Saturday, May 19, 2018

Being approached by an art scammer

Last week I got an email from a stranger asking to buy two pieces of my art. Would I please email him photos of a few that were available so he could choose? Of course, I said. He picked two and asked the price. $175 each, I said, and he said fine. He'd send me a check and then have them picked up.

I was a tiny bit suspicious but only because his emails were poorly written and that seemed both unfair and unkind of me, so I set the suspicions aside. We texted back and forth about the check, which he was sending with tracking. It wasn't a personal check and that was fine too. All that seemed good.

Then the check arrived. The return address on the postal form was Dow Chemical, which seemed odd. And instead of the $350 we'd agreed on, it was made out for $1,450.60. I was fooled for about 5 minutes. Had he decided to generously pay me a lot more? Then I noticed that the check, from City Bank, had no watermark and that the word "Offical" was misspelled.

I knew about such scams, of course, but had never heard of them with art work. My credit union was amazed by how shoddy the fake check was (it would never have scanned through their machine). They took it, my email correspondence with "Michael Freeman," and his phone number to pass along to their fraud department.

Curiously, I wasn't angry about this, just very sad. Sad that I had wasted a fair amount of time communicating with this guy and even sadder that he wasn't really interested in my art.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

a recent poem of mine



Saw Joseph, Mary, and Jesus
in the parking lot at Trader’s Joe
The Madonna sat on a big stone
at the edge of the lot
a shawl over her hair and her child
The Father stood holding a cardboard sign
“Anything helps”
I’d left home without my wallet
hurrying to an appointment
in my privileged life
so I blessed them and drove on

Saw God pushing a cart of cans
past my driveway
He hadn’t bathed in forever
and a cigarette dangled from his lips
The look he gave me was hard to bear
the hurt and hate in equal measure
I went back to my car
for a gift of socks
but he’d moved on

Saw the Devil on TV
with his comb-over and tiny hands
but I was mistaken
He was all too human
greed and lust incarnate
and I turned away
with pity and contempt
awash in me

Heard the Holy Spirit
singing its heart out
from a tree in first leaf
no bigger than a minute
but so full of hope and joy
at being alive
that I took heart again
and carried a lighter load

Jill Kelly, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Out from under the tyranny of shoulds

The same online course I mentioned a couple of posts back asked us to write down a list of our shoulds, those obligations we impose on ourselves. By the time I was writing the third page, I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. Not only were there several dozen very old shoulds (I should stretch every day, I should lose more weight, I should meditate longer) but there were new ones that both appalled me and made me laugh: I should paint more, I should paint every spare minute, I should write every day, I should have more blog readers). The lists went on and on and the burden of them was heavy. I knew I wanted out from under this tyranny.

Much of "should" is in the use of the word. Shoulds  express an obligation of a future action or condition; they aren't about reality. So I have committed to two things. First, I want to turn all my should thinking and speaking into could thinking and speaking. Instead of I should paint more, I want to be thinking I could paint more. Now it's a possibility, not an obligation. Second, when the should impulse comes up, I want to ask myself this question: Do I want to do this or do I not want to do this? That too is friendlier. And for some things, while I might not want to do them, I need to (like going to the dentist or perhaps finishing a work project on a tight deadline) but it's still not a should.

I'm finding that this change in my thinking and speaking is really lightening my load.  

What is your relationship with should?