it feels like everything that came before has been a pretense, a false start. as I grasps for my reality this morning my serenity is devolving into a massive heap on the floor, like scattered dirty laundry, colorful but smelling of being worn to long. The endless weeks of being weakened by a cold, has left my plans and projects sitting collecting dust. Has caused loneliness and emptiness to seep into the fabric of my being. i have missed events I wished to attend to photograph and be part of. Willing to spend my last few dollars to do so.
Is this illness, this cold, the flu, the true culprit or the endless dreams and visions which seem to energize my being for short periods of time, that keep drifting off like a mirage, wafts of smoke from a conjurors magic spell? Am I truly lost, have a just been spinning narratives in my mind. Have I truly failed at my life’s purpose?
How do I keep going, when my dreams and visions don’t seem to fit into a world that no longer cares for magic for healing, for beautiful?
I surrender now, I let go. Right now I am fighting the demons of illness. My center has been blasted out of me! It is debris, it is trash. Is there still worthy pieces, can they be upcycled, reinvented? Do I just burn them all and scatter the ashes in the ground hoping natures has use for them?
Waking up, feeling like you have not slept, body sore, chest heavy, the head in urgent need of coffee. Coffee cold but drunk, like an achlie’s long needed fix to face the day.
Stark blank screen endlessly fills with words, streaming out some thoughtful, many just flowing from one place to the next.
Coffees fresh and hot now. or was when I started. Nothing changed since I sat down to write, or has it?
There is no blame, there is no what if’s, should haves, there is knowing that it is within me, to show up. I showed up, this is the present. Is the future I wish to have? Not at all!
Illness, attracts ego playing mind games, playing tricks, making fun. Well it is not fun. Ego, get out-of-the-way, we have better things to do that lay about feeling sorry for ourselves. Is one step at a time, one activity at a time.
Let the little glimmers of light break through. The world is created within the steps, moving forward while sometimes going around or over.
“It’s having a dream and wanting to live it so greatly that one would rather move with it and “fail” than succeed in another realm.” The Universe
Drinking day old coffee, cold. Wearing cloths that are worn, frayed and out of date, piled high on surfaces that use to be desks, for the draws are full or inaccessible. Sleeping on a futon crammed in a room that was supposed to be temporary, sheets and pillows toss about hardly ever straightened. Books, books, more books, spiritual, educational, fiction/nonfiction, art books/photography picture books and essays, all piled on every other surface that can handle them, some in cases, on top of file cabinet reaching almost to 9 foot ceiling, on little floor space around the bed. Collections of found objects, feathers, rocks, miniature cars, toy monsters, solider’s of the empire, bones of creatures, groundhogs? A tiny space that was created as an altar, a small photo of the Sacred Heart of Mary, red rosary’s draped over the edge, wood angels, collections of semi precious stones, in a hand-made pottery bowl, many spill out on the surface, waiting to be held or carried. Scattered around them essential oil bottles, sticky with use, giving a sent to the room something a bit unpredictable at times. Every thing dust-covered, feathers from the bedding gather in corners that are mostly unreachable. On the walls that have semi peeling wall paper with 55-year-old paint, pale blue on them have a few of my own photographs, one of Terrill Welsch’s canvas print photographs, and a stained glass image of an angel.
Is this a space to create from, is this a room of a mad man, a hoarder, a dreamer? I once saw photos of Lucian Freud’s apartment that is painted from floor to ceiling, in the biography of Alice Neel it is said that her apartments rooms were filled with her paintings and little else, they lived and worked in those spaces. Creating images that seem to just wish to flow from them.
So if I “fail” as a house keeper or in relationships/friendships or other wise it is because pursuing a dream, following my bliss is about creation, creating photographs, viewing photographs and art… Self education of the talent that I have been graced with has enriched my life in so many ways other pursuits seem wasteful, almost unproductive.
No no my whole home is not a hoarders nightmare, it maybe a yard sale waiting to happen? Photographs are hung, as well as leaning against the walls in places I would like them to hang. There are boxes of old framed photographs on the porch among frames that need attention.
A small view into my world:
The quote from the Universe this morning also stated this; “At which point, of course, failure becomes impossible, joy becomes the measure of success,”
Growth Question: Are your following your dream, your bliss?
there can be no joy or happiness
no harmony in the world
even if hundreds of raindrops fall from the cloud
no secret pearls can be found in the sea
without the rhythms of love
It has been days since I blogged, wrote my pages… I don’t know where the days went or do I? The last I recall I was going to Woodstown NJ to pick up photographs from the exhibit there, we lost our exhibit space at Beans Coffee due to back payment of taxes, etc. So the Salem County Art League is scouting out new venues as well as having conversations about all of that. The drive is about a half hour south of home, not a bad ride, scouted out some places I could photograph, this area is farm land but fast beginning to see the expanding sprawl of suburbia… sad really.
I got back from that journey, I had three photographs in that exhibit, I thought only two, switch out them out to use new photographs for the exhibit, after having lunch, I have come to realize I need to eat smaller meals, yet more often, to take the edge off, to keep my sugar in it proper balance and not lost energy and half the day recovering from a crash.
I had all of the collection together by Thursday evening, Friday morning which was a relief to have made the choices and all the selections convey a sense of who I am as an artist. Ranging from beautiful Nature, to the wonderful nature of human kind, and the GLBT community, and the dark rumbled halls of the Eastern State Penitentiary. Lightness and darkness, shadow and light play their themes here, evolution, community, beauty the surrounds us yet sometimes unseen and maybe taken for granted?
Friday was more of a down day, collecting myself, my thoughts, my energy… While driving on Thursday morning I heard an announcement that, singer/song writer Shawn Colvin was to be performing at Copper River park, an outdoor free concert that the Camden County Freeholders supports in different parks around the county. I have been a fan of Shawn Colvin since her first CD, have seen her perform at last four times . So I took the opportunity to head out to the park to listen and take photographs. I was glad I did, it was a great performance, have some great shots, stage/performance photography is something I really enjoy doing, there is a different challenge to it then other forms of photography. Capturing the performer in their element, their emotion, the desire and bliss can be viewed in their performance as well as on their faces. It is an awesome experience to be in that creativity, the energy of letting the creativity flow and be shared.
The guy who opened for Shawn, Ryan something or other, I have to find out his name, a young man, looking very California beach, singer song writer, and performed a couple of songs, then shared a bit of his story to go long with the songs. What he said rung true for me and I think for many artist, he said he was at is office job always thinking about his music, missing work because he was out performing and finally realized writing/performing was his love, was where he was supposed to be.
Saturday morning I had the rude awakening that I had to wire some of the photographs, meaning I had to put eye hooks on them and find wire, which I did not think I had. I did, and there was one last piece I wanted to use, a black and white shot of night life in the city, very gritty and urban, at first the forces where not with me on this and then they shifted, and things began to flow, got that all together. By mid morning it had begun to rain, yet I had to travel to Philly to drop the collection off, I could not hold onto it any longer, it was finished. If I kept it I would begin to second guess this shot or that. So it was time… In the rain, the highway to the bridge was a wet grey journey, not a lot of traffic but enough to make things a bit slow and dangerous where it was difficult to see. I got to the center well enough found a place in front of the building parked on the street, I would only be a short time, and I was. I left the two photographs that had been on exhibit for the new collections as well.
What a relief that was to get the work to the gallery, to leave it in their capable hands, now all I had to do is show up on Friday. I got home and realized the contract was sitting on the table which I meant to take with me! Yikes… Well I was going over on Sunday, I would take it then… I did take then, I had to remind myself to do that first as soon as I got off the train to head to the Center. My friend Doug/Marshall was tending the space and he was all excited… saying “look, look you got the whole big wall!” I was like what the photos are up already! To my grand surprise there they where all my photographs stretched across the main wall. Wow! I was not crazy about the positions of some of them and then realized one of them was missing, “Faces of Marriage” which was my center piece shot for the GLBT collection, and come to find out that it is on the post card the center had printed for the announcement and run of the show! I was wondering what was up with that? I have a feeling that Candice has another plans of the piece, because the other photographs shot that is on the post cards was not on her wall either.
I so sought to write everyday, yet it would not come, for some reason or other, being too tried, saturday my connection was down on my computer and I had to wait for Jim to get home and then it was dinner and the night just got away. yesterday was an afternoon in the city and other things need to be done for venturing forth. So finally getting here to write, express, and reveal the extent of the past few days, even through I know I have not captured the feeling behind all that has gone before, I think everything will come in the perspective of time, and the meditation of the moments as they unfold in silence.
Growth Question: Do you find a question here that ask you something about the way you get things done, is there conscious feelings or emotion around them?
“Creativity is … seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” Michele Shea
Before I get distracted by blog comments and email, and Facebook I will write my pages/blog and then I can feel comfortable responding to messages and catching up with the world. Getting things done for my exhibit, accomplishing life’s little chores are on the goal list for today but first I am going to do some free association that chapter 3 in The Artist’s Way suggest to do in order to “restore the persons we have abandoned – ourselves.” I would not use the word abandoned, I would used the word covered up, or piled life experience on too without a lot of conscious thought. I believe this exercise can loosen some of the debris, awaken some more of the senses I may have lock away for safe keeping or recovering later when I am able to use the tools to enhance my creative, harmonic practice of life.
My favorite way to dress is… dressing better then I do right now.
Now how was that? Not to bad , actually was kind of fun. Anything disturb you on this list? Not disturb but made me stop to think, why don’t I remember playing games? Why don’t I know what my family thinks of artist? Other than that this experience was informative and maybe freeing.
Is there more to write, I feel as if I am done at this point, maybe I will write again later today or this evening.
Growth Question: Do you need to do some detective work to unblock your creativeness? How do you think that experience would feel?
“Whatever God’s Dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.” Stella Terrill Mann.
I have to write or this will be all lost in the ether of misty dreams or wonderings. I was have a dream just before I awoke this morning. I was traveling to Texas, no reason why, I do have cousin’s there who I have not ever met.
So I was traveling on a highway, going alone and I had a sense I needed directions and a break from driving, I pulled into this place, the outside I have on recollection of but the inside was an old train station, with shops around the edges, and counter’s and booths in the center. There were people milling about but then I realized they where all men, on later inspection, gay men, in all shapes and sizes, style of dress, some in causal everyday cloths, some in drag, others as cowboys and random other assorted costume that convey who one shows their world.
I was getting attention, men were looking around at me, talking to their friends but greeting me as I walked through the space, gaining my center, seeking food and directions, as well as friendship alone the road. I recall a few men being flirty and very friendly, and I was getting along with them rather well. May have had even some intimate moments, and then something shifted, the intimacy were over and people began telling me what they thought of me.
One guy who seemed to mean more to me the others, after some time came over the me and ask if we could talk. I said sure. So he proceeded to tell me that on first meeting me he thought, I was very nice and attractive, yet there is a sense of aloofness, arrogance about you. It hurt to hear but it is not the first time I have been confronted with those descriptions of my behavior or being.
So upon waking and walking the wood with the dogs my mind linger on this, what was the message, here, am I these adjectives that people tag on me? Is there a fine line between arrogance and self-assurance, aloofness and healthy detachment ? How about the difference of being preachy and offering suggestions or guidance?
Or are these behaviors self protection to keep people at a boundary that is safe for my personality and being? Now I have got to far into this and I am not sure that there are any real answers as of yet. Maybe more questions, having to do with self-defining, clarity about who I am compared to who others my perceive me to be without getting through the surface, without having a “real” conversation or a heart to heart moment with each other.
Aloofness verses observer, arrogance verses self-assurance, ego verse confidence, truthfulness verses honesty, preachy verses guidance. The word verses is not what I want here but the one that presented it self first, what I which to convey is the other side of the coin, the more enlightened, more healthy approach to being authentic. I know in my heart who I am, I know in my soul/spirit who I am. If perception of another conveys not that, than it may be their reflection being projected and felt? Since this was a dream and dreams about the person dreaming, the message it from a part of me that desires to share another part of me. Why it is presenting it self now I am not certain? I could be due to the up coming Art exhibit, it could be because I have been seeking more social activities that define me, that are of interest to my well being and creative purpose.
Growth Question: Is what people think of you important to your well being? Or a way to reflect your self back to you?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As your simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.“Henry David Thoreau
I have confidently gone it the directions of my dreams many times, in love, in spiritual pursuit, and now creative artistic path. Has my life gotten simpler? I am not so sure, for I have had to reorganize the way I think, the way I love, the way I create as well as see creation. For the path suggested by the collective unconscious to be a certain way, to do a certain thing to make money or to have a certain life style shifted when I understood what it meant to be gay in the world. That I had to remove myself from my religion of my family, to hold on to values I know I had been given by teachers I knew intuitively to be correct in their suggestions of how to manage life from a place of awareness, acceptance as well as inquiry and investigations. Much of that was abandoned when I found booze and boys, that for the next 20 years would be spent in the pursuit of unfulfilled lost dreams. Dreams of Love, from someone else, not from myself, dreams of a life with another person who would fill me up, make me whole, complete me. Ha was I in for a surprise!
Now 20 years later the rediscovery of who I am through the process of recovery from booze, co-dependant relationships, re-setting boundary, a conscious seeking of a spiritual path, that returned me to my religion of childhood only to denounce it once again to embrace a more fluid nature based spirituality influenced by Christian Mystic’s, Buddhist Monks, indigenes cultures, radical faerie/gay spirit creativity, just to name a few.
The path is always changing, always adventuresome, a rediscovery of who I am through the relationship of who I was and who I choose to Be today. The relationships with the people in my life as well as the circle of inspiring creative beings I have meant and begun to cultivate community with on-line. These blogs, these morning pages are part of that process, part of the ever-widening, expanding network of champions to my self-worth through my gratitude to them by the continuation of self discovery.
In that process I have to opportunity to assist in their growth from my sharing of my story, sharing the adventure, offering the map I have taken to get where I am, and sometimes it seems I am not where I think I want to be but acceptance of where I am and to envision the path of where I am directed with conscious intuitive spirit.
Another of the task for this week suggested in The Artist’s Way is “Imaginary Lives: If you had five other lives to lead what would you be in each of them? The point of these live is to have fun in them–more fun than you might be having in this one. Look over the list and select one. ”
a fashion photographer
a world traveler.
Which one will I choose to imagine or create in my life? I wonder?
I wrote earlier in my friends Kathy’s blog I mentioned that I had notice I had not taken my camera many times of late with me in the wood during our walks. That I was feeling uninspired, I walk these same paths everyday, and right now everything is wilting due to the extreme heat and humidity. Upon my noticing I did not have my camera with me what do I see a grouping of mushrooms that were not there yesterday… so Kathy’s blog was a dare to go someplace we had not been before, and I had just been thinking I wanted to look up National Park/parks in NJ, places of interest, there is plenty I have not seen and most I have not photographed, so my journey is to move beyond my little wood, take a back road, go to nature walks, find some lakes, take another street in the city… not only treat for the senses, but a challenge to my art, to photograph and to experience a new sight.
Affirmation: “Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”
“Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”
“Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”
“Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”
“Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”
As you see I did not get to go to NYC and to MoMA today, a friend reached out last night and I am going to meet him in Philly later to day, but I think I will go earlier to do some photography before meeting up with him, to socialize, to maybe do some healing with him, or just hang in the park, or coffee shop/bookstore !
Growth Question: Are you confidently going toward your dreams? If so, what tools, maps, etc are you using? If your not going toward your dreams confidently why not?
I am Love, Jeff
PS: I did go back and take those shots of the mushrooms and every photograph here was taken once I shared where I was with my creativity!
Photographs here for purchase, post card, note cards, framed.