Wednesday, July 08, 2020


Last night while enjoying the final pipe of the day, there were sounds of wailing and insanity from the nearby intersection. Which was probably not a fellow smoker quietly going about their business, but a person bemoaning shelter in place, the threat of horrible death from the Corona Virus, and the need for facemasks and social distancing.
Quite likely a person who wished for renewed social life, joyous fits of occasional drunkenness in bars, the press of people, and gay sprightly music. Stimulation, entertainment, dissipation.

Personally, I hate gay sprightly music.

The silence is nice.

For smokers bars are a bit of a drag, and rather than any pressing, people in San Francisco shy away from me. Worst comes to worst I'll tell them that I also eat meat, and don't have a dog.

Tobacco has kept me sane these past few months. Walks with my pipe are perfect for social distancing, and drawing my various briars keeps me occupied for hours when I'm not reading depressing news. It's a form of concentration similar to meditating, and the results please me.

Here are my two most recent illustrations.

These two represent a developing sense of colour matching.

When I started drawing pipes last year, I had not discovered that by doing so on an extra large scale and reducing the result the effects would be more realistic. These two illustrations are half a year apart.

Last month I made some real progress. Colour gradations became more realistic, shapes more precise.

Years ago I carved a pipe myself out of a block of briar that was in one of the bookshelves for a long time, which was an interesting spatial and tactile experiment. Drawing it was also fun.

As far as illustration skills go, early May was a break-through. More luminescence, better shaping, and eye-popping highlights.

The enjoyment of pipes and tobacco has kept me sane longer than just during Covid times. Nicotine is a concentration and memory aide, and while also damaging healthwise, has been a comfort during hard times. My doctor keeps trying to talk me into quitting, which I believe he is required to do. And the nurse who checks my bloodpressure probably thinks I'm an unreconstructed hick straight out of the European equivalent of a rice paddy. Old fashioned, with mud between my toes.

Years ago, when my girlfriend and I split up and I was depressed, many friends suggested that I should give up smoking. Doing so, they averred, would increase my chances with the opposite gender.

Naturally, they were non-smokers. And several of them have faded from sight, though tobacco had nothing to do with that. My pipes have been companions for much of my life, and still are. They inculcate profound contemplation and peace, they give solace me in sorrow, and gild all my sunlit moments. They are fundamentally part of who I am.

I do not have a "girl friend". It's been a long time.
I have my pipes. They make me happy.


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