“Knowing that there may be no end has not dissuaded me from my journey into the depths of meaning that lie between the covers of the Slightly Varying Circumstances Sketchbook. After all it is not the end I am after, it is the beginning, the origin of the idea that started it all, and the absolute truth about each and every possible slightly varying circumstance no matter what obstacles may be ahead or hardships I might face. To look through the Slightly Varying Circumstances sketchbook with the hope of understanding is to travel through a maze within which every corner is only slightly different from the next and to make it through you must recognize each of these differences and understand their relation to the whole as well as grasping their own individual meaning. To turn back is not an option, no string could stretch far enough, and not all the bread ever baked could produce enough crumbs to mark the path you would be on.”
– Jack Olson
Then, sir, said she, follow even this highway, and it will bring you unto the Chapel Perilous; and here I shall abide till God send you here again, and, but you speed, I know no knight living that may achieve that adventure
Le Morte d’Arthur Book 6
I have become lost in the maze. I must admit, at this point, my thoughts about what I am doing have taken an unforeseen turn, things seem to be falling apart. My initial beliefs in the direction my investigations were headed have been overwhelmed, drowned by doubts; my convictions about what I thought I knew are lost. I wonder what this revelation could mean for all the slightly varying circumstances, and what lies ahead, if anything. As I think on this a dark image troubles me, its dominating presence pitilessly burning through all I had learned. That the discovery of an object I had made could bring such a nightmare, a nightmare slow in coming but coming none the less, is something I had never considered, but now as I do consider it, as it moves lazily through my mind I find myself wishing I could somehow abort this rough beast before it is born, but I’m afraid that it is too late.
This object was not so much discovered as it was remembered. Only days ago as I paced the floor of the room within the red shop building I recalled this object and where I’d left it months before. Behind some heavy oil soaked boards and a stack of abandoned paintings on plywood sat this object, a small wooden house I’d built nearly a year ago. As I reached out to retrieve the house ideas formed and connections were made. In an instant I believed that this was the turning point into a new and unexplored area of the maze which I believed would lead me quickly to the end, to the answers I was looking for. Immediately, with the house in hand, I hurried to one of my composition books in which I proceeded to write out all that had come to me.
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? She asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter”
It doesn’t matter. Turning down this new path without looking, running from the start, eyes set firmly on nothing in the distance but a belief that what I was after lay there waiting. The words I wrote came quickly, misspelled and run together, I’d fix it all later, I thought.
The original Extenuating Circumstances
Below is a digital image of the house which is constructed from wood and painted in a haphazard manner. Although I can recall the building of this replica of the representation that symbolizes an idea as of yet determined the exact plan I had in mind for its use is not known to me now. I do remember soon after its completion once or twice holding the house in a manner much like how I imagined a giant monster would hold a house he had just torn from its foundation. While holding the house, like a giant monster, I would laugh while shaking it as if trying to dislodge any occupants, one of which I imagined I was after for his inability to adequately answer some question I had asked regarding the mysteries surrounding certain slightly varying circumstances. On several occasions, when not imagining myself as an angry giant monster, I made photographs of the house all the while unaware of its connection to the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing, but thinking at the time that there was a reason for this house that would eventually come to me, and it did! That is, I have now decided that my original intention (unknown to me until now) was to build a model of the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing for the purpose of examining the interactionof the various symbols within the drawing in a 3 dimensional environment. The reason for
this is that seeing something in 3 dimensions is very different than seeing it in two. Imagine you are looking at a postcard of a carousel located in the 19th Arrondissement at the bottom of a hill atop of which sits the Sacre Coeur. Now imagine instead of looking at the postcard you are actually on that carousel riding one of the brightly colored creatures while waving at an attractive person who is on holiday with you in the city of lights. Or, imagine you (somehow transported back in time [because I don’t know any current models name and must go back 30 years to make this example work]) are looking at Cheryl Tiegs in a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and then compare that to sitting comfortably in a swank penthouse apartment as Cheryl brings you a cold beverage of your choice. Are you getting the idea? The reason for building the replica is because three dimensions are what we all live in, it is what we know, if not well, at least best.
“Only the unknown frightens men. But once a man has faced the unknown, that terror becomes the known.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Now, since I have not built the Slightly Varying Circumstances diorama it is necessary that I get inside my own head and try to imagine what it is I would do with the diorama that would help me to better understand the original idea that lead to the idea of the diorama that has not been built because of my misplacing of the model ‘house’ at some time in the past year. Before moving on I would like to say a few words about my use of the word diorama to describe the 3 dimensional representation of the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing. If one were to look up the word diorama in the Oxford dictionary they would find the following definition, “a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit”. As I have no intention of ever building a large scale model for use in a museum we can remove that part of the definition, and, since there will be no figures (if by figures one means human or animal forms) in my scene that part can also be removed from the definition. This leaves us with “a model representing a scene in miniature” as the definition of diorama. Unfortunately this definition does not exactly work either for the reason that my 3 dimensional representation would not be a scene in miniature because it would actually be larger than the drawing it was attempting to represent. So the definition for diorama, in the case of my model, is “a model representing a scene”. For the sake of brevity I will not go into the definition of the word ‘scene’ within my definition of the word ‘diorama’, but mention it here only to let you know that I thought about it and that if I was to choose a definition it would be “a place or setting regarded as having a particular character or making a particular impression” although there are many problems with this definition I have chosen to ignore them here and would appreciate it if you did the same.
In order to begin the diagrams of the diorama that has not been built I had to first establish the exact measurements of the ‘house’ that already is. Below is a diagram illustrating the measurements of the 3 dimensional ‘house’. (All measurements were taken using the United States customary system.)
After determining the measurements of the house I then proceeded to think about the dimensions of the box within which the scene will be represented. Of course it had to be large enough to accommodate the already existing ‘house’, but I also thought that the meaning of the numbers should be taken into consideration. For instance the height of the box could be 15 inches and work very well, however, according to Joshua David Stone PhD, “there are “laws of manifestation” with the number 15 concluding the fourth level of spiritual manifestation. Because 15 may be divided by 3 (which signifies harmony) and 5 (which represents life), this shows that 15 represents matter in its most harminous (sic)form.” while the number 16 according to R. Allendy, represents “the role of the Karma 6 in the cosmic unit 10. This role consists in creating a current of evolution (1 + 6 = 7) but towards two opposite directions, so that, by itself, 16 even number (sic), is unable to choose.” So, on second thought, after reading all of that I decided that taking all this into conscious consideration would be more than I felt like dealing with and that picking the numbers by what worked would be for the best while also possibly bringing more significance to the numbers chosen if they were decided upon merely by chance or convenience.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right”
– Thomas Paine
The quote above is where the original Extenuating Circumstances came to an end; it is written on the side of the path inside the maze I wander. It is where all began to seem lost. Tolkien said “All who wander are not lost” which may be true for some, but not for me, not now. Whether the above excerpts from the original Extenuating Circumstances manuscript makes any sense at all or is leading anywhere but in circles I do not know. The words did seem to make sense when I wrote them, there did seem to be a point I had in mind, but none of it matters now. Perhaps I moved to quickly, became dizzy, a little sick, and only require a quick lie down to feel better, for everything to be right again. Maybe. I don’t know.