If you missed the Spotlight movie in the theaters
and you’re a Netflix customer,
well then - this is your
Above is a nice
short documentary by the New
York Times that provides
a good background
for the movie.
Reading Jan Chozen Bay’s book about Jizo Bodhisattva got me to thinking that it might be kinda cool to make a bunch of Jizo’s like Jan did. After a brief search with the Google - I found this Youtube vid and thought “Well - shit - that looks easy!”
A couple weeks later, I was sending in class tuition to the Rowley Clay Studio. A week after I sent it - I was thinking “What have I done? I don’t know shit about this stuff. Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck."
Classes are two and a half hours long. Seeing that the youtube vid is about six minutes long - I calculated that I’d have a bunch done by the end of the first class. In my imagination - I could see hundreds of gleaming, Wabi Sabi Jizo’s by the end of eight weeks..
By the end of the first class - I had one lonely Jizo. Two and a half hours and one Jizo.. one decidedly homely Jizo. It has occurred to me more than once that there might be a special Buddhist hell set aside for those who make homely Jizo statues.. But then I thought - well - if that happens Jizo himself will show up and release me..
Today’s class went much better - I made three homely Jizo Statues. I’m learning how to handle the clay - like - you can’t stretch earthen clay because it tears - and - hands dry out clay - but too much water on hands makes a fucking mess - also - big breakthrough - this week I brought reading glasses so that I could actually see what I was doing.
The FW Webb building on Bridge St in Salem is a big brick rectangle with mostly boarded up windows.. FW Webb runs a plumbing supply business out of it. I rendered the image above to make it look a big grimmer than it does in real life - but only a bit. Some of the windows on the first floor and at ground level look for all the world like rusted oven doors. Oven doors..
I often stop by when I am on my way to Salem Willows or to the Peabody Essex Museum. I marvel at its blunt, squat, ugliness. More than just the attractive decay of the structure - it reminds me of my childhood. I am reminded of my father at places like these.
Dad worked for over twenty years at College Seal & Crest, 236A Broadway St in Cambridge. The company, a college ring and jewelry company, began in 1920. It folded in 1968 of “involuntary dissolution." Dad was there when it went under. He came in that day to find the doors padlocked. His severance pay: all the tools he could fit in his car.
College Seal & Crest got the best out of my father. He left home at 6:30AM and many times didn’t return until after dinner - around 8:00. In first. Last out. More often than not - he worked six days a week. "The Shop” as he called it, stunk of chemicals and was hot, deafening from thundering trip hammers and hydraulic presses, and very very dangerous.
He was an electroplater at first - working with toxic chemicals like benzene, acetone, hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and mercury. He told my mother once that some days the skin on his unprotected arms would come off in sheets. One day, a big glass flask shattered in his hands and laid open his forearm - slicing muscle and tendon.. When I was little, he took me a for a visit a couple of times - I loved the place.
College Seal, like all companies, gave and took away at the same time. It provided Dad a wage that he supported his five kids and wife with in a small, old, drafty colonial in East Saugus. It took his life force though. It took his spark. He had nothing left at the end of the day. Nothing. And so - his relationship with us kids primarily consisted of barking out orders or telling us to be quiet (goddammit).. I don’t remember a single conversation I had with him unless it was in the context of him telling me to go do something. When he caught me slacking on a chore he was fond of barking advice, “You know, boy - if you would just learn to put in a little extra effort, come in a little early, leave a little later, you just might find out that it pays off for you in the working world. Maybe you won’t be the one that gets let go when the time comes.”
“The Shop” closed on February 21, 1968, a clear and bitterly cold Wednesday. it must have been a shock to Dad standing outside on that morning to find locks that he didn’t have the keys for. I wonder if he thought about how much he had given to “The Shop”, spending all those long difficult years in the stench and the noise and the boredom making beautiful jewelry for rich college kids. I wonder if he thought it was all worth it in the end as he loaded the trunk of his 1964 Chevy Bel Air full of rusty old tools before driving back over the Mystic Bridge to home.
(Via Love Is A Place)
I tell myself stories - like -
I can actually see a thing for what it is.
By now - with this many trips around the sun - you’d think I
wouldn't be too surprised to learn that what I’d seen
was really only the echo of what I longed
to see in the first damned
But it does sting - good and proper too - every time it happens -
discovering that I've been hornswoggled
once more by wishful