dreams, shadows / cigar-tin stories number fifty seven

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. 

~ Epictetus

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At the supermarket I discover, quite out of the blue, a product called REESE'S NEW PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE SPREAD. I stand there and stare at it. I know we already have a generic chocolate hazelnut spread at home, and that C already says that this is (a) not proper food and (b) incredibly bad for me. Something about sugar? Also NUTELLA and OTHER DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE THINGS? So then why, in all those pictures from the war, are the Russian soldiers on the tanks handing out big blocks of chocolate wrapped in wax paper? I mean, THEY WON THE WAR, GOOGLE IT.

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With the kid at one of those expensive GIRL EMPOWERMENT camps we go out for a late drink. I'm baffled by the list of what's on tap so I order something ridiculous and obscure –– Labatt 50. C is incredulous at this, makes a few choice remarks about old men, then accelerates smoothly into a suspicion that what I'm doing is a hipster thing, like Pabst Blue Ribbon (see: Blue Velvet). It is not. It is more that I am consuming something that will soon no longer exist, like BlackBerrys or Free Methodist Churches. 

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How has your summer been? Mine has been filled with doleful clouds veering across vast banks of sticky humidity ... no clear, sun-in-the-bright-blue-sky kind of days. Mornings boiling with fog. Afternoons with a crooked heat that just sits there, like an itch at the base of your hairline, until the next violent thunderstorm rolls itself in. It's all been very strange, to be honest.

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But one day I am out cycling with the kid (all she wants to do is race, and cheat, and win) and it is the kind of bright, blustery day that reminds me of back home, and growing up, in Saskatchewan, and how I would sometimes just stand there and close my eyes against the sun, listening to the grass and the trees. The world had a certain deserted quality, this thing of just a very small YOU moving across the world, a speck on the landscape. 

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Of course now I live in Kingston and everything is HAUNTED WITH SPIDERS.

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And today it's the middle of August and I should be working harder because the panic of September will soon be upon us but my powers of discipline and drive continue to flicker and wander. I mean, I have been doing work, I have been painting all along, but in this heedlessly single-minded way, just making these characters and selling them. Not paying attention to any other studio work, the organizing necessary to that minor miracle of KEEPING THINGS MOVING.

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Speaking of ragged movement: the Joseph Boyden story drags on and on. At this point I think most people are fine with whatever he wants to call himself. Faroe Islander? Martian? Fine, fine. Does it really matter anyway? Is there anything he could do to negatively affect his darling status with the middle-aged women who buy all the books in this country? 

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The anti-abortionists are downtown, displaying their giant posters of broken, waxen fetuses. It must be of great importance for the photo to show something that looks like a face. 

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A client emails me about a design job that I sent to press some three months ago. Apparently it was never printed (!), and now it needs all sorts of editorial corrections (partially due to a series of meetings where certain persons decided to change the names and acronyms for all the relevant associations and groups? because name changes are the kind of result you get from having lots of meetings?). It was a rush when I did it the first time and now it's really a rush! EXCELLENCE NOW.

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I have the STUDIO DREAM again. The STUDIO DREAM has nothing to do with my actual studio; instead, it's about some ficticious shared space which is under sudden and constant renovation and flux. Studios become bizarrely huge kitchens, with everything in enamel yellow. People disappear. Classes start, and no one speaks English. I comment to other people in the dream but otherwise I'm powerless. Eventually the lights go out.

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I try to get a haircut on the way to work but all the places downtown seem filled with miscreants and mental patients. I arrive at the office late. It doesn't matter. 

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Tired of a few things lately. I'm tired of things working badly. I'm tired of my computer asking for my iCloud password, again and again, until I finally force it to quit. I'm tired of ordering watches from Amazon only to have to replace the battery within a month. I'm tired of the water from the fountain being lukewarm. I'm tired of the electronic billboard which always reads SYSTEM INITIALIZATION COMPLETED. I'm tired of the fresh strawberries which are completely covered with fuzz two days later. I'm tired of the empty towel dispenser. I'm tired of bright yellow bananas with the consistency of old Play-doh. I'm tired being told that my browser will no longer be supported. I'm tired of my coffee thermos not keeping my coffee hot. Or cold. I'm tired of email responses which have little connection to the original query. I'm tired of people who cannot be bothered to read. I'm tired of flaky clients. I'm tired of clothes from Costco that are weirdly cut. I'm tired of people who zoom ahead in the closed lane. I'm tired of projects just languishing in the ether, for no good reasons at all. I'm tired of the news, which seems fantastic and disconnected from life. I'm tired of the gong show in Washington. I'm tired of superfans. I'm tired of Ridley Scott ruining the Alien movies.

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Well this has been a bit of a ramble. Too negative? I did have a good vacation at the shore this year. I even read some books, and achieved a few naps. Perhaps that's all that matters.

Remember, you are only the dreams of a shadow*,

djb

*Pindar

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