Imagination, not “Will”

It’s not ‘will’ but the stories we tell ourselves, that give us power–or have power over us.

Do I take the day off, or go to City Hall “just to see how things are going?” Do I go the Wine and Spirit Store, or save the money and do without? Such choices are made, not by “will,” but by imagination.

Will power is helpless against habit. It isn’t even real.
If I give in and go to City Hall, even though I need a full day off; if I go to the store and buy a bottle of wine, it’s because I more powerfully imagined having done these things, internally imagined them, and that imagination overrules attempts to “will” myself to make other choices. Every time.
I think that’s how I quit smoking almost 40 years ago. Quitting was hard, not because I lacked sufficient will power, but because Not Smoking, was impossible to imagine, Not Smoking brought to mind flickering pictures of the many situations where I really wanted a cigarette: after morning coffee, after a nice meal, when I felt stressed out and needed something to distract me–but I could imagine, stripped of any particular context, giving up just one cigarette–the next one.
Is it possible then, when I feel that internal “choice” to have already determined, to tell myself a different story (and this is the deeper meaning of how stories effect us, isn’t it?) I spin out a picture narrative, of what I will do…no! Not, what I WILL do, will to do–framed as a choice–but DOING it. I am catching up on my journal. I’m making rice and beans, step by step. I’m tapping down a piece of watercolor paper, preparing it for a painting. One thing at a time (that one-day-at-a-time) thing is useless, if you can’t fill the day ahead with a story powerful enough to carry you through).

If I find myself trapped by habit, by neurotic compulsion… –what are the stories I’ve been telling myself?

But then, imagination is all entangled with desire, so the question is, what do I want? But what I want is shaped by the stories that have shaped me. So who and what is it that tells us our stories?

Why psychoanalysis has more to tell about about ourselves than any of the behavior modification theories.



Assembly– Fragments of a Thought

Larval Subjects .

In In Defense of Things, Bjørnar Olsen notes that the word “thing” comes from the Old English term þing, meaning assembly or gathering.  Things are that which gather or assemble.  They are both assembled and assemble.  But what is it that things assemble?  We are accustomed to thinking of things as assemblages; especially technical things.  The tree assembles sunshine, water, and nutrients from the earth in forming itself to sing its hymn to the sky and the land.  Yet it also gathers all sorts of insects, birds, squirrels and other creatures aside that make their life in and around the earth.  Indeed, in dropping its leaves, the tree contributes to the creation of the soil upon which it depends to persist.  But it is not just that the tree gathers and contributes to the creation of the materials it requires to form itself and endure, it is also…

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If We Even Survive…

The infrastructure for armed resistance nowhere exists–nor the population to support a sustained guerrilla resistance, like the IRA. It won’t happen without some great human tsunami unaccountable by any ledger of prediction, rising up, shutting down all commerce, in every quarter, making impossible any media generated makeover of normality… short of that, or until it comes… we are in for a long, multi-generational–like N.K. Jemison’s “Seasons”–when our worst sleeping nightmares will be a relief from the horrors of waking reality.
I am so sorry for the children recently born to this horror.



This counts as an almost.  15″ x 22″ Watercolor, pen and ink.  I blacked out the “trees” in the foreground. Really did NOT work. Turned the paper over and painted #860 on the other side. But the cityscape part, I liked, and will try that again. It’s closer to traditional watercolor  technique than what I’ve been doing, and maybe good for a transition to try some plein air painting.  Have been thinking  how I could do plein air landscapes, or street scenes–but abstract.



Abolish ICE

Retweeted abolish ice. send homan to the hague. (@SeanMcElwee):

ICE is an organization dedicated to ethnic cleansing. ICE uses torture to silence detainees. ICE arrests and brutalizes journalists. ICE rapes, assaults and kills people in its custody. Calling for its abolition is not radical, tolerating its existence is.

The great and the bad

A Certain Line

IMG_20180322_133633_830.jpgLife Drawing (Drawing of Blue King) (A2) 2018

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has indefinitely postponed a Chuck Close retrospective because of allegations of sexual harassment. The 77 year old paraplegic artist is alleged to have made inappropriate remarks about the bodies and sexual activities of women he invited to his studio to pose, allegations which he largely denies. Other museums, including the MoMA in NYC and the Tate Modern in London, are considering what to do about the works in their collections.

Recently, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened an exhibition of Egon Schiele’s work with new wall labels addressing the fact that Schiele was arrested for the kidnapping and statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. He was acquitted but was eventually found guilty of “immorality” because the girl had seen some of his nude works in his studio. “Wall labels in the exhibition…

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