Mixologist

Years ago I was reading a book about Attention Deficit Disorder and one of the things she talked about was not to always be negative about the things you struggle with. She recommended trying to put a positive spin on things. For example, don’t dwell on being bad at organization, but consider that you are really good at taking things apart and rearranging them.

I wish I was able to remember what book it was so I could go back and find out what word she used. It was a specific word for that creative disorder and reorder that some of us are so good at. It may have been an art term, but I haven’t come across it in my art studies. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to look it up in other places because I feel that as an artist and as a human my main function is to blur those lines of demarcation that are so boldly etched between divisive labels, categories, or so-called boxes.

Many (uh, all) of the these divisions are not as clear cut as you might think. There is a lot of crisscrossing and overlap if you only look a little harder. People and things that don’t fit strongly into a clearly marked box are often overlooked or rejected in favor of clarity and ease of description. Which is fine if you are willing to reject reality. Because the truth is that messy and disordered and uncategorizable is the essence of life. In life, in art, in science, and in nature you can always find things and people and behaviors that don’t follow the mainstream and the usual “rules.”

I feel that a militant stance on any one rule or set of rules usually covers a fear of the unknown and where you might fit into that unknown, new hierarchy if the status quo is status quashed. Take, for example,  Art vs Craft. I understand the need to elevate the role of the artist to something beyond the ordinary. I benefit highly from that distinction and do not treat it cavalierly. The trouble comes when an artist, or a fine craftsman, as they like to say, takes skill and imagination to a place that is not inside those categories, but somewhere in the middle. I wield glue nearly as often as I do a brush or pencil. Other artists use what are traditionally considered crafts in such new and innovative ways, or at such a “high level” that they bump Craft into the category of Art.

There is plenty of room inside Art for everything. For all of it.

When I was a teen I was in love with the bartender character in the movie Cocktail. I was planning to do what he did. Bartend in the islands somewhere during the winter and back here the rest of the time. After a detour or two, I did eventually become a bartender. While I wasn’t the jetsetting bartender that I had envisioned, I did learn about mixing and pouring drinks and some of what it takes to run a bar.

I wasn’t a bad bartender. But, to be honest, I am not quite social enough to do it for very long before I get burned out. Some people are hardwired in a way that makes them ideal for it.  A really good bartender is one part accountant, one part scientist, and three parts showman, with a shot of flair and a splash of crazy. Mix with ice, shake, pour and watch the magic unfold.

But they don’t all invent new drinks. I think that a mixologist is a bartender who can envision how things might taste together and tinkers and tries it until it comes to fruition. This way of seeing is a unique gift to have. The ability to look out past the is to the can be and then to follow your line of sight out into the future is kinda magical.

That’s why I’ve decided that I already have my word for someone who mixes, blends, blurs, connects, rearranges, reassembles, remakes, creates, invents, explores, and just generally muddles things around until they are a new being.
I am a mixologist.

Bar’s open.

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