Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breaking the Rules


"We all make rules for ourselves. It's these rules that help define who we are. So, when we break those rules, we risk losing our selves and becoming something unknown." 
                       Dexter Morgan 

 In my own way I have created a space where there are no rules but love for art and fornication. Found artifacts and fancifully chaotic pieces stand in an area filled with the runnings of rabbits. Providing shade and suitable space for underground warrens, my backyard bunny garden called, BunnytownUSA is a monument to breaking the rules and a cheer for 'outsider artists' of all makes and models.

In truth, I began my own personal journey of Breaking the Rules began when I broke out of my mother's womb very prematurely. Shooting out a light bulb at the A&P with a slingshot, lighting matchboxes on fire in the carpool zone, shooting lizards and sparrows with bb's all went down as deeds of the miscreant who was to become a member of two Honor Councils, a teacher, an Administrator, and generally speaking a rule enforcer.

It was straight out of College, where I successfully avoided the Draft Lottery and received Honors in English at a school where smart folks wore black academic gowns to class, when I became an enforcer of rules as Dean of Students in a large North Florida preparatory school. No light-colored socks, no sideburns or long hair, no drinking alcohol or smoking evil weed on campus. I even for a time lived in that school's dormitory where my duties as enforcer of the rules got extended to 24-7 status. 

I had a cat then, named Dorian. No one could smell anything other than kitty litter in that closet where I often enjoyed late night smokes, myself breaking the rules I was set out to enforce. And my most fun memory as 'Dean of Students' was that night the other Dean and I set up Cherry bombs with cigarette fuses to pop off across campus while we watched from a tall tower that used be part of the Flagler Hotel system now a school campus. The security guard, a hefty Irishman named Carney, ran from spot to spot where the Cherries bombed and from that tower no one was allowed to enter, we had a good laugh.

I voted for Nixon back in the day. Maybe that was a last toast to my parents. Even Neil Young liked Ronald Rayguns at one time. My lone vote for Tricky was the last time I knelt to the elephants in the room. I was a 'Poet for Peace' and spoke against many. Now I listen to the words of Steve Earle which sadly ring true…"I remember when we was both out on the boulevard/ Talkin' revolution and singin' the blues/ Nowadays it's letters to the editor and cheatin' on our taxes/Is the best that we can do" .

Breaking the rules got me caught once for shop lifting a 98 cent Rolling Writer pen in Tacoma, Washington where I had moved in order to never teach again but rather to become a famous second to my hero, Raymond Carver or a third to his wife, Tess. My penchant for breaking the rules led to my many writerly pursuits being flat out rejected. My rule-breaking success at publication has been let's just say, bereft.

When my wife and I bought a wrecked house in a dark neighborhood, we broke the rules and became pioneers in our 'hood. It was many years ago, that I created our contribution to "One per cent for the Arts" in our rundown neighborhood. It became a beacon of light complete with art and rabbits. 

Even now I am breaking the rules at BunnytownUSA as our creative brethren number more than fifteen. Until homes can be found for the many little lagomorphs, that's the way it goes.  My freak flag still flies. Who knows, maybe I'll grow a beard. Let my thinning hair grow out a bit. For now, it's time to feed the rabbit hoards.

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