Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If You're Looking For Me...

Due to the B***S**T of the people who've taken over Ron's estate handling (entirely his fault for leaving zero instructions on what and how he wanted his estate handled), I no longer have my regular email (they are holding the domains for ransom   -one of which I have owned for almost 20 years,  but that Ron administered, including paying the yearly fees in trade for some work I did for him - NOT on paper anywhere, unfortunately), nor do I have my telephone, which, though my own phone and account, was paid for out our business account, as that's ALmost the only thing it was used for.  As of this writing, I don't have a phone or control of my domains, and cannot conduct business either as RVBC or for Lorien Shaw.

So if you're trying to reach me, leave a comment here with some form of email address I can use, and I'll drop you a line from a gmail or yahoo account of some sort.

Meanwhile, I apparently have contracted whatever plague V had the past week.  My own fault for taking such care of him, but hey...sometimes you simply have to weather the times labeled "...for worse" in order to enjoy the "..for better" times ahead.

Speaking of weather...after a profoundly dry summer, Autumn in the form of windy, cold, and wet arrived over the weekend.  The back yard is filling with leaves from the cherry, plum, apple, and walnut trees, and the lovely maple out front is starting to drop her red and gold glory, too. " Winter is coming!" the wind whispers and shouts.

I finished a commission piece for a woman in Arkansas, a doll called "The Conductor," and in the process rediscovered how great it feels to see one of my creations finished.  I always dread the costuming process, but when done, I am consistently thrilled with the result.  I also love how almost all of my dolls are capable of standing on their own.  Apparently, that's not a common skill.  I've just always understood the anatomy plus center of gravity equation involved in standing.  Here're a couple of pictures taken just after I was finished.  A few details have been added since taking these, and he may yet be placed on a platform for better stability.  Better (portfolio worthy) photos will be taken before packing and shipping him to Arkansas, and I'll post them here.

 The Conductor by E. Lorien Shaw, 2012

The Conductor, detail

Now I'm going back to recovering from the Plague (blech) and my book, and the A**H**LES in Texas can go to Hell.  Oh, that's right...they're already THERE!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cream Puff or Shit Sandwich? Either way, ya gotta eat it

Two weeks ago today, my dearest friend on the planet died suddenly of heart failure.  He was 57, and I'd known him over twenty years.  We were in business together, he maintained five different domains for me, and he paid the licensing and insurance on my sweet rolling studio, Towanda.

Well and good.


This dear friend, who'd had a couple of close calls the past ten years with heart attacks, apparently never really believed he would die.  He left a signed, but non-notarized will, written in 1996, predating all our legal dealings and thus leaving me in legal quicksand.  His 90 year old mother owns everything now, and though not suffering from dementia, she isn't capable of dealing with both the shock of losing her son (and primary caregiver) AND the extraordinarily complex business puzzle he left behind.

Ron was an IT guy, so of COURSE he left neither instructions nor passwords to his virtual world for us to find.  There are at LEAST one hundred - ONE HUNDRED - different domains that he owned and managed.  And only HE knew how to access them, and all the servers on which they reside.  Last July, Ron got rid of the huge room full of servers in Austin, and replaced them with VIRTUAL servers all over the world.  My domains reside in North Carolina, Washington D.C., Africa, and Australia, though they are registered to an address in the United States.  Fun, huh?

So now it seems my business, insignificant as it is, is in limbo.  And so is my sweet bus.  Neither of which would have been Ron's wish, but that's only heresay at this point in the game.

There's a woman involved in wrapping up Ron's estate who has zero love for me.  It seems her perception is that I'm interested in raiding the estate.  Not the case at ALL, but it's clear her mind is made up.  I figure the worst that can happen is for the business and my bus to be taken away from me.  And in the big picture, I suppose that's really nothing of particular import.  But it feels as though I'm not being allowed to keep my friend with me, that I am to be stripped of any possible love or memories I might regain through these paltry material possessions.  And that really hurts.

The Interstitial Cystitis is flaring massively from all this stress, so I'm dealing with THAT horrendous physical pain, too.

I find it all completely exhausting, and hope it just quietly goes the fuck aWAY soon.

The thing that really bothers me in all this is that I can't grieve the loss of my friend properly while my mind is being taken up with material matters.  Ron was the only person in my life with whom I could discuss a very strange and personal set of subjects.  The only one who not only didn't LAUGH when I recounted my tales of Close Encounters (of the 3rd kind), but countered with his own.  The only person I knew who enjoyed playing "What would happen if the world ended by ***?"  And we shared dreams, both sleeping and waking.  He was my go-to guy when I needed talking off the proverbial ledge.

As isolated as I am in my day to day life, I especially miss having someone with whom I had shared all that and more.  I keep seeing things that cause me to reach for the phone or the computer in order to tell Ron...and then I remember he's not at the other end of the phone anymore.

And my heart breaks anew.

My emotions run the gamut of those expected - sorrow, guilt, anger; lather, rinse and repeat as necessary.  But he's gone, and there is nothing - NOTHING - I can do about it.  And so I go on.  I'm better when someone's around; alone time allows me to fall backward into the dark blue place of deep sadness.  There's progress since a week ago, though.; I no longer want to unzip my skin and step out of it in order to get away from how I feel.

This is incredibly hard, and I hate it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Beautiful Decay

As a adamant fan of beautiful decay and impermanence, I am always watching to find new ruins that move my soul.

The great collapse of 1991 had broken the childhood dreams of this Soviet Sanatorium/Hotel to ever welcome visitors into its corridors.
Due to an economic collapse, upon near completion of this Soviet Sanatorium/Hotel in 1991, all funding was stopped and the building was left to the elements.

Windows shattered, weeds and moss grew in the dining hall, and crayon-colorful walls spilled out into the staircases.

Now the ruined building stands as a windowless skyscraper, surrounded by forests and small villages. But its beauty lives on...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A sweet friend from another era in my interesting life sent me the Joni Mitchell Painting With Words and Music dvd last week.
I finally had time to unwrap and pop it into my 'puter for a quick look. And at the first drift of that familiar guitar, I immediately broke into tears.
For years, the song I claimed as my personal anthem was All I Want (I am on a lonely road and I am traveling), and then an entire flurry of songs took on personal meanings - A Woman of Heart and Mind (time on her hands and no child to raise), Car On the Hill (I've been sitting up waiting for my sugar to show...he makes friends easy, he's not like me - I wait for judgement anxiously), and of course Jericho - the last two being particularly imprinted with the aforementioned friend's mark.
Former husband Don was People's Parties and Same Situation - one never without the other, and later A Case of You (You're in my blood like holy taste so bitter and so sweet...I'm frightened by the devil and I'm drawn to those ones who aren't afraid...go to him, stay with him if you can, but be prepared to bleed).

Another man evoked Impossible Dreamer (don't think, just dance), and in the 90s, first Urge for Going, and then Cactus Tree became the song that described my life (there's a man who...and she's so busy being free) and the man at the center of it.
And then I quietly drifted away from everything, including Joni.

Oh sure, I listened to her now and then, but less and less frequently. And then this lovely disc arrived, and I chose first to listen to Just Like This Train...sung by a Joni who, like me, is older and wiser and more full of pain and laughter and darkness and light,her voice and delivery revealing all that and more.  And beyond the first few notes, just like that, my heart was opened again and all the fear and pain and fear and pain came pouring out. "I'm always running behind the time...lately I don't count on nothin', I just let things slide..."  The original, Court and Spark version wasn't nearly as rich as this live performance. It took years of experience for Ms. Mitchell to deliver that song with the depth of knowledge required to reach out, touch and open my heart.

Joni Mitchell's music is, very simply, the soundtrack to my life.  Thank you, Rick, for continuing to share that connection with me, if no other.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breast Cancer is Personal

Today marks what would have been my mother's 94th birthday.  After fifteen years of battling breast cancer, she died in 2001.  Usually I note this day and let it pass with a private moment.

  Me 'n (in) mom, 1952

My mother was a strong and active advocate of women's rights - in particular those involving our bodies, so after yesterday and todays news, I just feel I must stand tall and object to the  discontinuation of Planned Parenthood's funding by the Susan G. Komen Foundation.   As they ONLY discontinued PP's funding and no other organisation, I believe their decision is due to a clear political statement, and I am here to say that my mother and I do NOT agree with that decision. 

My mother died from this disease, and had she not had access to the medical care available through Planned Parenthood, she wouldn't have lived those fifteen years. 

Breast cancer frightens women more than heart disease, because we have been taught that our breasts are a major part of what makes us viable females.  If men had the same kind of breasts as women, and required mammograms, no discussion would be required, as they would be given top notch tests and care.  But women, who are consistently devalued by our society, have to fight for the most basic of healthcare.  By the way, men get breast cancer, too.  I can only imagine how difficult that situation would be for a man.

I have long-believed that making health matters - especially those with personal values involved - political issues is just wrong. 

In my twenties, I had two brushes with cancer, first with cervical cancer - caught by a doctor during my regular pap at Planned Parenthood - and then with breast cancer.  A nurse at Planned Parenthood held my hand as I cried about the lump found in one breast, and took the time to calm my fears and explain the situation. When I got pregnant and was in a blind panic, another nurse at Planned Parenthood sat with me and listened to my fears.   

As someone who has been in a situation that required me to make the extremely difficult decision to have an abortion, the fact that it was legal and safe was simply cream; I would have found a way to abort, and easily had ended up like my father's sister, who was buried in her wedding dress after a botched home abortion.

Making healthcare a political hot potato doesn't benefit anyone.  If those who would force their morality on me have their way, women will be shoved back into second-class citizenship.  No one benefits from an entire gender falling ill from lack of care.  No one.  And as my mother's advocate, I can't let that happen without a fight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Internet Saves Lives

Three friends I met over the Net, via our mutual love of creating art, just MAY have saved my life.

One, during a visit f2f, shared a non-narcotic medication with me that actually seemed to make a difference in my miserable pain levels.  I mentioned the drug to another friend who lives in Canada, and she shared the fact that it's OTC up there (I only live a couple of hours away) and then turned around and helped me even further in a way I shall not mention this public place.  And while I was waiting to get some of the drug in hand to see if it really DID work as well as it seemed to during the aforementioned visit, I dropped into a very dark place and couldn't seem to find my way out...until another friend took the time and love to talk with me about all the issues and fears and pain that have been ravaging me for over a decade.  And then, and then...yesterday the Methocarbomal arrived...just in time for another round of extreme pain.  And I took a half of one of the "Extra Strength Muscle & Back Pain Relief" pills, and waited to see what, if any effect they would have.  Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in longer than I can recount, I had a full night's sleep without waking from pain whenever I shifted!  So absent was the pain, I woke with a start when I *didn't* have a sharp pang when turning to my side.  I lay there for a very brief time in the dark, thinking about how habitualised the pain and my acceptance of it had become, and about what kind of difference it might make in my life to be pain-free for the first time in over fifteen years.  This morning, I awoke with the slightest tickle of pain on the horizon, and found myself almost relieved, saying inwardly "ah...there's my old friend."  And hearing THAT in my head alarmed me more than anything!  To be so acclimatized to pain that it is missed as an "old friend"!?!  The decent into madness is apparently complete.

But the good news?  At the bottom of the dry well was a welcome surprise.  You see, I took another half pill this morning, and as I write this, I am fully pain free!  I keep checking, feeling for it like a sore tooth, but there's sunshine and a deliciously scented breeze in this old house instead of the cobwebs and mold of a mere day ago...I could get used to this.

So thank you, Odd, Ang, and Hawkie...each of you has made a real difference in this womans' life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beautiful Decay

First post of the New Year, and it's ALL about decay...or as I prefer to see it, impermanence.

I am about to begin a new Moleskine rotation project (Take 8 artists, each with their own Moleskin Japanese Accordian-fold Journal and their select theme, send in an seven month rotation, each journal visiting each artist once, and end up with a glorious array of art in your moley at the end of the project), this one at illustrated ATCs.  I have chosen as my subject Beautiful Decay.  Here is the description I wrote in an effort to assist the project's artists:

All life is transitory.

I see rusting rivets, peeling paint on weathered buildings , an ancient man or woman, and I see beauty.  Mountains worn down by time into softened crags, or worn completely away into canyons, presenting fresh vistas, exposing cake-like layers.

Everything and everyone around us is in a state of change, a state of beautiful decay.  Perhaps it's a sign of my own aging, or maybe the product of seeing places such as Pompeii at a VERY early age, but I have long been fascinated by decay.

From close up or from a distance, in the ancient world or the modern, a place or a living entity, a vessel, building or something else; I'm interested in a taste of your vision and expression of beautiful decay. Note: the titles below each photo link to a page of that subject's photographs.

Rusty Vehicles and Vessels

And finally, the amazing Library of Dust project from David Maisel.  Library of Dust depicts individual copper canisters, each containing the cremated remains of patient from a state-run psychiatric hospital. The patients died at the hospital between 1883 (the year the facility opened, when it was called the Oregon State Insane Asylum) and the 1970’s; their bodies have remained unclaimed by their families.