Zeitbites Sunday: I’m Feeling Sed

So, these things have distracted me briefly from this seemingly intractable heaviness of mood:

Schiele, Egon 3

Egon Schiele

  • Egon Schiele at the Neue Galerie. [CLICK HERE] Why don’t I live in New York?
  • I HATE the new stats page that WordPress has forced on me. But, I’m a free user (which seems only fitting, as I am a free writer) and so, there’s that. And, too, WordPress jumped to my defense [CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS] when Ben Affleck’s people at FOX came after me for posting a screencap of his genitalia. Well, part of it anyway. So, six (or eight) of one and … you know the rest.
  • Other than my home page, the following post from another Sunday — this one in August of 2013 called “Sexting (re-visited)” about Russell Tovey and wanking [CLICK HERE] — was my highest clicked post this week. On reviewing my “searched for” terms, turns out, oh dear, the way most people find me has to do with typing in a celebrity name and the words naked or nude or dick. It is somewhat ironic (tragic?) that it is my writing which is sought out when people are in pursuit of dick, when in real life … well, never the case, really. Then again, I’m not sought out in real life for my writing either. Then again, in real life — I’m not sought out, thus … my Saturday night follows.
  • Last night in my usual “sought out by so many people, so little time” life, I was again absent Saturday night invitations. So, I started watching Empire, [CLICK HERE] about which I’d read various things, good and bad, but someone compared it to Dynasty in its campy, soapy hey-day, and that was all this ghost needed. Holy shit. LOVED IT. And while, once upon a time, I dreamed of having Alexis Carrington’s nerve and cash, now I want to be Taraji P. Henson —

— well, as her Cookie character — the THINGS SHE SAYS! She speaks to power. Speaking of such speaking (and how little it accomplishes) . . .

  • Oscar nominations. Old. White. Men. In. Power. Sick of it. Also sick of living in a world where conversations still include identifiers of gender and race and sexuality and age and religion and nationality and on and on and on and on … because I really, really, REALLY thought when I was younger — had HOPE when I was younger — that the quality and make-up of one’s soul would eventually be the only thing thing we saw about others. I hate to say this, but, despite some improvements, I don’t know that it is getting better — divisiveness seems to be selling. Big. Politics (Cruz and Rubio’s Republicans, Isis, Putin’s Russia). Religion(homophobia, misogyny, Duke University kicking out the Muslims) . TV (Fox News, Duck Dynasty, Duggars) – I don’t need to give anyone reading this any more examples — hate sells. Divisions and encouraging people to think what is rightfully “theirs” is being taken by those “others” is STILL a thing. Still makes bombs. Still breeds hate. Sadness. Solitude. Isolation. Speaking of which . . .

I don’t know that I have ever been quite this lonely and sad. But, with things like the NCAA approving child-rape by re-instating co-abuser Paterno’s wins and Penn State’s eligibility, who wouldn’t be sad? In the same vein, with the St. Paul/Minneapolis Roman Catholic archdiocese claiming bankruptcy to escape its duty to those children and families of children its priests raped, who wouldn’t be sad? With the church in Rome backing such a move — despite the Roman Catholic church being one of the wealthiest organizations in the world — who wouldn’t be sad? With that majority of old white men on the Supreme Court being given the power to decide whether people of the same gender can wed, who wouldn’t be sad? WHY IS IT A QUESTION AT ALL? Why, in fact, does the state have ANY interest in marriage? I find the concept of marriage idiotic, but that the state should have any hand in sanctioning and rewarding it, even more so. I took my Mom to her hair appointment Thursday and had to listen to two people at salon trashing Jane Fonda as “un-American” (because, apparently, speaking your mind is un-American unless you agree with these women) and “all these men getting married in magazines and on TV is making me sick” — aside from that syntax, the sentiment is just — well, WHO WOULDN’T BE SAD? I was turned down this week — not by literary agents (for a change of pace) — and not even for JOBS, BUT FOR INTERVIEWS FOR JOBS collecting grocery carts in parking lots and sitting with the elderly.

WHO WOULDN’T BE SAD?

And, sitting in my bed, reading, as I so often do and am, enjoying a particularly beautifully composed section of Celeste Ng’s brilliant Everything I Never Told You [read here where I wrote about it]  it came to me with terrible force that in all my centuries of living, no man has ever told me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me.

And, memory flood. Bad dreams. Slaps of visions of past slights and contemptuous affronts and dismissals, one after another, came at me, beating me into the ground, burying me alive — alas, ALIVE.

That time I said, “When you turn on me, and you will, I want you to remember that I am still going to love this person you are now, this true you, always.”

And how, I never said that to me.

Those times I cooked and cleaned and cared for and supported and believed in and saw and stood with and beside and behind and walked ahead to take the hits and fought the fights for and carried and counseled and was there, showed up, and how, now, I would, so much, like it if I was enough — or, even, just didn’t ever again have to hear about how I am not enough, how I am wrong — and how nice it would be to be in a situation where I didn’t have constantly to worry about living on a grate, where someone fixed my dinner and made my bed and cleaned up after me and did for me what I did for them, and loved me, really loved me not because of what I could do for him, for them.

Yes, I am having a lot of bad dreams. And memories. And I am sad. And I am lonely. And I feel unseen. Or, incorrectly seen. Or, just, NOT. I feel NOT. And I want a room, a bedroom, with windows, and to be able to spend my days in rooms with sunlight and silence. I am sick of having to sit in the dark. I am weary of all the noise. The endless noise that has followed me my entire life and follows me still. Always other people’s noise. And in the face of all that noise, someone always telling me to be quiet — I was just told to be quiet again yesterday. And I am — how many times can you say this you whiner — EXHAUSTED.

And, to sum it up, wasted some time at Boscov’s this week — because my Mom wanted to use her gift cards, and throughout the store, this sign:

Clearence

. . . so, yeah, I am totally fucking sed.

 

 

Fallterations: Edit, Expand. Lose, Learn.

Fall Colors

The tree in front of the house where my books are, having begun its fall-terations.

I have always been a lover of the fall.

This makes little sense, or, rather, has never made much sense to me. Or, more true: has confused and troubled me. In my life, September and October have always been the cruelest of months. And, yet, too, somehow: my favorites.

It was of a September fifty-two years ago, leaving an abyss of myth and unresolved absence, that my father died. It was ten years ago September that Allen, leaving with me parts of himself that only I knew and loved, died. Steve sat me down to tell me, and then, a ridiculously cruel few days later, came the phone call in the middle of the night: somehow, Steve had died, taking parts of me only he knew (and, loved; I miss being loved for those things as opposed to in spite of them) with him. And, it was this Sunday, last October, when Peggy, my sister, opening new chasms into which poured Tennessee Williams-esque levels of unresolved, family dysfunctions, died.

Too, before this existence of mine now, with its nearly-mad-making absence of aim or order, each September would begin a finally (for me) defeating, exhaustive round of the same pattern of events; a calendar shaped by commerce and tradition and the tedious, delusional need to impose earth-shattering import on the mundane and meaningless in order to sustain the illusion of “a life”. I could no longer keep up with the others there (anywhere, everywhere) running, running, twirling, leaping, running, jumping, dancing, and ever more running, all that racing done just to avoid the risk of stopping long enough to realize all the frenzied Dervish whirl meant nothing, left one not just exhausted, but depleted and, worse, unseen.

And so I left. I was as absent from my life as my father, Allen, and Steve. It had stopped being me, whoever I was, and instead, had become me trying to be the shape others expected – demanded of me. And I was never enough. Never wholly right. Always on trial and judged inadequate. Had I not gone, the weight of all the measuring of me being done in that world where I was less and less allowed, more and more terrified of the consequences of being myself – would have crushed me until there would have been nothing of me left except the continued loss of who I was, wanted to be, might have been.

I am awful with time and cannot tell you how many years ago this happened. I am also awful with fiction and truth, and, like Proust – not, I hasten to add, that I am comparing myself to him as a writer – with memory: I know memories cannot be trusted, change colors with time, lose the leaves of details each season and grow new ones the next. I, like those fall trees, deciduous, have been, for some time, shedding.

Deciduous and decide both come from related roots, having to do with falling off, cutting off. Knowing what to let go, and when to let go of it, never skills at which I have excelled. I am struggling now with cutting away at my novel. I am struggling now with cutting away at my life – still. Again. I am struggling now with letting go of things and people and emotions and angers and fears that no longer serve, that are no longer active. I am struggling now with this, the Fall of my life, and my fears about the future and regrets about the past. I am struggling to accomplish all these things, to handle all of these things with grace and dignity.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I would like to find it within myself to believe this, the fall of my life – despite what seems to have been a long march of loss and cutting off and falling away to a barren, cold dormancy – could be a beautiful thing. I am trying to find the beauty in the letting go.  By cutting away I hope to expand the space of possibility for new growth, and, from the losses, the terrible, traumatic losses, I am hoping to learn something. Anything.

AND TOO . . .

Thunderstruck and other stories Elizabeth McCrackenAnd on that note, here is a link to an essay by one of the world’s greatest short-story writers and most gifted, insightful novelists, Elizabeth McCracken, about editing and lessons learned. Click here for Elizabeth McCracken’s Incendiary. And if you’ve not read her latest, Thunderstruck, oh please, do yourself a favor and read it today. I own multiple copies, should you be unable to purchase one or borrow from a library or friend.

Wuthering Heights FolioSpeaking of multiple copies, I have many versions of Wuthering Heights. But I need this new one from The Folio Society [click here] with an introduction by Patti Smith. YES, PATTI SMITH. I’ve been obsessed with Wuthering Heights since I first read it as an eight year old. It was my follow-up to Diary of a Mad Housewife. My childhood reading list is a chicken/egg sort of question: Did the things to which I was exposed make me the kind of crazy I am or is the kind of crazy I am what drew me to the things I loved even as a child? Who knows? I do remember (or, think I remember) that I wanted to grow up to be avant-garde-to-marginally-insane, promiscuously and madly-sexualized, specializing in liaisons with inappropriate, beautiful, dangerous strangers, devoted to horrifying men who could never love me in return, and be the secret in every attic (to borrow from another Bronte). I suppose you could say, despite the fact I am something of a failure in most every area of my life, I did succeed in that list of childhood ambitions. Now, I want this book, but it is $70.00. Wow. That crazy (or rich) I am not.

AND FINALLY . . .

Another alteration for the Fall – (aside: so proud of the portmanteau of Fallteration – as I spent HOURS the other day trying to come up with one for EMOTION and NEGOTIATION to no avail) – I have stopped drinking. It was getting out of hand. It seemed time for a break. Alas, some of my best Tweets were wine-soaked. Oh well . . .

 

Being a Daddy …

I have very little use for gender-specificity in anything, including holidays. I have less and less use for holidays. It seems to me that if we need to designate a day on which to celebrate someone because they were born or took part in the birth or raising of another or because we love them in that way or because a fictional character was supposedly born in Bethlehem — whatever the reason; why just one day? And, all too often, the ramped up feasting and festing has more to do with marketing/brainwashing and “should” and “ought” than it has to do with any real emotion, and having celebrated on that day seems to give people the idea they’ve a free pass to be wankers the rest of the year.

So, no. Not a fan. If you manage to love and respect your parents, show it every day, not just once a year.

hot daddy

I am so NOT your hot daddy

That said, someone recently referred to me as a “hot daddy”. Now, as far as I know, I have no biological children. On the other hand, I have helped to raise quite a few. On yet another hand, that was not what this fellow was referring to. I quickly pointed out to him that I was not Calvin Klein; i.e. while I have no objections to frolicking with someone not of my generational cohort, I am not rich, famous, nor, “generous” — nor have I any interest left in anyone using me to work out their daddy issues. I never had a daddy so I never had any issues, well, about that anyway.

I do have issues about now being IN the “Daddy” labeled category. I suppose that is part of the reason I am doing the training for the 150 Mile Two Day Bike Ride To Conquer Cancer for Johns Hopkins [CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR ME]. Yesterday, much to my surprise, I did a training ride of 31 miles. Even more surprising, the only lingering effect from that ride today is sunburn on my upper arms. I might actually manage to really, REALLY do this. Which won’t make me any younger nor turn me into someone who looks like this:

June 15, 2014 BIKE

… but might make me actually be able to hear someone call me a “hot daddy” without cringing and assuming they are looking for cash. I was a hot daddy when I was done the ride; hot as in sweating and stinky and in need of a two hour shower.

A little truthier, however: after the ride, I went to a party. Started at 5. I left by 8. I know, right? My quads were exhausted. My entire body was exhausted. And too, one of the first things that happened at the party was that I was subjected to this wench from South Africa who doesn’t like me, or, thinks me below her. The party was in an upper middle-class enclave where I — definitely lower class — know a number of people who are dear to me, who treat me with love and respect, and who see me not as an income or occupation. Sadly, this woman is NOT one of those; she is arrogant and rude and if I used the B or C words — she would be both — and twice she stepped right between me and another person with whom I was talking and started talking to them as if I were not even there! She greeted, hugged, etc everyone else — and never even LOOKED at me, let alone spoke to me. I remarked about this to someone who shushed me and said, “That was loud, she’ll hear you.” I replied, “Doubt it, she hasn’t seen me or heard me yet, apparently I don’t exist in her world.”

I hate people like that. Arrogant, entitled, rude snobs. Doesn’t she know I am a hot daddy? Everyone else there was delightful. It’s NOT a money thing, it’s a breeding thing. Because while I am definitely not of the financial or political cohort of most of the people at the party, we all get along and treat each other with respect. It’s people like HER who make this world ugly. And who cause the peasants to rise and chop off the oligarchs’ heads and put them on spikes.

Can’t wait to see hers there. Anyway, I left the party early — not because of her, but because of the 30 mile ride, and, too, to come home in time to watch my latest obsession, Orphan Black. I don’t know which of the characters played by Tatiana Maslany I love best:

orphan-black-tatiana-maslany-tca

I want to be as tough and out there as Helena:

Orpham Black HELENA

Or as practical and resolved and certain as Alison:

Orphan Black Alison

But, too, I’d like to be as empathetic and hot and sexy as Fee (played, not by Tatiana, but by Jordan Gavaris — for whom I would LOVE to be a hot daddy):

Orphan Black Fee

And that’s my Father’s Day post. Although, why is it Father’s Day instead of Fathers’ Day? Whatever.

Before I go, a few photos by Collier Schorr [CLICK HERE for her]. She is my favorite new photogrartist.

Collier-Schorr Cane Collier-Schorr Lives Collier-Schorr-3 Collier-Schorr-4 Collier-Schorr-9 Collier-Schorr-13 Collier-Schorr-14 Collier-Schorr-15 Collier-Schorr-16 Collier-Schorr-18 Collier-Schorr-25 Collier-Schorr-26

 

 

Saturday’s child works hard for its living . . .

April 15. It wasn’t JUST my birthday.

Da Vinci nude sketches

Da Vinci nude sketches

1452: Leonardo da Vinci born

1755: Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language first published.

1865: Abraham Lincoln dies having had a bad seat the night before at a show at Ford’s Theatre.

1894: Bessie Smith born

1907: George Platt Lynes born

1912: The Titanic sinks.

1916: Helene Hanff born

George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes photo of Dorothy Parker

George Platt Lynes photo of Dorothy Parker

George Platt Lynes, 1943 Untitled

George Platt Lynes, 1943 Untitled

1947: Jackie Robinson plays for the Brooklyn Dodgers breaking the color barrier in baseball.

Jackie Robinson April 1947

Jackie Robinson April 1947

1980: Jean-Paul Sartre dies

The Genet bio by Edmund White, famous photo by Brassai, 1947 Paris

The Genet bio by Edmund White, famous photo by Brassai, 1947 Paris – Click pic for book info at Mr. White’s website

1986: Jean Genet dies

1990: Greta Garbo dies

Somehow, all of those things seem relative to me. Then again, when it comes to relative and my life, dysfunction is sure to closely follow, so, there’s that.

Whatever the case, another April 15, come and gone, this one a Tuesday. There was sleet. Yes, sleet. And by 7:30 in the evening I was wonderfully curled in my room, reading. I am truly happiest wrapped in a blanket and a good book. Long around 10 I had a glass (or four) of wine and some lovely text convos with some dear ones. I meant to stay awake until midnight but didn’t QUITE make it.

This morning I am looking back, quickly, on what April 15’s before and after that one Saturday long ago on which I was born have wrought — or writ large — or small — or . . . oh look, just some fun. April 15 has been full of events all of which feel — like I said — related to me.

Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff

Now, it’s all so obvious how each is related to me I won’t insult your intelligence with exegesis, rather, I’ll just be visual about it. And you’ll read a book or listen to a song and … well, there we will be, as in, here we are, going.

But, darlings, you know — or should, by the fact I was in bed, by myself, and so content so early last night, much as I love you . . .  well . . .

Garbo I Want To Be Alone

All I have left to say is . . . well, already said by Bessie.

 

 

#StephenSondheim HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Stephen_Sondheim_-_smokingI love and adore Stephen Sondheim. His work, his example, his presence on this earth has so enriched my life in ways and to degrees incalculable. What to list? How to list? Do I go on about what it meant to me to see Angela Lansbury in Gypsy and Sweeney Todd? Or, how incredibly rewarding and life altering it was to play Sweeney in Sweeney Todd? Or, to play Marta in Company and sing Another Hundred People, decades before real-Broadway had nerve to go gay with the show? Or, how about all of the times and casts of Follies I have seen? Or, oh my, yes, all the versions of Merrily We Roll Along, including the one I directed? And that time I was asked to sing Not A Day Goes By for my dearest . . .

No, you see, there it is and there you have it, not a day goes by that I do not, somehow, somewhere, have Sondheim’s words, music, work, his genius, as part of my life, my history, my heart.

Thank you, Mr. Sondheim. I love you.

Sondheim stephen_sondheim-300x300

And your music . . . your words . . . your music . . . your words . . . your heart . . . your soul . . . your music . . .  your words . . .

 

 

Obsessions: Jeff Bark, Artist

This post inaugurates a new category of entry, but one that will be all-too-familiar to those readers who actually know me: MY OBSESSIONS. Every so often I happen across a writer, a song, an artist, an idea, a person – and become crazily focused on that thought, thing, human in an effort to understand everything about it/them. I want to explore every angle, memorize the details, imitate and memorize (thank you Joni Mitchell, one of my ONGOING obsessions) until I have exhausted the possibilities (or scared the person away – no names).

Today, it is Jeff Bark. Click here for his website: JEFFBARK.COM

I can’t find anything about his personal life, though I have tried, except that he was born in 1963. His work is so saturated with color and meaning, I cannot stop clicking through it. My favorite collection – right now – is Flesh Rainbow – in which my favorite pieces are “Pretending I’m There Instead of Here” and “Everytime A Friend Succeeds, I Die a Little” – neither of which could I find to post – but here – look at these:

Bark, Jeff All That He left from Flesh Rainbow series Bark, Jeff from Woodpecker 1 Bark, Jeff from Woodpecker 2 Bark, Jeff from Woodpecker 3 Bark, Jeff from Woodpecker 4 Bark, Jeff I Have Fun Wherever I Go from Flesh Rainbow Bark, Jeff Jesus Kicks Back Bark, Jeff The Hour I First Believed from Flesh Rainbow Bark, Jeff Vive la decadence Barks, Jeff Lucifer Falls Plate 5

… pretty little pictures 2 …

Since my post this morning about too much thinking (CLICK HERE TO READ) I spent the day taking care of the female parental unit. This involved hair being done, jewelery store for watch battery replacement, lunch being eaten, a Goodwill store being visited (I got a GREAT $2 sweater by the way), a visit to the nephrologist, a “quick” walk through the grocery store (45 minutes) for “I just need skim milk” (a cart FULL of items) and finally, a really slippery ride home. The snow had started. But, you know what, she called to make sure I had made it home okay. Gotta love it.

But it made for some tension and so I came home and did what I do entirely too much of – but I have to STOP ALL THAT THINKING – I spend a lot of time surfing. A lot. Pretty little pictures are the only thing able to STOP MY MIND. Or, at least, focus it on something else. Or, at least, introduce the possibility that perhaps an organ other than my brain might get a little exercise. So, here you go … I feel generous today.

My $2 Goodwill Sweater - 100% cotton!

My $2 Goodwill Sweater – 100% cotton!

I love my bargain sweater find. I walked in looking for a headboard – long story – and walked out with the 100% cotton sweater. I’ll need to return to the gym and sensible eating before I can wear horizontal stripes however. And then, this picture below. Because I have been thinking A LOT about what it is to be carried by another and/or carry another and what love means and the different kinds of love and relationships and intimacies and how much we probably miss by limiting ourselves to labels and definitions and shoulds and conventions.

Les Inondes de Tounis by Jean Blaise Villemsens, 1837

Les Inondes de Tounis by Jean Blaise Villemsens, 1837

Speaking of relationships and all the different kinds there are . . . I think MTV’s “TEEN WOLF” (returning January 6) does an amazing job of capturing the undercurrent of the zeitgeist and the way we marginalize one another and the ways in which we screw up relationships by – again – labeling and defining people by arbitrary patriarchal classist tropes and conventions. Which has NOTHING to do with what I was thinking when I saw this photo of the Carver Twins; Max and Charlie.

Charlie & Max Carver

Charlie & Max Carver

I’m going to stop talking now and let the pictures speak for themselves. Because, what’s the point of turning my brain off if I keep narrating the meant to be mindless, sensual journey?

gyllen run gyllenhaal jack off JoBros Gif 1 JoBros Gif 2

Bat mask is empty batman downtrodden batman_superman Batman-Stands-Alone Depressed-Batman Here's to Survival Jan 1 2014 January 25, 2013 fabulous Tired ZANDER_BAJA

I have this Batman complex going on, in case you didn’t know. And an Oz-Isherwood-ThinMan-Trouble With Angels-Sterek Teen Wolf sort of thing too.

scarecrowsingle man 5 single man teen wolf3 thinman

trouble with angels

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt thing …

gordon-levitt joseph

And a thing thing …

3 nudes drowning patriota twins richardson3 Sascha Kooienga Sparta Lovers weber a&f abercrombie-wrestling-shower weber a&f wrestling-underwater Yearbook-Stephen-Homotography-Sinclair-08

But I’m STILL an intellectual . . . right? Write.

adler and didion bloomsbury group bowles jane and paul Burroughs, William S capote didion didion didion2 edmund white city boy GilesLyttonStracheyVirginiaWoolfneS Hurston, Zora Neale isherwood bachardy parker Peter Orlovsky & Allen Ginsberg - photo by Richard Avedon 1963 proust on deathbed source getty museum Smith & Mapplethorpe smith, patti rimbaud shirt sondheim stephen tennessee williams verlaine & rimbaud waugh bridesheadrevisited wilde bosie real fictional woolf

Good-bye. I have home-made chili and cornbread (I made them) and a pile of books and the snow is falling and the best way not to think is to read so much that someone else is doing it for me . . . much love . . .

…searching for meaning in tattooed lovers… this IS what i do …

(The New York Chronicles, Part 3, are on the way. I promise. But I can’t quite wrap my head around that sort of story-telling at the moment. The world energy is so focused on the so-called “new year” and end of year lists and resolutions and such. I’m feeling subsumed by it all; and when I have to keep fighting these waves of conformity – it can trigger one of my depressive periods. Resistance is NEVER futile, but it is, certainly and completely, exhausting.)

(ALL ARTWORK IS FROM RYAN MCGINLEY’S SITE. HE IS A GENIUS. CLICK THIS SENTENCE OR ANY PHOTO TO GO THERE.)

Let me be clear – well – actually, that’s the problem: I HAVE COME NOT TO BELIEVE IN THE POSSIBILITY OF CLARITY.

Notice that construction? “I have come NOT to believe…”  Not, “I do not believe in” or”There is no such thing as”  nor even the positive construct of “I have come to” but, rather, the waffling, negative journey-implying syntax  “I have come NOT to…”

Ryan McGinley's JASPER

Ryan McGinley’s JASPER

Oh fuck me. (Do you have tattoos?)

I am tired. Dangerously tired. Staying in my room, wrapped in quilts, lost in books tired. I recline, or curl in a corner, book in hand, but there are these droppings off. I cannot stay awake. It has been a long week. The 36 hour New York jaunt was fabulous and I was all me all the time – which wears a person out, it seems. And the holidays. And my sister dying in October. And me processing decades worth of loss-living and death-cultism and family-dysfunction because of all of that. Tiring. I am tired.

Which makes me go all existential. Last night’s Tweets between reading and napping:

  • Trying to avoid categorization by cultural construct & patriarchal heteronormacy & live a life free of labels is fulltime lonely work
  • Ryan McGinley's MAXWELL

    Ryan McGinley’s MAXWELL

  • I think Jan 2 might be one of the worst days of the year for those who find reality a heavy burden to shoulder.
  • Being a philosophical semiotician obsessed w/pragmatics renders each utterance of another a lifelong puzzle – which is why I stay in my cave
  • Once you understand how little of anything anyone understands, even themselves, or you, yourself, continuing to function becomes a challenge
  • Ryan McGinley's KENSIE

    Ryan McGinley’s KENSIE

  • So now I have both PHYSICAL piles of “to be read” books everywhere AND a huge queue on my Kindle of virtual-e-books – this is INSANE
  • And I’m panicked by the question “What has all this reading done for you and what is the point?” What IS the point – finally – of anything?
  • & like my aged skin, the slightest contact causes my etiolated soul to rupture & bleed, taking forever to heal, & always, now, these scars
Ryan McGinley's SHANE

Ryan McGinley’s SHANE

This is what I do and where I go when everyone else seems to be operating by a set of assumptions the validity of which I have come to question on the most fundamental level. The “doing” and the asking of people “what do you do?” and the defining of people by a system of labels of geography, gender, class, patriarchal-design social constructs, age, on and on and … I can’t STOP asking about EVERYTHING – “Why should I do this (or that) and is it ACTUALLY of any value or importance to me?”

This is making me crazy. This is causing a disconnect. I came upon this quote in my floating waking-coma yesterday:

  • …true emancipation would be based on the refusal of work, seen as the only effective subversion of bourgeois and bureaucratic domination alike. Only work refusal would have a universal dimension able to transcend quantitative claims, and to put forward a qualitative demand for an altogether different life.

Gilles Dauvé, To Work or not to work. Is that the question?, 2002.

Exactly. Sort of. But there it is … the conundrum of “YESTHAT’SITEXACTLY” I feel and its inevitable, nearly immediate “But parsed further – a pragmatic dissection of the intent and context – maybe not after all and so …”

Ryan McGinley's TOM

Ryan McGinley’s TOM

And this is what I do. So, I end up thinking, “Well I will just stay here, in these books, until it is time to have a drink, or I find my tattooed lover. Yes, that’s what I should do – must do – find a tattooed lover. I keep forgetting. I need to just connect with another human. Or, join another circus. Or read another book . . . because I cannot write one sentence, about the meaning of which I am absolutely clear. ”

Maybe, thing is, I ought to, well, yes – GET MY OWN TATTOO. If only I could decide what and where.

Ryan McGinely's BRADLEY

Ryan McGinely’s BRADLEY

… putting it together … art isn’t easy …

I’m writing a story about what happens to a man who has spent a life trying to find the “why” in reality through making art and then, suddenly, stops. He reaches a point where he no longer believes in the efficacy of finding patterns or telling stories, where he no longer has enough faith to believe in anything. Since I am that man, I’m not certain I’ve the skill to tell the tale, and, isn’t the attempt oxymoronic? Since I no longer believe there is any point in trying to explain the world or exploring the truth and light of it, then, why bother? It’s a pattern I suppose. A habit. I would much rather that Stephen Sondheim explain it to me in a song than I have to write a novel about it, but, there it is. Here I am. Wonderful article by Frank Rich about Mr. Sondheim in New York Magazine recently (CLICK HERE FOR IT).

Sondheim, Stephen

Stephen Sondheim

Have I mentioned how much I love New York Magazine? I do. Heartbroken they are going from weekly to bi-weekly, but, at least they’re continuing to publish.

Where was I? Oh, right – should I be writing this story? I’ve been trolling the web (as usual) looking for inspiration – looking further into the Narcissus myth – and I found the work of the artist Daniel Barkley (GO TO HIS WEBSITE HERE). Look at these pieces – gorgeous.

Daniel Barkley; Narcisse

Daniel Barkley; Narcisse

Daniel Barkley; Brother's Keeper

Daniel Barkley; Brother’s Keeper

Daniel Barkley, Untitled

Daniel Barkley, Untitled

Daniel Barkley; Conversation: Anthony & Paul

Daniel Barkley; Conversation: Anthony & Paul

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

Daniel Barkley

I think his use of color and light and the re-imagining of myth- to say so much without a word, to tell a truth, to communicate in such a powerful way: I am in awe of such artists.

And wish I could approach their level, their genius. I too have written a great deal about “blue” – but spending hours looking for inspiration in their work on “blue” – in the subtleties and genius of the songs of Sondheim- I mean, listen to Heidi Blickenstaff singing “I Remember Sky” from Sondheim’s score for “Evening Primrose” – how gloriously gorgeously dreamy and sad and insightfully regretfully rueful and wise and silly and stupid and aching and melancholy and longing and … all the things we are when we run away from reality and hide – good god – just listen, these lines:

“I remember days/  or at least I try. / But as years go by / they’re a sort of haze /And the bluest ink / isn’t really sky. / And at times I think / I would gladly die / For a day of sky.”

Then notice the details and dangers in Barkley’s paintings (read an interview with him and see more of his work here) … especially these with the same theme of BLUE as did Sondheim’s “I Remember”

barkley, daniel blueBlue VincentBarkley, Daniel Icarusbarkley, daniel untitled 4barkley, daniel untitled 5barkley, daniel untitled 6

These works – they both intimidate me and allow me (force me, even) to procrastinate … care to join me?