1. “The Creative Act”
[Digitally manipulated photography. Originally posted on The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, 19 Nov. 2017.]
TABLE OF CONTENTS!!!
1. “The Creative Act” (Digital photography)
2. “Floating” (A story begins)
3. 35 Days on Steemit (Thoughts and thanks)
4. “The Knocking” (A very very very short story)
5. Compression goals (A progress report)
6. Old art (Saved from oblivion)
7. “Floating – Part 2” (A story ends?)
8. Books (A sales pitch)
9. “The New Age of Reason Manifesto” (A manifesto)
10. Pete Shelley tribute (A tribute)
[Ink on paper with digital embellishments and color. December 2018.]
2. “Floating” (Originally published right here, right now.)
Zemnu often woke up in the middle of the night only to find himself floating in space. (Happens to all of us from time to time…) The first few times it happened, he was terrified and felt that he might die (what with the lack of oxygen and the whole near absolute zero temperatures, you know,) but he didn’t die. In fact, he just sort of “relaxed” after a while…
Out of body ain’t so bad, is it?
3. Thirty-Five Days on Steemit
Here we are on my five-week annual-versity (35 days) on the Steemit platform! I’ve managed to avoid pissing any robots off lately, which is good, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, I’ve gotten some fantastic advice (from @thedarkhorse THANKS!!!!!), which has alleviated my primary issue – low resource credits. The Horse suggested that I convert my SBD (Steem Backed Dollars, I had a few thanks to a somewhat well received book review a few weeks ago) into Steem Power. I had figured, since I only had about 7 SBD, that it wasn’t worth bothering (or might even be below some kind of minimum value threshold needed to perform the transaction,) but I followed the advice and BAM!!!! I suddenly went from 24 Steem Power to 42!?!? Crazy. That gives me a lot more resource credits to use (for up-voting other peoples content, writing comments, and for posting my own stuff!) Wooo!!!
And then, just this morning, I got another payout from a different book review I wrote a week ago, and I converted that to Steem Power, too, and NOW I’m at 65 SP—almost 66! So in about 24 hours, I more than doubled my Steem Power AND significantly increased my ability to PLAY on the platform! You know what? It DOES pay to listen to advice from folks who know what they’re doing!!! So now I’ve been out up-voting stuff left and right (spreading my .002 cents worth around) and commenting on those posts that I feel I can contribute something to. Very cool. Making new friends, finding interesting new content to read, enjoying myself, and getting a tiny bit of “economic appreciation” for my writing and art—well, to be fair, mostly for the book reviews, but I LOVE writing book reviews, so I’m cool with that. And I’ll use my power-ups from the reviews to post more of my bad art and freaky stories for the world to ignore! (My evil plan is coming to fruition!!! HA! HA! HAAA!!!)
4. “The Knocking”
(Being a short fiction bit, originally published on the Primitive Entertainment Workshop, 17 Feb. 2018, but lost under tons and tons of digital sediment, which quickly accumulates when you run a daily blog…)
There are knockings coming from the walls. I said to the knocking, “Three knocks for ‘Maybe!’ Five knocks for ‘Get out!’”
All is silent now…
5. Compression goals (Progress report)
As regular readers will know (both of you), I’m giving up my “premium” status on WordPress and taking The Primitive Entertainment Workshop blog back to the free plan. Part of what that entails is (no, not “entrails”…weirdo) getting the blog back under the 3 gig memory allotment. So, over the last week or so, I’ve spent HOURS sitting at the keyboard finding and compressing files…And, I’ve made some pretty good progress. I’ve already gone, day by day, back through the entirety of 2018, compressing oversized image files, and I was able to smash out about 200 megs of wasted space. I still have about 180 megs worth of files to trash (before December 25th, when the current premium plan ends,) but I’m over half way already! Not too shabby…
6. Old art (Saved from oblivion)
Here’s the thing about going through old files, especially when most of those files are artwork: I tend to find things that I forgot I about! I post at least one, sometimes two or three, times per day at The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, and as such, in a year, files tend to pile up. Most folks aren’t going to sit on the website scrolling down for 45 minutes or an hour to get to the older files. Hence, many of these pieces are DOOMED to be buried beneath hundred of rants, drawings, book and movie reviews, short stories, poems, and manifestos, never to be seen again, UNLESS I dig them out and repost them!!! (So that’s what I’m doing…) Here are some of my favorite—not-quite-new—pieces of “LOST” artwork:
“The Quad Shot Latte Kicks In…” (24 Sep. 2018)
“Imaginary Vacation” (28 Dec. 2017)
“Get Lost” (3 Dec. 2017)
“Dreaming Again” (15 Mar. 2018)
“Cephalopod in a Dangerous Psychic Realm! (21 Nov. 2018)
“Conflict Resolution” (16 Feb. 2018)
“Headcase” (15 Nov. 2017)
“Lived Too Much” (21 Apr. 2018)
Many of these drawings fall into the “so-bad-it’s-good” category, in my opinion, but a couple of them are actually pretty decent. Either way, I didn’t want them to disappear into that digital black hole that we speak of (in hushed terms) as “old content.”
7. “Floating – Part 2”
Zemnu woke up one time, many many years later, after a restless night of tossing and turning—only to discover that something had gone incredibly wrong. He couldn’t breathe, which was normal, but this time, it felt different. His lungs usually didn’t fill with air in the vacuum of space, but this time, they were full of DEATH… He had astral projected into a ZOMBIE universe! He suddenly craved brains, and he was having a hard time forming words (I mean, besides not having air for the sound waves to travel through) except for the inaudible growl of “Braaaaaaains…”
And he knew this wasn’t good. He tried to chill, to calm his mind, which he’d become comfortable doing during his astral travels, but it was no good. All he could think about was how HUNGRY he was… AND THEN HE WOKE UP IN HIS OWN BED…..but he was still hungry…
“What is it Zem? Bad dream?” his wife said, rolling over… [THE END???]
(So here’s the deal with my stories. I believe in free-writing. I’m a fan of NOT PLANNING, of letting the story just roll out. Sometimes they work out, sometimes not. Either way, you smile and nod and move on to the next one. After writing hundreds of stories, I figure at least a dozen or two have been REALLY GOOD! I just keep writing—and drawing and painting and all that stuff! Sometimes I’m pleased with a good piece—other times I’m amused at some horrible garbage, that’s so bad it seems like a four-year-old made it! THOSE are the REAL gems!)
8. Books (A sales pitch)
Speaking of making things, did you know (or remember) that we’ve published a BUNCH of books through the Primitive Entertainment Workshop? Here are just a couple of the really fun ones!
Primitive Conjurations – Lies for Art and Living by Richard F. Yates
This book is a satirical, science-fiction comedy about a renegade art group attempting to promote creativity in a monster filled world of horrible conspiracies and robot assassins. It’s pretty funny (if you ask me) and available in both paperback and digital editions through Amazon.
Bigfoot and Other Stories by Randy Long
This one is a great book written by my uncle, Randy, who is a 50+ year old lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest in the United States, who combines his memories of growing up in the shadows of Mt. St. Helens with a love of B-Movie science-fiction and trash fantasy. And the second half of the book is mostly stories about killer squirrels… (I’m not kidding.) This book is also available through Amazon in digital and paperback formats.
SOMAT(IC) #1 by Richard F. Yates
Ever wonder what would happen if a skater-punk got older, had kids, went to college, and “grew up,” but still wanted to make zines, like he did when he was a teenager? He’d make this (or I would, anyway,) a 24 page, black and white, rant-humor-art book. Again, available through Amazon in digital and paper formats.
There are several more books created by The Primitive Entertainment crew, so feel free to check out the BOOKS YOU CAN BUY page and support independent creators who are just making stuff because they love to make it.
9. “The New Age of Reason Manifesto” (Originally published 18 Dec. 2017)
“All men are capable of reason. That is the fundamental principle of democracy. Because everybody’s mind is capable of true knowledge, you don’t have to have a special authority, or a special revelation telling you that this is the way things should be” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, p. 31).
Some people are content. They’re happy enough. They play on their phones, they share pictures with their friends on social media, they watch their streaming shows, they take selfies, and they wait in line for the midnight release of the newest MUST-HAVE item.
They work a tolerable job, they marry and have a few kids, they pay lip service to their gods (whoever or whatever those gods may be), perhaps they vote or perhaps they don’t. They get through school, they work, they procreate, they get old, and they die.
They find the diversions and activities that they enjoy, like sports or hanging out at bars or shopping or swimming in pools at over-priced luxury resorts in impoverished countries. They wear brand name clothes or advertise their favorite icons, they dress their kids to look “cute” for photos to post online, they take the little whipper-snappers to ballet classes or soccer matches or to see the hot, new Top 40 teen star in concert.
To quote the band, The Godfathers: “Birth, school, work, death.”
Throw some diversions into the mix, perhaps a minor tragedy or two, and maybe a half-hearted attempt at FAITH in some nebulous spiritual system (that they never REALLY delve into beyond Sunday service and a few holidays—if that much…) And that’s a LIFE today.
Is that it? Is that enough? Is the Super Bowl and MAYBE a nice house, and a promised trip to “Heaven” all anyone needs? Most people seem happy enough. Just look at all those smiling pictures online!
(This is all FIRST WORLD shit, of course. If you spend your day looking for food to eat, then you don’t have to worry about having the newest smart-phone or whether or not your TEAM is going to make it to the play-offs.)
What are the VALUES of a modern, “FIRST WORLD” society? Do most MALL SHOPPERS spare any thoughts for what a “LIFE WELL LIVED” might be? Buy the new thing! Drive the nice car! Live in the big house!
Where do we learn to EVALUATE our actions? To Investigate WHAT IS REAL? WHAT IS TRUE? WHAT IS WORTHWHILE? WHAT OUR LIVES MEAN? These questions aren’t covered in school anymore, and in “church,” they are at best frowned upon. (OTHER people already know what is good and right, and they will TELL you how to live. But what if they’re WRONG?)
“On the immediate level of life and structure, myths offer life models. But the models have to be appropriate to the time in which you are living, and our time has changed so fast that what was proper fifty years ago is not proper today. The virtues of the past are the vices of today. And many of what were thought to be the vices of the past are the necessities of today. The moral order has to catch up with the moral necessities of actual life in time, here and now. And that is what we are not doing. The old-time religion belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, p. 16).
It was common, before schools started teaching kids how to take tests on computers, for kids to read actual literature in classes. If you watch the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story, Ralphie’s teacher is about to discuss Silas Marner by George Eliot to a class of nine year olds. Reading Victorian literature (something far too few people do anymore,) you see children talking about mythology, reading John Bunyan, and being instructed in Chaucer as a matter of course. It is through literature, through mythology and philosophy and poetry, that our minds engage with deep questions, that we consider ethical concerns, and that we learn to empathize and imagine.
When we stopped having children engage with these works, when ADULTS stopped engaging with these works, the deeper topics that myth and poetry and literature addressed faded from our consciousness. (They’re probably still there, just buried, but without the LANGUAGE needed to discuss them, they become little more than shadows or vague anxieties in most citizens.)
The current administration in the U.S. does not value education, the arts, science, equality, or TRUTH. Cutting funding for education (in favor of dogma), gutting the dissemination possibilities inherent in the internet, killing the Endowment for the Arts, banning certain terms from government correspondences (“evidence-based” is no longer an appropriate term for a CDC budget?), and butchering the concept of objective reality in favor of propaganda and lies, these are the horrible acts of a DICTATORSHIP, which wants a citizenry who are incapable of reasoning or thinking for themselves. We can’t let this happen.
I’m calling for a CULT OF INFORMATION, a new mythology based on an understanding of stories, dreams, symbols, and the expressions of human creativity from all cultures. We will read and share and teach each other. We will consume history, philosophy, poetry, psychology, science, cosmology, mythology, and as much literature, visual art, and performed work that we can. We will NOT let the deeper questions go unexplored any longer. We will teach our children to VALUE stories, to express themselves, to analyze and evaluate information, and to form and cherish relationships and communities. We will write our stories, sing our songs, paint our pictures, dance our dances, and share our works with anyone who might want to experience them with us.
The New Dark Ages are upon us, but we will be the LIGHT that shines in the darkness, until the cultural values shift again and the world WAKES BACK UP.
We will fight against ignorance, falsehood, corruption, greed, manipulation, segregation, racism, sexism, homophobia, and classist discrimination. The best way (that I know of) to fight these EVILS is with KNOWLEDGE.
“When you see the earth from the moon, you don’t see any divisions there of nations or states. This might be the symbol, really, for the new mythology to come. That is the country that we are going to be celebrating. And those are the people that we are one with” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, p. 41).
10. Pete Shelley tribute
In super-sad news, singer-songwriter Pete Shelley, most well-known for his work with British punk pioneers, Buzzcocks, has died. (As of 6 Dec. 2018.) I’m a Buzzcocks fan, going back to the very early 90s, when I did an independent study course on the history of punk music, and I found the Rhino Records D.I.Y. punk reissue series. These tapes (I originally bought cassettes, then later rebought them all on CD) included bands like Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Damned, Ramones, Wire, Television, Heartbreakers, Weirdos, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Fall, Germs, etc. etc. etc…., and Buzzcocks ended up being one of my favorite bands. Their albums, Singles Going Steady and, particularly, A Different Kind of Tension, are still two of the best albums that I own! I eventually discovered that Pete Shelley also did some solo work, in which he incorporated a synth-pop sound into his already fantastic songwriting. As a huge fan of Gary Numan and Ultravox and Japan, (all heavy synth users,) I find Shelley’s synth era very enjoyable!
I am a huge fan of Pete Shelley’s work, and I’m definitely sad that he isn’t going to be around to make any more. However, his body of work is massive and incredibly impressive, and even without my help, I’m certain that he’ll be remembered for a long, long time. If you haven’t ever heard any Buzzcocks or Pete Shelley tunes, here are a few songs that I recommend you listen to immediately!:
By Buzzcocks: “I Believe,” “You Say You Don’t Love Me,” “What Do I Get,” and “Why Compromise?”
By Pete Shelley solo: “Homosapien,” “Telephone Operator,” and “Do Anything”
Great stuff. R.I.P. Pete!
And that’s it for this update. Not very likely that anyone made it all the way to the end, but if you did, congratulations! If you were also a fan of Shelley or Buzzcocks, let me know in the comments and we can lament that great man’s passing together! Later skaters…
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!