music: Jon Anderson



I’m not sure if it’s the “chip on my shoulder” feeling I get when I think back on the middle class, midwest, mainstream upbringing I had in Wisconsin where it seemed like the only two things that mastered attention in our tribe were sports and Lutheranism. Or the fact I accidentally ended up in a politically conservative oil pumping town in a California desert where everyone — including the young people — wear Make America Great Again slogans on their shirt sleeves right next to their hearts. But when I think of something I can really relate to, it’s something like fairies. Isn’t it odd I relate more to something from our imaginations than things that are “real” like football stadiums and fossil fuels. I relate to the quiet and hidden introvert tribes once donned with the scorn from the conservatives everywhere. The hippies and Hobbit geeks. The arts are, I suppose, for us suches in the minority. They wouldn’t dare call us this, but we know they see many of us as “deplorable”, the ones they never could understand or relate to, much less, love and promote. We are those who get boringly annoyed with childish competition and things that hurt our planet.

The first faeries which ignited my imagination were from the elven lands of Middle Earth. Even though I grew up with a few charming troll stories from my Nordic roots, one my dad even told me at bedtime, it really wasn’t until I read Tolkein’s masterpiece in high school when I really started to see how good and worthwhile it could be to nurture the imagination my clan did little to encourage or benefit with their love.

Since then I’ve painted countless paintings and have written stories of my own, using talking animals and elf-like creatures as focal points. The lands of faeries, trolls, elves, magicians, witches, wizards, angels – both good and evil – they all have an important part in our environment. Because whether basketball and hardhats are more important to society or not, some of us know that high regard just is not justified in the grand scheme of things. Human beings need storytellers to make sense, if even metaphorically, of a strange, strange world – full of both good and evil. Clean light and polluted darkness.

Such sharing in the arts (paintings, drawings and the written word) to me, anyway, are activities far more important than things which seem to be so precious to the masses of those in need of entertainment. We artists and storytellers are what keeps this frail thing called ‘hope’ alive. Christmases and equinoxes are too far and in-between the television of sports and Super Bowls. But they are far more inspiring, even to them.

They usually admit this at the Christmas eve services or celebrating the birth of a grandchild.

Then it’s back to car shows and shoulder pads for the rest of the year.

It’s okay for me. I’ve learned to tune most of it out.
And sadly, even the services or news of a relative’s baby doesn’t help anymore.

Taft, CA
July 26, 2019