Why do you do what you do?
From 2015...still relevant, and I'm still evolving...
I do what I do to find firm footing.
I need art like air to survive and I know others do too.
I seek groundedness.
I write my story so I can speak it.
I share it so others can do the same.
I act with courage, write and speak with courage
so I can stop my constant shame cycle and change that narrative.
I share so others may do the same.
I expose my vulnerable bits to connect with others.
I experiment with empathy so we can find mutual connections
between everyone in a room together seeking how our lives aren't so different.
I'm skilled at bravery. Go deeper into that. Be bolder.
I write to connect my fractured parts.
To put my story into characters' bodies. And physicalize them. Make them seen.
To feel how everybody hurts sometimes and to find strength to move on.
I write to show stories of the silenced, the before-me and others,
to reveal the humanity of people we believe to be unlovable,
impossible to connect with,
a character who fits our definition of un-relatable,.
Can we connect with humans we shut out as the other, as unnecessary, a number?
The homeless on the street, the schizophrenic in the hospital, the jailed in prison, the sociopath with a cause, the kid who has a hard time in the holiday months.
Love them not by showing only the good they do despite themselves,
but by seeing with exactitude all their parts,
the brutal and the beautiful.
I think about the way the universe is made up. And what I heard on an NPR break the other day, with a scientist an astrophysicist I think, saying this is how he is going against the grain--
I believe we matter as human beings in the universe.
Not a popular opinion, after Copernicanism.
The universe with its stars, all of them,
more and more discovered to have planets,
and it gets more likely that these planets have life.
And so we matter not because we are different,
because we are unique and the universe revolves around us,
but because we are part of the tapestry of life.
Beings who can protect life.
And we matter,
our responsibility in mattering is to take care of life.
To keep it. Protect life and guard it.
That is huge responsibility.
One we are forsaking.
(A paraphrasing, original source forgotten.)
looking back on looking back
From September, 2015 (and I'm still working on becoming)
Feel how the emotions change now, heart rate and face tension, after reading the entry I wrote the day after Dad's spinal surgery. Time is all now.
I feel the tingle.
When I'm in lows, I focus my writing less on process and why I do what I do.
I think less about the big picture.
More about what's happening on my insides.
Less about sensory detail.
More about raw emotion.
Usually the right here right now vague feelings and cyclic thoughts.
And I record. And I process. And I sit. Observe.
And I think -- at the core, this is why I do this.
To take care of me.
To get the notes out about what it's like right here right now.
To get more exact, articulate and less desperate.
To trust my mind. To let go and share.
There are big picture thoughts that go with it, that have to do with audience and what I'm trying to communicate why with whom for what purpose. But at the base, this is the foundation. I write to connect with me.
It doesn't always make me feel better, but it gets the howling more manageable.
When I do this every day, it makes me stronger, more powerful as a human.
Yes, I don't make much money as a writer.
I have to think a lot about how can I squeak by.
I spend a lot of time doing this practice, completely financially unpaid work.
Yes, my logical brain tells me it's important: to practice as an artist, and then my panic practical brain says but so much? It's important to get financially stable and how can you with this? And what are you contributing to the world?
But in a larger term scope,
in taking in the truth about my history and my trajectory,
I see that this is what it takes for me to get through the day.
The alternative, I see, is me in hospital, me medicated, me living dependent, me out late every night making bad decisions. That me is contributing a whole lot less and spending more. Or...Here.
I need to write and I feel it these days
when there is burning in my chest
and I notice the tension build and fall in shoulders.
When I see the weight. And hold it.
And it draws my mouth downward.
When the throat and the gut and the head dive.
When I open up my brain to exposure and I get caught wrestling inside.
When I read about the day Dad's results came back,
detailing all the organs where his melanoma spread:
brain, spine, liver, lungs, kidneys.
When I notice how panic and overworking shielded me from feeling for years. Everything task oriented. And now I'm unleashing.
When I got back from the M.E. experience of homeless abuse and un-me-ing,
I didn't want to show any awful side of myself.
I wrote about it yes, but didn't speak about it.
The way I wrote about it in pieces I released veiled the truth enough
that yes I felt exposed but the art felt separate from me.
There was my work and my private life. Fractured. Compartmentalized.
This left me cold and armored, still denying myself.
Now this, this is hard too, this pure feeling, but it is real. Unmasked. Familiar.
And this is my reason to write as much as any lofty ones.
I can only get to the point where I am opening up connections,
speaking to the silent if I allow myself to speak and listen, too.
I exist. I matter.
And so do you.
chili from Mom's kitchen, best second day
twelve climbing trees, maple, birch
marsh pond with beavers chewing
tide pools by the bay, orca song
dusty tumbleweed soaked by unexpected storm
brother jumps off porch overhang
Bandit collie dog
Rajpurr the tiger
attention to detail
piles of comic books
old land rover
perch on hearth, on furnace
Ramona Quimby, Russian lit
starry eyes behind turtle shells
shadow in the glass
moon howling, the expanse
quiet proud mountain peaks
reach snow tops to grey sky, drowning
I poke them from the boat
don't forget sage
and don't forget me, please
white clouds blinding photo prints
I miss your stellar mind and heart
Where is California? When are you here?
How far is sky? How empty is dirt?
the sea ate everything else
globe overwhelmed by rocky blue
where no earth is visible from sky
white expanse, meeting flood
poor fruit, fallen away
us discarded collectors
roam and savaging
my parents never saw land
but their parents
who I never met
but I heard stories
when everything was dry, dry dry
then flashes flooding washing over us
the us before
the us now,
our bodies changing, Mom says
our fingers webbing
There is ocean
Pacific tide washes up bay
Humpbacks in near far reach
Goats white on cliffs
Space and distance different here, bigger
Mountains behind, water ahead
Poke anenome mouths
Does that hurt?
You are seven and forget to ask
Your sense of wonder and wishing
About the bald eagles nesting front yard
About skunk cabbage so pungent
About Dungeness crabs and if they live in cells
If their home is moat with always rain
And that's how they got their name
You want to know the names of everything
And to float across seas
To Russia, Japan, Antarctic
The warmth the roots the heat. Musty flowers like gym socks.
The blower. Buzzing bug by my ear. The songbirds.
The pine cone reminds me of Juneau.
We had much pine there. We ate needles like mints.
The water the algae the bright totems.
The spiderweb dusty like unwashed laundry.
Dampness feels different underfoot than on branches.
Warmth feels different back of hand than back of neck.
A painting of layered textured oak leaves.
And the water -- fountains, streams, and that calling laughing bird.
Questions written to artwork at Boise Art Museum during a writing camp, 2015?
But today, think of them as questions for you. That's what I did.
Where do you dream of going?
How warm is the light?
How do you like purple?
How do you taste?
What is your favorite dessert?
What is your favorite desert?
Do you miss your home?
Who made you?
Why are you here?
What was your loneliest moment?
What do you wish?
What is your favorite moment in the day?
Who do you like to watch?
What is the glue inside of you made from?
How does it feel?
The glue inside you?
The clue inside you?
What is underneath your dreams?
Do you like shadows?
Do you feel sad and lonely?
What are you thinking?
Do you wish you could walk?
Do you wish you could dance?
Found on a looseleaf sheet of ruled paper while packing to move.
We're moving down the street next month, my partner and I, lucky dogs.
I'm not sure when I wrote this.
After the 2016 election, I imagine. And probably winter.
Though maybe my last year of grad school.
I am a big bunch of mixed-up words
My dad always said life is a series of minor corrections.
My days are full of head-scratching
Too much internet
Sleeping a lot these days
Is it the weather? Politics?
Now I'm writing. My favorite moment.
The room is warm.
I touch my cheek for cool.
The empty room.
Sometimes it's warm, solitude.
And I get a lot done.
Sometimes it's gruesome, a burn at my chest in forest fire.
Loneliness tastes hard at the back of my teeth like a filling.
Metallic and everywhere when it's near,
Swimming a pool of spaghetti
The brimming waves take over the room like static
The sound of gratitude and a stirring heart
I can etch out my truth in loneliness
I am a heart of song
The truth is nutty to assemble
Remember when you sat on one side of him and the other side was her
him lying on the floor in her house off 24th
and his pain his pain his pain abdominal you wanted to absorb it all
and then the hospital watching waiting waiting waiting until home sleep.
These recent times lying with him, a different matter.
All this starting over. Starting over. Begin again.
Go into this time completely, head forward, eyes up, breathing.
See the world. Start again. Remember your world is different. Your story different.
You don't have to compare yourself with anyone else.
You don't have to rush.
Everything in good patient time and space.
Remember when you visited him another time, same hospital
different organ removed from insides.
First gall bladder, next burst appendix.
Remember when you decided you loved him
that first time you saw him on the other side of the bar
and he limped from basketball.
Remember when you decided to tell him in coded ways
like responding in turn when he said he loved you like a sister
except you meant it in a different way
like giving him a dumb money bank with vintage jokes
or your Billy Joel sheet music anthology
or your used eyeglasses.
Remember that first time you told him love in candid response
and when you sent an email articulating love at length the next night
and two versions of a poem you wrote him five years before that
and you didn't regret but you gulped
and how you needed time room air to let that all this settle and evolve
not knowing what this is or will be
and learning to let go of control and expectation
for healthy self-care.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with intermittent posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make, as well as prompts and ideas I bring to certain workshops. There will also be some raw, rough content found in notebooks written years ago, previously posted on: