Posts Tagged ‘thinks’

Serendipitous gifts

Friday, August 5th, 2016

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
James Baldwin

Just now, I texted everyone I have a current iMessage conversation with “Thank you for being human with me”. It is because I associate those people with the ones I maintain the closest friendships to because we share our phones messaging app between devices.

This is, invariably, a false equivalency, though it became more balanced when I changed my phone number and worked through (am still working through) who to tell.

The truth is there are many filters that would leave deserving people out of the loop about this mass, and yet personal, messaging spree I just went on, but what alarms me is to discover that the selection process is not as intentional as I’d like to think it is.

It’s not even a selection, really. It’s laziness, lack of awareness, automation, which causes me to turn to iMessage. The fucking automation. The fucking machine that plugs my supposed need for that kind of connectivity and false belonging to sell me unethical products that are not meant to last.

Look. There are people I will never talk to again who deserve to hear me say “Thank you for being human with me”. Every single person I’ve ever met deserves this recognition. And I deserve that recognition from all of you. And I think it’s fair to say that it seems pretty universal that we have all been unconsciously programmed not to acknowledge one another in this way, but to pretend that we do. Like the quotes in Embodied said on the walls of Fred Wildlife Refuge,

“I am the collective effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Apart from never being able to truly trust anyone, I wasn’t a hacker, or a bone fide hardware geek. I appreciated that stuff, but I was drawn to hackers because I was a *communicator*, and I could relate to hackers. I like being clever and sneaky and destroying shit as much as I like creating it.

For a long time, being a part of the hacker community — and later the little red studio, specifically, had me feeling very special. I felt popular, I could say whatever the fuck I wanted, I threw weird parties, and I had a community with which to be creative.

In both those instances I’d locked societal woundings with whole communities, and the learning was fertile and priceless. We were communicators who wanted to build our own god damn platforms, to cultivate relationships with our expression forms, and with technology, that mattered.

Well, as far as I can tell, most of us still want to do that. But where the fuck are we? What the fuck are we doing? We are on facebook, and google, and twitter, and none of us trust these fuckers with the soul we give to them.

How is it that we got to the point that your fucking words, your thoughts, your fucking anniversaries, your fears, your personality scores, your rants, your sorrows, your calls for justice AREN’T YOURS, AREN’T OWNED BY YOU, instead being fucking manipulated and distilled and romanticized for profit.

What the fuck.

My space. My fucking space.

That’s fucking better.

I have a deep desire to be in structured school, with a goal, challenges, variation, and letters after my name. So many of us do, I think; we crave knowledge, a safe space to explore not already knowing, guidance, and we crave our own continued understanding. We crave the idea of education that the educational system abandoned in order to survive civilization.

For people like us, right now the best we can be doing is learning by teaching what we know to our communities, but more importantly to each other, our fellow activists; especially those of us who recognize that without drinking water, without being able to be naked outside in the sun, without food, without air, without the ancient peat bogs and rainforests holding so much carbon for us, we are fucking lost. Those of us waiting for the cleansing fire. The birth to the destruction to the birth.

It’s people like us that need to be learning from people like us who are focused on different parts of The Thing.

Start hosting workshops to teach the shit you know. Start risking your ego to make a difference, to open yourself up to learning by empowering others. Make that shit happen, and do it with fucking integrity. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make money off the backs of those society deems yours. Admit you don’t know it all. Explore. Let them come to you, and when they do; Teach.

Teach.

Y’all want fucking revolution? Then let’s use our fucking skills to prove it, and create one.

One day at a time, one habit at a time, ween yourself and take responsibility for your own shit.

Stop fucking leaning on the systems you recognize are corroding your fucking soul.

Learn what it is to nurture and toil the food you eat before you eat it. Learn what it means to be have less stuff. Explore options of supporting yourself that don’t rely solely on the internet, or invisible slave labor. Invite a friend over to your house to chat. Share your mentors with the people you love. And ffs stop fucking maneuvering your most precious relationships via fucking text messages, ya fearfulass Previous Me insufferable text-dumping asshole.

I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, but when I really sit with what it feels like to give facebook and even instagram the product of my mind, I feel a gross sense of self betrayal inside. I’ve grappled with it a long time, but I think I’ve made good headway lately.

And I’m fucking watching you, Patreon. Every greedy fuckshit mistake you make by us, I’m holding your asses accountable and taking fucking notes. You have to earn the shit out of my trust. The shit out of it. Do better.

The Notebook

I am noticing one of the blockages I experience around my writing, is that I rarely write. I type. And that’s different.

I have also noticed that my organization of ideas is scattered as shit. Self sent text messages, voice memos, emails to myself, google spreadsheets, soundcloud, patreon, my blog, the notes app on my phone, and hardcopy notebooks — all house my fractions, experiments, and prose. Ideas for my current album, Cold Front, span all of these mediums. Even if I wanted to work on it, just going through my fucking notes is like looking into a shattered mirror.

While I excel during projects when I allow the process to be messy, and I do best while fragmented and having multiple, different projects in the fire at once, I recognize that I lose myself in obsessive tracking and procrastination when I do not start those projects from a place of organization, grounding and levity.

It is time to carry a notebook. Everywhere. And to utilize technology as a backup, a failsafe should something happen to it, rather than.. Whatever the fuck it is I have been doing. Amusingly, I was just gifted one by a new pal.

I made him sign it. Oh, the pressure I put upon y’all.

One of the people who passed through my life at one time is a very famous, beloved author. He understands the value of a hand written page. I am thinking about him as I make this commitment to myself, and my work, to intentionally try things just a little bit differently, now.

Besides. I know how the brain works, at least in regards to how it processes information in the context of expression methods. I learned this as a student at Brian Utting. Writing, with my hands, on paper, making marks, will download the essence of what I want to capture into a place that is very unlikely to be taken away from me, even if something happens to my notebook.

And when I was out in the woods, exhausted, overwhelmed, spread to the breaking point while literally holding up another human being, losing my own mind and breaking my own heart and remembering what really fucking matters; the safe, private notes I drew to myself kept me going.

Keep Going.

I trust me, and my mind, which god damn fucking WORKS, to level up about the kind of care, thought, and and attention that goes into my functioning effectively. Efficiently. Conservation, restoration, nutrients; they are not just for the world around me, and not just applicable in the literal senses I am learning these skills via.

I trust me to fucking take care of myself, even though I have spent, and will still spend, effort and time struggling, and making mistakes, in that department.

I am ready to take another step towards strengthening me, so I can hold what it means to be bigger. Braver. More. Less.

Funny, how significant, this dumb little shit can be.

I’m Courtnee Fallon Rex, and this is only barely scratching the surface of what kind of writer, activist, teacher, and human being I can be when I am fulfilled in my work, selective with my friends, appreciative of my fans, careful how I spend my energy (and why), have the means to support and nurture myself, bathe, farm and harvest my own food, am seen, and paid, and create and perform my music on my terms for fans who truly appreciate my. Fucking. Work.

So thank you, for being human with me. I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not alone in my frustrations, my desire to see more empowerment outside of the constrained, incompetent systems that are all we’ve ever been truly encouraged to know ourselves by. In every career path I’ve taken, I’ve been the one standing up and asking: Why? Why are we bowing? Why do we immediately attempt to contort under these strains, these fucking invented, arbitrary oppressions? When the fuck are we going to stand up?

We are. It’s just.. slow. And I am going to keep doing what I need to do, respecting the influences, the tides, and the sheer fucking magnitude that is the task of standing up. Over, and over, and over again.

I am angry, at society. Today, and to some degree, every day. Today I also accept the possibility that this will not change.

Returning home has been a long, steady, breakthrough; a return on previous investments. Level: up.

Next challenge: learning how to respect my opponents.

Ugh.

Corners Turned

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

It’s too early to tell precisely. But I suspect I may have stumbled onto something I’d like to do for a while, which helps me to feel less powerless in the world, gets me outside, teaches me to grow food, teaches me about land preservation, restoration, and conservation, shows me how to effectively irrigate using reclaimed waste water, gives me ideas I can put into practice in my life right now as opposed to only if I had land of my own, directly helps to feed me, pays me, is helping me heal my scarred relationship with this city (and thus most cities), and does all these things and more in an inclusive educational environment spearheaded by smart, powerful, personable, women.

Whether this is my particular thing for a short while or a long while, I’m recognizing immediately within this experience that I am ready to let go of the stupid idea that the way I will make a difference is linked to my being isolated, insulated, cut off, angry, lonely, and largely disengaged with society.

I’m ready to let go of the idea that I need to sacrifice my own self and make myself fucking miserable reliving my traumas over and over again to express them for the benefit of others, being hungry and making myself poorer and staring at horror all day every fucking day to atone for the existence of capitalism, to atone for my previous place in the predatory self-satisfied tech industry, and for being white. For starters.

But most importantly, I am ready to let go of my simultaneously narrow yet long-game focus on social critique, which being immersed in had taught me and served me well but became toxic for me.

Reality dictates that without an aggressive shift in the appreciation, education and protection of wetlands and insects and amphibians and nutrients in soil (for starters) there won’t be any of us to oppress the other in the first place.

I’ve been feeling this.
I’ve been paralyzed by this.
I am not paralyzed by this any longer.

I am ready to enjoy and continue to further my appreciation of nature that I’ve developed over my first year itinerant, but to consider as I learn and re-cultivate my skills as a group leader how I might create a career around fucking doing something about what’s happening to it.

I am ready to not have to save the whole fucking world and every earth raping meatsack person in it on my own to feel like a viable, worthy human being. I am ready to no longer be tasking myself with reinventing the wheel of society in order to prove myself to be existing rightfully.

Fuck yes am I ready for that shit.

SEAF 2013

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Disclaimer: After a long week on my feet, I am a bit fried mentally, more than a bit exhausted physically, and yet still rather awake and energetic. My creativity is in the shitter, though, so if you’re hoping for poetry unfortunately I doubt you’ll find much this time. You will, however, find a blog entry about my experience performance directing for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this year, and a little bit of a backstory as to why that’s kind of a Big Deal for me. Also; I speak only for myself on this blog, and do not represent any official stance of the FSPC or SEAF directorial committee here. Enjoy.

Well, that was really something!

This year’s Seattle Erotic Art Festival had us returning to one of my favorite festival venues – the Showbox Sodo – which, at the time of our last occupation in 2007, was the Fenix. The Showbox had the best facilities and friendliest staff of any venue I’ve worked in, ever. They were wonderful and contributed highly to my enjoyment this weekend.

After many years of vastness and what became a disproportionate focus on spectacle performance art and dance parties, it feels to me now that SEAF has again embraced its roots as an *ART* festival. Though the event wasn’t perfect (um, we seriously need to strike those walkway tables after 10pm next year – great when there’s 100 people, not so much when there’s more.), I would be hard pressed to be more pleased with the results of our hard work this year.

Up until 11pm, patrons could browse, hold a conversation, ask about the artwork and purchase pieces without being interrupted, or having to scream over loud thumping music. During our after-parties when we’d raised the volume some, patrons never had the lights illuminating the artwork shut off on them and were still capable of browsing and buying, and were never forced to pay attention to anything they didn’t want to.

The artwork was the best I’ve ever seen at the festival, which is including the catalogues from previous years in which I did not attend. Most of the pieces that weren’t really my style had a clear validity and seemed to belong in the festival regardless of my personal preferences. I think I only truly disliked perhaps two. The film exhibition, which I unfortunately had absolutely no personal experience with due to it being offsite (I’d like to see the films onsite, or staggered next year with the visual art festival on another weekend), was spoken of incredibly highly and sold very well.

My absolute favorite parts?

In addition to this, I directed a suite of beautifully organic and diverse performances that included many shapes, sizes, and colors that complimented the art, captivated our audience and helped maintain a dignified, elegant and erotic atmosphere.

My team was impressive, I had an excellent stage manager, and every single one of my performers made me look really fucking good.

In addition to that, my workload was reasonable enough that I got to have a lot of fun at the festival, both during my tenor as a director and after my performances were finished. The vibe in the venue was positive, and everywhere I looked patrons were smiling and happily chatting. I even spent a bit of time at the bootblacking station overseeing most of the venue, smiling, watching people slowly pour in through the cash doors.

And boy do I fucking love being on a headset!

These are only my vanity pictures. To see the other amazing pictures of the festival check out SEAF’s flickr stream and be sure to log in to see the ‘adult’ ones with buttcrack and boob.

SEAF for me carries a long backstory with many deep layers, in regards to my individual growth in sexuality, as an event director/performer, and in terms of healing from an abusive relationship. I was first involved in the festival as a model in an accepted piece in 2003, and nearly every year since then.

From 2005-2008 I contributed to SEAF directly as a performer, patron and director. After the 2008 festival, in which I had directed aerial performances and performed, I stepped away from SEAF during a bad breakup with the Performance Director at the time, who had eyes on directing the Festival.

When we split up, we were both heavily involved in SEAF and the Little Red Studio together. In the separation, though we never officially divided things, I basically got LRS, and in turn got Obsidian (If you don’t know about that show, you probably should.), and he got SEAF, and with that, the Director title he’d wanted, eventually.

I was angry, hurting, mentally dismantled, and felt left out by cutting myself off. I was also busy with my own creative endeavors, and really, I had no choice but to leave given the circumstances.

Over the years, I heard through the grapevine of the changes being made to the festival, how it had become bigger, more glitzy, more stage show, bigger, bigger, bigger, and less focused on the artwork or feeling like an art festival.

In 2011, I submitted artwork, a performance proposal and returned in a limited capacity under the direction of Eva Luna as an ambient performance artist, with my most estranged year away being 2012 in which I strenuously returned to having no involvement.

I had no idea how much I missed SEAF, in part due to these changes I didn’t agree with and my bitterness toward the person making them, until I was capable of returning in a directorial capacity when my ex left on bad terms in December. I wrote after being invited to the first planning meeting I’d been to in 5 years;

It’s funny, when something is simply off the table, how disconnected with missing being involved in it you can be. – http://blog.neevita.net/archives/13498

I had forgotten that SEAF, when available to me, is one of the few places I absolutely, without doubt or apology, belong.

My reentry has been validating, satisfying and very fruitful after a rough start in preproduction earlier this year. I can attest with no hesitation that we pulled off a miracle given the circumstances and logistical/administrative turbulence we all went through.

One of my favorite things to do right now is marvel at how impressively all the people who remained involved stepped up and gave this event everything they had. We worked together naturally and without any pettiness, arguments or personal difficulty that I could see. Everyone was amazing at their jobs and awesome to work with.

I am so thrilled that I stuck with this through my storm of concerns over the last few months. I have learned a lot in the past 6 weeks and grown as an event director as well as personally through this experience. I really just can’t express in words how lovely it is to be back, or how proud I am of what the festival has become/returned to being.

As the smoke clears I can see that the occurrences which lead me away for a while had also saved me from the corrosive aspect of the learning experiences the org went through during the time my ex was in charge, and for that I’m thankful. Had I still been working on SEAF since 2009, regardless of my personal feelings regarding him, knowing myself as I do, I suspect I would have been worn of it and have moved on by now, just as it’s getting good again.

Instead, I get the best of both worlds – I didn’t have to continue working with him, didn’t have to be around him, I got to take a break and focus on my own work and artistry, put on some amazing shows, created an arts nonprofit, nurtured my massage and gallery business, and now I have the ability to reap the benefits of his work and what was learned from his mistakes regardless. Thanks, dude!

Now Extrovert Entertainer Whip-cracking Chatty Me fades into the background, and Tender Introverted Drained Me begins her recovery from intense connection fatigue and activity of the last few days. I connected with a LOT of people in profound and significant ways, my feet are killing me, and I am very, very tired.

For now, I will be behind the scenes again for a while, tending to myself, my personal creative work, and processing through the emotional impact of a very big few days – which includes being rather elated and prideful of my accomplishments, and planning my strategy for next year.

It feels good to be back to what was my element for a long time, and to again embrace it as a keen expression of who I am and who I want to be in the world.

I do not write stories.

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Dr. Papernick sat quietly at the end of his desk, short white clown hair darting every which way, his small blue eyes nearly level to the desktop, peering into a chickenwire cage.

He sat far back from the tableside, leaning forward in his rolling armless chair, elbows propped on his wide knees, lips smashed into his folded hands, scowling pensively. His breathing hissed audibly across his knuckles, in part due to his unfortunate sinuses, which he had inherited from his equally unfortunate mother, and in part for the fact that since he was alone, essentially, he didn’t much care how loudly his breath proclaimed itself.

Dr. Papernick removed his delicate wire glasses, turning his wrist to his forehead, holding them out of the way as he rubbed at his face with his other hand. Little piles of sawdust leapt from the side of the cage on the desk, like buckets of seawater from a boat, as a fluttering white ball kicked its evening nest into order.

Sleep. Sweet, elusive, nourishing, sleep.

“Hooo..” Dr. Papernick sighed.

“Don’t mind me, just take your time, Nibbles.” He continued, finding at the bottom of his well of half-formed thoughts a genuine amusement in the mouse’s apparent insomnia on lab night.

Nibbles was, of course, not the mouse’s official name. The mouse’s official name, though it was currently the only mouse in Dr. Papernick’s lab, was C7436. But who actually refers to the specimens by their numbers to themselves, anyway? Dr. Papernick hoped that no one did, and for a moment believed so, but reconsidered when he imagined Ingrid, the stern, short-haired lady from finance.

He was pretty sure, upon a moment of reflection, that stern inhuman Ingrid from finance has numbers for everyone, and never refers to them otherwise.

For anything that does it, (which Ingrid probably didn’t, come to think of that too..) Dr. Papernick had long since observed that sleep is vital to the function of being in the world. While simultaneously existing as an utmost luxury, without it, systems fail, breaches expand, and synapses misfire in tiny twinkling ends, like zinc powder on the rough metal wire of a lit sparkler.

Plus, if you’re human, your skin gets all greasy, and that’s just sorta.. gross.

“Blech..” Slurred Dr. Papernick, returning his smeared glasses to his nosebridge while wiping his other hand on his pant leg, before reclining in his chair, purposely avoiding looking directly at the clock, which, had he the courage to look, claimed that it was 4:27 in the morning.

Dr. Papernick wondered for a moment if his new intern, a skinny first year blond named Randy, had caffeinated Nibbles as a practical joke, and quickly chased the notion from his head.

Nibbles had apparently found a suitable arrangement for the cage’s sawdust, and was laying still, half buried under the flakes of formally majestic, and now dead, trees.

Dr. Papernick turned his attention to the instrument panel beside the desk, waiting for the equipment to detect the movement of the animals eyes to indicate that Nibbles had gone into REM sleep.

For some, like Dr. Papernick, the bony tendrils of the hopeless dark burrow easily through cracks left by sleep deprivation. At this moment, he considered the vast, seemingly unending loneliness in this life he chose, and how much he missed having had a wife.

Whether by a full belly or a starving one, too much water or not enough, environmental inconsistencies, a pet-child-person-thing who has decided that your rest is beside the point, or a maliciously good book, sleep is often finicky, even for a man whose passion is to study it. Especially for a man whose passion is to study it.

Sometimes, even the gotten sleep simply isn’t restful, isn’t tuned to be effective against the corrosion of waking life. That is the type of sleep Dr. Papernick had grown used to getting. And that is the type of sleep that Dr. Papernick would prefer to make obsolete with the help of his friend, Nibbles.

Just as the instruments begin to twitch and light, Dr. Papernick, who had foolishly reclined in his chair some 5 minutes ago at 4:27 in the morning without thinking it through, fell asleep.

Sometimes, if one is particularly skilled at sleeping authentically, or perhaps particularly lucky, the Elves of Unlimited Architecture, as I’ve come to call them, appear in dreams to repair the damage the modern world inflicts upon the conscious.

These are the birthplace of the good sleeps, the restful sleeps, the efficient sleeps.

The Elves of Unlimited Architecture are skilled, knowledgable, and formless. They take to the structure of the world that’s being created while the mind churns and flops and scrubs at itself like the agitator of a washing machine. Often times the Elves are even invisible, undetectable in dreamspace.

Much like a mirror to the nostril, the only surefire way to tell if Elves have colonized one’s head is to observe a sleeping person’s eyes as they unconsciously, automatically, follow the path of the their meticulous mending, darting back and forth in seemingly random sequences.

But those sequences aren’t random. Not random at all.

Sometimes the Elves arrive as small humanoid figures with large-eyed sewing needles, expertly darning cavernous rifts the likes of which have not been seen in this world since the days of Bunyan dragging his giant pickaxe along a river in what would eventually become Arizona.

Sometimes they are deft, horrifying spiders, with dripping fangs and quills, spinning patchy webs of thick stitching from black saliva that always looks wet.

Sometimes they resemble a membrane between the tattered edges of the rifts in our minds, shimmering thin oozing rainbow like an oil slick on the blacktop after an long awaited deluge, their edges foaming and bubbling and glittering with light as the whole of their strange bodiless entities heal and pull tiny fractures of sentience back into place.

Sometimes, they are medics, in the field, stumbling and waddling over endless dunes of fleshy grey, with giant packs on their backs, securing gaping ground wounds with super glue.

At the moment, Dr. Papernick is dreaming of a man, who is, but also is not, his father, sleeping in an old wooden rocking chair he does, but also does not, recognize.

The man who is not Dr. Papernick’s father, though massive and Viking and intimidating like his father was, is snoring from his bearded face, snuggled under an antique nightcap. His large dirtynailed fingers still thread through the metal handle holding his nearly self-snuffled candle, flickering lazily though there is no breeze. Along his arm is the deep red sleeve of a fine evening robe, and along that sleeve is a row of ants leading up his neck and to his ear.

In his dream, Dr. Papernick notes his father, continues across the room, through the wall, and into a mall that is also not a mall with a woman he desires but does not trust, where though he wants to walk faster, he is unable to do so by force of some infuriating, invisible, thigh-high mall mud.

Had Dr. Papernick looked closer at the man who is not his father, he would have noticed the ants, an endless line of ants, marching up his father’s arm, were not ants at all, but in fact were Elves. Tiny Elves, in green pointed hats and tiny black boots, each holding a metal staple.

Gently, with the fragile speed of the lightest of penstrokes, the instrument needle attached to Nibbles dances across a marching strip of paper.

How this story came to be:

This is entitled “I do not write stories” because, generally, I do not. I write first person monologues, derived from my own meanderings through my own head, presented in unrelatable and selfish fashions. I wrote a fanfiction about raping Jonathan Crane in 2005 or so, but that hardly counts to me, as the only character I created myself was.. well, me, as his secretary.

Recently, my friend Neil and I had an exchange wherein he complimented me on my eyelashes. I generally try to just accept compliments nowadays rather than diminish them by killing the mystery. In this case, I felt comfortable, and confided in him that my eyelashes were in fact extensions.

He paused a moment before saying “Now I am imagining tiny little elves, sewing on your eyelashes”

While I had been comfortable enough to admit my eyelashes were not in fact my eyelashes, I had not apparently been comfortable enough to say what I thought next, which was something along the lines of “Wow! I used to think there were tiny little spotted men in my belly that pushed out my poo when it was time! You think things like that too?!”

I didn’t say that, but a connection happened despite my appropriate modesty – Neil, this magical, vibrant, walking inspiration of a human being, said those things when they came to him, and if not that, he tended to write them down, allowing his meandering fantasy snapshots to become whole and real in this world. And the people who read his stories loved him for it.

I, however, had grown away from being like that, and only occasionally talked about those wonderful whimsical childlike images that ring through my head, often at breakneck pace.

This afternoon, as I lay down for a nap after a particularly difficult night of little sleep, I found myself imagining little elves, the ones from Dr. Papernick’s fathers arm, sewing together the defeated fragments of my mind, the gaps that were keeping me overthinking, from feeling happy, and from feeling hungry when I knew I must be.

I imagined that if I imagined the elves healing me while I was falling asleep, perhaps they would continue once I slipped under. Maybe my sleep would be more restful, more fueling, and I would wake up feeling whole again.

The nap helped, sure, but more importantly, I wrote down that thought, and the quick burst of all the types of elves that could exist in different dream worlds. Later in the day, I wrote them down in my first person fashion, including the image I had of the old man with dirty nails holding his weeping candlestick, and decided to take it a step further, and create Mr. Papernick, and Nibbles, to help illustrate the story.

This is a first draft, and I may play with it, or I may never touch it again. I would have liked to have potentially written of more senses but didn’t want it to be too long, and am happy with how it turned out. It felt good to write, to let this little story exist for its own sake, for the joy of having written it, and for a job well done.

Special thanks to Neil Gaiman, Beau Prichard, Scotto Moore, Leah Papernick and Ingrid Edman Markenfelt, whose names were the only part of them that I used.

I thought fondly of you all while writing this.

The Mask

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

My choreography for my (public, and for charity) performance on the 22nd is basically already written, and basically always was. Though I haven’t had the chance to perform my favorite act very often, I know it like the curve of my own hip. I also know whatever changes I do make, or whatever snafu’s happen during the act, my 11 years of experience will ensure that the impact to the performance is small.

I try to strike the balance between over-rehearsing transitions, new choreography, and things that torque my body with being prepared – and I never really have found a comfortable place with that, yet. But I have figured out something, or seen it a little differently – which seems to be what happens when I perform aerial nowadays.

Part of what I’m changing/enhancing this time, with this act that grows as I grow, is the ground work and storytelling. I decided over a week ago that for part of the act I’ll be wearing a mask. A mask that I have a slight concern about seeing through and handling gracefully within the act that keeps eating quietly at me in the in the back of my mind.

I walk past this mask countless times every day. I’ve yet to take it off its display perch and put it on. Feel how it limits me and frees me at the same time, decide how I want it tied, what to do about how it will effect my hair. It would take.. maybe 15 minutes. Maybe.

And still, whenever I think of the act, I have this gnawing sense of dysfunction, like something about it is fundamentally broken. Like it’s going to suck. Like I have gone too long without performing it and it’s not in me anymore. Like I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I’ve been looking all over for what I’ve been missing, what move I don’t know well enough, how I’m going to hurt myself or screw up.

But if I look at the performance objectively, that fucking mask is the only question I really have about it. What the hell am I waiting to be ready for?

Procrastination is such a demon bitch.

Edit: Mask works great. And other ideas are flooding in now, too.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Art is freeing and also the most rigid stifling cage imaginable.

A breakthrough, finally

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

AHA!! I finally figured out why I am so pissed & frustrated about my art not selling more, EVEN THOUGH I LIKE IT and don’t mind having it around, AND why it’s felt so much more primal and deep than just having trouble making a charmed living.

The more art I collect the less room I have to expand and create more of it. Energetically and spacially. My art is heavy.

In graduating into a new approach toward the external value of my artwork, I have been feeling energetically choked and restricted by the creative outlet that keeps me sane. Since bringing 95% of the Poco show home with me, I have created no hands-on visual art at all.

Yet, at the same time, I have been forcing myself to work through the funk, making plans and producing an album which has seemed like more bulk that I have to resign myself to most likely having to keep around me and in my heart.

It’s felt really fucking gross and awful. And it’s been confusing to feel so terrible and worthless lately and not know why, which tends to help me feel more frustrated and angry at myself for not knowing wtf is going on or being able to fucking fix it.

It’s been particularly upsetting to feel so wretched when people ARE actively supporting my work and buying things from me. Collectively I have sold more pieces of visual art in this last year than the rest of my life COMBINED and I’ve had almost no capacity to truly celebrate or appreciate those small victories. I’m desperate for something big to tell me I’m worthwhile.

Blegh..

Namaste, suckers: My Qi Revolution experience

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012: Packing for a 4-day, 36 hour Qigong seminar at the Tacoma Convention center. I am not bringing a laptop.

Recently, along with about 425 other people, I trekked down to Tacoma to attend “Qi Revolution“, presented by Jeff Primack. The course is $99 and the CEU (continuing education credits, which are required to maintain a massage license in WA state) hours are a whopping 32 hours for 4 days, so you can imagine why most people were there.

I went to the workshop with very few expectations. My hope, however, was to have an enriching and calming experience in the midst of increased stress in my life lately. I’ve never done qigong and understood it to be similar to taichi, which I have seen footage of, so I figured we’d be moving through forms like that.

The first thing I was struck by when I walked in was that the production quality was excellent. I liked the sound setup, the stage setup, the visuals they were using (This Aeon visualizer, was one of them.), and I liked the instructor Jeff Primack. His sense of humor was accessible and fun and he is a good public speaker and very personable. I also liked the Tacoma Convention Center, enough that I snapped a photo of it on my phone, which was mostly off for the first day, and the staff from both the center and the Qi organization were all smiles and assistance.

While registering on the first day, I had already begun thinking about the parts of my personality which had emerged, or perhaps more accurately had been muted, in this particular environment. I rarely spoke, to anyone, and did not strike up conversations with the attendees. Being at this workshop was a window into some of the personality changes in myself that I’ve noticed over some time (like discovering that I am in fact an introvert) and a great opportunity to consider them, especially since, with the exception of a few surface conversations in which my hair or hat was complimented, I didn’t want to spend any of my time talking with anyone. I spent a lot of time quietly observing, and waiting for energy and intuitions.

After we had learned and attempted our first form, I found myself suspecting in the first few hours that I did not, apparently, like qigong. It is extremely slow and hard to relax into, and I just wasn’t feeling the love after standing in one place and following instructions regarding how we should be moving our hands slowly through the air for 40 minutes

By now, Jeff Pirmack had used the G word one too many times for my taste, and had begun incorporating his personal spiritual beliefs into the lectures, which I hadn’t reacted negatively to, but was aware of due to the direction they showed to me that the workshop was in danger of going. He was also quoting religious scriptures, which I consider tall tale fables, and interpreting them rather literally, which.. you gotta wonder. But he had done so with the preface that he would do it occasionally and hoped it wouldn’t offend anyone, and I appreciated that, so I wasn’t really offended.

Then, we did the “Breath Empowerment” exercise, in which we all laid down while Jeff lead us through a breathing exercise in which we hyperventilated ourselves for a number of minutes. Many people had many profound experiences, felt vibrations, heat, cold, saw God, etc. I was physically effected by this, in the same ways I’ve been effected by having the wind knocked out of me or crying too hard, but the thing I found most impressive about the presentation was how well the sound guy had incorporated the breathing audio we were being lead by while still allowing Jeff to instruct us. The thing I found the least impressive was Jeffs assurance that we were not, in fact, hyperventilating.

Saturday, mid-day: So far, my favorite part about this qigong thing is the music they are playing. I’ve felt a vibration or two but nothing like the crazy religous experiences people are crying about here. Reminds me of landmark, with a physical bent and without the hard sell pyramid scheme (Though overhearing the wide eyed fast talking volunteer trying to talk some chick into buying a $125 book is grating on me.). I am learning some cool things and think the experience worthwhile, but the more I go to things like this the more I understand that some people just arrive ready to pop and believe, and some don’t.

By the time I’d written this update, it was becoming clear that many of the people in the room I was in were on a train I had not boarded. People were crying and gushing slowly and profoundly on camera about their experiences, and I felt that there was a strong possibility that they had been manipulated by the so-called “Breathing Empowerment” exercise. Overall, I was feeling positively for the experiences other people were feeling and know what it’s like to have a big breakthrough, even if you later discover that it wasn’t quite the miracle you though it was at the time, and that was fine by me. If it works it works.

That said, I was beginning to dislike how physical manipulations and over oxygenation were being touted as spiritual/energetic miracles, and it was pretty clear I wasn’t in this for the long haul.

Saturday, late-day: 99% certain I wont bother with this entire class. I like the instructor, the class is neutral and accessible, but standing around holding my arms out for 30+ minutes is just not my thing. Reminds me of my craniosacral elective – great stuff, love receiving it, and also not my bag. I could get into dance based on similar principal, but this energy harnessing shit is difficult and frustrating and I suck at it. It would be like another job to take this on and be any good at it. I am fine with my attunement with woo being somewhat divine and random.

After the first day, I had noticed very much the lack of personal instruction when attending a physical workshop of 425. I was working through a completely new experience with the aid of a couple video projectors and some great animations, but if I wanted a closer reference all I had to go on were the hesitant motions of a person near me who was also trying to fumble through with the same tools I had. I wondered if part of the reason I wasn’t liking this more was because no one was ever correcting me or interacting with me directly, but I also accepted that honestly, I most likely didn’t care enough about qigong to take a smaller class later.

One thing I very much enjoyed about this experience was the food and nutrition lecturing. Some of it was very similar to the nutrition class at Brian Utting which I loved, with different presentation and slightly differing naming conventions (Jeff Primack calls them ‘phytochemicals’ while Brian Utting called them ‘phytonutrients’, for instance).

In that vein, it was a fabulous review for me and by far my favorite part of the information that was presented. But I was very wary of the continual claims by Jeff and his associates and followers of miraculous healing and complete disease reversal based off his nutritional and food related teachings. I absolutely believe it’s possible and firmly consider food to be both the source and the solution to many, many medical ailments, but something about these claims and the consistency in which they were being presented didn’t sit well with me.

I had also noticed, by now, that the way Jeff Primack speaks shifts into a strange and subtle “Engrish”, and I found myself wondering if this person who is clearly a marketing and presentation genius didn’t do that to intentionally confuse and simultaneously play a race card. I don’t know his history or if English is a second language or what, but the fact that my guts were going in that direction about him spoke to my flags being up.

That said, many of the things he talked about resonated with me, and the experiences I have had with food, and my philosophy on eating well. I am still interested in his cookbook and may in fact buy it.

Sunday morning: Day 2 of day 4 (maybe) and I am borderline zombie. It was an act of sheer will to get out of bed, even with Tim Minchin playing and a large cat person pawing at me to get up. The nutrition portion of the workshop yesterday lit a fire under my ass that I’ve been needing for a few months, and today we get to try some smoothie recipies that I hope to add to my arsenal. I have also concluded that a vitamix is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather an element of my health that is important to me, and it’s now at the top of my “once I’ve saved up a few months” list. I want more living food and seeds and pits and stems that I won’t eat without a blender that can break them down.

I came back Sunday knowing I would almost inevitably not be returning Monday or Tuesday, yet open to and even hoping for a more profound qigong experience. As per usual, I loved the second part of the nutritional lecture. The level 2 qigong sequence did very little for me, but that was fine — I already felt like I’d gotten my $99 worth in other information from the course, and had committed to finishing Sunday out so I’d also gotten 16 CE credits, which was a damn good deal.

By now, I could tell that 4 days of this experience really wasn’t for me, but on the second day I found that it seemed it was for the kinds of alternative healers and massage therapists I intentionally set myself apart from when I explain my practice on my website. The ones who claim to be human and real but behave as if they float a foot above the ground by the power of their perceived connection with some greater universal vibration, especially when collected in a sizable group.

Now that people had met and bonded a little, every portion of off-topic conversation around me that floated into my consciousness was about some kind of extreme philosophy, spirituality, some other form of energy work, discussing the intensity of the chi in the room, or anecdotal health advice. I imagine that was in large part because the people like me who weren’t sold simply weren’t speaking, but the environment began to color my experience, and I found myself in a consistent state of low-level annoyance.

Jeff had also taken to expanding his God/Bliss/Love talk, which was really starting to piss me off.

Sunday mid-day: Excellent. This is the last day of the food/nutrition portion, and I have decided to continue to take Monday and Tuesday off, for myself.

By mid-day, it was sealed: I would not be returning, and my time today and tomorrow were going to be better spent processing what I’d already experienced. We did some more qigong that day, including some walking qigong, and I found that I gravitated not only toward the smaller movements like spirals and pulses, but I preferred doing them while focusing on isolating different parts of my body in motion. I consider that a cool little tidbit of qigong that I am happy to have taken with me, and want to play with on my own.

After my lunch, and many hours of nutrition and excessive health lecturing, I passed Jeff Primack in the hallways of the convention center as he was carrying a bag of takeout. Huh.

Jeff spent a potion of Sunday afternoon talking about Chinese element philosophy in terms of personality and relationships, which was fun and interesting, but then completely lost me by his ending presentation on spirituality which was basically his take on how the world and people were created (people first, as receivers of Gods love, then the world, after we requested that we be capable of sharing as well as receiving).

Human beings are exceptionally complex and intricate, and no one is perfect, even if they imply that in some ways, they are. For a person who claims humility in his spiritual beliefs, Jeff Pirmack sure spends a lot of time “proposing” them to his students.

Additionally, Jeff speaks often in his lectures to the virtue of humility in teachers, yet teaches gigantic impersonal workshops to hundreds of people at a time, standing on a stage in a special costume on camera and under lights, often relying on misinformation and manipulation to synthesize a spiritual group experience. Though, to be honest, I eventually found the anonymity comforting, and appreciated that I was never approached or spoken to by him or any of his staff.

Similarly to the Landmark Forum, which I have also done, there are many things of value that can be taken from this mans performances. My concern is that a lot of people in that workshop did not have their critical thinking activated, and will not realize that was what they were witnessing, and will identify this man with a power he has not earned.

Sunday late night: Preparing for a long soak in a salted bath after enjoying an excellent homecooked meal with great friends. Fookyeah.

I liked a lot of things about the portion of Qi Revolution that I took, but none of them were the things that I was expecting to get based off the information I’d received in the mail. I went to a qigong workshop and ended up getting a food refresher by learning about Jeff Pirmack’s take on nutrition.

That said, it is clear that a tremendous about of work, planning and thought has gone into the various presentations that Jeff chooses to teach, and they are presented well. It is my opinion that there can be something for everyone in the first two days of this very affordable CE course. If he’s a swindler, he’s a pretty cool one, and I can think of a lot of people doing a lot more damage out there than this guy.

One of the most valuable elements of this experience for me was the connection I had with myself and my limits. Looking at the event-lineup on the website (note: There is no syllabus or paperwork regarding the course offered at this workshop) I am even more pleased with my decision to take my leave when I did. It appears as though the last two days revolve mainly around the 9-Breath exercise, which was being described in the course as a direct descendant of the “Breathing Empowerment” exercise.

Here’s a video showing a bit of what Jeff talks about that I agree with, portions of which I have found to be true in my life experience and other elements of my health/healer education. Here’s another one. I have a lot of notes that I plan to keep from this portion of the workshop, which I didn’t even realize I would be getting.

Jeffs courses are affordable. His materials, books, DVD’s, are all top quality productions and also affordable. Though some of his methods don’t jive with me, I still like him, and I expect after this writeup I will remain quiet and neutral about what he’s out there doing in the world. I will be contemplating many of the things I learned and discovered myself through attending his workshop for a long time and I found the experience valuable.

But really, I can’t help but say, in closing; to all the people who are still in Tacoma at the Qi Revolution workshop: Namaste, suckers. :P

Wonder

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I’ve been traveling through painting, lately. Doing a lot of things I haven’t done much before, like take a week to finish a painting, let layers dry and having a fresh take on it the next day, stretching the canvas myself before starting, etc.

Even my methods are changing a little. I am trying out single stroke techniques and realizing that I create my shapes crudely, and inefficiently. I want to learn actual brush strokes and what shaped brushes are good for what shaped strokes. I’d like to get cleaner and more efficient with my techniques so my painting takes less stress, and I can sell for more affordable prices.

The observance, too, that’s also changing. For instance, I recognized today that I have no lengthily plans for most of my work. I take it layer by layer, and now day by day, and only when I get the sense that it’s done does the depth emerge for me. Like this one for instance:

Until I had taken a picture of this on my phone and let it be for a couple of days, seeing how I felt when I looked at it, in my mind the painting was two-dimensional. Even then it took a couple of days before the underwater sense really got me, and I saw the perspective of sinking while looking up at the surface. I’m even getting the significance of the fact that none of the bubbles are mine, and take it to mean that I am still holding my breath and haven’t let go yet.

Something I don’t know a lot about has a big hand in how I create this stuff. Never more profoundly do I sense that I don’t know much about art, than when I am most embodied in my artistry. It can be hard to take the credit. Maybe that’s why I’m so weirdly avoidant of succeeding at it.

But I’m gonna give it my best shot, anyway. Check out what the hallway to my room currently looks like:

At the very least, I can sell canvases to other artists for a living. :P

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

“For we have thought the longer thoughts
And gone the shorter way.”

—Ernest Hemingway, Poetry, January 1923

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

You know, I often wonder what the ‘something’ that must be wrong with TJ’s brand food will end up being. Because really, it’s affordable, delicious and doesn’t have fake sweetener or HFCS or hydrogenated oils or ingredients I can’t pronounce. It appears to be simple, honest food at a fair price. Seriously, what am I missing here? Someone’s gotta be pulling one over on me.

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

“My abusive and shitty past ultimately helped me develop any faith in humanity at all. If I stayed a good person with all the shit I went through, there’s probably a seed of it to water in most everyone.” – Courtnee Papastathis

Delayed

Friday, July 15th, 2011

When I was about 8 years old, we lived in a trailer on 5 acres of land in the country. Our yard was gated with a big wide metal farm gate that I, as copilot if our little Nissan sentra, was frequently tasked to open.

One day, as I leaned on the side of the car with my open hand, I slammed the door closed (it had to be slammed to latch) onto my thumb. I felt a weird numby stab, realized what I had done, decided I was dumb for having done it, yanked my hand out of the doorjam, and decided I wouldn’t tell my dad what happened all in about a quarter of a second.

I calmly and collectedly walked in front of the car toward the gate as if nothing had happened, for a total of about 5 steps. At that point a wave of unbelievably intense pain washed through me and my legs went out from under me. I doubled over and started screaming, clutching the base of my thumb, watching the rest of it turn purple and swell in front of my eyes. My Dad was pretty confused at first, but very reactive and concerned. He acted in military medicine fashion and stuck my thumb in ice water. Over the next few weeks, I slowly lost my thumbnail. So gross.

When I yanked my hand clear and started walking, I thought ensuredly that i would be fine. And further into my life, this immediate delayed disconnect with pain and damage has continued, even as I’ve learned to know better. When I shaved the tip of my toe off on the sidewalk while taking a full speed corner in sandles. My excessive drug abuse as a teen. After labia surgery when I couldn’t find the incision where I was expecting it. Falling off an rope and breaking my back. After hitting four obstacles downhill on my bike and not realizing I’d broken my elbow. And, most repeatedly, after braving an emotional tide and getting cracked over jagged rocks.

I don’t know where I got this idea that seeing something coming is supposed to make it hurt less. Like watching someone hit me in the face with a bat or piss away my affection with mediocrity and lies is supposed to change the blow for the better somehow. Like it’s supposed to transform the damage into something else and I’m not supposed to have to really fucking feel it. I don’t know where I got it but it’s hard to put down, it’s embedded, even with the mounting evidence that it actually hurts more to get hit in my open eyes than the back of my thick, ignorant head.

Somewhere in that deep baseline of me, I am still that girl who raises her chin, walks 5 steps, and falls the fuck apart anyway.

Don’t fucking touch me.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Don’t tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

If I was young, I’d flee this town. I’d bury my dreams underground. Let the season begin.

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Beautiful young people are acts of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. -Just Sage

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I would so rather spend money on healthy food, than on pills to deal with the side effects of cheap eating.

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction”

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies; but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. – Albus Dumbledore

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

What the truly cool kids know is that it’s always better to dance alone than to sway in time with a roomful of bigots. -Johanna Gohmann

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

‘The task of art is to turn tears into knowledge’. – Schopenhauer

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

As a manager you have to choose whether you will be a shit funnel or a shit umbrella- @finderic

Monday, March 1st, 2010

“Everyone needs a purpose. Part of having integrity is not waiting around for someone else to give you one.” – Adrienne MacIain

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Life’s like an hourglass glued to a table.