Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How I Fed The Fridge

Writing inspiration comes from many places and can happen at the most unusual of times. Ideas pop into my head while taking a leisurely walk, while driving in rush hour traffic, or in the case of my latest story, while listening to the refrigerator.

The ideal sound of a fridge should be no sound at all and, barring that, an unobtrusive ambient hum is acceptable. My last-year's-model ice-box has gone one step further. At certain times of the day, it breaks the semi-silence with odd mechanical groans that seem almost human. I imagine at those times that the poor thing is not feeling well or is hungry.

The latest outburst came several weeks ago while I enjoyed my version of Thai coconut soup. The fridge's groans came in short staccato exclamations. It seemed to be saying, "Feed me! Feed me!"

My first thought was the carniverous plant in the classic film "Little Shop of Horrors." I decided, however, to write a more humorous children's version featuring a hungry refrigerator.

The resulting story, Feed The Fridge, has been chosen to compete with others for publication by meegenius.com. Winners will be chosen by readers' votes and anyone reading this story may vote for Feed The Fridge by clicking on this link. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are There Any Questions?

Standing before a blank canvas is a lot like watching a Woody Allen movie, but without the humor. Poised there with paint brush in hand, the artist gets a dreaded sense of the daunting task ahead. As with Allen’s movies, there is always the big question, the existential huh – “What does it all mean?” quickly followed by “What can I say that hasn’t already been said?" Rendered immobile by unanswerable questions, artists are often stopped cold before they even begin.

I have read that throughout his career, Allen has been able to disregard his outer and inner critics and rely on his own instincts. The results have been a collection of truly marvelous films and a few that were just average. He made mistakes along the way but was able to put them behind him and move on to the next project.

The biggest challenges for any artist seem to be the courage to begin and the courage to begin again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

John Whipple At Antieau Gallery

I probably became aware of John Whipple’s art at one of the Gasparilla Art Festivals in Tampa years ago. I say probably because Whipple images have been stuck in my brain box so long, I forget when they first imprinted there.

I was also a sidewalk artist and used early Sunday mornings to see the shows for myself. With only so much time and 300 artists to check out, it became necessary to filter out all decorative, derivative, functional and cute art.

Really important art like John’s doesn’t just call to you; it whacks you in the back of the head. At some point, I had a hot prickly sensation that someone was staring at me. Turning, I saw a booth full of medium-size dark portraits. Moving closer, I realized it was they who had been staring. I could not walk away, but was drawn into their private world and John Whipple’s.

“Merde, but this guy can paint!” I said to no one. But more than technical bravura, John’s art snags us first with humor and familiarity and only then do we get a glimpse of the edginess. It’s like a black comedy when a guffaw suddenly sticks in the throat.

Of course, the mastery is that we recognize something human in those odd characters - our own foibles and shortcomings. We identify with them and we laugh.

John’s art is now in exhibition at Antieau Gallery in New Orleans. Titled Misfits, the show opens Saturday evening, November 19, tonight.