Monday, July 31, 2006
I am Pat, quilter, maker of wearable art and soft sculpture; antique linen collector. I live on the New Hampshire coast with my best friend and life partner, Larry. I am mom to Amy and grandmother to Anthony and Victoria.
I enjoy making soft sculpture like the one above that I called, "...midnight..." ~~ wire-covered armature, about 18 inches tall. This is not the "doll" I intended; and I must say her "birth" was quite traumatic for me. She resisted all my efforts at fashioning a personality (in my own image, I suppose). It was not until I finally succumbed to her persistence that she became what she is and always intended to be: a midnight sorceress.
I am a quilter. Actually, I enjoyed making things with fabric nearly all my life. Well, with the exception of the 70's when I gave it up for more political pursuits. But when my first grandchild was expected, I decided to make an old fashioned layette. I wandered into a fabric store. Inhaled. Touched. And haven't stopped buying it since. Recently, I passed a reductionist "graduation" from bed size quilts to tiny art quilts and postcard quilts like the one above. The blog has been a way of forming fast friendships and I have made postcards trades with Beate in Germany and Deb in Alaska.
This year I started making small beaded art quilts~~~but blogger won't let me show it to tonight. URGGGHH!
I am in love with antique linens, laces and quilts; I both collect and sell them. In another post I will feature some of my "finds" from estate sales along the coast. I love the social history, the personal stories, the look, the feel, and the act of rescuing pieces that others don't value or know what to do with...... And, I am just thrilled to be part of Deepwater Journal and the wonderfully talented woman who created it.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Went down to beautiful downtown Plant City today. It's a rural town gone big time on the way out of Tampa towards the Worlds of Disney, Sea and MGM. I had a special errand. My Other Chile, Darla Nunnery has a nasty case of mononucleosis contracted when she was at a world folk and alternative music fest in Germany last month. Kids shared food to save money. She didn't even get to kiss to get it.
So. I took her chicken soup, mega vites, and brought along my 'bible' - an encylopedia of alternative healing that gives you treatments from the heroic/allopathic cut-it-off-or-out, to the parsley sprout cures. Spent some time on the Net searching for mono and the treatment. There IS none. No treatment or cure - just bed rest and time.
My healing bible said that certain nutrients and vitamins are important in the care and feeding of mono. She said she wanted to go with me to the yarb store. I put her in the car with a pillow against her spleen and took off for Sother's Herbs, our little country health shop. Sother's was closed. I asked if she could make it to Brandon, another bedroom community for urban Tampa Bay, and she said she could.
We visited Carrot Country/GNC and I went in and bought Spiro Tein, Kyo-Green drink, vites A, E, C, and B complex, Pau D'Arco tea, garlic pills, and prolytic digestive enzymes as the book suggested. By this time she was crying. It was just too much for her and I felt like ass-kicking myself for taking her out of the house at all. She was in pain and kitten weak. Got her home, fixed up a bedside table and all the goodies on it, fluffed around her pillows, put on her socks, got her a cup of Pau D'Arco, and we set about charting all her stuff and when she needed to take them. Ran some errands for her and came home.
At my home exit off of I-4 a man held a 'homeless, need help' sign. There's lots of them around Florida. They're here for the weather. That's sarcasm. I scraped a huge wad of change from my purse and handed it over. I'm notorious for running around town with no bills and just change and a debit card in my purse. The day before, I did the same thing for another man next to the supermarket where I'd run in to get my prescriptions and Darla's soup. His sign said, 'injured, need help'. He cried when I handed over the change to him and I apologized for not having any bills.
The stock personnel gave him a hard time for going into the bathroom. I walked over and started talking to him, called him 'sweetie' and the little yuppie shits backed off. I cashed a check when I paid for my stuff and handed him a bill when I came out. He cried again.
A woman watched me give him money both on the way in and the way out. "I wouldn't give them ANYthing! He's just going to go buy drugs or alcohol with it", she says.
"If I was out here on the streets, I'd be carrying around vodka martinis in an I.V. drip", I answered.
"They shouldn't be out bothering people like that. The store should do something with them," she shot back.
"Yes. Let's let Sweetbays Supermarket put them on trains and send them to camps like Auchwitz. We won't have to look at them and have our conscience vapor lock that way." She stomped off, nose in air.
I don't like this about US. I don't like that we walk right by people that may not have little or any choice about their circumstances as homeless. If we don't make eye contact, we don't have to do anything about it. I don't care for the way cities pass ordinances against feeding the homeless in parks or public places like Las Vegas and Chicago, and against them 'loitering', or about moving them out of the city and away from the damn few services that provide some assistance.
See. I was homeless for a blessedly brief four months. While my circumstances were luxurious compared to what the majority of America's homeless go through daily, I didn't like sleeping on the floor with a blanket as a mattress and a thin sheet to cover me. I didn't like feeling like I was an intrusion and a burden on the good people who were kind enough to shelter us at night. I didn't like that I couldn't do any better for my son. I didn't like the way people treated me and curled their lips when any hint of my circumstances came out like having no permanent address to enroll him in school.
I was looked on as lazy, dirty, shiftless. Must've done some crime, something terribly wrong to be where I was. They asked me, 'What did you do to lose your home?" It was MY fault, see. Didn't go into detail with those who asked. I became homeless not from a drug habit or alcohol abuse or prostitution or being kicked out of a mental institution, but because of a divorce, a father who refused to pay a piddling amount of child support for five years, being laid off from a job, and illness. Things that can happen to a lot of good people made me homeless.
I got up off of that floor and worked every single day and then some to get enough money to move me and my son into a dingy little 18 foot trailer with doors that would not lock, and rats - and once, a snake - that came up through the six inch hole in the floor in front of the toilet and filth in a layer in all the cabinets and one tiny bedroom. I still slept on the floor with my son behind me so that I could keep the rats from getting to him and biting. We couldn't afford beds just then. I scrubbed that place with bleach inside and out. It was still dirty.
The landlord proclaimed his good Christian standing and preached at me for my pagan ways and lack of finding Jesus (I never knew he was lost) while charging me $380.00 for rent, refusing to repair the hole in the floor or the doors or the leaking sink and faulty gas stove or the window that let the rain flood in and told me he needed me to pay cash since he didn't want the IRS knowing that he owned all those trailers where he put us poor people. He threatened to remove the doors from the hinges if I put the rent in escrow or used the rent money to make those and other much needed repairs despite the Florida laws covering such things that said I could. I continued to work every single day until I bought us this little Cracker house I call Dog Patch.
Those were awful times. I'm not proud of getting there. I AM proud of getting out. But I remember the mind numbing circumstances, the feelings of helplessness, the embarrassment. I started tithing to the homeless I met on the streets while I was homeless. I understood. That's why my tithing goes to the homeless and not to other not-so-uppity feeling charities now.
I figure the A list charities already have a fan base. It may make some view my tithing practices askance as less socially acceptable than the 10 percent to the church, or payroll deductions for big name organizations, but I feel I go direct to source here. The money is used for shoes, food, and yes, sometimes booze or drugs instead of adding pews or a stained glass window or a missionary program to make more Christians to rent more trailers to other poor people. I don't give a damn. I'd rather cut out the middle man. I also don't need my name in the papers when I do.
I don't tell when and what I give because I'd have been cussed at for giving out when I had times of very little. I also don't think one should toot about giving. I'm telling this time because I want all of us to think of our own laws of tithing, why we do it, and examine our thoughts about tithes like the woman who cast aspersions on my giving. I feel that I am blessed beyond many mortals with my friends, home, gifts, and life. I need to put something back into the Universe to continue having the Cosmic Pump primed. Tithing should be done humbly is my take - not to get your name on a bench, although I applaud people who donate building wings of hospitals or a new business school to their alma mater. It's what they can easily afford to do. Tithing doesn't even have to involve your money, but can be your time. I also don't believe that it has to be a certain set percent of your income and that other drivel about it being an obligation. My belief is that we tithe selfishly - for ourselves - for whatever reason.
Studies show that the fastest growing segment of the homeless are families with children. Studies also show that the not-very-well-off give more deeply than do the wealthy. I'm sure there's a parable here about dollar bills, heaven, needles, and camels. I also don't feel that you need to associate it with a sense of being holy or upright. Nor do I feel that it needs to be an obligation. I do think it's something worth weighing. I'm not telling you how to give or what to give. I don't care even if you don't give a pickle or a sou. I'm not proselytizing. What I want you to think about is why you give when you do. What do you feel about giving. Why do you do it.
And I don't want you to feel guilty about this post if you do not tithe or give in your own way. Instead, examine the guilt and ask where it came from and who it belongs to.
There's a painting of one of the recorded homeless families and their little dude born out on the streets in humble digs that I will enter here for this post when Blogger lets me upload.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Another reason is that I've lived 59 years on the planet without being available 24-7 to anyone who wanted to contact me. I am a bit of a loner despite my intense love of friendship. I just never liked being all that available. As a kid, I would organize projects and play scenarios for the other neighborhood kids to keep them busy. Like turning them into denizens of an old western town, setting them to building a saloon, church, jail, school house, and general store out of palmetto fronds and junk lumber. Then I'd leave them to go nose around the swamp, woods and creek I grew up next to assured that I wouldn't be followed.
I left home fairly young and lived by myself independently. Made my own soup and killed my own snakes. I also spent 5 years in Utah without running water, electricity or a phone at my ranch in Indianola Valley. I got used to the solitude and quiet over a lifetime and then reinforced it there.
I never did see the need for a portable contact device. I've relied on my own wits for whatever situations I've been in. Flat tire? Change it. Out of gas? Walk. Check on the baby sitter? Use the pay phone in the lobby.
I've watched with barely disguised humor as America first discovered portable phones, then as they have become ubiquitous in our culture. Also have been pissed at drivers talking on the damn things when they should be paying attention, idiots speaking on them loudly enough to share their life and sex secrets with everyone within earshot, or having one of them play Macarena from a purse or pocket during a meditation or church service . Watched them morph from the arm length, 2 X 4 big and ugly early box model with an antenna long enough to put an eye out three rows back to a tiny ear plug that makes the user look like One-of-Seven from Star Trek.
I saw no need to join the technically compliant who plugged in, held their bodies at weird angles out of multi-story buildings to pick up a signal, bitch about low batteries and lost signals in elevators and roaming and junk calls and leaving the thing on the back of the toilet at Wendy's.
So what happened to change my mind and return me from the Renaissance? A succession of events all helped to sway my opinion. Not knowing if a friend was okay when she didn't arrive at a meeting place as planned, realizing that even using the body weight trick my dad taught me to loosen a recalcitrant lug nut on a flat would be damn embarrassing at my age and size, getting lost and not being able to find an English speaking American in any convenience store or gas station, running late for an appointment because of road construction and knowing I should alert someone about it all played a part over time.
But the biggest one ended up being high phone bills. First of the year brought two family deaths in other states that required lots of phone time. I got my bills from Verizon and felt shock and awe as I read that two phone calls on each of the two successive bills ran my monthly total up over $150.00. I was shocked! The helpful customer service techs at Verizon told me that if I had a PLAN that they would not have been so high. The PLAN they suggested pushed my monthly basic service up over $75.00 and that did NOT include any calls made with the supposed reduced rates of the PLAN. So I cut my land line, waved bye-bye to Verizon, and signed up with Brighthouse. Got cable, uber high speed computer service AND complete phone service for under what I paid just for the phone bills from hell. The problem is that if the electric goes out - a frequent circumstance here in the lightning capital of the world, Tampa - I have no phone service. So that was the final little push.
And I had to say it many times until my mind would wrap around the idea of it. "I really should get a cell phone." The suggestion finally took. But I'm not committing! Nor siree! I got a pay-as-you-go ghetto phone. I'm not going to be corralled into a 2 year contract with a marriage, let alone with a company I don't know - strangers for hell's sake! And the deals seem to get better on cell phones every year. Maybe I'll miss the really great one that gives you 1 cent unlimited anytime minutes. Maybe I'll miss a new incarnation of the technology that calls a number when you think it. Maybe I just need to see if I can learn how to work the damn thing. My Motorola V170 came with a half-inch thick book of instructions after all.
So. I am connected. You'll forgive me if I don't give out my cell number so readily. I still like to sneak off to the woods much more frequently than I would reach out and touch someone.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Andrea Wakely called today about some historical costuming I may be taking on. We talked about the oppressive heat that's punishing the globe right now. Visit her Twin Roses Designs website that she and her husband, Garry work from for their cool historical designs. She shared this recipie with me from her blog and I thought it would be a perfect accompanyment to a cool summer supper!
Cool Cucumbers for Hot Days
(Serves 4 - 6 or 2-3 if you really, really like it!)
4 Large cucumbers
4 Tbsp Salt
Peel and rinse cucumbers, slice thinly into rounds. I use the slot part of a cheese grater held over a bowl, as it makes it go very fast and slicing is very thin. You can also just slice these into a colander sitting in the sink, as the next step is to liberally salt the slices, stirring them around to get the salt all over the place. Leave this to sit in the sink about an hour (or 40 minutes if you can't stand it any longer).
While these are relaxing in the sink, mix the dressing:
2/3 Cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
3 Tbsp Fresh Dill (or 2-3 tbsp dried)
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
If you have a partially used sour cream container, you can mix all this in the container and put it in the fridge while still waiting patiently for the cucumbers.
If you can't wait a moment longer, then rinse the cucumbers well and squeeze them gently with your hands removing as much liquid as possible. Put them in a bowl, toss with dressing and chill for a few hours. It'll keep in the fridge for a few days if covered, but there's really no worry since there won't be any leftovers. *Grin*
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE...
A set of screwdrivers,
a cordless drill, and
A black lace bra.
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE...
One friend who
Always makes her Laugh...
Who lets her cry ...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE
A good piece of furniture
Not previously owned by
Anyone else in her family
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE.
Eight matching plates,
Wine glasses with stems,
And a recipe for a meal that
Make her guests feel honored.
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE..
A feeling of control over
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to fall in love
Without losing herself...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to quit a job
Break up with a lover
And confront a friend without ruining the relationship
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
When to try harder ... and
When to walk away.
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
That she can't change
The length of her calves,
The width of her hips, or
The nature of her parents...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
That her childhood
May not have been
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
What she would and
Do for love or more...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to live alone...
She doesn't like it.
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
Whom she can trust,
Whom she can't,
And why she shouldn't
Take it personally.
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
Where to go...
Be it to her best friend's kitchen table.
Or a charming inn in the woods...
When her soul needs soothing...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
What she can and can't accomplish
In a day...
And a year...
Submitted by Gracie Cubbage
(Editor's note: Gracie, aka 'Birdie Trefeathers' is another of my wonderful friends. She lives in California with husband Bart, loves reenacting at Renaissance Faires and Dickens Festivals, and is owned by two cats. Stryder, the more rambunctious of the two, is featured in Gracie's Crazy Cat Card Company. You haven't seen funny until you see Stryder dressed up for Halloween in his witch's costume and a yowl on his face!
While I've seen other versions of this, I like this one Gracie Marie sent me this morning.)
When I solicit work, I can introduce you to the author/artist/poet. I'm going to fiddle with the look of various identity tags to see which one looks the least presumptuous for contributors and me. For instance, 'Turd Curls and Toni' is a memory. Some of the postings are almost journal entries, like my recap of outings with friends. Do they deserve a title? No. But a by-line would help distinguish it in some way from contributors.
So. Things may change and then change again until I figure this one out.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
A Personal Topography
Cotton, Silk Mawata, Fibers,
Free Motion Machine Work ,
Metallic Hand Stitching, Beads
Bed quilts are beautiful. Original. Graphic. And artful. But big! For beds and not for walls. Unless they are antiques in museums.
I amassed a huge stash of fabric, books, patterns and technique references and fully believing in the axiom that "whoever dies with the most fabric wins"!
I haven't completed a large bed quilt in years. (Note: the verb "completed" which correctly implies the obvious: "begun with enthusiasm" but "unfinished". A UFO. An UnFinishedObject.
More recently, I became attracted to smaller quilted objects. Little art quilts. But oddly, I couldn't "think" small after all those queen-sized beauties. This summer discovered the edgy, envelope-pushing, slash and burn techniques with non-woven fibers and industrial fabric that is coming from England. (WOW, two English Invasions in one lifetime.) And, this summer, I am drawn to making little beauties that are more personal statements. That satisfy ~~ something different ~~ and important. That speak to some inner ~~ longing ~~for expression.
And, of course, now I need a whole new array of toys and techniques!
Summer came late here on the New Hampshire coast. But today is the kind of day we in the northeast wait for all winter long. The kind of day the tourists spend big dollars hoping to enjoy:
This is a day to savor. . . . .
My darling girl, Victoria, is here for a summer visit. Tall and beautiful. Strong, active and full-of-fun, Victoria is a joy of a woman-child. At 13, she discovered the "theater" this year with a part in the high school production of "Little Shop of Horrors" (the only middle schooler with such a privilege, I might add) and then a part in a New England-wide dramatic competition with a one-act play. She also plays soccer and softball and basketball.
During last summer's visit, she created a medieval gown of velvet to wear to the autumn King Richard Fair in southeastern Massachusetts that her family attends.
I'm not telling what this summer's project is: but I promise photos. For sure!
"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring." George Santayana (1863-1952)
(Editor's Note: This is Pat Spiller's first post as a contributor to Deepwater Journal. Like Robin Janning and Martha Marshall, Pat will share her voice and work with us occaisionally.)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
A friend wrote tonight that she was down. I wouldn't dream of telling her 'chin up' or sending her a chirpy e-card with dancing bunnies. I always wanted to punch out someone trying to force cheer on me. Pisses me off for ruining a perfectly good funk. It trivializes feelings to tell someone to snap out of it, for one thing.
I am also of my mother's school of thought about doldrums. She said that I never played guitar, wrote songs, or sang better than when I was hurting emotionally. And my sister used to say before she was killed, "What's life without a little heartbreak every once in a while?"
So. Maybe we creative folk must pay for our gifts with a bit of the blues. You would think so from the amount of money made off of music with a blue note. Maybe it's part of the Persephone Journey into the Underworld of our consciousness. We have to trek down there in order to slog back with new ideas and a fresh eye starved for sunshine.
Instead of trying to direct attention away from a down time, why don't we explore it? There seems to be a general fear of someone who's dead serious. You know where you stand with a person who's depressed. Anything coming out of their mouths should be carefully weighed. I would trust being in the room with someone in a funk before I would one who had a false cheeriness. At least you know where a seriously down person is coming from. But a chipper one who hides murder in their heart behind smiles? Now. That's frightening. Think Freddie Krueger. Mussolini. Baron Von Harkonnen of Dune. Or someone who laughs uncontrollably at a funeral.
I had a roommate in Atlanta back in the early 1970s who rose up out of bed very early every morning singing and chipper. She chortled endlessly while I covered my head with pillows and tried to sleep sensibly late. The happy-happy her hid bulimia, bingeing and purging, misuse of laxatives and diet pills and a shitty relationship with an abusive boyfriend and non-caring parents as she slowly made herself disappear. It was the one thing that she could control. Everyone looking at Anita thought that she was Broadway Barbie. Always up. Always cheerful. Scared her to look depressed. She could be self-destructive so much more efficiently if she put a smiley face on it. It finally worked, that disappearing act of hers behind a smile.
I think fear of depression has to do a bit because we are out of control in a way that doesn't jibe with the idea of ordered society when we're 'there'. I think women who are depressed are much more scary to men than depressed men are to us. We understand down. Women travel the highways of shattered dreams, unnatural expectations, and unreached potential more frequently than men. We're disappointed more regularly than the guys. We have our frequent flier miles. A woman who has a 'mood' is a dangerous number. There's lots of comedy material on this. "Take my wife. Please."
What I am not saying is that serious depression be taken lightly. That's an oxymoron like 'Army Intelligence'. Profound, extensive depression with thoughts of suicide is a signal for intervention. I've been there and done that. I not only have the genetic markers for a good ole case of Industrial Strength Depression, a long family history of it, but Grave's thyroid disease virtually guarantees that I will have to pay attention to it since that little pip in our throats regulates things like hormones and seratonin uptake. I get uppity occasionally and vow to go without any medication. When I start seeing trees as props for checking out of the hotel, I go back on them. Hubris on my part.
And a word to all you idiots out there that say that people who think suicide are selfish. You're damn right it is. The one that contemplates it is driven to an edge that cannot possibly hold more than one person. The pain is phenomenal and you're only looking for blessed relief of any kind. Can you fathom a pain that deep, understand a depression so profound that you feel there is only one solution? Apparently, most can not or there would be none of this. Get this. There literally is not one dendrite left over to think of any thing or any body else when you are there. In fact, you're incapable of rational thought at all. It's not about you for us! YOU aren't even in the photo here.
We need to quit trying to make suicidal depression something about everyone else instead of the person going through it. Want to help? Then get informed and learn the symptoms. Put their asses in an intervention facility. They can't do this for themselves and the thought doesn't cross your mind when you're there. You've probably tried to talk about it with friends and family who were clueless, didn't understand, or told you to quit whining and to cheer up.
Would you try to cheer and coddle someone out of a heart attack? Depression is just as serious at times. It can be just as fatal.
But a good old funk is a different story. I believe we get down there as part of our life cycles. Colors look better, sounds clearer after I've slogged through a downer. It must be a natural part of humanness since humans have so much of it. Why don't we examine and embrace it when it comes. If we stay down there too long, hopefully a friend will come by and tell us to get up off of the floor before we trip somebody. Then they'll listen and let us talk it out, let us wrap ourselves around whatever has handed us the roadmap that took us there.
Wind is never sharper than after doldrums at sea. Water needs to pool and eddy and gather itself along rapids before it joins the ferocity again. I think we do, too.
So. My friend, have a good down.
This is my first posting on Deepwater Journal: Dina, Robin and Martha, the wonderful women of DWJ invited me to join them and I am thrilled to do so. I am Pat Spiller .
Virginia Woolf wrote that "a woman must have money and a room of her own......" I have no money. But I do have a room of my own for making things: art quilts, wearable art, soft sculpture. And the moments I spend playing there are truly great gifts of time and space. For a very long time, I did believe that "something productive" must come from that time and space. That I needed to "account" for spending time there. Much more recently, I have experienced the value and the wonder of just "play" with no outcome expected. What a great relief! Now, I am free to experiment, explore, make mistakes, make art out of mistakes......WOW.
This year, Legacy magazine published one of my fiber journals and an essay about my mother (Reader's Remembrances, April/May issue)
In 2004, Quilting Arts Magazine published a piece of wearable art and a related fiber journal. Both thrilling experiences for me.
Seizing the moment and accepting the challenge to publish my work was frightening. Exciting. Wonderful. These were the first and only times I sought a public venue and was thrilled (and still disbelieving) when each was accepted.
I live on the New Hampshire seacoast with Larry, my best friend and life partner. Together we have 4 grown children and 6 grandchildren. In my work life, I am director of development at a small private school for children with severe physical and developmental disabilities, a truly wonderful school with a fantastic staff, talented and dedicated. Visit our website if you have a minute; it took first place in a 2006 statewide challenge for "best education site".
I am really looking forward to posting my musings, rants and work in fiber on DWJ.
Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust
(Editor's note: The first work is from 'Finished Postcards - Mid June, '06.' The second work is called 'Bank of True Love'. 4" X 6", mixed fiber media on postcard.)
Saturday, July 22, 2006
But I will love
Each spoonful of myself
And measure me like
inches of gold, loosely
But with great selfishness
for publishing the value
and holding the cones of light
in my own good-eyes.
The circumstance rings
Itself out of existence.
What is left is pure,
The latest news,
The sweet video of the heart;
I run my affairs.
Originally published in the Deepwater Journal
Friday, July 21, 2006
Got up early this morning in one of my up cycles of my night and ran over to Phyllis' house to tell her about this amazing dream I had in one of the disjointed REM periods I have. A friend of hers that Phyllis nursed and loved right up to her passing from cancer was there and wanted to show me pictures she had taken of Phyllis. They were arterly poses with amazing backgrounds. Some had other photos of Phyllis' ancestors and other subjects superimposed on them. In all of them, Phyllis wore these fantastic costumes. All of the photographs were sepia toned except one where she wore an elaborate pomegranate headdress of gold lame with a fushia robe. She hauled out some of her art work and damn, if she hadn't drawn some of those gowns!! Wonderful!!
Speaking of night owls, a tiny bird ended up in the house today. She probably came in through the attic vents and down through the open ceiling in the hall left as a calling card from hurricane Jeanne. She announced her presence with a squawk and chastising chirp as George made an attempt at flying after her cat style. I put George out on the water side porch. She was not thrilled with my dismissing her like that. I talked to the bird and opened the back door. She sat on the window sill and let me get very close to her. Then I pointed to the open door and she flew out.
If a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, what is a starling in the house worth?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
One of the blog posts that got eaten involved my inner child influencing the stupidity of my adult life. I said that I would show you a picture of my 6-year old self with doe eyes and turd curls.
Now. If you’re from the Southern United States, you know what a turd curl is and need no explanation. But for those of you from other American provinces, a turd curl is hair that is wound around a finger by a doting mother or older sister so that when it is released, it resembles a fringe of large, vertical sausages. Or a hair version of solidified human chime (that’s ki-em with a long ‘I’). Nelly, the child bitch character of Little House On The Prairie immortalized this ‘do.
This hairstyle was a holdover of the 1860s Southern Belle look that reached into the 1950s. Blessedly, it lost its hold when we came to our senses and substituted that ridiculous vogue for more sensible teasing and hair spray and the helmet shaped big hair of the groovy 1960s.
To hold a turd curl for any length of time on a six-year-old sitting for a picture, you need naturally curly hair, bear grease, or some serious chemical intervention. This is where my turd curls met Toni. I hate Toni.
Every year my mother would snatch me away from my summer wanderings as a wild child hellion turned loose on the Earth to give me a Toni perm. She would drag my protesting stick of a body into the kitchen and subject me to a rough shampooing along with a lecture on the flora and fauna she found in my hair. I was known for bringing home wildlife like moths, spiders and fern spores attached to my hair or scalp like crazy feathers. I always have stuck my nose in some dicey places.
After the shampoo, I would be draped in a towel. Mama would wear an old pharmacy smock from work to protect her clothes and drag out the Toni. The towel afforded me no such protection. From the box would spill pink curling papers in their neat, banded stack, two bottles of the dreaded perm chemicals, pink rollers that look like old fashioned, push lawnmower blades, and a fold up set of that bitch Betsy McCall and all her cute little paper doll dresses. I swore my mama sat up nights making that awful bottled stuff on the same counter where she dispensed pills and compounded prescription tinctures.
First, she would section my head off into 8 parts and secure the hair with big bobby pins or clips. Then, each of those sections were subdivided into skinny little lines of hair, captured between curling papers and rolled up onto the little pink rollers with excruciating tightness. The hair right on the top of my head above my face was always rolled forward. No child who has their hair pulled tautly into a rubber band for a ponytail facelift or rolled up on pink Toni perm curlers knows any joy.
Next, the bottle of perm solution was sniped open and roughly and thoroughly daubed on each and every pink roller with a cotton ball. I held the towel up to try to get away from the scalp burning and eye watering ammonia with my mother yelling at me to be still. No such luck.
After the fifty hours it took for the perm solution to do it’s job and the necessary unrolling and re-rolling of a test curl to see if it had a wave like the one in the picture on the directions, I was then subjected to having my curlers rinsed in the sink with water too hot to be putting on a child’s head that has just been ministered to with napalm. Here the towel also did a piss poor job of keeping the solution from finding a direct line to my eyes, nose and mouth. Being totally saturated with the embalming fluid by this point, it did little more than transfer more of it back to the organs I was trying to wipe it from.
If you have a Toni perm, you must use the Toni neutralizer. The naming of this stuff should give us a clue that you are trying to quell something that is ostensibly a big problem - like taking a life or destroying an invading army. Why else would you need to neutralize it?
So. The neutralizer goes on with daubs just as furious as the first because my mother is tired of my whining and squirming by now. I look over at damn old Betsy McCall and her smooth locks and want to tear her smiling face right off. I bet she never was subjected to a Toni perm that she came out of the box with.
Another interminable fifty hours goes by and I’m subjected to a second rinsing. This time the pink curlers come out with their pink papers and pile up in the sink. I am roughly towel dried and put on a dry shirt to skitter out the door on skinny legs before mama can think up something else mean to subject me to.
The results of my perm is a Kizzy tight frizz that cannot be combed into submission with no amount of water or cursing. But it held those damnable turd curls. I have bangs from the roll ups towards my face that will never have congress with my forehead. I look like Haley Mills in the Parent Trap. How could she let so much of her face hang out like that? How could my mother do the same to me? Didn’t she like me?
I would trounce off to school the following week, sullen and generally hang-dog. We Southerners call this a case of the black-ass because if you have it for too long, someone’s gonna beat your ass black and blue to cheer you out of it.
I would fuss with my hair for months until time and hair growth slowly relaxed the Toni curl. Then, blessed summer would be here and I could forget hair. Until mama snatched me up from my wanderings to subject me to another Toni perm.
Here’s my get well card to all of you women who have endured having your locks subjected to relaxing, Marcel waves, chemical processors, curling irons, ironing your hair, pressing your hair, spending the night with your head wrapped around orange juice cans in a hairnet, who have endured Toni perms. And turd curls.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
These are a few of my Dream Coats. I call them such because the ideas come from 3-D, Panavision, Technicolor dreams complete with construction details and close ups. I even get the words or script for each of them that goes on the counterpane inside each coat. The pictures are lousy but at least you can get an idea of what I do when I make them. All of these have been sold or are in private collections.
Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Fire Element Coat. You can't tell, but there's a huge train that travels off of the back. My friend Jeannie Taylor is modeling the coat. The bronze circles are netsuke's from samauri swords. I used layers of a type of thick iridescent paper in the open flames front and back that give the illusion of rising flames and make the coat crackle when you walk in it. It is in the collection of Mexican artist, Pedro Parra. Fire Element makes a yearly statement at the Florida Gay Film and Art Festival each year when worn by the host. Pedro thought the idea was clever for a gay man to wear the coat. Subtle, Pedro.
Shadowlands Coat. This coat was a shroud commissioned by Santa Fe College for a retrospective of artists that have died from Aids. It was part of a National Aids Awareness function. The coat is extensively embroidered with beads and has a holographic moon on the front panel. The final installation at the gallery included the funery urn you see in the picture.
Our Mother's Labors. As part of an invitational show for the State of Florida Sesquicentennial and the 75th anniversary of women's right to vote, I used old photographs and needlework of Florida women including the granddaughter of the African-American who founded the Florida town and school of Bealsville. I placed pictures of the women and their contributions of old needlework. There is a piece of Seminole quilting and beadwork and a picture of them in their traditional hairstyles and dresses, the first childhood needlepoint picture done by a friend, a glove worn by my mother holding a hanky that she embroidered and edged with crochet with a picture of us dressed for Easter Sunday services she wore both in, a handmade nurse's cap with her graduation picture. There are palmeto fronds painted all around the coat and into the pockets with a running discourse about them on the coat. Also used in a talk I gave on Cracker Women at Barnes and Noble. The coat was very much handled despite the signs and you could see this in the intallation picture. I loved sitting and watching the reactions of women as they read the story and the counterpane. Some cried, a few laughed and everyone touched the coat.
Lotus Robe. Modeled by a then editor of Vogue magazine at the Ringling Museum of Art Renaissance Festival. I've won lots of awards with this coat in various shows, even when it was on a hanger and not displayed as an art piece. The lotus flowers have metal dew drops and are 3-D. They appear on the robe front and back. You can't see them, but the pink train is actually a fish pond with tiny goldfish that 'swim' when you walk. One sculpted little fish comes up out of the 'water' to stare at you.
From Russia With Love. Documents the adoption of a little girl from Russia. There are a series of photographs showing her standing demure and prim in her little dress ready for church, then she slowly blossoms for the camera to an unbridled ham! This was for a show at the Museum of Modern Art in Tampa. I made the copper maqui to hang it on. The collar of flowers is actually the back of an elaborate traditional Russian headdress on top of a sketch I did of the girl's face. There's another sketch right on the fabric of the girl's mother holding more pictures of her daughter in a series of ballet moves on the back. Antique dresses and Kimono made up the rolled fronts and hem held in place with turquoise and coral gemstones.
Comedia Tragedia was made for actor and director Anna Brennan. I soft sculpted and trapunto quilted the two Greek drama faces in suede for a tactile feel. I'm modeling it on the banks of the canal Dogpatch overlooks. The silver is a type of metal fiber. If you click on this one, you can enlarge it and see the sculpting in detail along with my patrician nose and mountain of hair.
I'm really chagrined that I never took the appropriate pictures to save of my past work. It never seemed really important to me at the time so there are years of blanks where I was prolific and yet never documented it. I always felt that my art and my creations no longer belonged to me once I finished that final touch. This is good for selling. It's not so good when people ask to see some of my work. I really don't have any. They are all 'out there'.
So. Now you can see a little of what I do with fiber and metal and any other thing that can be attached to cloth. Thank you for sharing yours with me.
I'm introducing you to a new power woman! Her name is Beate Knapp. She's a fiber artist from Dusseldorf, Germany whose work is powerful. Her fiber work resonates as brush strokes in it's vibrancy. She packs dynamite into such a diminutive space proving once again that women can create monsoons from their whispers. This translation was from Babel Fish and if I've got anything wrong, Beate, please let me know!
I found Beate through another fiber artist I'm hoping to feature soon named Pat of Pat's Studio.
This work is called "Wut & ZerstЖrung" ( Fury and Destruction) measures 18 x 21 cm copyright created 2006. Media: Stoffe, Garne, Steine vom Ufer des Rheins, Maschinen- und Handstickereien. Materials, threads, stones of the shore of the Rhine, machines and hand embroideries.
Im April 2006 habe ich wieder angefangen intensiver mit Stoff zu arbeiten und schon meldeten sich Widerstaende: meine Saboteure eben. Dies ist die Arbeit, mit der ich denen endgueltig den Kampf angesagt und erstmals gewonnen habe.
In April, 2006 I once again started to work more intensely with material and already opposition announced itself: just my sabotuers. This is the work with which I have finally announced the fight to them and have won for the first time. - Beate
Editor's note: See Beate's comment for further illumination about her artist's statement and this work in particular.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
We started with cocktails and had them with dinner instead of wine. Mine was a dirty Absolut martini. Darla had cosmopolitans and Paula her usual 18-year old Glenfiddich scotch. The amusee' was truly amusing: A curled slice of proscuitto rested on a melon ball which in turn was held by a cucumber heart rolled in poppy seeds. To refresh your memory, an amusee’ is a small tidbit you are given before a meal with several courses to awaken your palette and to signal your senses that more wonderful things are to come.
They have this wonderful antipasto bar where you select your choices, and then they are brought to the table. On my plate, I had them put roasted red peppers, octopus, huge bay shrimp, portabella mushroom preserve, tiny cap mushrooms with grape leaves and vinaigrette, and tomatoes with marinated mozzarella. I know this sounds like a lot but there are just tastes of each item. Next, we had a pasta course. Mine was cannelloni with spinach and ricotta filling and a plum tomato reduction sauce.
The presentation at this restaurant looks like the pages out of a fine dining magazine! My plate was triangular and the edges of the plates were decorated with zigzags of green pepper sauce. Darla had rabbit tortellini with fontina cheese and Paula, the beggar's purse pasta filled with pecorino. Darla’s dish was served in a white, three-chambered plate that looked like base for a bonsai tree! And Paula’s looked like a piece of modern furniture.
Main course for me was chicken picatta with capers on a bed of risotto and spinach. I know that's plebian but to be honest, the entree prices of the other items scared me! Paula had the wild boar tenderloin with baby vegetables and raspberry sauce. We had Irish coffees for desert and then the staff brought out 3 perfect strawberries dressed in dark chocolate and marzipan tuxedos, with tiny little bow ties and buttons! They even wrote ‘happy birthday’ in raspberry sauce!
The waiter, Timothy was their request as head of the team that took care of our table. He remembered them by name and gave them kisses on the cheek in greeting. I was treated to one from Timothy as I left. They tip very well. I earned my acknowledgement by association.
I felt like a queen! We were treated royally as well! I have to say that the last two weeks have been good to me gastronomically. I’ve dined well with all my Goddess girlfriends! We even gave a little salute to the Goddesses who have been very good to us over the past year to the intense interest of the Japanese businessmen sitting at the next table. You could tell they knew Quan Yin and set about busily discussing this happening with smiles.
Darla told me about the love of her life she just met while visiting friends in Sweden where he’s working on his masters in business. She visited an ancient Norse Goddess site with a rock shaped like a vulva and 28 posts around the opening of each side right before her friend; Emil took her to meet him in Lund. Gee. Twenty-eight posts, 28 lunar days in the calendar, 28 days of our woman’s cycle – do you think she was getting a hint of the impending event? She also told about seeing tiny spiders that came out from everywhere like they were saying ‘hello’. Although she’s a Catholic Madonna girl, her patron Goddess is Arachne. We share that, too. I always told her she was born in the wrong country with her tall, voluptuous body and blond hair with fair eyes!
Darla is busy putting together an upcoming convention and seminar for the Florida Paralegals association for which she is president. I love both of these women. They make their lives special because they squeeze the shit out of it the way I do mine.
Darla will send me a new work she’s been mothering over and said I can publish it here. Robin has started contributing, hopefully a regular feature. I want to see your works here to. What are you waiting for??
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Dina has kindly invited me to be a contributor to her Deepwater Journal. This is my first post, and I am including a new piece of art called Mothering Arms. In many ways, it seems to be appropriate, as my image of Dina is that of a warrior queen whose arms are mothering rather than destructive.
The news tonight, as it has been so often lately, is discouraging, depressing, and downright frightening. It seems to me that we are all being called right now to bring our strength and spirit to heal the earth and save its people. So we need to grow beautiful plants and healing herbs, create art, nurture friendships — to offer a real alternative source of energy. The kind of energy that flows as deepwater through the course of our days and nights.
My hope is that I will support the energy and spirit that is already flowing so freely here at Dina's place.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I call Doris 'Gertie' as in Gertie the Gardener. We both share a love of plants and her yard in Seffner and have traded starts and cuttings of every wild exotic and begonia we each have. I gave her the loving name after seeing her most often with rear in the air, bent over some bush or other thing. She is the one who harbored my mother's ginger plants and a bromeliad with strong, dark green leaves and pink tips that hold water like a cup. The frogs love it. I got starts from her so that I can continue the legacy of growing my mother's plants again. I keep a coleus from Tary's mother in the same way. It's a dark eggplant center with spring green, almost lime green edges. The flower spikes on them are lavender. Doris doesn't know it yet but Tary and Karole have the motherlode of begonias! They have every shape and size and color and whiskered and huge and large and miniscule you could imagine! Doris will love the starts I'll share with her.
You should visit Doris' books. When she isn't gardening, she writes several volumes on women's history. I feel she's the definitive source for all things American women. Here's some of her books and others where she's referrenced currently available through Amazon. Doris fills a big gap in scribing the contributions of women. Some of her titles have been translated into other languages. I love seeing the cover of 'American Women in World War II' in Japanese.
She worked with my mom as one of the founding mothers of the National Organization for Women back in the early 1970s. They merrily filed discrimination law suits, got the first female t.v. anchor in Florida hired, and the first woman police officer - an African American on the Tampa Police Department. They made sure laws and employers were fair to both men and women. They also doled out 'Barefoot and Pregnant' awards to various politicians and heads of states in other countries for their boorish backsliding on women's rights. Even when the government of the United States asked them not to for diplomatic reasons, they packed up the little statues and sent them off. I remember stuffing envelopes at the kitchen table with my dad when I came home on visits.
I'm proud of Gertie. And my mother. I get absolutely giddy when I see them in print, remembered, hear names on NPR or our local public station WMNF which is wonderful alternative radio. You can listen online or tune in if you're in the Tampa Bay area to 88.5 FM. Other friends started it back in the 1970s. I'll talk to you about them sometime.
I made retro curtains for Doris' and Roy's 1950s style living room and have house and yard sat and taken care of their cats. And the racoon that brazenly comes in the kitchen to pilfer food via the cat door has been on my watch list.
So. Doris sends me this email about a daughter who complains of the struggles in her life and doesn't know how to go on. The mother puts three pots on the stove and puts a carrot, an egg and some coffee beans, one item to a pot. She boils them for 20 minutes and puts the carrot, egg and now brown coffee in bowls asking the daughter to look. The carrot, which was stiff and strong on the outside wilted and became mush when exposed to the heat. The egg, which was delicate with a fragile liquid center became hard heart and soul with a thin and easily cracked shell. The coffee beans, on the other hand, changed the water by taking the circumstances of the boiling water and imbuing it with the nature of itself. Mother asks the daughter which one she wanted to be: Carrot, egg or coffee. I got it, Doris. I'm coffee.
Did I mention that Phyllis made the theme of this Right Bank Oshun? Oshun is the African Goddess of creativity among Her other traits. We shared melon and fruit salad, sandwiches, and good things like the chocolate ( a major food group for women) that Martha brought that were part of our offerings to each other. We thought we were done and felt like it had been a bang up RB with the food and the wine and the sharing and conversation and show and tell. Then. Phyllis took us to the Inner Sanctum where she had created this wonderful altar and art peice celebrating women and Oshun in another room. There are no adjectives to tell you what it was like! I can't describe the golds and gourds and honey and wonderments that Phyllis had put together in a myriad of cameos! I can't tell you about the drum music playing in the background or the glow of the candlelight. Phyllis asked us to celebrate our creativity and give thanks. We did and more!
There are no words here. Three amazing women got together and had a Power Lunch. That is all I can say. This was Right Bank for the month of July.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Jim was watching the barbecue show down on t.v. and got a hankering for it. They bought this huge item and put it in the smoker. Martha made handmade potato salad Southern style with homemade mayonaisse - She was NOT going to the store a second time for mayo! There were also cooked greens, baked beans, this awesome sourdough crusted bread with gouda cheese and an Origin 2005 Sauvingnon Blanc. Jim fixed his famous martinis and we ate until we couldn't move. And then we ate some more! I know I regale you with food alot but it's one of the ways we all friend one another.
They had tile put down in the living, dining and master suite and it looks really cool with Martha's art hanging all over the place. I also got a demo of their new high def t.v. I want one when I grow up.
I'm building a 1700s gown with paniered skirts in red bengaline and black silk dupioni. It has neat black heavy lace appliques on it and is decorated with black and red satin butterflies. It's directed towards a Vampire Ball in New Orleans where I know it will make a splash.
Tomorrow is Right Bank at Phyllis' house!
Here's a new work by C. Robin Janning called 'Eve'. I'll be publishing some of her photographs as well. I like her references to the Horns of Hathor and the Sacred Triangle here. All of us women have one of those Sacred Triangles. I also like the way the rake of the Es busy themselves furrowing the background to plant ideas in. And her words suit.
She was also not allowed to exhibit in the ateliers of Europe where 'good' art was seen because those works were huge in size. No woman was judged up to the task to deal with raw canvas and stretchers that measured in feet even though she could drag a room sized rug out to the fence and beat the shit out of it to dislodge the grime of hundreds of booted feet.
I promised then with those hard copies and I keep my word now to give women a space where they can write, draw, muse, rhyme, paint, craft and be without censure. If you have something brilliant to say about what a woman leaves here, please. Spare yourself the embarrassment of my response to you. Deepwater is about an open, safe exchange place for women. Their work does not have to be perfect. I don't expect it to be. Human beings never are about total perfection or we risk the wrath of the gods.
So. If you have comments about onomatopeia (sic), suggestions on how to make IT better, keep them to yourself. I don't give a damn if your expertise, or your position on the staff of a literary or arterly publication, your education makes you feel you're entitled to correct grammar, spelling or balance. Women who create at whatever stage of their craft are welcomed and protected here. Period. If you need further clarification, email or call me and I'll give you the Word.
I intend to leave the comment discussion that spearheaded this entry in. And the responses. So you can get a small taste of the cosmic thump on the head. You, too can avoid injury in this way.
U.S. Women Uninformed About Lung Cancer
2 hours, 24 minutes ago
MONDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey finds that American women are greatly uninformed about the threats posed by lung cancer and how it can affect them.
Published by the U.S. National Lung Cancer Partnership, the 2006 survey of more than 500 women not only lists the statistical realities of lung cancer in this country -- it also reveals a widespread lack of awareness by millions.
"This survey is a current snapshot of women's attitudes and beliefs about lung cancer, and it's frightening -- especially considering the extensive media coverage on the topic after Peter Jennings' and Dana Reeve's deaths. Women need to know the truth about lung cancer," Regina Vidaver, executive director of the National Lung Cancer Partnership (NLCP), said in a prepared statement.
According to the NLCP, lung cancer affects more than 80,000 American women annually, with over 70,000 cases proving to be fatal. Thirty thousand more women die annually from lung cancer than from breast cancer, they noted. In fact, lung cancer claims the lives of more women than breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers combined.
Other vital findings include: Only 41 percent of women know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States. Only 8 percent of women understand that exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Instead, 60 percent of women share the mistaken belief that exposure to secondhand smoke is the number two cause. Only 36 percent of women are aware that lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer. Only 29 percent know that lung cancer kills more women than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined. Only 41 percent of women know that one in every 17 women will develop a lung malignancy in her lifetime. Only 18 percent of women know that women make up the majority of young (under age 40) lung cancer patients. Only 4 percent of women know that women typically do better than men following lung cancer treatment.
Another crucial subject addressed was that a quarter of all women "mistakenly believe there is a standard screening test to detect lung cancer in its early stages. Although such tests are in development, there is no clinically-approved screening test for this nation's top cancer killer", the NLCP said in a statement.
"Lung cancer is often perceived as a man's disease, yet it affects tens of thousands of women, and we're very concerned that women seem to be in the dark when it comes to the facts about lung cancer and the significant impact lung cancer can have on their lives," said Dr. Joan Schiller, president of the NLCP.
For more information on lung cancer and treatment, please visit Women and Lung Cancer.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Demi's daughter Karis regaled us with things a three-year old does and amazed me with her sailor's appetite. I used the opportunity to tell her how awesome I thought it was that she ate heartily and had a sense of balance with her food choices. It's important that we foster healthy eating in our girl children since there is so much sickness with bulimia and anorexia these days thanks to Holyword Stars and Wall Street ad agencies. Phyllis says Karis looked like she was receiving a dispensation from the Goddess. I thought she was looking at me like a talkative, old lady.
So. Demi fixes this delicious chicken dish we requested again this time. She does something to tenderize the chicken, dips it in something else and then in parmesan and bread crumbs with something else and a bit of lemon. I really do need to get these recipies in here so you can try them. We had a Rothschild Bordeaux before dinner. You know, no matter the shows on t.v. showing how expert the male is as a chef, the lion's share of food preparation in the world is handled by women. Those boys just think they're teaching us something. And we let them. It's one of the ways that we women get to be creative. We can cook our way into and out of situations. We can fund our groups and institutions with bake sales. We can cook Like Water For Chocolate. We can even cook up a man. You can take that both ways - through HIS stomach. Or ours in certain kitchens on the planet.
I say on my profile that I don't or can't cook. The truth is, I am a very good cook and can flambe, fricasse, and saute with the best of them or put a good buttermilk biscuit on your plate. It's just something I don't do much at all anymore. I had every imaginable gadget and serving accoutrement to throw dinner parties for 20. Which I've done, up to the flaming coffees. Another little rebellion in my middle life. Like refusing to be a secretary to anybody ever again. Or never struggling into another pair of pantyhose. Ever.
After dinner I read them Baroness Elsa's poem. Phyllis read poems that she doesn't read when she gives her public reading. Demi's poems need to be public, too.
Out of Style
Skinny starved little girl saying magic words
Trying to make the bumps come up on her chest
Painting on Passionate Plum Sparkle nail polish,
checking her dance moves in the mirror.
She flips through Teen Scene magazine
for answers to "What is your Boyfriend's Pet Peeve?"
Stuffed toys and black high tops on the floor.
Platform Jellies are the coolest!
Adolescence in the shape of a goddess,
afraid she'll go out of control.
Her body pornographic,
she controls what she can,
refuses to eat.
Hollow cheeks and eye sockets ache for self love.
Spaghetti straps and flowing tie dye skirt,
combat boots and a blue streak in her hair.
She hates her legs.
New mother with stretch marks and burdensome breasts
daydreams of three-way mirrors yet fears them still,
A new pair of shades and fuck-me shoes
Will cure her depression.
Voluptuousness hides in yards of cloth
Afraid to reveal itself
now that the rented belly is vacated
Her body still feels like someone else's.
Middle age, nothing fits --
Dresses, rings, shoes, husbands, houses, dreams.
She feels betrayed, as if she didn't know already
The world would never be ready for her.
Still they tell her she "can get the body she deserves",
that the one she has just needs a little work.
She glimpses the naked mirror image,
longing to be cute
like his secretary.
The brandished razors and slits for eyes
were open for business.
The familiar perch inside her cage
offered little security.
She inched away, averting her glance,
His muscles softened as he
flattened himself on the rug,
never losing his bead on her,
pondering his next maneuver.
Nightmares said the time would come,
the door would be left open.
Brilliant plumage and arias
are no match for the predator.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Met someone I'd like to introduce you to. She is dead, of course and this makes future conversations difficult. But. She's the first true punker, a founder of the Dada art movement, poet and artist, and performance artist where her stage was everyday life. She died in the 1920s in Paris but was much ado in the American art and writing scene. Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
She was something of an annoyance to society, the police, and other artists and poets of the time. A subject of letters and poetry/essays, posthumously by Ezra Pound who should have just stayed his En-tire ass at home on this one, and during her day by dueling women writers in The Little Review. All of this endears her to me.
I felt such a connection with this woman. She certainly could fit in with my collection of past life personaes because we have much in common. I'll let you figure out which commonalities over the course of time.
Here is an essay so you can get the flavor of her. There are also some of her poems. Like this one.
The Little Review, 7 (September-December 1920)
Scrape brains clear from you——
how it hurts to be void !
over twin hillocks
singeing——seering satanic stink——
from stark things ! ! !
stark kings in
mockeye set amber
within mine chest ! ! !
on twin hillocks
smaragd isle !
There is also this story in the New York times about women in the Dada movement. She's a fascinating character and certainly fits the bill for eccentricity. I introduce you her to her life and some of her works so that you can see that unconventionality can be art. And poetry. And writing.
Monday, July 03, 2006
When I was tidying up our storage yesterday I found an old journal of mine containing a poem. I used to really like it when I was younger, but it seems even more relevant now. I apologized to the guys for the sexism...if you want, this could be you to :) I recommend reading the lower post first.
What if instead of drugging, shocking, tying down our Mad Women, we put them in warm tubs of water naked as babies and got in there with Them and cooed and encouraged Them to cry great salt tears, to grieve the passing of dreams, the rape of the soul? What if we rocked Them to sleep in giant hammocks of competent fat arms when They are too damn exhausted with keeping up pretenses or holding Thier heads up any longer? What if we agreed with Her that the whole world is fucking crazy, out of balance and that She is not to blame for the halt and the lame, the lack of food, the phone not being answered, the port wine stains on babies, the wars on every continent of the globe?What if we gave Her a baseball bat (none of the nerf shit impotent harm nothing foam battaca bat bullshit, but a solid wood bone cracking put a goddamn lump on it BASE FUCKING BALL BAT ) and let Her slam every post stump wall door window house car in an arena where She is cheered on to a frenzy?Then let's pick Her up when she falls down exhausted and foaming and take Her down to the locker room for a steam bath and massage that leaves Her noodle limp and rage-less for the first time in decades. Dina Kerik
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I saw photos of Dale's studio and yard and have been mostly okay with my own fierce abandon since. My yard looks like a jungle too. I have planted all kinds of exotics that will live in this semi-tropical place. There's frangipani, several kinds of datura, lots of different jasmine, lime, lemon, orange, pear, tangerine, grapefruit, a huge bearss lemon, pineapple, mulberry, palms, river birch, cherry laurel, some bananas, plantains, passion flower, thumbergias, orchids of several stripes, night blooming cereus that regales me regularly with it's phenomenal blooms, Don Juan and David Austin roses, lots of begonias including one that belonged to my mother, Jewels of Opar, succulents and aloes, and every kind of local weed you can imagine. I used to garden.
There's a vine called 'Blue Skys' that presumptuously grows up over an heirloom La France weeping hibiscus. It tumbles down to the ground, up over the roof gables and into the old oak above my house. I know I should trim it back. But I love the huge lavender blue blooms with their yellow throats that grow in long clusters like garlands. It helps to hide some of the trauma from the storms.
Since the hurricanes that wreaked havoc on my 100 year old house and yard two years ago felling several large oaks and collapsing ceilings and putting holes in the roof, I've been in a frozen state. Almost a panic about getting it back in order. There are boxes piled with fabrics and trims. Furs used on the historically accurate gowns I make peek out between rolls of brocades. The world's largest button, brass findings and bead collection rests in caskets, boxes, drawers and trays. Laces spill out of boxes and around the several machines that I use as the hardware of my costume craft.
I guess there should be a new number in the psychology texts for post-hurricane stress syndrome. Surely the Katrina survivors have it. To go out and start uprighting the plants in the path of the tornado that sat down here during Jeanne would be to remember sitting in the house and feeling it lift off of the foundations and come slamming back down with an ear shattering bang. Moving the debris would bring back the sounds of the winds howling through and around me as I sat here huddled with the dog and cat, all of us shaking.
Or maybe I'm just flat ass lazy and tired. Maybe I want to create, build, write, visit, enjoy my friends and screw the house keeping duties since there is better use of my time at my age. Whatever. The mortgage should be paid off shortly and I can begin to dab here and there at it with small funds. I like owning it stick and splinter. I'll get to the repairs the same way. Stick and splinter.
Friday night at Peace House. I was greeted by this big river hawk as I unloaded the cut flowers I bring every visit. This time, I filled the vase with branches of mock orange flowers and bamboo. I heard him screaming first. He flew right over my head to land low on the limbs of the oak tree just above me. He sat preening his feathers until he grew bored with me and then flew off over the Hillsborough River that abuts their yard.
We drank this rich, red wine and ate asparagus sandwiches Karole made. Tomatoes, shaved turkey, fancy lettuce and homemade dressing. And other stuff. On these Puerto Rican rolls. With thin sliced sweet onions. I'll ask Karole for the recipe to share with you, but they were a-mazing!
I took my Sony Cybershot camera over and uploaded the disk drivers and got it set up. Also put a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements for them to dink with on the jewelry photos they will take. Tary gave us a demonstration on beadmaking later in the evening. It was fascinating to watch her take the glass rods and form it, add tiny points of various colors around the surface and then drag a tool through the red-hot glass to make hearts. The light from her torch, the lamplight from her work bench outside made this amazing cameo! I was so delighted that the shots I took of her working the glass came out so well and uploaded to their computer that I ran off patting myself on the back before remembering to send one to myself to post here.
We had 'show and tell'. Phyllis brought her art portfolios and we spread all these riotous images out over the dinner table. Everyone found their favorites! Angie, Tary's daughter came in while we were looking Phyllis' artwork. We caught up on weekly news, Angie's boyfriend, our work, talked about the sacredness of dance and saw a belly dance video that Phyllis brought of this dancer doing a Pharonic dance. The dancer was all muscle and control, her moves so fluid that you never saw the transitions. I was a belly dancer and teacher in my younger days. Now I watch.
We spent the night because we had too much wine and I don't travel when I press the grape that hard. For our bedtime prayer, Tary and Karole brought out their tuned Tibetan bowls and we made them sing by ringing them and rubbing the clapper around the rims. We sang along with the bowls. Loud and harmonious women's voices! Janie and Rosie, their dogs sang along with us. What a sight we must have made if you looked in the window, women with their bowls and their voices and dogs singing along.
My friends amaze me! My newest friends also amaze me! Robin has become a solid force here for DWJ and pulls her art and her poetry out of the air like ripe fruit. She became the first poetry submission! I do have promises of poetry from Phyllis McEwen, Demi Wilson and Tary Peace. Will I get to see yours?