another time, another place…

It’s so different to capture real life, rather than real life remembered.

I’ve been so full of living this past month that there wasn’t any of me left to make more than mental notes; cosmic scraps of paper that all just seem to say “best day ever”.

Let me try to catch up a bit.

Michael Pope and Kate McKinnon, altered snippet of a photo by Kyle Cassidy
snip of a photo by Kyle Cassidy, Pope and Kate

What a whirl it’s been. The party is over, the gowns are back on their racks. The tent stands folded, quiet yet somehow still quivering, in the Barbie Coach. I’ve been to St. Louis, been back home, and I think winter must be over here, because Orangelina woke up two days ago, two months earlier than usual.

I am so happy to see her, of course. She’ll be orange and gold again soon. And yeah, it’s really easy to be sure it’s her; she has a scar on her side from where she battled a space dragon. That’s my explanation, anyway. Look at that sweet little smile.

Orangecutie

I went and got her some worms, but she’s still waking up, I think. Not quite ready for breakfast.

I am presuming that she woke up because winter is over, but it’s possible that she just felt the thrill in the air. Every thing that happened during party week is still rippling out through our bodies and minds. Yet it also seems to be far away; another time, another place.

All the things I carry with me
And all the things I left behind
And all the things that wait to meet me
Hover in the air tonight

We had an astonishing time this year. Kyle Cassidy came out from Philadelphia to work his usual magic. Events, weather, and lovely people conspired to create a beautiful experience.

His portraits shone.

AJ Reardon by Kyle Cassidy

AJ Reardon, in front of Mark and Marcia’s pretty Airstream.
Below, Doriot Lair.

Doriot Lair by Kyle Cassidy

I’ll have a full gallery to show soon. I’ve been working on quite a few photosets in background, it’s shocking really how many. They seem to be very important to me lately, photographs, and they take a lot of time to keep sorted. Heck, I’m still working on the NYC photo album from last summer… it’s nuts.

I’m not concerned about what happens when, though. This is new for me.

I’ve really been behaving differently since I finished the last book, doing the things I want to do and when I want to do them, living only on the income from book sales, trying to pay attention to the moments flying by. It’s kind of amazing.

I feel lucky, and I feel free at last.

I am moving at my own pace in every way (and it’s slower than I expected it would be); thinking, feeling, training hard, writing, working on learning what painting is; what images are made of. So far, I’m still digital, but I find that it’s a perfect medium for me to learn how few or how many lines define a moment, a scene, capture a tumble of hair.

kate mckinnon

My friend Gail said an interesting thing a few months ago, that she’s been holding back as a human being, as an artist. I feel the same. We’ve been doing what needs to be done, and keeping ourselves in check for the benefit of our children, our image, society, our comfort zones…whatever. She’s right, of course. And it gets tiring, holding back. I just can’t bear it anymore.

It’s possible anyway that it’s no longer necessary; our children have grown, our people love us, and people can take us or leave us. I don’t want to be around the incurious, the cruel; I want to be with the people who feel responsible for the quality and breadth of their own lives.

I feel comfortable enough being judged by the company I keep. It’s a self-regulating mechanism, because if I am not doing my best work, then the quality of my associations will suffer. People with some fucking standards appreciate people with some fucking standards. And that’s really a deep sort of truth.

Kim Van Antwerp and the Mailbox by Katea cherished association, my friend Kim Van Antwerp, helping me decorate the mailbox for our long-time carrier Mike’s retirement. 

I really feel like my work as a writer or an artist is just one set of reflections, a sort of waterfall out the other side of my real life. People ask me, “what do you write”, and it’s a question that is always odd to me, because I just write what is happening, which is connecting with people, moving upward and onward and forward and through. I may be on a topic of anything (metals, beads, travel, love) but the process is the same: live life, notice the things that other people are skipping over, write.

In a way, I am like the water that flows between the stones, or the dendrites that connect information in the brain, or the plasma, the conducting fluid. I stretch myself between people or ideas, and try to hold a bridge long enough for a flow; if the things I am bridging are meant to connect, they will.

The night of the main party was a perfect night, with a huge moon and a million stars. There was both a gentleness and wildness in our hearts, and connection was easy.

Rivkah Raven Wood by Kyle Cassidy
Rivkah Raven Wood, in the Barbie Coach during the party

Kate Stern by Kyle Cassidy
Kate Stern, photo Kyle Cassidy, beadwork Daria Tittenberger

Kellner flew home to Tucson from Crete, and Michael Pope flew out from Brooklyn.

kellner and pope by Robin Douglas
Kellner and Pope, photo by Robin Douglas

Kyle had flown home by the time the above photo was snapped (as had Doriot) as Kellner missed the actual party, and arrived the day after. The night after, actually; he walked out of the darkness, and discovered me about to fall asleep in the outdoor bed, with Pope hovering around, chatting me up, trying to keep me awake; he was in on the surprise.

Kellner and Kate by Robin

The intensity of our times together always leave the sensitive among us in a state of both grace and unrest. I spend a good amount of myself in the weeks after the events catching; people often feel overloaded, or kind of lost, because the experience can be so intense, so beautiful, that it can be a bit disconcerting. I try not to fall into atoms myself until everyone else is caught, is safe, until the last of the first ripples of effect have faded.

Things are settling in now, but I wouldn’t say settled. We are all still sparking; and some of us are making life changes. Some of us are coming together to do new work; more on this as it turns real.

But I think I’m going to stick around in Tucson for a while… see what happens.

How soon we fool ourselves
How slow we tread
Astral planes, collide head on
And on and on we glide
As if forever

There is so much more to say, but time has passed, or it’s too intense, or the things I might say belong to others, to say instead.

I am filled with love, feeling fierce, and absolutely wild, like an animal.

13 thoughts on “another time, another place…

  1. Addendum…

    For people who do what I do, this is the sort of moment of process than can tear our hearts out if we let it; I’ve been on duty, and now is finally my time to separate into particles, but there is no one left catching. Or is there?

    I remind myself to visualize my soul as a mist; to reflect, but not to dwell. There is some sort of balance in doing big things; the bigger they are the further out we must go, and the longer it takes to find our way back home again. Because home is a new place.

    Also: What tore me to pieces about Carter Emmart flying me through the universe at the Hayden so long ago wasn’t the vastness of space, or our insignificance. It was that the journey home would have been impossible for me without Carter to guide our starship; it felt exactly like trying to find my own way home after going so far out that I recognized nothing. One must trust.

  2. This paragraph hit home with me very strongly today. I too feel I’ve been holding back, hiding, hibernating, in my cocoon!

    “My friend Gail said an interesting thing a few months ago, that she’s been holding back as a human being, as an artist. I feel the same. We’ve been doing what needs to be done, and keeping ourselves in check for the benefit of our children, our image, society, our comfort zones…whatever. She’s right, of course. And it gets tiring, holding back. I just can’t bear it anymore.”

    Each trip to Tucson opens me up more and more. You are a conduit bringing wonderful beings and adventures together amongst the amazing beauty you’ve created at the ranch. I thank you.

    • thank you for touching fingertips with me in the cosmos this morning, as I said to Mia on Facebook. I feel right now like so many felt in the week after we were all together; I’ve been trying to hold it, like a yoga pose, for 27 days now, and it feels like 27,000 feet.

      there is no point in holding anything back anymore, even our sharp edges. We need to see them ourselves, so we can decide who and how we want to truly be, not just how we want to behave. You have always been a role model for me, Jeannette, of honesty and pure joy in life. And your garden, along with my friend Lona’s, and ones I saw in Bali, were the role models for the oasis here at the Ranch. Much love to you, I’m so honored to have earned your friendship and your love. WOOF!

  3. I love reading your words……life is such a mixed bag……we must enjoy the moment……I keep trying to figure out who I am and what I do……..so confusing…….keeping fingers crossed:O)

  4. I’m trying to work out a shift in my own head, my own space, my own self….and this is exactly what I needed to hear.

    “My friend Gail said an interesting thing a few months ago, that she’s been holding back as a human being, as an artist. I feel the same. We’ve been doing what needs to be done, and keeping ourselves in check for the benefit of our children, our image, society, our comfort zones…whatever. She’s right, of course. And it gets tiring, holding back. I just can’t bear it anymore.”

    Thank you and thank Gail.

  5. I was thinking about your reminder to visualize your “soul as a mist; to reflect, but not to dwell.” I try to remind myself of the same thing, though This Time my atomized soul is glowing as a light source, attracting, not repelling. What a wonderful time we all had…was it only a month ago? So very much has happened since Then, hasn’t it?

  6. I read these words today and felt they connect to Gail’s:
    “These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.”

    It’s a particular kind of letting go that’s based on a really deep understanding of what you’re trying to do. I personally find this a great challenge, and deeply satisfying when it does happen.

    The quote is from Bill Evans’ liner notes for Kind of Blue. He’s comparing the technique of Japanese sumi-e artists to improvisation in jazz.
    http://sfjazz.blogspot.com/

    PS
    I miss liner notes.

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