Monday, July 31, 2006

Without a Guide

I dive. Into a moat of possibilities, primal soup of beginnings, where things are disjointed, undefined. A flux of moments not yet become time, flotsam on the edge of becoming, half-formed bits of genetic material seeking connections, a way to complete what is only dimmly begun. It is dark, watery, and things fly at me, scraps of detritus that perhaps I could make sense of if I knew the design. Do flowing magnetic waves draw disparate things into new configurations? In this place without rationality that I have so dangerously found myself in, how are things connected, and through connection, created?

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

What revelations are to come...?

...red spots develop under my cheeks, and as I powder them they become raised wheels, one on each side, which the thick powder whitens, six spokes, a central hub and an outer wheel, a relief scultpure of perhaps a millimeter depth, like something from myth, an archetypal drama of the ancients, which the attempt to hide with powder only accenuates. I feel no horror, or pain, but awe as I brush the powder on skin that has become wheels and spokes. Sculpted like Alchemical wheels of time, or Tarot wheels of Fortune, the configurations are mysterious, almost reverential, an embodied reference to the Wheels of Ezekiel, but also to the powdered faces of highly-stylized Oriental performance, and somehow the magnificent coiled antlers of Bighorn sheep...

_____________
probably unecessary note: ...yes, it was a dream, the one I woke with today, but I have decided to treat dreams as real and as poetry in themselves... hence I've cut away the narratorial voice of the daytime ego that we use when relating dreams, as well as any analysis. There is resonance with the Symbolist and Surrealist poets, I know that...

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Painting Time

Let go of the stability of knowing how to see, the molecules are dancing, big bundles of energy like rivers of colour and the jostling of air, where you can see wind currents by watching the way they move, and how the air sweeps back from the leaves and branches and the knotted woody bark of the tree that is a current too, one thicker than the other, both humming with motion.

What does a still world look like?

Always the humming, buzzing, jostling from inside things; I've never seen it flat still like a photograph.

Everything is singing, transforming at different rates with different densities, and I don't know what separates anything from anything else.

Spiritus Mundi, perhaps. It's all animated all the time: vibrating; singing.

Our words mapping the design of ourselves
in the world in frail gaps.

I reach for you
without
solidity.

---

with thanks to Robert Preuss for his ekphrastic writing on Van Gogh

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Friday, July 28, 2006

In the time it takes to write a paragraph...

Sipping coffee, slowly, flicking from site to site, reading here and there, fat Summer rain falling on the open windows behind me spraying a little inside, checking the books on the windowsill, Life of Pi, Only What Is, Rocking the Cradle, they're fine, fluffy dog at my feet who stands every now and then and looks into my eyes to see if I can hear the loud drizzling and noisy plonking drops, and gets her ears rubbed. This rain so heavy, it would redden the skin if you were out uncovered. A cloud burst that's poured and already spent, the thunder god disappearing over the city skyline, leaving fast running rivulets on the streets, in the drainpipes, ecstatic drenched leaves, mud wherever it can be, flocks of flowers, and a brightness everywhere that is visionary in the time its taken to write this paragraph.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Magic of Mantra...

In the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, deep in the cocoon of sound I've woven tightly around myself, if I become a slush of nutrients as the waves of colour begin radiating through me, making iridescent wings, then that's today, where I've meditated most of the day, chanted my silent mantra endlessly until I've forgotten who I am until my life is unrecognizable until I'm bliss floating through the air rather than a woman walking her dog in the summer-scented warmth of the late evening air.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

An Empty Wallet

I've had a nothing day, exhausted kind of, but not, just in limbo. Feeling oddly drained. In deep meditation it came that it's because I'm broke, that money is a form of energy and that's why I'm listlessly floating through today. My daughter is away, thankfully. I'm out of dog food & coffee cream & fruit & vegetables, though there's canned dog food my mother gave me, and I've powdered milk that I can use, and multigrain bread and cheese and butter and eggs and sausages and mushrooms and onion and lamb souvlaki in the freezer, as well as rice and oats and raisons if I need more. The cheque from tutoring I did last month for an agency didn't arrive last Friday as it was meant to and that was to be my grocery money this week, and when I emailed Monday I was told the family I tutor for hadn't paid their bill. But this company takes half of what I make, they charge $40./hr, give me $20., and have made hundreds off me this year. You'd think they'd have some reserve to pay their tutors on time! Yes, I paid off over three grand in debts last week, and not a cent left over, but then I was getting a tutoring cheque... Friday there'll be more tax refund deposited, and I'm working next week, but sheesh. Where'd my energy go? Why does it always go when my wallet is empty? Even though I know it's just a temporary state, and really I'm fine, there's good food, I even have a little Merlot to sip later. The dog's happier with the canned stuff anyhow- she thinks it's a treat. And surely I can do without coffee cream for a day. But that's not what I'm learning here. Why can't I just not be affected by an empty wallet? I want to achieve a state of being where I completely trust that what is needed will come so I won't care when this happens and it won't affect my energy levels in any way.

As to why I don't have steady employment, that's somewhat of a mystery. My record with I don't know how many employment agencies is exemplary, if I am to believe the feedback I receive. Yet I don't get full time jobs. Or even permanent part-time ones. At this point, I think my employment situation is a result of my art. My newest tactic is not to look for work that will take me away from it so much as work to support it, and me and my kids, of course.

Believe it or not, this is a brand new way of thinking for me.

And I am resisting the little voice that says, oh call the bank, have a small overdraft put on your account for weeks like these...

Ah, defiance against 'the system' helps, I'm perking up, and also the chorizo and mushrooms are ready, maybe wrapped in a toasted multigrain crust with some chopped onion and mayonnaise and a little mustard...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ecdysis

Ecdysis ("the shedding of an outer integument or layer of skin, as by insects, crustaceans, and snakes; molting"), a poem, technorati tag poem (mostly composed of lines edited out of the original version of the poem & spoofing technorati, just a little), and painting of mine published by qarrtsiluni in their short short current issue (100 words or less). Go check it out; submit a piece yourself if you haven't yet and feel so inclined.

Hope you're enjoying the bounty of the Summer!

If the direct link didn't work, copy & paste the url: http://ahappening.typepad.com/qarrtsiluni/2006/07/ecdysis.html

And the painting is actually an older one (perhaps *molting* is a theme in my life :grins:); the photograph taken of it with a prism's light shining on goes back a ways too. The photograph, which is the one I wanted, literally a needle in a hatstack of 200 boxes that we moved, fell out of a stack of papers in a box I was looking through on the weekend into my hand. I was able to submit it because my newly refound refurbished scanner worked (the second time, at first it just crackled and groaned)!

If you wish to, can I ask that you comment there? And I will respond to your comments, so do check back.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rewoven Space


The attractiveness of non attachment. But when your attachments re-attach themselves, the philosophy needs revising. Shedding encumbrances sounds ideal, easy. Most of the rest of us have to fit things in; we're here to stay, and our collections come with us. No aphasic amnesia for the amassment of a lifetime. Back on the Wheel of Samsara, burdened with unopened boxes in spaces too small to encompass the return. My entire library crammed into a bedroom without the bookcases that wouldn't fit down the stairs. Accessible through a list of contents; but inaccessible. The abode that was found, that fit, the one for unencumbered living, too small for what fills it now. A burgeoning life, cast aside, that returns to take up where it left off. The hexagram of the return displaying its full force of bounty. A thesis to be finished, heirlooms of words, the library from which I referenced, homeschooled, taught, gifts to the future. Space must be rewoven for this amplitude, its largesse.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Debt-free and Dancing

A small celebration today. Not on the move, which I'll try to write about perhaps this weekend. But on being debt-free.

A goal since 2000 that I wished on, worked towards, danced at weekly Sweat Your Prayers™ with pain and wish for deliverance, was to be debt-free.

When I married my net worth was half a million; when I left the marriage 12 years later, I was a quarter of a million dollars in debt, largely due to my husband's spending habits (sports car, high speed boat, buying a cottage that had to have the most expensive finishing, paying off his visa year after year, itself largely composed of repair bills for the car and boat, and so on, I'm not saying it wasn't a fun ride but someone had to pay the toll). It was all rolled into a mortgage on my house, which he walked away from, not offering one cent on paying off that debt, a house I had originally owned outright. So I rented the basement, gave up my study/bedroom on the top floor and rented that, slept in my daughter's room, and continued on for 6 years, until I couldn't any more. My monthly payments were astronomical in comparison to my income. I sold my house, making almost no profit. With the money I bought computer equipment for my kids and I mostly, and financed a move to Vancouver and paid one year's rent on a house there.

After that year was up I had problems finding full time work, which I've blogged about, so accrued some debts, but tiny ones in comparison to where I'd been.

I'm happy to say that as of today I am free of debt to any institutions I owed money to. There are some debts to individuals and to family still, but the larger stuff is gone.

It's taken an extreme amount of effort to get to this point, now nine years after my marriage ended. But I've done it. I am proud of myself!

No, no money left over to go out and celebrate being debt-free to any institutions or companies. That's not the point. I'm doing an inner dance, and singing through today. The personal debts, the way I've been helped out, I now know will also get paid back. This is possible, today is living proof that it is. I gave up my credit card in the late 80s; my husband didn't. But then I gave him up. And slowly on almost no income I've managed to get back to a balance of 0, and now see that it's possible to again build equity. Maybe not all the way back to where I was before marrying, but somewhere.



Postscript: Cripes, yes I was debt-free after selling my beloved house, my home, but I was still basing my life on projections in the future - a year of writing, then a full-time job. It didn't materialize. I feel quite stabilized now in that I'm living in meagre surroundings but I can afford this. In the here and now. I'm not living 'on projections' (which I also did all through the married years). Is this called facing reality?

Whatever it is, it feels pretty darn good.

Postscript2: Do I regret marrying him? Look at my two children, just look at them. Well, this is the public internet and you can't. But if you could, you'd know that's not a relevant question.

No regrets. Only why was it at nearly the end of the marriage when I found out his family has a history of doing this to wives? His grandfather blew through his grandmother's fortune, philandering on her, even bringing his lovers into the house when she was there, and left her penniless, something his father grew up with with a lot of anger (he died just after we were married and was ill for some time before that, so I didn't hear the stories). And who knows of the generations before that. There was precedence. None of his wealthy family seemed to think what happened to me meant anything; I guess it was old hat to them. Now that's where I should have been more cognizant. I would have if it had been a history of violence towards women or children, obviously, but a history of financial abuse of wives? You'd hardly have thought it possible, given the patristic economic structure of past centuries... surely there's a story here of generations of a family.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's happening...

Well, I had a post up momentarily, but took it down and submitted it to qarrtsiluni, where it may even show up if the editors decide to take a chance on it, or me.

Then I walked on this pressingly humid day down a long city block to buy fruit and vegetables in preparation for my children, who arrive in an hour by train. Having found all the nectarines I've purchased in the past few years to be crunchy like apples, I picked only one. After filling my cart with produce and paying, I began the trek up the street but stopped and took out the dark almost brownish red nectarine, rubbed it on my blue-hued sarong, thought never mind if it isn't washed, and bit into it.

Honeyed. Drippingly honied. Juicy and rich, the colour of the setting sun, massaging my tongue with ecstasies, covering my nose, cheeks, chin with a delicate layer of nectarine syrup that I wiped on my hands, and both arms, until I was a sticky, scented fruit flower for bees. Eating such a ripe and succulent nectarine was practically pornographic, well imbibing such a treat in public seemed like that. It was flagrantly sensuous and delicious.

When you thought you were going to have a nearly flavourless, crunchy thing, a rich medley of juices burst into your hot mouth. And then you just wanted to drop your cart and go back to the little Chinese grocer's and buy the whole bushel... you went on to the supermarket instead and bought milk and yogurt and bottled water for the move tomorrow. But you had your moment.

Tomorrow my two brothers and son and daughter and I are moving our household goods from an outer suburban storage unit to one nearby. In 35C humidity! Somehow 60 boxes of books and solid teak shelves to hold them have to come down into my subaltern abode, the basement apartment where my daughter and I currently live, and I know it's impossible and it has to be done. But, oh, how good it'll be to have access to my books again!

I'll be back in a few days...

*hugs xo

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In the Studio We Paint Ourselves

I am at the door and they see me. Frightened I run up the white stairs, winding around. They are moving as a group in dark clothes across the tarmac, stark as knives in the glare of light. Their pleated black coats, heavy. My daughter flies up the stairs, "It's okay, they're here to visit, not to hurt you." Distrustful, I descend the stairs.

The foyer which is where I live has become a studio but is still a garage. Its gilded mirrors and high ceilings and brocaded ceiling and graceful wainscoting and trim seem as Renaissance as their Shakespearean coats. My paintings hang everywhere.

Where am I? This is no place that I've ever seen before. The hardwood floors gleam, light pours baroquely in through leaded glass windows. The mantle over the fireplace is magnificent white marble with Corinthian columns on either side. I can breathe in this elegant place.

A friend who emerges from the group waves her arm and shows me my space and shows me that I need not fear and leaves. I want to hover in her vision of me for it is not my own.

Another woman in black leather with blonde hair is standing astride a motorcycle at the opened garage door, so perfect for a studio, to have a door that unfolds on rollers and slides up, and I would like her to stay, to visit, to talk, but she roars off.

I wake to heavy fertile rain falling outside the window.

The Deeper Meditation

During the years I've been a single mother mostly full-time I've found that in the Summer, when I get a bit of a respite, I am always surprised at how I virtually collapse. I had things planned for this time alone. Then I realize that 'being up,' holding an emotional space steady, as well as earning money from different sources, and all the shopping, cleaning, feeding, structuring of a life all year takes its toll, and everything that was put off comes around. I worked one day this week. Last night, after spending 5 hours reformatting a Win98 laptop with a noxious virus that kept replicating as fast as I could delete enough space to run the utilities disc, I gave up on my planned projects and of trying to keep normal hours and am letting myself fall into whatever feels most natural. If that's going to bed at 2am and getting up at 5:30am and then sleeping from 11am to 12pm, okay. I eat very simply when I'm hungry (lots of fresh fruit and vegetables); go for long walks with Keesha, my dog, through the St. Clair ravine (yesterday I saw perhaps 3 people in there, one sun bather reading, two jogging women); read, and rest, and rest. I don't ruminate. I don't think. I just feel all the places where it hurts, all the things that bewilder me, and let heal. I have to be through this by Sunday...

The Deeper Meditation

I want
to lie here

and do
nothing
but heal.

I trace
the world
mnemonically,
move
through the scenes
of my life
like a sleepwalker.

Bandaging
rubbing cream
into old scars
massaging
peeling the layers
behind which I hide.

The rain
falls softly
as I lie prone.

Breathing deeply
the humid
healing air.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Morning Pages... The Dark Moneyed Heart

The business world will never open it's dark moneyed heart to me... long have I tried to understand this aspect of the networks of relationships in the world. A symbolic system rules our realities - capital enables us to survive in Capitalism even amidst the rich resources of the world. Marx died penniless and in debt. Hadn't I better go in fear of what dumbfounds me?

Making it in the world means making it economically. Being grounded means being moneyed. Yet the soil is not made of printed paper money. Rather it's in the ineffable mysteries of bank statements, stocks, numbers on sheets, endless transactions.

If I wanted to reproduce the world papered in money I couldn't have done a better job than a globally persuasive Capitalism has. Health is cash flow.

It isn't really, but how did we substitute a symbolic system for reality?

Despite what may be said, it is not plain nor simple nor easy to understand.

It is the dark moneyed heart beating at the centre of it that I understand least of all.

It is a system we've created and I accept that. I accept it as I accept the aesthetic system, in its art, literature, music. Or any of the other systems. But that doesn't mean I don't see such systems as manipulations of and overlays on nature.

It's just that the economic system is so vast and complex and all-pervasive; the multiple ways it substitutes a monetary system for reality are confounding and largely unpredictable.

I cannot walk barefoot on the earth, nor do I live in an Eden where food is plentiful. Nothing is free. We are trapped in our own syllogisms.

It's too late for me to go and do a degree in economics. But everything pales beside it. It's the monolithic, gigantic, over-arching true God of the millenias.

Terms like lucrative are appealing, aren't they? Wealth. Prestige. Success. Mammon shores us up. Let's be practical about it.

But Mammon is shouting at me through dark beating waves, "Then you make a better system of distribution..."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Computers' Befuddlements...

Today I saw my paintings on a PC, an older one I think. And was shocked to see the darkness of the images. Not only is the colour off, but much of the detail is lost. Now I'm thinking of posting two images - one for an Apple, and one for a PC. Or is it a problem of older computer models versus newer ones?

Can you let me know which one shows a range of purples in the dresses? From dark where the paint is squeezed on pure to more transparent where it's washed out, as well as a few strokes of a magenta overlay on the upper body...

The whites are another aspect entirely. The white in the lower left corner is actually whiter and brighter then the white under the right most figure's feet - which is actually quite bluish.

Oh, for colour calibration!

A beautiful interpretation of a dear friend, laurieglynn, that I certainly didn't see (or intend): "as I visit this remarkable painting once again, that the first image is rising and the second holds a sphere of Light~~as though in the Dawning, she captures the Morning Star in her hand, while the third one brings up the Sun~"

She must have been an angel on an Apple! :) Beautiy in the eye of the beholder... thank you, laurieglynn!

Lightened for a(n imaginary) PC (I don't have one here to compare):


Apple version:


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Final Self Portrait: Dancing Of The Selves

Dance Of The Selves

Dancing of the Selves

What is the self?

Peel away to nothing.

Only energies,
inner winds and flames
streams of thought
a body of cells of earthdust.

Who am I?

Am I my memories
shifting and changing like ice flows
or the sand of the desert?

We are transducers, relay switches,
cross-currents of selves.
I deconstruct in paint across the canvas.

Am I what I offer--
scrawl of words, strokes of paint,
a flash dance through the air,
a few ideas, a point of gravity
where the light bends?

My children who tumbled out of me?

I am a link
in the generations,
an ancestor's grand daughter,
great aunt of the future,
a name for genealogists.

A living person
breathing on this page
where I write quickly.

A slight tangle
in the gangalia
of cells, and
my memories,
gone.

That's not me.

I am only
who I am
loving you.

__________
For Sparky's Self Portrait Marathon. Thank you, Sparky, or Wally Torta, for all the time and care that you've put into this marathon. Take a look at the slideshow of all the entries in the marathon, fabulous! Thanks to Natalie for conceiving this marathon.

Dancing of the Selves, oil on canvas board, 22" x 28".

Self Portrait #10 - Dancing Selves, Version 2

I'm trying to remember how long it takes for me to 'come round' to a painting - they're always such a shock when they're first done. Even things we create we have to get used to as they grow on us.

I'll fiddle with it for a few hours, then go to the library to pick up some books that have come in, and perhaps buy another canvas. Usually I trace the drawing, just in case I'm not happy with the painting, and I didn't this time because the large roll of parchment paper is in the back of the closet under the stairs, behind the small kitchen cupboard with the hot plate on it, and behind the iMac box, and it's a determined effort to get anything out of there. The canvas board seems to work, it's fairly dry this morning, and no buckling, but if I try again that means re-drawing the image, oh groan.

The colours are darker than they are in real life. I had hoped the way Flikr and Blogger lighten everything would compensate for it; but, no, and I didn't see this until it was uploaded. Flikr's free accounts have a 20MG limit each month, and I'm already at 28% of that. There'll be more posts of this painting later too.

When I look at it, I see wailing almost - that there's some storm or tempest. Or is that just my tired eyes? I was up till 3am and then woken at 9am by the thunderous noise of young children running and shouting just above my head. It's a good thing I love children, eh!

Self Portrait #10 -Dancing Selves, Version 2

Self Portrait #10 - Dancing Selves

I would say this is my least successful so far. It's still wet, and this is only the first layer of paint. But I wanted it to be done, and of course it isn't. We'll see how I can "fix it up" tomorrow.

Self -Portrait  #10 - Dancing Selves

Friday, July 07, 2006

Almost there... Updated below, a sketch now...

One more day and then Sparky's Self-Portrait Marathon is over, and what a month it's been! As I'd been planning, I took some photos of "dancing." But seem unable, so far, to use them as inspiration for a painting. I stare at the blank canvas, this time larger, 22" x 28", draw some lines, erase. I know that the paint won't be dry enough by tomorrow to 'finish' anything that might happen today, and so then I consider entering the last set of 'dancing photos' and letting it go at that.

Only one of the reasons I started blogging was to deal with an incessant writer's block, and painter's block. It's been the most terrific remedy, too.

So paint I must.

It made me laugh, but someone said that my 'self portrait' photographs were way better than my paintings!

Now, don't ya know, the lawd made cameras to free up artists from havin' to represent the world representationally. Oh, they can do it if they want, but they don't have to no more!

But it's having an effect, all this honesty. People still prefer what "looks like" to an interpretation that becomes another kind of "looking like..." And how I've wished I could prop up a mirror where my workplace is and do one from life, but money went into paint, the latter seeming more of a priority.

In the midst of all this, naturally crisis arises, and the moving company threatens to auction or throw out my household goods because they discovered they can get three times what I'm paying for the space my items take up. So a new apartment search is on, reading classified ads till I can't see straight between paint brush strokes and blog reading. Just now PS-Storage has called to let me know the size storage I need is available and if a suitable apartment in this area doesn't emerge over the weekend, my brothers and son and I hopefully will be moving our stuff downtown. The storage is within walking distance; it'll be good to have access to my household again. All the books will have to come into this tiny basement apartment, though...

I look at the blank canvas, sigh, pick up a pencil... we'll see what, if anything, emerges.

Sometimes, it's just DIVE.

__________

Later, well, it is white canvas board, and I took the photo in direct sun, but the whites don't want to show.

Don't know how much of a self-portrait it'll be, in the traditional sense, but at least there's something to guide the paint now...

After meditating, and walking Keesha (my dog), more diving... see you later!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Celebrating the dancer, sort of...

These are not as well done as they could have been. I got into my favourite dance duds, ran upstairs when the house was quiet, set up a tripod, dashed and posed on the timer a few times, grabbed the tripod, and headed back downstairs to my underground abode. I could have asked, I guess, when my landlord was going to be out, but then I'd have to admit I was 'taking photos for a self portrait marathon' - and who wants to admit a thing like that? Okay, so they're blurry. Sorry. And the bookcase smack behind me, well, some clone stamping, and viola! Gone for all intents and purposes! Okay, so I had to blur the background over the vanished books with an impressionist brush, put a spotlight or so on each figure to make them visible... shucks, I'm only tryin'! I am posting these with the affirmation that I will make my final self portrait out of them by Saturday. In storage I have a large 8' x 5' mirror that I practice poetry/dance performance pieces before, dang if I can manifest one of those mirrors before the ending of the marathon - hence the camera. And I will write a prose poem too... (please tell me I'm silly, because really I am :).

Arrangement-1

Monday, July 03, 2006

Self Portrait #9

For Sparky's Self Portrait Marathon. Take a look at the slideshow of all the entries in the marathon, fabulous! This excessive gaze at the self is over at the end of the week. Doing these self portraits is excruciating.

Self Portrait #9, July 2, 2006

The face is wider and rounder than mine- but I'm not aiming for a "photograph." I had difficulty uploading a photo with an accurate rendition of the colours and white in all the right places. I eventually photographed it in direct sun, the light of which is glancing off the paint.

7.75" x 10.25", oil on perhaps paper, perhaps canvas, I don't know, I bought a few rolls of it at Active Surplus awhile back.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Workspace

You can see the little card table, and the board on which the last self portrait is taped. Above it is our "dinner table," and about 3 feet away, where the camera is, is my futon couch/bed. The computer is inbetween, as well as an older Ikea leather chair. It's called cram-it-in in the most minimalist way possible. I know it's hard to imagine, but cozy is the word for it. Two can fit in here if we stay seated; three, and it's over-crowded... :)