hello. nice to meet you.

I am a caricature of myself. 

I think this happened about 4 years ago, but I have only realized the power of it in the past year or so. We all become caricatures of ourselves either early on through a focused life or, eventually, age. Caricatures are at their core simplified versions of people. The person drawing caricatures on a touristy pier, exaggerates a feature of a person that already stands out: a nose, or set of ears. Parts of a personality that add to a caricature are a little more varied depending on audience; the grandfather who berates those that use lawnmowers or the extravagant artist who poses and vamps at a party. 

But what caricatures are (and I am now only going to be speaking about the personality portion of caricature, as the physical piece is of less interest to me, as the physical piece illustrates more the interplay between caricature and stereotype which I’ll get to later) are access points to a person. Caricatures represent a certain aspect of a persons accessibility. A lull in the conversation with Grandpa? Bring up lawnmowers. Need to start conversation with the artist? Speak of their excellent taste in X or Y, it doesn’t matter which. But what is interesting is that these avenues of access can either be walls or entryways; a ludicrous, yet inviting lake, or a mirage on the distant horizon. A wall created with caricature is something like looking at a painting at an extremely oblique angle, where the only thing you can ascertain is that there is a lot of blue in it. An entryway created with caricature is standing someone dead center in front of that same painting, cutting all the blue out of it, and then tossing it over them like confetti. And, as with most things, it comes down to intent.

For me, as I’ve noticed strong parts of my personalty roaring with blissful ignorance on my surface, I see these pieces tie back into many parts of me that, I find, are thoughtful and kind. Maybe even mild mannered. And these are parts of me that sit near my origin where the axis of my meaning come to a dense singular point. Me, as a caricature, is something accessible and open to many people, even though the image presented is maybe incomplete. They see the facets that are available, clearly marked and illustrated with hand gestures and loud vocalizations, and if they choose, they come take hold. 

And that really is the battle as one becomes totally focused on path or passively becomes more and more isolated through age or apathy: to see our caricature and anchor it (sometimes by long rope) to our purpose and meaning. Because, I think, if we continue forward and don’t realize this, we doom ourselves to swim down on the anchor line of our caricature only to find a frayed end of a rope sweeping a desolate sea floor. 

And I want more. I want to not just notice my caricature, I want to amplify it. I want to wear it proudly like an ill fitted suit. My fame and age will come as they choose, but I’ve arrived early with my caricature. With cocky cartoon swagger and banter with a tinge of depth that I believe to be unparalleled. If we're all ending up there anyway, I might as well get on board early and make this ship as sailable as possible. And make it a vessel that invites all to come aboard and speak of the sun’s passage through the sky, and the pattern of white caps against hidden constellations.

Thinking about caricature the last few weeks also made me think a lot about stereotype. In a way caricature is the stereotype of one, while stereotype is the caricature of many. I mentioned before, talking about physical caricatures, that I notice they usually devolve into a viewers personal or cultural stereotypes. Things of note about someone usually end up inline with how they are seen as being different from the viewer. The beauty of caricature is that it is the parry to stereotype’s jab, as well-intentioned caricature ties deeply into someones being; into their power and strength. But some people try to take the minimalism of caricature and use it to throw people into buckets and defaults; into their pre-packaged stereotypes. A caricature, though, is the will to dissolve into ones environment with a voice that is uniquely and powerfully their own; to become open and accessible, if one chooses it.

I’ve decided to choose.

edging. in a different way.

I was recently reading an article in Vice about the reunion show of LCD Soundsystem. The author’s point in the article was that anyone waiting in line for a reunion show of LCD Soundsystem had lost their edge. I didn’t even know what “loosing one’s edge” was, but through my critical reading skills I was able to gather that it meant when someone stops working on learning more about something. Which taken back into the context of those waiting for the show seemed to mean that anyone who wanted to see an old band reboot, had lost their will to look for new music. They had settled (also, when you are finished reading this, I’m wondering if reading Vice is an indication that I have also lost my edge?).

I read the entire article. I didn’t read it because I thought it was funny or really very on point (the logic wasn’t there for me), but more because I’ve never really understood what other people are doing. Ever. And to hear people talk about loosing their edge in relationship to music was sort of like watching monkeys at the zoo partake in a patterned, yet indecipherable, activity. Which made me think that I may be someone who is loosing their edge in perpetuity. Because loosing an edge, means seeing where an edge is in the first place. An edge: the forefront of some cultural thread. My curiosity leads me trudging up and down the terrain of culture, maybe every once in a while stumbling along an edge. Oblivious. Or maybe it’s that a piece of me has always been more interested in the expanse than in the point. The hung valley over the peak. But I’d be lying if I didn’t desire to be on a peak every now and then.

And I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. I know that in some ways it makes me very self deprecating: the person who is never on the edge. Stupid. I feel like this vision I have of the world pulls in information from areas where each input is given an equal weight; where I sometimes think the stone on a beach deserves a place next to a ship at sea. I don’t know what kind of edge that is.

I was telling a friend about a woman that I love and how she was the Matt Damon to my Ben Affleck (I actually missed the metaphor at first, and wrongly stated that I was Robin Williams). But in Good Will Hunting there is that scene where Ben Affleck tells Matt Damon that one day he wants to show up to pick Matt up for work, and he wants Matt to be gone. To have gone on to some life that he is meant to have.

And this woman, I love her in a way where part of me sort of hopes she suddenly disappears from my life, and she goes on to become something epic. Something on the edge. But here I am, now, seeing myself rolling absurdly through a landscape, oblivious as I build mountains and break stones. And I guess my ending to all this thinking is that I realized both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck can be on the edge. At the same time. And some edges only one or two people ever really know about in the first place. The edge is the place where we participate in life.

And I’m all about loosing my edge. And then finding it. And then loosing it again.

the finish of glass.

There was this boat that once set out to sea carrying nothing but harpoons. No rope. No food. Just a boat full of harpoons charging with confidence over low rolling waves, as it split history in a voyage north. The earth looked spherical and round hovering above a talon of a bow that was indifferent towards any thoughts of the past. Its loan passenger was a woman that watched a receding wake and would ever-so-casually reach over and toss a harpoon into a thoughtless void. Or maybe a void that was like the past, where if she stared long enough, any image at all would come billowing forward, and she would then pretend that it was actually something the void itself created. But a sea is a plane of something unbroken; the void is just something that each harpoon makes her think she is participating in. And like an arrhythmic clock she casually tosses these harpoons from a ship with purpose, where the sunrise and sunset nuzzle each other like old dogs on an even older owner’s legs, folded around a point where all time, she remembered, once stood still.