How to Make a Peach

How to Make a Peach

If you were tasked with making a peach, could you do it? How would you start? What raw ingredients would you gather?

Unlike cooking, you wouldn’t need a kitchen or utensils or anything from the grocery store. You would need a capsule full of DNA, a bunch of totally broken up material from dead things mixed with minerals and some super tiny living things too small to see, a little wetness, and one giant ball of gas that for some reason sticks together and produces light from a huge distance. Mix together and then wait almost a decade. Practically nothing happens at all except a bunch of wood comes from nowhere.

Finally, if you are patient and lucky a small orangish orb appears and unlike the hard, dry material that it dangles from, this delicate little blob is juicy.

But where does the taste come from? How does wood produce soft, sugary flesh with the flavor of angels? I am not asking for a scientific explanation. And I am certainly not asking for a mystical one. I loosely understand the “steps” but that does nothing to de-mystify the mystery. Reality is so much stranger than it’s possible to comprehend. That incredible taste, that drippy juice comes from wood, dirt and sunshine? Are you kidding me?! Go mix up some dirt and wood with a little water and it’s not going to be edible even if you eat it at noon. The missing ingredient is DNA and time? If I add those to the bowl of glop will it taste better?

We are living amongst such sophisticated intelligence that we ourselves are as ants in our comprehension. Well, maybe not all of us. Some people build airplanes for a living and that is also freaky. But an airplane, though much more transformative than a peach, is not delicious. Deliciousness was created by processes both larger and smaller than us. But not the ability to appreciate deliciousness. That we can handle.

The Power of Artificial Constraints

The Power of Artificial Constraints

Two short stories and a lesson.

Story One. I like to drink coffee in the morning, and I like it hot, hotter than the coffee maker makes it. So, I put my mug in the microwave for an additional 20 second blast and then I race to grab as much silverware as I can out of the dish drain and try to put it all away before the buzzer goes off. If I’m not holding it when I hear the sound I win and if I am still holding it, I lose. Despite the absence of stakes, I feel a little upset if I don’t get it done in time. Functional!

Story Two. Sometime before 3rd grade I lived in a very hilly neighborhood with winding roads. I liked to tell myself I could only use the breaks on my bike two times while coming home. This ultimately resulted in a total wipe out that ruined my bike and left me bloody and limping. Commitment!

Lesson. Create artificial restraints in your art practice. Make some rules. The thing about rules is they have to be clear as day and non-negotiable. They do not have to make sense or be good. Even if they make no sense they will work. The other thing about rules is they have to be fun. Fun to YOU! Not a rule you wanted or hoped would be fun. No, that’s Monopoly, a long and stupid game that you don’t want to play. The rules absolutely, positively have to be FUN! Make a piece of art, you win.

If you make up weird little rules for yourself, please share. I would love to know I am not the only weirdo.

Sidewalk Face 784