Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"If You're Happy and You Know It...."

“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” Remember that song; remember those days?  You’d sing it with your child, usually in a circle with other kids and mothers; and there you’d all be…so happy, and you knew it.

Maybe it’s me, but these kinds of shortcuts to personal satisfaction aren’t what they used to be. Recently I’ve been inundated with Facebook tests to determine the color, city, nickname, and dog that make me most happy.   However their conclusions, respectively: green, London, Cutie, and whippet, prove that I’ve gotten it all wrong.  All along, I’ve thought of myself as a poodle-loving Francophile [who would never be called “Cutie”] happily surrounded by the powerful SRQ blue of sky and sea.  Apparently, I’m not happy… and I don’t know it.

One recent survey I took made it abundantly clear that I don’t even live in the house most suited to my true nature.  It revealed that I should not be in a Florida home, built in the “Faux Mediterranean-No-No” style I favor, a hodgepodge pile of wrought iron features, colorful stucco, and bougainvillea festooned loggias. Rather, this survey concludes that my destiny is a post-modern structure perched on a hilltop overlooking Crete. But didn’t that other test say I’d be happiest in London? And, would someone called “Cutie” live in a post-modern house anyway?

Until I started taking these surveys, I thought my SRQ life was pretty good. So what if a bunch of questionnaires reveals that every decision I’ve ever made is wrong?  How can so wrong feel so right? [And I’m not a country song lyricist.]

Why even bother to try and understand? After all, this morning’s survey revealed that I’m actually a unicorn.  And from what I’ve gathered from reliable sources, Sarasota unicorns are very happy, whether they know it or not.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Could an Artist Have Anything in Common with A-Rod?"


“Could an Artist Have Anything in Common with A-Rod?” by Pamela Beck

Recently I read a provocative article by Michael Farris Smith inspired by the deluge of baseball-steroid shenanigans entitled: “What if Novelists Took Steroids?”*

Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008 courtesy of Keith Allison.
Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008 courtesy of Keith Allison.
The writer wonders would he, too, indulge if the results were superpower skills that allowed him to leap to the best-seller list faster than a speeding bullet?  If his stories could flow like water and his fingers could grow extra-muscular to better attack the keyboard with stamina and zeal—would he be able to resist the temptation to pop that pill?
While this falls in to the category of “What I’ll Do When I Win the 45O Million Dollar Powerball,” you have to admit that the pill-popping question intrigues and makes you silently consider your ethical stance.
Le Penseur, (The Thinker), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Le Penseur, (The Thinker), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
As an artist, the consequences could be extraordinary.  What if by taking such a pill, original ideas would frequently appear to you along with the technical mastery to produce them?  What if the results would be met with international acclaim? What if there was a shortcut to creating satisfying work and your motivated hands would work forcefully and successfully to paint, sculpt, or fabricate the best ideas you’ve ever come up with?  Would you be able to resist the temptation for that new little chaser with your morning coffee?  You could take that pill secretly.
It’s hard to say if you’d develop affection for a fantasy capsule that’s accompanied by a solo show of your work at the Guggenheim Museum.  The writer of the article cited says, “Cheaters always know how it’s going to end. That’s why they become liars too.”
What hand would you play…if no one were watching?