“Isolation Manifesto (14 May 2020)” by Richard F. Yates

Listen! Listen! (on the inside, not the outside)

I had a terrible time sleeping---not sleeping---last night (finally! I get my best thinking done when I’m wandering through my head in the twilight hours… (Screw you, S. Meyer, for ruining a good word for modern audiences… “TWILIGHT” used to be Serling territory…)), and so I switched my Kindle’s WiFi connection on and sent myself a note. (I’m always sending myself notes---because I have very little ability to remember. YOU ALSO have very little ability to remember, too, most likely, but you can’t remember that you can’t remember. I started writing things down when I was VEEEEEERY young, so I can SEE the details that I’ve forgotten I’ve forgotten… Writing is dangerous. It makes the world stop in place, can change minds, and certainly makes the past into a swirling abyss of mystery. I try to write daily. This type of danger is good for you!)

Here’s the note that I sent to myself last night. (Did you remember that we were “talking” about a note that I’d sent to myself?):

I am uncertain if I am alone in feeling this way, but the current global pandemic, which has upended (and just plain ENDED) lives around the oblate spheroid on which we spin, gives me cause for reflection. Once again, I find myself contemplating ULTIMATE VALUES...

Midnight---am I right? (Write…)

What do I mean (did I mean then…if the meaning is different NOW from what I meant THEN…and it might be as oftentimes things have different meanings in the morning) by “ULTIMATE VALUES.”

To me, “ULTIMATE VALUES” are the moral / ethical / conceptual STARTING POINTS from which each person decides how to live, what to do, how to behave, what to believe. For most people, these ultimate values are GIVEN to them by society, their social network, their religion / education / culture / conversations / readings / and (occasionally) through their own personal contemplation and consideration. (I don’t believe this last permutation is particularly common.)

So… (I hear you mumbling…again…) What the fuck? Who cares? Why should I read further? For those of you bored by all of these words, here is a pretty picture:

isolation manifesto square by rfy

It still has words in it, sadly, but at least the words are colorful! (I’m being funny, and not in any way making a joke at my own reader’s expense.)


(23 percentage marks. 23 seemingly innocuous suggestions.)

Let’s take a detour. Here are 23 songs that I think are fun. I listened to 21 of them in a playlist, yesterday, while I was hanging artwork in my art room (attempting to make the environment more enjoyable, inspirational, educational, and confusing. (Confuse a Cat, Inc., for all of your cat confusing needs. We have three indoor cats who like to break my stuff and knock over my neatly stacked piles…) Perhaps I’ve digressed…), but I’ve added two more songs to bring us to a nice, even 23! Please listen to all of these songs. If possible, listen to them all at the same time.

  1. Syd Barrett – “Octopus”
  2. The Rezillos – “Bad Guy Reaction”
  3. Lush – “Outdoor Miner”
  4. The Scary Jokes – “No Leverage / No Pleasure”
  5. Divinyls – “Science Fiction”
  6. Midnight Oil – “Used and Abused”
  7. Daisy Chainsaw – “Love Your Money”
  8. Chilly Gonzales & Peaches – “Red Leather”
  9. King Missile – “Detachable Penis”
  10. “Love Bug” Starski – “You’ve Gotta Believe”
  11. Klaatu – “Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III”
  12. The Only Ones – “Another Girl Another Planet”
  13. The Replacements – “I’ll Be You”
  14. Wall of Voodoo – “Back in Flesh”
  15. Orgy – “Opticon”
  16. Divinyls – “Boys in Town”
  17. The Damned – “Anti-Pope”
  18. Chuck Roast – “Dirty Emeralds”
  19. Off – “Be My Dream”
  20. Shockabilly – “Hard Day’S Night”
  21. Syd Barrett – “No God Trying”
  22. Groovie Ghoulies – “Tunnel of Love”
  23. The Mothers of Invention – “Help, I’m a Rock”

(Thank you for sharing this non-musical musical interlude with me. Now, back to our show, already in progress…)



Why MUST they? Because the starting points for many common beliefs are not as SOLID as some would like to believe. (In mathematics, at least, the starting points are UNDERSTOOD TO BE CONSTRUCTS, called “AXIOMS,” which are foundational to other points, but are acknowledged as constructs. If EVERYTHING was understood to be constructs---and it probably is---then we would understand that these “AXIOMS” should only be used as long as they are USEFUL. If they are no longer relevant or counter-productive, they need to be pushed aside. NOT IGNORED---but understood to no longer be as useful to our daily lives.

For example, LANGUAGES are agreed upon starting points for expressing concepts amongst folks---but language CHANGES over time. English, as it is spoken today, works fairly well (not perfectly) for expressing most ideas, concepts, and other things that people might want to share with others. HOWEVER, many words CHANGE over time. One of my favorites is “MISCHIEF.”

In YE OLDE DAYS, “mischief” meant something serious, deadly, horrible, or destructive, but today the meaning has changed, and it’s usually used to mean something more playful or annoying, and less vicious. (According to a Google search, the word comes from the late middle English word, via the French word “meschief,” which basically meant “misfortune.”) The concept is still related to the original word, but the LANGUAGE has changed, and the usefulness of “mischief” to denote MISFORTUNE---as it was originally intended---has been replaced with more current, and more RELEVANT, terms.

Again, WUT THE FUK??? Why is this idjit going on and on… Partially because I’ve been reading Tristan Tzara again, and watching ART VIDEOS on the YoooTooobs…

Watch this one, about an ART NUN. As you might have guessed, I'm not a religious person, but if this is what spirituality is all about, I'm for it!!!:


ULTIMATE VALUES. Why do you do what you do? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to ACCOMPLISH? WHY are you doing what you’re doing?

I’m an artist / writer / poet / editor / teacher / husband / father / grandpa / dj / punk / neurotic / scientific-mystic / skeptic / game player / mischief maker / meschief maker / kid / ghost / archivist / future corpse, and I do what I do because what I do is an expression of what I believe the right thing to do is.

(Did you follow that?)

I put words together, sound-symbols, to create or inspire thoughts in my readers. I make images (physical and digital) with line and color and concepts and flow and tone to create or inspire thoughts in my viewers. I make audio works and talk (on rare but not-non-existent occasions) to create and inspire thoughts in my listeners. The FORMS that I use reflect my ETHOS. I have come to the conclusion (after much speculation and a coin-toss or two) that CREATION and PERFORMANCE (which is, of course, a type of creation), regardless of whatever the final PRODUCT ends up being, is the BEST METHOD by which HUMANS (and certain other creatures) can leave a MARK on the universe. (As outlined in the faux-religion: The Church of Dimensional Images.) It will be a SMALL MARK, in a COSMIC SENSE; (how many entities on Uranus are aware of Michelangelo’s or Plato’s achievements? And that’s JUST this solar system. As we all know, the UNIVERSE is BIG. Earth ain’t no thing---and an individual HUMAN’s creations, no matter how great or small, are not likely to make much of a difference outside our galaxy, at best!

My creations: little drawings, strange blog posts, poetic and symbolically dubious zines and collages, books, painting---whether intended for sale and/or distribution or not---AREN'T just products to be sold. MONEY is not the final goal (although having a little bit of it would be useful); with my creations, I’m constructing an IDEOLOGY BY EXAMPLE...

Let’s look at my three most recent creative works (not counting these words):

“Days of the Dodo”

days of the dodo by rfy

“Lunk Head”

lunk head by rfy

and the “Isolation Manifesto” title card. (Yes, that one again...)

isolation manifesto square by rfy

Each of these were created on simple materials (recycled cardboard---economically accessible), drawn simply (I like the aesthetic, and it demonstrates how EASY art can be, hopefully showing others that THEY TOO can make art), and each was FUN to make.


Will any of these works make me rich or famous? No. Will they make a handful of people smile? I hope so. I’ve already smiled while making them, and my wife smiled at “Lunk Head” at least. (She said it was “cute.” I would say it’s a classic example of a robot with horrible worries on his shoulders who is trying to make his way in a weary world, but is being ground down by the burdens placed upon him by an uncaring and brutal society---but I could be reading into it. “Cute” is just as good of an interpretation as mine.)

And thus, my ISOLATION MANIFESTO comes to a close. What do I hope you gleaned from this testament? Three things: (1) Examine your life, your motives, and decide if what you DO reflects what you believe is the BEST that you CAN DO. (2) Art is for everyone. It can be created by everyone, and it should be enjoyed by everyone. (3) Write things down. If you don’t you will forget…

Isolation gives us time to think. The global pandemic---and possibility of early extinction---gives us a sense of urgency. CREATING gives us a PRESENCE in the UNIVERSE beyond our living, breathing, physical existence. I’m leaving a LOT of shit behind. Maybe it ain’t the “Mona Lisa,” but I make up in VOLUME what I lack in finesse!

Oh, and here’s a cat photo. (That should get me a couple of bonus points, right?)

isolation gitzy by rfy


---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

[P.S. - All words and images by me, unless otherwise credited. This post was originally published (about half-an-hour ago) on my HIVE blog. I have given myself permission to republish it here on PublishOx! Why not? Couldn't hurt... ---RFY]



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Richard F. Yates
Richard F. Yates

I'm an artist, author, poet, editor, and critic living in the Pacific Northwest. (Bigfoot Country!) I like weird stuff.

Art for Weirdos and Fiends
Art for Weirdos and Fiends

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