Roadtrip Sidebar #2; Finding Happiness; or, Your Own Do-It-Yourself Monument Valley

This do-it-yourself landscape is for the times when you aren’t near endless skies, rugged land, and enigmatic vistas (cue that tu-wheee hawk screech from every movie that shows a stark, red southwestern landscape).

Monument Valley (and a 1964 Chevrolet), “in a class of its own, stands on its own”!

Happiness is visiting Monument Valley to get a dose of its wide-open spaces, and as getting to this brand of happiness can involve long hours of driving and/or airlines losing your luggage, why not bring this epic vista into your office, living room, cubicle, or backyard?

A reminder: the West is all about endless land, skies, and possibilities.

What possibilities?

Oh, right. I meant historical facts to the contrary aside (if you were a woman, for example, life choices were limited to whore, wife, or spinster-to-be-protected-by-brother). That’s why our lens is the silver-screen West, so we can get all the glamour without the grit.

Happiness can be achieved when you are open to possibility. Cue the second principle of the Silver-Screen Western Hero Code!

Reach for the skies—the possibilities are endless.

Applying this principle is simple, but preparation is needed to develop one’s capability for applying it wisely, otherwise you’ll be trapped in a world of saccharine false optimism, a little like being in Disneyland’s Frontierland day after day after ever-lovin’ day. A true Silver-Screen Western Hero knows that in the West, while the possibilities are endless, it still takes work to achieve them.

Exercise #1: Surround yourself with Monument Valley, for those moments of self-defeatism when you need inspiration (the possibilities are endless, the possibilities are endless…) Just letting your eyes travel across Monument Valley’s scale, proportions, and shapes will inspire and develop feelings of optimism and fortitude. And don’t fret: I’m all into creating happiness through everyday objects, so you won’t have to knock down walls to create a to-scale facsimile or get messy with mashed potatoes a lá Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

  1. Use your memory of the place or a particularly epic vista you or someone else has photographed. If it is helpful, trace the photo and enlarge and replicate it until you have a long, epic vista on paper that can fit on a desk, on a shelf, along a fence, etc.
  2. Tape the image to a backing (wall, cardboard, shelf, etc.). For best results, the line of the horizon should be at your eye level. Whether sitting or standing depends on when you think you need some wide-open vistas.
  3. Gather objects in your workplace, home, or other surroundings (books, boxes, pencil sharpeners, framed pictures and the like) and arrange the objects before the outlines or shapes of the image. Be careful to match the proportions exactly—we’re not creating a makey-uppy imaginary friend, but a true inspiration.
  4. Check your work frequently to keep it precise. It can look like a hoarder’s den or Monument Valley. Up to you.
  5. When completed to your satisfaction, take away the backing image. Especially if you are needing to keep your western diorama fetish secret, let your co-workers or family believe it’s some sort of feng shui stacking/shelving/organizational thing. Or be loud, be proud: Spray-paint the objects terra-cotta red, spread reddish grit on the floor, run a tape loop of wind and that tu-whee sound. Enjoy.

Send photos of your masterpieces!

Go ahead. Use this to trace from.

Or use this.

But that’s not all! Preparation exercises #2 and #3 tomorrow….

2 comments to Roadtrip Sidebar #2; Finding Happiness; or, Your Own Do-It-Yourself Monument Valley

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