So the dysentery is worse than I thought and ended up sleeping at 6pm, the raindrops dripping over the bed. My guts are gnawing my insides. Now, early at four in the morning in the darkness, I am wide awake due to exploding fireworks and barking dogs…thinking about the Taller.

One healthy approach to life when you have the privilege of private thoughts in your own dark room, is to think grandly. Think expansive, not merely with the ego on the dimension of fortune or fame, but especially with how your work could touch more people and connect with them.

In creative work, it is so often about severity, and seduction.

Severity because we are so accustomed to seeing (and then thinking) with the constrictions of what is physically available to us, and since we must aim to conserve the Mayan heritage in our art. That art is often primitive and rough, descending from the drawings in the caverns from centuries past. One consequence of that is we think with a “diet,” a pre-fixed set of ideas that intuitively tell us what we can or cannot use as ingredients.

But Seduction comes not only with expanding your horizons with new ingredients, new people, and how you relate with them… seduction comes with risk and opportunity. How can we take something so raw, an art that is so stark and unpolished, and make it relevant and attractive for sophisticated travelers and academic or museum clientele? And beyond the high-brow “couture” of our work, wherein lies the balance of low-brow massive appeal?

Even in a place like Chiapas where there are international flavors of artistic, culinary and philosophical influences, most people still partake of it in a perfunctory way. The deeper sense rarely get infused into people’s conscience, to help them really understand the origin/core of that culture, help them tweak their own efforts. For instance, after an aromatic and savory dinner, everybody just goes back into their routine lives, back to “how things are done.” Admittedly, I am very often the same.

But today. This morning. I grant myself permission to imaginatively leave this bubble of surreal-reality in which I live, and breathe more deeply, to notice the details which I may have missed, to seek to understand more about others, to flesh out how Taller Leñateros might fit into their lives more wholly and serve them in a personal way. So the client that walks in, who is she, the living and breathing person? How does she discriminate and distiguish herself? How might all the products make sense to her? And would the prices be attractive. (Ugh. It is nearly impossible to get locals to think in the way real commercial transactions are done. Like the simple concept of bulk discount doesn’t seem to take root around here.)

I should know, though I shouldn’t presume to know, because she/the client is often like me. But what sort of experience does she want, how would she like to be reached, courted, seduced and engaged? (I fail to know exactly what I want, but I’ll know when it’s there. This is the hard part. This is also the ingenious part.)

Personal Note: Today a Japanese artist, Tamana, from Tokyo has come to live with me, and she tells me so much about the Oaxaca art scene as well as galleries in Japan. We happily speak Spanish to each other because there is no other common language. We also went with all our engineer friends (Maki, Arlene, Gabby, Arely, Pepe, and Valeria) to Petra’s house in nearby Chamula for the Mayan summer solstice ceremonies.

Spanish Word of the Day:crisantemo” chrysanthemum

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