Sketch: Cat in the Middle


Cat in the Middle

Sketch from Journal #61

douglas brent smiyth

The cat in the middle wonders what Tom was thinking about.

Sometimes the Best Thing to Do Is Draw


Sometimes the best thing to do is draw

sketch by douglas brent smith

What have you drawn today? Why not take a moment and draw something, anything?

Theatre: "The Box Show" (with a nod & wink to Samuel Becket)

A person starts surrounded by and covered with boxes of all sizes. These are boxes that must be unpacked for that person to be free.

The boxes contain limiting thoughts, assumptions, cultural restrictions, religious constraints, bigotry, fears - lots of fears, illness, affliction, authority, rules, regulations, anarchy, chaos, regional assumptions, ethnic blurring, ethnic purity, ethnic ethos, ethics, non-ethics, commandments, sermons, skewed exegesis, historical oppression, satire, sarcasm, judgment, broken relationships, damaged relationships, power, powerlessness, pain, lost love, stolen love, broken love, broken promises, broken dreams, forgotten dreams, forgotten lessons learned, forgotten family, estranged family, substance abuse, sugar stars and swings, animal distancing and objectivizing, sexism, racism, greed, slander, lust, deference, danger, risk, confusion, misunderstanding, brokenness, separation, turning away, turning against, ignorance, stagnation, sloth, sorrow, and maybe more.

What is the worst box? What should be done about each box?

Is there a single universal box cutter?

Should some boxes be sealed and forgotten: released? 

How does one release?

Can you make money releasing?

Music plays. Choose your music carefully because music changes everything. Or, don't.

And then, and then (another ACT) we find useful positive, powerful boxes: the love of others, the joy of a baby's smile, spring mornings, birds singing, learning to play the guitar, running, swimming, helping others, learning to get a sound out of a flute, learning to get an answer from a person, serving others, releasing, breathing, meditating, praying, redemption, salvation, sanctification, saving, preserving, remembering, faithfulness, dedication, creative flow, courage, compassion, clarity, centeredness, shelter, warmth, relief, rolling into change, a first kiss, a hundredth kiss, endless kissing, kindness, forgiveness, release.

Theatre of learning. Theatre of dreaming. You.

"I was trapped in a box. But, the box was inside another box. It reminded me of a bib that I wore as a toddler sitting in my primitive wooden high chair: it was a picture of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti. He was wearing a bib that had a picture of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti - and also wearing a bib of a chef eating a massive plate of spaghetti.

"Did this make me enjoy spaghetti more? Or did it distort my sense of time and space? Or did it more accurately describe time and space than anything after which is why I remember it so many years later? What do you think?

"Have you unpacked all of your boxes? Are you sure?"

-- doug smith

This is an open-source, public domain performance piece. You may perform it in any medium and alter it in any way. Please do acknowledge the use with attribution to the author, douglas brent smith. Thanks.

Not Obsolete

Things -- and people -- well cared for need not go obsolete. Getting tired of something is a choice. Discarding the old is a choice. While we should continually improve ourselves, our materials, our technology, there is still value in preserving what lives on with quality.

That great guitar. That classic car. That recipe that still tastes good.

There was an episode of "The Twilight Zone" on this week about "Obsolete." Burgess Meredith plays a librarian who in some autocratic society had been judged (under penalty of death) as obsolete. The last forbidden book he pulls from hiding, as he awaits his execution, is a Bible. He was not truly obsolete. His value as a being was unquestionable and though thru cleverness he brings his executioner to fear at being himself on the edge of facing his own imminent death, locked in a room with a bomb, the librarian does allow mercy (in God's name) to prevail, setting free his captor even though he himself will perish.

Like many "Twilight Zone" episodes it is a metaphor, loaded with truth. The librarian is not obsolete.

Books -- in their physical form with pages you can touch and smell -- are not obsolete. E-books are wonderful. It's amazing to be able to carry a library in your pocket and search for any word or passage. We're lucky and blessed to have such great technology. That advanced technology can, and does, co-exist with the world-changing older technology of physical publishing. There's something untouchable about physical touch. Something invincible. Something lasting.

I wrote this (in my journal) by hand even though it would have been far faster to type into my computer, because as Julia Cameron insists regarding Morning Pages we do feel a tighter connection and create flow putting pen to paper. That is true for me. 

My notebooks remain vital, physical reminders of the vitality of life itself. We flow on. We find the connections, We create with love and joy.

And the impact is both instant and deferred. I feel an immediate boost. A smile lights and lightens my old face making me younger. Later, the deferred part fuels a longer day and greater range of creativity. Maybe I'll make a college. Maybe I'll write a song. Maybe I'll write a play.

Possibilities abound. I'm old, but not retired, and hopefully, not obsolete.

Indeed, life is good.

-- doug smith

Blowing In His Hair

Blowing in his hair

Sketch by douglas brent smith

17 March 2021

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Heart and Mind

Love crosses my mind every day. It's when it crosses my heart that it brings me to tears.

-- doug smith



I like eclipses...because that implies there is more to the story and that I don't know all of the answers because maybe (maybe!) the emerging nature of the universe (and certainly our perception...) allows new answers to form. 

Maybe we can (do...?) try on new realities just for fun because (maybe...) there is no one permanent reality. (That is not to excuse ALL things or even to explain all things. It is to allow all things whatever is to be.)

"That's crazy talk."

"Yes. But, is it really?"

-- doug smith


How to Test Drive a Pickle

  How to Test Drive a Pickle -- collage by douglas brent smith, 25 December 1987