The Accidental Curator

It just dawned on me, recently, that I haven’t fed this Clay and Bone website for a while – last November to be precise when I did a wee article on my newest mask “Pandemic Pan”. For those of you who do receive my Blog/Journal posts on Clay and Bone, you are probably also aware that this site is inextricably connected to things I post on www.shavasana.ca which is the site for my Gallery Café on Mayne Island. Shavasana Gallery also serves as my creative studio when I am inclined to make a mask, or do a little painting, or some writing…or embark on some other creative project. It’s also where I exhibit all of my unsold masks & paintings, or, hold exhibits for other artists.

The primary reason I haven’t been posting on Clay and Bone is because I have a new Podcast project called “The Accidental Curator”, https://www.theaccidentalcurator.ca/ which was launched last November, and has been occupying most (if not all) of my creative energy, and will help to explain my absence from this site. Most people who receive Shavasana Gallery posts are aware of this project because I have included information and links about it on that site and also on my Shavasana Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shavasanaartgallery . Unfortunately I’m not sure who’s receiving, liking, following, or subscribing to any of my four sites so I apologize if this current info is already known to you…I don’t want you to suffer from “George Overkill” 😆

If, on the other hand, you are bemused and intrigued by my new Podcast Project announcement and are thinking, “Hmm, sounds very compelling…I’m intrigued, please tell me more” Well, here is the premise:

Have you ever wanted to leave your job and pursue a simpler life? I did. An intimate glimpse into small island living and community life through the eyes of a Gallery Café owner, artist and writer. This sublime adventure brought healing, growth and new challenges, for our tragicomic play is never quite so simple. Join me for short stories, and interviews with island creatives, activists & other heart-centric denizens.

As of this writing – March 4, 2021 – I have published 4 episodes and am working on my 5th which I hope to have recorded and published within the next week. From a strictly creative perspective the Pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse. Covid-19 has shut down my Gallery and made travelling to my studio quite awkward, thus liberating my time for additional projects like The Accidental Curator podcast. Emotionally though, it has also been a huge drain and a worry which – on occasion – has been an energy-sucking motivational Muse kill. As my heart has been more into writing these last few years, I have a body of short stories from Clay and Bone and Shavasana Gallery which will make their way into the new podcast in an audio format, I will be doing some interviews, and I have an intention to write some Semi-Autobiographical Fiction which will also wind up there.

So, I haven’t disappeared, I’m actually quite busy and looking forward to the evolution of any of these endeavours. If you’re a fan of podcasts and are interested in checking out what I’ve done, you can either go to this link https://www.theaccidentalcurator.ca/ (as mentioned above) which takes you to the Podbean Host, or , you can go to either Directory: Apple (iTunes) Podcasts or Google Podcasts and do a search for The Accidental Curator.

I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe & well during this time.

Cheers!

George

The Anecdotard

“an old person whose mental faculties have declined, but not enough to dissuade him from telling short stories about himself”

                                             From the “Bathgate Book of Puns & Portmanteaus”

I suffer from the occasional bout of depression. Although it’s not clinical or chronic, and usually dissipates within a day or two, while it lingers, it can have a nasty crippling effect upon my productivity and sense of accomplishment. I don’t medicate – anymore – as I have assembled tools & techniques, from years of self-work to help me deal with the down. A little reading and self-awareness, a little counselling, and a little Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been the Hardware stores from which I have filled my emotional toolbox. Luckily, these discouraging feelings are oft times mitigated, as well, by a zany sense of humour, which I have in spades.

It usually starts with some kind of self-critical observation. 

I’ve been doing a fair bit of writing recently (and not so recently) and have had the  disquieting thought that a lot of my current writing lacks substance and depth and is merely anecdotal in nature.  This is the crack in the door through which the depressive thought tries to gain a foothold. 

“Of what lasting value are your anecdotes…old man?” Sneers the cruel inner critic as the crack of despondency widens further. It’s the same accusation of meaninglessness that my demon has conjured up anytime I’ve picked up a pen, a paintbrush or a musical instrument. “Gee…am I just an old guy writing his memoirs?” I ask myself glumly. “Limited talent and minimal lasting value I can accept…but old?…I still have red hair for fuck sake”  My “Sensei of Humour” arrives with a pun and some self-deprecatory thoughts, to teach me a valuable lesson and deflect the cruel blows of self-doubt. “That would make you an Anecdotard, Seito” he says,  “an old man with diminishing mental acuity, telling amusing stories about himself.”

Despondency lifts as I comfort myself with this playful pun. But self-doubt has not released its grip and returns with a pointed remark which casts doubt on my knowledge of language, “That’s not a pun” he oozes, with thinly veiled contempt …Anecdotard is a portmanteau!” Like a deer in the headlights, paralyzed by self-doubts’ cocky certainty, I slowly reach for my cell phone. “What the fuck is a portmanteau?” I wonder. “Sounds like a French overcoat….I need to reach out to a higher linguistic power” No, not Google or Wiktionary – higher than that – I text my friend Jon Steeves, creator of  “Moot – The World’s Toughest Language Game” and pose my question.

“Ahhh, I’m not wrong”… I ponder, optimistically, as I lean back in my chair with my hands clasped behind my head…“I’m half right”. Depression and self-doubt are – for a time – vanquished, and I return to my normal happy-go-lucky state.

Friends and an appreciation of the absurdity of life – two of the most important contents of any depressive’s toolbox.