Why Fund Arts? (also on my Patreon page)

Our illustrious leader has sent a budget to congress with the idea that we can no longer fund a program without concrete evidence of its effectiveness.  Putting aside the reality that many of the programs he plans to cut impact large segments of our population, while requiring less money per person than if the resources were not pulled together by the government, there is the fact that the results of these programs can not easily be distilled down to profit/loss statements.  Also, put aside that the so-called savings will be offset by increased military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy.  Well one of the programs to be cut is the Endowment for the Arts.

I find it laughable that the President and the people he has surrounded himself with are so clueless as to the amount the arts affect the world around them and us.  Do you have an Iphone, twitter account, or television?  Well all of these are influenced by the arts.  The screens on your Iphone and the layout of Twitter were all designed by graphic artists who may have gotten support or been influenced by someone whom got support from the Endowment for the Arts.  Graphic Artists design how our cars, computers, and appliances look.  They give your favorite websites the style that catches your eyes.

Musicians make the music for your TV shows and Movies, making them more entertaining and life more enjoyable.  They play the songs writers create or create them themselves.  The commercials our economy depends upon feature music from all walks of life to connect with customers on an emotional level, including ads for political candidates.  Writers come up with the stories that become the movies we can’t wait to see.  They also write the commercials that help businesses survive, as well as the manuals that help their customers use their products.  Writers even come up with the lines in political ads.

Wow, there sure seems to be a strong case here for the benefits of the arts.  Without all the things creative people do for business, our economy would be much weaker than it is.  Hell, the Iphone’s ability to stream live music and television is a major selling point and they seem to constantly be trying to improve those abilities.  What would be the point of that without the arts?  The days of the public being wowed by watching a train arrive at a station, one of the first examples of motion pictures, are long gone.  Providing content solely by what we observe is in the past; now the public demands more and you can’t get that without art.   So, does funding the arts have an impact?  Hell yeah, if you aren’t stupid or greedy.

The City of Dreaming Books (from my Patreon page)

Today’s post is not about my writing or artwork, but the material I have fed into my brain over the years, which influences my imagination and creativity.  So, today, I give you a book review of a very quirky yet deep book call “The City of Dreaming Books” by Walter Moers.  I found this book on Amazon by accident and the title alone drew me in.

The story is about a Dinosaur searching for the author of a manuscript that he feels is the best example of writing he has ever read.  Yes, I said dinosaur.  The book is populated by all kinds of creatures including sentient, intellectual dinosaurs that read and critic books.  Humans also make an appearance; however, that does not come until later in the story.  At this point you may be thinking that this is a children’s book or at best young adult but I would like to mention that it is 456 pages long.  While the setting and characters may lead you to believe that you are about to read such a book, the story itself is very adult and the ending is deeply profound and emotional.  The main characters search will take him to the title city where his innocence will be removed through manipulation and betrayal, as well as, the learning of a profound evil.

Walter Moer’s writing is elegant, rich, and visual.  There may even be some metaphor involved about the publishing industry as the main character uncovers the truth about the writer he is seeking.  In addition, the book is illustrates throughout.  So, do not let the blurb or the cover trick you into missing out on a unique and engaging read.

Teasing April’s Story (from my Patreon page)

Well, it is time to start teasing next month’s story, which is appropriate given that it will be April Fools.  The story will be a challenge for my readers since it is actually based on a historical event, but not in a straight forward manner.  I entered an earlier version of this story in one of the monthly flash fiction contests at SFFWorld.com and stumped most of the readers as to the event I was describing.  So by signing up for $1 a month at my Patreon page, you can see if you are quicker to figure out the event depicted in “Trinity”.   Two hints I will give you are that it is not about religion and the title is part of the story.

Tall Tale of Titles (from my Patreon page)

If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the titles for my stories are one word.  “Sensu Learns a Lesson” is actually an aberration for me.  Why do I chose such simple titles?  Well, in most cases you will find that the titles are far more complex than the single word expresses and has a profound connection to the underlying theme of the story.

For example, “Sanity” is a story about creatures that can manipulate people’s minds.  In fact, they can reach into their minds and bring forth their deepest fears, pushing them until the person hits the point of breaking into insanity.  Thus, “Sanity” is used as a counterpoint to what actually happens in the story.  Also, one of the creatures says “We have returned your sanity”.  The whole story is based on the choices made that lead us down dark roads that can end in insanity borne from sanity.

“Lepidoptera” on the other hand is a symbolic title.  Lepidoptera is the class name for butterflies and moths.  Yes, butterflies actually appear in the story but they are representations of art, beauty, and peace.  War is represented by crows killing butterflies, while peace is represented by being embraced by butterflies.  Artists are marked by butterflies.

Basically, I like to use very simple titles that seem un-complex until after you have read the story.  Then the title turns out to be much deeper than the simple word suggests and cuts to the root of the entire story.  Please consider reading one of my stories to see how their titles resonate throughout them.   For only $1 a month you will get a every month at my Patreon page.

Adjectives and Painting (from my Patreon page)

Yes, I said that.  Just a wild thought, but some techniques used to accentuate areas in a painting could be considered like adjectives in writing.  For instance, using a very dark hued palate for a painting to depict a somber, sad, or evil image is similar to using adjectives like black, stark, or malignant.   On the opposite end, a bright-colored palate for a happier subject can resonate as lively, sunny, or cheery. 

Using a painters knife to cut in thick, defined texture to rocky areas is a visual means (one I have not mastered) of showing rough, angular, and solid stone.  Airbrush painting is a popular method of achieving soft, smooth effects in paintings such as silky, glassy, and gentle are for writing.  Basically, artistic techniques are visual means of enhancing the meaning of a subject much similar to using adjectives to enhance the meaning of literature.

Some Butterflies on a Cold Winter’s Day (from my Patreon page)

I thought I would give you a taste of the story I uploaded to Patreon this month.  Remember, if you sign up for just $1 a month, you will get the full story plus all the ones that have already been uploaded.  In addition, I will continue uploading stories from my collection Mystics and Misfits.  You can can sign up here my Patreon page.

Lepidoptera (excert) by Robert Garbin

With a look of determination, Maia followed Diocles along the winding paths of the sacred groves.  Diocles was twenty now and two years older than her but he never spoke down to Maia, even though next year would be his time to enter the Wood of Calling and find his place among the Sindain people.  To Maia’s dismay a new seriousness had put distance between them where they had been inseparable before.  Today they were going to the Shrine of Memory to see the great works the ancestors had created before the thousand year war with the Hadar.  The costs had been great for both peoples, yet the Hadar refused to relent; all entreaties were answered with weapons.

Ahead, Diocles turned and waved impatiently.  Sensing the tension in her beloved bother, Maia quickened her pace as the paths shifted with the magical pull of the Wood of Calling.  She recalled the fear of her first encounter with the shifting pathways of the shrines that circled the great Wood at the center of Sindain life.  Falling to her knees, Maia had cried in terror as the shifting landscape confused her senses, leaving her feeling lost.  Her brother had calmly lifted her up and firmly held her hand as he demonstrated how to follow the flows surrounding the Woods.  Maia now moved with the ease of a sailor plying the great seas she had once heard about.  Catching her brother, she slipped her small hand into his powerful grip, a grip that was firm yet gentle

 The paths seemed longer than usual today and by the time they reached the Shrine of Memory Maia needed to catch her breath, which felt wrong to her.  She felt something was trying to draw her attention to something important.  Her mother had told her to always be aware of the paths between the Groves and Temples since Sky Father spoke to the Sindain in subtle ways, a path may take longer to remind you to have patience or to strengthen your body.  The sight of a wounded animal may guide you to a healer’s life or a hunter’s existence.  As Maia climbed the steps to the Shrine of Memory, she could not shake the feeling that Sky Father had taken personal notice of her, drawing out the paths to get her attention.

What is it that Stirs Your Soul?

Okay, time for me to turn the tables.  I have spent much of the last few months telling you the things that get me excited about being an artist and an author of science fiction and fantasy.  Now I want to know what draws you to the genre?  Many of us know how it is in most cases to love science fiction and fantasy.  You are looked upon as if you have some disease you should see a doctor about, which is strange given how popular science fiction and fantasy is in media these days.  TV series like Game of Thrones, Agents of Shield, and The Arrow have strong followings while Marvel’s movie franchise is a money-making juggernaut.  So, all the silly snobbery aside, what makes SFF so important to you, the amazing vistas, crazy creatures and cultures, or the thought-provoking ideas?  Or better yet, all of it.  Go ahead, fill up my comments.