In some arenas, I might be one of the best in the world. Others, maybe not, or maybe I haven’t even tried. Maybe I’m hopeless at some things.

I hate to rule anything out, though. For example, I guess it’s not sensible to learn to skateboard now, because I can’t afford to break, but I’ll never forget the single, shimmering dream that I had a few years ago. It was a moment of grace that gave me all day, as long as I wanted, and I rode a springy, slender Fibreflex board with red wheels all over a city I didn’t know, going down stairs, hills, off curbs. It was glorious. I kind of knew, in the dream, that it was a gift. That it was maybe the only day for me. So I skated the fuck out of that city. I’ll never forget the feeling.

Sometimes, but not very often anymore, I have flying dreams. Whenever I’m lucky enough to have one, I know that the trick is not to go into a headspace where I question the flight and fall, but instead, stay in a state of mind where anything is possible. It’s just like life.

Today, I’m doing something that I’m one of the best on Terra at, which is adapting, and changing the shape of my mind to match what has to be done. My to-do list is ambitious, and my time and financial resources are very limited, but those are always the givens that I start any analysis of my own reality with. I have few material resources, maybe 12 hours a day, and a high bar. I know that all that really matters is how serious I am about accomplishing the work, and how disciplined I can be about putting myself aside to make everything work.

caos y ordre

I’ve been a little down since having my bag stolen. There was an onion’s worth of layers of lessons in what happened, all of which I had of course already learned. The new information in the experience (which isn’t really new information at all) is that I haven’t fully committed to the idea of not having more than I need. And in this case, the consequence was that I lost one thing that was not mine to lose. The loss of my own stuff was fairly easy for me to accept; allowing the message to accrete, harder. More uncomfortable. And of course involving another human being in my own life lessons, well. I don’t like that feeling at all. His kindness in the face of the news eased my heart. He said, “Let the Universe sort this out, Kate.”

From one perspective, it’s been amusing how starkly my choices have presented lately. In the past two months, I’ve been given almost cartoon situations, moments where I have to decide how safely to play a scene in a film I myself have storyboarded. A handful of moments stand out in particular. In two cases I’ve played things way too safe, and done so by a wide enough margin that I missed what could have been really great or formative experiences. In one case I think I did well (a Hunter Thompsonesque little story that you may or may not hear one day) and in the case of the bag, not safe enough. But the real problems in each case were coming into the scenes with obstructions. In all cases I suffered from both an excess of preconceived ideas and an excess of physical stuff. And I feel like I have less of either than most people. But clearly, still too much, too many.

In all cases, every day of my life, I handicap my ability to feel as if I have done well by having loved ones scattered in too many places; at any given moment, I am not doing enough for someone.  Children, lover, grandma, auntie, friends, cats… they could all use more. As a woman, I feel this keenly. There are no real solutions for me to this problem, it’s just a part of my equation, hurting my heart at a hum or a roar, always leaving me short of feeling that I’ve done my best.

I can see that I’m going to have to go a little deeper than expected right now (and I was already expecting a great deal from myself in this month) but I know that after today, a day I’m spending holding the new shapes in my mind, the rest of me: my will, my discipline, my human attention and the duality that connects me to the source (where chaos and order sleep softly together, mirror halves) will take the forms that they need to get the work done.

The rest of it, well. It’s ongoing. Trying to need less, use less, have less, give more, be more. That’s life-work.

Barcelona 57

I guess right now, I get to ride the city bus downtown, to stand in line at the City Court, to find out why the $62 fine I paid to be two minutes late on my parking meter on an empty street in downtown Tucson (and which was withdrawn from my bank balance before I left town) didn’t succeed, and to explain why I didn’t get their mid-month letter to that effect.

I’m sure that they don’t want to be unreasonable, right….?


The great news, though, is that after that, I’ll ride that same bus back up Broadway, and hook up in Electric Larryland, and that’s going to be a beautiful thing.

photos, Barcelona street art, 2013

10 thoughts on “tinkering

  1. God you’re a good writer. I read your stuff and just revel.

    Not that you need me suggesting ideas but I read the bit about tight finances and had one that I offer simply because. But you know that outfit Ken uses to sell prints? Imagekind I think it is. What if you offered prints of your graffiti shots? I loved them and I can’t imagine I am the only one.

    • Oh, sure, I will definitely do things like that. Having few resources is always how it is for me, I didn’t mean to imply it was… unusual. I make work to support my work, it’s just how it goes. I’ll probably do a spot of kit-making and metalsmithing soon. I like your idea of Barcelona prints, that’s nice! I keep meaning to do something with my photography, but just never seem to have time.

      : )

      Thanks for the nice words.

  2. oooh postcards of the eyeball building. That would be wonderful. I must share that I used some of those blogs to share with my son how other parts aof the world look. I just knew he would appreciate it. Thanks for sharing so I could share. My son is into tshirts right now that seem to look like some stuff you posted which is why I thought he would be interested/He is 16 with so much to see and learn

    • Yes, postcards are nice. It’s so expensive to set up print runs like that, though, that it’s more something I do when I have money to invest, rather than when I am fundraising. But I’m quite keen on the street art as well. I was thinking last night, I’m not sure how I feel about selling images of other people’s art. I think I’ll probably just give those images away for free, because that’s more in spirit with the system.

  3. I still have flying dreams and I am always flying through the air like I am doing the breaststroke. So whenever I get the chance to swim I savor the breaststroke with the image of flying in my mind.

    • I get your point about other people’s art. However, isn’t everything other people’s art? Travel photographers go to fabulous places and sell the images of their adventures so that others can enjoy them. Maybe find an artist’s charity tied to Barcelona; Sell the prints and split the profits 50/50 so it’s win/win?

      • Hmm, I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right to sell images of other people’s paintings. That’s just not… cool.

        I’ll give it more thought. It’s an interesting concept piece. I know that there are books of street art, in fact I bought one on Barcelona art.

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