For all you cyclists..

July 29, 2009

I have a bicycle whose name is Loretta. She and I are close. She even writes me poems when she feels I have neglected her.

 A Little Taste of Tarmac

 

 A little taste of tarmac, Bobby

Let me spin my wheels

A little taste of the long flat road

I’ve forgotten how it feels

 

 A little taste of tarmac, Bobby

Make my chainwheel hum

A little taste of the up hill grind

Thirty miles and some

 

 A little taste of tarmac, Bobby

Way out among the farms

A little taste of dust on your lips

My metal soul would calm

 

Climb up onto the saddle, Bobby

Clip into the pedals tight

Feel my frame respond to you

You always crank me right

 

Stay with me in the saddle, Bobby

Our ride will be as sweet

As the wash of lactic acid

From your shoulders to your feet

 

It’s good with you on my saddle, Bobby

I know you feel the same

You push my pedals hard now

And laughing call my name

 

Lean easy in those corners, Bobby

Accelerating the while

My frame is all aglow now

On your face I sense a smile

 

Flying home with you, Bobby

You get the adrenaline kick

It makes you sprint the last half mile

And smooth out the left hand flick

 

 A little taste of tarmac, Bobby

I am waiting stem unbowed

Come find me soon and ride me

Before my rims corrode

 

A little taste of tarmac, Bobby

Make me spin my wheels

A little taste of any road

Or forget how good it feels.

 

Copyright © April 2007 Bob Sterry

An article in today’s Oregonian by critic D.K. Row excited me enough to write the following:-

Dear D.K. Row,

        Your very welcome and appreciated article in today’s Oregonian (July 27th 2009) sideswiped a very large issue. How America views art; of any discipline Cheaply, is the truth. As a performing artist married to another performing artist we are always being asked to “donate” our work or accept levels of payment which if you take into account the time spent preparing for the performance and any other costs, yields an hourly pay rate that makes the state minimum wage look like a Wall Street bonus.

It is one of the awful things that creative professionals have to live with. American society values professional corporate gamblers more highly than artists of any kind. Even now despite the revelations of the past year and continued excesses in financial sector pay.

 We creatives have to endure much talk of the value of our work and how it enhances the lives of many, decorates our cities, making them more livable, attractive; how it excites the imagination of the young and provides solace for the old; and all the while be paid wages that undocumented migrant field workers would hesitate to accept.

And I am not forgetting the enormous range in quality; whatever that word may mean; that exists in creative work. But there is an equal range of ‘quality’ in accounting, banking, medicine, the church (and how!), politics, engineering, and every profession or vocation. And yet the idea of a starving priest or doctor or pharmacist or broker seems to have disappeared with the characters in the novels and stories of Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham.

 I provide sales and marketing workshops for artists through RACC, the Clackamas County Arts Alliance and other groups. In every workshop I ask, “How many of you make a living from your art?” Out of the nearly one thousand individual artists I have met at these events, and events like them, less than ten said they had achieved self sufficiency, and most added that it was precarious and uncertain.

 There will have to be a huge tectonic shift in the way Americans view art to change the way artists live. I do not have any easy answers to this, and I am not so interested in what happens in other parts of the world, although there may be examples from which we can learn. We really require an American solution. Until that miraculous time we will all remain at the anxious crossroads of which you wrote. Without belittling the noble efforts of local heroes working to find more money to sustain creative work, nothing much will change.

 It is the national consciousness which continues to insist that artists will work for nothing or close to nothing because they love what they do. That is the erroneous assumption that must be challenged. Of course we love what we do, but like everyone else we also are human and love groceries and a roof over our head.

 Perhaps you can be a catalyst in that shift? Think globally, work locally.

 Yours sincerely,

July 25, 2009

Blogging. The electronic form of standing naked in the town square and admitting some unsavory and marginally interesting things about yourself along with some opinions of dubious originality about people and things with which you are only fleetingly familiar.  

 Ah..just like a new paper columnist thirty years ago, or do I mean yesterday?

But to be optimistic, I could be the ten millionth monkey. The one that types the first three lines of Hamlet ‘s soliloquy with one hairy finger.

Look forward to meeting you all..in this space… whoever you are.

Hello world!

July 25, 2009

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