Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Leaving libraries


I was quietly registering a new library patron for a new library card. I don't love registering library cards, but the process was moving along peaceably enough. Except, while typing in all the information, behind us, a small child, in a state of pure agony, was being forcibly removed, with great commotion, from the library by their parent.


"I DON'T WANT TO GO!" The child cried out.

There was also a long, fading scream of "NOOOOOooooooooooooooo!" as the child was carried in unwilling torment from our library.

Finally, as the final door between us and the child closed, and some semblance of silence fell once again upon the library, I looked up at our new library patron and said:

"Let that be a warning to you. It can literally be torture to leave this library." 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The mall pictures


I was out at the Mall of America (yes, there is just one mall, in all of America!) over the weekend. It was crowded! But for a wily self-marketer like myself I understood it was merely an opportunity! If I could just get a few of my corporate branding bughearts up on the walls, thousands of eyes will see them every day. 

And while not every eye equals a person, usually two of them do!

Apologies to pirates.

And while not every person equals a new clerkmanifesto reader, that's okay. You're here. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

New murals


Here then is my new mural of Bob Dylan, done on a retaining wall out by the old Ford Plant. If you walk down the creek they opened up at the center of the development there, you will find this mural on the path just before it runs under the little pedestrian tunnel below the River Road.

Or you won't find it because of it being fictional photography, but it's a nice walk anyway.

This one below is from my library. Of all the walls there ripe for art I feel this one was such a waste being white and plain. I campaigned during building to try to obtain work by a professor from the Minnesota College of Art and Design who did large, vivid pieces with themes about garbage and ecology, which suited the theme and rhetoric of our "green" building at the time, but it didn't go anywhere. Now that I am covering every wall of the library (see yesterday) it might all be a bit much, but I doubt it. The vaunted "Minimalist" design of my library has always been less about design and more about cost management and conformity.

Well not anymore! I charged a million dollars for these wild murals!


Sunday, January 28, 2024

My work to the public


In this time of working to get my art to the public I have called in a few favors in order to show my work at my library. I think these large scale murals add a lot to the library and almost wish they could be permanent.

So far I have installed my "Harpo With a Lion" piece, and have put in one of my "weathered" bughearts. None of the library patrons have commented on them yet, but they've only been up for a few days.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Free marketing


Getting that all important brand identity out there in the competitive attention marketplace isn't easy. But most of all it isn't cheap! I can't afford to buy billboards, or place ads in an expensive Google Marketplace, let alone on TV or in print. However, with a little spray paint shoplifted from local art stores, I can get the word out about clerkmanifesto in a dramatic and eye-catching way.

So far my graffiti advertisements aren't in the best locations for foot traffic because, being time consuming to apply, and illegal, it behooves me to work in more obscure places. Nevertheless, trains are traveling billboards in themselves, and with a focus on quantity of location over quality of location I feel sure I can have that coveted seventh reader of clerkmanifesto before the year is out.

Friday, January 26, 2024



You sure don't get to be a mega-blog like clerkmanifesto without relentless marketing and branding. The success of clerkmanifesto's famous "bugheart" logo and its ubiquitous "CM" has made this eleven year old blog into a global titan with over six daily readers!

I think it's at least six. I kind of don't want to know if it's less.

Although, who would tell me?

But what I'm saying is that one doesn't get to this kind of level without putting in the work. And that is why I have been taking advantage of this mild weather to get out on the train tracks, among the abandoned underpasses, and in the thick of the industrial wastelands, to get the word out with my signature graffiti pieces that represent clerkmanifesto to an unknowing public.

For your pleasure I have herein photographed these pieces for you.

These also explain why two of my six daily readers are hoboes.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

On difficult patrons


I like working with the public as I do at the library, and I am good at it. But there will always be interactions that are impossible to succeed at, and no matter how confident I am in how I handled them, they always feel bad to me.

Here is the one I just fielded moments ago on the phones:

Them: "What time is your notary there?"

Me: "He is here now. What time were you hoping to come in?"


Me: "Yes. Well, he is here today, but it's only one person so he can be in and out. If you have a general time you can be here we can make sure he's going to be here then."


Me: "Okay. Hold on."

My supervisor is also the notary so that works pretty well. I put the person on hold and went and explained the nature of the incoming call to my supervisor.

Here is his conversation as he related it to me:

Him: "Hello."

Them: "What time is your notary there?"

Him: "I happen to be the notary. I'll be here until seven, but I may be out for a while around four."

Them: "Great. Thank you."

That was the end of it, but, an update rolled in half an hour later that I found at least a little more satisfying.

The patron came in immediately after their call for some notary fun, and their interaction with our notary, according to reports, tangled badly from the start. 

Their document was specified as needing to be signed by "a Wisconsin notary". Our notary could not and would not notarize the document. 

At one point the patron said to our notary:

"You have ruined my entire day!"

Mine, however, improved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Thrill gone? Or just beginning


Once again I am alone at the front desk of the library. They put me here to write to you! And do a couple of other things along the way if anyone asks.

Right off the bat I registered a library card and thought:

Sense of personal accomplishment on a scale of one to ten?


Is the thrill gone?

But then...

Someone wanted to know what time the library closed.

"Eight." I said. And my sense of personal accomplishment was a two!


Directions to the bathroom? Three. Tracking down someone's missing hold. Five! Helping a sudden line of five people. Seven!

And then...

A friendly co-worker came down the stairs and gave me a little salute/wave. I gave one back. But the old lady who happened to be walking between us thought my greeting was to her and waved back at me. So I met her eye and altered the tail end of my wave so it was to her too: One wave to two separate people! 

Sense of personal accomplishment: Ten.

I'm back baby!


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

My desk notes


At five in the evening, we stop having two people at the front desk of the library and switch to just one person. Today that's me!

At five o'clock it is no less crowded here, but running a tight ship isn't really our thing at this library. So fine, I can handle the work of two people, but I am sort of busy. Obviously there are no lines of people waiting in front of me, and I have managed to write this expansive meditation while out here being the face of the library, but also in my time here I have registered library cards, advised small children on Newberry Awards, and loaned a pencil and a stapler. 

I don't think the pencil is coming back though. 

Let's call that one a gift. 

Oh, and I talked with a nice, gentle man about hats. He wanted to talk about hats more than I did, but what am I here for?

Mostly I'd like to sit down. There's a chair right behind me, but my back has been messed up for a few days and every time I try to sit in that chair I say...


And then I get up.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Beatles week: John day


The Beatles meant a lot to me. But without John, I don't think they would have mattered so much.

On the other hand, without any of the others, they really wouldn't have been the Beatles. So let's just let John day be John day, okay?


1.  John did a few embarrassing, genuinely cringeworthy things after the Beatles. But he aimed high, and there are few pieces of music in the world that hit my heart so true as when his did.

2. If John was a Marx Brother, he would have been Groucho.

3. "Happy Christmas/War is Over" is the same tune as "Stewball was a Racehorse".

4. Clerkmanifesto is written to the same theme as John's song "God".

5. I could never in a million years pick my favorite John song as it depends so deeply upon the time and place in my life. But also... "Across the Universe".

6. My favorite picture I did of John is not here today because I already used it on an earlier Beatles Week post. But of today's photos I probably like the pig one best. These below might not be my favorite set of pictures of any of the Beatles, but they are the most experimental.

7. John would not have read clerkmanifesto because English people don't find me amusing. 

It's okay though because Bob Dylan considers me hilarious. 

Hi Bob!

8. A Swede wouldn't know the second song on side one of the great Beatles album "Rubber Soul".

But a Norwegian would.

9. A Chocolate Oliver is a crisp, slow baked cookie made with hops and malt, thickly covered in dark chocolate.

10. The thing I love best about the great reworked Beatles documentary "Get Back", from which so many of my pictures are partly taken, is the toast. I just loved all the toast the Beatles eat.