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I humbly submit an antidote for pretension – yours, mine or someone else’s – in the following definitions of “art”:

art (n.) –  an attempt by an artist, typically through extraordinary means, to make people care about the same weird shit they do

Any of you out there who make a thing they call art has probably noticed themselves caring a lot. I don’t mean this as a compliment; the things you (we) care about tend to be, um, weird.  They don’t have the qualities that usually provoke caring.

To clarify, angry artists reading this, I am not talking about themes.  I know that your art tackles the big, even universal.  I am not calling you a weirdo for exploring femininity, or class, or mortality.  I am willing to (begrudgingly) give humans the benefit of the doubt and say most of us care about these things.

I am talking about the much smaller-scope.  The subject and not the message, if you follow me.

That person has hairs on their neck where hairs often grow on people’s neck.  I care about it, for some reason.

– Probably not me, ever

Maybe you are a photographer who cares about leaves in muddy puddles.  Maybe you are a sculptor who cares about what the other four fingers do when someone’s index is pointing.  Maybe you’re an electronic musician who cares about the different pitches and tonal nuances you achievable with a quarter-pound of ham.

I am being told by my imaginary editor, Shahnaz, that the verb I might mean is “obsess,” and not “care.”  And that may have merit.  (Shahnaz is also upset about my split infinitive earlier, and I do not care.)

Even weirder, then, that we would “obsess” about something that doesn’t even fit the traditional criteria for “care.”  Know what’s more weird?  Weirder?  Possessing of higher WL (weirdness levels)?  Trying to convince other people to care about it.  Or obsess about it, if we are exceptionally talented.

And yet we do.  We go to great lengths to.  But we do it.

Because even if they don’t in their day-to-day lives, you can bet if they really like your muddy leaf exhibit, they will – at least for a moment – care then.

art (n.) – a form of communication characterized by leaving almost nobody on the same page, almost any of the time

This point is best illustrated in the form of a table.

The audience gleans a specific meaning from the piece. The audience believes the piece is open to interpretation. The audience believes the piece is meaningless.
Matches the artist’s message. Does not match the artist’s message.
The piece has a specific intended message. Woo! Whoops Whoops Whoops
The piece is meant to be open to interpretation. Whoops Woo! Whoops

Ha-HA! Now I am talking about themes!

Now, of course I don’t think this chart captures the whole of art criticism.  Nor am I of the opinion that the abundance of Whoopses here are bad.  I think that art is a place where people being all over the map adds to the fun.  Maybe the place.  (I said these descriptions would be inelegant, not negative.)

You are smart people.  (Even if you are artists.)  You understand what I’m trying to say.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more whack ways of looking at things.  And I’ll share them with you.  And hopefully trick you into being interested.




I feel like we never need to talk about New Year’s resolutions and whether they work again, okay?  Okay.  Same page, and I like it.

Science says they’re whack.  Our own experience says they’re whack.  That guy Dan we work with and hate, but treat kindly, says they’re whack.  (Just one of the many hatefully correct things Dan says.)  We make them anyway.  Humans, constitutionally, are janky, mangled piles of copper pipe.  Not even Ari Shapiro’s dulcet tones could make this story interesting to me anymore*.

The other reason I think I’ve heard enough analysis is that I have finally started, in a real way, to believe it.  That said, I am making one resolution as we move into 2017.  And, guys, it’s . . . pregnant!


Sorry/you’re welcome for making you read that weird thing.  What I mean is that I resolve to spend 2017 making a series of shorter-term resolutions for myself.  And getting them done.  Because they’re bite-sized.

Why should not work for me what works for Halloween candy, if you follow me.

I resolve to read more books in 2016!

-Past me

Noble, yes?  Even nobler might have been,

I resolve to write more blog posts in 2016!

-What a jerk

An example of my resolution babies would look more like this:

I resolve

[Picks up specific piece of literature]

to read this – OVER THE LONG WEEKEND!

-Sex on wheels

Since I tied myself to only one year-long resolution at the beginning of this blog post, and have never heard of going-back-to-edit, I won’t promise you monthly updates on my RBs.  But I will set an RB for myself to do that at least in January.  It gives me an excuse to use Excel, if nothing else.

All of you, thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for humoring my neologisms.  Thank you for going out and doing the thing this year.  Because you will, right?  Right?  Okay.


*- This isn’t true and I am unashamed.  Call me, Ari.

apologies to anyone who may have liked this post before my accidentally deleting it.

I have been very anxious to start sharing.

I have been working things with words for you. Put them in books. See your brains whir as you read them. But I am very, very impatient. I wanted to share with you right away.

It is really poor form on my part to begin a blog with such vague language, not to mention a number of quasi-formed sentences.

Instead, allow me to discuss the title.

“We Are Wondrous;Swirling!” was the name a poem before it was the name of my blog. I transferred it over to this application for two main reasons. The first, as you will come to learn is unsurprising from me, is that I love the way it sounds. I invite you to say it.

We Are Wondrous;Swirling!

Did it thrill you? did it fill you with . . . anything? I wrote it when I was filled. That’s reason two. I sometimes think that, as an artist, I am spending one hundred percent of my time trying to come up with the right term for just one, seemingly simple thing. And “WAW;S!” is a poem about that thing. That delight of humans. It’s a welling up of utter euphoric connectedness. It might be the completion of <em>self</em> by the addition of other. It is my sincere hope that you know what I mean. That you’re thinking about it and you can come up with a whole list of times when you too have felt full to bursting with . . . whatever it is.

I hope this because it is a wonderful feeling. Or a wondrous one, if you prefer. But I also hope it because, frankly, I’m a little afraid of being weird alone.

I chose this feeling for my blog’s title because, as I mentioned, I want to share with you and experience real interhuman connection in a tiny, internety but worthwhile way. And so, as a gesture of trust and by way of christening this new weblog, I humbly submit for your scrutiny – “We Are Wondrous;Swirling!”

My body is warm,
and seems to buzz,
with reverberations of that certain love
that pounds at the backs of my lips
and itches at my finger tips
to be released.

Would that I could
scream in exaltation,
and sing the praises of that sweet perfection,
felt with you enfolded in my arms,
and I at home in yours,
at journey’s end.

Remembering the past,
in great, Atlantic waves.
And gazing with starry eyes toward always –
the endless, glistening Pacific tomorrows,
we will spend in eternal awe,
and eternal laughter.