Fade to brack….

I usually do not talk about business, and other such bourgeois capitalist matters, but just this time I will have to make an exception and mention that as of March 1st, two thousand and eight, my professional representation with Redeye will officially terminate. I shall represent myself until further notice. Thank you and Good day…!

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“Herr Jörg”…. Part Two.

Changed my mind, the entirety of this two part interview with Joerg Colberg, lord and master of famed “Conscientious“, needs to be published on the same day. Part one is here, APE and Jackanory. Part two, yours truly as “Dear Leader” resides just below iconic mount Fuji.

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DL: Joerg- Just wondering if you might be interested in a Julian Richards type interview on my blog. I do not know if you have read my blog but please do so if you are interested. Much expletives, nudity, that sort of thing?

JC: Hmmm, sure. I have to warn you, though, that since I am German I don’t really do any of that humour stuff that you non-Germans seem to be so happy with. But if you think it’ll be interesting, sure, send me some questions.

DL: How is it that I can’t seem to be able to make fun of you, after all, that’s one of my greatest gifts, have I met my match (even though, I have to admit, I make fun of people I like, I tend to ignore those I dislike)?

JC: I don’t know whether you can’t make fun of me, maybe you have to try harder. (you have to imagine me saying that with a very straight face, of course) Or try different things. I have lived outside of Germany for quite a while now, and I’m quite aware of the usual stereotypes (my father-in-law, when chatting with me, after all these years still like to tell me about all the great shop tools Germans make), so it’s something that I’ve come to expect, and I sometimes use stereotypes just to have a little fun for myself. But you can get me easily when I least expect it.

DL: I did not wish to make fun of you as a German, but as a person, it’s always better that way. Your nationality would only show me if you minded or liked being German, not if you liked or minded being yourself. Don’t you think? Anyway, the problem is that I think is that we have already corresponded for too long already and I like your honesty and humanity, that’s hard to caricature, makes me look like an ass (not that I mind, actually, who doesn’t quite fancy the buffoon). Anyway, aren’t we both Euro-trash, we like pontificating in the new world, and yankees love that shit, until the layoffs of course?

JC: “I did not wish to make fun of you as a German, but as a person” sounds a bit like that PC stuff that has been so popular here, doesn’t it? But regardless, be my guest. In any case, I’ve always thought it’s more fun to try to get someone you know, instead of going for the cheap laugh about some poor person who really doesn’t get it. But sure, we both have that certain Euro thing going for us, which makes people confess to us at parties (provided we are actually being invited again) how they think that Europeans are so much smarter etc. Which for me is always kind of funny and sad at the same time, what with me at some stage in the past almost desperately trying to escape all the nonsense in Germany. And then I come here, and people tell me how great it’s there (when they’re not making fun of me taking things too seriously). Oh the irony! I’ve gotten used to it now, and it’s interesting to see how we Europeans are on some sort of cease fire when we meet here – back in Europe, we’d berate each other about our hygiene, sexual habits, food, and – let’s face it – perceived utter lack of taste.

DL: You mention that you became interested in photography in 1999 but failed to go into details, at least, none that I can find. What traumatic event made you turn to photography?

JC: Pure despair. And for once, that’s not much hyperbole really. Back in the Winter of 1999 I was stuck in some sort of Kafkaesque situation, in a German city that I didn’t really know that much, renting a room (which for the most part was more or less unheated) in a stranger’s apartment (as an added bonus, the kitchen was completely unusable – it looked as if a bomb had exploded in there – and the bathroom was basically little better), with just a suitcase of my own stuff with me… I don’t want to pile on too much, but it was a situation, which was extremely unenjoyable, and because I was desperate for anything that would maybe change things a little that I picked up a camera and started taking photos. And then I was suprised that they came out in a way which made me want to take more. In retrospect, those photos are all really bad, of course. But they really helped me cope with that situation.

DL: Well, you could have found Jesus instead and bored someone else! But anyway, I have always found that creativity, whether we are good artists or not, is very soothing, never mind the frustrating aspects of that gift, but still, I often find that a lot of artist are attracted to “the arts”, much like sociopaths are attracted to guns or politics; as another ubiquitous and politically powerful and manipulative tool? The social ” Art animal” can sometimes be laughably amusing, at best, or nut-bustingly cretinous at worst. You seem relatively well meaning and objective but just for curiousity’s sake what really pisses you off?

JC: Who do you bore, though, when you find Jesus? And even if you find Jesus, instead of becoming an artist (whatever that really might entail), once you start to proselytize, isn’t that really little more than some sort of performance art? In any case, I don’t find my own creativity very soothing at all, and I don’t even mind, because if I want soothing I get a bottle of wine. But I think you’re right, the kind of drive that many artists have to create art is very similar to the drive you can find in politicians to acquire power, or in “business” people to make money. I think the manipulative aspect in art might come second, though, or maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that the process of art is different from the process of politics, say. After all, by definition politics *is* manipulation (as is business, albeit on an even more unhealthy scale), whereas you can create art with no audience in mind. Art (and here you can clearly tell that I never went to art school) first and foremost is for an audience of one. Needless to say, there are tons of artists who have the audience in mind. And just for the record, I don’t think that artists in a social context are any worse than scientists, say. It’s just that we have very little patience for artists who are utter jerks (even though famous artists of course easily get away with it), whereas for scientists, it’s kind of part of the game. It’s almost like you’re disappointed when an extremely intelligent scientist is not borderline autistic or insane, isn’t it? As for what pisses me off I asked my wife, and she said “technical problems with computers” and “stupid people”.

DL: Those last two seem to be universal, I personally would add “shitty drivers”, but I am the aggressive kind, think italian scooter crossed with F1. I tend to equate bad driving with stupidity, but that’s my own problem. Speaking of which, and since this isn’t funny, you and I had a email conversation about humour/comedy in the “Fine Arts”. There seems to be very little of it, to which you added:

“Art and humour are indeed strange bed fellows. […] what I do find is that art that adds some sort of wittiness or humour after just a little while gets so stale: Who wants to look at the same joke for more than a couple times? Even my most favourite comedies I can only watch occasionally, since the jokes are just too familiar and thus not funny any longer (‘The Jerk’ maybe being one of those rare exceptions)”

and to which I responded :

“The French are actually very funny believe it or not, but it sure as hell does not translate. The best comedies I have ever seen are french. Anyway, as humor goes, it’s not about witty or one liner-y. The humour has to sustain itself forever, be cross cultural and timeless. That might be the hardest thing to do in art actually. I think you need to be extremely ambitious to attempt it, it’s a fine line. Humor evolves as you get older and with experience, more refined(?), wiser(?), less temporal but as I said to get there, and sustain it, now that’s is epic…. I just think that it is so difficult that artists tend to ignore it as it seems so daunting ”

To some extent, I also believe that it is a lot easier to be enigmatic, esoteric and impenetrable than it is to be brilliant and honest. A lot of photography these days seems to follow contemporary trends or the aforementioned mystifying techniques to escape criticism, or by using those tools, magically transcend their lack, or minimal talent, into a career. To some extent, there is nothing wrong with that, it is a political and competitive world. Do you find that these issues might lead you to burn out, or have you made a personal kind of peace, all your own?

JC: I can’t say to what extent people really follow trends in contemporary photography to escape criticism or to follow the easy route. It’s one of those things that one can suspect easily, but it’s quite a bit harder to actually show that that’s really the case (provided it’s even possible). I do think – and that might be that very naivite that you pointed out to me already so many times in our email conversations – that many photographers really work on the kind of photography they personally want to work on. I think it’s not too hard to spot the genuine fakers, the people who blatantly emulate someone else’s way of shooting; and I don’t think spending too much time talking about that kind of work is very interesting. As for the kind of work that we get to see a lot, it’s one thing to say “Contemporary photography is really just photos of empty parking lots” and quite another thing to maybe think about what it actually means that so many people do take photos of empty parking lots. There are cheap laughs to be had, if you stick to the former (but it’s utterly devoid of anything truly meaningful), but then when you look at it from the latter perspective you do get something out of it. Maybe there are so many photos of empty parking lots because there is a shitload of parking lots all around us? What kind of environment have we created where we are surrounded by such vast areas, ugly and grey, only designed to store away those cars that we use because we’re too lazy to fucking walk somewhere? (just so you’ll finally get some expletives, too)

So when I look at photography, I generally focus on what I can make of it and not so much on why some people do this or that, or on whether or not some people want to escape criticism. Likewise, I do believe that talent just shows, and if someone has a lot of talent then you see that in that person’s work. So I’m not too worried about that. Or maybe I’m not that jaded, yet – who knows? Maybe I will burn out some day, but I kind of doubt it, given the amount of amazing photography I still discover.

I do think, though, and this is maybe because I never went to art school, that I look at some things maybe a little bit differently than many other people. For example, I often hear comments from people about how some photographer X is just copying photographer Y (I’m not thinking of an actual example here btw). But here’s the thing. Let’s say X has taken some photos of something. Does that mean that no one else can take photos of that same thing? How do we know that there won’t be someone who’ll take photos of the same thing but may actually manage to add just that little something extra to make it more interesting? I often think that many people simply aren’t willing to think in such categories. It’s like remixing in music, maybe, or doing a “cover version” Often the remixes or covers are just better.

As for humour in art, I do think that there is a lot of art that genuinely has humour in it and is brilliant – Gilbert & George’s work for me is one of those examples – but it is quite tough. There has got to be some connection to humour in religion – one of my main problems with Christianity is that it has no sense of humour. But now I’m really digressing (I’m sure I’ve lost all readers by now anyway, though).

DL: Religion is indeed rarely funny, unless you’re the one doing the water boarding. On the other hand, I do believe that parking lots and gas stations are popular because too many photographers take their mentors far too literally and shoot “what they know”. But to my mind there does seem to be depressive undercurrent to a lot of work these days. I believe a lot of people look to photography as an easy refuge from the modern world, the institutions to which we are wedded and an every day, often inescapable routine . That’s all and good, but I simply refuse not to believe that most people have what it takes to become great artists, they just lack the courage.

Nevertheless, I am somewhat convinced that photography has become the “new psychotherapy”, a kind of neurotic monologue devoid of much feedback or “therapeutic” questioning. Does that resonate with you, after all, you found an escape in photography, and it seems that you are not the only one these days?

JC: Ah, the big questions! What’s a “great artist”? People can’t even agree on what a “great photo” is. As for the question of courage, I don’t know. That seems like an odd category for me, and in the end, it’s of so little help! I mean if I was to teach photography students, the last thing I’d tell them if they were struggling to find their voices that they lacked the courage. Apart from the fact that the statement, grandiose as it might sound, is completely meaningless it’s also not very helpful. And if I look at artists that I admire, a lot of them one would not associate with courage at all. Actually, some of them – take for example Dmitri Shostakovich – only managed to survive because they lacked courage (which then, in the end, led to some of the most amazing – and most widely misunderstood – music ever composed).

Also, even though I’m German, and Germans like big ideas and great concepts, that whole idea of a “new psychotherapy” is a bit too much for me. That’s like Freud warmed up (yet again!), and I actually prefer my dishes fresh.

As for my own photography, I don’t see it as an escape really. If it was that I think I wouldn’t do it, and drinking would actually be cheaper (and more fun). Given the enormous amount of work that I put into it (provided I can find the time) just to produce a few photographs that I don’t hate there’s nothing therapeutic about that. In fact, I work on photography not because I need to escape from something but *even though* I could use a break from having a day job *and* running a blog that already contains so much stuff that sometimes, it takes me hours and hours just to find the one link that I want to put up per day (as the minimum that I’ve set myself).

Thinking of photography as some sort of collective escape is just too negative a way to think about it for me, and it also makes assumptions about its creators that I am not willing to make.

DL: Great artist, yeah, I meant that loosely, not absolutely. As for courage, and by that, I do not mean the “heroic” kind, but the kind which makes us act on the small tasks we need to make every day to get where we want to be. But to further my point about the prevalence of photography I must admit that I was gratified to hear Chuck Close, in the BBC documentary, describe it this way; I, of course could not have said it better myself: “Here’s the dilemma and the strength of photography. It’s the easiest medium in which to be competent. But, it’s the hardest medium in which to have personal vision that is readily identifiable.”

JC: Sure, photography – and especially digital photography – is deceiving in that it looks like all you have to do is to press the button, and then you got your photo. Maybe we’re not that far apart after all, though, especially since you qualified what you mean by “courage” – which then would be merely the willingness to do the small, tedious stuff every day, something that is, if not discouraged, but at least getting a bad rap in our culture (because our laziness is now encouraged to an extent that even doing something on a regular basis is too tedious for most people).

Maybe in the end, it all comes down to the simple fact that just like any other art form, you can’t expect photography to be that much different from painting or playing the piano or whatever else you can think of. It involves a lot of very hard work, regular practice, and things won’t fall into your lap. Maybe for some people, it’s incredibly easy and simple, but for most it’s not.

“Herr Jörg”…. Part One.

Jörg Colberg, interviewed below, in a two part series by APE(A Photo Editor) and the venerable Andrew Hetherington (What’s the Jackanory). I had originally intended to edit and scramble their questions, including mine, which will appear tomorrow but this turned out to be far longer and involved than I had expected. Part one, unedited:

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APE: If you discovered a collection of photographs, that in your
esteemed opinion represented the pinnacle of fine art photography and
that discovery was yours alone to reveal to the world and you learned
the photographer was none other than George W. Bush. What would you
do?

JC: You mean what have I done with them?

APE: Are there any laws or nature that govern the popularity of fine
art photography?

JC: I wish I knew! But whatever they are, hand-wringing about whatever
is popular or sells well at any given moment in time is basically
pointless.

APE: Artist statements seem to be a bunch of hooey. Are there any that
you’ve particularly enjoyed?

JC: I think artists’ statements are just part of the whole show. You
could probably add those texts that galleries/museums write about
their shows to that or many of the texts/reviews in serious art
magazines. I wouldn’t necessarily say that each and every one is bad,
but unfortunately, there is quite a trend. So usually, I don’t read
them. I only read them if I can’t figure out what the work is all
about (which might or might not say something about the work). As for
a particularly ridiculous one, I don’t remember the details any
longer, but I do remember it was a couple of years ago, and I think it
was a statement written for one of those Whitney Biennials or whatever
those events are called. I remember I laughed for maybe ten minutes.
Pure comedy gold.

APE: Is there a style of photography that you would add to The United
Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

JC: I’m glad you’re asking about a style and not about a photographer.
“Street photography”. Puh-leeease! I mean if you want to see street
photography, take a walk! At any given time, if you walk around and
look what there is to see you’ll see a “street photo” right in front
of you! Oh wait, how could I forget about “fashion photography”?

APE: You have uncovered thousands of talented photographers whom I’ve
never heard of. How do you do it and where are they hiding?

JC: Most of them are hidden in full sight! You just have to look
around. And that’s really all I do. For example, sometimes I look
through the lists of students at photography schools. I also do read
quite a few blogs regularly. A few years back, when there were very
few photo blogs and when I had run out of links, I would Google for
categories that I’d make up spontaneously. For example, I remember I
once started looking for Finnish photography, simply because I didn’t
know anything about it, but I thought it would be neat to find out
what was out there. It’s interesting to note that while a few years
back stuff was often hard to find because no one had linked to it,
stuff now is hard to find because there is so much, and one has to
sift through a lot of it.

WTJ: Am I at a disadvantage or an advantage seeing as I am the only
one of us who has met you?

JC: You’re obviously the only one who knows for a fact that I’m not a
15 year old with an acne problem who is pretending to be a photo
blogger at his parent’s computer – but I can’t tell whether that’s an
advantage or a disadvantage.

WTJ: What do you think is people’s biggest misconception of yourself?

JC: I have come across people thinking that I’m “intense and intellectual”.

WTJ: How did you feel about ‘The Bitter Photographers’ Conscientious posting?

JC: I don’t care about anonymous posts or comments. If you have an
opinion or if you feel like you have to make fun of something or
somebody, be an adult and stand for what you have to say. Don’t hide
behind “anonymous”. So I didn’t spend much time thinking about it – it
would have been like thinking about graffiti in the bathroom of a
public high school: Not much to be learned. No argument to be had. And
even the kind of fun to be had is very limited, for the same reasons.

WTJ: Are you and Alec Soth tight?

JC: For some reason people appear to think that Alec and I are very
close. But in reality we don’t know each other all that well – apart
from what we know from our email exchanges and from meeting once and
saying hello (at the opening of the portrait show last Summer in New
York). I have to say, though, that he’s an incredibly nice guy.

WTJ: Why do you think he stopped blogging ?

JC: I think he stopped blogging for the reasons given in his last
post. I really regret he did, because he provided such a unique and
dedicated voice to the blog world. But who knows – maybe he’ll be back
some day?

WTJ: What does your wife think about you being such a player on the
photo scene? I know she got a kick out of it when I referred to you as
the ‘godfather’ in my first ever posting.

JC: When I started my blog, I never thought someone would seriously
use the terms “a player” and “godfather” about me. Very odd. As for my
wife, I never figured out whether she thought of “the Godfather” as in
the movie or as in when referring to James Brown. With her Italian
family background it must have been the former, whereas I was amused
since I’m about as un-James-Brown as one could possibly get. In any
case, I think she is somewhat less surprised than I am about me having
some sort of role in “the scene”. I do know that she’s happier about
me being active in the art scene than in the academic scene.

WTJ: You are a player right ? Do you feel like a star maker ? After
all you are now a harbinger of taste and people look to you for an
endorsement?

JC: Is that some of that famous humour that you non-German people
always talk about?

WTJ: I am thinking that a posting on ‘Conscientious’ can seriously
help someone’s career?

JC: The scientist in me would probably say that there’s enough data
out there to test this hypothesis. Just poll the people linked to on
my blog! Given that so many people visit the blog regularly I think
that a post could indeed help someone’s career. There are a lot of
photographers out there whose work is not as much appreciated as it
should be. If I can change that a little bit by posting about the
work, that’s great.

WTJ: Have you seen people’s cache rise ?

JC: I have. I know for a fact that Chelsea gallerists follow the blog,
and I know of a few cases where a post on the blog had a direct impact
on people getting a show or getting assignments to shoot for
magazines.

WTJ: Have they thanked you? Sent a print, bottle of whiskey, bag of cash?

JC: I often get thank-you emails when I have someone on the blog. I
also sometimes get books in the mail (which I love). Getting an actual
print has been a very, very rare occasion, though. Likewise for the
whiskey (I like single malts) or bags of cash (no coins and only hard
denominations, please).

WTJ: Oh and have people sent you a little shall we say bride in an
attempt to guarantee a posting?

JC: Bride or no bride, there is no guarantee. It’s really very, very
simple: If I like the photography – regardless of the photographer’s
name – I’ll post about it.

WTJ: I once got an email from a photographer who shall remain nameless
who said that one mention on your site and he went from obscurity to
some serious New York gallery representation in a matter of days. How
does this make you feel ?

JC: I was/am genuinely happy for the photographer, because I thought
that his show was well deserved. Assuming, of course, that we are
talking about the same person. Maybe there is more than one?

WTJ: American Photo named you as one of their Innovators in 2006. Did
you notice a change in your self love following this accolade ?

JC: No, it didn’t. I don’t want to tie me ego to whether my name
appears in a magazine or newspaper.

WTJ: Nice to be acknowledged by the establishment right?

JC: What is genuinely nice is to be acknowledged by photographers.
That I like. When a photographer, known or unknown, tells me she or he
enjoys the blog, that is very, very nice. And to be able to talk to
all of the photographers I had in my “Conversations”, that’s something
else that I have enjoyed a lot. As for “the establishment”, I haven’t
fully figured out who is part of that and who isn’t.

WTJ: How do you feel you are perceived in the hallowed halls of ‘Fine
Art Photography’ ?

JC: I am not too concerned about that. Instead of thinking about stuff
like that I rather look at photography.

WTJ: What photo blogs do you read ?

JC: My RSS reader contains a large number of blogs – too many to list
them here. They’re all linked to on “Conscientious” (I do need to
update that list, though!). I will mention one, though, “Mrs Deane”,
which is one of my favourite photo blogs.

WTJ: You have a big birthday coming up! So lets say you could invite
10 photographers alive or dead to your party, care to name names ?

JC: You mean apart from the ones that I already invited?

WTJ: And while we are at it 10 non photographers alive or dead to make
the conversation more interesting ?

JC: I have the feeling that the people in such a list would not get
along very well with each other, even though it would be fun to have,
say, Philip Roth and Mark E Smith in the same room with me. Hard to
imagine those two striking a conversation. So that might end up being
a bit tedious: Ten idiosyncratic personalities in the same room. I’d
probably find that amusing for only ten minutes.

WTJ: What is the future for ‘Conscientious’ ?

JC: I don’t know. We’ll see.

WTJ: Do you think your own photography is judged on its own merits or
because of who you are?

JC: I don’t think it’s very well known I actually do take photos
myself – and I refuse to toot my own horn on my blog. I’m no
photographer with a blog, I’m a blogger who takes photos. To be
honest, I am slightly worried about the “Oh my god, now he’s trying to
take photos, too” reaction once I will try to get my stuff out there;
but I usually work on my own photography trying to achieve something
that I personally like and not so much worrying about a possible
viewer. As for how it is being judged, the answer probably is “I don’t
know”. People don’t really talk to me much about it.

WTJ: How many submissions a day do you get on average?

JC: It’s about two or three.

WTJ: You must see some crazy stuff that doesn’t fit your aesthetic?
Any examples?

JC: I’m not very fond of blurry photos of pretty, naked, young white
people (think Leni Riefenstahl meets David Hamilton). That’s just
terrible, terrible kitsch.

WTJ: How does it feel to be so powerful?

JC: I’m still working on the diabolical laughter that appears to be so
popular with people in power, but I’m afraid I can’t really pull that
off.

” The Blond Giovannis….continued “

cave

A true story, as told to us kids, over thirty five years ago, by my great uncle:

In early March of forty five, a freak snow storm cut off the coastal rail lines, between Livorno and Grosseto. A troop transport reeking of sweat, canned beef and soupy rice and carrying a load of French and British prisoners of war was forced to halt and wait out the storm; just outside of Piombino, in the countryside.
The train and its men soon fell silent, and in anticipation of the long wait to come, stared at the sea; slowly looking farther North and at the storm; watching the coast recede, farther and up the Tuscan shore.
Patience, a dubious virtue before the war, was now a most acceptable substitute to replace the numbness and silent resignation they had come to casually expect; a reflection of the times these mostly gaunt and fretful men had had to endure over their last five years of interment.
Most of these troops, save for a few, had been common infantry men and were of Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan descent. Captured together near Cambrai during the Blitzkrieg five Mays ago they had been shipped East to Austria, to work the land, but eventually, to new and shabbily constructed Stalags, between Mollbrucke and Seeboden, Wolfsberg and Graz.

Alcide, my great uncle, had been the regimental cook and had finally been collared alongside his North African brethrens, one afternoon, in May. After successfully hiding for two days and nights, alongside the carcass of his dead and bloated mule he had been found out and shipped East, not South. At the time, the large cooking pot the beast had been ferrying between the crumbling and retreating battle lines, was slumped over, and on its side. As the beast, felled by an enemy shell, lay dying, but still shouldering its oversized pots and pans, my uncle quickly found, that they made for a dark, safe and improvised place to hide from incoming mortar rounds.
If not for the heat, the faint scent of garlic paste, rotting flesh, and the smoldering wheels of a couple troop trucks, this sooty tin capsule was to shield him from, and help him survive, the next two days and nights.

Two days later, a German cook, needing a larger pot than he had to feed his victorious and hungry troops, finally kicked it over, uncovering my great uncle, squinting sheepishly, up and at him, on the morning of his third day. Slowly raising his hands in resigned submission, he surrendered his freedom to a large man, holding a wooden spoon, an apron, a butcher’s cleaver and an axe. Soon after, a german corporal stepped forward, flicked his cigarette butt onto the mule’s rotting corpse and with a nod, pointed to the shuffling line of prisoners marching to the East and South.
Alcide, started up the embankment and towards the back of the column, rejoining the remnants of the captured French and British soldiers’ front lines troops. His left boot was filled with dust and caked in blood and missing a sock, the result of the precipitous haste with which they had all been roused the preceding night when a SS scout had called in an artillery strike on their field kitchen, hastily packed mule trains, and potato sacks.

When he came to, his ears were still ringing and the sun had risen just above the grass, where he had spent the night. His left sock was missing, while the greater part of his left shoe had been trapped under the lifeless corpse of the butchered animal’s pack. He bent over and yanked on it until, blood soaked, it came slipping out. No sooner had he retrieved it that he saw a line of advancing paratroopers firing above his head but seemingly without much purpose or murderous fight. Upon realizing that none of his companions were to be found and armed with nothing more than a ladle and a handful of rice, he lifted one of the cauldron’s sides and promptly disappeared within its confines, while they, inexplicably retreated, towards ripening fields of Alfalfa.

Once inside, and within the unwashed steel walls of his protective pot, Alcide, slowly slipped on his bloody shoe, his heart beating wildly, his chest sounding off the rolling panicked beats of his newfound tin and nickle pan. As the passing and advancing soldiers wheeled to the NorthWest, they let loose a parting volley and a couple bullets pierced his hiding pot but continued on through without causing anything more than a loud and thunderous fright. After this early dawn, he settled as best he could within his cramped and dark confines to wait out this sooty hell, fearing more, but better placed, missiles and bullets.

Being that it was a warm and sunny May, he soon fainted, simmering slowly throughout this first and blood soaked day, until a mid-afternoon thunderstorm woke him; the thunderclaps echoing within his shell while the heavy rain, seemingly filled the silent pot with an unending and boiling rain. But, as soon as the storm passed, a raven landed on his upended crock and started to crow; its song, amplified by the cauldron, its claws and feet, hoping slowly across its sooty tin bottom. A few more minutes passed and the crow fell silent as it began to peck at the mule’s freshly butchered flesh, until, presumably, satisfied by this unexpected breakfast, it seemed to sense that it was not alone, and that in its hunger and haste, it had failed to sense my great uncle’s cowering palace.
As the crow had become fuller and satiated, it seemed to slowly become aware of the scent of his stale and frightened breath, trapped within the confines of his cramped and sonorous hiding place. But instead of taking flight, sensing his fear, and perhaps realizing that he was trapped and unable to threaten it with anything more than a moan or a scratch, it found one of the bullet holes and looked at the man crouched within his hallow metal hull, and for a few seconds, stared in and sideways into his blood shot eyes.
But soon, finding itself bored and unconcerned, it hopped aside, and onto the mule’s wet and stiffening carcass, towards the head and the flies, where already, green, purple and fat, they seemed content and satisfied to deeply gaze, into the mule’s dead eyes.

To be continued……..

Private.

Crap, this privacy plugin does not seem to work properly. I guess I’ll post this entry while I figure out how to make it work like it should. While I work on this, please read the following paragraph . This will, I presume, serve the same function as a public service announcement, even if, in this case, and ironically, the public will serve to symbolically represent the uneasiness I sense, privately.

hut

So, back from Belize and willing to try a little experiment to take my blog private. While away, it has dawned on me that I was self-censoring this blog because it has become somewhat popular and read by a few thousand people every month. It would seem that some form of editorial success might be the desired and a natural end result of blog keeping, but in this case, it is not.

I started writing because I felt that without an audience I may not have had the discipline to keep it up without broadcasting to someone, or anyone in particular. I might have felt that I could have lost interest in my own inner monologues. As it turns out, this is a moot point, and an audience has never been something I have actively and willingly longed for, at least not in the last dozen years(it also seems to coincide with the birth of my first son, Raphaël, twelve years and change ago). Everything I do now, outside of a few people, my children, friends and family has always been done in the hope of furthering, developing and experimenting with those innate skills I sense I have been lucky enough to have been graced with(or so I think!).

I do not seek an audience of thousands or feel the need to be recognized, use this blog to promote my work, myself or profit from its successes. I simply enjoy writing and putting my daily thoughts to paper, or rather, this keyboard. Strangely enough, the very fact that I have become somewhat successful at this, irks and unsettles me; however so slightly, as I sense a creeping self and public censorship, a need to please others, and not myself.

Nevertheless, I did not want to completely remove myself from those who have enjoyed reading these daily missives and might make the effort to continue. As such, and in order to write more freely and broadly, I will ultimately password protect the site and request users to register; at least when I figure it out. Managing a blog and the plugins which come with it can be confusing at times but always time consuming as well as a bit of a crap shoot.

Anyway, who knows, may be I won’t like it and go back to public blogging, we shall see, but it’s worth a shot. So may be, if it’s worth publishing, it’s worth protecting; privately !!!