If you are as old as I am you remember when you bought a tool and you used it as long as you could. Of course new tools became available and you considered “upgrading” only if you thought the new tool might be better than the old, and/or what you need it to do changed. If not, you continued to use the old tool.

“Illusions I recall.”

In the old days you, the craft-person/artist, decided when to replace. It isn’t that way anymore. Corporations now have ways to render good tools worthless, simply to get more money from us. Making and selling quality tools wasn’t good enough for the bottom line. They invented The Cloud. Sure it was innocent enough at first. The concept seemed good; just drag your art to an icon on your machine’s screen and pick it up from an icon on another. User friendly, they said, and safe.

Strange things, this digital cloud, like a real one, is not the same thing to different people. Someone standing next to you can be watching a wonderful thing to store and share her stuff on while you are seeing just another corporate scheme to monetize our lives. The Cloud is not about being safe; it is not about sharing. Its dark lining is—for one company (think mud-brick) at least—a subscription-based model for software profiteering marketed as a “community” when nothing could be further from the truth. For that corporation it’s all about boosting its bottom line at our expense.

“But now they only block the sun”

Is this cloud community a cult? Certainly it could be one, after all, the above hinted-at corporation does call its barkers evangelists. A religion even, as that term does, more than likely, come from the Latin to bind, or be obligated. So what happens if you stop tithing, if you stop subscribing? You lose all you work in heaven and even on earth where you can lose it all by forgetting to convert it a non-proprietary format. If you apostatize, you, i.e. your good works, are metaphorically burned at the stake, an auto de [lack of] fé.


“I’ve looked at life from both sides now”

Work and love, again, sorry. I was talking of art above and they seem to follow. They are declared by Tolstoy, and later Freud, to be the necessities of life. I assume those old guys meant by them a career and a spouse, because work, is often just effort necessary but not necessarily rewarding, and is to be avoided. And undefinable love avoids us when it can.

“And if you care, don’t let them know

Work and love are both clouds as well; they appear real and well-formed at distance, but are just fog up close. You are in and out before you know, with something lost and nothing gained; looking back, you realize you didn’t know work and love at all. So don’t look back.

“Don’t give yourself away”

But as Emerson said, “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else[;]” you can as likely be better off than had they worked out as hoped for.


  • The drawing here was not done with the program I’ve been drawing with  since the mid-90s, but with Manga Studio 5 from Smith Micro; it’s my first with that program.
  • The title and subtitle quotes and some paraphrases are from “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, the best dulcimer-playing song-writer/illustrator I know of.