Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some of my coworkers have the strangest things hanging around their office.

Not much to say. You see, I took some something to assist with sleep last night and I'm still groggy. But it's the first day of my vacation and I'm waiting to catch a flight.

Last night, I got together with 4 good friends for dinner. We had a long, overdue talk. I had been withholding from them for many months. It had been eating away at me, but didn't know how to talk to them. It was good to finally open up and share some of what's been troubling me. They reminded me, a few times, that I need to learn to trust in them more. And they showed me loads of love.

Sometimes trust is a difficult thing. I know in not trusting, I'm not only short-changing but actually insulting those I call my intimate friends.

Before I was getting ready to leave, one of them pulled me onto his lap for hugs.

New lesson: the lap of someone who has lost 25 lbs and the butt (mine) of one that's lost 20 lbs makes for a bone bumping bone, uncomfortable ride.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I need to say a few things and then I'm getting off the topic. You see, I have wonderful things to look forward to and I'm not dragging myself down. But I need to let off some steam.

I have no solutions to what is happening with CHC and see both sides all too well.

In many ways, it's none of my business. Number one, I'm not a bio male. Number two, I'm not transitioning. I choose grey. I choose to be a question mark.

My shrink has told me a few times that I'm 50 years ahead of myself. He was trying to excite me. All it would do and still does, is make me want to slash my wrists.

For real.

I clearly know this choice to remain in the grey isn't popular nor will it allow me to attend events where I feel the energy that is home for me. Not even with those who I consider family.

The CHC fury is not a new struggle. And for me, it brought back so much hurt that I've experienced.

Bear with me here...although connected, I'm going off on a couple things:

First, although Oprah drives me crazy many times (mostly because she talks too damned much for an interviewer), every once in a while she has interesting topics. Monday was a beaut.

In watching snippets of the documentary she highlighted, I cried.

An 18 year old girl created a short documentary and recreated a test done back in the 1940's. Preschool children were shown a black baby doll and a white doll. They were each asked which one was "nice" and which was "bad".

In 2007, 15 of 21 children picked the white doll as being the good one. And these kids were African American. Preschoolers!

You can see the documentary here. It's in the sixth season and it's film #2. It's a short film and the testing with the kids takes place more than half way thru the film.

One little girl when asked why she thought the black doll was bad, said "because it's black".
"Why is the other one nice?"
"Because it's white."
"Can you give me the one that is most like you?"

The little girl went to reach for the white doll. You can see the confusion on her face. She then hesitates and moves her hand, slowly and sadly pushing the black doll toward the interviewer.

It fucking broke my heart.

After watching, a thought came to me.

In 1968 (I was 8 years old) I asked for a black baby doll for Christmas. I came from a very white French Canadian catholic family, community and neighborhood. There was a Puerto Rican neighborhood next to ours but that was it. We were the Beaver Cleaver community. No diversity whatsoever. My mom was shocked by my request, but to her credit she finally found one, and gave it to me. All I really remember is I identified with that doll. It felt like me.

I remember from about that time calling myself the black sheep of the family. 8 years old and I already knew I was odd, and therefore bad. That's how I saw myself. After watching the documentary, I have to wonder if I did the same thing as those preschoolers.

In 2007, very little seems to have changed in the way we internalize messages. Yes, there may be more laws for protection, but prejudice is high. As I've said many times before, it's seeped into our marrow.

While watching, I also had to question, if this is happening still with race, how much more is it happening with the power of the penis? In a world where more grey areas appear to be coming out of the closet, where we see it isn't a black and white world, where it is becoming more difficult to define gender, how do we attempt to create safe places for ourselves and yet at the same time acknowledge that we can not easily define what is what?

During the show I watched, one message became clear. The greatest hurt came from within their own families, their inner circles.
Those who themselves know all too well the pains of being different were, for whatever reason, perpetuating the problem and creating more hurt.

I'm pissed.
Hearing over and over again, by many, "oh I wish you could have been there…you'd fit right in."
"Your energy and play is similar to what we saw."

Knowing full well that it will never happen because well, if FTM's are having problems being seen, then where the fuck does that leave me?
Knowing the only way to get little tastes of what I need is to create my own events, hoping beyond hope that maybe one day, it would be reciprocated and knowing full well it won't because well...I fall in between the cracks.

Yes I'm angry. And hurt.
And I have no fucking answers.
And I needed to vent so I can move on.

And the whole thing makes me incredibly sad for everyone involved.

When people ask me if we've made progress, I always have to stop and think.
It's never an easy yes:

But you don't have a dick.
You don't have an "m" on your driver's license.
You aren't white.
You aren't blond.
You aren't pretty.
You won't shut up and take it.
You don't know your place.
You cause trouble by asking questions.
You don't know what's good for you.
You aren't a bear.
You aren't one of the popular kids.
You aren't smart.
You aren't skinny.
You're only a fucking girl.
You're a nerd.
You're a retard.
You're too short.
You're too tall.
You dress funny.
Your hair is strange.
You stink.
You're full of shit.
Your imagination is getting away from you.

This week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yesterday involved a big insight. This awareness was pressing on me and I knew I needed, in some fashion, to blog about it. Not having yet found the words, there weren't any other entries either. It's been fairly consuming and nothing else would come out.

Today, in some blogs, there's much discussion about exclusivity and discrimination, stemming from this past weekend. Although I tried not to pay attention, it couldn't help but encroach. There are thoughts I want to share, questions I want to throw out, and yet cannot. I can clearly see both sides and understand where each are coming from. And it doesn't prevent the pain of similar situations from my past to rise again.

My heart also hurts for those caught in the crossfire, as well as those on either side.

So between yesterday's insight and today's drama I find myself tangled in thoughts and emotions.

There are no words for blogging.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I've been physically ill for the last few days. Pain would come and go and by yesterday afternoon, although I know I could have sat through a film, the idea of walking to the cinema and waiting in line for an hour was too much.

Instead, I began a new painting. Being tired, I worked from a photograph. There was something so relaxing in actually looking at an image instead of painting only from my belly. Afterward, it was time to clean brushes.

I've been negligent with brush care. If a brush became too stiff from not being properly cleaned, I'd pull out a new one. So I chained myself to the sink and took care of them. Three of them needed additional attention and have been sitting overnight.

Last night, while throwing out trash in the dumpster, I bumped into a neighbor I've only seen a couple other times. A young man, early 20's. An art student.

He was clearly upset and approached me, crying, and leaning in close.

In tears, he shared his story.

Feeling very lonely and ignored, utterly frustrated, he had thrown his cell phone against a rock, busting it apart. He had called 10 different friends over the course of a couple days, only to get answering machines and no return calls.

Through his sobs he mentioned how when he has money, they come around and contact him. But when he doesn't have money and still wants to spend time with them, they would appear to retreat. He was hit with the realization that his friends weren't really his friends, and he was alone. He also was aware that throwing the cellphone was not the wisest thing to do.

I pulled him to me and put my arms around him...tears in my eyes. His pain touched my own. We stood there together on the sidewalk next to our building. He talked through his sobs while I listened.

It's a familiar story.

I don't believe in coincidences. The last three mornings I've awakened with memories of similar events from the past 20 years. I still believe they cared and loved me. I also believe they weren't aware of what they did. And...I wonder what my part was in those scenarios. How and why would I draw it to myself?

The beauty of these recent mornings is that for the first time in my life, I wouldn't sink into huge darkness that would sit heavy for the day yet knew it came up because it's more old poison being released while I slept.

The images and memories, vivid behind my eyes when the sun hit my bed, were signs of healing, not torture.

This morning I thought of my brushes...always pulling out a new one. Instead of tending to the one that's been good to me, I'd let it dry, caked with paint. A small but powerful gesture.

The boy had smashed his phone, his only contact with those he knew. The only copies of numbers were in his phone. If someone wanted to return his call, they couldn't.

In our pain, we hurt the very thing we need.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

(This is a crummy photo. The colors are really more vibrant, but I can't seem to capture it in the shot. The detail below, when clicked on, is closer to the painting.)

I've been staring at this painting for about three weeks.
Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Can't seem to hear what it's saying. Or maybe, it's not the time.

What bothers me is that it bothers me.

There are other paintings, sitting unfinished for months or even years. Yet they don't nag me. I know that one day, they will either be worked on or not. I enjoy where they are headed and have the patience to let them be.

This different. And I don't know why.

It's teasing me...always asking for attention.

I have fallen in love with a portion of it-

Guess I'll let it sit some more.

Quiet couple of days.
I've been sleeping quite soundly, waking each morning knowing that I've slept deeper than I have in a very long time.

Today, I want to paint. And later on, try to catch a film.

The Seattle International Film Festival began on Thursday. I'm going to take my chances and see if I can get in to view A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory later this afternoon. This year, they don't have the box office on the Hill which is odd, considering three of the film venues are right here. I didn't feel like trucking downtown to pick up tickets so I'll wait in line with a book and see what happens.

Here's a review from the Tribeca Film Festival.

Just down the road from the Egyptian Theater is Rudy's. Yesterday was the first time I noticed the sign had "tattoo" on it. A one stop shop of sorts?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another reason to like my job:

You never know what awaits you when returning to the office after errands.

Yesterday, I left to pick up food. I wasn't gone 20 minutes, only to return to a new door to my office.

After peeling it back, I discovered this:

It seems that one of them had opened an Ikea box to assemble a bookcase and got creative.

After we all had a good laugh, they did clean up my office.

Later in the afternoon, another coworker had gone to the store for food and returned, handing me some of the best dark chocolate peanut butter cups I've ever eaten. It was his thank you for stopping my work and assisting him with a project.

Another time, knowing my love of thick post office rubber bands, (they are stiff and VERY stingy), I walked in to find my chair covered in them and my monitor bound.

Having coworkers who celebrate your fetishes is a huge job perc.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

After we finished one big project at work yesterday and had an impromptu celebration with the staff, C joined me at Septieme for a drink, a little dinner, some chatting and then we each immersed ourselves in our books. Quiet evening.

Although I've wanted to, I haven't painted since Saturday. Work has taken much energy. It's hard sometimes, walking into my apartment and seeing my palette filled with paint, ready to go and not having the oomph to approach the work.

A coworker and his partner are leaving for IML today.

Including today, there are four more work days before taking a 2 week vacation.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

These most gorgeous drawings have me absolutely enthralled.

I keep staring...taking in the weight, the sureness and the delicate nature of the line.

Now why the hell can't I draw like that?

We did a ton of gift processing yesterday and my assistant's computer went flukey. It's going to be a day of calling tech support to find out why we can't see the individual entries even though we can see the totals.
Sometimes, computers scare me.

Because there isn't time for a longer, more exciting entry, today's photo has nothing to do with anything other than provide a little fun.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Short entry today.

Great session with my shrink. Can we say how delighted he was that I immersed myself in painting while in the throes of terror? Yeah. But then again, so am I.

It seems that as things have become more difficult and dramatic within, the therapy work I've been doing is manifesting itself in very positive ways. It's a relief.

Now, although I have a ton of work to dive into, I'd much rather be either of these two guys. It's cloudy and misty today. A perfect day to kick back with a book and a hot cup of tea.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

How to work through a panic attack~

Remember this?
It was the 4th version, continually evolving.

Well yesterday I was hit with the beginnings of a panic attack. It was so difficult to breathe. Fear surrounded me. I didn't know which way was up...and I couldn't stop crying.

I haven't painted all week and have not felt bad about it. Much of my painting energy was thrown into creating and shipping out samples of my work, which made for a productive time.

In the midst of terror, I chose to paint. This is something I've never done before.

And that 4th version of what was originally a red square, morphed into this:

Then, I couldn't stop so I reworked three other paintings into these:

While painting, almost immediately, my breathing slowed down. Deep and even.
I never thought I'd have the desire to work while in such a state.

Again, another lesson learned.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An Army of Lovers~

"Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes."
- Sri Ramana Maharshi

The above quote is from a Brezsny email this week. It speaks to much of what I've been thinking about the last few weeks regarding various communities and how they fit in my life, if they do at all.

And from yesterday morning in a weekly newsletter, Eric Francis wrote:

"IT MUST BE terrifying finding out you live in a dormitory contaminated with dioxins. Imagine: you're 18 years old and you're having a great time at college. Then one day at the end of the year, you find out that your building had an electrical fire so long ago that nobody remembers, but not so long ago that the toxins are any better than the day of the event. Nobody told you. You feel betrayed. You learn that the chemicals involved will affect you for life; that your children and even your grandchildren may be affected; that you were lied to; and that there is nothing you can do about it except prevent future exposures, if you can."

He goes on to speak about environmental contamination but to me, it spoke loudly of internal toxins.

In my adult years, from about 20 to 40 I was a very happy person. People were drawn to me. I had large varied circles of friends. My nickname was "The Hub" because I could connect people and make things happen for others. Folks called me brave. I'd take risks and make major life changes whenever I needed to.

I was succeeding. At work. At school. In life. In sex.

Sometimes, in my alone time, I'd feel a deep isolation. In those rare moments, I knew there was no one I deeply connected to. Something was missing. Yet if you asked me, I couldn't explain exactly what I was looking for.

When I began training and the stripping of self it entailed, my pretty little house fell down. The deeper I went, the more I could see the rot, and the contamination from a childhood of exposure to deadly poisons.

This work has left me dissatisfied with much of what I see around me. My sense of smell for substance has heightened dramatically. Definitely a curse as well as a blessing.

I also am left with anger and a deep feeling of betrayal from my past. With this, I know that the only person who can really take care of me, is me. Regardless of what's happened, no one can save me. I'm the only one who can make sure my past doesn't continue to affect my future.

But we all need allies, don't we?

Last summer a special person wrote to me, saying I needed an army of lovers. I cried when I read that line. He was correct. I don't expect a large army, but a handful of folks who are individualists, freethinkers and radicals.

I've realized that simply being involved in the leather community doesn't make one such. There are many sheep, as in any other community. Cultish behavior can be found anywhere, not only in Falwell's church or Jonestown.

What I crave are those who, in spite of fear, are willing to live a life of integrity and openness, knowing it goes against most of society and maybe even subcultures. I hunger to surround myself with a family made up of those who are not impressed with being a part of the A list but instead each an individualist. I yearn for a group of artists who continue to dig within themselves, shoveling away the dirt to find the diamonds that we all have hidden inside and create from whatever is found there, be it sludge or shining star.

I desire a small band of truthseekers.

I long for an army of lovers.

Sometimes I mourn the happy days. Life was simpler then. The crowds were larger. There was an innocence to that time.

Suffering that at times needs to be done isn't condoned or celebrated in this life. Yet in seeking only happiness, there is a danger of ignoring the hard stuff. I seek truth.

But with diligence to this work, although at times it feels near impossible to do, I am discovering a richness that was previously unimaginable.

I am learning a whole new definition of intimacy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tonight at FELS. Although there are always familiar faces, the mix is a little different each week. As are the conversations.

This evening, unexpectedly, one of the guys and I engaged in a wonderful, more intimate chat.

You never know what you'll get at FELS, and yet, at the same time there's a comfortable routine that makes for a nice way to finish out the week.

Last night, because the art cd's actually made it to the post office, I wanted a treat. Being asparagus season in WA, Pagliacci's Pizza new seasonal, limited time only pizza was asparagus pizza: white pizza with young asparagus spears, red onion, chunks of juicy tomato that squirted onto my sleeve when I bit into it, and mushrooms.

It was heaven.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I've been procrastinating for the last few days but I buckled down this morning and finished two to someone in SF and one to an old prof who was a mentor to me during my BFA years.

For my prof, I included many thank yous.

This afternoon I'm shipping out the letters with the cds showing my work.

I don't think I have expectations around this, expect for the hope that they will look at the work and respond in some fashion.

Simply sending it to these people is a HUGE deal for me. It's forcing me to reveal myself in a way I'm really not comfortable doing.

Today's goal is to listen deeply to what resides inside.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I shot this on my walk into work at 5:30 this morning. It struck me because in past years I don't remember seeing these in abundance until July and August. And yet...they've been around for the last couple weeks.

Long short day. It was a packed one and yet I left about an hour early. I'm working Saturday morning for a few hours at our yearly breakfast honoring scholarship recipients and so am taking time today and tomorrow to make up for it.

This year we expect about 500 people to attend. It's held in a banquet room at one of the major hotels downtown.

Coastal Kitchen's new menu just came out. They rotate every few months. I missed out on Sicilian food but now I have a chance to try Jamaican.

Here's this week's Freewill Astrology.

After work, Craig and I walked down to Broadway and hit Septieme for drinks and shared a plate of nachos. They have some of the best nachos around. The booze was needed. Before the restaurant we stopped into the newstand next door where we each picked up magazines to read while we drink.

It made for wonderful downtime, each sitting there quietly engrossed in our reading.

I picked up a new mag that I've never seen before - Esopus. It's beautifully created, filled with art and writing. The color and paper stock are top notch. There is some really cool pull out art tucked inside.

It's a product of the Esopus Foundation. From their website:

"The Esopus Foundation Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in New York State in 2003. It was formed to provide an unmediated forum through which artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people can make a direct connection with the general public."

There are no ads.

Esopus considers unsolicited work from artists, writers and musicians. Go to the foundation's website for more information.

While sitting in the sun, drink in hand, reading the articles and looking at the art, I had an idea for a submission. It's something I've been thinking about for a month or so. There is a series of photographs and ink drawings that was born a few days before my cancer scare into the first couple weeks. I've been giving thought to culling the work and pulling something together. This may be a good place to start.

We'll see.

While down on Broadway, I stopped into Bailey Coy to pick up a Doris Lessing book I ordered last week that had finally come in. Before leaving the house, I was fishing in a drawer and found a 2 year old gift certificate for this bookstore with a balance of 14.60 remaining. The cost of the book? 14.16!

Don't you just love it when those things happen?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Here is an old painting from my thesis show back in 1996. Lately, that final year of school has been on my mind quite a bit. This painting is about 2'x3'.

(You can click on the images to see them larger)

And here is a piece from a series I've never posted. I have about 20 drawings from this, all done last August and early September. These were the first things I'd created after a year of being frozen.

They are approximately 15x20, watercolor, charcoal and graphite.

Walking to work this morning I was listening to my iShuffle. Sometimes it's really scary how the shuffle seems to pick songs that read your mind.
Press Release from NGLTF:

WASHINGTON, May 15 — The Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, died today at the age of 73.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The death of a family member or friend is always a sad occasion and we express our condolences to all those who were close to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”

Monday, May 14, 2007

Prisoncitybear asks which teachers made an impact on you. He ends his post with:

"Write or call your favorite teacher and let them know how much you enjoyed them. It will make their day."

His timing was good because today I'm burning cd's of my work. Seeing I had to do one, last week I decided to burn another one for the prof who made a big impact on me.

Thinking about him today, I remember his encouragement, his guidance, his manner, and in my last year, his frustration. He said that something bothered him about my work and he couldn't put a finger on it. He mentioned that I had the skills...the work was really good...and yet...something wasn't right.

I had never seen him so emotional. He was never at a loss for words, until that afternoon.

Eleven year later, with the assistance of much therapy, I now know what he was getting at. The technical skill was there but there wasn't a heart/belly connection to the work. I was afraid to lose control. I didn't dare paint passionate emotion.

So he will get a chance to see how I've evolved, along with a big thank you for being there for 3 years.


Mother's Day trashed me more than I first thought. It hurts that she and I can't have an open, easy relationship. I can hear the nervousness in her voice...wanting to connect and not sure how. And I'm sure she felt the same coming from me.
Therapy was difficult today.


After a week, I finally finished a laborious project. Now on to the next one. 'Tis the season.


My tax refund check just came in. Yeah!


This is SO worth clicking through. Check out this website to promote the author's book. I love the simplicity, the charm and the humor. Very, very smart.


Since last week's massive insights...there's a place in my chest that is increasing in calmness. Nice.


Reese's peanut butter cups are awesome with Dr. Pepper.


Some of me has been very horny lately.
The important parts.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A couple things happened this week that has me thinking about gender. My gender.

The first is another visit to my surgeon.
(And before anyone assumes's nothing serious. I will have a procedure near the end of June, but it's more to keep an eye on things. I am fine.)

This doctor specializes in ob/gyn surgery, specifically ovarian/uterine cancers. Sitting in the waiting room is a sobering experience. I looked around at all the women. Young and old. Some bald or with head wrapped in scarves. I thought about their lives and what they're going through. I thought about the suffering they may have or are currently enduring.

While observing and wondering, a feeling came to me. I've felt it before in this office but it was much clearer this time. I didn't belong. Stepping into a women's club, I felt like an intruder.

Putting my finger on the feeling surprised me. I'm not male and have no desire to be. And yet, what I'm going through clearly reminds me that I was born female. I'm dealing with equipment that, except for 1 year of my life when I embraced a woowoo space that focused on womyn strength and the magical power in my monthly bleeding, has always felt foreign to me.

Yesterday someone posted about the '20's. It reminded me how much I loved (romanticized, I'm sure) that era. And it was partly because of fashion. There are very few periods in time where breasts weren't exalted. And I don't have in a strange way, feel that a part of me would fit during that time.

I've never desired them except in a research sense of wondering what it would feel like to carry them around (a sensation curiousity, not a "how I'd be approached by others" curiousity). I've cherished the flatness of me and have been thrilled that my french heritage comes out in my lack of boobs. And...yet because of this lack, have never felt like part of "the club."

I have no idea what to do with all this. I don't want to change to make myself fit into something, be it female or male. Each time I see the surgeon she reminds me that she's willing to pull out some or all of my equipment. Having that option thrown at me, where my insurance will fully pay...floors me. In spite of the fact that owning women guts has felt like a mistake of sorts, this is not a decision I'm prepared to make. I am who I am.

But it's been a curious week with surprising sensations.

Guess I'll just let it be and say "huh."

Hmmm...I was getting ready to post this and then realized something.
It's funny that I was prompted to write about this on Mother's Day.

And now, time to call my mom...

Saturday, May 12, 2007 I was thinking how long it had been...familiar words from my childhood returned to me:

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been almost 6 months since my last Seattle gallery romp.

To rectify this most egregious sin, my friend Michael and I spent this afternoon in Pioneer Square, hitting a few galleries.

We scored big time. Whenever I check out art, all I seek is to find one piece that surprises and excites me. Just one. Most of the time that's all I find. Today we hit four for four. That's never happened before. Very exciting.

And the best was the first one - Linda Davidson at the Catherine Person Gallery. One installation was over 400 little panel paintings...arranged to create a larger piece.

The artist was there, having just finished a gallery talk when we walked in. I was introduced to her and had an opportunity to speak with her a little bit about the work. I'm still thinking about the piece.

It combines the best of both sides of the brain. In doing so, I felt a calmness, wholeness. It spoke to the strengths in my own left/right brain craziness. It was playful and ordered.

I was fascinated by the fact that each painting was being sold individually or you could purchase the whole. It pricked my control issues around my own work because of the anxiety that arose as I'd see a few people pick panels right off the wall to decide which to purchase. I could feel them wondering "which would work better over the couch?"

And, I was extremely impressed in the artist's ability to allow the public the freedom to recreate her creation.

I'm no where near that enlightened or mature.

We then walked next door into the James Harris Gallery and discovered Amir Zaki's photographs. These web images do NOT do the work justice. You HAVE to see them in person.

So rich. So luscious.

Next stop was the Linda Hodges Gallery where we went in to see Daphne Minkoff's work. Exciting paintings.

Two for one in this space because in the main space was Yi Liang. I enjoy the extreme horizontal and have yet to successfully draw or paint something in that format. His paintings are wonderful. But the biggest treasure was in the show catalog. Gorgeous graphite drawings. I bought the book for those alone.

They reminded me of some drawings by Edwin Dickinson. Here is more of Dickinson's work.

We ended our romp at the Kucera Gallery to see Claudia Fitch. Fascinating. Then went into another room to spend time with some Kiki Smith etchings.

It was a few hours of jewel after jewel. To see work that I can have an actual conversation with is really sexy. This afternoon I met with many different characters, enjoying them and allowing each to inform my work in some little way.

Very productive.

By the way the firemen sculpture is from the park in Pioneer Square. Hot, isn't it?
Some photos from walking on Broadway last night while going to and returning from FELS.

I thought it said "no parking within 15 ft of dog."

Someone placed a bottle under Jimi Hendrix's butt.

Friday, May 11, 2007

After yesterday evening's quickie entry, I dashed out of the house to pick up Hoss. We were headed to dinner and then to the airport to gather D, back from his two week holiday.

For dinner, we went to Septieme. I always bring pens to write on the tables...newsprint covering linen tablecloths. I tend to bring a few and will throw one over to whoever is dining with me. It's been a while since I've let myself really doodle there.

Last night was like meeting an old friend. My hand simply rhyme or reason.
It felt good.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

You's quite a challenge to remain calm and cool while finding yourself unexpectedly talking with a coworker, standing very close to them, after you've just jerked off and cum twice in the bathroom and your face is still flushed and your body shaking.

Just sayin'...

Walking to my car yesterday after work I caught the light on this small tree. I stopped as if I hit a wall and fished the camera out of my bag. The extreme contrast of light and dark drew me in.

Last night I was blessed with a huge, HUGE insight. The only way it could manifest itself was when I stepped into the scariest of feelings. Understanding is still coming to me like a soft warm mist. Cleansing.

What I wonder now is why can't I do that with the painting?

In addition to the lightbulb moment, the painting I worked and posted last night has been weighing on me.

You see, I do like the painting. But I don't trust it. It speaks of the part of myself that wants greater mass appeal.

The painting is filled with my mother's fears:
The fear of black emotion.
The fear of being out of control.
The fear of not being liked.

So if I am my mother and choose to do something more abstract, it needs to go down easy. Use pretty colors and contain it. Don't be wild. Don't make others uncomfortable with a unique vision.

This morning I was comparing the two versions. The earlier one has the wildness I seek in my work. The later one, albeit wrapped in fear, has the thoughtfulness.

But it doesn't feel substantial or authentic in the way I desire my work to exist. The only honest thing about the newer painting is the depiction of my hesitancy and lack of courage.

Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I worked some this evening.

Remember this painting from a few days ago?

It's morphed again.

I'm still not happy with with. Less so because it's clear I'm painting cautiously. Tentative. The painting feels too designy.

Maybe I need to get back to working with bourbon.

After an afternoon meeting that ran a half hour later than I was supposed to leave, I needed something relaxing. We've had beautiful weather for a few days now. So I opted for Septieme, outdoors.

Walking to the cafe, I could see that many people were out. The restaurants all had their doors open and everyone enjoyed the sunshine.

Sitting outside was perfect. To celebrate my first outdoor dining experience of the season...a couple mojitos.

This week's Freewill Astrology.

I'm learning something about my painting. There are times that patience is needed. Not only in listening to the work (which I'm learning to do) but reminding myself that when I go into a piece again, I don't need to rework the whole thing. It's okay to add or change one small portion and let it sit.

My hand is hungry and with brush in hand, wants to move, move, move. I need to slow down.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Odd dreams the last few weeks.

The scenes aren't dream-like, filled with Dali-esque images that leave one questioning and curious.

There is no symbolism.
No metaphor.

Instead it is daily life, people I know, places I've stayed - situations that reveal some of my biggest fears by depicting them...clearly, concisely.

Mornings become a time of waking rested and shaken.
Strange to have both.

I cherish my intuition. Deeply.
In the last few weeks I've discovered an unsettling symptom. I have not been able to discern between intuition and fear.
It shakes my core.

Pulling back from people, spending much time alone, hoping to hear that small voice...the nudge...the feeling on my skin and in my belly that can direct my steps and there is nothing. I come up empty.

Decisions must be made.
In the blackest of black with no light to guide me, I had to move my frozen feet, knowing the next step could possibly land me in a hole: a bottomless pit where I freefall for eternity, never to be seen from again. The paralysis had to end.

Movement is better than stasis.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Metro shadows

I caught this image while sitting in an almost dark theater waiting for a movie to begin.

On Friday, I wanted to hit another matinee, and while having brunch at Hot Dish, sitting at the bar with my laptop, I cruised the Landmark listings because I felt like spending the afternoon at the movies. Diggers jumped out at me. It was playing at a theater in the neighborhood, meaning, the same side of the water.

What first enticed me was the location. I'm a sucker for films shot on the northeast shoreline. And more so because it was based on working class fisherman.

It's a good film. To spend some time, drawn into a slice of life, literally transported back to the '70's (which was not my favorite decade), was wild.

The printed polyester shirts, and the feather earrings. The sideburns.


A review by Ella Taylor:

"A death in the family forces Hunt (Paul Rudd), a Long Island clamdigger, to face up to his becalmed life and those of his three brawling mates in Katherine Dieckmann’s terrific movie about a dying way of life. The Ford-Carter debates simmer quietly in the background, but Dieckmann doesn’t snow it with ’70s symbolism. This very particular movie has a lyrical feel for place, period and the rhythms of a small-town community trying —­­ and tragicomically failing — to run in place while the world around it opens its arms to the creeping corporatism that will compound the everyday hurts and losses suffered by this scruffy, messed-up group. Rudd is sweet and funny as the floundering Hunt; Ron Eldard and Josh Hamilton are great as the town’s aimless studmuffin and philosophizing pothead, respectively. But the movie belongs to Ken Marino, who is riotously funny as the family man whose anger-management problem at last finds a fitting target in the big businessmen who come to destroy his living. Marino also wrote the outstanding script, which traps the foulmouthed vitality of working-class speech in a bottle and makes it sing. Beautifully shot by Michael McDonough, Diggers is not a film you watch — it’s a movie you live in, and when time’s up you feel the same elegiac sense of loss as do those who realize they have no choice but to move on."

I agree. While watching I was transported. It's a quiet movie and just what was needed on Friday.

In addition to being a good little film, I was reminded of some of my passions that have been with me for most of my life: the ocean, scruffy fisherman, wooden boats, rubberboots, ropes and rust.

Growing up a beach kid in touristy beach areas, I always preferred the working part of town over the tourist section, feeling more at home in Menemsha or parts of Vineyard Haven instead of Oak Bluffs or Edgartown. Gloucester felt more like home than Marblehead.

There was a realness. Integrity. I could smell the salt and sweat and the struggle for life. Shine and glitz has never impressed me.

The film has the same tone. Honest. It's still drifting around in my mind. Spending an afternoon watching the movie was balm, and a reminder of what's important to me.

One day...I believe I'll end up in such a town.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

(drawing found on our executive director's door this week, created by her son)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thursday was a sobering session with the shrink.

He's always encouraged me, pushed me and propped me up when I didn't think I'd have the strength to continue. Even when I couldn't believe in myself, he saw something in me and knew I could do it.

This week, he mentioned he was pessimistic. When I asked for clarification, he explained that he didn't know if I'd be able to continue to open myself, or if I'd fall back and hide...reinsulate myself.

The shrink said that over the last 8 months, I've progressed at lightning speed. Although it really hasn't felt quick to me, he's been amazed that I've moved through the tough stuff so fast. Current situations have propelled me forward...upward and onward.

And now...he's not sure if I have the strength to continue to do so.

Since that appointment, I'm fluctuating between anger, determination and sadness. I'm pissed that it feels he's not fighting for me which leads to where I gird my loins because I'm going to prove him wrong. And then I wonder if, knowing my competitive nature, he's pulling a reverse psychology bit. He's used that tactic once or twice in the past and I'd call him on it.

Then it shifts again and all I'm left with is despair, struggling with the idea that if he doesn't think I can continue to open then maybe I can't. Maybe I'm hopeless.

Last night was our Friday Evening Libation Society and we met at the Canterbury Ale & Eats. I was sitting near the knight and had to take the photo...because I saw me in it.

I'm still in armor.

It flips me out. I feel I've been walking out on a limb, touching who I am, learning to not be afraid of all I feel, becoming mindful, present and very awake...and yet maybe I can't continue to divest the shield.

He did strongly encourage me to try, explaining that although every step is dangerous, it is a greater danger to me if I retreat and crawl back in my shell than if I persevere with the unfolding.

Am I going to continue cloaking myself in steel?
This is my struggle.

And it's the wrong question.

The question I need to ask is "how do I protect myself while exposing my underbelly?"

The armor works wonderfully. And it prevents me from fully tasting life.

The shrink was excited when I threw out the new question. I know that answers only come when the right question is asked. Maybe one will come from this. In the meantime, I still fight not to sink fully into despair.

And I need to paint.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Self Portraits - past and present.

These two were done about 4 years ago. Neither are finished. If anything, when I have a larger space, I may just paint over them. Not sure. Or maybe I'll dive in and finish them.

They were painted from photos taken of me at the private play party where I was introduced to my former Mentor. A week after the party, my top informed me that the Mentor wanted me to contact discuss training. So...the paintings, although not good, carry an emotional punch.

This one is 16x20

And this is about 3 x 4 feet. Much larger. I received the canvas from a friend. So the blue background and the gold shapes were his original painting. What I didn't know, until I began painting was that the canvas had never been primed. was soaking up paint like crazy. It was tough to cover over.

And more self portraits...all recent.

Remember this one?

The second version is here:

It's still in progress, but here is the the third working of the painting...very different:

This little piece was done the same night as the one above. It was the night of the major messes. That is, until I looked at it again last night, and then today. The painting rose from the ashes and I'm in love with will not work on it anymore. Totally charmed.

I was looking and comparing this morning...thinking about all the changes I've gone through in the last 5 years. No longer the same person...and it radically shows in my work. It leaves me with many feelings...mostly complex. I'm sure there's a blog entry in there but it will wait.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Yesterday I figured out why I've been racked with self-doubt in my work.

Last week the decision was made to sort through painting images and take more photos of my work to send off to old profs and a gallery director after my new ram was installed, which happened last Friday.

The reality of coming one step closer to putting myself out there stalled my productive streak.

This week's Sagittarius horoscope by Rob Brezsny is a powerful tool for living and healing. Brezsny wrote:

Many of us have a superficial notion of the nature of healing, writes Peter Kingsley in his book *In the Dark Places of Wisdom.*

We think that "healing is what makes us comfortable and eases the pain." But the truth is, "what we want to be healed of is often what will heal us if we can stand the discomfort and the pain."

Make this your central theme for now, Sagittarius. See if you can stave off your urge for ease as you marinate longer in the aching confusion.

"If we really face our sadness," says Kingsley, "we find it speaks with the voice of our deepest longing. And if we face it a little longer we find that it teaches us the way to attain what we long for."

**(The line breaks are mine to allow the message to sink in better for me. I've printed out a copy of this to tape to my wall for a constant reminder.)

Although I'm not a Sag I knew the words were quite apt. What I didn't realize until this morning is that it needs to be applied to my painting as well. Especially the painting.

Yesterday evening I painted. I finally cleaned off the palette and mixed new colors. From there, paint was pushed around. My color mixing skills had disappeared. My composition left the building. And I am left with nothing but some very wet and thickly covered canvases.

But I fucking painted.

It's one of those times where I really truly wish I wasn't a painter.