Saturday, January 31, 2004
But, while there, someone told me about this site, and here it is.
Selfellatio: A Self Portrait of an Anonymous Exhibitionist
Not only is he sucking his own cock, but takes the photographs at the same time.
Last night was the opening for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. Then we went upt to Septieme's for a late dinner. The opening was an evening to see and be seen. Art openings are not about looking at the art. Yeah, a little of that happens, but, from the ones I've attended, it's never a good enviroment to immerse yourself in the art. When attending openings, I always plan to spend another day at the gallery where I can spend quality time with the work.
Lots of eye candy last night. We went right at the beginning, and still had to wait in line 15 minutes to get in. When we left 3 hours later, there were still people in line, some having waited 45 minutes. It was a smash.
Saw a few I know. Spent some time with a couple boys, groping and getting groped. Last night's highlight was meeting and spending a fair amount of time talking with Drub.
If I had the money, I would have purchased a few of his pieces. He's a really nice guy, and felt the same way his work did. Clean and honest. It's not about pretentiousness. His work is sexually explicit...but he's not forcing a point. He creates what he loves. He asked me why I hadn't shown my work in this show, and I explained that I didn't want my work specifically labeled as "erotic art" for adults only. My vision for my art. He got it...immediately. Highly refreshing. I will be sending him samples of my new stuff once I have it photographed.
By the way, he's very hot.
In addition to art, there's a chance to view films. I plan on returning tonight, to see 2 of them. The first, (from the website) REEL SEX - DOCUMENTARY DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX - OF MEN AND GODS (Anne Lescot and Laurence Magloire ,Canada , 2002).
"This impressive documentary provides a rare glimpse into queer life within Voodoo religion in Haiti. OF MEN AND GODS follows a group of gay men and transgendered women who speak openly about their sexuality and gender."
That is being shown in conjunction with THE MALE NUDE (Andrew Delaplaine, USA, 2002)
"Chronicling the male nude from the beginning of photography to present day beefcakes."
It should be fun.
Tomorrow, there's a panel discussion on the nature of erotic art. I'll attend that as well. This makes for a full weekend, and a good way to begin a week off which hopefully will see the completion of two new paintings.
Friday, January 30, 2004
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Yesterday after work, I opted for Septieme's before heading home. All I wanted was to sit, grab a glass of red wine, and read a magazine I just purchased.
I found a good article that has loads of juicy stuff in it.
From the Winter 2003 issue of 'Modern Painters', in "The First Painter After The Last", Nicole Krauss writes:
"There was a game Philip Guston played with his friend, the composer Morton Feldman. They pretended to be the last artists."
Wow. Think about it. What if you were the last painter? Okay, now expand that. What if you were the last "fill in your passion"? Would it change how you create, how you are? Would you play differently?
Would it push you to be better than the others...to prove yourself somehow? Would you feel the need to strive for more honesty or integrity within your own work? Would it light a fire in you...with the idea of "Okay, no more fooling around....let each stroke, note, word, act, be the best I can give in the now."
Would you feel the desire to leave your mark, with each new endeavor?
Would it be a place where maybe you'd think, "what's the point?"
My head and soul are working in tandem with "What if you were the last one?"
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Yesterday I noticed this anger infringing upon my state of whatever. In the last 24 hours, everywhere I turn, I'm furious. What I do know is, I find it quite interesting that I am so angry. It's not like I haven't been before. But, why now? What's going on inside that obviously felt so uncomfortable that I needed to bring out the anger because it's easier to deal with?
Yeah, I'm standing back and objectively trying to watch myself go thru what needs to happen.
A few weeks ago, I remember the same thing happening. I woke one morning with such a sadness. The grief was so large I literally felt a heavy pressure on my chest. There wasn't pain, physical or emotional. It was sadness. All pure sadness. It became so intense and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Next thing, anger flew in to take its place. Curious. I realized that I couldn't deal with the grief and transformed it to anger. Anger feels more active. We can do something about it.
But what to do with sadness?
It's silly really. Regardless of the emotion, the answer is the same. Lean into it and walk through it.
Fascinating. I began therapy for short term grief support. I needed to somehow deal with the illness of a loved one, a recognition that he essentially died one day and was reborn the next.
As life does, when we take one step, the next surely follows.
One thing led to another, opening a huge Pandora's box. Pulling out an item, one at a time, I held it in my hand while feeling it in my heart. At some point, it was placed in a new spot, making room to take something else out of the box. Granted, this is a life long process...for all of us. But there comes a time where I can hold the key that first allowed me to open the box, and see it differently. Its shape has changed. This is where I am.
In the last week or so, I feel I am coming full circle, and find myself back where I started. The difference being, I hold a greater understanding and more appropriate tools to deal with the grief. Now, because it's essentially a new toy, I have the awareness of its novelty yet can't seem to find the manual at this time. I know it will come at some point, but there's always that awkward phase, yanno?
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
You know how sometimes while writing, your hand pulls out a truth nugget that's been hidden away? Saturday's entry did that with me. It brought up so much that I needed to step back, and try to figure out how to deal with it all. Until I can discuss it with my therapist, it won't be mentioned here. My shrink has become the place where I can thoroughly dump. Huh...like a landfill.
He's been on vacation for a couple weeks, so I've been doing more private writing...tucked away on my desktop.
We'll meet next week, and I'm already prioritizing what to talk about! Also, I'm on vacation next week, although it's not technically a vacation. The office gets the week of Christmas or the week of New Year's off, for holiday leave. Because it's one of the critical times for my position, I work both those weeks, and take the time a little later. I have plans to paint. There's a portrait I want to finish. The eyes. These are challenging mysterious eyes. That's all I need to complete this painting. I'd like to begin a portrait of Tattoo'd Bear, as well as another of a friend. This series evolves little by little.
I began with one specific subject matter and have watched it morph, as what appears to be quite unrelated is becoming part of the series. It had to. The energy, while painting the first oddball piece was identical to the others. I noticed the similarity, the sameness, immediately. It was a force that almost knocked me over.
If I don't eventually burn or destroy these images first, I will end up with a show. I'm titillated by the fact that people will look at them and say..."huh?" I can hear such statement as, "this doesn't go together....doesn't fit." "Why did the artist choose to put it together?"
Because I'm tired of explaining...I may not. People will either get it, or not. It's not my problem. My art is either going to speak to you or not. I've done what I needed to, in creating the work. The viewer's reaction is not my responsibility.
Yes, I get hard at powerful reactions, be they positive or negative. Ambivalence sucks. But I don't want to control whatever reaction a viewer has, or influence it with my discourse on a particular image.
My belief is also a personal reaction to spoonfeeding. I detest spoonfeeding. There are many who don't want to put in the work, mentally, physically, emotionally. But, when someone approaches me, with a genuine interest, and I see that they've put in their own effort, without my help, I will assist.
My intent when beginning these paintings was not conceptual. I painted something that juiced me. While remaining open, not limiting myself, I'd paint another, and another...and so it followed.
I remember a summer. The summer of '95, before my thesis, I was awarded a fellowship. The award was enough to live on for 3 months, to work on my proposal.
I set up a studio space in the arts building. Essentially alone, it was quiet. One of my profs became my mentor that summer. We'd meet once a week to discuss the work.
My proposal was so incredibly cheesy. Halfway through the summer I realized how ridiculous it was. But, I was granted the fellowship. "Still Life as Self Portraiture."
Yes, it was bullshit. As an artist, I was fully aware that anything I painted was a reflection of me, and therefore a self portrait.
This series, which I wasn't aware of until now, is a huge self portrait...in a loud, screaming way.
And, rereading this entry I notice contradictions. Right now, I don't care, and I'm chalking that up to crankiness. I'm in a mood.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Because of my viewpoint on erotic art, it made for an interesting afternoon. I so truly wished that this published professor, an "expert" on the subject, and I were alone in a room. With almost each slide he showed and spoke about, I wanted to jump in and ask questions. I know that in the time allowed , he didn't have any time to back up his statements. It wasn't the forum for it. But I wanted to know how he'd answer them. I was genuinely curious.
There appeared to be a heterosexist and homophobic slant to the lecture and work shown. Example: Greek art is filled with homo-eroticism. Yet, within the large sampling of greek art shown, only one or two were men with men. What really irked me was that it seemed he needed to explain the relationship older men had with boys. He stated that penetration rarely took place during the sexual experiences between the men. Instead, the older men would rub up against the boys, and cum that way. What the hell was the point of that? And how does he know? Yeah, the hairs on the back of my neck went up tremendously. I was not amused.
Although he mentioned Mapplethorpe a few times, he did not show an example of his work. I do have to add that, to his credit, he showed one Tom of Finland print. He also showed us some lesbian oriented art, but it was symbolic, not realistic.
When showing Japanese shunga art, he spoke of how there appeared to be much violence in some of their portrayals of sex. This prof kept using the word violence, as a negative. Someone from the audience finally piped up and said "maybe they were just kinky."
At some point he made a very valid comment about how each culture has their own idea of what is sexy. And yet, I felt the lecture and his research was based on what he considered erotic. In general, I don't have a problem with that. But I feel if one is held up as an expert and is teaching the history of erotic art, either they ought to admit to their bias or allow for work that is beyond their realm. If that means bringing research assistants from different subcultures, to seek out other points of view, so be it.
In spite of some of that weirdness, all in all, it was a good afternoon. I am quite opinionated, but open to different viewpoints as well as to changing my position if something resonates and makes sense to me. I hoped to learn something new, and gain more food for thought, which did happen. It all needs to be mentally sorted out before I can even attempt to talk about it. But, when I'm ready...you'll read it here.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
WANTED: SEVERE SADIST WITH COMPASSIONATE SPIRIT
COMMITMENT: ONE EVENING
RESPONSIBILITIES: BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF ME
AFTERCARE: HOLD ME FOR A LITTLE BIT WHILE I PICK UP THE PIECES
A couple days ago, I wrote about how something can push a button and walls go up.
This deep feeling of invisibility came to the forefront because of a button, a resolution.
On New Year’s Eve, I had an appointment with my therapist. I tend not to make resolutions for the new year. Reflection is my preferred choice.
Now that I think about it, reflecting is another way of looking at the future. When looking at what was, isn’t there always something in your head that envisions the future at the same time?
I suppose it’s another way of resolving. The “I resolve” is silent, although there. “I resolve to...because I wish I hadn’t done this..or this was good and so I’ll maintain that course…etc.”
During that appointment my therapist made a resolution for me.
He said “You are going to seek out play, play hard and play often”.
(Not a direct quote, but that’s the jist.)
He then said that I’ve immersed myself in intense work for the last year and a half, and I now need to balance it with play. He mentioned that we all work through our stuff in a few ways (and need all of those). Through grief, hard work and through pleasure. He proclaimed it was time for my pleasure.
I’ve never before had a shrink tell me it was critical to begin immersing myself in my s/m. How cool is that?
And with that…little by little…encroached the cloak of invisibility.
In the midst of grieving these last many months, I’ve watched myself come out. It felt safe in a way because I was not in a place to really play.
Yes, there were snippets. I call them play appetizers. Yes, I’d go thru moments where I was hungry to play. I wanted to feel the singletail, the cane. I craved to be confined and locked away in the darkness.
Sir would talk about His cage, and tears would come to my eyes because I know…and love that feeling. I’ve been one with the cage.
But I could stand back, knowing my mind, heart and spirit were actively working on healing.
Now it’s time for my body to engage. And the brunt of who I am hit me. Cuz…well…this is what it’s about, right? It’s one thing to theorize about being a gay man in a female body. It’s another thing to actualize that, in more ways than conversation and teasing.
I think there are two things working hand in hand. One is my quirky sexuality. I face the actual reality of ‘where in the hell am I going to find play partners?” The other is how intimate my masochism is, and the prospect of opening myself in that way again.
I realized this morning I have never before been more scared.
Part of me tells me this is all stupid. I’m a heavy player. Before training, I was playing 3 or 4 nights a week…intensely. I would turn down dates to play more often because I knew my body needed a break. I’d tell the Top, “I’m too beat to get beat tonight.”
Yet here I am…afraid.
I didn’t realize how fearful I was until a few weeks ago. When wonderboy and I were rough-housing and kissing in Sir’s dungeon, a portion of me wanted to continue. Then I noticed a bigger chunk of me was glad we had time constraints and had to meet someone. We couldn’t continue the play and it was a good thing. I was afraid. I saw my wall. I saw my fear.
My play has always been special because that was the time I could open up the most. These last many months I’ve touched the rawness of who I am, in so many ways other than play. I’ve learned books about myself. Now it’s time to rediscover who I am in play.
Yes, I played in August in my first experience as a top in a fisting scene. But that’s not the same.
It was a place for vulnerability, but it feels different in the Top space than in the bottom.
I need to bottom. And I’m afraid.
The few I know well, are immersed in their own life stuff. One appears to have pulled away from Leather for a while. He’s going through his own healing as well as being quite busy with his business.
I discover who I am. And then I fear it’s all in vain because my coming out won’t have mattered. At times I feel “what’s the point?”
Where do I even begin to find a gay man, intense sadist, strong of character, to play with?
And, even if I do find someone to play with, what will I find when we open ourselves up?
Whoa...here’s a question that just now came to the forefront. Maybe it’s the real question.
When I’m chained to the cross, open and bleeding, is that the point they will see me as distasteful?
Therein lay my fear.
Friday, January 23, 2004
I had a little Zen 'thought of the day' calender for 2003. I've saved a few that spoke to me. They've been in a pile, at the base of my monitor, mixed in with notes on post-its, cd's and other stuff. Disorganized organization.
As I walk into my office, and turn on my computer, I noticed one of the zen thoughts propped against my monitor, leaning in the corner. I have no idea, how or who, but it doesn't matter.
By your stumbling, the world is perfected. -Sri Aurobindo
Lovely, isn't it?
And Hoss, your email wrapped me in warm love. Thank you.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
The 3 or so hours of sleep early this morning, have left me groggy and useless. I plan on being in bed quite early tonight. So I'll leave you with two things. First is this week's horoscope from Freewill Astrology.
And, would you like to hear what I downloaded yesterday? This is what I get to hear each time I receive new mail at work. Actually, the file I have is a tad different. Deeper, richer. But I couldn't link to that one. Yes, I'm fortunate. I know full well I couldn't do this in most jobs.
Out Of The Mouth Of Babes
I gave a boy a ride into work this morning. He is a newly burgeoning masochist, another edge player in the making. :-)
It's quite exciting to see his reactions to new toys and experiences. Today he was speaking of his first caning. He's glowy and happy, relaying how the cane broke during play. My kind of play!
We were talking about the difference between heavy pain play versus sex play (although I personally see it all as sex).
At one point he says: "I can see how s/m play can cross the boundaries of gender and orientation. It's more about connection than about genitals."
Yeah, this morning I really needed to hear that out of someone else's mouth.
I went to bed, and although tired, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was full.
More importantly, I was fidgety, and something inside was nagging at me to get up. It’s crazy. I need to be up early because I’m giving someone a ride into work tomorrow, and yet here I sit, writing because I had to.
Have you ever been in an emotionally intimate relationship, and somehow, unknowingly, a button gets pushed. What you seem to notice is the other person appears to distance themselves. You fret and mourn, angst and cry. With time, you realize that they haven’t gone anywhere. They are still standing in front of you, waiting for you to return. What really happened was, something quite innocent pushed one of your hot buttons, and in defense, you created the wall. So all this time, you were the one who stepped back, the distant one.
Oddly enough, in a strange way, that’s what has happened here, with my blog.
I’ve needed to write about a specific thing, and haven’t. It’s been fear that’s prevented me from doing so. For the last few weeks, I’ve discovered a wall when blogging. I couldn’t write. The ideas have been there. When I’m away from my computer they flow thru my head. All the words. Yet when I sit down, I find silence.
I need to write about invisibility. I have no answers and this is not a ‘poor me’ post. But the words need to come out. The kicker is, I know we all feel invisible at times, each in different ways and for different reasons. So I’m not unique or special. It’s my way of being invisible in this world.
Having ideas that sometimes feel so out there in comparision to the rest of the world makes me feel invisible. Having a gay male sexual orientation while in a female body makes me feel invisible. Transition is currently NOT the right choice for me. Although, I honestly have to say I’ve developed some body shame due to this. And, I know I carry shame because of how I’m wired sexually.
It’s strange. Back in June or July (I don’t feel like searching for it right now) I wrote a piece about different coming outs I’ve had thus far. This one was in there. Yet apparently, the full force of it hadn’t hit me at the time. The reality of “what does this really mean?”
I’ve watched myself evolve and grow, to find myself in this place. An awkward, uncomfortable space where I need to accept who I am wholeheartedly. And even if I do, there’s a fear…where do I fit?
How do I fit?
Do any of us really fit in the world?
The crazy thing is, when we feel we don’t fit, we think there’s something wrong with us, instead of seeing that we all have awkward selves.
I’m running off at the head right now, mostly because I need to dump this out. Lucky you. I’m going to ramble.
In theory, I understand so much. Putting it in a practical place in life is another story.
I don’t like having shame around my body. That’s new, in the last year or so. I also don’t like the inability to comfortably fit in. I’m the one that wouldn’t make waves, and keep my mouth shut. The peacekeeper. I’d also call myself a chameleon, and shift shape to fit a situation to avoid conflict.
With Sir’s training, and then therapy…I can no longer keep quiet. I discovered I’d been screaming inside for years, needing to get out.
So here I stand…an intense masochist, painter, service bottom, maybe slave, gay guy in a girl’s body. And I don’t even know what gender to give myself. I don’t feel like a boy. But honestly, I don’t feel like a girl. Yes, it’s unsettling. I have both in me, and each come out in different moments. Not the extremes, because I’m not butch nor femme.
This world wants me to choose and I don’t see why I have to. Yes, I know about trannies. But even the majority of trannies choose. They transition from one to the other.
And honestly, this isn’t so much about gender. I like being in the middle. What I’m uncomfortable with is my sexual orientation.
I do wonder if it bugs me because others are uncomfortable with it. I don’t know. Something new to think about.
The invisibility comes in so many ways. My pool of finding people to play with is much smaller. I don’t have frequent opportunities to meet folks.
Not having a penis puts a damper on things. I will play with the occasional straight guy or butch dyke. But, just like with gay men, it’s all contingent upon energy for me. Yet even the cool straight guys want to treat me like a straight girl , and dykes are leery of me, because they fear I’ll take away their partners. It’s all ludicrous. It proves to me that they don’t see me.
The few who are in my circle are loyal and loving. Interestingly, those relationships are deeper than any I’ve had in my past.
I have so much good in my world. I’m quite lucky…it’s a rich life. So why do I feel this way? If we all feel this at one time or another, then this really doesn’t have anything to do with my sexuality. If it weren’t that, it would be something else.
So why don’t we fit? Why are we invisible? No answers, but maybe I’ll get some sleep.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
This evening, Edge wrote about keys. One of them is "good boy".
It's powerful stuff.
For those of you who long to hear those two words (gender aside), do you know what it is that creates the draw?
Have you ever stopped to think why it carries such a wallop? Do you have a need to hear it? If so, do you know why?
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
I'm a geek.
I've been working on the policies and procedures manual for our database and systems. Seeing the 'year end tax receipt letters' process is fresh in my head, I am committing this to paper. So I'm setting up the layout, and figuring out the most user friendly method of regurgitating the information, including copies of different screens needed.
Being thrilled with what is developing, I was prancing around the office showing everyone. (It's a big deal, because it's the first real live portion of a manual. Essentially, all the information of my job currently resides in one place. My head. Yeah..I know, not good. I've been trying to find the time to create a manual so if I'm hit by a truck, then someone can step in.)
Oh yeah, back to prancing.
My coworkers considerately ooohed and aahed...and then called me a geek for being so excited about such a document. I suppose I need to fess up that I love running queries and playing in spreadsheets as well. My complaining happens when I don't have the space and time to fully and luxuriously immerse myself in such an endeavor.
Who woulda thunk? Me, a geek.
Monday, January 19, 2004
When I sat down to write...I just let it go wherever.
While talking with my therapist later, loads of ideas came through based on those few sentences previously written. It was quite exciting.
One idea, which I hadn't even written about, yet apparently was stewing away, referred to how the main character, Will Hunter, chose to be a janitor at MIT. He could have worked in so many places, but chose that particular enviroment.
He was terrified and closed up, and yet drawn to work in a place where he ultimately would end up confronting himself.
What I realized was, no matter how afraid we are of following our passion, the inner self looks out for us...in spite of ourselves.
Some call it god, or the inner buddha, or as Singletails wrote last week...for him, it's Wolf.
Think about it. We are looking out for ourselves, in spite of ourselves.
The deepest part of who we are seeks the best for us. It is truly there to guide, nurture and protect us, the best it can, given what life throws our way.
Our secret self is our angel.
That's my biggie for today.
Shit. This doesn't translate. Rereading what I wrote...it sounds flat, compared to the enormousness the awareness of that nugget brings. LOL...that came out awkward, didn't it?
Anyway, on to other things.
Tonight, I am thinking about what I wrote, regarding the need for people in my life who really challenge me.
There are a few who do, but have been and still are incredibly busy with their own lives. Mind you, that's not a whine or a complaint. Just a fact. Interestingly, the folks that turn me on in that manner, tend to lead intense lives...being intense people.
Makes sense, eh?
I know I do the same. Always getting caught up in one thing or another that obsesses me until it has spent itself.
Online, I've met a few, through blogging, who do challenge me. Their ideas generate more ideas.
What I find frustrating is...it's online.
I crave the ability to see facial expressions and body gestures. There's a handful of people I want to plop down in the same room, with good food and drink, a fire roaring in the hearth...and we could feed off each other. Talk until dawn.
Maybe when I win the lottery I'll fly everyone out here, pay for their lodging, and we could have a huge orgy, filled with food, ramblings of ideas..and I'm sure I could provide boys for them to play with.
It would be full days of food, ideas, beatings, sex.
For the last couple weeks, a certain movie has been nagging at me. I'd seen it when it first came out, back in '97 (I think). Yesterday, I rented it.
As Good Will Hunting began, I was hit with the fact that the first time I saw the movie was as an assignment. My therapist back east strongly requested I see the film. So much so, she assigned it for homework, which she had never done before. Not her style. Seeing it in the theater, I remember moments touching me so deeply. I cried through much of it. Pushed way too many buttons.
At the time, I felt a general sense of malaise while immersed in the film. Nothing specific....couldn't put my finger on anything.
Yesterday, certain instances hit, yet as each uniquely stood out, it's still somewhat of a jumble. Imagine a big bowl of Jelly Belly jellybeans. You can see each of the flavors, but if you grab a handful and pop them in your mouth, they become a blur on your tongue. You lose the distinct quality when haphazardly diving in. That's where I'm at.
Now having said that, one thing has pushed itself to the forefront and fiercely stands out.
In one scene, Robin Williams asks Matt Damon if he's ever had a soulmate. He then elaborates to the boy by qualifying that with "someone who challenges you."
We think of soulmates (which I believe are more than one) in the "in love" sense. Yet when Robin threw in the "challenge" part, I understood that to be something much larger. And I knew that's what I deeply long for. That challenge. I get tired of dumbing myself down.
I'm not booksmart, having barely made it through high school with a modicum of grace. I didn't read the books, and when I could, took easy classes to breeze by. I thought it was all stupid, and I had better things to do with my time. I mean, I was a Jesus freak then....and playing my guitar, singing and writing songs. My passions lay outside of the schoolgrounds.
I considered the SAT's one of the most ludicrous high school experiences. So much so, I barely tried, and used the highly technical method of making designs out of the dots with my number 2 pencil.
If someone was going to judge me by some damned test, they didn't deserve to have me.
Needless to say, my SAT scores were quite low.
What I opted to do, once I decided to pursue art, was begin by taking night courses in the continuing ed department. So after a few years, I knew that my admission to a good school would be based on my ability, not whether or not I could sit still and be patient enough to take some ridiculous exam. I'm not a good test taker. It doesn't matter how intensely I study, most everything drops out of my head while sitting in front of that piece of paper. Unless it's an essay exam. And even then, sometimes my thinking gets ahead of my hand, and I tend to leave out steps in my process, which I get nailed for.
This brings me back to the challenge part.
I want people in my life who I can leave steps out with.
I want people who see the leaps I mentally make.
I want people who challenge me to make those leaps as well, & move from there.
I want people who can do this in a manner of give and take.
They know how to listen as well as explain. Otherwise, the discussions end up in a shouting match, each attempting to overtalk the other.
Sir, to my recollection, has been the only person I've encountered thus far, who challenges me in such a way. So much so that I can send Him a short sentence, or a link to something...and He's right there, seeing beyond the obvious, and 20 years ahead.
I need more of that. It's a balance thing. I feel out of whack.
It's critical in my art and my s/m as well. I can't play with a sadist who doesn't challenge me, physically, mentally, spiritually. If I simply want physical, I can snap rubber bands on my nipples, and whack myself with rulers.
I just realized something else. Challenge masturbation. When I don't get enough from the give and take with others, I look for it within myself, challenging myself in healthy and unhealthy ways. Just gotta dig in...yanno?
And yet, I know for a fact there are some areas I do not fully challenge myself, and I need to.
Hmmmm....I need to look at this further. And I need to run to an appointment.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Thanks to a friend, I saw an internet promo video made for the SEAF. It totally cracks me up. I love it because it leaves people questioning. We hear the term 'erotic art' all over the place, and yet no one has come up with a definition, although, if you look at what's out there...it seems to perpetuate the same idea over and over.
This little piece is so quirky and offbeat. Brilliant. It's courageous in the sense that it does not fall back on the safe idea of what our society views as erotic. And, as I wrote here, art is not about being safe and comfortable. The mind behind this video dug in and explored. He challenges us. So perfect.
I don't know how long this will be up for, and you need quicktime to view it.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
And...it was totally worth it.
Last night was great. In spite of the limitations of our database at work, old computers and a large printer/copier that wasn't always cooperating, we finished the tax receipt letters yesterday....a couple days ahead of schedule! Woohoo!
I felt free to celebrate.
So at 5, I was sitting at Cafe Septieme, with my glass of wine, and writing in my journal, waiting for wonderboy to show up. I knew I had about a half hour before seeing him, and so thought it was a good time to begin putting thoughts together for a potential blog entry. But as I was writing...my favorite waiter did something that made my words go off in a different direction. I went with it.
I'll just retype what I wrote last night.
Sitting at Septieme's, waiting for wonderboy, I've received another example why I love this place.
The lights are low and I'm in my booth. The candle on my table wasn't yet lit. My favorite waiter comes by, swaps my candle with a lit one and purposely placed it right next to my book, smiled and silently walked away. Now I am penning by candlelight. Service. Attentiveness.
Have you ever seen the movie Gosford Park? Good movie. What I loved was the portrayal of formal English service. Quite political, and fascinating to see the class system amongst the servants.
My favorite line from the movie is from Mrs. Wilson, the housekeeper, speaking to a novice servant.
"What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It's the gift of anticipation."
I believe that good service, like anything else, has to do with awareness. Being fully present in the moment, will allow for that anticipation.
Although not consistently, I have experienced it.
Thinking about how to achieve it does not bring it on. Instead, it extinguishes the possibility of that state. I can't access the flow when I'm worried about screwing up, anxiety filling the space that is meant for another. You see, the nervousness that evolves from the desire of 'having to be good', even if the intent and actions are directed for someone else, stems from ego. It shatters the place that is meant for service and transforms it into an "all about me".
The times I am present find me in the midst of a river flow. Not paddling to beat the current, or treading water, yet effortless floating within it. It's as natural as...well...breathing.
Those moments allow for anticipation...where ego steps back and intuition and spirit take over. In that, service can be pure.
Sir notices when it happens. In those times, He comments that we are sharing the same brain.
So that's what I was writing when wonderboy came in. A little while later, Bondage Top stopped by our table. He was meeting someone, and we had a chance to chat.
After a wonderful 3 hours in Septieme's, I needed to leave for my next stop. Hoss and D were having a few friends over for champagne and dessert and asked if I'd like to join them. I jumped at the chance. We had talked about getting together a few weeks earlier, but couldn't make it work. This was a good solution. And...it was a perfect evening. It was a great couple hours of fabulous conversation that began with talk about porn, flowing into art...politics...sex...salons...furniture...and I can't remember what else. Substantial conversation. I was juiced the whole time.
It was smooth and easy...just like the champagne.
And on that note...I need more caffeine, ibuprofen, and will immerse myself in work.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Apparently, he sees the value in my blog, regarding my healing and growth, and therefore currently is using it as some damned tool. My next step up the mountain.
But, until I can find the time, which won't be today, due to the busyness of work, and then meeting friends for champagne and dessert, which follows a dinner date with wonderboy, I'm going to give you a few links.
See, I feel that if I don't connect here periodically, it would end up being too easy to disappear. I've got to keep some type of routine and discipline, regarding this. Otherwise, I might as well fold up shop.
So, being Wednesday, here is your weekly horoscope, thanks to Rob Brezsny.
And, in Mark Morford's column for today, he writes a beaut about Bush and little green men.
Check it out.
Monday, January 12, 2004
I witnessed two interesting incidences today.
My coworker received an email from his sister, and another from his 15 year old nephew (the sister's teenage son).
The kid just told his mom he was gay, and each wrote to my coworker. Both emails were filled with excitement and very positive. His mom was thrilled that her son finally came out to her. It was a huge, wow, warm fuzzy kinda moment.
A few hours later I went to get an americano. While waiting in the coffee shop, there was a mom with her little boy in front of me. He seemed to be about 3 years old, with his jacket, plaid pants and shiny yellow rubber boots. He was proudly wearing a necklace made of brightly colored beads.
The barista, while taking their order, looked at the boy and said "that's a great necklace!". The little boy grinned.
Then the mom piped in and stated that the necklace belonged to the little boy's sister.
One embraces while the other explains away the differentness.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The last couple weeks feel like such a blur. Between the holidays, work, the storm, a long day without power, the trade show last weekend, and then I spent yesterday with wonderboy. We helped another boy move into a new place.
It seems as if the routine of my life was interrupted for a long commercial break.
Wednesday morning, when my power went out, I immediately took a long hot bath before the water in the hot water heater cooled. Also it warmed up my body for a while. I tend to keep my apartment cooler, so I knew the temp would drop fast. After an hour, I couldn't stay home anymore. Going to Sir's, He opened the door. "Sir, no power." It was out for Sir as well. But, He has a fireplace and a gas range. Heat and food. I spent the day hauling firewood, and at one point running to Starbucks (which happened to have power), and picked up coffees for the boys at the house. There were a few of us there, hanging out, napping, reading by candlelight, roasting marshmallows over the fire. The dog was quite happy having everyone gathered in the same room for most of the day. When the lights came back on about 7ish, all you could hear were many loud sighs of relief. We went out to celebrate. It became an impromptu birthday dinner.
Yesterday was fun. Wonderboy and I met at Sir's, where He fed us homemade soup and fresh baked bread. I told Sir that it was an afternoon for what I called the "bottom brigade". Yanno, bottoms' day out. Two bottoms, getting together to help a third. Then we were going to hit the town and see what trouble we could get into.
After eating, wonderboy and I went downstairs into the dungeon, so he could see the changes. Of course, we teased while down there. He found the straps and wooden objects to beat me with. But his hands and his teeth did a better job inflicting pain. :-)
We couldn't really bust out and play because we needed to help sweetboy move. So he and I head out, got together with sweetboy, lugged boxes and moved him into his new digs. Good day.
By the end of this week, I plan on having the year end letter project complete, and can return to my regularly scheduled life. It will feel good to get that off my plate. It's always an anxiety ridden time for me. That's the big reason why I haven't had the drive to do meaty blogging. My head right now, even on the weekend, is immersed in work. I keep running thru the logistics of the query and then working the spreadsheets in my head, making sure I have all the steps, and in an efficient order. Every once in a while I remember something and I'll leave myself a work email or voicemail so I'll have the reminder for tomorrow. The last few nights, I've awakened a few times during the middle of the night, stressed out with work stuff.
I'm going to kick back, watch a movie and try to distract myself.
Friday, January 09, 2004
Year end tax receipt letters, to our 3800 donors is my current focus. The office was shut down two days because of storm, and it hurt my timeline. One day would have been okay, but two makes it tight. I have an intern assisting me next week and need to have the query pulled and sorted before then, so she can crank out the letters. It could be a simple query except for the fact I need to pull stock gifts and workplace gifts separately. So, it's a tad more complex.
I woke this morning with the thought of the airport nightmare that appears to be getting worse, since 9/11. Knowing people are going thru your checked luggage creeps me out something fierce. The thought alone brings feelings of rage and violation. I understand why it's happening, but wonder if there can be a better solution.
Anyway, while checking email today, Mark Morford wrote about this very thing.
Here you go.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Here's a quote:
"...Maybe we must start small. Maybe our 2004 resolutions need to be tangible and real and tactile, covered in pocket lint and coffee stains. They need to be potent and affordable and ready to wear, with good seams and excellent visibility and lots of cool cupholders.
And, yes -- yes, indeed -- they must also reek, positively reek, of mystery, of quiet magic, and hope, lathered all over with that which we have lost. This is the only way."
Now go read the whole thing! It's so worth it. :-)
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
It's back!!!! Check out some Russian Prison Tattoos. Scroll down, and click on the body. You can check out some of the work from there.
Also, I finally ordered a couple copies of Russian Prison Tattoos - Codes of Authority, Domination, and Struggle by Alix Lambert. They should arrive within a couple weeks.
Tonight, Edge wrote about epiphany.
As I've let go of my catholic beliefs, I had totally forgotten about my bday being the day of The Epiphany. It's a reminder for me to not necessarily throw everything out of the boat. And, while reading Edge's piece, I could feel stirrings inside, of one of these lightbulb moments. It's incubating, not quite fully formed, yet needs to be nurtured and treated gently. I look forward to this new one.
Thank you Edge, for the reminder.
It's not the quantity but quality of the snow, although in my back east days, it was about the amount of snow. The roads were nasty enough to shut down many places...including work.
It's not about having a day off from work, but about having the office shut down along with other offices so when I return, it's not about playing catch up.
There is nothing else like the magic moment of the whole world stopping for a bit. Hmmm, let me restate that. The magic is in having my world stop for a bit. I know that bus drivers are still out there...and many retail shops are still open, although malls seemed to do a group shutdown about 3 pm. Hospitals, public services, etc still need to function. But my world stopped. Yeah!
I woke this morning, knowing we were expecting a major (for Seattle) storm. There was barely a dusting on the road so I headed to work before 7. Taking it slow on the highway, everything appeared to be fine. Just drive defensively and smart. I hit the center of Seattle in about 20 minutes, and although still on the freeway, I began to notice my tires had a tough time gripping the road. Uhoh.
There are a couple major hills between my car and work. I saw it wasn't going to happen. So getting off at the next exit, I turned onto a street, first stopping at Starbucks, cuz I hadda have my grande americano in a venti cup, giving room for cream, and then headed back home via backroads. They were safer than I-5.
I knew the office was shut down. We have a policy that when the schools close due to inclement weather, we follow suit. But the damned yankee in me decided that 3-5" of snow was nothing, and I had things to do. I learned a valuable Seattle lesson. There's no reason to fear the weather, instead fear the capacity of our emerald city in dealing with the weather. Due to it's temperate climate, Seattle has no need to be as prepared as the New England I came from.
5 years here, and this was my first can't go to work snow day.
I went home and stayed home....until a little cabin fever hit. I wanted to be in the snow and needed groceries as well. Not safe out, I didn't go far. It's all ice under the couple inches of snow. But being out in it...and having to deal with the conditions, in a warped way, was a booster shot. It's part of the little bit of winter I ache to feel. Small doses.
I caught the news for a bit, and noticed that Queen Anne Avenue, probably the steepest hill in Seattle, boasting a height of 450 ft had been closed to traffic, since very early this morning. Too dangerous. It was transformed into a skiing, snowboarding and sledding hill filled with loads of folks.
It was a good afternoon.
Monday, January 05, 2004
It has absolutely nothing to do with age. I have yet to bemoan growing older. When my 30th rolled around, I embraced it excitedly. Same thing with 40. But this year, my 44th, it's different. And I'm not sure how to blog about it.
I don't want to talk about something that may come out sounding dramatic, 'cause it's not. Instead, I'm actually quite matter of fact because it's where I am right now. I don't expect to be in this emotional space next month or next year. But it's my 'now'.
Mind you, I'm coming from a place of intense current therapy...and so loads of 'me' issues are in front of my face. Therefore, for a few reasons, I struggled with acknowledging tomorrow.
Last week, my therapist had a suggestion. He said "instead of not wanting to celebrate, because you currently don't feel it's worthy of celebrating, try something else. Try celebrating the day you shouldn't have been born."
Yanno, almost immediately, I knew what he was saying. It's 2 things. First, it's about the act of celebration, powerful in and of itself. Secondly, it's about the unspoken part of that statement "Try celebrating the day you shouldn't have been born but were born.
I thought it a brilliant suggestion. And, it's delightfully perverse, which of course, gets me off.
The Bear wanted to have a dinner at his home, with others I'd invite...but that didn't feel good to me right now. If I were to do anything, I wanted my loved ones around a large table, at one of my favorite restaurants. This year, for some reason, atmosphere is important. This morning Sir offered that very suggestion, without hearing it from my lips first. We'll see what happens. There's talk of a major winter storm for tomorrow.
Thing is, I find myself being covered by a cloak of invisibility these last 4 days or so. Almost each day, there is something else to affirm my non-ness. This is the feeling that brings me back to not celebrating. It's a "what's the point?" kinda feeling.
Now, sitting smack on the lap of that feeling, is the full knowledge that I'm NOT invisible in so many ways. Along with that are daily reminders of that fact.
It's bizarre seeing and holding both places at the same time. Unsettling, actually.
I've been called brave, courageous, honest. Honest yes. I may not reveal all in this blog, but seeing I haven't a clue who most of you are, it is not a lie of omission.
But brave? Not sure about that one and this is why. I struggle with whether or not I should share what brings on my invisible feeling. Part of me says "why? You don't owe them anything." And the other, "but what if there's someone out there reading, who feels isolated in the same way...wouldn't it help them?"
And interspersed throughout is the fear that if I share, I'll push away some I care for.
Or...it could be another possibility. Maybe what I think creates the invisibility is actually something else which has yet to reveal itself. I want to be clear before opening my mouth. I am learning the wait and see approach in these instances.
So do I remain silent out of TMI, fear or of not yet knowing what it really is?
If it's fear, I'm not so brave.
Where is the damned line between keeping some things private versus opening up, taking risks and possibly make a connection with your words put out into the ether? Where's the Blogger manual on social pornography?
It's been one of those weeks.
My whole weekend was spent at a trade show, assisting friends. Two long days of dealing with loads of people, and being quite overstimulated. On my feet, and serving about 600 portions of lasagna samples each day.
Tired? You bet.
I woke this morning so groggy and quite sore. Hopefully I'll be back to blogging action soon!
By the way...good morning everyone!
Friday, January 02, 2004
So I don't have much else to say tonight. But I wanted to leave you with something.
Perseus by Sargent.
...more art...thanks to The Padacia.
Here's a link to Alessandro Bavari. This is work that reached out from my screen and buried itself in my gutt. Gallery 1. Sodom and Gomorrah: a reportage from the lost cities is gorgeous. And this image, from gallery 3....well what can I say? Unsettling, and luscious at the same time.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
Happy 2004 everyone.
What do you want or need for 2004?
What do you want or need right now?
I was just sittin' here trying to figure out what I wanted in this very moment. I kept drawing a blank. Did I need anything? Did I want anything? Hmmmm.
Nope, zip, nadda.
But it didn't feel right to me therefore the question kept nagging at me. Closing my eyes, I stopped and listened deep. I actually saw what I wanted, in this moment, for a little bit. I cried...and then came to a realization.
You see, Sir taught me to always be able to answer the question "what do you want or need?" And "nothing" or "I don't know" are not answers He would listen to.
That's why the question stayed in my face. I felt I couldn't answer, but I knew there was a response lurking in the shadows. It was afraid to come out.
Back to my realization. I wonder, seriously wonder if...the time we feel we can't answer that question is because that's the time the answer is a desire that touches a deep place. Maybe, to use Hoss' term, what I consider part of a soul memory?
How about you? Think about it.
Now onto other things. Last week Lydia and i met up during the day just to talk. I've known her for a few years, but this is only the second time that we've had the chance to really talk. The first time was about 2 years ago. Life is such that we aren't granted the opportunity to connect more often.
Lydia's writing is powerful and fills a room with music and color. Lydia, in person, to me, is quiet and sedate. Now, maybe I felt that because I was feeling somewhat shy. I mean...although I had been reading her words for a while, this is the first time we spoke since she's been reading mine. So I did feel a tad awkward. She's a good listener. At times I wondered if I was overwhelming her with my passion surrounding the topics being discussed. It's not like I can always hold back my opinions...and they are very strong opinions. Although I will say, in public, I tend to rein it in somewhat. And that includes this blog. It's all about context.
Anyway, we spent most of the time talking about art. I intentionally said something, to see how she'd respond. I admit, there was some provocation on my part, although it is in conjunction with the full belief I currently carry. As far as I can tell, it's the only thing I've told my therapist and had him actually look shocked. It does involve the burning of all that I've created...paintings, photographs, writings.
Originally, when I first made the statement months ago, I was extremely depressed. So the context was different. But, those very words evolved into another way of thinking about my art...about what we create...and about what is really important.
This is a lengthy preface to what I'm really trying to say. Last night, Lydia blogged about our conversation. I read it, smiled, was surprised, and touched. Also, it generated more ideas.
Here is the link to what she wrote. In addition to the link, I'm selfishly posting her whole piece "Create and Destroy" right here. I liked what she said. And you see, being human, I know human nature. We say..."I'll hit that link later" and never quite make it back there. So now you don't have to. You can listen to her here.
Create and Destroy by Lydia Swartz
Quick! Better hurry! Only a few more hours to blog in 2003.
It's not that I have had nothing to say. It's not that I have not been thinking things. Just a matter of finding the time to write them. Sleep, or blog? Tonight, the answer is: Blog.
First, I must highly recommend mid-day tea breaks with girlfag. Not that I get to do this often, but I want to. She is no small talker. She is a big talker. We talked about art mostly, and gender, and death.
Halfway through the conversation I slipped my scarf around my neck. But I was still shivering. It took me a little while after that to catch on: I was not cold. It was not cold in the cafe. I was shivering for the same reason I get goose bumps when I look at really good art; for the same reason I shake when I see a dance performance that is so good it flies right into my gut, way beyond what I can express in words. Ideas and art tweak my aura. In the best way, but yeah, I shake and shiver.
The most disturbing idea that girlfag rubbed my nose in that day was that the artist can destroy her art. That it is in no way sacred as an object, as a product. That some artists regularly destroy their work -- their best work. Perhaps even because it is their best work. This is not an expression of self-loathing or of loathing for the creation, or of disappointment in the realization of the vision. This is, instead, an acknowledgment or fulfillment of the purpose of the art itself. (At least, that is my feeble attempt to grasp it.)
Girlfag said these things to me calmly and steadily. Although she was clearly enjoying the tsunami of sputtering she was causing on my side of the table, she meant what she said. She was serious.
So I had to think about it.
No less a brilliant charlatan (what better description of an artist could there be) than Andy Warhol said this:
"An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he -- for some reason -- thinks it would be a good idea to give them."
Yes, yes, yes.
But what if you get rid of the Andyness of that (although I've seen similar quotes from many artists of many media in many eras) and posit that an artist is someone who produces things that need to be produced? What if what happens to the things after they are produced is irrelevant, but it is the act of producing them that constitutes art?
I resist these ideas ferociously. I want my words to live on after me. I want my words to be my excuse and my justification for living, and for living as I live. (Yes, girlfag, I suppose I was projecting.) I am attached to a meaning of my words way beyond the stories they tell or the beauty of the language or the ideas they quicken.
Yet I stand by my firm belief that as artists, we are custodians of our gift. I'm just not clear about whether we are or should be the custodians of the products of our gifts.
I cannot remain consistent from one side of the canvas to the other, I fear. I am not the audience of my art. I am merely its maker, its tool. The characters who need to speak through me come to me. The ideas I need to make flesh haunt me until I banish them onto the page. The voice that these characters and ideas require has been my lifelong work to hone.
But NONE of the writing I have done has EVER adequately and finally expressed character, idea, or even language. It never will.
This is not a failure, but a fact of life -- and I think that's true of any artist.
First comes the vision. Then comes the process of translating the vision onto paper, or into clay, or onto film, or into audible vibrations. Eventually, some of these bits of paper are "published" or the vibrations are "performed." From the audience's perspective, that is the art. From the artist's perspective, that is a sliver of the process, a moment in its life that is artificially baked and consumed while the real art goes on.
So why not destroy the thing, the piece, the sliver of the whole? What does it have to do with art or the artist or what we do as artists?
As an artist, this makes perfect sense. The product of my art is false and the art goes on after it gets mummified and then skewed by the audience's perception. Look at it that way and it only matters what I do, not what happens to it after I do it.
But when I think of girlfag destroying her work, I get anxious. In fact, I get MAD. I am greedy for those images. How dare she TAKE THEM FROM US?
I should know better. Can I write her a check for $500, take one slice away, hang it on my wall, and OWN HER ART? No, I cannot.
But I want that slice! I WANT IT.
In a meditation technique I learned years ago and have practiced successfully, the basic method is to create and destroy roses. That is, you first assume the position: straight back, feet flat on floor, plant a "root" from the base of your backbone to the middle of the earth. Then you "create" imaginary roses -- as perfect and beautiful and lovely as you can manage -- and destroy them. You do this as quickly as possible. You create and destroy roses as fast as you can.
I had trouble with that technique too, at first. Why create such a beautiful thing and then get rid of it? Why make it if you aren't going to keep it and admire it and water it and tend it and mourn each little increment of brown curl on its petals before they dry and drop?
Of course, I got it eventually. I let go of the roses. I even let go of the perverse glee of destroying them.
I'm not there yet about art. I give girlfag fair warning that if I see smoke rising from her neighborhood, I will lurk in the bushes and snatch art from the flames.
Of course, that shows complete disrespect for the art and for the artist.
Oh dear. There goes the hair at the back of my neck again.