• on ‘the other’ in me •

Such an interesting article. I also live with depressive states, and almost word for word, can identify with the descriptions of how it feels. I still go through it, but once I discovered my ‘other’, and became a friend, an advocate, a soother-listener-protector to that child-like, super-sensitive, super-creative, intuitive (did I mention ‘child-like’, oh, yes I did…) ‘entity’, which resides, side-by-side, inside of me (but speaks only in dreams, and emotions, and whispers to me in musical phrasings, and compulsions, and desires, and cravings – basically, all of the so-called, ‘id’ stuff), and learned how to take the time to really ‘be’ with this ‘other’ and talk to him/her/it rationally, to commiserate, and to listen – really listen – and to make plans, and provisions, and promises – to make things better for he/she/it (and too, to really work to keep those promises, at least a little every day), then, slowly, but surely, I came not only to understand that these ‘waves’ of ‘depression’ are really the feelings of despair and hopelessness that any normal person would feel, if he/she/it had no ‘voice’, no power to affect change, no acknowledgement, and felt no appreciation (and little love), but that there is never any reason to feel ‘lonely’, because (if this is a real ‘state of being’ – and I am convinced that it is), one is never alone, and that the process of ‘loving’ really does, start with you/me, see? (Does this make sense/can you ‘relate’?) Hand to heart, this has been a true ‘revelation’, and a life-changing epiphany, for me. It has been about six years since I came to this awareness, and my progress has been substantial and continual, and empowering (happily).
This is the basis of my own particular ‘bi-cameral mind’ hypothesis. I really should write a book on the subject. What do you think, friends? Here is the article.
On depression: What you should know if you love someone with high-functioning depression:

• a two-fer •

This is a two-fer. Don’t know what a two-fer is? Sure you do: it’s a two ‘fer’ (for) one. Can you tell I spent my formative years in retail? Yep, my claim to fame in high school was head Pamper stacker, a graduate of H.E.B. U. Don’t know what Pampers are? If you’ve had kids you do, and if you haven’t, they’re disposable diapers, and H.E.B. is a grocery store (chain), owned by the Butt family: that’s true.
Where was I? Oh, yes, a two-fer.
I came home today with a couple of gems, one on spuds (that’s potatoes, or potato, in the singular, from the Spanish, patata, variant of the Taino, batata) and the other is, a surprise. Trust me, it really will be. Something maybe nobody has ever thought of, besides maybe me, and quite possibly only interesting to me, but we shall see, shall we?
But more about the potato. Or more specifically, freeze-dried potatoes. Yep, just like the ones moms like mine used to make when they saw commercials in the sixties about meals for twelve cents a serving and thought food made in the wink of an eye, was just the thing for a civilized society. Instant potatoes, I think they were called, on the box. Almost inedible, to my brother and sisters, which I thought just wonderful, as that meant there would always be plenty for me. My secret? Lots of butter and plenty of salt and pepper. Yummy!
Why are you telling me about instant potatoes, I can hear you asking, and well you may, so I shall tell you, immediamente, as they say. But now, for some history, and the punch line, to boot: freeze dried spuds are an ancient Peruvian invention, and not a product of NASA, such as Tang, fruit roll-ups, and squirt-able cheese, as you might think. And here’s how.
The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C., of which they developed over a thousand varieties, and still do utilize, even today. But freeze-dried? How did that come to be?
The potato, from the perennial Solanum tuberosum, is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. The problem with this delicious source of nutrition is their vulnerability, to moisture, and molds and fungus, and other spoilers. So the clever Peruvians would carry their crop of potatoes high into the Andes mountains and let them freeze. Then, after thawing, they would become sort of squidgy and malleable, in a very useful way. This, they would squash into a paste, and smooth it in the sun, over a wide flat rock face. The dried product could then be stored in fired clay pots, almost indefinitely. Add a bit of water, and bring to a boil, and voila! Instant potatoes. (Add pepper and salt, to taste, of course: the Peruvians were an advanced ancient culture, not savages.)
Okay, now for your big surprise, since you made it this far. Have you been waiting, with bated breath? (Short for, ‘abated’, breath: short for ‘shortness of breath’, nifty, nay?) I can tell. Well, wait no longer, your moment has arrived. Listen, my friend, and you shall hear.
I shall amaze you with my forward thinking and ingenuity. You know, if you’ve ever had to paint the outside of your house, or wooden deck, how, by spring, the places where the paint has peeled, and must be repaired and/or re-painted is more than evident, but by springtime, everything is soggy and wet, and the exposed wood is too, and too soft to scrape the old paint off, effectively, so you end up having to wait until the rains have stopped, and the wood has dried sufficiently to be able to paint, and by then, it’s getting (by winter standards) downright hot and sticky, and the black flies are biting, and the no-see-em’s are out for blood, and absolutely making you crazy? (What are no-see-ems? Imagine gnats, in their thousands, swarming, and biting, your ears, neck, and, well, any exposed area, except when you swat them, your hand finds a bloody trickle, lovely. Plus, you can’t see them, generally, hence, the name. Don’t worry about finding them, they find you.) So, anywhoo, here’s my stroke of near genius: winter paint prep. Yep, you heard it here first. Yes, dear friends, no fuss, no muss, no waiting for wet wood, no bleeding neck, and best of all, no sweat.
As to scraping, it’s winter weather that makes the paint peel anyway, with the cold, expansion and contraction have made cracks in the paint, and water has got into those cracks, and when the water freezes, the expanding ice (under the paint) just pushes it away from the wood.
Soooo, what better, on a cold and sunny winter day, than to get the old scraper out, and as they say, make hay? Have I actually tried out my hypothesis, to test my theory? Just got in from outside, now just warming my pinkies over some hot tea. Did it work? Guess.
Only one problem. Dog walkers. Who stare at you as if you were juggling chain saws, instead of scraping your front deck. “Hello there,” I chortle, “lovely weather, innit.” And off they wander, with only the occasional head shake, and pitying look back.
Not to worry though, as a card-carrying member of the much esteemed, ‘Creative Class’ (and, it goes without saying, the Wile E.Coyote aka, ‘super-genius’ Appreciation Society, W.E.C.S.G.A.S., or, ‘Wexgassers’, as we, mirthfully, call ourselves), I’ve grown quite accustomed to that.
~ Tim Burchfield


• to joy •

To the sheer joy of being creatively inspired, intellectually challenged, and emotionally, and otherwise, fulfilled. To good friends, and good company. I offer this as an endorsement, and a reminder, that that’s who we really are, and not, as some would have us believe, this (recent), ‘other thing’. May we soon ‘remember’, who we are, in essence: how really very good, and generous and supportive and giving we can be, as an integral part of our world, the times in which we live, and our community.
~ Tim Burchfield

•forging titanium•

• forging titanium •
YouTube, ‘binge-watching’, blacksmiths, working steel.
There are, the ones,
that have done, a thing,
a thousand times,
and that’s real,
and that’s informative.

But the ones,
who venture,
into ‘the strange’,
and the unpredictable,
‘the unknown’, for them:
like the guy who wrought
a skinning knife,
out of a discarded gift
from a friend,
of an “unmanageable”,
bar –
(I like to think of it,
so as to more readily,
for my own amusement,
“relate”, to it,
which has been often used on me,
as “recalcitrant”.)
– of titanium,
when, he declaims,
“Man, oh man,
I hope this works,”
what a thrill!
Honestly, when he starts out,
he doesn’t even know
if he can “work” the stuff,
even though,
as he says,
he did do, presumably,
some peremptory “research”:
he, “Googled it”, I guess,
(Heaven knows, I’ve been there.)
and, learning,
as he goes along,
by trying it, I am caught, myself,
by me, ‘catching’ my breath,
and this doesn’t happen,
every day:
heating and hammering,
hammering and heating,
talking, and talking,
thinking aloud,
and, and all along,
letting me in –

“We’ll have to do some more scientific research on it.”


“It gives off’, no scale,
but what’s this sand?”

And, gathering the stuff,
and holding it up to the camera,

(I fascinate over his crenelated fingers, and thumb, and wonder,
at the work he’s done,
and – go figure – too,
though I doubt it,
if his wife appreciates him.)

– puts it, this ‘mystery sand’,
in a jar, these finger-gatherings,
allowing, that,
“maybe (he) can find,”
“to use that for,”
after he’s done, he says,
“some more research, on it.”

“Not forcing it:
whatever the piece wants to be.”

And, I can’t stop laughing,
unusual, for me.
Unheard of, actually.
Not a big laugher, typically.

Something is happening.
And, time is passing.
It’s all so familiar.
The searching.
I see me.

Hammering, hammering,
and heating, and cooling,
and re-heating, and, again, hammering, and re-cooling,
and talking, and talking.
And ‘normalizing’ the steel,
slowly, reverently,
to ‘honor’ the steel,
whatever that means.
And working, and sanding,
and wondering, aloud,
all along, inclusively,
as is his way,
seemingly, including me:
by the time he’s done,
from what he imagines –
forging discarded titanium,
into something real –
getting up to the heat,
what he wants,
and having got, as he allows,
at some point,
“this whole freaking mass,
up to melting temperature,”
with his titanium skinning knife,
he’s learned something,
and, I’ve missed it,
like a joke, you’d have to have been there, I guess, and yet,
my heart is pounding.
That internal anvil, in me,
is singing,
“What. Is. This!!?”

Subsequently, and
I love this, what he says,
at the end, of one:
(I’ve seen several, of his,
and, in my mind,
they tend to run together,
but what sticks, is this,)
when he says,
meaning nothing,
and all,
“It’s worth a try!”
~ Tim Burchfield


• rubik’s cube •

• rubik’s cube •
I want a Rubik’s Cube:
not a ‘knock-off’, but an original.
Rubik never got rich,
with his thingamajiggy,
but he made a lot of nudnick nerds happy –
like me –
and I find that trippy,
and fantastical,
bordering on hilarity.

Twenty seven moves
is all it ever takes
to solve a Rubik’s Cube conundrum,
or, so they say.
And he, like me,
yes, Rubik himself,
wanted nothing more,
than to figure the damn thing out,
without a key,
or someone (or something),
whispering in his ear,
“down two, and a left-hand twist,”
or whatever, to figure it out, yes –
get this –
to solve his own puzzle,
after creating the thing.

Can you believe it?
He imagined “the box”,
and struggled with rubber bands,
and bits of wood,
and finally,
after Herculean effort,
got it to get the whatsit,
to negotiate itself,
without exploding,
into it’s component parts,
and to show it’s color-assigned sides,
all color collaborated,
one happy day.

got it to work to perfection,
with his architectural students,
to encourage,
intuitive problem solving,
within spacial relationships,
and, to teach that we, each of us,
have a genius
problem-solver within us,
he shared it,
to demonstrate –
and still, after all that,
Rubik himself, yes, he, too –
of how to get those
colored sides to meet up,
he had no clue.

He had to figure it out,
on his own,
and finally did,
and what a feeling of accomplishment,
I find that so wonderfully informing,
how ’bout you?

I am a nudnick’s nudnick,
in a nerdy sort of way:
I want the pleasure
of sorting things out, myself.
I don’t want unsolicited intervention: no unwanted help, for me.
I don’t want things, easy.
though, convenient –
involving far less hair-pulling,
and considerably fewer
expletives, and epithets,
and dancing about
one’s living room
shouting, and hating
all things, problematic,
in my underthings –
well, frankly –
holds not so much appeal for me,
as opposed to,
the answer,
that comes,
like a flash,
after a healthy bout
involving abjectly
tearing one’s clothes,
and of rolling in ashes,
dejectedly –
after a week or so,
of heady heights,
and deep emotional plunges,
of gastronomical upheaval,
and sleepless nights,
and the casual course,
of course,
(it goes without saying,)
of flailing, and weeping,
and of feeling completely
and ridiculous,
when I finally see, what,
had I been able to see,
was all along,
a thing of utter simplicity.

Or, perhaps,
I exaggerate.
To do your own thing,
it’s fun,
is what I mean.
So, there’s that.

I don’t want perfect happiness,
I want the opportunity.
I want to sort it.
I want to wake up
wanting something,
or somewhere,
or someone,
so badly,
that it makes me want,
get out of bed, no leap!
and scramble into my clothes,
and start tearing, daily,
through the workshop of my mind,
from wanting –
but not before I’ve ‘dreamed’ –
on the thing,
or place,
or the lively, lovely someone,
and have visited the gratitude,
and satisfaction,
and sheer relishing,
of seeing
with my inner eye,
the sweetest path to take,
for exploration’s sake.

I want to have,
a love, a joy,
an exuberance for life,
from yearning,
for longing,
or not at all…

…or not,
as the case may be.

Then, again,
I’m all for lunch,
about now,
it’s been a long day…
Was that, “down two,
and a twist to the left,”
did you say?
~ Tim Burchfield


• brainstorm •

• brainstorm •

“day two:
it’s windy
in the ‘whirlwind’
but i refuse to leave
until i see it’s shape.
ezekiel saw a wheel.
what will i?
will i see the whole of pi,
or just a slice?
jacob wrestled the angel
all night long
and finally won
God’s respect.
so shall i.
i wish.”

~ Tim Burchfield