Little by little, I’m reclaiming my given name.
‘Jacob Russell’ is retired.
My earliest memory of name switching–3 years old. Lived in a little, two story, two bedroom house with my maternal grandmother, Lorain (Gramma Rein… who I watched die of a stroke, age 12, alone in our family cottage at Bass Lake) with my aunt, Carolyn–not yet 16. Murdered by her husband, in 1965… I washed the blood from the basement floor at the bottom of the stairs where she fell after he stabbed her 23 times… and my uncle Will–who was only 16. I did not like being called “Little Will.”
My middle name, Russell, was my father’s first name. I guess they figured I wouldn’t like being “Little Russell” and better, so they called me ‘Rusty.’ That was my name through childhood, and in my family–and to my summer friends. At school, (which was my prison…I lived only for the summer with my real friends) I tried Willard, briefly. By Jr. High, I accepted Russell. I took on “Jacob Russell” when I began submitting poetry and stories–in my early 40’s. That stuck for another 30 years, until I went to SMS for the first time… I needed a Faerie name.
The last time I saw my childhood friend, we were watching a kid catch strange little fish off the quay in Ludington… gobys. That name is forever linked to his memory, who died shortly before I went to SMS. My friend from age 3… inseparable friend, 6 months younger, and fearless protector while I was still in Chicago. I didn’t know it then… but I was in love him. He comes to me in dreams. That name is forever.
When I began to make art again, and thought how I would sign it–I had gotten news that my uncle Will had Altzheimers. He had been the big brother I never had, an artist and mentor. Introduced me to Kafka and Whitman and Alan Watts. Willard was also the name of my grandfather, who died 2 weeks before I was born. I will sign my art, “Willard.”
Have signed almost 1200 pieces of Art, since… Willard
“Willard” … so, 6 months short of 80… it’s all right to be, Willard now…
but you can call me Goby. 🙂
24×18 Oil over acrylic ground on canvas. Have been playing with this technique, and beginning to get what I wanted. I think this is going to be a series. … of shrouds. This has since been reworked, as Shroud in a Sea of Blood and Fire — see the post above.
I finally got a couple hours of sleep.
The rage has dissolved into tears, and the tears into grim resolve. It’s time to wipe the tears, to do what must be done… and then… to laugh, a laughter sadder than tears.
Do I bother to draw water to drink? Do I prepare food to break the fast? This pen, and these brushes? Is there any reason to pick them up, to make marks on this paper?
How many times I’ve wondered–what was it like, in Germany, 1933?
I think about the people who voted for … I will not write that name, or let it pass my lips… the ‘good Germans’
I will not be a ‘Good German.’ I will not be a ‘Good German.’
No more, the prattle of the ‘realists.’ No more talk of following those who ‘get things done.’ There is no longer any reality worth living, but that which we take up and create for ourselves.
Love, Solidarity, Imagination…RESISTANCE!
What I think I’m seeing, is a stage where political power has become uncoupled from the economics that created it, a point where general prosperity, and the wealth it generates, is no longer an incentive for the ruling Class, but just the opposite. Why? –because they think they’ve already won the class war, and with that, would come a decrease in centralized power. A more democratic society. It makes more sense, appears less complicated, to jack up the State machinery of control by force.
Like ok… we can add billions to our wealth, doing nothing to provide for the general welfare–so why bother? We’ve already won the Class War. Now it’s just a matter of stomping out resistance from lower classes.
I think that’s where we are now.
Not since 2012 have I made fewer that 8 new pieces in a month… hope this will be coming to to an end.
Like, I shouldn’t complain. It’s only sent me to ER once. Just makes walking… (and sitting)… kinda unpleasant .
Yeah, I’ve seen Youtubes of 85 year olds who work out 7 hours a day with body builder bodies… but who the fuck want’s to work out 7 hours a day! Jebus Fuck a Duck dudes! Get a LIFE!
For 79… I remind myself every day, how lucky I am, to be in the condition I am (never forgetting that I can lose all that in a minute)… but for now…
I can walk 10 miles in a day–even with the sciatica (though I’d rather catch a bus). I cook my own meals–no Moms Meals delivery pre-Nursing home fare– I can remember where I put my fucking keys hours or days after –IF I WAS AWARE of what I was doing at the time and not fumbling with packages and trying to get in the fucking door!
I can code switch from Sam Johnson Formal English, to Standard (the dialect of Power), to much preferred mixed demotic … and mostly know which is most appropriate, though I care fucking less…. since my mother is long gone and can’t hear me.
This is what it means to going on 80 for me.
Is Trump the heir to the messianic movements that swept across Europe in the 18th Century?
Some of the followers of Sabbatai Zvi, self proclaimed Messiah, and Yaakov Frank, believed that by performing evil with a pure heart, they could redeem it–breaking the dark shells that had trapped the divine light. There was a contagious frenzy of orgies, and sexual excess toward the end of these movements.
Have Trump’s followers elevated him to a similar role? Do they believe–that his grouping and rapes and pedophilia are not evil FOR HIM, because he has the power to do these things with a ‘pure heart?’
I’m curious — have there been a sexual orgies, among his more fervent evangelical believers–claiming similar justifications? Are they waiting for Trump to invite them to join him in some mass orgiastic finale? Is that what the rally in Tulsa is really about? Cause it sounds almost like something out of the same book–no masks, no protection, a mass gathering in a pandemic. A collective acceptance of imminent death can release people from inhibitions, and drive them to sexual excess. There is a powerfully erotic undercurrent in Trump’s call for his faithful to abandon all caution– feeding, perhaps, more than his insatiable ego.
Austin police have killed a young man by shooting him in the head with bird shot rounds wrapped in cloth, and continued to shoot the medics carrying his body. They shot a known pregnant woman in the stomach, then stormed and abducted her from a medic tent. They maced young children during a peaceful daytime protest.
Detroit police have brutally beaten, tear gassed and arrested my friends peacefully protesting. A curfew is set from 8pm to 5am city wide.
Rockford police dragged people from their cars and beat them last night.
Minneapolis police shot at people filming them on their own balconies.
An NYPD officer called a woman a “fucking bitch” and threw her on the ground. She went into a seizure and had to go to the emergency room. Then more New York cops rammed into crowds of protesters with their cars.
An Atlanta couple last night had their tires slashed, windows broken, and were dragged out of their car and tazed.
Chicago police announced a curfew and then raised the bridges out of downtown. Demonstrators were trapped and at the utter mercy of CPD roundups. A police supervisor ordered on the radio, “Gas ’em all.” Over 1,000 people have been arrested.
Everywhere, journalists are being indiscriminately targeted and arrested. A Minneapolis photojournalist is blinded permanently in one eye after being hit by a less lethal round.
They’ve maced children. They’ve torn off a woman’s hijab. They’re turning off their body cameras and hiding their badge numbers.
This is just what’s been documented. Imagine what hasn’t been.
The true nature of American policing has been revealed for the world to see. I have never seen brutality on such a massive scale. They don’t care if you’re peaceful. They don’t care if they’re on camera.
Black and brown youth are the leaders on the ground. They are the leaders of our future. Black and brown youth are the people who are bleeding, getting beaten, and being thrown into jail. This is trauma that will last their whole lives.
To the bail funds. To the phone lines to demand release. We have to protect our people.
If you’re going out there again please, and I beg you, be safe.
-please copy and share✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
Say their names. Poster by Emma Savage. @Emma.savage. art
36×24 Oil over Acrylic on Canvas. Closer to what I’ve wanted to do since I started working with oil again, the layering over an acrylic ground. This was painted over #1029.
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.
Member: DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson