Saturday, June 17, 2017

Poetry and Rubem Alves

Call it age. Call it stage in life. Whatever. I am becoming more poet than anything these days.

This switching mediums is a cycle for me to which I am accustomed, so luckily, I embrace the change and I allow the immersion. Poetry feels to me, more intimate than expressive art. I think I will post a poem here and then I yank it down; too exposed. Often they are just stream of consciousness excuses to avoid punctuation. Always, they are expressive and allow me to release my clinical containers.

Over the last month I have devoured two books of essays/poetry by Rubem Alves. This guy is my dream writer because in addition to poet, he is also a theologian, philosopher, and psychoanalyst. (How appropriate? I found him because of an equally and severely beautiful client.) His "sneaky, creeps in and wakes up" style reminds me of the writings of Rabbi Friedman or CS Lewis. I especially love what he has to say about mystery and The church...but maybe it's because his writings are like looking from a dingy mirror into a clarifying mirror, or the freshness that comes after taking a deep breath, or the lightening that lifts upon setting down a heavy weight.

Anyways, here is one of his poems:

What is hope?
It is a presentiment that imagination is more real
and reality less real
than it looks.
It is a hunch that the overwhelming brutality of facts
that oppress and repress
is not the last word.
It is a suspicion that reality is more complex
than realism wants us to believe
and that the frontiers of the possible are not determined
by the limits of the actual
and that in a miraculous and unexpected way
life is preparing the creative events
which will open the way to freedom and resurrection . . .
The two, suffering and hope, live from each other.
Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair,
hope without suffering creates illusions, naiveté, and drunkenness . . .
Let us plant dates
even though those who plant them will never eat them.
We must live by the love of what we will never see.
This is the secret discipline.
It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved
in immediate sense experience
and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.
Such disciplined love is what has given
prophets, revolutionaries and saints
the courage to die for the future they envisaged.
They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.
- Rubem Alves

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Love, My Genogram, and the (Meta) Modern Venus

I am honored to share my genogram, Meine Familie, in an all female show next month. I cannot imagine a more perfect venue and event in which to shelter/exhibit the piece for its first time public showing. Though the Modern Venus show is a separate and distinct thing, I know the space well because it houses The Finishing School, which is near and dear to my heart as it is the brain-child of my brilliant friend Jill. I will post more about the show as it comes in. (Seriously, could there have been a more perfect first opportunity for it? I think not.)

Following are Rilke's enlightened words on Love and what he predicted to be (what I am calling) the (Meta) Modern Venus. Enlightened? Yes, because he wrote these words over 100 years ago. I find these words to be even more true today, and love that they were written by one man to another man.*

"We are only just now beginning to consider the relation of one individual to a second individual objectively and without prejudice, and our attempts to live such relationships have no model before them. And yet in the changes that time has brought about there are already many things that can help our timid novitiate.

The girl and the woman, in their new, individual unfolding, will only in passing be imitators of male behavior and misbehavior and repeaters of male professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions, it will become obvious that women were going through the abundance and variation of those (often ridiculous) disguises just so that they could purify their own essential nature and wash out the deforming influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately , more fruitfully, and more confidently, must surely have become riper and more human in their depths than light, easygoing man, who is not pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of any bodily fruit and who, arrogant and hasty, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, carried in her womb through all her suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she has stripped off the conventions of mere femaleness in the transformations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching will be astonished by it. Someday (and even now, especially in the countries of northern Europe, trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining), someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only of life and reality: the female human being.
   This advance (at first very much against the will of the outdistanced men) will transform the love experience, which is now filled with error, will change it from the ground up, and reshape it into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being and another, no longer one that flows from man to woman. And this more human love (which will fulfill itself with infinite consideration and gentleness, and kindness and clarity in binding and releasing) will resemble what we are now preparing painfully and with great struggle: the love that consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other."

If quotes from letters aren't your thing, here's Rilke's poem Love Song:

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws *one* voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song. 
 *If you want to read his whole letter to his younger friend, enjoy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

O Dear Me

I in my vessel
all patina flesh and brain
Groaning bound with earth
in radiant pain

Thus I sail the stars
heave to in the night
Mainsail to the moon
starboard I alight

Dive into the deep
floating as I might
Neutral buoyancy bliss
gradient blue in sight

Outer space, inner sea
Love plus eternity
Flesh and blood
Earthbound feet
I am.
I cannot help but be.

Edit: I keep playing around with the name. I've settled on O Dear Me, a sort-of-homage to Robert Louis Stevenson linking with the last verse of this poem.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Work in Progress

Need to add a finger or two and do some more work around the edges. The emotional processing with this one is intense...and I love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines 2017 Forcing Lens

    I love making valentines. I usually start thinking about them just after New Year's day. Every year I ask myself, what is Love currently teaching me? My valentines are born when one answer becomes more important than the others.
     Last Sunday night I was meditating on a few current themes in my life. On Monday morning I woke to three words, the exact sentiment of my Valentine this year: "[Love] requires context." I also woke up knowing I needed to use famous context to convey the message.

     I wanted to use images of Venus and Mars for very microcosmic reasons. For the nearly 23 years of love I have known with Cody, we have fought "great battles" together. I am rising while he regroups, or he is rising while I regroup, or we are both fighting together---and through all of it we are always side-by-side. To this point it has been very rare when both of us are "resting". Sometimes it hurts to feel/hear the judgment of others...but that only smarts when my eyes move off of us and who we were created to be and what we are co-creating.

     On a macrocosmic level this theme of inconsideration without context is everywhere I look. As an empath, I have always felt my way into consideration for others. It is almost impossible to have the unique lens of being a therapist and NOT consider context...but when it comes to the activation of my own basic human emotion, even I fail to consider what I might not know. I think about my clients who were on the news this past year...and how emotion causes others to speak and judge without context...and how sad it is for those of us who know there's more to the story.

     So this year I took Venus and Mars completely out of context. In the absence of surrounding visual cue, the viewer is met with disorienting, mystifying and hypnotic *imagery which force projection and judgment and ultimately curiosity.

     On the cover of the valentine, beautiful Venus stands exposed in the middle of Times Square. Knowing she is a fish out of water does not stop her from posing for the obligatory when-in-NY photo. She lovingly expresses a longing for her own "home" (as opposed to I *heart* NY) while her quiet, confident, presence transfixes the tourist, the valentine
     On the inside of the valentine, Venus confirms that even her own love requires context...or more importantly an awareness of the lack thereof.
     On the signature side of the valentine, Botticelli's "winds" blow for change.

     Humans are relational creatures. We are so threatened by our differences when we can not/do not understand each other. This reality does not have to push us apart. Let us wake up! Let us dialogue. Let us seek first to understand then to be understood. Let us seek context and create a relational benefit-of-the-doubt, thereby cultivating a world in which it is possible to give and receive love.

*Special thanks to Steve Cloud for the awesome find.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mason's Pottery

This was the first week Mason drove himself to school and pottery alone!

He is turning out some beautiful work every weekend now. Thank goodness for Wichita Pottery and all the fantastic friends he has there. It's an awesome thing to give him another world to move in outside of school...and the family orbit.

I love imagining his fingers in the clay, shaping it, sanding it, dipping it.
The pot on the left is luminous and evenly glazed. The pot on the right is matte white in parts and rusty brown, shiny.

More cleaned up beauty

I think these beauties are oxidized sterling (unmarked/judging only by the ear wires)
I have always loved mesh for its fabric-like flexibility. These things sparkle and swing and dangle to my collarbone! Bridgette must have worn them often---and liked them enough to have them temp fixed. (See the tiny ring on the far right side of the photo.)

I also found this super-dirty Italian Omega chain. It cleaned up and polished just beautifully! The ring on the left is faceted by actual tiny bends in the sheet silver which catch the light. The ring on the right looks to be sandblasted to cause the tiny sparkles.

I think this is a glass cabochon in a deco setting---and its emerald cut is amazing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blue Buddha Ramblings


Every once in a while I allow myself to entertain this hopeful fantasy in which Chloe and Mason are positively influenced by their surroundings---emotionally, spiritually, & physically; the latter including, more specifically, my own artwork.  Occasionally concrete proof of this emerges and I love it!

Chloe has just started watercolor class in her 2nd semester of her 2nd year at college. She sent me a photo of this unfinished Buddha image on the far left yesterday.  I was blown away by the power of a few strokes from her brush. My immediate thoughts were "OF COURSE she's amazing at watercolor!" and then "Holy cow it's Cody at peace!"

Chloe and I have an agreement that I will not post photos of her art without her permission...especially if it's unfinished art. Well, I do not have permission to put this photo here...but I don't think it will bother her too much---and I highly doubt she will even see it for years. By then I will have the power of "that was a long time ago" on my side. (I don't really believe in said power. It would be a very different story if I were putting this on Instagram.) Anyhow, I haven't shared this with her so she can work freely until its completion. I do wonder if she will see the semblance or if she is/was conscious of it's possible influence? 

Ya know that fantasy I mentioned? It also works the other way around, too...these kids influence us and our surroundings.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Treasure Hunts Me

 I met Bridget one time on this side of heaven. It was the summer of 1997. She was a Diva for sure---FaBuLoUs yet completely down to earth. I remember standing together, talking outside her parents' Branson hotel while she smoked and smoked. In that moment I mentioned how gorgeous her wedding ring was, and she launched into this story about hiding her real big fat diamond from court collectors. I liked her immediately.

It seems like an ordinary enough that might even be forgettable (especially with my funky memory)...except that we were talking about sparkly diamonds, the human side of bankruptcy and I was there on my honeymoon.

I met Bridgette because her mom was friends with my mom.
For my wedding, Bridgette and her parents (Rhonda & Chet) gave me and Cody a gift certificate for a free stay at their hotel. We finally used the certificate and took our "honeymoon" when Chloe was several months old. I remember driving into Branson (Cody's childhood vacation grounds---the place of our first vacation together in 1994) and stopping to eat at Ruby Tuesdays, sharing a gigantic frozen margarita with a plastic goldfish in it. We then went straight to the hotel to sleep for a few days. We ended up leaving Branson early because both of us missed being away from our girl (the reason we were sleep deprived) so much.

Bridgett's mom Rhonda, is also a FaBuLoUs human. She and my mom took a road trip together in 1994 where Rhonda got my (then 42 year old) straight-laced mother to pose for a photo with some random "hot cowboy" at a gas station---she even gave Mom her lit cigarette to complete the rebellious look. It really is an epic photo; one of my favorites. Apparently they got into all kinds of shenanigans during that road trip which included seeing a Branson Wayne Newton....

In 1996 Rhonda threw me a fancy wedding shower at the Rolling Hills Country Club. A few of my friends and all three of my grandmothers dressed up for that shower. We ate a meal and ate delicious cake with Navy frosting detail that thoughtfully matched my wedding colors. It was a generous thing to do for me, the broke girl who changed my white wedding date a few zillion times that summer. Somehow Rhonda knew I would want to remember having a fancy wedding shower...and a honeymoon trip.

Last night I stood over a box of Bridgette's jewelry, disentangling chains and earrings and rings because she is not here to do it herself. I grew sad as I handled her things, and I considered her short life and her mom Rhonda. What must it be like to bury your husband and your only child within months of each other? I will continue to ask myself why this treasure made its way to me---and what I am supposed to do with it. I believe I've already received three more treasures from Bridgette: Don't worry so much about your weight, Remember me, and Remember/Pray for my mom.

I read a quote by the Dali Lama yesterday: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." I am sure Bridgette and Rhonda are not saints (we have mutual friends ;)) yet I will always remember the FaBuLoUsNeSs, the human kindness they both continue to extend to me in this lifetime. These are a few of the beautiful things I will wear in Bridgette's honor. I will enjoy re-working and bringing new life to some of the other pieces.
Coral and jade rose pin. Carved moon faces in sterling.

These are my favorite things from the box. Gray button pearls and a gold starfish pin. The 1970's silver-plated shell locket has glace Aliage (a Chypre parfum) in it--- I am wearing both the scent (a tiny bit goes a long way) and the locket today. The gold dolphin earrings have the most amazingly pretty/realistic swing action in motion when on the ear. The Ammonite...well, we all know my favorite poem by now...I intend to set in silver. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stretchy Bracelets

     I never made stretchy bracelets because of my love for the toggle look. Maybe I'm getting too old or too busy to be fumbling around with my jewelry---whatever the case, I am excited to wear these new pieces:

     I scored these beads last year on the last day of an estate sale and have not had the chance to wear them yet. I paid $4 (50% off) which is a total shame to admit. I knew I'd found a treasure the instant I picked them up...the heavy feel is one of pure grounding. I have not identified the two stone carved beads. They are cold to the touch, not super shiny like marble and have tiny mica flecks. Quartz? Ideas?
15mm Blue Coral, Rutilated Quartz, and Stone (You really should click on the photo and then click again to see detail)
     Our friend Travis and his family visited from Redwood City, CA over the Christmas break. As they were leaving I complimented his wife Veronica's pretty blue stacking stretchy bracelets and she took one off her wrist and insisted I keep it. I had never met her, so there was/is no way she could possibly know how many times I have done this very thing. I was so charmed I couldn't speak! (For God's sake, when I went to China I lined my backpack with leather bracelets for the sole purpose of giving them away. I still hope those bracelets connect me back to the people I met someday.)
    The bracelet Veronica gave me "holds" essential oils---and I have loved smelling whatever it was she had on it---maybe a tea tree? I intend to find out. Anyhow, I gathered the holding beads were porous lava stone and decided to make a few of my own. Now I just have to decide which ones to send back to California.... 
Apple/Tiger Coral, Lava Stone, Fossil Stone and Chalcedony

     The black and white stones (below) were part of a 25lb auction lot---the best purchase I made last year. I bought the lot shortly before the Excel incident. I remember sorting and cutting my way through the massive tangled mess one knot at a time---an active metaphor for what my brain was trying to comprehend. I remember spreading it out over half of the basement floor for weeks thinking, my family should be mad at me and why are they being so cool? (about the mess). Even now as I type, I get nauseous and sick to my stomach...memories come much to process...still. That time really changed me forever; I am healed when I make something lasting/pretty from it all.
  A little something I read about black and white marble: "Zebra Stone is a dolomitic marble in which the banded appearance is actually foliation caused by the heat and pressure of metamorphism." Fitting.
Zebra Marble, Lava Stone (the blue reflection in silver is my fish tank!)