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Preview: Robert Stikmanz

Robert Stikmanz

Traces & Musings

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:14:23 +0000


“Once a thing has been done, the fool sees it.”

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:03:29 +0000

Another bookstore has evaluated Dvarsh, An Introduction and found it unsuitable for their shelves. The winter light of reality creeps above the horizon. Lack of a clothbound cover is not this book’s problem. Expecting an audience for the portrait it paints is testament to the power of imagination. When it comes right down to it, markets and audience are as opaque and unfathomable as any other social formation I experience. It is as if I am capable of grasping anything, deconstructing anything, engineering, imagining or designing anything, unless it involves other humans. Posterity may pick out a wise course, but I cannot. What I can do is return to the promise made to myself on the day I embraced the world of habdvarsha: the choice at every turn will be to enjoy myself. Lately, I’ve been fretting a lot. It hasn’t opened a single new avenue or uncovered one new possibility. So I’m broke. The future is dangerous and slippery. I’m worried about money, losing my home and complexifying health. Well, so what? A promise is a promise. If I can’t keep one made to myself then what good is my word? Fortune demands an immediate contraction of horizons, but [...]

The eyes do not have it

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 02:16:07 +0000

When I started physical therapy after breaking my wrist, a silver lining—or, at least, a silver-plated lining—showed up in the cloud. The therapist prescribed an aggressive set of exercises to recover function in hand and arm after immobilized months. These turn out to be the same exercises new thinking prescribes as counters to a hereditary condition that gradually turns the hands into clubs. The condition also attacks feet, but that’s another plaint of another pain for another day. Significant for creative work is the condition’s slow erosion of fine motor skills acquired over years of patient practice. Oh, the things I used to make with No. 11 blades and a set of technical pens! Stubborn soul that I am, from appearance of the first masses in my hands, I have resisted. The exercises I learned from the therapist are self-reinforcing, as I have recovered some of the dexterity lost. Techniques beyond recovery, I have adapted. Now, my eyesight is failing. My right eye no longer focuses as quickly or in full coordination with the left. The practical effect is that I can work at a computer for short bursts separated by long periods away from screens. The easy joy of [...]

Cover, text block and a “to do” list

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 15:40:22 +0000

Some mysteries simply endure. I woke this morning to find the last task I began last night is complete. How this came about is not a matter on which I can speak. The decisions were well made. Perhaps Rumpelstiltskin. I long cherished a thought of releasing Dvarsh, An Introduction as a hardback. Friends with experience have convinced me of the unwisdom of trying this with an untested book. A hardback edition is tabled until value is shown, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the paperback resemble unrealized hope. Clickety-click on the image for a view close to size. The text block is done except for an exhaustive error check, and that is on tap to start later today. I expect to take at least three days with this, and I expect to miss an embarrassing number of bloopers. Only a fool is blind to the folly of no second eyes, but I am hobbled by the applicable subsection of Catch-22: I have to produce this book in order to educate a proofreader with skills to tackle it. At the top of this morning’s “to do” list, however, sit a couple of registrations. One is the copyright filing for the [...]

Best of Austin Award!

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 20:03:34 +0000

This can blow your concentration to pieces! Taking a break from reworking a diagram for Dvarsh, An Introduction, I clicked onto *that* social media site to discover my friend Erin Parr had tagged me in a post. This was how I learned that the Best of Austin awards 2017 announced by The Austin Chronicle this morning included a “Critics Picks” honor for me: Best Creator of a New Language. This may not be a recurring award category, but it’s certainly a sweet one. Color me amazed. Check out the companion announcement on

The news from October is about December

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 23:06:05 +0000

STIKMANTICA ANNOUNCES 12/15/2017 RELEASE DATE FOR DVARSH, AN INTRODUCTION But first, the most recent time I saw my friend Taryn Williams, now months ago, we got talking about “life plans” vs. “careers.” I had just lost my job, and she was on the verge of changing hers. In the course of the conversation I told her that my resolute ambitions have always been, “to love well, make art, and leave the world better for having passed through it.” She answered, “That’s important. You need to say that. You need to post that.” Taryn’s opinion is one I don’t take lightly, but I’ve been slow to follow up. Recap: Make art. Love well. Leave the world better for having passed through it. For details about the December book release, here is a link to the October Stikmantica newsletter.

Sonnet 09/19/017

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:22:06 +0000

  Ill stars hang thick above a howling crowd, congested red, atomic guts inflamed, slit eyes on bloody heaves of iron uncowed, the very stones afire, our days of shame. As touts self-immolate in clockwork shred, a touring quartet mouths, “Just get me laid,” ignoring flesh that charred when witness fled the guns that stitched a crèche with serenade. A hacking scam, the fiction’s time at bat parades a snorting geld that farts at sense and cozies close with old clandestine hat to pave a way for flagging peter’s Pence. The bind, of course, is that mad crash and burn unbottled once to feed will not be turned.

The Postcard Project, by Sarah Belle Reid

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 02:46:57 +0000

Among the extraordinary artists enriching the New Media Art & Sound Summit 2017 was Sarah Belle Reid. Performing in three very different sets—a solo set featuring modular synth and augmented trumpet, a trio with two electronicists she had met earlier in the afternoon, and a duo with a telematically present collaborator in Los Angeles—her contribution would have been large on this basis alone. In addition to her performances, Ms. Reid also presented a workshop on “visual scores,” which is shorthand for one approach to nonstandard notation associated with experimental music. The performances were inspiring, as was the workshop. One of my favorite aspects of NMASS is a lack of walls between artists, volunteers and audience, which proved true for this sometime volunteer/sometime auditor, as I enjoyed the opportunity to visit casually with Sarah more than once over the weekend. An upshot of her workshop and our subsequent conversation was that she invited me to participate in The Postcard Project, a distributed collaboration designed for her Patreon patrons. “Beyond thrilled” aptly describes my reaction. Look for a more detailed post once I have completed my part in the project. For now, I check off the first instruction, which is to post [...]