Synchronized Chaos March 2009: Rediscovering the Familiar


March’s issue of Synchronized Chaos invites reflection and a new sense of awareness of the potential of ‘ordinary’ objects and experiences.

Upcoming author Marty Castleberg journeys through faraway South American capitals, back streets and the rainforest…only to find himself constantly pursued by and reminded of the same issues which plagued his life back home as a Wisconsin farm boy turned corporate organizational consultant. The memoir shares how he learns to accept and make the most of his unique personality, learning style, skills, and challenges, as personified by his ever-present friend and sparring partner, Dave. The extraordinary brings Marty back to the ordinary, back to puzzling through his regular life.

In the same way, Lauren Groff’s short story collection Delicate Edible Birds probes the basic themes of family and love through her unusual characters (Olympic swimmers, writers enduring amnesia, ornithologists) and eclectic settings (a barn in wartime London, small-town upstate New York, a French cruise liner.) Ordinary people and relationships are just as fragile and precious as the exotic specimens in her tales and require as much dedication as the swimming, writing, and baton twirling in which her characters engage.

Sharon Woodward Jacobson also presents themes of love, faith, and family – in a piece which incorporates, but refuses to become defined by, her cerebral palsy. As the cartoon at the end of her prose and poetry points out, Jacobson is fundamentally a mother and human being with thoughts and desires not too different from others. The rhythm of her words and her manner of speaking highlights the determination which enabled her to succeed and intentionally refocuses readers on very basic ideas concerning what is important in life.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, photographer and painter Sean O’Cairde has added an Irish lighthouse to his assortment of California scenic vistas. He documents the journey he takes with his brother to visit each place, and we learn not just the textbook history of the monuments, but the local color and culture through clever, sometimes humorous vignettes from O’Cairde’s journeys. His ordinary life becomes part of the artwork which makes his lighthouse photography unique.

Giorgio Borroni takes the comic books he enjoyed as a boy, as well as his own imaginings concerning futuristic technology, and develops them into original mixed media pieces exploring our fascination with and fear of what we can create. His work showcases and reinterprets a sensibility which we have become familiar over the years through the artistic media of video games, sci fi books and movies, etc to look into (among other themes) how we can simultaneously love and lament our increasingly technological world. That aspect of Borroni’s work reminds me of the professor Phaedrus’ work to reconcile the romantic and engineering-minded scientific ways of thought in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (one of my longtime personal favorite books.)

Finally, Kelsi Dick’s painted quill pen art takes an object which used to be quite familiar in homes and offices just a few hundred years ago and re-interprets it as a chance to create something unique and beautiful. She explains in our interview that she prefers to work with supposedly ordinary objects in a craft sense rather than create abstract art specifically to help weaken the distinction between the practical and the artistic. Simply because something must be useful does not preclude a creator from making it lovely or interesting through thoughtful craftspersonship.

This latest issue takes us far away and then brings us back home. Replants us on solid ground and refocuses us on fundamentally important issues. We invite you to make the journey with our contributors, to read and re-examine what matters in one’s own life.

Thank you very much for granting us the time and space to share our thoughts and passions with you, and we hope to inspire a renewed creative focus.