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the truth, the whole truth and nothing but… [flawed wednesday]

whole truth man

i was 18 and on long island the first time i was called for jury duty.  back then, reporting was for two weeks so i drove out to riverhead each day for ten days.  it was serious stuff and i, in my innocence, listened carefully to every detail during jury selection and, later, during the case to which i was assigned.  i was intimidated by the presence of the judge, law enforcement, court bailiffs, attorneys, these people who had dedicated their lives to justice, to maintain rule of law and abide by due process of such, while providing for equal protection, seeking social order.  “courts:  they exist so the equality of individuals and the government is reality rather than empty rhetoric.” (NACM)  i researched my responsibility.  i was respectful of every instruction i was given, and believed that the process was based on constitutional rights and values and that truth would prevail. “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…”

less than ten years later i was the victim-witness counselor at the state attorney’s office in one of the judicial circuits in florida.  i worked with local law enforcement, the FBI, attorneys, social workers, court bailiffs, judges, all dedicated to the due process of those who had been accused of crimes and those who were victims of crimes.  my position was working with victims of violent crimes or surviving family members of those victims. heinous acts committed upon others, i was intimidated by the presence of cold, calculating types sitting across the deposition table from me, wishing, at times, that i could put a paper bag over my head to avoid identification at a later date.  it was bracing and disheartening, a dark look into what people are really capable of, twisted, distorted minds culminating, often, in the death of an innocent person.  my first case was one of the saddest, though i shudder thinking of many of them, wondering if they are truly rank-able.  the young woman worked at a quick stop gas station/convenience store, her shift the wee hours of the night.  the two men who kidnapped her had planned for a long time to dig an underworld and keep her and other women there.  their efforts were stymied as they began to dig and discovered that sand kept filling the hole, so they assaulted her and murdered her.  one of my very first days: welcome to the state attorney’s office.  each case that was presented was treated with respect and complete attention to detail; the truth was the ultimate goal, for justice, for the memory of the victim, for the victim’s family, for proper sentencing and/or rehabilitation.  “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…”

thirty years later i watch as the wisconsin court system, that which is supposed to be non-partisan, apolitical, a fair arbiter of the law, has deemed the governor’s safer-at-home order during a global pandemic unconstitutional and has thus thwarted the ability of the governor to protect the populace.  “courts:  they exist so the equality of individuals and the government is reality rather than empty rhetoric.” (NACM)  hmmm.  yet, instead, leaning heavily on the right side of the political seesaw of a supposed-apolitical supreme court, the justices declared the state ‘open’ and triumphantly, though virtually, just as during their vote, raised their glasses of celebration in every wisconsin bar about five minutes after their declaration.  the truth?  wisconsin’s coronavirus numbers had not ceased climbing; there was not enough testing nor contact tracing as per the federal government’s previously-stated guidelines, which, at the time, were stated as the truth.  “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…”

meanwhile, the administration’s truth-seesaw has become the stuff of amusement parks and circuses – long roller coasters of thwacking metal cars on tracks, criss-crossing and reversing direction, houses of mirrors, convoluted stories and warped sideshows.  “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…” would present some challenges in this case – were truth to be told.

the truth flies by the hand of the self-served.  the truth is misrepresented in more artistic mediums than the best fine arts university could offer.  falsehoods are reported on, written about, gushed over.  and people i care about and love believe them.  danger lurks in the darkness of this truth-void; the deposition table will later provide bags to cover all the heads.  made-up stories as adults with impact on a country are not merely child’s play.  this seesaw of truth is about life; it’s about living.  it’s to uphold this: “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” (the preamble of the u.s. constitution)

we passed a house flying an american flag.  under the american flag was another flag.  it said:  “trump 2020.  stop the bullsh*t.”

wow.  now that’s calling the kettle black!

stop the bullsh*t???  i should SAY so.

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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“make hundreds.” [merely-a-thought monday]

make hundreds

when he said, “make hundreds”, he wasn’t referring to blogposts.  my sweet poppo was for-sure-analog and didn’t really even know what a blog was.  he was sending me off to school or work, calling after me to “make hundreds”, a tad bit of pressure for an A+ seeking student but taken with a bit of a grain of salt because my poppo said it with great love.  today starts the one-hundredth week of our blogposts in the melange and daddy-o would be impressed.  it’s one hundred weeks, after all.

clearly, in just a few short weeks it will be two full years.  two years that we have sat next to each other and written a post that was inspired by the same image, the same quote, the same painting or piece of music.  it has been a profound experience.  we have written on the raft with dogdog and babycat curled up next to us, on the beach, in the high mountains, in hotels and airbnbs, in coffeehouses, in relatives’ homes, in the noise of a city, in the quiet on island.  whether or not others are reading my words, i look forward to every single day of writing and am stunned to think that i probably have more in the way of written word now than songs.  is that possible?  (even at a mere 500 words a post it is somewhere around 250,000 words, about 3-4 novels worth.)  it is the best stuff of sitting up in the maple tree outside my growing-up-house on long island for hours on end, writing, writing, writing.

we sit at the starting gate with our inspiration of the day and then, without looking at what the other is writing, we expound on what we see or feel or think.  it’s ‘he said, she said.’  we’ve often thought about, and might just follow through, capturing them into a journal where the same image or quote could stimulate a third person’s writing.  a ‘he said, she said, you said’ book. having a prompt is the juicy stuff that makes it absolute fun.

my posts are often stories, emotional – perhaps poetic – glimpses into our life. david’s are more esoteric, more complex.  a friend of ours said she can tell the difference without even looking.  goodness!  i’m sure that is true.  when we share our writing with each other, reading aloud, i often wonder about the value of what i’ve said.  like recording an album, these are words ‘put out there’ for all to see and you and i both know that judgement is alive and well.  but i always bravely try to remember what our point is.

we wanted a place to put a variety-pack of endeavors, a place that our conglomerate artistries could live under some kind of umbrella.  that umbrella became our‘studio melange’ and we found we could offer our individual work (paintings and music) in addition to our cartoons (earlier on, the melange included chicken marsala and flawed cartoon) as well as the quotes we jotted down each week and the images i recorded on camera that we found pertinent or thought-provoking.  about a year along the line we changed the melange and added ‘merely-a-thought monday’ and ‘not-so-flawed wednesday’ in lieu of our cartoons.

if you pare our melange down you will find one overwhelming similarity.  hundreds upon hundreds of moments.  moments captured, moments written down, moments to remember, moments we’d sometimes rather forget, moments of confusion, moments of regret, moments of incredulousness, moments of fear, moments of scary honesty, moments of challenge, moments of pushing back, moments of questioning, moments of indescribable joy and moments of deep sorrow.  all of them moments of life, a reminder to grasp onto them and hold on dearly.  for that is what we have.  the ability to make moments.  the ability to make moments count.

make hundreds.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

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if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy 2

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

anniversary haiku copy

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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feeling it. life. [two artists tuesday]

MelangeWk1 copy 2

in the beginning…..

i just re-read the first week of our MELANGE, a calendar-year ago now.  words about our little boy CHICKEN MARSALA, words spoken by my sweet momma, words about our community, words about david’s studio and my studio, two artists living together, and our own work-in-the-world.  i can feel it.  that first week.

we come to this place.  one year later.  i kind of want to go back and re-read each day.  study the images we chose, browse the products we created, watch the arc of changes in design through the year, notice the growth, the things we added, the things we let fall off.  somewhere around week 3 i wondered if i would have enough to say, enough words that would be interesting or, at-the-very-least, palatable, inviting for others to read.

i write from my heart, most of it experiential…moments i have netted and captured, written down to hold onto the feeling-of-it.  i wondered if that might be too….much…for some.  in the middle of living life, i want to remember some of the tiniest morsels of time, layered in the sedimentary layers, bits of shining mica in the middle of ordinary….mica that is celebration, that is eye-opening, that is excruciatingly simple bliss,  that is painful, that is full of maturing, that is on-the-edge-of-your-seat-nerve-wracking, that is full of hopes and dreams and regrets…all mica indeed.

“live life, my sweet potato,” my sweet momma said to me.  yes, momma.  this sweet potato is feeling it.

live life sweet potato mug

live life sweet potato pillow

anniversary haiku copy

read DAVID’S thoughts about this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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TWO ARTISTS DESIGNS ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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throw pillows. part 3. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

flawed pillows copy.jpg

as i look at a few of the throw pillows i designed through the months of our FLAWED CARTOON postings, i remember some of the stories i told in those posts…what the FLAWED CARTOON sparked in my memory bank or made me think of.  you are what you eat reminds me, once again, of my big brother – and the words he had written on his sticker-decorated-painted-verses-nylon-string guitar.  so much possibility!!! makes me think of my sweet momma and her determination to drive her electric wheelchair downstairs in her assisted living facility to dinner all-by-herself.  face your giant a sign of the times, fearless – each of us brave, every single day.  i will try to see i to i an honest attempt at kind, gracious co-existence.  and dream.  of course, dream.

this is week 42 of our STUDIO MELANGE.  and as i look back through all the writing and thoughts and designs and merchandise, i relive each one…reminders of time flying by, of days passing, of the ever-importance of our heart-stories.

i hope you might find a pillow you can’t live without in this week of throw-pillows-to-purchase-as-gifts-this-holiday-season.  but if not, i hope you find a writing that resonates with you and reminds you of the value of your own stories.

read DAVID’S post this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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FLAWED CARTOON designs and products ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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when ants dream. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

when ants dream jpegBIG copy

are we talking about payback here?  i prefer to try to live life with pay-it-forward thinking. but hey, on some level, i can relate to these ants.

living in wisconsin and having chased about a zillion of them around the kitchen last night, what i really want to know is – what do mosquitoes dream?

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

when ants dream… ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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pay attention to nature… [flawed cartoon wednesday]

BirdsSouth BIGcopy copy

ohmygosh.  this was my swan song every time we left the house when The Girl and The Boy were little.  this is our swan song before we leave the house now.  every time.  some things don’t change.  i know this has nothing to do with this flawed cartoon and the instincts of birds flying south (or the technology they pay attention to), but middle age and its challenges -and joys- dictate what i pay attention to.   and the common theme songs are hot flashes and restroom locations.  sheesh!

we have a group of friends that all go together to a winter festival up north a bit.  we literally PLAN where we are stopping for the “rest” stop and snacks.  and it’s only an hour and fifteen minutes away!  we don’t have devices to alert us.  they are not necessary.  besides, charlie refuses to have any of that confounded stuff.

yup. sometimes nature and people and even geese don’t really need technology.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

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FALL ART 50%-OFF SALE

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR WEBSITE

uh-oh! if you need to hit the potty, better do it now! ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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name-calling [flawed cartoon wednesday]

Blackbeard BIGcopy copy 2

well, blackbeard may well be a goob, even the biggest goob ever, but some things are best kept to ourselves, eh?  my sweet momma always said, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”  there is candor and there is boorish rudeness and there is a very fine line between them.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

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one more time…blackbeard is a goob! blackbeard is a goob! ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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firsts. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

you are my first (dentist) jpegBIG copy

whoa.  even with the wild adrenalin that comes with the first of anything, you must admit, sometimes it’s better to be second.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

you should probably know that you are my first…  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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space invaders. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

space invader jpegBIG copy 2

we were at costco.  in the fruit and vegetable section.  pondering just how many blueberries and strawberries we could eat in the next few days; costco’s quantities are not meant, necessarily, for two people.  but we are berry-lovers, so it works for us.  we were in the middle of deciding to get both the 57 pint container of blueberries and the 28 quart container of strawberries when i felt a presence.  right next to me.  close.  like next to my face, only my face was turned away.  i thought – is this a mystical visitation?  is this a sign?  i turned slowly.  she was standing rightnexttome, her face inchesfrommine.  i have never seen this person before.  she spoke directly -and loudly- to me, “are the blueberries any good?” she asked.  “it’s only me.  will they stay good?”  i tried to back up, but our cart was behind me and she moved forward as i moved back.  i was trapped.  i answered (you owe me, costco!) that they were the best berries and would last and last and that she should buy them. and then she was gone.  good grief.  what i wanted to say was, “get out of my space!!!”

i know you know what i mean.  (insert eye-rolling emoji here.)

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

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space invaders ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood