Thursday, May 28, 2009

And While We're On The Subject...

..of amazing artistic women, I thought I'd invite you to fall into the featherbed of sensual androgyny that is Annie Lennox. This woman speaks for me...her voice sings the lyrics of my agonized inner howl.

So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back

Don't let me keep on walking...
Walking on broken glass

Dying is easy it's living that scares me to death

And wouldn't I run a thousand miles
To be with you
"I tell myself too many times...why don't you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut"

This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears...
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel ?
'cause i don't think you know how I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
You don't know what I feel

Madonna, Eat Your Heart Out!

Back in the 80s, as Ronnie Reagan and Margaret Thatcher led a full-bore onslaught of worldwide Conservatism, and just before the utter decimation of our artistic culture due to the terror of AIDS ...

*'cuse me for a second...I've gotta get my gag reflex under control again...there, that's better, I just remembered they're no longer a part of our day to day world.* I was saying, before fear and intolerance became the mainstay of Humanity's Mindset, there were some VERY interesting artists in the world. Amongst the stylesetting musical women of that era, Cindy Lauper and Annie Lennox are still icons to me; Debbie Harry and Madonna, are now boring in the extreme...but then, I was never a fan of either one.

Of the female music icons, perhaps the most outstanding, stylistically was - and continues to be - Grace Jones. Her personal ethos, etc., aside, the visual treat she has always represented is eye candy at its apex. Ms. Jones is that perfect concoction of beautiful beautifully captured recently by Andrea Klarin.

Here is a video of Grace in her heyday, 1985, proving the accordians are terminally hip.

On stage, Ms. Jones still has abundant style and energy, setting a new high bar for living large after 60! Grace Jones is a glorious example of some very good genetic soup, and is making better art now, in my opinion, than she did twenty years ago. Truly, she is a couture dominatrix. But don't take my word, judge for yourself in this current video that Ms. Jones as the real world manifestation of HR Giger's art:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reason to Live Another Day

If you know me at all, you know that I have a long-standing affair with suicidal ideation. Ideation is almost certainly what it is...I probably have far too many traits of my Pathologically Narcissitic Mother to actual commit to such an act. ANYway, whenever I see a film or read a book or hear a piece of music that moves my soul, I am SO glad to be alive at that moment in time.

I saw the new Star Trek film today, and unbelievably, as the summer blockbuster genre is almost utterly absent from my list of must-sees, I was delighted and moved to tears - more than once. It's a wonderful piece of work, and contains some truly delicious tid-bits of acting (Quinto's young Spock is stunningly good), backstory explanations (I've GOT to watch the old episodes again now), and at least one interesting cameo in the form of Randy Pausch (he of the inspiring Last Lecture lived his dream as one of the crew members of the Federation Starship Kelvin; he delivers the line "We have a confirmed visual" while passing through the scene).

But all that is not what moved this film to my all-time favourite list in just a single viewing. Rather it was the appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Spock, a time-weathered, life-experienced, Zen Master of a Spock. Every time he showed up on screen, I began to tear up, and by the end of the film I was weeping openly...for my lost youth, for the beauty that is the Cosmos, for the wisdom Spock and I both have gained, seemingly in parallel, over the years.

Starting Sept. 8 1966, at age 13 (I turned 14 five days later), I was glued to the television every night Star Trek was aired...all three seasons. That's right, I was a Trekkie before such a thing existed, though I was never into conventions or dressing up or role playing. Rather, I drew portraits that hung on my bedroom pencil, with pastels, crayon...but all of them were of only one character; Spock.
Spock was the first man I ever saw in a television show, or maybe even in a movie, to whom I felt a complete connection. Knowing what I do about myself and my preferences in men and women, I understand now what was so attractive about the Spock character. Yep, he was brainy and driven by logic and sublimated emotion, but with an impossibly intense vein of emotion just under the surface. Here was someone who was strong enough to wrest control of his volatile human side and its hot passions, but who could be pushed to feel and express those emotions. I suspect there is little as attractive to a thinking person than someone who is clearly controlling their intense intelligence. It moves me, that's for sure.

And today, as I watched the Tribal Elder Spock, I found myself moved every bit as when I was barely a teenager, but for very different reasons. This Spock, like me, has been through the wildfire that inevitably rages after you control your deepest feelings without expression for years, he's shed the ego that accompanies that control and embraced the light that is compassion. I wept, for the beauty of life and its ways, for the sheer beauty of an man grown old and wise, and for myself - also grown older and wiser. As beautiful and proud as the young Spock is, and as much as I would have been his partner when I was equally young and proud, given the choice between the two, I would now put my hand in the one with the thinner skin and the withered flesh and be thrilled by the connection.

Our local theater, The Rose, has a lovely tradition of a staff member coming to the front of the theater before each showing to tell a little tidbit of some kind about the background of the film. Today, the story of getting Leonard Nimoy to play the part of Mr. Spock one more time. He has rejected all offers prior to this, but the part was so integral to the story that the film makers, hats in hand, went to Mr. Nimoy and asked. Apparently he just sat there, and thought about it; silence filled the room. After awhile he looked up, and quietly nodded. "Yes," he said, "I will play Spock one last time." And, the theater host told us, his wife said he sat in that chair for hours afterward, weeping from the emotion of what he had agreed to do. Mr Nimoy, thank you for taking this role on again. I felt as though I was watching my own life, in some strange way. I was moved every single time you appeared on the screen, and as the credits rolled, I just sat there, like you, and wept for time gone by and for the enourmity of the play that has been my life.
All this probably sounds silly to most of you. So it goes. There was a time when it would've sounded silly to me, too, so maybe there's a time ahead when it will make sense to you. No matter.

Live long, and prosper.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Living Truth: Happiness Is Love

Time and Space - Louise Atkinson

I am lost in time and space.

Do all people get displaced as they age? Is the confusion so often seen on the faces of the aged merely visible proof of their displacement? Does our reality flicker on and off like a failing light bulb? Or are we more like beautiful flowers gone to seed, scattered by the wind; still here and yet no longer with the full integrity of Self - the reality experienced at our peak maturity?

Yes, I think plants are better than any animal metaphor in expressing the weird state of being that is this human experience, and far closer to a Living Truth.

"Living Truth," now there's an interesting term. I intend it as juxtaposed to a failed or no-longer applicable truth; truth that may once have represented who we thought we were, but which did not stand the test of time. Living Truth is the core of us; that which remains after all else has fallen, been taken, or by the terrible fires of life, been burned away. Closely akin to the philosophical game of "Who are you?" Living Truth is not your name, your role as parent, wife, or engineer. Rather, it's who you are when all that is removed.

So I ask myself, "What is your Living Truth?" And I answer "I SEEK." Knowledge of self and the Cosmos, love and hate, life and death - I SEEK. And then I answer "I STRIVE." To be tolerant and compassionate with others and with myself, to accept my fellow humans as they are; without judgment - I STRIVE.

I'm tryin' REAL hard to be a good person, and it's not easy at all. No, not at all. It's especially difficult because I have so little love in my life right now. Oh, I don't mean there aren't people in other cities and states and countries who love me some, for there certainly are. I mean there's no person in my daily life whom I can touch and be touched by, who loves me in spite of living with me every day, with whom I can share my overflowing heartsong. I try not to dwell on the love-shaped hole that non-person holds within me, but I'm aware of it, an awareness much like the one of obstacles in the dark between the bed and the bathroom...sort of dim and groggy, but avoiding them has become second nature for fear of cracking a shin or falling down. And so I avoid the hole in my heart, too, for fear of falling irretrievably down, down. "I've fallen and can't get up!" Ha...wouldn't want you thinking I'd lost my sense of humor.

In my opinion, perhaps the most important Living Truth of the Human Race is that Love = Happiness. And so I leave you to ponder the layers of meaning resulting from an important piece of research being done (the Harvard Study of Adult Development) - a longitudinal study (72 years thus far) that asks the essential question, "Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? " Here is the video in which Dr. Vaillant discusses his findings (the Atlantic Monthly article from which this was taken can be read in full here):

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Uplift - Comment Cement Speech

I'm running behind on news bits, etc., after retreating to the wild, but when I saw Ellen D's speech to the lucky audience at Tulane, I knew it was certainly a perfect candidate for my Sunday Uplift feature.

Close Encounters

Salt Creek, Washington

I am back, far ahead of schedule, driven inland by the veritable tsunami of human beings and their offspring. Living in the float of time as I do, the fact that Memorial Day was about to happen never occurred to me as I prepared for weeks at the beach. But of course all the people who'd been waiting for the long weekend were very eager to get out there and by god have some FUN! There does seem to be such a fierce determination about normal folks, probably a product of the necessary determination required to survive normal life. I, of course, don't live a normal life, though I have tried to more than once, so I have some compassion for those who do. Rather, I live a life in a constant state of observing. I watch life evolve and revolve around me, within me, without me. I examine motives, reasons, values and principles in action. I wonder what goes on in this person or that one's head/heart when they exhibit apparent cruelty to their children or their parents or to a hapless animal or even the passing inanimate object. Is their life so terrible? Has something so horrendous been visited on them that the pain has to overflow onto everything around them? I find I am regularly stunned by the lack of regard people seem to have for one another, especially the younger than 40 set. Is a gentle regard for others, and a quiet understanding that pain is a constant in too manyy lives something we only grow into? Perhaps it's the final vanguard of becoming civilised creatures? Or is the difference of behaviour a cultural shift? I suppose that's just another tendril of the nature vs nurture argument.

All in all, I had a lovely time away from this place where so much of my life's accumulation rests. You stuff. I promise more on the lovely and strange and even scary parts of my holiday soon, but for now I'll simply close with a transcript of George Carlin's Stuff routine. Enjoy!

Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That's all, a little place for my stuff. That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody's got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that's your stuff, that'll be his stuff over there. That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time.

A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you're taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody's got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff!

Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore. Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else's house, you never quite feel a hundred percent at home? You know why? No room for your stuff. Somebody else's stuff is all over the place! And if you stay overnight, unexpectedly, they give you a little bedroom to sleep in. Bedroom they haven't used in about eleven years. Someone died in it, eleven years ago. And they haven't moved any of his stuff! Right next to the bed there's usually a dresser or a bureau of some kind, and there's NO ROOM for your stuff on it. Somebody else's shit is on the dresser.

Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? God! And you say, "Get that shit offa there and let me put my stuff down!"

Sometimes you leave your house to go on vacation. And you gotta take some of your stuff with you. Gotta take about two big suitcases full of stuff, when you go on vacation. You gotta take a smaller version of your house. It's the second version of your stuff. And you're gonna fly all the way to Honolulu. Gonna go across the continent, across half an ocean to Honolulu. You get down to the hotel room in Honolulu and you open up your suitcase and you put away all your stuff. "Here's a place here, put a little bit of stuff there, put some stuff here, put some stuff--you put your stuff there, I'll put some stuff--here's another place for stuff, look at this, I'll put some stuff here..." And even though you're far away from home, you start to get used to it, you start to feel okay, because after all, you do have some of your stuff with you. That's when your friend calls up from Maui, and says, "Hey, why don'tchya come over to Maui for the weekend and spend a couple of nights over here."

Oh, no! Now what do I pack? Right, you've gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The third version of your house. Just enough stuff to take to Maui for a coupla days. You get over to Maui--I mean you're really getting extended now, when you think about it. You got stuff ALL the way back on the mainland, you got stuff on another island, you got stuff on this island. I mean, supply lines are getting longer and harder to maintain. You get over to your friend's house on Maui and he gives you a little place to sleep, a little bed right next to his windowsill or something. You put some of your stuff up there. You put your stuff up there. You got your Visine, you got your nail clippers, and you put everything up. It takes about an hour and a half, but after a while you finally feel okay, say, "All right, I got my nail clippers, I must be okay." That's when your friend says, "Aaaaay, I think tonight we'll go over the other side of the island, visit a pal of mine and maybe stay over."

Aww, no. NOW what do you pack? Right--you gotta pack an even SMALLER version of your stuff. The fourth version of your house. Only the stuff you know you're gonna need. Money, keys, comb, wallet, lighter, hanky, pen, smokes, rubber and change. Well, only the stuff you HOPE you're gonna need.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


New Mexico
High desert Summer
Violet ribbons of grass
Black birds fill the sky

The Ravine
Velvet cloak of Spring grass
cut by red clay; dry ghosts of dirt
Sunflowers light the shade

Desert Cake
Earth laid bare by time,
Decorated by piƱons;
sunflower confetti

First Sign of Spring
Longer days now
The pink light of sunset
lingers past six

Don't Go Back to Sleep!
In my Spring garden
A bird not seen before lands,
sings, then flies away

Winter Lingers
Pussy willows bloom
Cold blossoms shiver in the breeze
The stove still warms us

Colour Returns
Clouds gone, sun is out
Jeweled hummingbird returns
Apple trees blossom

Dusk's Sweet Song
A new sound at dusk
From the reeds the sweet rasp and
croak of newborn frogs

April Day

Perfect day; dog barks
Children laugh a block away
Songbirds in chorus

Territorial Twitter
Red-winged blackbird
Advertises his great plot
"Cattail fluff for nest!"

Cool sheets against legs
Rumble of the cat nearby
Soft cover of sleep

Another Grey Morning
Graveled eyes open
Sodden light through dirty panes;
Dream fades; day begins

Love's Tomb

Two empty cups and
wilted flowers on the table;
silent testament

Betrayed not by love
But by fear - and the real pain
is that I don't care

Spinning free in time
No bearings to anchor my heart
Sails luft, ship adrift


Northbound Train
One hundred wood ducks;
Train passes, ferry arrives,
Slate grey sky threatens

Sunday Haiku
Getz, Miles or Billie;
Coffee cooking on the stove.
Sundays are my day

Sunday Haiku Redux

Mozart on Sunday
Eggs and bacon on the stove
The calm in the storm

Sunday Paper
Sunday newspaper
Offers important world news
First read the funnies

Spiritual Help
Reading the paper
my cat friend sprawls across to
help me not worry


Help Wanted
Cat sleeping soundly
Until I need to focus
Then he's wide awake

The Assistant 
The cat types for me
In a language unknown
To any but him

Haiku Rules

A season and cut;
5-7-5 syllables;
Description of now

Haiku Fest and Pepper Ann

Late last night, I surfed my way to a quite nice blog in which a lovely woman had put forth an idea for a Haiku Fest. If you know me at ALL well, you know my love of haiku from age 11, when first I encountered the form. I've been writing and reading them ever since, so of course I HAD to join in the fun! Tomorrow, all over the world, haiku lovers will be posting their pieces on their blogs for all to enjoy. I'll be here, and I invite you to be as well.

Life often seems to be an endless string of coincidences and happenstances, and the discovery of Tracy and Elizabeth's haiku-a-rama falls into that category, too. MUCH earlier in the day I was watching old episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon show I used to enjoy back in the 90s (no, I'm not that young, merely at heart), "Pepper Ann." In the following espisode, watch for the mention of "your 16th Century haiku discussion group" at 5:11...

There's a second part, but you'll be able to access that from here, or you can just click on the YouTube window above and it will take you there, where you can find part two in the list on the right. If you're confused about how to use YouTube, I would gently suggest you might not want to read any more of this blog.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Two mere months ago...

Iris, March 8, 2009

It's a glorious day outside here! 61 sunny, blue-skied degrees, with birds and lawnmowers singing their Springtime chorus through all the open windows of my house. But just to keep anyone's Spring Fever in check, allow me to offer you a glimpse out my front door from two months ago today:Port Townsend, WA, March 8, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

On the Road Again...

My wonderful schoolbus-turned-rv and rolling studio is loaded and ready to roll again...this time I'm head west to Hobuck Beach, a camp owned and run by the Makah Nation. I plan to spend from a week to a month over on the Pacific Coast, walking, biking, singing, dancing, thinking, and creating art, art, and more art. I'll be parked JUST south of Cape Flattery, which is as far north and west you can go in the Lower 48.

I made my last grocery run today, stopped by the art supply in hopes my Copic refills had arrived, went in for my annual bloodletting session at the doctor (all my various levels are being checked), and did little odds and ends that needed doing. The embroidery thread needed to finish up the sashiko piece for the silk quilt I'm creating hasn't come in yet, but that's no big deal as I have plenty of other things to occupy my hands and mind while gone. I have TONS of dvds along, so between my iPod, laptop, art, and library, I feel quite content. I always overpack, ANYONE who has traveled with me will tell you that! And again I offer my apologies, gentlemen.

I switched out chairs in the bus earlier this evening, removing the antique rocker that has never quite worked on previous treks, and replacing it with a lovely upholstered armchair that will be FAR more comfortable for me. And for Big, who loves to sprawl in that chair.
I've got a heater along this time, something that was really needed last Fall! Electricity is my only real need whilst out and about. Boondocking really doesn't work for this ol' gal. I like my fridge and coffee maker and microwave. Actually, if I could only have one thing, it would be the fridge. I can do without the coffee maker, and the microwave is DEFINITELY not a necessity at all! Electric light is nice, but not at ALL necessary, but electricity to recharge my computer and phone and pod are fairly important, too. Those three I could charge using the little portable inverter I keep on hand. So we're back to the fridge. No matter, for I plan to buy electricity while I'm gone.

Tuesday I go to the doctor for my test results, to the art supply one final time, and to the grocery for fresh bread, milk, and half and half. Wednesday morning, I go out, unplug, and get on the road again!

One Ping Only...

This is for Ron...thanks for pushing me toward this wonderful Mac, dear friend...


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Land of the Lost

Although I was in college and had mostly outgrown Saturday morning television by 1974, I had a nephew who turned me on to Land of the Lost, and I was quickly hooked. Land of the Lost was a high concept show for Saturday morning, with ethical and moral lessons wrapped in a heady mix of time and space travel, where the intrepid Marshall family encountered dinosaurs and aliens while attempting to survive and find a way home. Got that? The effects were extremely silly, but that never seemed to matter much.

This program was very strange, and had some really scary moments with the Sleestacks lizard men. Chaka, a young member of the indigenous tribe, fascinated me. I could never decide if he was a kid or an adult little person. If you're interested, there are full espisodes on YouTube. To whet your appetite, here's the first third of the very first episode. Notice the hokey effects, especially in the opening...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Guess Who's Coming Over?

TLC (aka The Learning Channel) presented the first in a series this evening, titled "Guess Who's Coming Over?" The first program was about a middle class Black man from Harlem in NYC visiting a redneck man from Georgia in an attempt to break through the Georgia man's ignorance regarding Black people. The gentleman from Harlem, Chuck, was invited to stay with the Georgia family by the grown daughter of the White man, David. She has a toddler and is reasonably concerned that growing up around grandpa spouting racial epitaphs and ignorant stereotypes is a very bad idea. It says something about her family that she was evolved enough to recognise the rampant racism in her father, and it's negative effect on her child. No matter, the woman deserves a lot of credit for attempting such a radical alteration of her father's views.

With such an obvious reality-show premise ("two people from wildly divergent lives get thrown together and you get to watch the unpredictable result!"), the opportunity for real dreck hung over this show like the proverbial sword of Damocles, but to TLC's credit, the relationship between the two men was depicted in an honest manner. Chuck deserves MASSIVE credit for his compassionate patience in the face of such abundance ignormation, but perhaps part of his success was the truly compassionate, fearless person at the core of David, too. A brilliant reminder that we are each far, far more than what we may intially appear, and that ultimately we are all so-very connected.

I look forward to the next installment, and highly recommend it to you; Sunday, 9/10pm on TLC (The Learning Channel)