Art and the philosophy of life

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How they met…

a painting of a woman sitting on a couch

“Do you like this painting?” he asked, coming up next to her.

“No,” she said.  “The woman looks like a birthday present, ribbons and wrappings, and if you want to know what bored looks like, check out her face.  The women on the beach have umbrellas, so they don’t get tan and they have to be suffocating in all that clothes.”

“What about the couch?”

“What about it?”

“Do you like the pattern?  The colors?”


“So do I,” he said.  “And her dress, thought frilly, is still kind of pretty.  She does look incredibly bored, I’ll give you that.”

She turned to look at him.   “Go away,” she said.

He smiled and left, as another man took his place.

“I like awnings.  They always make the light in a room magical.  But I don’t think the sun is out in this painting.  So what’s with the umbrellas?  And how did women live bored out of their minds and dressed in things like that?”

“I have no idea,” she said.  “And you’re right, the sun isn’t out and the light in the room is dull.  Do you always come to the museum to pick up women?”

“No.  I usually go to the doggie park,” he laughed. “I just came here to see the new exhibit.”

She grinned.  “Does the doggie park work for you?”

“You’d be amazed,” he said, looking at her.

“I have a cat.”

“I think it’s a shame they don’t have kitty parks.  It’s blatant discrimination, if you ask me.  Still, I doubt that many cats would enjoy being at one.”

“They would hate it and wander off after fighting with each other or sleeping.”

“True.  Maybe that’s why they don’t have them.”

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Nothing.  I was drawn to this work of art by the yellow ribbons.”

She snickered.  “The yellow ribbons?”

“And the awning.  As I said, I’m a fan.”

“Is it the ribbons themselves, or is yellow your favorite color?”

“It’s one of my favorites.”

“You have more than one favorite color?”

“Sure.  Don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“I’m hungry, want to get something to eat at the cafe?  They have good food for a museum.”

“What’s your name?”

“Jack, what’s yours.  Please don’t say Jill.”


“I love that name.”

“Sure you do,” she said shaking her head.  “How many women have you picked up in this museum?”

“Just you.”

“I see.”

“How many guys have you met and gone to lunch with, in this museum?”

“Just you.”

“Do you think it’s an omen, or just that we have a lot in common?”

“Well, I don’t go to the doggie park.”

“Maybe we can change that.”

“Do you even have a dog?”

“No, but I can get one,” he said.


Picture:  The Cleveland Museum




Neon…a short story about how they met.


“I saw your sign,” she said, walking into his small shop.

“Oh.  Yeah,” he muttered, shyly.

“I came in to help you pick up the words.”

“That’s really nice of you.  They’re all over the floor.  See,” he said, looking down.

“Wow.  That’s a lot of words,” she said, starting to pick them up.  “Are you a writer?”


“Well, get down here and gather up the words.  You can’t write a poem without them.”

“Right,” he said, bending over.

“Did your pen really break by accident?”

“It did.  I press too hard, when I write, and sometimes my pen snaps.  But this is the first time so many words fell out.”

“But aren’t the words inside of you?  I mean words shouldn’t be inside the pen, right?”

He shrugged.  “I often send the words on ahead, while I’m thinking of what I want to write next.”

“I didn’t know you could do that.”

“Really?  I thought everyone did that.”

“I don’t think so, and there are more words under that chair,” she said, pointing to his left.

He picked them up then looked around.  “I think we got them all,” he said.  “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  Next time try not to press so hard on your pen.”

“It just happens.  I get lost in thought and…snap.”

“I get it,” she snickered.  “You’re in the zone.”

“Totally in the zone.”

“Well, have a nice day,” she said, smiling at him.

“Can I take you to lunch?  Right now, I mean.”

“Uh, you don’t have to do that,” she said.

“I know I don’t have to, I want to do it.  We can go across the street to, IT CAN’T GET ANY FRESHER THAN THIS.  It’s a vegetarian cafe, with really good food.”

“Sure,” she said.  “Why not.”

And that was that.  The poet who broke his pen (accidentally) found love, while picking his words up off the floor.  And after a brief period of “getting to know each other,” they lived poetically ever after.


Photo:  Maximalfocus

A short Halloween story…

woman with red rose

He was taking a shortcut through the woods.  She was standing there, next to an oak tree, holding a red flower.  At first he thought she was a bad idea, after all, women don’t usually stand alone in the woods.  Seemed like a “B” movie waiting to happen, but the longer he looked at her, the more beautiful she became.

She didn’t move toward him.  She let him come to her.  The closer he got, the more he realized that she was the one he had always wanted.  He took her hand and they started walking.

Eventually, they came to the edge of the woods.  She said she had to go.  He asked her to meet him at The Lazy Owl, the next evening, for drinks, and to meet his friends.

She told him it was too early meet his friends, but he insisted, so she agreed.

They arrived at The Owl around nine.  His friends stared at her, then they stared at him.  She ordered red wine, he ordered a rum and coke.  Finally, one of his friends pulled him aside.

“What’s going on she asked?  You can see her face, can’t you?”

“You mean can I see how beautiful she is?” he chuckled.  “Well, yeah, who wouldn’t be able to see that?”

“She’s weird.  Something is wrong with her.  No normal person goes out looking like that.”

“I love her,” he said, firmly.

“You’ve known her for ten minutes.  And what about her face?” she whispered.

“Remember when you went out with Ronald?  I supported you, even though….”

“Not the same thing,” she said, holding up her hand.  “He was a jerk, this is a lot more serious than that.”

“I’m going back to the bar,” he said, pushing past her.

“Your friends don’t like me,” she said.  “They think I’m…strange.”

“It only matters what I think,” he said softly, putting his arm around her.

“I would like to leave, if it’s alright with you.  Will you go out in front and wait for me?”

“Of course,” he said.

It wasn’t long before she joined him.

The next day, the news was full of the brutal killings of five people at the Lazy Owl, the night before.  All of their throats had been ripped out.  The police were at a loss.  The bar had been full of witnesses, but no one had seen it happen.

“I’m so sorry about your friends,” she said soothingly, as they sat at the kitchen table.

“I suppose it’s a good thing that we left when we did.  I wouldn’t want anything to ever happen to you,” he said, softly.

“Oh, you never have to worry about me,” she said, licking her lips.  “I can take care of myself.

He nodded, wiped at his eyes, and sipped his black coffee.



Photo:  Dollar Gill


How they met…

3 women in jack o lantern costume standing beside brown tree during daytime

winners of the
Pumpkin Carving Contest
Kate and Danny
were asked to
posed for a picture
Danny asked Kate if she would like
to accompany him to the morgue
for a fun night out
she refused
saying she wasn’t hungry

Photo:  Lee Scarratt

How they met…

Free Man in Black T-shirt and Blue Denim Jeans Sitting on Concrete Wall Stock Photo

She saw him standing by a very ornate headstone.  He noticed her looking at him and smiled.

She raised her hand in acknowledgement and he headed her way.

“I think we may have a lot in common,” he said, grinning at her.

“Why?  do you like cats and pizza too?”

He laughed and reached for her hand.  “Walk?”

She nodded.  “Anyone special you want to visit?”

“Not really,” he said, kicking at some leaves.  “I just come here for advice, sometimes.  I ask questions and listen for the answers.  What about you?  Anyone special?”

“I like to sit by someone named Annie Marsay.  She died so long ago. She was only fifteen.  I send her love and tell her the latest news.  But I’m not sure she’ll be able to understand the huge changes that have taken place since she left.”


“You’re very handsome.”

“You’re very beautiful,” he said, pulling her hand to his mouth, kissing it softly.  “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“I usually visit early in the morning. This is the first time I’ve been here this late.”

“It’s peaceful here, among the stones.”

She smiled.  “Sometimes I bring a book.”

“I’ve done that as well.”

“A lot of people don’t like places like this.”

“That’s true,” he agreed.

“No one’s really here, you know.  But now and then I think that when I talk to Annie, her spirit comes by to listen.  It sounds silly, because I know she doesn’t care about her old body but it’s as if she hears her name and hones in on who’s calling her.”

“That’s not silly at all.  I’m sure that’s the truth.”


“Really,” he said.  “Now tell me.  How many cats do you have and what kind of pizza do you like best?”


Photo:  David Huck


How they met…

they met in art class
admired each other’s work
went out for coffee
neither liked Picasso
both loved Basquiat
they talked about technique
about spontaneity
about the way time stopped
when they were in the zone
they talked about color
about those who sold out
they talked about the art
of falling in love
and said that it was
something they wanted to try
so they did


Photo:  Nina Hill

How they met…

He stood in front of her tiny outdoor cafe table and said, “Excuse me.  Could you please tell me how to approach a beautiful woman without coming off as threatening, or sexist?

“No,” she said, without looking up.

“I’m attracted to her,” he said.

“Being male, my guess is that you’re attracted to anything with two legs.  Get a cat.  Go drive your car a hundred miles an hour, and get over it.”

“A cat?” he said, frowning.

“The cat, like speeding, would work as a distraction.  You’ll spend your time looking for the cat, cleaning up after the cat, and feeding the cat.”

“I already have a cat.  His name is Ducky.  But I still want to meet the woman.  I asked Ducks for advice, but he doesn’t seem to want to discuss personal matters.  He’s more interested in talking about food, sleeping, catnip, curling up on things, and knocking stuff off shelves and tables.”

She looked up.  “What kind of cat?”



“Black with a white paw.”

“Where did you get him?”

“He came to the backdoor and I let him in.”

“Show me a picture.”

He took out his phone and showed her a picture of Ducky.

“He’s cute.”

“I think so too.”

“There’s no right way to ask a woman to have coffee with you. Just ask her.   If she’s interested, she’ll say yes.  If she’s not, she’ll say no.  If she tells you no, leave immediately.  There’s nothing worse than a guy who won’t take no for an answer.  Women HATE that.  It’s terrifying, once they get over the anger.”

“That’s really good advice.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said.

“Will you have coffee with me?”



How they met…

“Are you going to London?” he asked, sitting down next to her.

She glared at him.

“I noticed the book about London on your lap, that’s all.”

“The book, convinced me to never go to London.”


“You’re not from around here, are you?  You don’t just start talking to strangers on the el.”

“Why not?”

“It’s intrusive, and we hate it.”

“I thought people from Chicago were friendly.”

“All that means is, if you need directions when you’re on the street, someone might tell you how to get where you’re going.  But not always.”

“So friendliness doesn’t include talking on an el.”

“She turned away from him.”

“Why won’t you go to London?”

“Umbrellas, mist, fog, raincoats, pouring down rain, and darkness.   i’m guessing the people who live there know mold up close and personal.  We have too much of that here.  No sun.”

“So a book that was supposed to make you think London was wonderful, made you never want to go there.  Do you want to have dinner with me?”

“I don’t want to have anything with you.”

“I’ve been to London and can tell you what it’s like.”

She turned toward him.  “You’re pushing your luck.”

“So you’re saying Chicagoans aren’t really that friendly.”

“I’m saying that if you don’t get away from me right now, I’ll show you just how UN-friendly this Chicagoan can be.”

“Hey,” said the older woman behind him.  “Leave her alone, or I’ll call the cop over there.  What’s wrong with you?  She doesn’t want to talk to you, now go away.”

Mr. Camden stood up and looked at the lady.  “Is this what you call friendly?”

“You’re alive, aren’t you?” she said, poking him with her cane.  “That’s all the friendly you deserve.”

“Thank you,” she said to the lady, who moved into Mr. Camden’s vacant seat.

“Oh, honey, I could see you were getting angry and I didn’t want you to do something you’d be sorry for.  It’s so difficult not to beat them up, or stick a knife between their ribs.  Believe me, I know.  I might be old but things haven’t changed.”

“You’re right about that,” she laughed.  “I’m getting off at Irving Park.”

“So am I,” said the lady.

“Want to get a cup of coffee?”

“Is there a Bear Claw that might come with it?”

“As many as you like,” she said.  “My name is Lucy.”

“I’m Ethel,” said the lady.


And THAT, is how they met




Neon…How they met…

green Super helpful neon signage near window

“You’re Super Helpful, right?” she asked, looking around.

“That’s what the sign says,” he answered, grinning at her.  “What do you want?”

“I want you to get rid of the supreme court.  I want you to divide the country into blue and red states and make the people stay away from each other, so they can live like the Handmaids Tale in the red states, and be free in the blue states.  I want you to kill patriarchy.  I want you to make freedom of choice part of the constitution and I want more books on cats in stores.  There are tons of books on dogs and one or two on cats.  I want experiments on animals to stop immediately.  I want the war in Ukraine to stop, I want violence against women and children to end forever,  I want chocolate malts to be calorie free, I want equality to be an absolute, I want help with…”

He held up his hand.  “We aren’t that helpful.”

“That’s not what you said a few minutes ago.  You said you were SUPER Helpful.”

“Look,” he said.  “I can tell you where to get the best coffee in town, or where to bring your clothes to be cleaned.  I can tell you who sells the best pizza, or where to get your eyes checked, and…”

“I don’t want help with those things.  Besides, everyone has different taste and what you may think is the best coffee, might not be the best to anyone else.”

“What do you want,” he asked.

“I was telling you what I wanted when you held up your hand to silence me.”

“Sorry.  You were just going off on a tangent and…”

“Tangent?  Going off on a tangent?  I was telling you how to stop the country from destroying itself.”

“When?  I didn’t get that part.”

“Seriously?  You didn’t GET that part?”

“The things you mentioned, are never going to change, so I thought you were kidding.”


“Men will never relinquish power, and they keep power by using violence and inequality.  Therefore,” he said, holding up his hands, “nothing will ever change.”

“You’re male.”


“What are you doing to change anything?”

“Nothing,” he said.  “Why should I?  The world was made for males.  Your problems are not my problems.”

She turned, walked away, then released her flying monkeys.



Neon…How they met…


“Did you make that sign?” he asked, starting at the words, as they stood in the street staring at the neon.

“Yes,” she said. “I did.”

“I like it.”

“Thank you.  Without art, the world would be a living hell.”

“The world is a living hell,” he said, turning toward her.

“Yes, but art makes hell bearable.”

He nodded.

“Do you believe everyone is an artist?”

“No.  Do you?” he asked.

“I think everyone is creative.  Some people are naturally creative, talent oozing from every pore.  Others can become more creative, with practice.  Some refuse to accept their creativity, but for the majority of people their creativity is put to sleep by the establishment.  Creativity is not rewarded, but frowned upon.  Those who are able to over come their conditioning, become, while those who believed they have no creativity, no longer recognize it.  But creativity is in the way people dress, decorate their homes, walk, etc. You can’t keep creativity down, at least not all the way.  Not without doing a lot of damage.”

“That’s really dark,” he said, taking a step away from her.

“Maybe.  But it’s still true.”

“So you believe everyone has creativity deep inside of them?”

“I think creativity is what we are.  The establishment thinks creativity, and thinking for one’s self, is dangerous to the point where they do everything possible to take it out of children, so they are more easily controlled.  Creative people are difficult to control, that’s why art, as a way of life, is usually frowned upon by parents and others.  Being an artist can be a tough way to make a living. The men in power hate artists, unless they’re having their picture taken with one of the famous few, during an election year.”

“You should wear black and carry a sign that says, END OF DAYS,” he muttered.

“I tried it, but it’s boring and no one really reads signs anymore.  That’s why I did this one in neon.  People might not read, but they do like lights.”

“That’s true.”

“I know.  That’s why I said it,” she snickered.  “What’s your creative thing?  I mean you dress…kind of cool.”

“Do you want to talk about it over coffee?”

“Sure,” she said.  “Why not.”

“Come on, let’s go to Cup of Delight.”


Photo:  Viktoria Alipatova



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