Thursday, August 31, 2006

This morning~

What is the difference between suicide and sacrifice?
The question, which woke me, still sits.

We call some suicide bombers, yet in fact they are also viewed as sacrificial lambs, dying for a worthy and holy cause.

I was thinking about my drawings and realized my drawing table has transformed into a sacrificial altar. It feels like sacrifice and at the same time, it is clearly suicide. I am killing self...

Every stroke, intentional and unconscious, is created out of desperation. I'm losing more of myself with each mark. Death is happening. There is nothing pretty about the time spent working. And there is nothing delightful coming from the work created.

On Sunday, I approached the table in a new fashion. Curious to see how much I could rip myself open, I prepared myself for drawing by popping in a buttplug and jacking off until I was on the edge. My ass and cunt were furious; screaming to be fed. Both holes needed to be filled. Thicker, deeper, longer, more.

I denied them.

Music, "The Call of The Ktulu", which I've since recognized, for me, as our contemporary version of Ravel's Bolero, resounded throughout the apartment. It bounced off the walls and entered my belly. Symphony orchestra working with heavy that builds and grows.

There was no control to be found. Standing in front of the page, I drew without thinking. My body twitching and shaking, each mark was a futile attempt to find release. Only when the paper was covered did I offer up my body to hands blackened in charcoal and paint.

I wasn't going to share that with you. But this morning, in my desolation and questioning, it dawned on me that in the desire to slice into myself, it seems I've opened up a dark cavern and since then, I'm working in a different way.

As I wrote yesterday, I am drawing blind.
All my assuredness and confidence has vanished.

I have moved into the unknown and there is nothing I can do but return each day, even for a little bit.
It is frightening and yet, it is me.

This morning was a perfect morning walk to work. The sky was lightening and the sun hinted its presence. Thick streams of clouds covered the base of the Cascades, appearing as a pool of water at their feet.

I glanced at the ground for a moment and walked past a chestnut, perfectly half-cracked with the nut peeking through. Curiously, I needed to stop, walk back and pick it up. Feeling its thorny hide, I placed it in my pocket.

My desk is covered in pages upon pages of spreadsheets. The chestnut is sitting near, beside my yellow highlighter. Looking past the embrace of its sharp shell, I see the glistening smoothness of its nutskin.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why I love this man...

"You lose your grip, and then you slip
Into the Masterpiece."

-Leonard Cohen, "A Thousand Kisses Deep"
Want to know one big reason why I like my current job…and loved the former warehouse job?

One and one make two. It's black and white. Clear, clean, concise.
You know you are successful when numbers add up and there is a pretty balance sheet at the end of the day.

As artist, there is no such thing.
There is no one to rely on but self.

Working away, alone with your strengths and your weaknesses, you are continually confronted and it will pour itself into the work. If one isn't fortunate enough to already have a strong sense of self, then the struggle of creation is that much more of a battle.

I now know why I was the happy painter for most of my life. I didn't have the underlying substance of will to step into the dark while in times of challenges, indecision and turmoil. It makes sense that I not only turned away but pushed it back as far as possible.

I spent years learning my craft (with still much to learn), and now these last few years, I've been focused on my internal skills. If I am going to ever make a serious go as artist, the two have to be working hand in hand.

Today I hurt. I am angry. I am disgusted.

Looking at the work I've done over the last 2 months leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It's all bullshit. My drawing skills stink and really need vast amounts of work.

I feel that I've been working blind.

Maybe this is my sesshin.
This week's Freewill Astrology

and a new link that I'll place in my links list at some point~
Culture blog - (Morford's blog)

I'll get back to you with Morford's column if and when it comes through.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

While feeling down and stewing, I turned on the TV and watched the news, flooded with stories of Katrina victims.

How can I freak about today's crummy rent increase when so many still don't have homes? It's strange. I've become pretty adept at allowing myself a set time limit pity party which lets me indulge and then move forward, but tonight, I couldn't and still can't do it without loads of guilt.

After getting some food, I realized it felt like autumn. The air feels crunchy, in a good way. I walked over for a hot spicy Chai from the corner, came back, closed my windows and forced myself to my drawing table.

I worked and it helped for all of 15 minutes after which I needed to push myself to continue.

I don't know where I'm going with this art stuff. Maybe I'm simply meant to be the hobbyist...painting on weekends once in a while. Maybe what I thought was a passion for painting is really only a big fuzzy dream that needs to come out at midnight while I'm tucked under my heavy comforters. Maybe I'm meant to dab and diddle.

As I felt myself reclaim my art, ideas for my future were slowly taking shape. I could see myself in a studio, working faithfully and industriously. Passionately.


Today's news initially knocked the wind out of me and now I feel like I'm still stumbling. Keeping with a low rent gave me the flexibility to hopefully, once I slowed down with my therapist, allow the financial leeway to rent a studio space.

Maybe I need to be realistic.

Now the other side of this mini drama that really is nothing in the grand scope of our world, is that maybe this is one big example of whether I'm going to fight for what I really want. This morning I wrote myself a reminder of how glorious our world really is. Maybe I some how intuited that I'd need to remember that right now.

Because I've spent my whole life painting only when things are calm and going my way, this is a challenge. The one reason I kept pushing myself tonight with my drawing was something that Aubrey used to tell me - "living well is the best revenge". In this context, I'll be damned if these bumps are going to stop me or take me away from what I was born to do, regardless of what it looks like on the outside, or if all my work is shit or if it looks like I'm just pretending to be a painter. I have to keep keepin' on.

Or maybe I'm deluding myself.

One thing I do know...for now, in this time of my life, I am not going to stop working. I've just gotten my art back and I don't want to push it away.

But... I am low.


I always check it at the beginning of the month and then again, I reread it at the end of the month. When looking at it later in the month, it tends to offer confirmation and reassurance that it's all okay. Once again, in doing so today, it is providing much needed encouragement.

Now I can see how what Eric Francis wrote for August was so dead on.

Inner Space:
You're finally allowing yourself to think outside the goat. You may be dreaming of foreign countries or distant friends; of freedom you've never felt before, including the freedom to have your own ideas; and all in all, you know in your heart that the world is your real home. The truth is, you have bigger hills to climb than you've ever dreamed of climbing. I ask you: what is holding you back? Please consider carefully. Something just may be holding you back, but it's nothing you cannot address with your will and intelligence.

And the monthly Planetwaves:
The details are coming in fast and furious. Keep track of them, and of your countless ideas that address problems old and new; situations you thought were impossible to resolve; and as you discover rational explanations for things you could barely put into words yesterday. But more to the point, what is finally coming to you is a long-range vision. You're a methodical person even at your most chaotic, so you've had elements of a vision working for you all along. But what's happening now is different. You are finally experiencing the strength and clarity that comes with refining a long-term vision. Indeed, you're merely pulling the veils off of something that's been there all along, guiding you and informing your actions. This is happening at the same time you're allowing yourself to be inspired and to consider potentials you would not have dared dream in weeks or years past. Keep going.
Grey day. Yay.

Today is cool and misty. It's a breath of fresh air after the intense sun of the last few months. We did have a couple days of clouds last week, and it may have poured for a minute in there somewhere, but we need more of it.

Very early on Sunday morning, while walking back with coffee in hand, I stopped at the corner. Never before had I seen such variances in color. The light was…just so.
Looking west toward the Space Needle, the bay and the Olympic Mountains I saw teals and greens turn into lavenders and different purples. Layer upon layer. The Needle reflected salmon light.

It took my breath and all I could do was stop and take it all in, with my eyes and my flesh.

Absolutely grand.

I am reminding myself of this because today I am going to make a phone call. Regardless of what happens, the world is wondrous. Whether or not what I do is worthy of much, our universe will never cease being anything but awesome, such as Sunday or even in its subtlest moments. It is all glorious.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Drawing thoughts

I'm home, grabbed a few pickles, and have surrounded myself with the 3 drawings I worked on this weekend. In studying them, I hope to find a direction.

There is a cloud that is hanging around and I'm trying not to let it get the best of me. It's a cloud of frustration that always comes when I begin to get very excited about my work, want to really sink not only my teeth but my whole body, and yet don't have the room to do it. Last year, I stopped painting when I came to this point. It felt like the walls were closing in and I couldn't move or create.

Looking at these recent pieces creates a longing for a large white wall and old floors. A place where I can hang these all at the same time and even work on them while on the wall.

Instead, I need to temporarily resign myself to one on the carpet, the other on the wall in back of my embroidered silk covered chair and the third taped to the kitchen cabinet, with each requiring to be moved to the table if I want to make a mark. I don't want to allow the lack of space to prevent me from working this time around.

It won't be long. It can't be long. Within the next half a year I want to have a space dedicated to messy work.
This is where I must call forth any patience that may be found lurking within.

Maybe I need to go smaller.

While walking home from work, I wondered about minimizing the mark. Paring down my action so each stroke is pivotal. Forget the subject matter and focus only on the lights and darks. What will I find if when I look in a different way?

What if I put down the charcoal for a while and concentrated on watercolor and graphite? What if I limited the size to 8x10 or yet...even half that?

Thing is, there have been new discoveries with mark and texture. I am learning what happens when conte hits water. It feels like butter and goes on as smoothly. I don't know if going smaller is really good right now. In some way it feels like resignation.

I'll figure something out.
If I want to keep working, I have to.

It will all work out. Everything in its own perfect time.
Short week~

The office is closed Friday as well as next Monday. This means I get to enjoy four 8 hour days instead of four 10s, which means I get to leave work at 2pm which means I have enough oomph to jump into drawing after work!

I can envision a fruitful week.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Belly and the Butt.

Yesterday I woke and thought it was Sunday. For a few days before, when the sun would hit my face, I would struggle to remember what day it was.

Yeah. Tired.

Much going on.

It's about openness.
The belly and the butt.

It seems this is my lesson right now. I'm in the throes of it and am not sure how to do it, how to be with it.

The shrink has been periodically reassuring me that working through all this stuff will lead to a new world. A world of prosperity such as I could never imagine. No, demons will not be permanently vanquished. There will still be suffering. Pain. Anger. Sadness. And joy. Peace. Grace.
Humanity. Greater connectedness.

We've been pulling off layers. One skin after another.

I've always prided myself on believing that I lived life in an accessible manner until I discovered the locked part of my heart. It was covered in dirt and cobwebs. He handed me the key and watched as I unlocked this forgotten box.

Over the last week I have made a conscious effort to remain vulnerable. I take action when I feel the door shutting. It's an interesting sensation...recognition of the wall going up and then knowing what I need to do.
It is also work.

Something that was pissing me off was that when I open my heart, fantasies would begin. I don't want to dream like that because it feels like a waste of time. More importantly, I dream and don't let go. The concoction in my head would feel better than my current reality and so I'd hang on.

I craved to unfold and allow it all to simply be. Enjoy the ride without navigating.

For me, the belly is the source of a deep spiritual/sexual well.
A few days ago, when I felt my heart close again, I then shut my eyes and visualized opening the door. In doing so, light floods in. Then, as an experiment, I took that light and let it travel down into my belly.

Something felt different.

When I allow the openness of light and love to sit in my belly, everything remains truly open. There aren't any assumptions or attachments. When I choose to keep it in my heart, it continually travels to my head where I make suppositions.

This is my latest very huge lightbulb moment.

It begins with my heart but I need to channel the energy to my belly, not remain in the heart.

Knowing this doesn't make it any easier to do or maintain. The awareness is simply another instrument to assist in living. I have to remember to pick it up.

On one hand, this all sounds grand.

But I've discovered a surprising result. Maybe it will change. I don't know.
For the times I do feel unveiled, my sensitivity goes through the roof. Guess it makes sense, eh? Thing is, I don't feel it as blackness in my heart as I did in the past, yet now it feels like needles on my skin. It feels like I'm taking in the world. The good and the bad. The strength and weakness. The tears and joy of it all.

I don't know what to do with that yet.

Yesterday morning, even though I didn't know if the shrink was accessible by email, I sent him a quick note explaining the step I had taken, regarding my art, and my immediate ensuing response.

I ended my email with:
"Why do I feel so alone within this vulnerability?"

He did receive my email and responded with:
"Good work. Good koan."

This has been the big surprising change. When I began dabbling in a more expansive heart, I've discovered an incredible loneliness. It is different than my past loneliness, but right now, I can't describe the difference. It's a subtle feeling.

It doesn't leave me depressed but it is definitely uncomfortable. Quite unexpected. I jumped into this experiment believing that when I begin really opening to the world then I'd feel a vast connectedness with everything. In doing so, the isolation and loneliness would and could become history.

Maybe I will feel that at times. Maybe what I'm feeling is the first step toward that. Maybe it's because I'm just getting my feet wet. And yes, it is my latest koan. I need to give it space so the puzzle can work on me.

So, in the meantime, I'll try to remain naked, draw, breathe, take one step and then the next. If it includes crying and screaming so be it. If there are great moments of awkwardness...that is then meant as well.

The butt.

No I hadn't forgotten.
The butt has played an important role in all this.

It began with the drawings. After a year of no art, the masturbation I've been immersed in, with charcoal, has been the butt. There is much power in the butt.

I've been seeing the open channel between the belly and the butt and love the fact that it's a wide path that travels both ways.

There have been ass fucking dreams. Potent dreams.
My physical masturbation has re-introduced the butt.

This week I decided to push it further.

Because I've been working on heart vulnerability...I decided to see what would happen if I rip myself open to a greater degree. What would happen if I open the channel via the heart and ass simultaneously? What would result if I do that while in the midst of creative space?

We shall see.

Although it may appear as if I can just toss out these words and experiences calmly, it is not that simple or easy. I feel socially inept, more awkward. I no longer have any idea how to deal with people...a big time public klutz. A serious freak.

And yet, I can't go back. There is something inside that drives me to continue this path. I have no idea where I'm going or what the landscape will look like. Every time I get really scared, I have to remember to breathe and open. It is the connection to myself that is being cleansed.

So much has happened in the last month. Most of it I hold close...because I cherish the privacy. There is a world that is opening itself and I stand, touch it once in a while, and watch it undress.

This is my Alice in Wonderland experience.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Very full day and it's not done.

First an emotional morning, then an emotional drawing session. I have two images. One I used for the painting I showed you a couple Thursdays ago, and the other is the one I've been working the drawings from. I wasn't ready to explore the first image again.

Until today.
It felt right. It was a step in moving through this particular subject.

Stepping back from it I cried. It wasn't complete. I didn't care. But I was floored that it came from within me. The whole time I was working my body was shaking. It was one of those powerful, erotic, spiritual, blow me away moments. Writing this brings it back.

From there, an hour at Hot Dish for a Bear scrunch before attending a party at a coworker's new home. Our acupuncturist showed up which tripped me out, considering I was just thinking about her as I was turning down the street into my coworker's place. On top of it, she's been on my mind at least 3 times this week. I haven't been to get poked in probably two years and think it is time.

There is so much happening with intentionally stepping and trying to remain vulnerable that maybe some centering with acupuncture would be a wise thing to do.

I needed to leave the party early. Why?
Because I'm going to meet Qnetter and his partner. We are going to the Capitol Hill Arts Center to see a play - Piledriver!
It'll be good to get to the theater again.

Tomorrow is a day devoted to drawing.
HUMP! is back.

And, from what I've read, there are some entries by gay men this year.

Tickets for the screenings went on sale yesterday, and sold out within the first few hours. Since then, they've added extra viewing times for a total of 8 in two days at the NW Film Forum. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.
I've purchased mine for the 2pm screening on Saturday, September 9th. If interested, go here for ticket ordering.

I caught it last year. It was a fun time.
I did it.

This morning, I sent off an email to a gallery owner with a request to look at my latest work.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I wrote early this morning, but althoug I managed to find an open window to post Morford's column, Blogger publishing has been down since. Until now.


I've written the following to commit me to action~

Today is...

a day of reclaiming my space.

Being a small apartment, it takes very little for it to look and feel all out messy and out of control. Then again, because of the size, it takes very little time to reign it in and whip it into shape. On the third hand, because it appears incredibly messy, it also feels as if it'll take a buttwad of energy to clean it out.

When I stay late at work, it takes only a half a breath for me to trash my place. Clothes everywhere. Bags, receipts, books. Unopened mail. Dishes in the sink.

Being a small place and seeing everything from one spot, I can't work when there is disorder, inside and out.
And I want to work.

I'm not a neat freak. I'm way overdue for dusting and vacuuming. But in a little apartment I can't look at the clutter and even think of doing anything productive until the bulk is gone away. I'm still ignoring the large pile overflowing from a shelving unit. I'm not going to touch my bookcase that overflows...with books stacked on the floor.
I'm not fucking Mary Poppins.

But I need a little openness and clarity.
Normally, I do this every weekend. Yet it never tends to be right away, on a Friday. Today, there is an urgency.

Today, is also a day for finally getting rid of this raggy, shaggy head. I haven't cut my hair since April, just before my last NYC trip. Somehow, I just couldn't make the time to get down to Tattoo'd Bear's. It took not being able to stand it anymore. So off I go. While walking down the hill and before getting my head chopped, I'll stop at Utrecht's, Babeland and the hardware store for supplies to work this weekend.

I want to work.

Today is also the day to buckle down and complete a difficult, yet short I'll share the general idea after it's sent.

Today I'm confused. In writing this entry, in addition to what you are reading, I've gone off in two other directions which I was going to include. It's definitely ADD writing.

I can either toss them here, in which case they are appetizers or separate each and have them become meals. Maybe what I need to do is just write when the words come and save it all in drafts. Maybe one day it'll be cooked.

(They've now been placed into drafts on my computer.)

Today I'm angry with my shrink. I mean, really mad. I won't see him for a week, which, when he has gone away for the last half year or so, hasn't been a problem. But in stepping into a new place, and consciously working to keep an openness with my heart, it brings up all sorts of stuff that I don't feel prepared to deal with. So I'm mad. He pushes me to not shut down. I'm feeling the repercussions of that and he's not around to walk me through it. Fuck him.

I'm pissed.
Sound like a little kid, don't I?


So I've since picked up and see clear counters and an empty, clean sink. An overall pickup. There are times I've used the sink to shake off charcoal stuff from drawings when it's been fully of dirty dishes. Not the most ideal...but whatever. It's what I have to work with.

I'm headed out the door for errands and a cut to then return and hopefully...if I'm not too spent from the sun and heat, pop in music, eat and work.
I need it bad.
I've gotta reconnect with myself.
Morford's column just came up and it's beautiful. All of it.
He writes :

" We are overdue. Long overdue. For some sort of great breakthrough, some sort of unfathomable shift, a great cosmological ideagasm that rearranges our perspectives and bitch-slaps our dogma and makes the church wince and recoil and scream out its denial even as it slowly melts away, leaving only a black hat and a broom and a puddle of slimy green goo......

...Do you feel it? Do you sense the overarching need, the spiritual craving, the pregnant sensation that something's gotta give and it's either going to be gorgeous and unexpected and something so profound that it causes everyone on the planet to suddenly stop in the middle of the street at the same moment and take a deep breath and go, Oh yeah, that's the real meaning of it all, or spin off into WWIII or a great global-warmed cataclysm that will send us back to the caves, bleeding and broken and yanking each other around by the hair and saying dammit dammit dammit, we were so close?"

Read the whole thing. Really.
It is lovely.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Too much wine. Too much food. Too much dessert. And it was good.
No guilt.

Dinner with Michael means a nice time. Bryan joining us for dessert was an added plus.

I do have a couple rants percolating inside but I'm drunk, full, and tired. It's a crap out in front of the tube night.
I was going to sit and write this morning.

Instead, distraction set in.
I've spent this early morning picking up more songs from iTunes Music for my shuffle.

Today's selection:
~Jackie Greene (from American Myth - "Hollywood" and "Cold Black Devil")
~Rufus Wainwright - "Everybody Knows"
~3 blues pieces from Nina Simone
~a bunch of Scissor Sisters
~Jeff Buckley - live 9 minute version of "Hallelujah"
~And a smooth, sexy rendition of "Ode To Billy Joe" by Tom Scott and The L.A. Express

Now I need to jump into work.

This weekend's plans (other than a bbq for a coworker on Saturday) are:
I must, must, must finish a letter I've struggled with for a couple days.
Draw, draw, draw, draw, draw.
I miss it. Badly.

Oh yeah, I need to replenish some art supplies. Three items on my list:
~butt plug.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Today is my 6th year anniversary at work. For the last 26 years, other than my long term temp gig as assistant to the U.S. Census 2000 manager for western WA and then the Seattle census office after the regional offices opened up in 1999/2000, I've stayed at a job 8 years and then will change career track. It's not consciously sought but each time fell into my lap.

This time I do have a plan which is to take two more years full time here, and then cut back to half time (which will give me half time benefits...such as still having 2 weeks paid vacation a year and a buttload of sick time…retirement plan, insurance).

In cutting back it would allow me to jump into my painting.
Of course I need to be able to afford to cut back. I also need to be continuously drawing and painting in the next two years.

That's been my dream for a while now.

Anyway, to celebrate today's anniversary, I wanted something special for lunch while still watching what I take in. So I opted for a Lean Cuisine and cruised the aisles for a fun dessert.

Then...I found it.

Itsy bitsy Ben & Jerry ice creams, each containing 3.6 oz. They are cute. Identical to the pints but much littler. They were on sale at a buck a piece. I love B&J but rarely buy it because my moderation shoots right out the window.

After lunch I dove into my Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. It was so perfect. There was just enough to give me a decadent taste without blowing my nutrition intake.

Very quick update for now.
I just got in and it's much later than I prefer.

I'm working off a benedryl hangover because I took it at midnight when once again, I couldn't sleep. Lately, it seems my head floods with too many creative ideas when my body hits the bed. There is a bottle of Kava Kava on my desk at work. It will come home with me tonight and I'll use that instead. It should still the mind without drugging me.

The first thing I noticed when I checked work email this morning was another offer for play, for the party I'm attending in a week and a half. I've thought about playing with this particular person for a while, therefore am very excited.

Yes I am greedy. Yes I am hungry.
My dance card is now very full and it's thrilling.
How do you spell pig?

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.
And Mark Morford is back with It's Not Bush's Fault!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yesterday I shared with a few friends how I am beginning to have, finally have extra energy for things such as slowly learning Photoshop and even terribly easy stuff as iPod stuff.

The therapy work I've been doing over the last 4 years, will be 4 years in September, is very consuming and draining. Although I love to read, there wasn't even extra energy to read, unless it was a fairly mindless book. Maybe once a year I'd be able to dive into something a little meatier. Whatever brain power there was needed to be saved for the challenging nature of my day gig and therapy.

It feels good to have some extra mental space return, albeit slowly.

Something broke through yesterday. For the last month I had warned my shrink how furious I was with him, knowing and acknowledging that it really wasn't about him.

It seems I don't scare him. He was there. He is here. In the last few weeks, I stopped holding back and allowed my venom to spill, directed at him. Very mean. At times it felt brutal.

A few sessions back -
"You really are furious with me."
"I told you, yet I felt you didn't believe me."
"I believed you were mad but wasn't sure of the depth of the fury."
"I warned you."
"I can take care of myself."

Throughout the bitterness, the ugliness, the anger, the jealousy, the whining...he stayed calm.
While in the midst of my overemotional reactions and angsting about staying or going...he remained in silence.

I wanted him to do the dance.
He chose stillness.

The rage runs deep. It won't nor can it rip through all at once. It is a lifetime of release.

At one point, a low whisper - "Please tell me I'm okay".
I continued, begging, "please, please tell me I'm okay."


A long silent moment then quietly, he responded:
"Emotionally you are okay. Physically you are okay. Mentally you are okay. Spiritually you are okay. You were severely wounded but not broken. You can do this."

In that space, something broke and I knew I could trust him again.

We know there is more to come. But it seems that for now, I've worn myself out. And he is still there.

He is there in a way that I didn't have my parents. My shrink modeled what I, the child, needed from an adult but couldn't receive. The child who knew she had to be good because the others were busy with the attention. The child who watched her siblings cry, scream, get angry and knew her parents were tired. The child who decided at much too young an age that she needed to look out for her folks, therefore remained silent in her sadness, her pain, her joy and her turmoil.

I needed to be shown that it could have been different. I had to see that there can be trust and healthy risk taking. It was imperative that I somehow acknowledge the fact that there are a few people who actually, really and truly see me. The deep me.

Yesterday, I stepped back into a place of trust with my therapist. I chose to lay back on the couch because the need to share the stillness with him was great - the intimate quiet space where talking is not needed.

My heart is full. There is abundance.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good morning.

I've been busy. Internally busy, that is, and therefore the lack of recent entries.
As a placeholder, here is an example from my current work. I'm not yet ready to show the entire piece but this is a chunk of a drawing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have not posted one of my pieces in a very long time.

For over a week, I've had this in draft...waiting. Don't know why, but it feels right now.

Want to see probably the last painting I've begun?
This was from a year ago.
It's still fresh and not yet complete. What you see here is the first stage.
The painting has more color saturation than this jpeg.

To gather subject matter for future work, I threw a private party a few years back. I ended up with a cd full of images I could use. There are two in particular, because of a dynamic composition, that I've been focusing on. One, I am using for this painting, and the other is for the drawings I'm currently working.

The size is 16x20. The subject of the painting saw it in person last year. It was one of the best compliments I've ever received. Upon viewing, if I remember correctly, he mentioned something about getting a boner. ;-)

One day, when I have the room to paint again, I look forward to returning to this piece. I know what it needs to be complete. And, I will push to explore the subject...painting it over and over. In the meantime, I'll continue to work the drawings from its companion photo.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yesterday, because of Monday's onslaught, I was feeling quite beat up. By 9am, I knew I couldn't stay at the office much longer. It was imperative that I seek out solace and consolation. Out of the blue, the desire to draw leapt up and I knew I had to have it. It was a need and it was great.

Fortunately, although my workload is full this week, I could shift things around. After finishing a report for a coworker, and assisting with two other problems, I headed home.

I threw on Leonard Cohen for comfort and began to work a drawing started this past weekend. Having no idea what to do, I grabbed my brick red conte and went in...interspersing that with watercolor, pencil and more charcoal.

While drawing with the red, out of the blue, big sloppy tears fell. They were tears of happiness, gratitude and much love. I was crying because I was in love with what I was doing...and the ability to do so.

Yes, it's a first. I've never cried joyful tears before while drawing or painting.
Anger. Yes.
Frustration. Yes.
Sorrow. Yes.
I've even cum while working, normally in oils.

But tears of love? Nope.
It was a cherished moment.

I have no fuckin' idea if the piece is good. I brought it into work and it is now taped to my wall, above my desk, to the right of the computer monitor. It's continually hitting me. At some point I'll put it away for a while to get space. From there, I'm sure I'll figure out if I shred the thing or what.

It's strange. Around the 9th drawing I attempted to go in with conte but after the second stroke I wiped it out. It made me uncomfortable. So I hadn't tried it again. Until now. Even in this piece I am still uncomfortable. But I'm forcing myself to deal with it. I'll get over it, right?

Afterward, I walked to the Conservatory to see the corpse plant. It began to bloom on Monday and already, by yesterday, was beginning to fold again. The stench was there...but only if you stepped close to it. I brought a little sketchbook because I hoped to be able to make a few quick sketches (in lieu of photos), to scan and share. But there were too many people. I attempted to step out of the way and tried to draw. It was futile. I was making it more difficult for others. So I left.

Before the plant, I decided to finally pop into the Seattle Asian Art Museum. There is an exhibit that has been extended and I wanted to catch it, Elegant Earth: Photographs by Johsel Namkung. He uses large format, a Sinar 4 x 5 to shoot his nature photography.

If interested, here is an essay on Namkung. Fascinating history.

The photographs are wonderful. A few especially...I could sit and look and sit some more. They draw you in.

I don't write well about art. Maybe it's laziness. Maybe not. I do know, for me, it's an emotional experience. I don't feel as if I approach art on an intellectual level. That is saved for other pursuits and tasks. It's tough to write about something that for me, there are no words for. One would think my many art history courses would have cured me of that. Instead, I managed to get through each course with top grades, and somehow, would forget most everything to empty my head for the next. It wasn't intentional, it was just how it happened. Sometimes I do wish I had the head that would retain details, information, quotes and even things such as movie titles and names of songs. Alas, it's not meant to be.

Back to the SAAM, I then received an unexpected surprise. Normally, when in a museum or gallery, if possible, I don't like to read up before viewing the work. I want my first impressions to be my own. Untainted. Such is the case with the next exhibit. Even afterward, I didn't look at the placard. I wanted to hold onto what I saw as personal and private. It wasn't until now, while googling for the artist, that I read up on the work.

Shirin Neshat: Tooba.

It was a large long dark room. Videos showing, on the north and south walls. East and west each have a bench to sit. Between the music and the visuals, it felt like sex. There was a rhythm. Momentum building. It was calming and exciting at the same time. I can't really explain it. You need to experience it in person.

For a little more info - click this and that.

Now I'll end with this~

Before drawing, when I arrived home, I checked email. Rob Brezny's newsletter was there. Very early. He always has a blurb before the horoscopes. And what he wrote...I needed. It added to my comfort. It was a reminder that even days like Monday are important. I'm not going crazy.

Brezsny began with:

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

And then listed a few tidbits:


You're a gorgeous mystery with a wild heart and a lofty purpose. But like
all of us, your psyche also harbors a portion of the world's sickness: a
mess of repressed longings, enervating wounds, ignorant delusions, and
unripe powers. It has been known by many names, including demon and
devil. Psychologist Carl Jung called it the shadow. He believed it was the
lead that the authentic alchemists of the Middle Ages sought to
transmute into gold.


Astrologer Steven Forrest has a different name for the shadow: stuff.
"Work on your stuff," he says, "or your stuff will work on you." He means
that it will sabotage you if you're not aggressive about identifying,
negotiating with, and transforming it.


"The unconscious sends all sorts of vapors, odd beings, terrors, and
deluding images up into the mind; for the human kingdom, beneath the
floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our
consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves. There not
only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted
psychological powers that we have not thought or dared to integrate into
our lives." --Joseph Campbell, *The Hero With a Thousand Faces*


The shadow is not inherently evil. If it is ignored or denied, it may become
monstrous to compensate. Only then is it likely to "demonically possess"
its owner, leading to compulsive, exaggerated, "evil" behavior.


The alchemists said the magic formula for enlightenment was Visita
Inferiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem, or "Seek out the
lower reaches of the earth, perfect them, and you will find the hidden
stone" (the treasured Philosopher's Stone). Jungian psychologists might
describe the process this way: Find the ignorant, wounded parts of your
psyche, perfect them, and you will awaken your hidden divinity.


"The great epochs in our lives are at the points when we gain the courage
to rebaptize our badness as the best in us." --Friedrich Nietzsche


In the best-known version of the Greek myth, Persephone is dragged
down into the underworld by Hades, whose title is "Pluto." But in earlier,
pre-patriarchal tales, she descends there under her own power, actively
seeking to graduate from her virginal naiveté by exploring the intriguing
land of shadows.

"Pluto" is derived from the Greek word plutus, meaning "wealth."
Psychologist James Hillman says this refers to the psyche-building riches
available in Pluto's domain. Hades, he says, is "the giver of nourishment to
the soul."


The goddess Hecate also lives in the underworld. According to poet
Robert Graves, she is the mistress of sorcery, "the goddess of ghosts and
night-terrors, of phantoms and fearful monsters." On the other hand, he
notes, Hecate "presides at seed time and childbirth; she grants
prosperity, victory, plentiful harvests to the farmer and rich catches to
the fisherman."

How can a single deity embody such seemingly contradictory archetypes?
Graves: She symbolizes "the unconscious in which beasts and monsters
swarm. This is not the living hell of the psychotic, but a reservoir of
energy to be brought under control, just as Chaos was brought to cosmic
order under the influence of the spirit."


In the New World, it won't be your material wealth that will win you the
most bragging points. Nor will it be the important people you know or the
deals you've swung or the knowledge you've amassed or your mate's
attractiveness. What will bring you most prestige and praise in the
civilization to come will be your success in transmuting lead into gold--
how thoroughly you have integrated your shadow and tapped into its

Mark Morford's column isn't up yet. I'll hand it over if and when it does appear. In the meantime, here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

I'm also in the process of writing an entry about the power of yesterday. It'll be up soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seattle area folks-

We have another opportunity to see a corpse plant bloom!

Yesterday, on my walk, I went through Volunteer Park and noticed the Conservatory had a an extra and big "open" sign. I wondered what was up.
Now I know.

From an article in the Seattle Times:

"The University of Washington's botany greenhouse has loaned another corpse flower, named Husky, to Seattle's Volunteer Park Conservatory, and the plant, known for its putrid smell, has begun to bloom."

I'm headed over later today. Last year, I was a few days late. This year, I'm catchin' the stink.
Yesterday was a challenging day.

I struggle between remaining open to what I need to feel and then find ways to ground me.
Before leaving work I knew I needed to go for a long walk regardless of the fact it was very sunny and much too hot for my druthers. After getting home I threw on my shorts and walked. And walked. It felt so good after a point to really feel my thigh muscles working.

For me, when emotional pain feels physical, I need real physical stress to balance it out and to remind me of the difference.

It helped. Temporarily.
Time helps as well.

I considered drawing. The weight of the isolation created paralysis and so I didn't. There is personal disappointment in that but next time...I'll work on pushing past it.

4:30 am I woke, mysteriously. Normally I'll be overwhelmed by feelings or mental images but there was nothing. I simply woke - puzzled as to why.

After finally returning to sleep I dreamt. I was rubbing my head with a towel and when I pulled the towel away, it was covered with clumps of hair. I ran to the mirror and noticed large yellow/brownish peeling bruisy type sores on the left side of my forehead. A momentary freak and then reminded myself it was a dream.

If I let myself go through all of it, at some point it will turn and change.
Like autumn leaves whirling in the wind. Nothing stays still for long.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I found it.

Thanks to Colin's Movie Monologue Page, here is the opening monologue of The Libertine, written by Stephen Jeffreys.

Rochester (played by Johnny Depp):
Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't." It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats. Gentlemen. Do not despair, I am up for that as well. And the same warning applies. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag - and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down - I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. 'Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining , livelong moment.' That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I hope. I am John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester and I do not want you to like me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

An interesting few days.

Another cherry busted.

This weekend I finally had the opportunity to watch Valley Of The Dolls. What a trip. I was SO overdue.
Patty Duke cracked me up because all I could see, when watching Neely, was this.

I want to see it again, definitely as a party movie, to be watched with friends after chowing down a fabulous meal and the booze is flowing.

This morning I watched The Libertine. I highly recommend it. Check out the trailer. Johnny Depp, as John Wilmot, is once again, brilliant. He gives an opening monologue that sucked me right in. The story is raw and dark. It was filmed with a darkness as well. The writing is luscious.

Some more letting go...

~of the fantasy of family - what I expected from my parents that will never happen

~the idea that at least once in each of our lives we are supposed to have someone fighting for us, even in spite of ourselves, preferably as a younger human than an older.

~a biggie, which is letting go of more of my identity. Learning to willingly jump into a groundless place knowing that labels will not provide safety and real community. The only thing that can begin to do that is the grounding and safety I find deep within myself. I'll probably write more about this at a later date. I've been shedding the outward labels more and more over the last few years, but every once in a while, like this weekend, I look down and think "oh my fuckin' feet aren't standing on anything! What the hell do I do now?"

Some insights:

~After a dinner with a friend a few nights back where he talked, nonstop, I knew that I needed to let him be. He's in a precarious place, although doesn't see it. I needed to let go of the idea that I could actively prevent him doing some very foolish things. He's headed for a potential train wreck and the kindest thing I can do for him right now is stand back and be there if he needs me in the future.
Not easy to watch. (an interesting insight considering what I wrote above about a hero type)

~Another, which hit me like a semi, while watching Valley of the Dolls was that I realized I was incredibly sheltered for the first 20 years of my life. Even while in school, the textbooks were old. I was born in 1960. We didn't speak of the Vietnam war. I never once learned about the Korean war. (I had no idea there was such a thing as the action in Korea until I watched a few reruns of MASH, in my 20's). Most of what was on TV was not accessible. Books were pretty much monitored. Current culture, unless it involved The Brady Bunch, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Lawrence Welk Show and the Partridge Family, and the Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour, was essentially wiped out. We'd catch a few things while at friends' homes. But daily life stayed fairly bland. We were sheltered from most of it.

It's odd, because I consciously became very sexual about 11 or so, with creative and frequent masturbation. Regarding sex, I came to some big, forward ideas very early on. But for what was happening in our world...was mostly hidden. This realization leaves me partly in shock, beginning to grieve a little, and there is a slow boil beginning as well.

Just some more healing.

I spent the weekend pretty much alone. Intentionally. Other than dinner on Friday night and a wonderful brunch today with a small handful of friends, I chose alone. Did work a new drawing. Began reading a new book. Popped into two art openings on Saturday night happening in my neighborhood.

A weekend that was quiet outside and busy inside.
It was good.
For all clotogs....

Happy Left Handers Day!.
Here are some people we share the day with.

Some quirks about my left-handedness - I'm a funny left hander. If it's a pen, pencil, stick of charcoal or a brush it must be used by my left hand, but:

~Scissors, playing tennis, the guitar...right hand.

~Eating...both hands. I use whatever is most convenient.

~Painting with a palette knife. Depending on which side of the canvas I would work, the knife happens to find itself it the hand that made the most sense, laying shapes and color. The first time it happened, I was shocked. I wasn't even aware of what I was doing, until I looked down and found the knife in my right hand.

~I can't draw with a mouse. The mouse is used by my right hand, but drawing is done with my left. All attempts to draw wiith a mouse leave me befuddled and hurts my head something fierce.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A few more links.

First, an interview with Jeff Koons, by Tom Ford.

Tonight, while I caught a specky bit of NOW on PBS. Coming into the program halfway, I turned it off because I decided I could catch the whole thing tomorrow. The show? An interview with Anna Deavere Smith on Art and Politics.

From the website:
"What role do and should artists play when it comes to social critique and commentary? NOW's David Brancaccio sits with award-winning playwright and performer Anna Deavere Smith to discuss an artist's responsibility in a world wracked by war."

I'm curious. And I like Smith.

Then, I caught most of an interview with Pema Chodron on Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason. What a fascinating person she is. I wanted to see who else he had interviewed in this 7 part series so I cruised the website. Chodron's interview was the last one. The people he interviewed, Salman Rushdie, Jeannette Winterson, and others, along with transcripts and videos can be found here. It's an interesting group. I'll be exploring it further.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Friday.
Short thoughts and links.

First, here is Morford with Devil's Music Made Me Have Sex!.

He begins with:

"Let's just say it outright: AC/DC is God's most beautiful and significant gift to humankind."

And, I'm sharing the last paragraph because I love it.

"Forget the problem of myopic adults who generate silly brow-furrowed studies on teen behavior. Where is the next generation of lyrical pun masters? Whither double-entendres and sticky innuendo and raunch with more than one layer? Who, pray who, will teach our children about, say, "giving the dog a bone"? It's an unsung tragedy, is what it is."


There is an older gentleman who lives in my building. He's a short man. Maybe in his late 50's. I think he's very shy. For a year and a half, whenever I see him, which is a few times a week, I gently attempt to catch his eye and smile. He keeps his head down when he walks past people.

One day last week, and this morning for the second time, he caught my eye and gave me a small half smile.
I was surprised. And thrilled.


Yesterday, I had the thought of doing a bbq with the other tenants in our building. The folks here are really nice. We bump into each other and chat quickly while coming or going. In speaking with the tenant who assists the manager, he jumped all over the idea. So it seems it may happen.


Someone yesterday was practicing their violin. I could hear the sweet music flowing from their window. We have many artists, musicians and even one film maker in the building. I found out too late that the film maker's latest film was screening at a local filmhouse last week.

I'm mentally working on a way to do maybe a little art afternoon, where we can all share our gifts in the courtyard next to the pond.


I feel more energized again. Very exciting. I think Danbearnyc may have played a part. He showcased the perfect pr0n. It is taken from this article on sandhogs In the NYTimes. The photo is by Mary Altaffer.


A coworker shared this Pollock link with me. It could be viewed as a fun timewaster. Drag your mouse. Color changes when you click.


From The Stranger:

R.I.P., INB (1999-2006).

"The Infernal Noise Brigade died young. The funeral was a secret. It was held in the middle of the night in a gravel lot in Georgetown on July 29. Some mourners sat on top of an old school bus, but most stood on the uneven terrain, kicking up dust, getting their suits and dresses dirty, drinking whiskey or beer or homemade mead, rolling cigarettes, smoking joints, chewing chocolates packed with mushrooms, riding on each other's backs, taking flowers off the makeshift bar and jamming them into their hair, watching a montage projected onto a building, dodging the guy welded into and rolling around in a steel hamster ball. Several guys with power tools and metal blocks were showering the crowd with sparks. Behind them, a tall building with wooden railings and landings and doorways opened to red-lit rooms looked ghostly and carnivalesque."

Last year, Christopher Frizzelle wrote another article about INB, Enduring Freedom - Marching Through Europe with the Infernal Noise Brigade.

Malixe attended the funeral. His entries, including photos are found here and here.


From the BBC, a good article about a Zimbabwean drag performer, Queen of Africa.

A couple lines from the article:
"This in-your-face attitude put him on a collision course with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who regards homosexuality as un-African."

And later, a great line..."A queen must protect her subjects even if the president refuses to do so," he says."


Thursday, August 10, 2006

"The darkness must go down the river of night's dreaming.
Flow morphia slow, let the sun and light come streaming
Into my life. Into my life..."

I stayed at the office and worked beyond the goals I set for today. Everything was groovin' and therefore didn't want to mess with that. In doing so...I am now almost done. The cleaning up step will happen Monday and that's the easiest part.

It really is always darkest before dawn. Now to simply remember that while I'm frantically looking for a flashlight.

When I left work, I thought I'd go to Septieme and celebrate the end of a challenging week. But after walking home, I realized I was fried. So I ordered a pizza, severely overate and will crash instead.

I think that some heavy therapy stuff that's been building has added to the weight of the week. On Wednesday, I finally told my shrink that I knew and was afraid of the idea that I really need to let myself get angry. Yeah, I've known that for a long time but it's been building. Seeing my father in my shrink means I more than likely will fully take it out on him. I don't want to. Yet stifling it isn't healthy either.

The idea of working through the rage stuffed from the past is a frightening one. As I mentioned to the shrink:

"I'm afraid I'll kill you with my hate. Not physically, but emotionally."
"That won't happen."
"But it's so big. I fear I won't be able to control it."

He smiled and nodded his understanding.

The odd thing is as I'm traveling closer to the dark vault, I've been feeling stronger. Yes, there are still times of great doubt and little self worth, but I'm handling it all differently. It's cleaner. Surer. My view of the world and of others is so much different. A big part of my hesitancy is that I don't want to mess with that. But I need to. I've also been reassured that this is how it happens. One needs the confidence and strength to step into the next part of the journey.

It really is difficult to honestly hold both hate and loyalty for a parent in the same hand. The need to protect is so great that it can lead to our own detriment.

Only in admitting and from there releasing the hate and the anger, can I then begin to let go and build compassion.
Kid stuff is tough stuff. Such conflicting feelings.

It will be good to move through the greater part of this. Such immersion sucks at times. It is mentally and emotionally consuming and therefore, uncomfortable.

It's always an adventure, isn't it?

I have no set plans for this weekend - none but retaining a clear space to draw in. It's become more important than ever. Considering that for all my painting life I referred to myself as the happy painter, this new development is still surprising and titillating. If possible, I'll see about gettting the guys together for dinner or brunch at some point.

If I'm so inspired, I may run to the store to look at digital a little more research. Every day I'm out, the want of a camera is greater. There is so much beauty out there to capture. We'll see what happens.

Life is a damned adventure.
Here's a lunch link:
Adult muppet puppets.

After vasts amount of morning procrastination, I worked. As of 10 minutes ago, when the second section was complete, I can finally see a light at the end of this annual quagmire.

I'm going to prep the third workplace giving campaign mess, clean my desk, make "to do" notes for a Monday refresher, and then head home early. Monday, I'll return refreshed to crank through the final section and it should all be complete by Tuesday or Wednesday. Phew.

Normally, for the last 4 years, I've had an assistant come in once a year for a week or two and focus on nothing other than this. She wasn't available this year, and training someone new wasn't a possibility. Although it's been an inefficient, illogical batch of craziness, I am pleased that I've gone through the whole system again. Things have changed and it was productive for me to see where the problems now lay. It will mean a new manual and training system.
A whine and a new treat.

I have to whine...

...a wee bit.

One day...some day, I will be unshackled from the current project. This thing is taking most of what I have. No oomph for drawing. None for sex. None for relaxing. I'm either at work, or tired. And now...even at work, I'm tired. My mind is mush. Walking or exercising feels too hard. Reading a book is too much because I'd stare at the same words over, and over and nothing sinks in. I tried TV (it's still on) but blah as well.

There is a little resentment growing over the fact that this is taking precious energy away from art.

I've been in bed by 9:30 (headed there after I post this) and asleep soon after with much difficulty waking around 6ish. So very tired.

This sucks. Big time. It feels so big.
And I promise. No more pity party after this. I needed to indulge for a sec but I'll suck it up from here.

Surprisingly, I haven't been bitchy. There are no flames rising up from my office. Even with various wrenches thrown in the mix, I've discovered a calmness that allows me to flow through it. The rest of the staff is being amazing with picking up some slack so I can focus. They still request the last minute stuff that always pokes up, and it's turned into butter. Taking their requests in stride this time, instead of throwing a nutty about every little thing. The disruptions aren't freaking me out. Very nice. Must be from all this damned therapy. I'm still not amused with my shrink, but I can see the fruits of our labor.

Now...for something fun. I think I've decided (not fully sold, but almost) on a digital camera. My next step is to hold one in my hands and check it out.

This is the one I am seriously leaning toward. Any opinions?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Morford's column today is thought provoking. Read it through.

And here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

I am still immersed in this yearly project, so no mental room to even come up with any words. I slept really heavy last night and woke pretty groggy. My job right now is to achieve enough brain clarity to pull three queries for various coworkers and then jump back into the "swamp" as a coworker beautifully described this week's task.

Have a wonderful day. Really.
It's drizzling today. This makes me happy.
See? I am a cheap date.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I am home.
Tired, but a very good tired.

We headed out to Alki Beach and the bunny informed me that dinner and drinks were on him tonight. Who am I to argue? While drinking big margueritas, sharing some lobster pernod chowdah and waiting for our wicked pissah fish and chips at Dukes at a table that opened to the deck and overlooking the bay, I realized what day it was. Today is the 8th anniversary of the day I drove into Seattle with my little car packed to the gills and a "Seattle or Bust" sign in the back window.

So we toasted the day.

From there, a long walk. On the way back, we opted for ice cream and then headed onto the beach. My feet had been aching to walk on the edge of the shore for the last few days. I needed to feel the sharp pain that comes from the abrasive sand, pebbles and beach stuff on the shore and then soothed by cool water. It worked as a major foot massage.

From the moment I arrived at the beach the smell of salt almost knocked me over and filled me up. It makes me so very happy. This has been the longest stretch since I've been over to Alki. 6 months? 8 months? Much too long and there's no excuse. It's only 15 minutes away by car. My body really does need frequent close encounters with salt air & water. It feeds me.

A very nice way to spend a not bad but quite challenging and difficult work day. And a perfect way to spend my Seattle anniversary.

I will sleep so good tonight.
A quick commercial interruption to say…

My eyeballs hurt from staring at the screen and looking at numbers. Two more long days of this.
I'm looking forward to later where the bunny has deliciously offered to take me to Alki Beach so I can walk barefoot in the sand and water…and then kick back with booze and food (note the order).
One more link and then immersion.

In today's Seattle PI:

"Deny it if you like, but down in the depths of each and every one of us dwells a freak.

Certainly some of us hide it better than others, shove our inner geek deep, keep him bound and gagged for fear he'll puke our darkest fears all over the public sidewalk. Others, of course, wave their freak flag high, understanding that, united by our oddities, we're not so very odd after all.

For Seattle cartoonist Ellen Forney, it's the strange, the eccentric, the outlandish in each one of us -- herself included -- that puts the ink on her paintbrush."

Check out Forney's website.

Without spending too much time losing myself in the website, here's a mild but funny Forney~


One of the very familiar signs of August in Seattle is the yellow, burnt grass. I was paying attention to it on my walk to work this morning. Another familiar sign is that ever so slowly, the sun rises a specky bit later each day. Nice.

This week is a very busy week at work. I'm immersing myself in an overdue project and set an unrealistic deadline of tomorrow. So don't expect any lengthy entries for a while.

Instead, here are a few links.

Washington (State) moves to ban publicly funded sex-change operations.

This is Fine Arts TV?

HUMP is coming back

Do you like drawings?

And I'll leave you with the latest and fun music transition on Radio Paradise. The Temptations "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" ends (I love that song) and then I hear:

Some say you're crazy
Say that you're no good
Say your family's cursed with bad blood
But I think you're cute and misunderstood
And I wouldn't change you if I could

It's Tracy Chapman's You're The One

Have a good day.

Monday, August 07, 2006

From The Slog:

A photoshop contest, Modern Renaissance 6 - modern celebs in old art.

Some of these are pretty funny.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Artist - Joseph Norman

11 years ago I saw a show at the MFA in Boston that made a profound impact on me. I knew it at the time, but had no idea how deep the impact went until today.

My painting prof said he had something very special to show us. We all trucked down to Boston to see "Dialogue: John Wilson/Joseph Norman". I've spent quite a while googling and can't find much of anything on the show, or even works by Norman otherwise I'd be flooding you with links. The best I can do is this. And the work showcased is very different than what I saw. Good, but not what I wanted to show you.

Wilson's work was wonderful. But Norman's work took my breath away. Especially his ink wash pieces. I remember how I couldn't step away from the work. I was taken in. They glowed.

Before leaving the exhibit that day I purchased the catalog. I was so hungry to hold him.

There is a little table next to my leather chair. On it, sits 3 big hardcover art books, an issue of Drummer and the show catalogue from the Wilson/Norman show. These books raise my laptop to a good level. I had forgotten all about it because my laptop is normally sitting on this pile and haven't cracked open the book in many years.

Today, instead of drawing, I bit the bullet and asked Auxugen if he could come by with his camera. He did, and not only did we spend the afternoon taking quick photos but he taught me some very general basics of Photoshop. I've desired to learn for years but my head was always too full of other things. Didn't have the time or energy to do a mental clearing for this new skill. Today began the process. Had to do it sometime.

I moved the laptop to the kitchen table and without paying attention, grabbed the first book it was sitting on, to place as padding. (Didn't want to scratch my table surface any further). It's silly because when using the laptop on the table, I've never put something under it before. I remember thinking it was an odd move. When we were wrapping up, I was putting things away. I moved the laptop and noticed the book. My jaw almost dropped. It was the Norman show catalog.

I opened it and flipped quickly to a few drawings. "Look at this. Does it look familiar?" Auxugen concurred. Granted, my work is nowhere near the quality of Norman's. I have so very much to learn. But, the method I've been working in since I've begun working again...the style that although feels like me, is very different for me, the idea of using watercolor washes, charcoal and graphite...all in black...and the way I'm using the medium was reminiscent to his work.

My heart filled. I'm still somewhat blown away.

The very work that spoke deeper to me than any other at that now manifesting itself using my language.

This is encouraging for another reason. Back in April I saw the work of a new artist (new for me). Amy Sillman. I haven't written about the experience yet because I guess I'm still not ready to share it. Her mark-making and freedom captured me. The boldness. And more. There is so much that I can't really put it into words. It spoke to me in the same way Norman's work spoke to me the first time I saw it...although even more powerfully. Maybe, that really is in me...and therefore, if I'm touching something in my own work 11 years after seeing a familiar spirit in another's, then possibly the strength I felt in Sillman's paintings that resonated is also something in me. Maybe my reaction to each were due to both being mirrors.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the work week. I wish I could totally only work half days this week. Unfortunately, it's not possible for at least another two weeks.

I want to continue swimming.

I broke into the bottle last night.

Walking into my best restaurant for dinner a few years back, the waiter informed me that very soon I would no longer be able to order the Portuguese red wine that had become one of my favorites. "We only have three bottles left, and not able to place any further orders."

A quick moment of mourning, a sigh, and then "I trust your judgement with wines. You'll choose a good replacement."

I'm not a wine aficionado. One day, I'd like to learn. But it was a wine I enjoyed. The 2003 Cortello Estremadura Vinho Tinto fit my mouth. A nice red table wine. Not a big, hearty red yet perfect for the regular moments. A relaxing red.

At the end of the meal, before leaving...a surprise. The restaurant gifted me with one of the 3 remaining bottles. It was an amazing gesture. The Bear and bunny were with me that evening and the Bear suggested that we could plan an evening where he would whip up a fabulous Portuguese meal and we'd indulge in this last bottle. A great idea.

Since then I've waited. Timing never felt right. I figured that when the moment appeared, I be surrounded by those I love, sharing fabulous food and we'd break into the wine. I also knew that I would know when it was time.

Last night, just before jumping back into my drawings, I knew. The feeling was strong and it was perfect. And it felt crazy. You see, I much prefer sharing good and special times with others. But there it was. Calling to me. It was meant to be. My apartment was filled with warm, grounding energy. It didn't matter that I didn't know what I was doing in regards to my drawings.

I threw on some music. Cranked it up. Opened the bottle and gave it time to breathe. Glass of wine in hand, I drew and drew, enjoying the evening. I'm still not sure about the work this morning...but it doesn't matter.

Last night was a home-warming celebration.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Note to self:
A multitude of maybes and dunnos, as in my last entry, will crop up if it's almost 2pm and the only thing in my belly is a small bowl of cereal with a banana...consumed at 8 am.

Although I still don't have a clue about my work, it no longer matters. It'll come. With time. Food helps to clarify things.

I know better. I learned a big lesson in the mid 90's when my blood sugar dropped too far, causing me to pass out, smash my face and break my two front teeth. I do know better. But I didn't want to bother fixing something today because I'd rather spend the time working. These are the times I wish I had a boy to come by in the morning with good food, already prepared, so I can fill the refrigerator and be set for the day. No shopping, no cooking and more importantly, no decision making about anything else other than the art.

Foolishly, I took a chance driving to the airport in that shakey condition. Hoss's plane was late so I had the opportunity to grab a sugary drink and some protein. Now I've returned from Seatac and picked up a Sicilian salad to go from the Italian bistro on the corner. It's large and filled with good things like blue cheese, salami and roasted red peppers. I'm set for the evening, holing up with the work.
I think...

...I may be ready to begin sharing the pieces I've been working on for the last month and a half. Not fully sure, but it seems that door is cracking open.

I'll make a date with Auxugen so he can come by and take digital photos. There is a friend who I'd like to show them to first, being a pivotal force behind a few of them.

This morning I had a thought. About once every couple years, I've gotten together with Hengst for show and tell. It would always help, bouncing the work off an experienced painter. Maybe I need to do that again.

Yes, you are reading hesitancy. It comes from feeling I don't know what I'm doing. Today much doubt surrounds my abilities. These drawings are a new way of working and although I love the overall look, and with most I'm incredibly infatuated with moments in each, I honestly don't know if they work. Even the ones I thought were really bad no longer feel that way.

Maybe I simply can't be objective. It's an unsettling thought. Or, maybe it's because it's too new to be objective. Dunno. Or maybe I'm just no good at this stuff. Maybe I'm fooling myself. Maybe this is right on target. Maybe I need to feel the doubts and apprehension. Maybe that's what pushes me further.

I'm not done with this series. There is still more I need to explore. For one, I still haven't achieved the solid architectural skeleton that I crave. The pieces are each filled with much ambiguity. Maybe that's not a bad thing.

Maybe, I somehow have to find a way to hang them all at the same time, so I can study them. Together.

And maybe it's now time to get food.
Maybe this is all due to a drop in blood sugar.
Today's music to draw by~

First, leisurely stepping in with Leonard Cohen's Ten New Songs.
The music is smooth, deep and comforting...floating in a vat of hot chocolate.

Then to rev it up a bit, Metallica S&M.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Where are the good drugs?

Today Morford has a lovely column. He begins:

"Hide the children. Pour some absinthe, fluff the pillows, take off your pants. It is time."

I need some good drugs.

You see, in the last few weeks, my internal life has spun into chaos. When I screamed my demands into the universe to pull the ugly out of expose, reveal and push myself into standing naked, the response was "so be it."

Here I am.

I feel I am fighting battles on many fronts at the same time. Although each different in appearance, when I strip it down, it is all the same. It is about vulnerability.

The WA Supreme Court ruling still makes me sick. Not because I want to marry. I don't. I am furious that I, as an adult, am told that I cannot decide who I can legally and contractually consider family. My desire has nothing to do with marriage in the partnering sense. The decision treats us as children making bad choices - "You can't wear the blue pants today because it doesn't go with the shirt and shoes. You must wear brown." Grossly oversimplified, I know. But, that's what it feels like.

The irrational, ridiculous ruling is...appalling. The interesting thing, as a coworker pointed out this week, is that now we actually have their emotional, fear-based case for homophobia on record. No logic or sense of justice. No longer simply implied. It is written for all to see and disseminate.

I've also been dealing with fallout from the shooting at the Jewish Federation. I'm not going to say more than that...but it's intense.

Everywhere we turn, throughout the world, we are flooded with the damage caused when people don't keep religion in their pants.

My choice to reach in and pull out the ugly left the door wide open to feel the anger, the bitterness, the rage and now the hurt that stems from the dark side of life. The court decision ripped it open and the shooting threw me over the edge.

While going through all this I'm also working with the idea that maybe, just maybe I am so broken, that I will never again be able to allow myself to be loved. I wonder if I'm too wounded. The question pushes me to take risks, and afterward I'm flooded with the calmness of knowing that risking is good and needed. Thing is, from there old stuff rises up and reminds me I am a fool.

A few days ago a friend wrote to me and said that I needed a defiant "army of lovers." He is correct. I've known that for a few years, but yet, until now, no one else recognized and verbalized that fact. It was a huge validation. Thing is, just because we may need something doesn't mean that we have the ability to access it.

This morning, after reading emails, I felt scared. And very small. All I wanted to do was call my mom and have her comfort me. Desperately. It was and still is a desire that carries such longing never before felt as an adult. A few times I went to pick up the phone. Then I'd remember she wouldn't understand. She doesn't really agree with what I do and where I work. In such, I could not even access a small part of the comfort I need from my parent.

Yes, there is much happening. It is challenging. This may sound strange but, because of how it is manifesting itself, a part of me stands back and feels honored that I'm working all this at the same time. With all the bombs and blasts, I've discovered a grace that I can tap into. It seems the more dramatic the attempted offensive charge, the firmer I return. It knocks me off my feet, and I am shaken. The beauty is, I will jump to my feet in a more rapid motion.

Today, I'm going to do drawings. No goal except to lose myself. I need the consolation and centering that will come from moving my hand on paper. The healing that pours out as my fingers become black from charcoal.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I am totally turned on.
For real.


Because I just read this:

"With mark and gesture – the traditional hallmarks of drawing – being at the center of this show, the difference between an artist’s drawing from a hundred years ago and a contemporary work often disappears. The personalized mark of the artist and its powerful form of expression overwhelms any variation that might result because of historical context."

It reminds me of what I've always believed - Drawing is naked art.

The quote come from the James Harris Gallery website, featuring this show.

Something to definitely check it out.
Compared to other cultures, we are an apathetic bunch.

Women Seize TV Station in Oaxaca, Mexico

(08-02) 11:59 PDT OAXACA, Mexico (AP) --

"About 500 women banging spoons against pots and pans seized a state-run television station and broadcast a homemade video Wednesday that showed police kicking protesters out of Oaxaca's main square last month.

The women took control of Oaxaca's Channel 9 station Tuesday and held employees for about six hours before releasing them. It was unclear how long the siege would last and police were nowhere to be seen near the station Wednesday.

The standoff is the latest by demonstrators who accuse Gov. Ulises Ruiz of rigging his 2004 election victory and violently repressing opposition groups.

Read the whole thing here.
How about a little food p0rn?

I've only eaten steamed shellfish once and it involved massive alcohol before I could think about popping the steamer down my throat. It was a drizzly Memorial Day weekend, 20 years ago, in Ogunquit.

You see, I have this thing about slippery, slimy foods. It has nothing to do with taste. It just squicks me out. Even at dim sum, there are some things I can't do, for that reason. Although I'm sure, given the right context, I could be...ummm...coerced.

Last night I read an entry that's pretty hot. So hot that I'm actually tempted. And, I want to see a cookbook filled with such recipes.

Here you have it, a recipe with a twist: easy moules mariniere.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's Wednesday, and I'll post quickly so I can dive right into work. Today is another long, full immersion day.

First, last night's focus group. I've never been part of one before. There was some apprehension because it was an unknown experience. It was actually fun. About 8 queers sitting around the table discussing society, local and national...and politics. At the beginning I had much to offer. After about an hour I felt myself losing steam. I had passed my 12 hour day mark.

Overall a good conversation. Various opinions. New insights. And we were each paid $100 at the end. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours.

Now Wednesday's links. And one more.

Mark Morford writes about the new electric car that's sexy and fast. He calls it the "four-wheel electric orgasm." Check out the photos.

Here is August's horoscope, Planetwaves, from Eric Francis.
This week's Freewill Astrology.

It seems that my 'scopes are really describing where I'm at lately. Rob Brezny's words are quite descriptive.
For Capricorns:

"Are you a force of nature right now, or are you a freak of nature? I think the truth is that you're a freaky force of nature. You're just about as anomalous as it's possible for a Capricorn to get, and yet you've also got the equivalent of a thunderstorm's energy at your command. The funny thing is, the two factors are related. Your eccentricity is feeding your power, and vice versa. My advice is to refrain from questioning and worrying about this unusual state of affairs, and instead just capitalize on the odd advantages you have at your disposal."

Here's an interesting thought from Brezsny's email:

"The Guest House"

by Jelaluddin Rumi,
translated by Coleman Barks in his book Essential Rumi.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


I need to keep that in mind.

Have a good day everyone. Or better yet, I hope your day is skillful.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm tired.

~Maybe I need my bowl of Total and bananas to wake up. Coffee isn't working as quickly as I'd like.

~It's going to be another very busy and long day. Although I should jump into work right now, I need some time for me before I do. Tonight, I've been invited to be part of a focus group regarding gays and politics.

~I look forward to having time to draw again. It seems it won't happen until Friday. I love the fact that I miss it and am excited to build upon the drawings. The idea of layering energy upon energy on paper just about makes me cum.

~Speaking of sex, in the last couple days I haven't been jacking off as frequently. I know there's a natural ebb and flow but it bugs me. Even if it's only 24 hours without, I miss my sex. This morning I decided that even if I didn't feel like it, I was going to play with myself until I craved it and came. I refuse to allow the crap in life to take away my sex. Just stubborn that way.

~The increased rage I've been feeling is a necessary step in my journey but it's beginning to wear me out. Maybe that's a sign that it's going to shift soon. It would be nice.

~Still pretty pissed at the shrink. And I apologized to him. When he sits in front of me, all I can see right now is my dad. He and I both know this is a natural and good part of the process. But still.

~The weather has been incredibly fabulous for the last bunch of days. Grey, cloudy cool days excite me.

~An idea about the whole gay marriage thing has been percolating for the last 4 or 5 days. I have to find time to sketch a rough skeleton on paper and then figure out where to go with this. It's exciting and yet, right now, feels very big and therefore almost overwhelming. Once it is broken down into manageable steps then I'd like to pick some of your brains.

~Drawing. I want to draw. Have I mentioned that yet?

~My favorite compressed charcoal. Time to order more. Willow charcoal I'll pick up anywhere. But compressed? Ah, it's a different story. It's the same as having my favorite brushes. All that's left is one worn-down stick, about an inch long. I picked up a few other sticks last week from the art store in town so I don't run out. Although it'll get me through, it's not Yarka.

~There is more I want to share, but I'm not ready to. All the big emotions inside are keeping the words at bay. Guess it is time to feel and not describe. Another part of this is that I am feeling very shy and quite vulnerable in certain ways. The struggle to maintain connections and continue to open myself to people is a tough one. The further I go the more I see the cell constructed of fright that I've encased myself, assuming it will protect me from deep connections to others. No real connections mean no risk and therefore no hurt. Peeling each layer back shows me that my sense of despair regarding all types of love relationships began as a child.

~And so there isn't any misunderstanding, I do not need prayers or blessings. Considering my strong viewpoints on the subject, any attempt to do so is rape. It is a gross violation. The only people it assists are those who believe in such things as chanting, religious ritual, etc. This is life. This is my life. It is what it is - challenging and glorious at the same time. I personally would rather experience all of it instead of living a one faceted existence or in a blind state of obliviousness.

~Did I say I want to lose myself in drawing today?
Right now, art is the only real thing. It is the only thing in my life that won't disappoint. It comforts and frustrates. It is steadfast. It has never betrayed me. It challenges and pushes me. It touches my belly, my cunt and my cock. It has patiently waited for the day where I would see it and know I can't amputate or ignore it no longer. Art is the only home I've really known...and may very well be the only home I'll ever have.

Now it is time to jump back into work.