~About Eric Chaet

The Turnaround Artist

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What can one person do, versus the varieties of normal madness, mass psychoses, & periodic brief or longer-lasting tyrannies of incumbent or insurgent individuals or groups?

How can one person break out of & transform this unjust & insane humanity-molecule?

When I don’t know, which is most often, then my religion is “How?”

///

I am far from satisfied with my efforts so far, but I’m no more satisfied with others’ efforts so far, even those whose efforts I admire.

///

Eric Chaet Old Buzzard
Old Buzzard of No-Man’s Land
book of poems
Coach House Press
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
1974.

///

billboard

“WHAT
YOU DO
OR DON’T DO
& HOW
HAS ITS
EFFECT”

Billboard
along north-south
Interstate Highway 51,
Wisconsin, USA—
mid-1990s.

///

I’m an American—born (1945) & raised in the USA.

I’m Jewish. My father’s parents immigrated to Chicago from Belorus, when it was still part of the virulently anti-Semitic pre-Communist Russian Empire. My mother was born in Ukraine. Her parents brought her out of the Russian Empire, to Chicago, when she was 2 years old.

I was raised in a polyglot neighborhood, of Eastern, Western, Central, & Southern Europeans, mostly children of immigrants, mostly housewives & men who worked with their hands & muscles, on the South Side of Chicago, just south of the huge Polish neighborhood, & just west of the huge Black ghetto.

I knew nothing of the more upscale neighborhoods north of the Loop.

My father sent me, after public school, to Hebrew School. My mother sent me, via bus, elevated train, & subway, downtown, to Art School, & arranged for me to have piano lessons, too.

I don’t know how much they understood their parts in playing tug-of-war with me. (I didn’t understand what I was doing with or to them, either, of course.)

What I liked to do was play hundreds of hours of baseball.

For 13 years, I attended public schools in which most of the teachers, like most of the students, held yearning to learn & learning in contempt.

School was frequently a dangerous place to be.

///

While a boy, I was exposed to newsreels of the Holocaust, the half-successful attempt to eliminate Jews, which had ended only weeks before my birth. (Hiroshima & Nagasaki were bombed a couple of months after my birth, & the Second World War ended.)

///

I watched the newsreels, alone, on the television set my father had grudgingly purchased.

As, since, I’ve grudgingly purchased recently-invented & widely-distributed equipment, & developed the necessary skills to use them, that enabled new activities—tho what I had started, attempting to improve my pathetic position & turn around on-going injustices & screw-ups in the world, hadn’t been satisfactorily resolved.

Tho, since I was a million miles from where I hoped to arrive, I had far from sufficient money to waste any.

///

As a teen, I stumbled on the writings of William H. Prescott on the brutal conquests of the Incas & Aztecs; of Upton Sinclair on the horrible conditions of those working in the carcass-disassembly, sorting, & meat-processing operations associated with the Chicago stockyards around 1900; of Mohandas Gandhi on his principles & private struggles & on the non-violent revolution he led in India; of George Orwell on the subtleties of collective mind-control; & of Howard Fast.

My favorite Howard Fast novels were about George Washington & those who didn’t desert him, during their hungry winters at Valley Forge, clinging to survival & preparing to re-emerge to confront imperial British forces; & Citizen Tom Paine, about that incorrigible rebel against all injustice & normal cooperation with it.

///

I try to contribute to the well-being of the people of my township, county, state, & nation, & to its governments operating beneficially, rather than detrimentally.

I don’t think it is shameful to be an American, as many of my generation have thought—reacting against the propaganda fed them, as history, in school—since the racial violence of the 60’s & the Vietnam War, then, also, the invasion & occupation of Iraq—any more than I think it is shameful being Eric Chaet.

Tho on occasion I am ashamed of being an American, or ashamed of being Eric Chaet.

///

I worked my way thru college feeding a giant printer-slotter in a box factory. My fellow-workers were like the boys I’d gone to school with, only more dangerous. I also caught 80 pound sacks of parcel post off a giant slide, downtown Chicago, nights, & threw the sacks into appropriate carts or down appropriate chutes, per their destination.

I was undernourished, malnourished, underweight, short, scrawny, with little to no sense of physical fitness, or confidence in my ability to face my situation. I lived in dread.

At college—supervised learning—I took every course I could take without paying extra, & studied far more than was required of me. For instance, I read most of the writings of Tolstoy & Dostoyevsky—unsupervised learning—tho I was taking no course involving either of their writings.

For most of the rest of my life, I avoided supervised learning, but engaged in unsupervised learning approximately to the same unusual degree as I earned unusually few dollars.

///

There are many tense interludes—months, years—in which I achieve little in the world, while resources, however carefully & slowly, are consumed, & others’ triumphs, actual or merely performances, are celebrated.

Will the learning & re-organization of thinking, the preparation, the neural re-wiring—be correct & sufficient—not mere fearful hiding & rationalizing—before events or some disease disables me, & during my allotted breathing & production of proteins?

///

Solid and Sound cover

Solid and Sound, vinyl LP album of songs, Country & Urban/Eastern & Western, Tick Crick Records, Lee’s Summit, Missouri (U.S.A.), 1977.

///

I participated in civil rights “demonstrations,” including a sit-in in Missouri & a march in Mississippi, &, in Washington, D.C., in a big demonstration against what the United States government of the time had the army, navy, air force, & CIA doing in Southeast Asia (“the Vietnam War”).

///

While at college, I bought, for $1, a used Bible, in which the words of Jesus were printed in red.

Hey, I thought, this guy believed more of what I believe than anyone I’ve ever met! And he was brave & wise, & expressed himself just about perfectly, too!

That didn’t make me want to become a Christian, tho. It was still apparent to me that approximately everyone calling themselves Christians were conformists, seeking one another’s approval, & allowing the injustices of our time go by without bothering themselves about them.

Not being Christian, I can admire Jesus without believing everything Christians require themselves to believe about him, as I admire Benjamin Franklin & George Washington, without believing everything many Americans require themselves to believe about them.

I have occasionally met someone righteous & kind who considers himself or herself a Christian, & for whom, I’m sure, the life & teachings of Jesus serve as a powerful inspiration in the midst of prevailing base behavior. The life & teachings of Jesus serve as a powerful inspiration for me, too.

///

In the months immediately after I graduated from college, broke, but not indebted; with a lot of knowledge & understanding—& ignorance & misunderstanding—when I was draft age & the Vietnam war was raging & I saw no future I was eager to work to realize—I read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Another revelation! I looked around me at the world beyond people interacting, & beyond people’s productions. A whole amazing world, & I a part of it! The antidote to despair!

///

To avoid being drafted to kill & be killed in the insane & immoral war, I accepted one fellowship, then another, & continued my formal education, tho I had had more than my fill already—from professors whom I thought (& think now) were, on the whole, unwise—some of whom were competing to prove themselves more clever than I was, & that they had power over me, rather than trying to help me become the best, most useful, & fulfilled person I might become.

///

Do I imagine that I am more powerful in relation to my situation than I am? (Because I am so much more powerful than when I was a bit younger.) Do I imagine that I have earned an advantage I find I have, when it is mine by luck?

Conversely, do I imagine I am helpless, & therefore bear no responsibility, when I only have less power than would be convenient, but have enough power to attain more power (with work)? Do I use as proof of my helplessness, attempts that have failed to achieve their desired outcomes—when at least some of the failure was due to factors I had no way of being aware of til then, let alone learning how to deal with them effectively—but am aware of now—& can at least begin to deal with them, til I’m dealing with them effectively?

Fortunately, I’m not dead yet.

///

As I find it difficult to get my work into wide circulation, I imagine that there are works produced as valuable as I believe (careful not to delude myself) mine are, that I have never heard of, & may never hear of, as well as works I’d greatly benefit from, that I’ve heard of, but only via people who didn’t understand them, & were denigrating or praising them, for untrue or only partially true, partially false reasons.

///

No one yet has said what needs saying, except fragmentarily. Humanity is still crazy, frequently cruel to those who can’t prevent it, & don’t deserve it, & unwilling to do what’s necessary to transform itself. Thinking, then behavior, needs changing.

Of course, most people who try to change others’ behavior either misunderstand the world & humanity, or are secretly or not so secretly striving for domination—or both. And, of course, it’s necessary to change oneself, primarily—& as long as one lives.

///

During a period of about 10 years, & interspersed with other activities, I taught rhetoric, Western & non-Western philosophy, & American & world literature, for a few months to a couple of years, at 5 colleges, from Pennsylvania to Nebraska; & mathematics at the middle school of the first Navajo-run school on the Navajo reservation, in Arizona.

And in the early 1980s, I quickly studied bookkeeping, in order to teach the subject at a business college in Los Angeles.

I also supervised a 20-person research team providing attorneys in a big, swanky L.A. law firm with information regarding methods of litigating computer companies—intellectual property & anti-trust issues.

///

Someone, intelligent & kindly, with whom I interacted for a few minutes a couple of times, imagining I’d found my niche, asked me, “How do you like the law?”

I said, “I prefer justice.”

///

1984 to 1994, I silkscreened posters on rectangular scraps of cloth—Brenda, later my wife, showed me how, & gave me old sheets to start with—& hitchhiked back & forth across the U.S.A., stapling 1500 to utility poles. Others posted some in public places in South America, Europe, Asia, & Australia, too.

Sayings on “the signs” included: “You’re like me in this respect, what you do has its effect,” “Seek truth, develop capacities,” “Help one another succeed,” & “Anxious to serve.”

///

Michigan Talk Radio: “What were you trying to do?”
Chaet: “Change the United States.”
MTR: “The people? The government?”
Chaet: “Yes.”

///

how to change1990, How To Change the World Forever For Better, brief book of philosophy—what an individual can do—self-published; 2nd edition 1994. If you send me $25 (U.S.) or the approximate equivalent in foreign currency, I will send you a copy via U.S. mail. (Outside North America, please add $10.)

Price includes shipping & handling, inventory management, tax, bookkeeping, accounting. A zillion dollar bargain! Don’t wait til I’m dead, or you are, or both! Order before you are required to focus your attention on something more stupid, less advantageous—swiftly!

If you want a copy, but can’t afford it, write me a careful request, describing your current situation, your hopes, & your preparations—plus the address to which the book would be sent. Or send me an old fashioned letter, to the address toward the bottom of this page.

///

From 1991 til now, I have been lucky enough to get occasional assignments doing research identifying technologies, methods, suppliers of industrial, agricultural, biological, & chemical equipment, processes, & services.

Someone more ignorant of such things than I was, would have been difficult to find. But I did my best to fulfill assignments, while making myself generally more competent, then good at the work.

What I earned, & a habit of spending very little, helped keep me from having to compete for the privilege of writing & publishing what there was a ready market for. (I hope I am creating a new market.)

There are fewer assignments than I wish I’d get, tho they disrupt the schedule of my on-going study. Sometimes I can’t find what the client hoped for. Sometimes, tho, I find exactly what’s hoped for, or, I’m told, even better.

When I accept an assignment, I do it conscientiously.

///

I was retired until I was 14 years old, but I didn’t like it.

///

We don’t just want to be clever among ourselves, do we?

///

In 2006, Barb Gagnon, of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA, took it upon herself—asking my permission—to purchase a copy of my LP album of songs, Solid and Sound, on-line, then get & master equipment enabling her to make CD copies of it, which she sells one at a time, when people order them.

When she asked about sharing revenues. I told her that if she makes $1,000 profit in a year—unlikely—she should send me 25%.

If you want to purchase a CD, please email her: wolves_baby56 (at) hotmail (dot) com. Be nice!

///

Unable to provide better for myself & what I’m doing, I try to learn how & to maintain a house & the equipment within it faster than they disintegrate, & to get along better, rather than worse, with my wife & neighbors (human & other species, too), who are, in many ways, wonderful creatures, but in many other ways, obstructive & refractory. They find me refractory, too, often.

///

I’m competing with political partisans, violent insurgents, sectarian clergy, “experts” of all sorts who understand less than they imagine, educators, heroin, beer & wine, obsessive compulsions, & anti-depressants—to change people’s thinking & behavior, &, therefore, outcomes. I must also compete with artists of every genre, idealists & cynics & all in between, whose comprehension, intents, technical skills, finances, & status all vary—& anyone with an ego, mouth, or internet connection—for attention, cooperation, & allocation of resources.

hitchhiker

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People I Met Hitchhiking On USA Highways: a few so-called poems, but mostly prose narrative, 2001, Turnaround Artist Productions, De Pere, Wisconsin, U.S.A. If you send me $25 (U.S.) or the approximate equivalent in foreign currency, I will send you a copy via U.S. mail. (Outside North America, please add $10.)

Price includes shipping & handling, inventory management, tax, bookkeeping, accounting.

///

For $1,000 or the equivalent, I will send you a signed copy of either How To Change or People I Met. But don’t worry—the work itself, at $25, is the signature it took me almost all my life to learn to sign.

///

I’m the janitor, millwright, & IT trainee at Turnaround Artist Productions. Also accountant, scheduler, purchasing officer, file clerk, & vice president of fitness, operations, & marketing. I’m also the nutrition officer, dish-washer, & in charge of compliance—that is, staying legal, & paying what I’ve contracted for. I’m a regular slave-driver. I’m also in charge of research, training, strategy, execution. When you contact us (me, so far), I’m the customer service representative. What can we do for you?

I’m anxious to (truly) serve.

///

As far as I know, I’m the most simple-minded person in the world—& I want to keep it that way.

Sometimes, in order to remain simple-minded, I have to seek out, concentrate on arrays of details, & integrate them into my mind-til-then.

I study enough to satisfy Confucius or any eastern European rabbi, probably. I know that it seems to some people, that I am a book-worm, who will never apply what he learns. Sometimes it feels so to me, too! That’s a bad feeling. It keeps me working at as rapid a pace as possible, while still able to absorb what I have decided I need to know, or is advantageous to know—so that I can emerge, enabled, & change the world forever for better, more effectively.

///

Meanwhile, I manage the slight body of articulations I have managed to deploy slightly in the world so far, & organize to deploy whatever I’ll manage yet to deploy, more effectively.

When, occasionally, I understand something I think useful for those also attempting to survive & thrive, while causing humanity to behave more wisely, justly, & kindly—something neither I nor anyone else I’m aware of has articulated before—I try to express it as simply as I can, & get it into as wide a circulation as possible, in order to reach them.

This site is among such efforts.

///

Tho it is difficult even to continue articulating what I realize would help, if people understood it, & deploying the articulations, that is not all I hope to do in my remaining time.

It’s a good specialization & contribution, but it’s not all the situation requires, or that I’m capable of, I hope.

///

I regret that my efforts have had such slight effect so far.

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The so-called poems have appeared in periodicals & on web sites from the USA, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, France, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Brazil, & Cuba—often in translation. Some appeared in the 1974 print collection, Old Buzzard of No-Man’s Land, by Eric Chaet—Toronto, Canada, The Coach House Press; & a few in People I Met Hitchhiking On USA Highways (2001), which is, otherwise, a book of narrative prose.

In 2013, The World Academy of Arts and Culture (Seoul, Korea) “conferred upon” me the “Prize of Corea Literature.”

///

Please use, &—with others likely to use them, & without changing them—share the 100 so-called poems.

If you let me know you’ve done so, that will help me, more than zero.

///

Also, please email encouragement or constructive suggestions to:
echaet (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you can, will, & please, send $1 cash, once, or occasionally to the address below.

Or, if you are willing & able, send $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, or multiples thereof, once, or occasionally.

Personal checks for dollars would also be welcome.

If you send non-U.S.A. currency, please add extra, as I’ll have to pay a fee to exchange it.

This plea is for a limited time only—that is, while I’m still functional.

Eric Chaet
The Turnaround Artist
1803 County Road ZZ
De Pere, Wisconsin 54115-9629
U.S.A.

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3 Responses to “~About Eric Chaet”

  1. Lawrence Gauthier Says:

    The best thing about your stuff is that, despite uncertainties, you’re careful to not mislead. I remember 40 years ago when I told you that I wanted to be a writer, the first thing you talked about was the awesome responsibility.

  2. Francis Maka Says:

    Hello Eric ! i’m glad to read about you again! We’re still alive .
    N’abandonne jamais !

  3. Mark Prellberg Says:

    Hi Eric-
    …Found a copy of Solid And Sound LP last year, I dig it muchly…
    Thanx & best,
    Mark Prellberg

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