Monthly Archives: February 2009

Bits ‘n pieces…

It looks like a troop of bridal fairies puked on my workspace… ah well… working with whites makes it hard to avoid using ephemera from the bridal aisle. It may be passé, but I’m still using transparencies on my mixed media stuff. The little bits of extra from the cut sheets of the larger watercolors are being transformed into the extra bits that make this chapbook exchange so much fun for the recipients, and tucked into the bound books. These will be slipped into organza pouches.

If you, as I had prior to this project, have no idea what a chapbook is… here is one that has been bound (covers provided by our very talented ‘hostess’ Gigi Starnes, who binds them as well), and a peek at what it looks like on the inside, once bound.

In the heart of winter…

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

I decided, this morning, that I needed to create today. I’ve had these materials out since before the holidays, in preparation for the moment when I would feel assailed by creative inspiration. Well, maybe it comes as no surprise that I just haven’t been feeling it lately. I’ve been stuffing it, instead, perhaps waiting for a moment when, after properly incubating, I’ll feel like birthing something. Actually, I kinda feel like shit today… have been for weeks now, but ever the trooper, I keep trying to make some semblance of cheer (thinking like the rest of the world that if I paste that smile on, that I’ll become convinced that I’m a happy camper), even though I’ve stalled big time on just about everything. A moratorium of feeling… uncomfortably numb. I’ve felt that if I pulled out my art materials, without getting my other (read: more important) duties done (like the 2007 taxes, for instance) that I’d get major stink-eye. But… fuck it, you know? It’ll all get done sooner or later, and the place is quiet (well, except for some Sarah McLachlin streaming from my iMac), and I’ve burned some incense and smudged the whole blessed place in an effort to get the sticky energy flowing… So… here’s the start… it’s for my December Chapbook collaboration project. The Camus quote was a sort of springboard, if you will, for the concept of the piece… the return of light amidst the darkness… all that. The sheets will get cut up into 5.5″ x 8″ ‘pieces’ which I’ll work on some more (read: attach things to… paint some more… and since it’s “wintery” stuff, stick some fake glitter-snow on).

On journeys and coming ’round full circle…

We’ve returned from our exploratory trip to British Columbia. For ten days we stayed with my friend Cindy and her family in her home in Chilliwack. Chilliwack, other than it being a 70’s band’s namesake, also happens to be a beautiful little town in the Fraser River Valley.

Chilliwack is crowned by a ring of snowcapped mountains. Other than the first couple of days, which were rainy, the weather behaved itself quite nicely for most of the rest of our visit, the clouds breaking up to provide bouts of sunshine-y goodness for our enjoyment. 

 

The city center is like many modern day small town centers – always in the process of being re-vitalized but never quite making it back to its former (and rightly due) splendor. We walked up and down along one of the main downtown arteries, Wellington Ave., where many of the town center shots for the television series Eureka are filmed. The filming crew apparently shuts a segment of the street down to vehicular traffic though they allow foot traffic through the set in between shoots. Unfortunately, we were unable to witness the amazing transformation of “Main St.” as they were not filming any episodes during our visit.

We did, however, get acquainted with the wonderful used bookstore The Book Man, and its friendly red tabby cat. The bookstore is purportedly a favorite stop for the cast and crew of Eureka in between takes, and I can certainly understand its appeal. There were aisle upon aisles of books in all manner of disciplines, and a few little nooks and crannies with comfortable seating in which to test drive your finds. Your warm lap is all that’s needed in order to entice the shop’s feline companion to sit a spell with you. While in town during this visit, we also happened upon a hobby stop on Mill Street, where Gabriel picked out a couple of model airplane kits to build. The owner also graciously allowed Gabriel and Christel to drive a couple of slot cars around a most impressive track (that he built himself), which takes center stage in the small shop. There are modest expansion plans in the near future, involving the tearing down of some walls for additional space.

On the Saturday after our arrival, we took a walk down a snowy trail to the shores of Chilliwack Lake, which was partially frozen. The boys found much amusement in tossing rocks, large and small, onto the lake’s frozen surface, as well as breaking off chunks of ice and hurling the pieces onto the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was cool outside but not terribly so, and with the sun out we were quite comfortable. We drove back along the road some and stopped along a river. Cindy had packed a cooler for a picnic, and after toiling for a while to get a fire going in one of the grates at one of the picnic areas, we finally roasted some hot dogs and marshmallows.

We went home smelling of fresh air and firewood. My mom used to say that if they figured out a way to bottle the scent of coffee, she would wear it as a perfume. I feel much the same way about the smoky scent of a wood fire.

 

 

 

 

 

On another visit into the town center, Cindy and I had lunch and tea at Apeldoorn’s on Mill Street. This quaint little tearoom served up a variety of tea brews as well as a three-tiered tower of crustless finger sandwiches and sweet treats. We picked the Vicar’s Blend and Earl Grey Cream for our tea selections… both were delicious. We arrived after noon and it was still bustling with clientele, almost all of the tables were filled as guests took their turns at sampling and sipping the fare.

During this particular visit, Cindy and I also stepped into some of the little gift shops along Wellington St. and I was able to find some souvenirs to bring back for family and friends. Our final stop was at Klassic European Deli, a deli specializing in … you guessed it … European goods. We picked up some coldcuts, breads, specialty chocolates and cookies and a half dozen Kinder Eggs, which apparently American children are too stupid to eat without choking on the small parts, so they don’t sell them here and it is Gabriel’s personal mission to consume as many of them as possible while we visit Canada. We soon discovered that all the meats and breads were very tasty as we made sandwiches using our newly purchased foods for dinner that evening.

Cindy and her husband Alex are both very fortunate to be able to find employment in the job sectors which hire in Chilliwack, and are able to make quite a decent living to boot. Many inhabitants, though, appear to commute to other areas, including all the way to Vancouver. Perhaps as the economy perks up, so will the business opportunities mount in the outlying areas. I went for a job interview into Vancouver and it took us two hours to get to the far end of West Vancouver (by UBC) with access to the carpool lane. I figure it would take another half hour, at the least, to scale that distance driving solo. I personally think that would constitute a form of self-torture… if I find work in Vancouver, we’ll be living a lot closer to the city… or in the city. 

On the day of our Vancouver visit, we also stopped at Granville Island, had some clam chowder, salmon burgers and fish ‘n chips for lunch, and walked around a bit.

The market is huuuuuge, not that you would notice it being so from the outside. We were originally planning to visit Stanley Park as well, but it was getting to the middle of the afternoon and we were worried about getting stuck in rush hour traffic, so we decided to leave. We were all feeling a bit under the weather anyway. 

We had all sorts of other plans to execute during our visit, but one of Cindy’s kid’s got sick… and then the other… and then I started feeling it and Gabriel as well… and then both Alex and Cindy… so the snowboarding trip that we’d originally planned on with the kids was abandoned, as was the Harrison Hot Springs visit. Ah well… next time. 

It felt good to be “home”… I hadn’t set foot on Canadian soil since departing from my mother’s funeral in 2003. It’s been a long time, and I had felt that without my parents being alive anymore, that there wouldn’t be much incentive for me to return to live there. Oddly, I felt at peace there. It did feel like home, even if it wasn’t the same coast that I grew up on. Strangers smile and greet you when you walk by them in the street. Even though there is a limited population, I got to speak French on several occasions, both in Vancouver and in Chilliwack.

This will probably sound like weird “woo-woo” stuff, but I am sensitive to the vibes of the different places that I pass through. Even though I like the feel of L.A. (and it’s immensely different from the vibe here in the O.C., which is where we live), I really liked how Chilliwack and Vancouver felt (they were each, in turn, different). I’m looking forward to the change… to the move… to the new adventure… to coming ’round full circle… to going home.

February 11 Awe-Manac art…

“Aha-phrodisiacs:

Use Sidney Sheldon’s book title, The Stars Shine Down, as your title for poetry, prose, journal entry, collage, doodling, drawing with your eyes closed, or rambling out loud in a random stream of consciousness…”

from The Awe-Manac: a Daily Dose of Wonder, by Jill Badonsky

Mantras… and peace

 

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

 

om–O my Lord; namah–my respectful obeisances unto You; bhagavate–unto the Personality of Godhead; vasudevaya–unto Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva. 

TRANSLATION 

O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.  (SB: C4:8-54)

 

While many young people visited India in person, I merely joined an ashram in Montreal midway through my first year of college (hence only completing a quarter of the fine art program). Somehow, at the time, that had sounded like “the right thing to do.” I imagine I would have gotten a whole lot more out of the actual experience of living in India as opposed to being immersed into their philosophies in a culture that thought white women wearing saris had been brainwashed by some cult (while the folks at the ashram thought that 18 year old young women would be safest married off to like-minded young eligible brahmacharyas from the men’s (read: boy’s) ashram). The thought of someone else picking my mate seemed like an anathema to me. Besides… I hadn’t done that yet, and I wanted to do it with someone of my own choosing… someone who I had some kind of chemistry with. Really, I wanted to be a gopi and just be one of Krishna’s consorts. Now Krishna… he was something! I even found his skin color scintillating… ahhh… how I wished I could be his Radha.

As most 18 year olds are wont to do, I left after about 6 months, to pursue the next thing that felt like “the right thing to do.” I took with me, though, some philosophies that remained with me and continue to influence my perception of the world. While most people finished their higher education, found mates and started families, I was busy trying to figure out the purpose of my existence… and humanity’s as a whole, essentially. Can’t say that I’ve definitively figured that one out, but I do feel a whole lot more comfortable with my place in the whole… though that may not be saying much… LOL  And I still think that Krishna is hot.

Living out loud… open letters

It seems odd to me how after having spent so much time together, that we could be such strangers in the end. All that I’d shared about the nuances of who I am, over the years, you never took notice of. I wonder if you’ll remember the smell of my hair or the texture of my skin – its color and freckled bumps. Will you remember what made me smile and what made me weep… what touched my soul? Will you remember my stories… the ones that made me who I am? The molestations and the rape and the broken relationships and the drugs? Will you remember my relentless search for who I am… searching for the soul within the body you made love to at first and then later fucked, once you didn’t find me worthy of your love? Will you remember your own stories of who I was, the ones deduced as though a story could be understood simply by looking at the dust jacket of a book? The Reader’s Digest condensed version, abbreviated into what my relevant parts are, with you as editor.

Today, as I write this, I will allow myself to indulge in self-pity for a moment or two. It proves that I am still human, I suppose. I weep for all of the times I’ve shared parts of myself that were not cherished… were not even acknowledged. I weep for the sorrow I feel at the realization that I may never trust another with all that I have shared of myself with you. And what a waste it has been… the little pieces of me dropped into the palm of your hand so trustingly, set aside without being examined or treasured… so much junk, cluttering up your space.