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"Épinoy" means "a place where spinning is done."
Or so I guessed. "Épin" ... French for "spinning"?
A village where women and girls
Once sat at their wheels,
Spinning fibers into thread,
Like Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.

Did they talk and daydream
Of boys and men?
The girls, of the boyfriends
They hoped to find someday?
The women, of husbands
Who had gone off to war?

The Earth too spins, counting off the days
Until the year is 1944.
On a winter's day, in weather too foul for flying
A mid-air collision
Sends my uncle, age 25
And on his first mission
Spinning down to Earth.  He crashes, dying
In Épinoy, when his spinning is done.
I entered the Army upon graduating from high school.  I was seventeen years old.  How I ended up in the Army is a long story.  Sometimes one gets swept up by irresistible forces.  Suffice it to say that if the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this world, that goes double if we're talking about about just ONE person.  That's just simple math.
 
Sergeant R. was a bit of a grouch. His responsibility was to keep us troops in line (literally, at the morning formation) and impart unto us such words of wisdom as armies have been distilling ever since the ancient Egyptians discovered how to brew beer. 
 
So he would reveal to us bits and pieces of knowledge that were bound to come in handy some day.  You know, little things, like, we were the sorriest excuses for soldiers he ever saw. Which puzzled me, since when a G.I. is standing at attention, he has few degrees of freedom to express contrition with his body language. 
 
So, generally speaking (I'm not sure if that is an intended pun or not), Sergeant R. was an unpleasant person to be around. 
 
One day we stood at ease as Sergeant R. conducted an inspection of our living quarters in the barracks.  There wasn't much to inspect. All I had was a bunk, a footlocker, a regular locker, and a laundry bag.  (For some reason, to pass inspection a laundry bag could not actually have laundry in it.)
 
Sergeant R. opened my regular locker, which was big enough to have a clothes rack from which to hang dress uniforms or starched khakis. What caught Sarge's eye was not the highly commendable order and neatness of my belongings. The first thing he noticed was what I had taped to the inside of my locker door. 
 
No, it wasn't porn, or pinups of tantalizing lasses reminding us of what we were missing back home.   Instead I had taped up letters sent to me by my youngest brother, age six. 
 
The letters were my brother's crayon drawings of what he imagined I was doing in the Army.  The central stick figure in these pictures was supposed to be me, firing a machine gun or hurling grenades or something in the middle of some furious battle. I'm sure my brother was striving for realism in what he drew, but him not being an art prodigy,  it was pretty much what you'd expect from a six year old.  Or from Willem de Kooning, for that matter.
 
I could see the visibly startled reaction on Sergeant R.'s face. "What's this," he asked. 
 
Without hesitating a moment, I replied to the Sergeant.  But before I tell you what I said, you first have to know something about me.
 
When I am not punning, I have a very dry sense of humor, and a deadpan poker-face to go with that. In fact, a medical professional who has known me for a long time once told me I have "the flattest affect" of anyone he knows. (I'm not sure a flat affect is a good thing to have, since it seems to be a diagnostic criterion for several illnesses or personality disorders listed in the DSM-IV.)
 
Anyway, back to the Sergeant's question. "What's this?" he asked. 
 
Without missing a beat, I told him matter-of-factly, "That's my artwork. I like to draw with crayons. If you look at the pictures, I think you'll agree that I have been getting better over time." 
 
Again, I saw a visible startle-reaction from Sergeant R.  Here is where having a deadpan expression comes in handy.  It allowed military formality to be observed while inside, we both knew I was being facetious.  To my surprise, the Sergeant played along, offering some suggestions that he felt would be beneficial to my growth as an artist!
 
Now here's the astonishing thing.  From that day forward, we all noticed a change in Sarge's demeanor.  He seemed to lighten up.  He eased up on us considerably. At morning formations he would even sneak in snide and humorous remarks at the Army's expense. We still had our duties, and he still gave the orders, but he became a more pleasant person to be around.
  
Why the transformation in Sergeant R.?  You might say that the silliness of my answer made him realize the absurdity of it all, and he then saw us as human beings like himself. 
 
But I like to think it was the power of the arts. If a six-year-old's crayon drawings can soften the heart of Sergeant R., imagine what you, artists of DeviantArt, can achieve with your own art!  
 
I hope you find this inspirational. 
 

 

 


 
Shall I tell you what was the most moving work of visual art I ever saw?  Sure, why not?   DeviantArt is the only place I have been writing about art, lately. 
 
No, I'm not going to talk about Michaelangelo's Pietà, though I have seen that.  I don't know the name of the artist whose little clay sculpture I shall describe. 
 
In those days I was a musician in the band. One evening as we proceeded on stage, we passed through a room that served as a workshop or studio for art. There were several pieces of art in the process of creation: paintings partly finished still sitting in easels, or clay sculptures left on worktables.   There was the usual disarray of artists' supplies (brushes, paint, canvases, etc.) scattered about. 
 
One piece in particular caught my eye. 
 
It was an unfired clay sculpture, about nine inches tall, of the head of a man in his twenties or so. It was very well done, in the style of realistic naturalism.
 
The head was slightly tilted back. His eyes were looking upward, as if trying to see something. His mouth hung open slackly, gaping as if he were surprised, or in stunned disbelief. His expression was one of sadness and bewilderment. 
 
He could not see what he was trying to see, though everyone else could. What he was trying to see, without the aid of a mirror, was his own forehead. In the center of which was a hole. 
 
It was a metaphor, of course. A personal expression of the artist's innermost thoughts and feelings. 
 
The building in which we were playing a concert that night was a mental hospital. We were playing our music for the patients. 
 
I entered the Army upon graduating from high school.  I was seventeen years old.  How I ended up in the Army is a long story.  Sometimes one gets swept up by irresistible forces.  Suffice it to say that if the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this world, that goes double if we're talking about about just ONE person.  That's just simple math.
 
Sergeant R. was a bit of a grouch. His responsibility was to keep us troops in line (literally, at the morning formation) and impart unto us such words of wisdom as armies have been distilling ever since the ancient Egyptians discovered how to brew beer. 
 
So he would reveal to us bits and pieces of knowledge that were bound to come in handy some day.  You know, little things, like, we were the sorriest excuses for soldiers he ever saw. Which puzzled me, since when a G.I. is standing at attention, he has few degrees of freedom to express contrition with his body language. 
 
So, generally speaking (I'm not sure if that is an intended pun or not), Sergeant R. was an unpleasant person to be around. 
 
One day we stood at ease as Sergeant R. conducted an inspection of our living quarters in the barracks.  There wasn't much to inspect. All I had was a bunk, a footlocker, a regular locker, and a laundry bag.  (For some reason, to pass inspection a laundry bag could not actually have laundry in it.)
 
Sergeant R. opened my regular locker, which was big enough to have a clothes rack from which to hang dress uniforms or starched khakis. What caught Sarge's eye was not the highly commendable order and neatness of my belongings. The first thing he noticed was what I had taped to the inside of my locker door. 
 
No, it wasn't porn, or pinups of tantalizing lasses reminding us of what we were missing back home.   Instead I had taped up letters sent to me by my youngest brother, age six. 
 
The letters were my brother's crayon drawings of what he imagined I was doing in the Army.  The central stick figure in these pictures was supposed to be me, firing a machine gun or hurling grenades or something in the middle of some furious battle. I'm sure my brother was striving for realism in what he drew, but him not being an art prodigy,  it was pretty much what you'd expect from a six year old.  Or from Willem de Kooning, for that matter.
 
I could see the visibly startled reaction on Sergeant R.'s face. "What's this," he asked. 
 
Without hesitating a moment, I replied to the Sergeant.  But before I tell you what I said, you first have to know something about me.
 
When I am not punning, I have a very dry sense of humor, and a deadpan poker-face to go with that. In fact, a medical professional who has known me for a long time once told me I have "the flattest affect" of anyone he knows. (I'm not sure a flat affect is a good thing to have, since it seems to be a diagnostic criterion for several illnesses or personality disorders listed in the DSM-IV.)
 
Anyway, back to the Sergeant's question. "What's this?" he asked. 
 
Without missing a beat, I told him matter-of-factly, "That's my artwork. I like to draw with crayons. If you look at the pictures, I think you'll agree that I have been getting better over time." 
 
Again, I saw a visible startle-reaction from Sergeant R.  Here is where having a deadpan expression comes in handy.  It allowed military formality to be observed while inside, we both knew I was being facetious.  To my surprise, the Sergeant played along, offering some suggestions that he felt would be beneficial to my growth as an artist!
 
Now here's the astonishing thing.  From that day forward, we all noticed a change in Sarge's demeanor.  He seemed to lighten up.  He eased up on us considerably. At morning formations he would even sneak in snide and humorous remarks at the Army's expense. We still had our duties, and he still gave the orders, but he became a more pleasant person to be around.
  
Why the transformation in Sergeant R.?  You might say that the silliness of my answer made him realize the absurdity of it all, and he then saw us as human beings like himself. 
 
But I like to think it was the power of the arts. If a six-year-old's crayon drawings can soften the heart of Sergeant R., imagine what you, artists of DeviantArt, can achieve with your own art!  
 
I hope you find this inspirational. 
 

 

 


 

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:iconeintoern:
EintoeRn Featured By Owner 21 hours ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Arturino3-(4) by altergromit

Many thanks for stopping by !
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:iconemperormossy:
EmperorMossy Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks heaps for faving my Guybrush Threepwood cosplay pic! ^_^
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:iconrussellcattle:
russellcattle Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Oh.  Well then, you're welcome.
 
(I didn't know that it was cosplay.  I just took it for granted that you were a pirate, possibly from Pittsburgh.  :) )
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:iconemperormossy:
EmperorMossy Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hahaha, no! I don't dress quite like that in day to day life. :P I would love to though!! XD
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