Sunday, February 25, 2018

“Open and Shut Case” by Richard F. Yates

The case was open and shut! The Shampoo Bottle was murdered by The Ketchup. We had the smoking gun---HOWEVER, Detective Skipwilly suspected that The Ketchup might have been a mere doop, an innocent victim of a brainwashing plot who was triggered by a third---as yet unidentified---party to bump the old Shampoo Bottle off. A LOT of folks had plenty to gain from the old lady’s death: Mr. Lamp, The Brush, even The Orange Pillow on the living room couch…

Skipwilly needed to hit the bricks and grill his informants… And he needed to watch his back. If he was RIGHT then anyone (or anyTHING) could be out to kill him at this point. He was going to need help, and the only creature he could trust…

…was Lemon Lizard!

Unfortunately, nobody had even SEEN the Lizard Wizard in over four years…

---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Commander in Cheap of The P.E.W.)

P.S. – Lemon Lizard was last seen HERE and/or HERE. The historical records are a bit fuzzy.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Library Book Sale!" by Richard F. Yates

Everything you could stuff in a bag for TWO BUCKS! Got Dostoyevsky, Kierkegaard, Ibsen, Umberto Eco, Coleridge (illustrated by Gustave Dore!!!), and strangest of all, one of MY OWN SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS!?!? (Which was in the “Religion-Philosophy-Parapsychology” section???) And a few more things… Mariah found some treasures, too!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"The Gitzy 500" by Richard F. Yates

Welcome race fans! Thanks for joining us on this sunny Saturday for the first, annual Gitzy 500 Challenge! We have nearly a hundred talented drivers here today, some of the best in the world, preparing to challenge their skills and endurance on this incredibly challenging, some might say “ludicrously difficult,” course. Let’s go down to the pits now and see if we can get an interview…

—Yates & Yates (Photo by Mariah R. Yates. Words by Richard F. Yates)

Monday, January 1, 2018

"A Piece of Paper Trapped in a Bush" by Richard F. Yates

I spotted a piece of paper trapped in a bush
in the rain
It could be love letter
to a heart that will never know it’s cherished
Or it could be a ransom note
for a child who will never be returned
Or it could be a formula
for a disease that will now never be cured
Or it could be a rejection letter
for an author who will never write again
Or it could be a suicide note
for a family who will never know why he’s gone
Or it could be some homework
for a kid who didn’t care if his C+ ever made it to mom

I spotted a piece of paper trapped in a bush
in the rain
And I left it there

---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Restricted Airspace" by Richard F. Yates

In my art (and writing and life in general) I try to represent the randomness and absurdity of existence. (I usually fail at this, but trying is still fun.) Sometimes my attempts are humorous, often they are ugly, and sometimes—out of sheer chance—something NEAT happens. Absurdly NEAT-O!

I’m in my mid-40s now. I’ve lost some people. I’ve seen great human beings, funny and imaginative and warm (and sometimes a bit evil, but I don’t judge) who have lived lives, deeply affected those they were close to, but made no impact on society AT LARGE in any recognizable way—-and then they are GONE. Not superstars, never rich, not great philanthropists, not famous artists or writers or poets, just PEOPLE who came and went. They struggled and laughed. Some died way too early, some lived long enough to see most of their friends go before them. And I’d love to believe that they didn’t just DISAPPEAR. That SOMEHOW those great personalities are still out there in the universe, somewhere…

But I don’t see much evidence that the PERSON, the thoughts and desires and scars and smart-ass remarks and weird quirks that make up the INDIVIDUAL—I don’t see any convincing evidence that THESE THINGS survive the death of the body and brain. (I’m sorry, all you true believers, but the evidence is not compelling…)

However, the fact that life is finite doesn’t mean it can’t be LIVED while we are here and have a chance to live it.

Have you ever wondered whether or not someone LIVED A GOOD LIFE? Have you ever wondered if you are WASTING your time? Now ask yourself this: HOW DOES A CAT KNOW IF IT’S LIVED A GOOD LIFE? Is the life of one deer BETTER than the life of any other deer? What is a fulfilling OCTOPUS existence? Have the blades of grass in the front yard prepared for the REAPER as well as the grasses in the back yard have?

One could argue (pretty easily) that HUMANS have the intellectual capacity to CONSIDER these concepts (WHICH HUMANS MADE UP), whereas other creatures, like octopi and deer and cats and blades of grass, do not have the BRAIN CAPACITY. Whales and dolphins have some big brains, do THEY wonder if they’re wasting their potential?

My mom was killed in a car wreck when I was 14 years old.

She took my brother, one of his friends, and one of our aunts to go strawberry picking on the last day of school my freshman year of high school, and she never came home. Apparently, on the drive to the strawberry field, a man, coming off a double shift and traveling the opposite direction from my mom’s car, fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle, drifted across the center line of the road, and collided with my mom, head on. She died instantly. My brother and aunt where hospitalized for several months and suffered through numerous surgeries to put them back together, but they survived. (The friend was, somehow, basically uninjured in the crash.) The driver of the other car, who hadn’t been drinking, wasn’t playing on a cell phone, who was just working hard to get enough money for his family to live a good life, broke his wrist in the collision. I don’t blame this guy AT ALL for what happened. It was a million to one shot that he happened to float over the center line just as my mom’s car was passing.

Random. If mom had left five minutes earlier, or later—two minutes even—she wouldn’t have been anywhere near where this hard-working man’s trajectory intersected with her line of travel. My life would have gone in a completely different direction. Her life would have KEPT GOING, for a while anyway.

I’m not trying to be maudlin, this was just one of the moments in my life that sent me in search of some HARD MEANING. Why? How? What’s the point of this? What MADE this happen? Nothing. Physics. Two fast moving, relatively heavy bodies ran into each other, and the soft parts in the middle got broken. No plan. Couldn’t have predicted this would happen. It just DID.

Now, I’ve learned to keep moving. (“Just keep swimming,” the little fish sings.) Bad things happen (often to good people, but also to bad people.) You live with it, or you don’t. I found ways to overcome that tragedy. I found ways to overcome many OTHER tragedies. I read a lot. I WRITE a lot, which helps me THINK THINGS THROUGH. I tried to remember how quickly things can change while I was raising my OWN kids. And I tried to have fun—with my wife, with my kids, with my family and friends—and to live a life that all the other blade of grass, and deer, and octopi (though probably not the cats) would be able to look back on and have a laugh.

HAVE FUN—even when it’s not appropriate.

Some folks have shown us the way: the Dadaists, the Situationists, the punks (early “punk” before it become a specific sound or fashion), Fluxus, the Absurdist playwrights and poets, and the many artists who just GO FOR IT (like Ray Johnson, Basquiat, Joan Miro, Roger Corman, Lloyd Kaufman, Ian Dury, Richard Brautigan…), these are the types of folks who really inspire me. They made shit. Not everyone liked what they made (even I don’t like EVERYTHING), but the point isn’t the individual artifact. Not everyone has the skill, drive, passion, temperament, education, or physical ability to be Michelangelo. FEW PEOPLE ARE PERFECT…

But CHOOSING to create anything in the face of a random, nonsensical, absurd universe, THAT is enough. Money, fame, a place in history—probably all worthwhile pursuits, if those are the goals you have—but if what you want is just to LIVE and have a good time, make some connections, forge a few lasting memories, THEN CREATIVE WORKS ARE A GREAT METHOD for achieving THESE goals. The MAKING part is fun, the satisfaction of FINISHING something (even something short or small or silly or awful—so bad it’s good, maybe?) is also pleasant, and the memories that can come from sharing the created work with others, maybe seeing them laugh or smile, maybe seeing them want to make something of their own… That’s WHERE IT’S AT…

The STRAIGHT CROWD will tell you that there are fighter jets overhead. To keep your balloon on a tether or you’ll drift into RESTRICTED AIRSPACE! And I say, fuck it… Wherever the wind blows…

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

“About the P.E.W. – Heading into 2018”

As of December 25th, The Primitive Entertainment Workshop went PREMIUM! That means, for the first time since I started this thing back in December of 2012, we are PAYING to be online. It costs about $100.00 for a year of FANCINESS, but it was an essential move, because we ran out of room for NEW STUFF.

We are now, OFFICIALLY, a DOT COM! Holy Glagnar!!! I don’t even know what fancy thing to do first!!!

If you are a regular reader of the site (and even the artwork has a literary dimension to it---if you don’t believe it let me know, and I’ll write you a PROOF that my doodles are actually thrilling works of fiction in visual form---even the abstracts!)… If you are a regular reader of the site, then you know we post A LOT. We have several regular contributors, and a few “once in a whilers,” and besides that, I’m a compulsive doodler and word compiler. And with the exciting digital technology that my wife keeps acquiring for me, it’s become extremely easy for me to scribble on a napkin or a receipt or a hunk of cardboard, then snap a high rez photo and color the heck out of it with those magical electro-devices and share them with all the humans and A.I. in the digital world! I draw all the time, and I write just about every day (mostly on scraps of paper or old bits of junk---and then I tape everything into my notebooks.) And, of course, a lot of what I create ends up on the P.E.W.!

But after 5 years of compiling stories and poems and photos and drawings and book reviews and all that jazz, we ran out of room. 5,700+ posts in five years. IMPOSSIBLE, now, to read everything we have posted. We needed to EXPAND---to GO PRO, if you will. So we did.

Now for most people, a hundred bucks is probably not that big of a deal. For ME, it’s a serious chunk of cash. Now that I’m PAYING to make this site, I’ve got to focus on trying to make that investment BACK before December of 2018 so that I can re-up for the next year. It’s only going to take me a few weeks to go over the “free” allotted space on this site, so I won’t be able to go BACK to the old plan without causing weird and potentially catastrophic things to happen.

And that’s where you folks come in. I’m going to be working pretty hard over the next year to try and make $101.00 to pay for the next years’ bill. (It only costs $96.00 for the plan, but I figure making an extra five bucks will help pay for the TIME I’ve invested.) If you believe in free expression, in helping the underdogs, in pushing punk creativity and Dada spirit and underground attitude in the MAKING OF THINGS (Richard Brautigan style---unpublished/self-published type stuff), then consider patronizing our PURCHASABLE sections: Books You Can Buy, the Primitive Image Emporium, Postcards from Paradise, and so on. We could sure use your help! It will keep the creativity rolling along, and we’ll be able to keep doing all the wacky things we do: posting new stories and art and poems, self-publishing our books, promoting creative expression in “outsider types” (like most of us at the Workshop), and KEEPING THOSE CONNECTIONS ALIVE! 

I’ve had tons of contributors who have helped sweeten the pot here at the Workshop over the years, and I’m extremely grateful to all of them for their efforts. One of these days, I should force myself to look through all the POSTS (a Herculean effort at this point) and write up a contributors’ list, just to make sure everyone gets credit! (But I think that’s a project for a different day.)

One of the BEST things about creating artwork and writing is the SHARING! The collaborations, the art parties, the bouncing off of each other’s ideas… These are the things that I love about this life. OBVIOUSLY, I’m not making any money at this, but I’ve made friends, some I’ve met in person, some that I’ve only ever talked with online. I’ve been influenced by the stories and artwork I’ve seen others make, and I’ve heard people say that I inspired them. (Comments like, “If he can sell THAT shit, anybody can do it!” are pretty common. Good to know I’m helping people understand that ANYONE can do this!) Sitting in the front yard with a bunch of drawings and paints scattered around, during the summer, and selling a $10 drawing to someone is wonderful, and getting to talk to them about how we (as a family) came up with the ideas for doing all this stuff, is even better! There’s also the thrill of seeing someone SMILE when they get one of my visual puns or when they work out the weird little joke I’ve got hidden in some three sentence story---these are great moments. These are worth it.

THE CONNECTIONS! However brief, however seemingly insubstantial, the connections that I make are the reason I keep doing this. It’s also the reason that EVERYONE should be MAKING THINGS THEMSELVES. You don’t have to be a trained artist to love to draw or paint. You don’t have to be a college graduate to write a story or a poem. You just have to be a human. And then to SHARE that work with others, that’s WHY we are alive. It’s not about making money (although now I HAVE to make money to keep the game rolling…), it’s about CONNECTING. Keep making, keep doing, keep connecting, and I’ll keep going, too, until I CAN’T anymore…

---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)