Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Issue #2- Intro

Here is another preview of ObMag #2 - this is the introduction to the "What I did on my summer vacation" issue.  I thought it might be a good read for those of you with post-election blues....

What I did on my Summer Vacation

    As I write this introduction, it is fall, 2010. Summer is over. I sit alone in the house of a dead woman, looking out the door toward the Puget Sound. The sun is bright above the thick quilt of fog. I’m waiting for the movers, who missed the ferry.
    Barbara was a journalist, an artist and interior designer; she transformed things and places. Now, her meticulously arranged home is being disassembled- the last pieces carefully packed for their trip to a Seattle auction house.
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    It’s fall and school is back in session. If you had to stand at the blackboard on the first day of school, what would you tell the class? What did you do on your summer vacation? Did you have a great adventure? Did you max out your credit card for a few days of blissful escape?  Or did you stay at home and pray the AC kept working and that you might soon find work? Did you fall in love... or did you sit on the couch and watch 24-hour cable news coverage as the US of A declined into a made-for-TV remake of the Weimar Republic?  In the current state of the Union, the idea of a “summer vacation” is disappearing over the societal horizon faster than my Dad’s Country Squire station wagon crossing the Badlands. But we still have “The Holidays” to look forward to, right?
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    Barbara understood how things worked. She carefully restored Victorian furniture that she found at Goodwill. She practiced Ikebana, the art of floral arrangement, which she first studied in Tokyo as a G.I. Bride during the Korean War. She understood time.
    She survived a decades-long fight with disease through faith, not in God but in herself. Faith... and just the right amount of denial. She didn’t sweat the small stuff, but she was obsessed with
detail.  I wish I could talk to her. I talk to her.

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    The movers arrive. Zack, a skinny 20-something hipster wearing a wool stocking cap despite the
unseasonable heat, and Bob, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged tattoo artist. His tattoo shop was destroyed in arson’s fire, and he has a new baby to feed, so he’s moving antiques.
    Together, we organize and load the truck. I give Bob some of Barbara’s oriental art books, Zack some old vinyl. They are happy, especially Bob, who lost all of his art books in the fire.
    We all shake hands, wishing each other the best. They drive carefully up the steep and winding driveway. I lock the front door and take one last walk through Barbara’s beautiful hillside garden.
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    By the time you read this, we will have completed another painful, pointless election cycle. Americans will have made another desperate attempt to elect the corporate puppet who will most effectively suppress the people they hate. It’s like being asked to decide on which carny we want to run our economic roller coaster. “Hmmm, I think I prefer J-Dog the toothless meth-head’s stand on health care- or should I vote for Cletus the Baptist child-molester? His stand on Rowe v. Wade is more to my liking...” but we go on. We get by. Maybe next summer. Just don’t sweat the small stuff and pay attention to detail. We stand in the garden in the shadows of late afternoon and take a deep breath, and go on. Into the fall, and winter....

In this second issue of OBSOLETE! We play with the idea of “summer vacation” with writing and art by contributors from California, New York, Chicago, Iowa, New Orleans, Colorado, New Mexico, and the U.K. and Brazil. No matter where you go, no matter how the politicos howl and bray, summer days are long and the nights are hot, and it’s the time to get away...