Round One: Let the Game Begin!

“…walking into the sunlight of my artistic future!”

I Will find the WILL!!

My Founding Artist painting: The first of my works to be placed in The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation’s Permanent Collection!

Fittingly titled “Crossing the Deleware, Well Aware” it shows my journey from despair and being held back by my past to shedding the overcoat of depression and walking into the sunlight of my artistic future! I based this title on the little “George Washington” Dude lurking down in the bottom center of the painting…See his funny hat?

My “Doubting Suzie” Ways

Ok, friends, here’s the deal: I quit working as Frank Strunk III’s intern last week. Why, when I was enjoying learning from him so much? Why, when my mind was blooming open to all kinds of brilliant metal working techniques, and my mind was being blown by his artistic vision?

“Why in the world would you do that Susan Todd?”, Susan Todd asked Susan Todd.

I figured out the answer to that yesterday, although the reasons I gave Frank were that

A. I need to focus on my work I already do, cause it’s what I do. (Huh?)

B. I am doing a piece about my Dad and I’m an emotional landmine.(Hmmmm….What?)

C. I have been invited to a big event and need to focus.(Nope.)

D. Too many scattered efforts make Suzie nuts. (Now THAT makes sense)

Did I do the right thing? I wasn’t sure, because I really want to make metal art. I’m frequently making impulsive decisions and regretting them. He was generous with his time, his tools, opening his shop, his art and heart to help an emerging artist. And I bailed, just when I was really digging in.

An Emotional piece about my Dad…Work in Progress. “Dead Men Tell No Tales”©STMartin2022 (started last week!)

I hate how my Bipolar Disorder makes me run Soooo Hot and then drops me on my doubtful butt. But it did, and here I am. Have I done what I said I was going to do? Well, yes. Yes I have. So that is good, I really have benefited from focusing on less! I have finished one of the pieces for the new INSIGHTS V call and started 2 more. I entered the Art of Possibilities Show in Missouri with 3 works, and finished 2 Grant applications plus am working on a third. And this third one is a doozy.

THE IMAGES ABOVE are of ‘THE DREAMING FOREST’ ©STMartin2022 (A New Work!)

I didn’t get the last three I applied for, but I’m getting better all the time at writing them. This new one I am having trouble writing, but that is ok. I AM REACHING OUT!! Oh, and I finished my Art Business course that the St Pete Arts Alliance gave me a scholarship for!

So, have I been working, and trying and FIGHTING for myself?

Yes! YES!! YES!!!! Making connections and forging ahead, breaking new ground in new and exciting directions. Learning new marketing skills and remembering old ones I had forgotten. Benefiting from taking little risks and meeting new artists.

Now that I have written this I am astounded at all I have accomplished in the past 2 months. I really am a creative Powerhouse! Cutting thru the choppy waters like a PRO! Go Suzie, Go Suzie!

There is NO limit on my creative potential! I can SOAR! Look at me go!!

one of my commissions from 2021

The FUTURE SUE!

this painting is a commentary on my journey

How Do I Do?

This painting, “Ad Infinitum”, is a commentary of my journey from Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Childhood Sexual Assault, Self-Loathing and Suicidal Ideation to a Life of Freedom and Acceptance of the person I was. As a person with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD , this journey was arduous and excruciatingly painful.

This work has been juried into the ” 2021 Women In Art”, an online show honoring women artists for the month of March, at Las Laguna Art Gallery, Laguna Beach, California. You can view this show online at laslagunartgallery.com March 4-27,2021 Description of Work: As a Bipolar Artist I have always portrayed my duality in my work unconsciously at first, way before any diagnosis. I painted this as an entry to The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundations Insights IV Art Show in 2019, the theme being Self Portraits. As such all the women in the image are different facets of the Artist. On the Left side of the image in gilt and green vines we find a woman hanging on a stake, paying for her crimes.

Center Bottom is the past self (as I described initially here). We see that she is dark overall, and notably, wearing a mask and full of confusing puzzle-like pieces and disjointed lines. In fact even her hair is like the pages of a book that holds her many secrets. There are signs she has been in bondage, chains, shackles, even some kind of demon-like being can be seen lurking inside, still biting her(shoulder region).This collection of symbols indicate not only abuse, but also the bondage of addiction and codependency. She smiles up at the healed self who is lifting her out of the mire. Her condition had become so dire, that we see a tiny version of self scrambling up the stairs in her forearm to escape, with a look of terror on her face. That is not a shirt the lower self wears, it is her skin, which has to peeled off to reveal the clean inner person she is becoming.

Around the lower self’s neck, central to the painting we see a venomous snake, usually a symbol of evil in art, for centuries. But rather than striking, it is benevolent ( after all it is pink!) An “inside joke” on the Artist’s part, as she was bitten by a Pygmy Rattlesnake on July 5, 1985 and then by a Copperhead on August 10, 1995, which very nearly cost her her life.

BUT SHE LIVED, and now that all the other venom of her past is purged, SHE IS LIVING A JOYFUL LIFE NOW! As far as the child in the right-hand corner, that needs no explanation, nor does the love on the face of the Healed Self.

Shows, Shows, Shows!!!

Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin March-April 2021

BEAUTIFUL POSSIBILITIES

This Mixed Media Painting by Susan T. Martin is Entitled, “A Wee Bit Peckish”

Using Simultaneity and Surrealism I morph my feelings and emotions into birds, fish, and an outpouring of faces, each expressing the myriad emotions I go thru each day as a person living with PTSD and Bipolar Disorder.I wonder how many animals you can find? It’s like a little joyride into my manic mind!

The Hurrier I Go…

THE BEHINDER I GET

How true, how true that Pennsylvania Dutch saying is. I squander my art endeavors, rushing from this deadline to that, frazzled, befuddled and unsatisfied. That may be what drove Van Gogh insane, the constant turmoil to do better. I am making the presumption that perhaps the rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder that I enjoy(!) was somehow effecting him, too. Many artists share this mental illness, I know that The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation has held Insights Art Exhibitions, to establish a permanent collection of works by artists who are effected by this disorder. I am proud to be one of the Founding Artists of that collection, and proud to know these beautiful people who have done so much to further research in the field.

Three years, three works of my art in this collection. It blows my mind, just as my art has been blowing peoples minds since I was a child. How easy I forget, and wallow in my mire. That is part of this disease also. The dark days, when no amount of internal dialogue can push me out of bed, out of the bleak landscape in my head. Do you think Van Gogh, or Matisse, or Dali had such dark times? What about Francis Bacon, Pollock, Warhol ?

Then why do I feel so alone in my efforts? Yes, I’m sure the worldwide pandemic has a dampening effect, on artists as well as everyone else. Perversely, I also treasure the isolation it affords me. No one can chastise my late hours, or visit to be aghast at the paint on my floor, on my walls, on me. I think I need to get out of the house more, go walk on the beach, visit a park. All things strange and alien nowadays. I know this will pass, I have been in counselling and under proffesionals care for my Bipolar Disorder and PTSD for nearly 30 years, I take my medication every single day, because I have been all the way down into the abyss and made friends with the monsters lurking there. Only to find out that they all wanted me dead. I don’t want to be dead. I can fully understand why I did, because this pain is all encompassing. I feel each cell screaming at me to give it relief.

Not too happy, guys…

The only thing I can do is paint myself into a painless reality, a utopia of color, a sweet dream of lavender and silk, a field of gold. When sleep won’t come I will disappear into the garden that flows out of my pen, winding its way into sweet fantasy-lands where no one is mean and there is no such thing as loneliness…

Birds of Paradise

“…running to the window, still asleep, she fell thru the glass with a crash…”

A short story by Susan T. Martin…

She was never very confident. Her mother said she was ‘pretty’. She did not believe her. She didn’t want to be ‘pretty’, anyway. No. She wanted to be ‘breathtaking’, achingly ‘beautiful’, devastatingly ‘gorgeous’. A ‘real heartbreaker’, ‘homewrecker’, a ‘ten’. A ‘perfect’ ten.

Like Tracy. Her best friend with the huge blue eyes and pretty lips, nice hips and long, long hair. But she was none of those things that Tracy was. She had a sneaking suspicion that her mother was lying about ‘pretty’ as well.

The boys did not say she was pretty. Not that she liked them. Only one. Joey. He was super smart. Super duper smart. Almost as smart as she was. But smart didn’t rate very high in her circle of giggly little girlfriends. It especially didn’t rate with Tracy who thought being smart was ‘stupid’ and ‘a drag’. A drag with a roll of the eyes added on.

It seemed she was just doomed to be a ‘bookworm’, which was a term that also elicited an eye roll from Tracy and the gigglers.

Oh, how she loved her books. She longed to go to the exotic places depicted in her ‘National Geographic’ magazine that her dad had ordered for her. He thought she was beautiful, but not in the ‘Tracy’ way. No, dad said she was beautiful for her brains, her intelligence. This made her feel very good. Her and her dad would walk in the garden and he would point out different creatures and plants for her to name, from her study books in the library. Oh, that’s a salamander…or, That one is a chickadee. His eyes glistened when she got this right, especially his beloved songbirds. He could whistle just like them, he knew every call. She could not whistle, because her tooth was missing in the front. He said he would make sure the tooth fairy knew that she had to have a mouth that would whistle for her next birthday. It was coming up soon, so she was excited.

Something bad happened that next month, tho’. Her daddy had a heart attack and died, and mom said he had gone away to a better place, in heaven. She didn’t get to tell him that the tooth fairy gave her a whistle, or that she could now tweet, almost as good as he did. She didn’t believe that heaven business, her dad said that heaven was a place where the birds lived, not dead people.

She spent a lot of time alone that winter, walking alone in the garden. She would whistle all the time, and learn about new animals and birds. She dreamed about her father every night, sometimes she would sleepwalk.

One cold, rainy February night she had an especially bad night. In her dream her dad was locked out of the house. He was calling to her, from the garden, and in her dream she wanted to fly down to him, like a beautiful exotic bird. She knew if he saw her, all arrayed in bright and glorious feathers, that he would be saved, and they would be together again. If only she could just fly down there. She started whistling and flapping her arms, and running to the window, still asleep, she fell thru the glass with a crash, landing unconscious in the garden below. Her bedraggled wet little body, so twisted and broken, was rushed to the hospital.

They said she would not be the same if she ever woke up. But they did not know that deep inside her amazing little mind, she was just fine. Her and her dad had both learned how to fly, and they tweeted happy little birdsongs back and forth as they flitted about a magnificent garden.

‘my year as a bird’ digital painting ©Susan T. Martin 2021

RESOLVING THE COMMISSION DILEMMA

Stuck in the Barnyard

OLD McDONALD HAD A COMMISSION…Oh no, Oh no, Oh no……”

The First Draft of “The Dreaded Barnyard”
One of my Trippy Palm Frond Creations

So, I had a “Patron”, and I am envisioning a relationship similar to Michaelangelo had with The Pope.. Endless coffers, freedom of expression in my own magnificent style, expensive dining and and more and more projects to work on. What a dream come true! I even mentioned to this kind person and lover of my art that I would give her privledged pricing on all future projects! Why not, right? I was on the gravy train from here on out, the best brushes, high quality paints…maybe marble or a bronze sculpture…or a glorious garden full of exquisite welded work! Ah, I basked in the glow of this fantasy, every artist’s dream!

THE BIRDHOUSE RACKET

Don’t get me wrong, I like money…I don’t yearn for riches like some do, which is a good thing because I would spend my life disappointed, but I do like to earn money. It validates the work I do, and it also buys good hot cocoa. So, every now and then, when I want to market my work directly, and it’s not stuff I want “too much” for; I resort to online marketplaces. To make a quick buck I’ve been known to paint palm fronds with funny animal faces for people to stick out in their gardens, and I’ve turned a quick buck…or twenty. In the recent past I painted and sold four or five birdhouses that I knocked out pretty quick, and sold them on Facebook marketplace…I was pleasantly surprised at how they were snapped up. “woohoo” ten bucks here, fifteen there…

I know what you think…you think I am ungrateful. That anyone with a talent like this that can make a dollar should not scoff at that ability. Believe me I am SO grateful. That’s not the issue. I made the choice to undersell, just to get that dough in my hand fast, I know that. Let me finish…

So, off I go (one day last month) to meet a customer for a sale. For good measure I loaded up a bunch of do-dads I had accumulated, thinking I might do some “suggestion selling” (Thank You Business Certificate). To my delighted surprise the person did buy more than one item! Not only that, they asked for more! I was tickled, really. So tickled, in fact, that I wrote a post about my new found angle on artistic marketing success! I rushed home to make more, but decided on a nap instead…

The Cathouse

Munson, A Treasured Friend assemblage on Carved Sculpture by Susan T. Martin, in The Art on The Island 3-D Art Show

Been trapping feral kitties this weekend…but not to kill them. Yay! I’ve been working with a nonprofit called Meow Now, which I believe has chapters nationwide. They catch, neuter/spay , vaccinate and bring back the cats. This then allows the colony to live a healthy life and controls the population of feral cats… An established colony deters more cats from moving in also. I had counted 11 ferals on our street, we caught 9 so far… I’ve not been able to get much done in the way of work for a couple days… Will have to hit it hard to have some works ready for the Holiday Show and Sale downtown at The Morean Arts Center… I’ll be back with some new stuff SOON!!!

HIGH Time

“introducing SUTI’S Whimsies, Susan T. Martin’s Joyful, Buoyant Designs…

Introducing:

SUTI’S WHIMSIES

Susan T. Martin’s JOYFUL, BUOYANT Designs

For Your Distinctive

HOME and GARDEN!!

So many irons in the fire. I’m trying SO HARD to stay focused and get my online sales sites going for my ‘Suti’s Whimsies” Art. I am planning on separating this side of my art practice to include my lighthearted works, the birdhouses, end tables, tiny tables, suncatchers and flowery objects I whip out fairly fast. (when I’m not sitting here doodling all night!) I have SO many sites that I don’t keep up with, so I am choosing one platform for those, and marketing them as whimsical home and patio decor. I like the name Suti, it combines my first Name and initial in a cutsie way(to go with the cutsie art!) I had copyrighted my ‘cartoon’ Characters , “DINGLEBERRY AND FRIENDS” back in 2002. I will put ©SusanTMartin on those items. I am getting really good response on these ‘low dollar’ items , using Facebook Marketplace. I had 5 people in one day clamoring for the first birdhouse, today I sold 2 more before they even were listed!! At this rate I need to hire assistants to help me keep up. I’m going to hit these hard for a while, gain some much needed capital to enter some shows this season. Oh, plans , plans !! One foot in front of the other! I have to figure out which payment options to use. I made this site just premium again, I couldn’t get it together with the business option. I wish I had a manager to handle the marketing… Should I approach one? Try to get a small business license? I wish I knew. I’m so held back by my brain injury… marketing and Logistics aren’t my high point any more… Never were , really….ah well, I’m still a happy peasant.

Yellow Belly.

…Random Words, Targeted Pain….Red, Yellow, Green and Brown Pain…White Pain…My Pain…

Red Jello. Green jellybeans…Green-Eyed Greedy Gut: runs around eating the whole world up.

Red Beans and Rice. Red Eye Gravy. Red Bone Coon Hound,

Yellow Rice. Condaleeza Rice. Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker. Red Robin. Red Skin Potatoes.

Green Godess. Long Island Iced Tea. Rum. Lots and lots of Rum.

Brown Gravy, Brown Eyed Girl…Skin Browned by the Sun. Skin.

Smooth Skin, Tanned Skin, Supple Skin. Skin Head

Random Words, Targeted Pain. Lasting Pain, Throbbing, Stabbing, Burning, Achy , Dull, Acute Pain.

Red Yellow Green and Brown Pain. White Pain. My pain.

FAIL…SAFE?

“…a drive to put what is playing on my internal projector out into the real world, for others to see…”

Stick your neck out. You gotta fail to win. Break a leg. And on and on…

A new Hybrid Creation!! A physical 3/D art mask with Digitally Painted surround!! Cool, man! ©Susan T Martin

Do you think of yourself as fearless? I used to think I was-when I was very, very drunk. Then I would cling to my “old man”, laughing like a lunatic, as we would race down I-26 at about 120mph on his old shovelhead. Whew…

That is not fearless. That’s just insane.

I was asking God the other day, to let me know what kind of art I should create. He did not suddenly give me skills like Michaelangelo, unfortunately. However, I share the same birthday with that marvelous personage. (Michaelangelo, that is…)

God has remained quiet, and has allowed me to decide what to make. That is why he gave me an imagination. And a drive to put what I see playing on my internal projector out into the real world, for others to see. Sometimes what I choose to show is not pretty, but has some meaning for me. At times my work is mildly odd, at others it can be painful for me to see, because the images or emotions have come from a deep and scary place. This particular type of art can be very therapeutic for me as a survivor; I take the monster out of the box, turn it this way, then that, think on it a bit, maybe beat it up a little, and then put it safely away again.

I feel strong after I do that, because I chose how to interpret the emotion, not the perp.

I saw it thru my lens, from a distance I am comfortable with, and I share what I choose to share. When I am at my bravest, I am not considering what the viewer might think at all. That may sound counter-intuitive , after all, don’t I want to please the viewer? Coax them into buying my art?

Aren’t I actually shooting myself in the foot?

( It really is going to be Allright, Mother…I will not starve…)

I feel like such a big chicken when I create art to please the masses. Well, I don’t have “masses”, how about a ‘mass’. How about a ‘mess’? If messes were my main concern I’d be Uber famous, because I have messes everywhere.

Anyway, I create art because I am an artist. It’s part of me. It’s not a job, it’s my identity, my natural state of being.

Should I paint “safe” so as not to “fail”….

I will create art, that is what I do. As long as I do this , I will always be ‘safe’ in the knowledge that I gave that which I have so graciously been given.

Don’t let fear of failure cause you to fence yourself in. Find a break in that fence, gather your courage and break thru!! When you free yourself from the constraints of creating for someone else, your imagination will soar to great new heights!!

This was one of those paintings that Hurt, as I was painting it… But it had to be done, for my own healing…

Starting Over, Over Again

“… can you see me going mad in here?…”

             Things will seem to go OK, when suddenly they’ll stop,

.            Face in the dirt, there I lay-then poof! I am up top.

.            This brain of mine, this machine, that whirrs inside my head,

.             Makes the bells and whistles ding even when I lay in bed.

.             I need relief, some way, some how, to quiet racing thoughts,

Instead they throw some pills at me to make me who I’m not.

I always knew I would wind up alone,

.             Now that it happened, now that I’ve grown…

.             It’s the worst pain I’ve ever known.

.             Can you see me going mad in here?

.             Can you hear me? Can you, Dear?

.             There’s a slim chance, if you hurry,

.             That all the scary things will scurry,

.             That the sky will clear, the rain will stop-

.             And once again I’ll be on top.

IN the DOGHOUSE

…there is a niggling worry, about the big C…CO I mean…VID…

BLOCKY the ROCK HOUND, work in progress, Concrete Block and Rocks©STM

Sigh… I’ve been feeling crappy… Really Awful… SICK. It has caused a pause in my production of work. There is this niggling worry, of course, about the big C, CO I mean…VID. I don’t believe this is it, am hoping very strongly that this is not it. The headache is from a sinus infection that seems to always correspond to this changing season. So, I have been fighting, on this front, for about a week.

I rely so much on my little Kleo as a huggable, furry sounding board , having recently experienced the grief of losing her uncle Kiko last month. She became violently ill yesterday, and had to be rushed to the astronomically expensive emergency vet. Five hundred plus dollars and a day later she is stabilized, but I’m not sure I am. The running total on all my credit cards is the highest I’ve ever had, and the gallery I use has been virtual for months. Sales are nil for now, so I feel pressured to create a masterpiece . But I keep falling asleep with my paintbrush for my hand, and abstract ain’t my bag at the moment. Perhaps it should be. I could, in my stupor, lay a blank canvas on the floor by my couch and hold an open paint jar over it while I doze. Perhaps some nice swirly “pour”will result…( This is a JOKE. )

The day before my illness I painted a new canvas, and I feel very pleased with it, even though my freehand jug is rather “interesting”. I do have more works in progress , soon to come to fruition as Kleo Pup and I mend. Yay. I mean, “YAY!!”

In My Room

“Sleep to Dream a Dreamer’s Sleep…Let the Midnight Watchman Creep…”
A step into a past full of Victorian Charm, all furniture and walls handpainted and restored…by me.

your home is your place to dream, to find peace and rest. A cocoon, a safe haven, an island in the storm… a place to create, to define, to highlight who you really are-in your own space. Welcome to mine…

I always lived with others, my family, my husband, friends… I expressed my own style in little flourishes, here and there. Once I got my own home, that I truly own, and no one else shares it with me….now I’ve been free to create my own space. Painting anything, be it wall, floor, furniture or canvas; at any time of day, in any colors, in any style!! There are days I sit here, depressed and immobilized. Then I remember to look around and be so, so grateful…

The Door is Wide Open

There are ideas percolating just beneath the surface of my consciousness. They are not fully fleshed out but the juices are flowing and I feel “on the verge” of a breakout work. What is a ‘breakout work’ you ask? Well, I’m asking too, and I believe there is a new direction coming.

ideas under construction…

I have been cleaning and gardening and remodeling while the first flickers have steadily growing in size, ready to flame up when the fully formed idea strikes. So I’m just stoking the fire now, setting my mind free to dream in big color…

my garden calls me , more and more…and I’ve been gathering beloved and beautiful finds and setting them behind the house while this “thing” fleshes out. And it will.

Oh, yes. It will…

Forgetting the I

…icky sticky hugs and kisses that Hurt too much to feel…

Running full tilt thru each day

leaves no time for reckoning

no time to breathe or seek relief

till exhaustion stops the flight

feeling can be too intense

too mundane-much to real

icky sticky hugs and kisses

that Hurt too much to feel .

” Renata’s Path” commission

I Miss What I Imagined I would Miss

…the room seems to awaken with her…golden rays fall…like the petals of an opening rose…

this isolation is kind of nice, (she thought), it gives me time to explore my thoughts. But too much pondering of self is no good, (she thought to herself), it can get messy. Really, it is messy, all this thinking in isolation, (she remembered), because it makes me so sleepy, (she yawned), not doing the dishes, nor combing my hair, (she sighs), flummoxed, just flummoxed. I should try to eat something, (she groans), but there’s nothing here I want, (she moans) it all takes too much energy… e-n-e-r-g-y…(she sleeps…)Izzy's 3rd Litter Dec 16,2011 5am 026footsteps recede, door closes. 

Ahhhh, fresh air… Curtains of pale yellow blow in the morning breeze. We know it’s morning, hear the cardinals breakfasting at the feeder. A nuzzle of cold snout under the hand leads to the opening of an eye: Here is Izzy, the proud mom, ready to show us her new brood.100_0306

” Good Girl Za-Za!”, we exclaim, thrilled now to sit up, taking a long draw on the crystal glass of water at our bedside.

. “Hey, Kiki old-man! You gonna show us the grand babies?”3D0E4E9E-4112-4873-9B74-C8D27E8CE8F0

.  Swing the legs over the side and stretch, then again before standing…

“Show me!”.

.  With that, off they dash as we stumble along behind, into the hall then into the den. We can already hear the tiny grunts and squeals as the teeny pups angrily demand breakfast.

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“Get in there, Izzy!” She’s already in the basket, dutifully cleaning little backsides as they squirm and nuzzle in for a teat. “Good Za!”

.  She gives us a look of pure bliss, eyes narrow and smiling with a mother’s pride. Not to be outdone, Uncle Kiko, gives a little nose-nudge to the basket as if to say, “I helped too!!”

.  ” Good Boy Kiko, you’re a trooper, indeed!”

In the quiet of the morning the scent of brewing coffee tantalizes our senses, and as we look up into the kitchen, there is Dad, in his Dad chair, reading the newspaper as he’s done ten thousand mornings before. He glances up from his cup, mid-sip, to wink and smile, mouthing a silent ‘good-morning’.

.   We move down the hall towards Mom’s bedroom, still closed as she slumbers on. We can’t resist a peek, gently opening the door and gliding over to stand and caress her sleeping face with our eyes. She is so beautiful in her repose, a wisp of brown hair touseled over her brow. We must have made a sound, she stirs and the room seems to awaken with her, the birds chirp louder, the golden rays fall around her like the petals of an opening rose. She stretches, smiling, her hand reaches out to touch ours…

It’s just a dream, just a dream. But it will be a reality soon. I miss you, Mom and Dad.

 

 

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