured her had been kept as beautiful as ever.

In these final moments of her life, Shanna Lee found herself consoled by this stranger who spoke of how pleasing many of her surviving contours still were to him. Listening from somewhere within this terrible and misshapen lump, she found herself wanting only to be inside the parts of her still worth touching. Where she could feel his fingers as he talked. These were the good parts that deserved to be kept separately from this awful thing that, as she now lay helpless upon her death bed, still dared to keep itself attached to her. She could feel its unwanted weight upon her pillow. Heavy and damp with blood. Now little more than a strange shape not even she dared to touch, frightened her fingers may begin to understand just how badly she now looked.

She still didnít know his name as her dying wishes tumbled from what was left of her mouth. She pleaded to him that this awful head of hers never be buried with the rest of her. That the moment she passed, he remove it as quickly as he could, and put it into some cold, tiny place beneath the ground. Somewhere far away. Alone. Forgotten. A place where none of the tears that would soon be shed for her, and none of the flowers that would one day be laid upon her grave, would ever be for it.

He listened to what she asked, quietly. But it was only once he had managed to find a suitable tool in a kitchen drawer, and she had given him permission to continue holding her hand as he patiently waited for her to grow still, that he agreed to what she asked of him. And once this arrangement had been made, he did not utter another word until she died.