Saturday, February 12, 2005

February 12, 2005
Woke up around two. Tried to will myself back to sleep—"I will relax. I will relax, dammit!" Finally got up at three and started the coffee. Still raining out!

Went down to the creek when I got home last night. A TV helicopter hovered over the raging waters for about ten minutes as Buddy Boze Hatkiller, Peaches and I picked our way down the slippery slope. I'm assuming they were doing a live cutaway for the evening news. Water chugging about 25 miles an hour, bank to bank. Big, brown shocks of water rising out of the narrows up above us. We can hear the creek roaring clear up at our house. I wonder sometimes how our neighbor Tom can sleep at night since his house is down right next to the creek.

I've got several paintings I want to work on today. One is of Wyatt Earp after the OK Corral fight with the dust and gunpowder swirling around his stark visage. It's one of those paintings I started eight years ago and gave up on. I found it recently and thought, "Hmmm, not bad. I think I can totally ruin this yet."

We got our office copies of the 152-page behemoth Travel Issue (April) on Tuesday. Our printer Banta had a hell of a time binding it. What normally takes 18 hours, took 36 as the magazine was just too big to go through their machinery. In retrospect I think we should have gone to perfect bound on this issue (with the square spine instead of the saddle stitch). As our issues continue to get consistently larger we are probably going to have to permanently go to perfect bound. Ah, the heartache of success.

And speaking of success, I'm still reading Seneca and I'm wrestling with his admonition to avoid success and good fortune like the plague. Here's what the Man from Cordoba says: "Avoid, I cry, whatever is approved of by the mob, and things that are the gifts of chance. Do you look at [these random gifts] as presents given you by fortune? They are snares. Anyone among you who wishes to lead a secure life will do his very best to steer well wide of these baited bounties, which comprise yet another instance of the errors we miserable creatures fall into: we think these things are ours when in fact it is we who are caught. That track leads to precipices; life on that giddy level ends in a fall."

And, finally: "fortune does not just capsize the boat; she hurls it headlong on the rocks and dashes it to pieces."

Of course, this applies perfectly to our incessant lottery driven dreams (I saw a documentary on lottery winners and they were all miserable, and yet most Americans continue to line up like cattle in a slaughter house). While I can honestly say I have never played the lottery I have long lusted after fame and fortune. Kind of depressing to finally be close to cashing in with the magazine and my artwork and books and finding out it's all a trap to avoid. Gosh, I wonder if George Bernard Shaw has anything to say about this?

"I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind."
—George Bernard Shaw

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