Sweet Taste of Water

15 08 2008

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief for Volume 3 Issue 4 August 2008

Summer in the Quad-State region is nearing an end and people all over are getting in their last-of-the-season beach vacations. Lisa Arroniz, copy editor extraordinaire was one of these folks that recently visited a favorite beach hot spot for residents along the east coast, and she is back with a Tour de Arts report from Nags Head, North Carolina.

Since Lisa’s article was submitted, something dawned on me that I never fully contemplated – I guess I just took it for granted and at face value. Isn’t it interesting how creative beach areas and their boardwalks are? When at the beach enjoying the sun, sand and water, we think only about how nice it is to lay back and relax or to view the great scenery. Or we just “be” in the moment and are able to stop all the thinking. Hey, who needs creativity in paradise? Yet, business people see the great potential of opening their so-called beachwear stores that have everything we don’t really need but feel the need to purchase as a souvenir. Selling everything from imported shells and dried-out water creatures to nets-for-your-basement décor, cheap jewelry, bumper stickers galore (most of them in bad taste), and a multitude of other knickknacks. Crap from factories in China sit in every beach shop along the major strips, often times making me think they are all owned by the same person. With this aside, though, isn’t it interesting how the beautiful sandy beaches – stretching as far as the eyes can see – call the creative juices in us to create something in the sand? Whether it is a full-blown sand sculpture, which some artists make a living at creating, or an age-old sandcastle that adults and children alike can appreciate making. Even if it is just to scratch our name or a message in the sand, there is something mystical to making a mark of creativity on a beach.

Isn’t it interesting, too, how we love to watch the airbrush artists at work behind large windows – spraying their colorful portraits of gangsta rappers and Hollywood stars or ripping off some great artist like Stephen Blickenstaff (Find out more about this monster artist in our next issue!) or creating a commissioned piece of the childish “so and so loves whosy whatsy” on white T-shirts? And why is it that murals are almost always accepted on the outside walls of boardwalk motels, but not so much in our local towns and cities – even along highways where there is no historical nazi committee breathing down hotel owners necks? Boardwalk festivals of all artistic genres are a given at nearly every beach in the nation – and galleries, of all sorts, can usually be found there as well. These, and more, are interesting contemplations on why the arts and creativity seem to flourish in areas where people are relaxed, less stressed and are ready to spend extra money.

Let’s allow this ocean/waterfront thing to bring me to another question? How can we be so complacent when it comes to ignoring the quality of the water that we love to photograph, play and swim in, fish from, and ultimately drink from? Would we be as enamored by the great sea if it were not water, but rather pure urine? I think to some degree, we would be. I can imagine the beautiful, golden color reflecting the sky and the sun would indeed be a sight to see. We might as well share this futuristic vision with our children, because polluting our waters with all sorts of waste is basically what our societies, on a whole, have been doing since the beginning of the industrial revolution – if not before. Can we save the waters so that they are chemical and waste free?

So, as you have probably realized, the theme of water is rippling through these pages. Water – the quality of it, the future of it and the benefits of it has been an issue to contemplate for generations. It has been an especially profitable topic for some science fiction writers and filmmakers to explore in their novels and movies. These sci-fi, futuristic stories that focus on wars over water have been quite successful sellers – not because of the great plot, but because of the reality of this serious issue that we all should be thinking about and doing something to fix. The future is upon us in so many facets.

I was also contemplating a second theme for this issue, which is one we have explored before – mental illness. I questioned, however, whether mental illness, as serious and relevant to the arts as it is, warranted having yet another issue dedicated to it – and just four issues after the previous “Mind” issue (Issue 2 Volume 6). In the end, content overflow for this edition made the decision for me – so another mental mind boggler will just have to wait until our next issue.

But while we are in a “mental” frame of mind, let me pose these pondering thoughts: Why is it that America has so many mental illnesses? Is it like this in other countries? Why are there such staggering numbers of people being diagnosed with one form of mental illness or another as well as bodily cancers? Are we all going to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder one of these days? If our fleshly bodies are indeed made up of something like 98 percent water, then why in the world are we not putting water at the top of our list of things to take care of – so, in turn, we are putting the very best water in our bodies?

HOWEVER, for the record: Hi, my name is David. Yes, I am a soda junky. I have been free of any bubbly substances for about a week now . . . Boohoo-hoo, sniffle, sniffle, but I am so weak. I really love water, especially iced water, but in a former life I think I was a hummingbird and well, boohoo-hoo-hoo, it is just so hard to quit this addiction to pop – ya know. But I am trying. Thanks to you guys for being here for me. I feel the love.


Artfully Yours,


David F. Heatwole


P.S. Congratulations to two of our family: Sandi Valentine, our newest editor, gave birth to Luna Sae born August 19. Abby Sandy our new designer got married to Jeremy Hansford. Congratulation to you both and your families! Lastly, our condolences go out to Jen Newmyer and her family as she recently lost her mother who had been battling cancer.