Daily writing prompt
On what subject(s) are you an authority?

Yes, I do like to quibble. I sometimes get impatient with others who do the same, but I am a quibbler nonetheless. 

On my being an authority, I’d most certainly love to quibble. This blog is called Louis N Carreras, Woodcarver, and I suppose you could say I was an authority on carving. But I am just a bit unhappy with that; I know many with more sterling credentials, techniques, and knowledge. And while I sometimes believe in “fake it till you make it,” there are limits.

It comes down to the old quandary in a society that now lacks a guild system; who is a master? This question occurred one year while I was teaching carving up in Maine. “Lou, are you a master carver? So and so calls himself one.” Well, it happens that I don’t term myself a master. A master’s is a certification or degree a university or guild grants. Carvers have no unified granting authority ( and my university post-grad equivalents don’t count here).

But some people tack on that they are masters. Now I know several carvers I’d admit to be my masters in the craft. Indeed, my old mentor in Baltimore was a master with his many commissions, ecclesiastical carving, many modes for chasing, engraving, and so on. Funny, though, he never appended the term master. I think he thought it was superfluous.

With what I’ve just said as a preface, I’d have to say that I approach terms like master and authority with some questions. Who named you an authority, and how broad a swatch do you claim dominion over?

Being a master or an authority is a cloudy patch. How much of an authority are you? All-encompassing or narrowly defined. Do you offer carefully considered information and advice, or do you like to speak Ex-cathedra?

There is something about the ex-cathedra school that smacks of arrogance to me. And I prefer the considered information and advice school. So if forced to stop my quibbling on the issue, I’d say that I am an authority of sorts on woodcarving, but circumscribed by my ongoing learning process and the limitations of my knowledge.

Craft and art are like so many areas. They are learning processes. They can also be like elaborate jungle gyms. I remember the day I made it to the top of a particularly challenging jungle gym as a child and looked out at the entirety of the playground beneath me. My first climb up Mount Katahdin offered a similar experience but from a much greater height. Mastery needs to be considered similarly. Not done in one, but ongoing knowledge, challenges, and experiences lead to an always-growing sense of ability.


When you think that everything is going well, you get surprised.
In this case, oriental bittersweet popping up in the woodland garden area behind my house. When we moved in, this area was so overgrown with it that the realtors never realized that the woods behind the house were part of a wildlife sanctuary. Only weeks after, as I took to clearing the yard, did the sanctuary signs appear. The following spring, I spent months clearing as many roots and vines as possible. But it still shows up periodically.

Failure to go out and get it rooted out will result in what happened to a neighbor a few years ago. He failed to pull a few errant sprouts because he liked the “pretty vine” in the fall. This conceit proved asinine when two years later, there was more than a surfeit of bittersweet covering the back of his lot. He was flummoxed when chemical controls seemed to be shrugged off by the vines and dismayed when I showed him my yard and suggested that hand pulling was more effective…for several years to get it under control. He left the problem for the next person who brought the property.

So for numerous years, I’ve rarely found any bittersweet shoots. The ones I’ve seen are probably from seeds dropped in bird feces and brought in from my neighbors’ property by chipmunks. In a way, it speaks to the success of my work in the area. A few hours of weeding will set things right, and I can relax, watch the waterfall and enjoy the flowers.

No word from the “happiness” engineers on my issues yet by switching to Firefox as a browser I was able to add a featured image, but I can’t do pingbacks, categories. I had to rebuild tags one by one. WP is too damn big for its own good, and has no clue what it’s own programs are doing.


I have been known to blunder my way through the English Language. Being English is my first language, I don’t have the excuse for my solecisms that people who might be learning our language do.

I have caused much mayhem with editors who have accused me of doing it deliberately. Now with a computer program that frequently doesn’t catch all of them, I can write with passion and verve without causing an adult to fall into fits of anxiety and anguish. I haven’t broken the machine yet, But every day I seem to be striking out into new territory in abuse of a dumb machine.

Unlike a part-time human editor, the program can’t send me a passionate email describing how wonderful it feels not to endlessly try to reason with me over my love of the outre. Instead, I get comments from the program on my passive voice, poor use of ellipses, coma misplacement, overuse of the word “that,” strange grammatical constructions, slang, and obscure words not in the dictionary. It’s very liberating. I can tell the computer to go to perdition and not have it be offended.

This is wonderful as far as it goes, but something is missing when you can no longer feel the simmering heat of an offended English B.A. on the phone or receive the angry “You are F@#*ing impossible, I refuse to work with you again!” something is missing.

I think it’s that beautiful feeling of human contact that an emoji can’t replace.


A year isn’t just a year. Not just an annual cycle. It depends on your internal reckoning, your path of events as you wind through other people’s calendars.
Make it definitive. Make it the happenings you find essential. It’s boring to adhere to January through December.

Mercury Retrograde

” and Mercury is retrograde this month. For you, this implies prolific opportunities. An excellent month to reinvest your portfolio, but you must be careful in matters of the heart – I’m sorry. But there is an elevated chance for sorrow. The stars are not clear on this…Is it Joseph? Yes, there are great opportunities and significant risks involved with…Joeseph…yes, that’s who I think it is.
Don’t miss the opportunity to thrive this month in the areas where we can see the promising avenue of hope; profit through investment and improved health. Remember, your attribute is the Spring Lamb. So much opportunity if all is carefully evaluated.”

I listened as John crooned in that soothing and comforting voice he uses on his Marks, I mean customers. He considered each meeting a counseling opportunity to guide his sheep towards the fleecing; I mean towards enlightenment. These sessions were always free. In two weeks, there would be another one for which the sheep made a “goodwill” payment. After that, he made his money further down the line when the trust was high enough that his line of investment opportunities became attractive to the willing and the trusting. Because the willing and the gullible paid so well, John was living well. A lovely apartment on the good side of Beacon Hill, tailored suits, a nice car, and a girlfriend who expected fine dining.
He maintained that his fees were low enough that nobody had felt their hide too exposed from the gentle fleecing. “The key, Wes, is not to be greedy. Most of my advice is commonsense for most people, and the best I can garner from self-help books. My investments are all sound and safe – what my investment guy tells me to buy. It’s easy.”

This lucrative con lasted until John’s “investment guy” decamped with all the funds and left John holding the bag.

Even a con artist can be conned.


It looks like I can start hanging out my shingle for a new line of employment; ornery old guy. You know the type. In the movies, we are all wearing baggy old overalls, two days’ worth of beard, and have issues with “those young punks.” There is always a clutch of them sitting in front of the courthouse, diner, or hardware store. Whether it’s a Sci-Fi adventure in which the universe is about to end or a rom-com there, they sit crotchety, stereotyped old coots.
It doesn’t matter if they are sitting under the magnolias in a southern setting or on a pier in New England. To Central Casting, we are a type that transcends regionalism. So I am heading down to pick up my Equity or Screen Actors Guild card as soon as the application is approved.

To hell with carving or running the damn TV station. I can make real money doing on screen what I do in real life; be a cranky older adult. Remember that political correctness and diversity have added protective status to other favored ethnic, racial, mental, and behavioral stereotypes. They can’t be used. People will complain.

But crotchety, cantankerous, and pusillanimous oldsters scratching their nethers are fair game. Now, please! Don’t get in my way. I’m looking for an easy way to finance my retirement. There are no protests in front of the studios about how we old folks are being sterotyped. And I don’t want any.

Don’t get in between me and a paycheck; you’ll regret it.

A Calm Sea

I’ve done a number of these signs. Being that I often carve for a sea-loving clientele, the themes relate to life aboard and on the water. Each sign is graced with an individually hand-carved sloop, schooner, or other vessels.
In the case of this particular sentiment – A calm sea, never a skillful sailor made – It’s appropriate that the sea have some chop, movement, and whitecaps.

Making the effect of the water doesn’t take too long, but coloring it is one of the fun parts of making the sign. Green is my favorite color, and it’s always there with the blues, grays, and white. I dread having someone ask for two identical signs. Close maybe, but not identical.

Besides, while I like selling these, I also like making them. So, where’d be the fun in creating ten that were exactly alike?

%d bloggers like this: