Sunday, May 26, 2013

Can Do

What to do when you are bored.
Write a poem.
Write about a work of art
an album; a movie; a picture; a story; a sport.
Make a work of art
a song; an album
a movie; a film
a picture; a painting; a story.
A sport.
Go for a walk; a hike; a trek.
Ride your bike
make love to someone
the best way you know how.
Visit when you feel so inclined.

Look at something for an extended period of time
and think about it. Concentrate.
Play a game, any game.
When you feel the confusing urge,
tidy up around you,
preferably with music you truly love.
If it is warm, and sometimes when it is cold
go for a swim wherever you can.
Night swimming too. It can be wonderful.
Play dress up occasionally
and remember to laugh.
Hopefully, you will not have to remember to laugh.
Playfully wrestle with a partner you trust.

Read a book you think you may like.
Read a book you know you love.
Learn something about the world whenever you can.
Learn a new skill; learn a new idea; learn a knew feeling.
Stretch when your body needs it.
Stretch when your mind needs it.
Make some noise when you want.
Do not waste your time off  being completely off,
cherish it, respect it, and everything else.
Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Zeitgeist: A Trip to Save a Tractor


    April 27th 2013, I joined my old friend Aaron on a trip from Lafayette, Indiana to Concordia, Kansas in order to salvage a 1941 Farm All tractor from mechanical doom. The trip was a physically uneventful success: we drove there, loaded up the tractor and drove back. Yet still driving there was enough for me to start thinking.


    For most of my life I have either viewed myself as either a. never a tourist no matter where I was or b. always a tourist no matter where I was.
Example one: every time I would visit Chicago in my youth I did so with a sense of belonging there. I was never a tourist no matter how much I may have looked like one (especially when I was driving.) I was never in awe of the city when I dwelt within its streets. I felt as if I belonged there and this made me appreciate it all the more.
Example two: every time I go to Payless or Target or Walmart I feel like a tourist no matter how little I look like one (especially when I'm driving.) Everyone in the parking lot or in the store aisles seem like curiosities. I wonder who these people are, so unique and variant from each other. They are brought here out of necessity instead of preference. It seems an easy place to feel isolated in a crowd. An amused face in the crowd. A worried face in the crowd.

    As Aaron and I cruised towards the west in a rented cargo van with a 3000 pound trailer hitched to its rear, I felt the unusual urge to tour the land we were passing through. We passed the Abraham Lincoln National Library in a van with a trailer that stretched the length of a semi truck. I thought we should stop there. We crossed a flooded Mississippi river into Hannibal, Missouri and passed a sign claiming Mark Twain's birth place was only so many miles away. I thought I'd really like to visit that place. We breezed past mile after historical mile and I kept thinking back to all the important or wonderful or awful things which occurred on the very land we were barreling through in our fast moving caravan. I wanted to stop at all of them. I wanted to find out what happened even if I already knew. I wanted to remember what I knew about these places while I was actually there. I felt the urge to be a tourist on purpose. A tourist for the dead.
    We didn't stop at any of them. We were on a schedule, so there was no time. Instead, we discussed the historical significance of the signs we read as we drove or rode. Both Aaron and I are well versed in American history. I assume we both resigned we would have learned nothing new by stopping at these altars of American history and expansion. It may have been a vague sense of vanity or a vague sense of doubt.
    I want to go back and see all these altars. No matter how gaudy or kitschy they maybe, I still find them wonderful. They are one wonderful part of something I truly, if not begrudgingly love: My Country.

Mississippi River

    I have never seen the Grand Canyon in person. I imagine it is beautiful and I may still see it someday. I imagine it will do for my eyes what the Mississippi river does for my thoughts.
Every river has a story.
Every river has a history.
The major ones in western world history are: The Nile, The Amazon, The Tigris, The Euphrates, The Ganges (sort of), The Thames
stop. I'm moving too far away from my original point.
    The most important river in American history is the Mississippi River. The Mississippi river is the most awesome evidence of nature corresponding or clashing with American humanity. Everything that can happen to nature and everything that can happen to humanity thus far happened on the Mississippi river. It still remains for me to cross in a van. For now.

Wicked River by Lee Sandlin

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain


   I remained sober during this trip. I made it a point, as an alcoholic would make it a point. remaining sober turned out to be much easier than expected. Thank goodness! Good old German blood holding back dwindling Native blood. Decent survival genes.


    I left someone I was afraid to leave because I suspected I might lose them forever if I did, even though it was such a short time. Of course I have a paranoid streak; present me with someone who does not in some way and we'll both call them a fool. Of course, I discovered my paranoia was misplaced, as usual.
    Thank you cell phone, even if you are responsible for this silly paranoia. The cause of and solution to all the world's problems. The opiate for the masses. Other aphorisms.


    Landscapes are beautiful and almost effortless these days. If they are effortless, they may lose some of their punch. Even without the punch, they remain still beautiful. Effortlessly beautiful. Anyways.

    Kansas reminded me of the wild west. I told Aaron it looked perfect for riding a horse through. He agreed with me as a teacher agrees with a student who told them something they already knew.


 People create homesickness for me.
The place is wonderful too,
but the people in it are what truly matter.
Some places are more wonderful than others
when seen without people.
Some places seem more wonderful
when seen with people,
therefore vacations,
family portraits,
road movies,
travel writing,
It is still the people who drive me.
And maybe the dog, honestly.

My Friend

    I have known my friend Aaron since I was a freshman in high school. I met him in physical education. They may call it sports science now.
    The first conversation I remember was about how medieval archers gathered in a circle and shot at a single target in the center of their circle. He laughed. We were in the middle of an archery lesson. I found the statement strange, but still fascinating. This little guy with a slight lisp made me think about something outside of myself for some reason. I find the joke much more funny now.
    He is getting married at the end of June and also has a crazy amount on his plate besides that.
    The main thing I wished to accomplish on this trip was to help him with whatever I was qualified to do even if it was not very much. I was a little freaked out about driving the behemoth of a vehicle, but Aaron helped me through it. We are friends. I find it strange how rare this seems.

How rare it all is.
Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden


Sunday, May 19, 2013



I come from a land where they're worshipping drink again
  come from a land where they're worshipping drink again
God is dead
God is dead
So let's have a drink down at Finnegan's Wake
You could get so drunk, you might even get laid
because God is dead
God is dead
I'm tired of the guilt felt from being intellectual
It's hard to be human, but Jesus, an artist too
God is Dead
God is Dead
When did these people once filled up with bile
become so much softer, excepting denial
that God is dead
God is dead
Run away, go away, build blocking fences
It doesn't matter, they'll be consequences
because God is dead
God is dead
If we are not human than we must be animals
clawing and tearing, honing survival skills
God is dead
God is dead
The world let us know this and we have to deal with it
over exposed and still we feel so boxed in
It's disjointed panels, labyrinth, hall of mirrors
trapped in a funhouse with white noise and flashing things
I not a singer but I feel I must sing all this
It's all I am, all I see, All I am dealing with
Is anyone listening, paying attention
   anyone listening, paying attention
Does anyone give a shit, anymore, anyway?
Are we strapped to this bomb with no chance of an escape?
God is dead
God is dead
I hope there is someone who noticed its beautiful
all of it, all of it, all of it, beautiful
I noticed, but I just can't sing it today
I hope to be able to sing it someday
And when that day comes it will be so damned glorious
        when that day comes it will be so damned glorious
        when that day comes it will be so damned glorious
I don't think all of us are going to make it, though.

Aaron C. Molden

Ai Wei Wei Exhibit Day

Ai Wei Wei Exhibit Day

    On Thursday, Carrie Jess and I went to the Ai Wei Wei exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It is a beautiful exhibit. There are articles, educational shows, and documentary films which explain why Ai Wei Wei is an important artist and why this is an important exhibit, so I will not dive too deeply into those fascinating and intriguing details. For me, it justified the existence of a person which must always be allowed to exist if we are to remain human: the artist.
    The last thing one experiences in the exhibit is a massive list of the names and general information of five thousand Chinese students. Young students. The sound of various voices speaking names in native chinese language and dialect float through the air. I felt my eyes well up with tears and an unexpected heat in my chest and neck as I entered the room. If I'd have been alone my eyes would have been streaming. The names being spoken were five thousand Chinese children who died during an earthquake when the school they studied within collapsed.
    A foundation started by Ai Wei Wei and others were responsible for finding the names and limited information about these children, not the Chinese government.

    Never Sorry is the name of the documentary film.

    Earlier in the day, while driving on Interstate 65 towards Indianapolis, we were met with a traffic jam. There were helicopters. Jess speculated they were searching for dead bodies. Carrie said it must be a big body if it could be seen from so high up. I assumed it was because of the traffic. We were all a little bit right.
    A semi truck crashed into a school bus of special education students. No one was seriously hurt thank goodness, but people were hurt. We spoke in two word sentences as we learned what was going on  from streaming information floating through the air to our phones and many others.
    Oh no.
    Too bad.
    It's, uh...
    That's good.
    Not good.
    Just better.
    I know.
    I recognized someone at the accident. Emily, reporting the beat for the Journal and Courier. Reporting this possible tragedy. What was she thinking about what she was seeing? It was destined to be a thought provoking day.

    Imagine being destroyed by something you thought you could trust.

    May 16th, 2013, in Indianapolis, Indiana was a beautiful day. We walked in the 100 acres art park around a lake. I described an artist's work I found similar to an installation on the lake Carrie, Jess and I circled. I walked ahead of them to see the sign installed for the installation: Indianapolis Island by Andrea Zittel. "It's an Andrea Zittel" I announced half embarrassed because she is the artist I had prior been describing. I felt like a nerd. Maybe I should have felt like a tour guide.
    We discussed issues in art education and American education in general. We told and listened to rumors of life and career. We spoke of past people, past experiences of our lives, joys and pains of growing up, college. We walked and talked  and were quietly mindful on occasion. Carrie, Jess and I enjoyed a stroll around a lake and all of us had ill chosen footwear on. Yet stroll on we did. How wonderful.

1. All three of us are trained art educators in America
2. All three of us have tried, some harder than others, to find a job where our skills could be utilized in a positive manner.
3. All three of us have been unsuccessful, at least financially in this regard.
4. All three of us are well equipped for this role whether we care or not.
5. All of us care about this world, this country, this state, this city, or some city, some state, some country, some world, some solar system, some galaxy, some universe in some way, somehow.

    After the walk we drove to Mass Ave. to see a marketplace. We went to a store which has a lot of stuff geared towards Indiana pride. Not Hoosier pride, Indiana pride. Some stuff is geared solely towards Indianapolis pride, city pride. I thought about Dublin. I didn't talk about Dublin. I would have loved to talk about Dublin and gang anthropology, but it did not seem like the time or the place.
    Jess Grew up on the South side of Chicago. She went to an all girl's Catholic school and her father was a police officer.
    My father was a police officer.
    Along with an art education degree, she has a degree in something similar to criminal justice. I am bad with names until I am not.
    Slow learner, but good listener.
    She tries not to speak to her mother and her mother tries not to speak to her, but I do not know why.
    She is a lesbian.
    I barely know her, but I believe we could talk about gang anthropology in the right environment.

    Carrie, Jess, and I grabbed a drink at a bar named The Chatterbox. We sat outside sipping our drinks, making small talk and occasionally dipping back into educational issues, career issues, and life issues while waiting for dinner at the Rathskeller Biergarten. We finished our drinks and checked on Carrie's car because it was parked in a questionable place in Indianapolis with the window half rolled down. All the time we walked I was thinking of how lovely it would be to live there. We checked out a toy store which sold toys relating to science, aerobics, puzzles, language, math, history, culture, architecture, music, construction, dynamics, and art. It was wonderful and strange. The store sold children's books too. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein is still published. Glory be, but not on recycled paper yet.
    Dinner was german food and Bell's Oberan beer with several people I didn't know outside on a beautiful night with three middle aged white men playing a cover of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley among other songs.

    I asked Carrie several questions throughout the day about her new job. She will be spending the summer of 2013 working as an art director for a summer camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A summer job is really beginning to make sense to me in a way it did not in the past. A summer job somewhere different. Somewhere some people may appreciate my abilities a little more. This feeling of bitterness becomes tiresome to me quickly, but it certainly comes.
   She simply looked up a camp website from the magical internet and signed up. She is going to be fantastic at her job and I am going to keep in touch. You too, Holly; you too, Bailey; you too, Justin; you too, Zeno; you too, Alex; you too, Aarons; you too, Josh and Robyn; you too, Jeff and Melanie; you too, Mom and Dad; you too, my sister and Jared; you too, my friends; you too, my family; you too, my blood and everyone else who slip mind from time to time before becoming too biblical.

    Sixteen of May was a beautiful day,
    Indiana introduces Ai Wei Wei.
    And it was also Sara's birthday,
    I hope she too had an Ai Wei Wei day.

Aaron C. Molden

Sunday, May 5, 2013


    "You never drink wine from the bottle" said the man next to me. "It should be the same with beer."
    I sat at the end of the bar alone. I was trying to be more extroverted about my thoughts instead of simply writing them down. Yet, there I was quietly taking notes. Quietly drinking. Once again I had no one to impress.
    Dating. I was immune to it, which meant I should have been doing it. A strange conundrum.
    Kate walked into the bar and made her way to the end of the counter. I attempted to smile at her, but she passed me without recognition. She had lost interest in me. My fault.
    I felt the clouds lifting in the dark room. I silently thanked caffeine. I believed I might finally act on instinct. With confidence. Maybe. It was then I became aware of how I must have looked to anyone in the bar who happen to be paying attention to me. With confidence?
    On paper I began to write a new list of notes:
1. What am I doing here?
2. Why have I forced myself to express  through words what comes so unnaturally to me?
3. I do it, but still no results.
4. What a novelty I am. I can can express myself through vision, words, and voice, but it seems to amount to nothing.
5. I maybe the most introverted extrovert which has ever existed.
6. What the fuck is up with this place?
7. Has standard operating procedure become to ignore all suffering which exists outside of oneself?
8. Have we fucked ourselves up in the name of comfort and not caring?
9. When we do care, do we care about whether people are wrong instead of human?
10. What a piece of shit of a species we have become!
11. We are garbage which creates more garbage on an exponential level.
12. Not only that, we use propaganda to make that garbage sparkle like gold.
13. Why do you make nihilism so difficult to avoid, reality?
    "What are you writing?" Gwyne asked me.
    "Huh?" I spouted. I had not seen her walk in.
    "Sorry. What are you writing?" she smiled. I could have told her that I was yelling in my mind with pen and paper.
    "I'm...uh...working on a story." Idiot. I'd known her since we were naive high school students. Once we laughed and chatted as we drew pictures in the art room. It was lovely.
     I began a new list of notes:
1. Where has she been?
2. What is she doing?
3. How large is our gap in time?
    "Have a great night! I have to get up early tomorrow." I announced as I closed my notebook and walked towards the door.
    "Uh. Okay? Bye." She responded.
     It was a full moon. It was not my night. It was someone else.

Aaron C. Molden