Monday, June 29, 2009


A drawing by Gary Larson comes to mind when I think of accordions. In the upper half of his single panel, there are people entering heaven and each is given a harp. The lower half has people going into hell. They all recieve, you guessed it, an accordion.
I'm not sure what antagonism Mr. Larson had against them, but I don't think accordions fit in with Lucifer. Millions of banjos, all simultaneously strummed, blaring out "Oh Suzanna" seems more fitting. Bagpipes! Now there's an instrument that could get you all fired up.
Accordions were supposedly invented in 1822 by Christian Fredrich Ludwig Buschmann in Berlin. If I had a name like that, I definitely would feel motivated to invent something. They were originally used for folk music but have found their place in classical, popular and even heavy metal.
I have to say that accordions are not high on my list of listened to instruments. I think Lawrence Welk tainted my tastes. I do however like a simple tune squeezed out with a clear melody line and not too much chording. "La Vie En Rose" played like that would stir my French passion. Susan and I were in Reims a few years ago, wandering down a street blocked off to keep cars out and tourists in. The fellow I've drawn was playing as we went by him. We didn't stop to listen. I'd like to go back now and hear him. Accordions are kind of on my mind.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Unquiet Mind

.I have been a painter's pallet,
Full of laughter
And of song and love.
Within my soul wildflowers grew
Like multicolored quilts.
I have been every hue.

All of this is now forgotten.
Evidence of it will not be found.
The greys of sunless skies for weeks
Have filled my thoughts.
I float in endless misty seas.
I long for some sensation,
Some desire, to drop
A bit of light upon my being.

Yet, my mind I know
Will have its spectrum,
And fill again with joy and life.
For time shall be my saviour.

It must.

by Kay Redfield Jamison PhD

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life Changes

It was 1969 and the winter of my discontent. The girl I wrote of in Legs had dumped me a month or so earlier and I was completely broken-hearted and depressed. On this particular day I was wandering around Portland State University with my camera taking photos of whatever caught my eye. I saw the fountain pouring its life out on the pavement and took the shot. I was making no artistic statement when I captured the image. However, thinking back on it now, it looks much like how I felt. Life was mighty grey and all joy had drained out of me. Perhaps my subconscience was really trying to say something.
I met my tootsie the next year in a drawing class. When she walked into the room, something within me knew we'd connect. We did, after I finally had the courage to ask her for a date. We've been together ever since. She is a quiet and soft spoken gal with great, deep wells of mercy and compassion for the poor and orphan. An excellent mom, she stayed home in lieu of a career and poured her life into our children. She gave them love, nurturing and security. She's my wife, lover and mistress and has stayed by my side even with all my faults and is definitely my best friend.

Susan is an artist and is always looking for subjects to paint. For some reason, why, I don't know, she's always liked the fountain picture. A few years ago she did a water color of it and it hangs in our living room. The contrast is striking. Considering my gloomy mood when I took the photo and what she has brought into my life, Susan has very much colored my world.