Saturday, October 29, 2005


Here’s something I came across. I cruise this site called D.C. Art News. Great site, very extensive. I am for art…for people expressing themselves, but you know, I just don’t GET IT…performance art. I must be too dim. So, here is a description of this woman’s performance piece. I think she just wants attention like everyone else and I think she needs to watch ‘Fletch’….or a few episodes of ‘Beavis and Butthead’.
Performance:I slowly eat 1 kilo of honey with a silver spoon. I slowly drink 1 liter of red wine out of a crystal glass. I break the glass with my right hand. I cut a five-pointed star on my stomach with a razor blade. I violently whip myself until I no longer feel any pain. I lay down on a cross made of ice blocks. The heat of a suspended heater pointed at my stomach causes the cut star to bleed. The rest of my body begins to freeze. I remain on the ice cross for 30 minutes until the public interrupts the piece by removing the ice blocks from underneath me.
Duration: 2 hours………. uuuhhhhh,

"……you’re really weird."


Ahhhh. Self discipline. My choices in the last few weeks since the Norfolk incident have really boiled down to this: I have not disciplined myself to paint. Isn’t it in our nature to choose the thing that produces the least resistance, the least discomfort? And it’s only delaying the inevitable, that this painting must get done. Giving in moment by moment to something else, some other impulse down the level road to avoid the steep hill or pothhole riddled path, involves a choice. Any thing that one feeds becomes stronger and more powerful and any thing that is starved weakens. It’s all very simple, yet at times so very hard to do. The myriad of ways we find to detour our life’s calling can be rather dangerous. We all know folks who have chosen and chosen again to avoid, to indulge in some other thing other than what they are supposed to. They are often sad and bitter people with a huge bag of regret on their shoulders that they cannot put down because it is their own fault by their own choosing. I can learn from that…from those who were at that crossroad. But sometimes I fear I will end up there, too. That it is somehow in my genes, if you will. I know in my right mind it isn’t my genes, it is my choices, but at times I still wonder. Especially when I struggle for such an extended period of time.

So the allure of books, art sites, working out harder, or just spacing is a strong allure for me in these recent weeks. At least today I primed some canvases in between Jeff Buckley, Lord of the Rings….blog….weight training, having a glass of wine and eating too much Halloween candy (yes, I cannot be trusted at all with it in the house BEFORE the event). Craig is with Phil in D.C. at the Spy Museum (can you say BORING?) so I can do whatever I want, right? These are the things I CHOSE today. I used to just choose to go to sleep…hide, so I guess it is an improvment.

Friday, October 28, 2005

dream brother

I don’t want to jump on the Jeff Buckley-mythological-idol-worship- bandwagon and there is a lot of it out there, but I have been revisiting and almost exclusively listening to his music. What little we have of him is exquisite and it moved me to dig a bit. I picked up a book and read it last week and surfed around on the web looking at interviews and articles really trying to learn a bit about his art, the why, what and how of hs motivation to create music. Only natural when you connect with a song, a painting, whatever.

I was struck by the similarities of his philosophy about music, about his art and his comments on his upbringing, especially about his absent father, that we have. At times my eyes would fly open like the words came right out of my mouth. I have said those same things. It was like discovering a brother or something. Weird.
Being raised by a single parent with an absentee parent often creates an ongoing dichotomy of love and hate, of justice and mercy toward that parent that many understand. Jeff seemd to express these feelings. I am with it…right in there. And it can be maddening, too.
Fear of being sucked into the machine as if your work is something to be bought and sold is also a big echo I heard. He never seemed comfortable with the record contract he landed and why should he have been? To be told what and how to do your thing is frightening prospect for anyone who lives in the balance of art and making a living. The tearing between the two aspects is something anyone who moves forward has to face. To be seen as a way to profit is a nightmare to most artist.

I realize that a person is a complex being and is more than a few recorded statements in a lifetime, or in a too short lifetime as is in Jeff’s case, but I certainly feel it….I can feel it in the guts. Those few expressions I have read are poignant and they encourage me. A wonderful and rare ’not alone’ moment.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

out in space

Stuck floating in some alternate universe….unable to focus….living inside. I see a little girl out my window. She in is in that still wobbly learning to walk stage. I want to go back there and start over. What is in my mind is safer, more interesting and it brings me the floods of feeling that I sometimes thrive on and survived on as a child. Does anyone else go there? I realize it is a hiding and an avoiding and a reliving of how I lived my life throughout my childhood. A magic to it that is wonderful, yet not very conducive to adult life….to difficult paintings. The finish line of the week bears down on me with little to show. Why am I so weird?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

family cog

I was in Norfolk at my mom’s the week before last because of a rare visit from my sister and her kids. Every time I have all these hopeful expectations that things will be different and we all will somehow really connect. It is usually a disappointment. Most everyone knows the strange, unconscious shift of falling back into one’s lifelong postion in the family. All those old, ingrained ways of relating, of postioning yourself, in your family just happen. Too many strong feelings about too many things keep you from breaking the cycle; still choosing your words carefully, choosing topics carefully. I have made some cracks in the foundation of those walls, but still find them strong and high. I often come away feeling like a stranger. We are not the same people we were twenty years ago yet we seem to continue to relate to other as if we are. No one seems to be very interested in really getting to know one another. We did have some fun, don’t get my confession wrong, but I realized for real this time that my family doesn’t know me very well and I don’t really know them well either. Nobody talks about their feelings, and desires and troubles….no relating on a deep level and certainly no one asks. On occasion over the years I have asked only to be quickly redirected.

As well, I come away broken hearted at my lack of ability to love people. If you can’t love the people in your own family you probaby can’t love anyone else since they usually are the most challenging. I have said it many times, family are the people you probably would not have anything to do with if they weren’t family. I find my desire for folks to behave in the manner I want and whether or not they do determines that love. It’s a real uncovering of how mature I really am and I am never as far a long as I thought or hoped. Admit it. We want people agree with us, approve of us, be into the same things we are….not make waves. This is the superficial, fleshly reality of relationships that do not move on and up, that do not blossom, and do not go down deep.

In the days following a trip like that I feel really disjointed, closed in some alternate reality and unable to get back to my life. I feel what seems like remorse. I think thats what it is. And I go through the motions of kicking myself and wishing I could start over and it was noon on wednesday october 5th when I pulled into the driveway of my mom’s house. I was nursing a subluxated rib (don’t ask) last week, staring at that blasted painting and feeling stuck in gear looking back at the the days in Norfolk. Couldn’t settle. The promise of the coming week is a relief.