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Life is too short for this

Last night I awoke at midnight and spent the next three hours skimming along the edge of sleep.

Instead of discoursing with the demons that like to alight in those hours, I drifted in love and beauty. From a cocoon of comfort, my minds eye watched colors and shapes. Golden columns rose and dissolved. Waves of aqua and emerald and pink flowed and ebbed. Figures twisted into view before fading into mist.

I understood that I was experiencing a history of art. Not viewing art from afar. Not learning about it academically, but being in art as its been created through time.

When I finally fell asleep I dreamed of the fabulous Wyeths. The great illustrator and teacher, NC. His immortal son Andrew, who painted death and madness, sex, suffering, rage and rocky endurance with such subtlety that foolish critics took him for a sentimental painter of quaint Americana. And Jamie, Andrew’s son, who paints everything from presidents to pigs (but I repeat myself).

In my dream they weren’t three generations of a remarkable family. They were brothers. Which, in a way makes sense. They are brothers in arts.

In the dream they were imperiled and I needed to save them. But as is usual, the dream ended with no conclusion.

—–

In the last year I’ve been embraced by art.

I’ve always been an aesthete to my core, and my mother’s family told tales of famous artists and writers somewhere out on the branches of our hillbilly family tree. But I’ve also always been a peasant and for the past 30 years I’ve lived in relative poverty, far from civilization, with very little opportunity to experience art outside of books or videos.

I studied illustration in my 20s, but I was merely good and not great at it and that frustrated me into quitting. Excuses, excuses. Today this is about the level of my skill. And that’s when I’m trying really hard.

But last summer, I had chances to get close to great art, not merely by tromping through museums (though that, too), but by being a guest at the home of a fabled collector, and discovering not only wonders of beauty, but also the wonders of friendship and love on a level entirely new to me.

That experience has grown on me and led me down rabbitholes I’m only beginning to explore.

—–

And speaking of love, the last couple of years have — quite surprisingly to this formerly happy hermit — brought me a love I have never experienced or even dreamed of experiencing.

The dashing blockade runner whose blog nym is Rhett has become such a deep part of my heart that life without him pales. Yet — best of all perhaps — we not only have an unprecedented meeting of minds, souls, and bodies, but we share a grown-up love. No dramas. No games. No desperations, jealousies, rivalries, possessiveness, or doubts. Just two long-time friends who’ve become much more than that and are finding more of ourselves and each other to explore every day.

And we mesh in such odd ways. Give us a problem and he will approach it analytically. I will come at it intuitively. And we will arrive at the same solution. Time and again. It’s amazingly great.

Sometimes I think the swell of gratitude will burst my chest.

Oh. And Rhett is the one who made my immersion in art possible. And he even eventually brought some of that art home, including one piece especially dear to me. I look up at what’s on the walls of his house and I really do think my heart will burst.

—–

Rhett is also a freedomista and a news junkie. Just like me. We ponder whether World War 3 might be on the horizon or whether a society can recover once it’s governed by morons and fantasists.

That part sucks. But it’s us.

Aesthetics and politics. Joint inheritances from my mother. The two fit in my brain like like fighting bulldogs. Gee thanks, Ma.

Sure, art and political/social commentary can go together. See Goya and Daumier and Hogarth and for that matter Jamie Wyeth in his Vietnam-era youth.

But they do not go together for me or in me.

—–

The above is prologue.

It is my way of saying why I’m quitting this blog.

I may post very occasionally from now on, but never again regularly, and not about The Usual Crises. The blog will remain online, but don’t expect frequent postings.

I’ve wanted to quit for some time and the only reason I haven’t is that I love the people who gather here and I don’t want either to lose you or to let you down. Oh, that and that I’ve needed the couple hundred dollars a month the blog still earns and the occasional lovely surprise contribution some dear old friend sends.

But I’ve also noticed that, as readership appears to grow and new voices join the Commentariat, the few hundred in donations grow incrementally smaller month by month.

This is not a complaint. Everybody is under stress. Inflation is sucking away your grocery money and the money to fuel your vehicle. You’ve also got to prep for whatever’s coming — and whatever’s coming, we can’t know what it is, but we know it won’t be pretty. I thank you for every dollar. I thank the wonderful old faithfuls, the people who’ve raised their pledges even when they couldn’t afford it, the amazingly generous, the mainstays and the newbies.

I will be closing my Patreon account in mid-May. If you want to cancel your monthly pledge now (before your credit card is charged on May 1), by all means do. OTOH, if you want to give me one last hearty farewell, I’ll be happy to have one last round of blog funds.

You can also make a one-time farewell donation if you wish.

But I ask and expect nothing. I am brim full with what you have given me over the years, materially, intellectually, and emotionally. I just need not to do politics and news any more and to give more of my time and spirit to the other loves in my life.

I don’t know exactly what form that will take where art is concerned; I’m neither good enough to do art as a profession nor prosperous enough to do it as a collector nor credentialed enough to do it as a critic. I just know I need to stop doing this so that I can have a mind uncluttered for that.

I do know what form it will take in giving more of myself to my relationship and life with Rhett.

Also. I won’t be going entirely offline. You can still meet me — and a crew of wonderful freedomistas and friends — over at The Living Freedom Forums.

—–

Finally … this global mess we’re in.

You already know what to do about it. You don’t need me except for entertainment. You can’t stop the crazies from being crazy, the warmongers from being warmongers, the thieves from being thieves, the plotters from plotting, the elitists from holding you and everything you value in contempt.

But you can … well, do any or all of the things we’ve talked about over the years. Own your own mind. Take care of you and yours. Prepare for survival and “thrival” (as Silver puts it). Hold to your values. Preserve the knowledge and skills of your culture. And laugh at the naked emperor progressing pompously down the road.

As terrible as things are, there are marvelous signs that a backlash is building against the madness and criminal folly that’s dominating our age. And that backlash is shaping up to be a doozy.

The awake are getting wise to the woke. The formerly peaceable and placid are rising up. New tech developments are making it feasible to do what the Internet was always supposed to do — treat censorship as damage and route around it.

You go, parents. You go, Elon. And you, DeSantis. You go, you columnists and bloggers who are finally calling a spade a spade. You go, you professors suing the institutions who cancelled you. You go, creators of alt social media. You go, Web 3 developers and builders of privacy tech.

The hysterical screeching from authoritarians says they’re desperate and scared. Of us. And others like us. They’re scared that others will rediscover freedom and escape from their grasp — and they have every reason to be.

No, whatever happens won’t be pretty. Protect yourself and yours and prepare to build an alternate, reality-based world for your posterity. But it’s nice to envision a glow of freedom on the horizon.

—–

Me, I’ll still be living as much freedom and as much time is left to me. Living it in love with Rhett and surrounded by beauty.

45 Comments

  1. Comrade X
    Comrade X April 27, 2022 1:41 pm

    I am a whole lot of happy, HAPPY for you and Rhett!!!

    You and now Rhett too are in our hearts, that’s an always thing so ya’ll being happy will forever be in our hearts too.

    Happiness is not rated high enough and much more important than Forums, blogs or just about anything else out there.

    Let’s all enjoy our lives, find happiness and survive to find even more happiness too.

  2. Granny
    Granny April 27, 2022 1:48 pm

    I believe that one of the most important thing you can do in life is go with your heart, your intuition, your desire to be immersed in things that nurture you. I’ve loved reading your posts and I wish you the best.

    P.S. I’ll miss you

  3. Joel
    Joel April 27, 2022 2:02 pm

    Love ya, Claire. Be happy.

  4. Big Country Expat
    Big Country Expat April 27, 2022 2:38 pm

    Wow! Gonna say, been a privilege to enjoy your thoughts! Best of luck, watch your six and try to stay sane (and gray)!

  5. Thomas L. Knapp
    Thomas L. Knapp April 27, 2022 3:23 pm

    Claire,

    You and your writing have been a resource of immense value to me, more than I could possibly repay. I wish you (and “Rhett”) all the best in the changes you’re making, and it should (but also mustn’t) go without saying that you owe those of us whose lives you’ve made better NOTHING. When you happen to feel like posting/publishing something, I’ll be glad to see it, and hope that it will reflect the continuing happiness that you so richly deserve.

  6. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar April 27, 2022 3:54 pm

    Thanks for everything, Claire! And I am glad you will still maintain the LFF. It is a wonderful place!

  7. Max M Wiley
    Max M Wiley April 27, 2022 3:54 pm

    Noooooo!
    But I would never want you to continue if you don’t want to. If you are done, you are done.
    Never doubt that your words were important to so many. The number of truly libertarian voices is so small, and every voice that teaches honest freedom is very important.
    I’ve enjoyed the ride. Thank you so much.

  8. MP
    MP April 27, 2022 4:07 pm

    I am happy for you and where you find yourself in life, Claire. Your writings have been a part of mine for quite some time and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to benefit from them. Do know that you have been more than entertainment for some of us, especially those of us whose only like-minded compatriots are found online. The monologue and dialogue from and with you has helped me to hone my thinking in some wonderful ways and I will be eternally grateful for that!

  9. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal April 27, 2022 4:25 pm

    I’ll miss you. You’ve influenced me so much, from my earliest days online, when I printed out many liberty-loving quotes– including your “It’s too late” quote– and posted them on the walls of my store, to today. Feeling this as a loss feels selfish to me. I want you happy. It still feels like a loss.

  10. Fred M
    Fred M April 27, 2022 4:57 pm

    People seem to think that you, like Alice, will disappear down that pesky rabbit hole rarely to be seen again. 😎
    Our lives, like the seasons, are constantly changing and evolving. Sometimes we have some control, most of the time we don’t and are just going along for the ride. Thanks for all you have done for so many in providing stimulation for our brains and in providing us with another way to approach troublesome concepts. Your effort and you will not be forgotten. Best of luck in your future endeavors, and don’t stay away too long..
    Be well, be safe,

  11. Concerned American
    Concerned American April 27, 2022 7:00 pm

    Madame:

    You have done more for freedom than most who claim that title.

    It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you a few years back.

    Go and enjoy completely the rest of the time on the clock.

    You have more than done your duty.

    Godspeed.

    CA
    WRSA

  12. Iwoots
    Iwoots April 27, 2022 9:59 pm

    Claire, Fair Winds & Following Seas.

  13. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge April 27, 2022 10:31 pm

    As the ancient Romans used to say and the good Padres taught me:

    AVE ATQVE VALLE (Latin for Hail and Farewell!)

    Been reading your stuff since 101 Things and Shoot the Bastards.

    As we horsemen say, you’re one to ride the river with Claire!

    You helped keep me sane while languishing over 30 years as a teacher in a government school.

    Best of luck to you and Rhett! You deserve it!

  14. Just Waiting
    Just Waiting April 27, 2022 11:03 pm

    Wow Claire, I can’t believe this day has finally come. Thank you for all you have given us over the years.

  15. larryarnold
    larryarnold April 28, 2022 12:16 am

    Vaya con Dios. If your travels take you to Texas again, I’ll be around.

  16. Jeff2
    Jeff2 April 28, 2022 3:58 am

    “The only obligation we have in each of our lives is to be true to ourselves.” – Richard Bach The Messiah’s Handbook

    Another fork on the journey! Be well, Claire.

    Love and Light to All!

    Jeff2

  17. bibamufu
    bibamufu April 28, 2022 5:29 am

    Thank you and so long Claire…

  18. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail April 28, 2022 5:51 am

    Thank you Claire. Bittersweet for many of us, but very happy for you.

    If something passes being a pleasure and turns into a chore, it is indeed very legitimate to ask why we are continuing to do it.

  19. M
    M April 28, 2022 6:57 am

    So glad you have found Joy! Maybe you’ll have more time to use that Cookbook from many years ago.

  20. LibertyNews
    LibertyNews April 28, 2022 9:23 am

    Enjoy and be well friend.

    But as for quitting the blog… I’m skeptical as always 🙂 So take all the time you need, and if you ever decide to return, we’ll be here. Heck Ryo at Laptop and Rifle vanished for 7 years between his last two posts.

  21. Noah Body
    Noah Body April 28, 2022 12:38 pm

    I’ll miss your wisdom . . . but your happiness is what counts. Yes, life’s too short for all the BS. Godspeed.

  22. Bob C.
    Bob C. April 28, 2022 1:05 pm

    I only discovered your blog less than a year ago, so your (semi)retirement from it is bad/sad for me. But it should be wonderful for you, and that’s what matters! Live long, be well, and enjoy! And as always, keep your powder dry, and your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark. (And that pic of the dog is *excellent*; congrats!)

  23. RW
    RW April 28, 2022 1:44 pm

    Congrats, you have done it, accomplished the most difficult. Not sure of the right word, nirvana, samadhi? Sorry about the blog but most envious am I.

  24. SLee
    SLee April 28, 2022 5:36 pm

    Oh Claire, I will miss you. Started reading you in Backwoods Home, and followed you off and on throughout the years.

    Watching you turn Ye Olde Wreck into a home, and find love has been a balm to my stressed-out life. You deserve some quiet time. Godspeed.

  25. Cube64
    Cube64 April 28, 2022 8:30 pm

    For years, I’ve benefitted from the wisdom you’ve been sharing on this blog and elsewhere. Everything you write is infused with your own unique brand and personality. And you’ve built a small community of resourceful and independent-thinking readers who have all recognized and appreciated the same qualities that I have. Thank you for all you’ve done.

    Even though everyone here is always glad to hear whatever you may want to write about, I think they would all agree that it is more important that you make the most of the freedom that you have and enjoy the things you love doing.

  26. Behind Enemy Lines
    Behind Enemy Lines April 29, 2022 6:23 am

    Good luck, Claire, and thanks for all your work over the years. It’s been a long strange journey, and it’s not over yet. Remember too that living well is the best revenge . . . or, perhaps, simply best.

  27. Bob G
    Bob G April 29, 2022 9:43 am

    Thank you for everything, Claire!

    I’ve followed you since the Backwoods Home days and have always enjoyed your wisdom, humor and wit. I wish you and Rhett all the best and you in particular some well-deserved time off.

    ¡Muchisimas gracias!
    Bob

  28. R R Schoettker
    R R Schoettker April 29, 2022 1:59 pm

    I fully understand your decision. The best choice is always the one that serves your individuality in the fullest way. Best wishes and good fortune.

  29. Daylan
    Daylan April 29, 2022 6:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing your time and talents. I’ll miss reading your words of wisdom. Life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness be yours.

  30. Those People
    Those People April 29, 2022 9:18 pm

    Good for you! Thank you for many years of insight and inspiration. Glad you’ll still be lurking around the Cabal. XXXOOO’s from the two of us.

  31. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson April 30, 2022 12:50 am

    Thank you, Claire, for your years of insights and fine writing. Balanced, reasonable, principled. Your blogs have been an oasis.
    Being a sucker for a good love story, I am touched and thrilled with your deepening relationship with Rhett. You couldn’t have ended your blog on a more positive note.

  32. The Freeholder
    The Freeholder April 30, 2022 4:28 pm

    I hate to see you leave, but I’m happy that you’re going out on good and happy terms, rather than some burned out husk. Enjoy your life.

    And you actually are a better than fair artist. James Howard Kunstler sells his paintings-why not have a try selling yours? Maybe take commissions. I have one that I’d scrape up the bucks to have you do.

  33. polimath
    polimath April 30, 2022 6:59 pm

    So long and safe passage or put another way,
    “So long and thanks for all the fish!!”

  34. jsto
    jsto April 30, 2022 7:27 pm

    I’m a better, more informed, freedom-minded person because of you, Claire. I’m fortunate for discovering your wisdom while at Paladin and your books will be with me always for those moments when I ask myself WWCD? Which is quite often these days. I too have reached a life-is-too-short-for-this mindset regarding deep news consumption and have been happier because of it. I’m thrilled for you and your new adventures!

    A heartfelt thank you. You made a substantial impact on many.

  35. mike
    mike May 1, 2022 10:11 am

    To everything there is a season. You have given a treasure trove of wisdom and wit. Enjoy all of life’s adventures that are in store. I shan’t say farewell, only, till later.

  36. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge May 1, 2022 5:28 pm

    Everyone – Some great comments. Put me down for what all the rest of you said

    Claire – Regarding your artwork – It’s way the hell better than anything I can do! ( Not a particularly high bar, but still). Damn, go for it! Open a studio! I’ve seen lesser stuff than yours sell!

  37. John Wilder
    John Wilder May 3, 2022 9:08 pm

    Claire,
    You lit the torch and put light to our cause – your writing, wisdom, and wit have inspired me. Thank you for all that you have done. When you’re here, we’ll be here.

  38. pyrrhus
    pyrrhus May 5, 2022 12:58 pm

    How wonderful! God bless you both…

  39. I’m just now discovering you.
    God bless you and Rhett.

    If you’re ever up SLC, UT way, let me know, you’ll have my email below.
    If time and circumstances prevail, you’re welcome to dinner.
    My wife is a great farmhouse cook (learned from her g’mother).
    (and don’t be afraid of my nom de plume – it’s all the so-called insults hurled by TPTB within the past several years. You’ll probably recognize every one and their source. I wear them all as badges of honor)

  40. Mike
    Mike May 8, 2022 6:20 pm

    Dang, I hate to hear you’re ending the blog, but happy as hell for you just the same. You’re going to be missed, my dear, and not just by me. From what you said above, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing, really. Nothing but the very best to you, to Rhett, and your whole famn damily. It’s time for you to be good to yourself for a while, so go on, get to it, girl! xoxoxoxo

  41. JohnnyC
    JohnnyC May 15, 2022 6:21 am

    Long time reader here and on backwoods, but a very infrequent poster.

    I don’t think our wanna be masters realize that all they did with the Rona was make everyone take stock of whats important, worth preserving and fighting for. Yep, backlash gonna hurt. At this rate, the crazy cannibals are saving us the trouble.

    I’m extremely happy for you and Rhett, finding real love makes everything amazing as I found out in 2019. God bless you both, will miss your posts but we all have real life gardens to tend to.

  42. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge May 15, 2022 2:44 pm

    JohnnyC – You speak the truth!

  43. DistOne
    DistOne May 17, 2022 7:03 am

    Good luck and may the Creator be with you for all eternity. Know that you have been an immense inspiration to myself and many other people.

  44. John Wilder
    John Wilder September 13, 2022 9:05 pm

    I still come by weekly.

  45. John Wilder
    John Wilder September 13, 2022 9:07 pm

    (actually three times a week, but who is counting)

    I did see The Mrs. had a copy of your Basics of Resistance out the other day . . . 🙂

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