Monday, March 28, 2011

Old So-and-So Sews

If we say NO to learning technology, the threat is to become
an Old So-and-So unable to even turn off a light.

Excuses for not learning new technology:  
  • So-and-So does that, I don't. My teenager does that, I don't. Or flatly, I don't do any of that (as if it's an accomplish?)
  • I haven't had needed that for forty years, why do I need it now?
  • I don't want Old So-and-So to find me on Facebook after all these years.
  • I don't want people to know all my business.
  • It's so boring; who cares that a friend of mine stood in line at Wal-Mart?
  • I don't know how. I don't write. I don't take pictures. etc.
  • I have bad eye-sight at can't see all that little stuff.
  • What a Big Waste of Time. Three hours goes by and I haven't accomplished anything.
  • I've got better things to do.
  • What do I need that for?
  • There's all those broken-home stories of people finding another online and running away.
Like James Owen says, "If you really want to do something, no one can stop you; but if you really don't want to do something, no one can help." So there's the trouble, you don't really want to do it. I don't either.

During the Rain Delay of the tennis tournament this weekend in Huntsville, Alabama, we visited friends Laurel Best and Art Abdinor. He gave me half the excuses on this list of why he isn't on Facebook. I just nodded, because I have already heard all of them before, mostly from myself.

It continued to rain, so they showed me there love of quilting. Quilting is an old-fashioned thing to do, so there's no danger of me having to learn that. My biggest aversion is the pokey scary needle and then the machine itself with all it's button and nobs and fast moving parts - the giant arch nemesis since middle school. The teacher should have flunked me in Home-Ec, but she soooo wanted rid of me that she passed me on.

Two months into the school year and I never got passed the needle (that new-Fandangled technology; who needs it!). I have poor eye sight and even if I put my face straight up to that thing, i can't see that little hole to string. My hands are kind of big and not built for delicate work. And then there all those hours and hours of wasted time, with nothing to show for it. Even if I get it threaded it bunches into glumps, and then that scary stringy Bobbin thing underneath - have no idea what the heck we have to have that? Hate the word Bobbin. despise it entirely.

Don't sew. Never have. Never will. Plus, I can finagle some cheap sweater at Kohl's for hundreds cheaper, so why do I needs it?

And, I don't need to learn to sew in my YoT (YearOfTechnology). That's not in the contract because it's not computers or anything the younger generation is all about.

In a fit of "I'll prove to you how bad I am at sewing," I bang the table and declare, "Yes, I want you to teach me to Sew!"  You do know, I mean "NO. Hell NO."  I hope Art really hears that part. He doesn't - he hears the first part. We head over to their sewing machines.

This will put closure on this Dreaded Sewing issue Forever, for Once and For All! I CANNOT SEW. I thought of Susie. Susie doesn't sew. She doesn't do that! I don't do that! We don't SEW. Get it!
All these Scary buttons and a needle speeding toward my fingers that I can't see!
I sat before the sewing machine with heart beating as if I was placing my person in a cockpit to be shuttled into space.

I've changed my mind!
But Art speaks to me gently.
The machine is all set up, but Art undoes it all. NOOOOO!

Stop this thing! I DON'T SEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scary poky things that stick you and make you bleed. Broken needles on metal planks. The teacher ignoring you like you're a troll put down on this earth to vex her. Soft paint brushes is more Your speed.

Threading the eye of the needle. Art continues to tell me to follow the string along this line and then over there, etc. There are little pictures that actually show where the thread goes. And then get this. there's a little flap that strings the needle for you. New technological sewing machines do the work. I don't have to put my face right by the needle and thread it. Apparently, this is even an old machine; Laurel's does even more.

After the threading - I actually threaded a sewing machine! - it took about half hour -  I make my first stitch! It's all crooked but beautiful. We make two more lines. It looks like a pocket. Ideas for my tennis JunkArt journal; I could sew pockets for the signed tennis cards. Hey, wait a minute, I'm not suppose to be having fun, I'm suppose to be proving that I can't do this.
In my glee, the strings get tangled up in a glump, and we've lost our threaded needle. Art doesn't yell at me, he shows me some tools and how you undo things when they go wrong. We line everything up again and start over. Really, I thought you just threw the machine and all the stuff out the window and head to Belks.
Art is forcing me to actually do the work. Their fabulous quilt is behind me.
No one got stabbed. Actual success! I see a purpose in my life to sew. I can incorporate many things in JunkArt Journals. I may even buy a cheap sewing machine and/or get Melanie to help me learn more during Craft Day! She sews.

Love all the colors of their quilts in the making.

My brain feels like it's been to the moon and back. But, I'm proud that I learned how to sew.

Laurel holds up Art's work in progress.
Now we're talking Naieva Bookist's language!
Indeed a purpose to SEW!
Making purses from Old Books.

I tell Art that he can chat with us on Facebook. He tells me, "I don't do that!"
Well, I didn't use to sew and that was a much bigger step for mankind.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photography and JunkArt

In a clutter-control frenzy, I almost threw away all the old slides and negatives in the attic. Why would I look at these things again? I'm glad I didn't, because I've been finding amazing photographs everything from our cross-country motorcycle tour for Motorcyclist magazine to this  funky JunkArt project in Detroit of the 1990s.

If you recall, I bought that film/slide converter for cheap with help from Kohl's, my friend and serendipity. In my YoT (year of technology) it was easy to figure out. And get this, my sister Joanie who has always been more high-tech than me with cell phones and flat-screen tvs and dvds, I coached her, over the phone, how to work Facebook. What a different three months makes when saying Yes!

I'm a huge fan of JunkArt and this one is the ultimate! I think the city officials eventually made him take it down or they bulldozed it away. I don't know the name of the artist, but he must have lived here on this mostly abandoned street.
My sister Sue was the ultimate teacher. She taught in the school a block away from this. When she told me about it, I had to photograph it. There seems to be never I time, i wasn't pulling out my camera. I got or got gifted these cameras. Never one who wanted diamonds - I wanted a camera! Working with film at the time was tougher than it is now and there were a lot of great photo-ops missed because of some little mistake of unwound film, opened back to the camera, etc. But, like these photos, sometimes we got it, and now it doesn't exist anymore. Where I had my wedding doesn't exist. Where my best friend Ona Lei and I put our feet in Queen Anne's pond doesn't exist. Black Sand beach. The list goes on.

Paint, garbage and abandoned homes was his canvas. Where it was depressing, he made it beautiful at least for a moment.
I work with photography in my JunkArt children's books because I don't draw people very well. I wish for them to have  funny big-eyes way like the ones Gianna Marino draws. Jannell Cannon would be great, of course, but she'll be working hard on Headstrong Chicken. Unless David Wiesner takes that book on and then Jannell will be free to do this latest creation: "Hardly Present."

The plot of this tome is a cute blond round-headed boy named Hardly has too many aunties vying for his affection by sending him gifts in the mail. Of course the gifts are not anything he wants, but the love is genuine. Any resemblance between this and my son and all my many sisters, friends, and mother-in-law is of course completely coincidental.

Aunties among the JunkArt 1990s.
Where the Hardly idea came from: 1991, our honeymoon was in a camper with two dogs, touring American for six months. While in Monterey Bay, I found a live starfish. As you know, I am Naieva, and didn't quit think-it-through that it was not a good idea to send Joanie (the sister on the right) a live starfish in a cardboard box in the mail for a week. She was not thrilled to receive this package. Nor, the buffalo fur.

Also, my lovely mother-in-law still has the habit of sending us newspaper clippings by the bulk! It's pretty much universal that Grandmothers do this.

Both these occurances, germinated into Hardly Present. Friends have told me stories of birthday cakes that have arrived in the mail. tennis-racquet bug catchers, and even dirt. When Janell Cannon draws it, it's going to be soooo amazing. I want lots of stamp and postal-mark images throughout. I use the photographs for references to make it easier for her.

The names of the aunties are funny and depict what their like. For example, Lisa Home-Gagger sells real estate. Auntie Mona Lot-Gagger complains. You get the idea. They are all a gaggle of Gaggers!

Book: "Hardly Present"
There is always tennis and Rat Pack references in every book - it would not  be a Naieva book without it. 
Got to have the Starfish page! It was the genesis for the whole book.
And something Joanie still smells when going out to get the mail.

One of my favorite pages.
Nobody Likes Chain Mail.
Ha. Get it? He gets chain mail in the mail,
plus I really do hate chain mail!
Are we laughing?

Had to have the newspapers in there.
What are some of the other packages? And how to conclude this whole mess?

Well, "Auntie Drew Kraft-Gagger knows what's best for her favorite nephew! Art Appreciation of course. She'll be his mentor, and all those other Gaggers will be soooo jealous."

Then we go to Book Two. I apparently can't stop myself from making Trilogies. The poor kid has to do crafts he doesn't want to do, and man that' will be fun to JunkArt. We're talking giant metal rat sculptures, Duck-Tape Hula-hoops, you get the idea.

Art is Art even if it's Naieva and even if it's made out of garbage.

And photography is my life.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Then we take ISSUE!

I fulfilled a dream once - to be an Editor of my very own magazine that didn't involve engines. Tony Fox (Art Director) and Donald Evans (Boss of Specialty Publications at Petersen Publishing) saw something in me and allowed me the project of Issue magazine. Issue was a magazine about magazines. How perfect an assignment for a goofus who'd been crafting little magazines forever.
Tony Fox at work.

I'm the one sitting, Virginia Moore,
Charles DeBevoise, Patty Padilla
I'd also edited Engines and the Baseball magazines after-hours and didn't screw that up too badly. I got paid a hundred or so extra for doing these things, trying to work my way out of the ghetto.

My motto - just because you're born in the ghetto, doesn't mean you have to stay there. For every person who tried to keep me down, there was always someone lifting me up. I'd like to thank the lady who got me in the door at Petersen. She was determined to assign me a job and get me out of the insurance business where my creative spirit was drowning. It took the third interview at Motorcyclist magazine. If it wasn't for her, I would probably have wanted to commit suicide, but it's a lot easier to get a new job that to accomplish all that much drama.
Most Petersen publications are manly - Cars. Engines. Hunting. Baseball. Back in the day, I did dig dirt bikes and ATVs, and days riding in the desert, but it may have been the free food. Petersen sponsored outfits as well, something in faux-leather jumpsuits.
The other cool thing about ISSUE - they gave out the Maggie Award (awards for the best in magazines). We got dressed up for their Award Show and who doesn't want to say at least once in their life: "The Winner Goes To!"
The Maggie Award is in the right-hand corner.
Tony Fox imagined and produced most of Issue's covers once we brainstormed story ideas. Being a low budget, I wrote most of the pieces and begged for the rest.
I interviewed big-time publishers. Just a punk kid, I remember being so nervous talking to  Peter Diamandis. Turns out he was nice, worked his way to the top the hard way. It being one of my first full-length articles, I worried if he'd like it. But, his secretary called to say I'd captured his true spirit where others hadn't. Sigh of relief.
Petersen was producing Issue as a kindness to the Western Publications Association and Maggie Awards. Every issue was always our last. Four years later, there was our last issue.

Ah well, that's enough reminiscing for now. Time to read the latest Somerset Studio magazine with my cat. If those ladies at that publishing house need any Tennis Art Journal articles, let me know and we'll continue to the dream.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Scandalous Section

Happy Times Magazines sold for two cents (for friends), and my only friends were my sisters. My Marketing skills not good, because this wasn't the depression era and two cents got you in the movies, this was 1974ish, and two cents could only get a piece of loose candy at the junk store. The price should have been 49 cents.

I'm a Rat-Pack (Ya, those guys, Sammy, Dean and Frank) Pack Rat (save any piece of paper, photographs, letters, all sorts of ephemera forever) but surprisingly didn't keep any of these magazines where I worked as the writer, editor, illustrator, photographer, producer and publisher. They must have sold out their limited edition! My sister Ruth dug through her old papers and found a bunch and in great condition.

There's everything here that's needed for a great magazine:
contents page, current news, flashback stories, beauty secrets, tennis tips, 
and a help/opinion column called Dear Eva.

"Dear Eva, I like your magazine but I hate those centerfolds. I can't see why
Mickey Mouse should pose for something like that!

"Dear Disappointed, You have to come out from under the rock!
Times have changed for the better. If you don't like the centerfold, tear it
out and give it to a friend who could appreciate it."

"Dear Eva,
 In the March issue a person wrote in about the centerfold.
Well, I want you to know
 I think they're fantastic, and I think you should report on the streakers.
signed, A. Barer."

Answer for this one, "I AGREE!"

Playgirl was a hip thing about this time. Do they even still make anything like this
 - no don't tell me, I am Naieva, and can't stand to know.

So here we are to the Scandalous Section of the Happy Times Magazine - the centerfolds.

This one seems the most scandalous to me.
Perhaps because it's a big fat man.

The only way to get Yogi to pose was to give him a picnic
basket full of food.
This one seems the least scandalous - it's a dog without clothes! What a concept. I do like the airplane in the background with a bubble saying, "What the heck."

Jiminy Cricket was happy to be asked as
St. Patrick's day centerfold. He said, "I'm
perfect for that day since I'm green."

Daffy Duck was so angry when he found out
Bugs Bunny was the centerfold. He was a little
embarrassed, but he knew he could do anything
Bugs could.

I remember seeing this cartoon back in the day, but don't remember his name. It was a take off (oh, that's a pun) of the football player who was the first to pose nude for a magazine.

I must have run out of options for this one.

That's all from Naieva, I think I hear someone calling me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Here's the rest of the book. Adjusting wording as we go.

Nevertheless, Myrtle demands that this beast go O.U.T Out!

This chicken has added another Adam's-Apple, even though she is female. Trying to figure out how to say this or perhaps the real illustrator will just convey this. The neck needs to be amusing.

Chickenerwauling ensues.

Caterwaul - to make a harsh cry.
 Great word.
Of course this is a chicken, and it must chickenerwaul.

Well then, off to the library to find out what makes a chicken happy.

Mucus rather play soccer than read.

Research shows hens cry out for slick European ensembles.
Stacks of book like Peter Rabbit and the Wind in the Willow should be added.
Their animals always wear vests.

This mother does try to adjust life with this Headstrong chicken.
But, even cashmere can't hide those indelicate droppings.

Myrtle returns it without insisting on a refund.
Not to worry, Headstrong Chickens are resourceful.

The kid is crying because his beloved pet is gone; the mother is crying because it's back.

Dad stays up late to solve the chicken problem.

This page might get the publisher nervous. But seems like it must be said, and things get happier on the next page.

Poor, pitiful Mucus. Stuck at the Dog Pound.
At least she's wearing the latest in bright yellow frocks.

A good illustrator could have fun with the dogs in the pound. It would be nicer to have the dogs look real and forlorn. Nothing is worse for a poor dog then to discover it gets worse, being stuck with a chicken at the dog pound.

No worries, Headstrong Chickens are resourceful.

Once again, the kid's crying because his beloved pet is gone, but the dad is gasping because it's back,
golfing her eggs into the window of the house.

"We want an alpaca! We want an ALPACA!!" Pleaaaase!
Myrtle looks in the rear-view mirror at her beguiled children.
"No alpaca!" says mom.

The Headstrong Chicken is part of the family. The parents have no choice, but at least their wearing matching outfits. Even though a kid gets what he wants, it doesn't mean they stop caterwauling. 
Well, there's no harm in looking.

And this complacent mother heads to the Alpaca Farm.
Of course, this children's book is a trilogy - everything is a trilogy. 
The alpaca is not headstrong and causing trouble; it's albino and toothsome.

This is the back page, I want the chicken to be eating the corner of the book. It would be funny to have Velcro mucus that can be peel off and on.

Back cover. Adding indelicate droppings would not be funny.

That's this book. Just need to tweak the writing, find an agent who thinks I'm funny, sign an illustrator who is oober famous fabulous, get it to the printer, and then sell a million copies in Japan, and then I'll fly there and take photographs of the entire area. All would be so cool. It's just a matter of time.