Richness of Silence

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Image Source: Wordery.com

“We didn’t say anything for the next four hours. Time passed like time should pass—rich and quiet and all your own.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

The Power of Maps

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Barnes & Noble

“This could have been any makeshift bridge across any creek, and the forest on the other side was just the same: tall pines, earthy smell, calls of distant birds. The only difference was in her mind, knowing she had crossed the lines on the map. It was enough to make this another world.”

“He held back, looking at her with panic in his eyes. She hadn’t realized how much she’d taken crossing the border for granted. How deeply ingrained the rules had been until she’d met Artegal by accident.”

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

 

History of Harem Guards

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Image Source: Wordery.com

“Nancy also offered up an old photograph left in her care by the former Afghan royal court. In the yellowed black-and-white shot taken in the early years of the twentieth century, women dressed in men’s clothing stand guard in Habībullāh Khan’s harem. The harem could not be supervised by men because they posed a potential threat to the women’s chastity and the king’s bloodline. These women dressed as men solved the dilemma, indicating that such solutions may have been used historically in the highest echelons of Afghan society as well.”

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

Ninjas Must Obey Rules

Image source: Wordery.com

This story shows, by way of illustrations, a child breaking many rules because he sees himself as a ninja. He is punished by both school and parents but the story implies that he continues to identify (and act) as a Ninja in secret.

If you have a ninja-wannabe in the house, it may be prudent to review this book before reading it to your budding superhero.

Quote:

“Don’t forget, a ninja must learn to pretend that he is not really a ninja…even when he is.”

Ninja Boy Goes to School, written by N.D. Wilson and illustrated by J.J. Harrison

Fine Art vs Folk Art

The following is an expression of my own opinions about art. It is the reason why so many of the items posted to the Wild Raccoon Market are folk art. It is not an official definition of art forms. I am not an academically trained artist or curator. I am not an expert. Take it for what you will.

Fine Art vs Folk Art

Fine art lives behind locked doors. It is protected by security guards; secured by top-of-the-line electronics; properly insured and never, ever, touched.

Folk art lives in the doors themselves. It is the welcome sign hanging off to the side; the stern metal lion doorknocker; the door handle with fancy swirly designs made shiny and flat from many years of use.

Fine art stands inside the immaculate gardens of important places. It holds the weight of definition, the scales of elegance, in appropriately frozen poses. It is in the statues so imprinted with the weight of history and quality and prestige that no one dares mention the missing hands, arms and heads. Fine art does not change. It is there, holding it’s ground, for centuries of time.

Folk art stands in the shaggy gardens of common places. It holds the responsibilities of everyday priorities. In spring it is painted onto tall, almost-straight, discarded things, carefully marking sections of newly planted corn, peas and carrots. In summer it is the festive flags fluttering in the wind and the garden gnomes dancing with the rain. In fall it is carved out of pumpkins, stuffed into a scarecrow’s clothes and sewn into homemade costumes. In winter, it is made of snow, rolled into balls and decorated with old clothes, discarded vegetables and food coloring.

Fine art is a painting with a carefully constructed metal plaque describing who, what, when and why. It is the visual representation of those things we should know and must appreciate.

Folk art is a dusty side-note displayed in a dim room off a long hallway. It stands together in a case filled with it’s sisters, brothers and cousins; all sharing a single plaque between them. It is the primitive and traditional and crafts and handiwork selected from the sea of un-importance to stand forever within the reflected light of prestige. It is a comparison, a point of not-fine deemed fine-enough to illustrate what is truly fine. It is token.

Fine art is the very expensive and oh-so-proper painting hanging in the receiving room of an everyday home. The receiving room – the one room that is only entered when important, judgmental or stiff-necked folk come to call. It is precise, proper, dust-free and cold.

Folk art is the colorful, comfortable, painting hanging over the living room couch. It is the fairy swinging from the kitchen window. It is the candy dish that has been re-glued many times over because it was made by grandma and, therefore, comes out every holiday – just like grandma used to do.

Fine art is sold at high-profile auctions by white-gloved attendants. It is purchased by straight-backed collectors in designer suits who seriously participate in the investment driven bidding war.

Folk art is sold at community fundraisers by everyday artists wearing jeans and t-shirts. It is purchased by neighbors, who make selections while munching on homemade cookies and chatting about local events.

Fine art is the tapestry hanging on a castle wall.

Folk art is the quilt covering a child’s bed.

Fine art transforms a building into a museum. It takes a historic location and places the title of ‘curated’ upon it’s now-glorified head.

Folk art enters a place, warms the colors, softens the edges, and plays in the yard. It is the tipping point, the key element transforming a house into a home.

A Terrible Mistake – Steps One and Two

I made a terrible mistake. It’s embarrassing, but it happened. Worse, it happened online. What do you do after making a stupid and public mistake? Take three steps: 1) own it, 2) fix it and 3) move on.

Step 1: Owning It

The word Raccoon is misspelled in the Wild Raccoon Press and Wild Raccoon Market logos.

I’ve spent the majority of my professional life working as a writer and editor in some capacity or another. I spend the bulk of my days creating and editing documents. I have spent (literally) thousands upon thousands of hours dealing with words, words, WORDS! Yet, somehow, I did not see the missing C – until now.

This simple, stupid and embarrassingly obvious mistake has been out there for many months. The logos have been posted to my website for ages, and I’ve proudly placed them on social media and professional accounts (read: everywhere), so there’s no hiding the fact.

These logos were the result of a 48hourslogo.com contest, and (now that I see it) all of the other logos are spelled correctly. Palm slap to the forehead, banging head against wall, hand sign for ‘loser’ held in front of face…I did not see it.

So, there it is, the mistake was made and it’s public. It’s big. Much bigger than a misspelled word in a blog posting because it’s so key, central and visible. There’s no escaping the fact, no hiding it under the rug and no changing it. What’s done it done.

Step 2: Fixing it

If you know a designer who would like to help fix this mistake, please direct them toward this UpWork posting. Sadly, 48 Hours Logo does not provide an option for contacting and working with the original designer (without posting a brand-new contest), so UpWork it is.

Step 3: Moving On

I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I’m so embarrassed….

Don’t Be Stupid

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Image Source: Wordery.com

“We tend to learn more completely and better through acting in ignorance. Nature is not a cruel teacher, exactly, but has little patience for careless stupidity.”

Browsing Nature’s Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy Brown and Eric Brown

No Excuses for Slavery

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Image source: Wordery.com

“But no excuses, no time-bound rationalizations, and no paeans to our ancestors’ kind and generous natures or how they “loved their slaves as though they were family” can make it right. Our unwillingness to hold our people and ourselves to a higher moral standard—a standard in place at least since the time of Moses, for it was he to whom God supposedly gave those commandments including the two about stealing and killing—brings shame to us today. It compounds the crime by constituting a new one: the crime of innocence claimed, against all visible evidence to the contrary.”

“In truth, even those family members who didn’t own other human beings had been implicated in the nation’s historic crimes…In 1753, Tennessee passed its Patrol Act, which required whites to search slave quarters four times each year for guns or other contraband. By the turn of the century…these searches had been made into monthly affairs. By 1806, most all white men were serving on regular slave patrols for which they were paid a dollar per shift, and five dollars as a bonus for each runaway slave they managed to catch.”

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Creating a Home

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Barnes and Nobel

“Soon Julia’s house was filling up with lost and homeless creatures of every description.”

“The dragon made toast and the mermaid washed the dishes. The folletti tended the fire, the goblins mopped up, the ghost was in charge of dusting and the troll picked out the music.”

Julia’s House For Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke