Happy Halloween! Love, The B.P.R.D
The fine folks over at 11 O’clock Comics recommended it on their podcast a few weeks back, and I decided get a copy. Especially when I saw the artwork, which is pretty straight forward line work and fields of color. Simple colors. Black, white and shades of green… and those colors and shapes really helped make the story even more powerful.
Maybe these are spoilers (I don’t mind spoilers and its hard for me to tell for sure) so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing then maybe don’t read any further, just pick up the book :) Anyway, this is kind of a reverse Garden of Eden story. Instead of the man and woman being thrust out of a garden paradise, the couple in this book leave the complexity of the modern world and go back into nature.
But the nature they return to for their Safari Honeymoon is pretty damn brutal and threatening. Maybe it was written that way to illustrate how the modern mind tends to see nature as a threatening place? Of course nature can be a wild and threatening for sure, but in Honeymoon Safari, every leaf will poison, every animal will attack, even the air is filled with bacteria that will possess and control the mind and body of its host. This exists in nature, but because it is so apparent in Safari Honeymoon, it really enhances the point of the story.
Not a big deal but I’ll admit, and probably silly to even mention since “safari” is part of the title, but that sorta brutality did kinda bug me. Even though it is cartoon-ie and all, the guns and violence kinda bothered me. Even though the animals and plants are weird geometric shapes for the most part, I still liked them and they had personality. I didn’t want them to get shot, even if they were ready to eat or poison the peeps. But the cartoon violence was necessary and also enhanced the point of the story. And they are on safari so I guess that is part of it… plus it was also nice to see the modern Adam & Eve leave civilization behind and go back to this strange Garden.
A little side tangent, but something I was thinking on after I finished the book… Its pretty obvious that nature feeds on itself in order to survive. Animals (including people) feed on other animals. Plants and bugs feed on the corpse that is left behind. Rocks, rivers and wind grind it all into dust. And that dust feeds the plants, which feed the animals. I understand all this, and even see it as beautiful. But I chose to become a vegetarian a long time ago because I do think it is ugly how far our modern culture has taken it. Or how far removed from it we are is probably a better way of saying it. At this point, seems to me, we usually live outside of that natural cycle. I do think it is natural for people to eat meat, but I don’t think the way we farm it is correct or ethical at all, which is probably the main reason why I became a vegetarian. Now, I know being vegetarian doesn’t let me off the hook at all. I’m sure there are many other beliefs and behaviors I maintain just because I was trained to think they are okay due to the social contract I was born into. Anyway, even with my diet I could also do more and only eat renewable fruits and leafy plants. Maybe I could become a master yogi and survive on air. But truth is, I am pretty happy with my diet and choices. I’m at peace with them. And at least I’m not eating anonymous and (way way way too often) mistreated animals. Probably sounds funny, but the way nature was portrayed in this book made me reflect on my choice to become a vegetarian. And upon reflection, I still think it was and is the right choice for me.
I’ve been thinking about Picasso‘s image “Woman with a Crow” all day and thought I’d share it here. Just a quick post today, an image really, but it is a great one!
About a month or so ago I was walking up the canyon at dusk watching this bird fly over my head. It wasn’t long before I lost sight of that bird ‘o prey through the tree canopy, and I just kept on a-walkin’. Soon I came to the same general spot where that bird disappeared from my view. I stopped at for a second in front of a big rock and, looking down, I saw a large grey and white feather sticking up in the grass. I tend to keep feathers when I find them and, even though I don’t know if its true or not, I imagined that this feather belonged to the bird I had been watching a few minutes before. So, yeah, I picked it up and carried it back with me a few miles back down the canyon.
Two nights later I was walking along the same path and came up to the same rock. Next to that rock the trail sorta splits, and I’d never been up one of the paths before. I decided that I’d see what was up that little side trail I’d never been up, but for some reason I started to think I should throw a rock or branch up there ahead of me. This isn’t something I ever do, but the thought just kinda pop’d into my head. There was a big pile of dead branches at the head of the new trail and… I don’t know. I guess I must have sensed something, because right while I was thinking of doing that this large rattlesnake came out from under those branches and started shake-shake-shaking its tail at me. I decided not to go up that new trail after-all and turned back down the canyon.
I’ve seen many rattlesnakes over the years and they don’t bother me all that much. I mean, when you go into Utah canyons you gotta know you may come across one any old time. Not that it is too common, but its always possible. And really, its not a huge deal. But for some reason I kept thinking about that snake. And about how I was gifted with a cool feather in that same spot I saw the snake. I just kept thinking about the bird, the snake, and me… all hanging out underneath the scrub-oak trees.
The snake, the bird, and the trees all kind of merged into one image in my minds eye and became the caduceus drawing above. I kept thinking about a western caduceus and the idea would’t leave me alone.
I had a couple false starts and do-overs, but I like where the artwork ended up. I actually finished this drawing a few weeks back, but sat on it because I wasn’t sure if it was… I don’t know. Sometimes I like to set my artwork aside for a bit and then look at it again later because that extra time might help me see things I might like to change a little more clearly.
Its a simplification, and of course I’m not the first to think it, but life really is a dream. Like any dream, there are certain creatures or encounters that seems to have extra special significance. The bird, snake and oak branches became an omen of some sort for me. Or a special symbol. I have no idea of what or why, but I do know I like them.
Speaking of dreams, I had a sleepy-time dream about the snake and bird a few nights after I saw them. The bird was flying overhead, and the snake was wrapping itself up my right arm, until its face was next to my face. I could even feel its breath on my face. It wasn’t really scary, but it was a strange dream.
Anyway, I decided to post this picture of my green man drawing below. I finished that right around the same time too…
The Voynich Manuscript is an amazing document. Both its history and the illustrations contained within. It probably has a great story too, but so far nobody has been able to translate it, so who knows what it actually says.
I’ve read all sorts of interesting theories about it, who wrote it and why. Over the years, I come across bits of information about it in random places, which I always enjoy. At one point, it was thought to be a forgery, but after many many test it has been determined to be completely genuine (well, by most experts anyway. Maybe there are some that still don’t agree). Although, again, nobody can really make much sense of it. I’ve heard it described as a witches grimoire, a history of medieval herb lore, or perhaps some sort of alchemical journal. I’ve even read one theory that it was created by Leonard Da Vinci (which has been proven false because the ink and velum are much older than that). One thing most articles I’ve read agree on is that it was probably written in code to pass along information that the Catholic Church was trying to stamp out.
One thing I do know though is I do like looking at the illustrations. They are primarily made up of plants, plant people, and (what seem to be) strange astrological charts. Pretty cool and unique stuff!
In addition to picking up her new book, you should also follow her on Facebook (linked below) and be sure to check out her blog. She has many more exciting ideas and stories that she has shared with me, and these are great places to keep up with what she has going on.