Thursday, December 11, 2008


I thought I'd post the inspiration for the poem From Vatnajokull to Sargasso. My friend Paul e-mailed me this picture he created, and explained it's inspiration, which is partially quoted below.

"30 years have passed since I was in the Sargasso Sea... named for the seaweed that reminded early Portuguese explorers of Salgazo grapes. I take a sip of wine. It is true that the only company I kept during my churchyard haunting was that of the local wildlife. I can remember leaning against the heavy ancient tombs, listening to the wind tickle the the long thin meadow grass; the birds sweet twittering only there to distract me from their nests.

The hawsers stretch across the deck, over windlass and into the becalmed Sargasso. They drag there until the sea unknots the tangled hemp.

I'm looking at a painting I started some years back - a Photoshop enhanced version appears above. I started a few like this. I was responding to the patterns that I saw in nature.

The bark of trees...

Lichen growing on stone...

Sand ripples left by the receding tide.

As is so often the case with this kind of doodling, I started to see half familiar shapes emerging from the squiggling foam. A creature here and there. The hint of something hidden just below the surface. A place from the past."

He also sent me links to Chris Watson's Vatnajokull and Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon. Thanks Paul, for letting me share this :]

Illustration Friday: Similar

Poured through a sieve
Every hole similar
Nothing changes
In this room
No windows
No doors
Yet, luminescence varies in the passing
Red, yellow, green, blue
Beads in a prism
Strung on daisy chains of light

The poem is for CPCCC's Saturday Share. The picture for Illustration Friday's Similar.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Winter Colors

Remembering when this time of year wasn't so depressing. I don't care for the poem much, but again, kind of like the picture. The poem was written for Legacy Writers of Harmony Pub picture challenge.

Twenty one years ago a church bell rang
Tolling pale azure and white
Against an iridescent midnight
Refrains of devotion, candlelight sang

Olden ritual with white rose petals misted
New birds chirp warmth into the frozen
Borrowed from time, sterling vows are spoken
Blue, truer than all ancient affections listed

For fifteen years the colors tolled
Now silent, their hues have faded
In shadows of grey, winter is shaded
Rose petals withered by the colorless cold

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reflection's Passages

I went to the arboretum yesterday, sat at my favorite spot by the cypress bog, and daydreamed about traveling into the reflections of the fall leaves.

Reflection’s Passages

Diving into reflection’s passages
I soar high above the oxbow
amber branches give way
casting amber beams of hushed petals
to the path before me
vanishing far below
where mirrors ripple
with Eleionomae sighs
Forsaken waif

Deeper into the golden embrace
I discover
the point of origin has been silenced
the bejeweled resin is no closer
the vernal vibrancy is dangling from the
thorny arm extended toward me

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dark Dance

Here's another one for the Saturday Share. I'm not crazy about the poem, but I think the picture turned out kind of cool. When I was layering a couple of my photos in photoshop to go along with the poem, the girl just mysteriously appeared. I airbrushed her a little to make her stand out. Originally, I had no intention to have her in there, but I guess she was determined to be a part of her own dance.

Dark Dance

Stark Cypress sway in celebration
Child of midnight spinning round
Shadows explode with symphonic elation
Lost in song on this frozen ground

Where turbulence and placidity abound
Gusts of pine needles sprinkle
Oh how mystical melodies resound
Around disembodied eyes a twinkle

Moonlit reflections wrinkle
And echo harmoniously across the bog
Sleepy curiosity rouses a jingle
Timid choir huddles under a log

Winter woodland rug rustles agog
With the dance of the dark child
She cloaks the night in frigid fog
Silhouetted hoots and howls are riled

She desires daylight to be beguiled
Breathing an elegy in anticipation
Between timbre wild and tone mild
Swirling disposition resonates sensation

Surfs Up

I've been traveling the Atlantic lately. ...In spirit, anyway. And, while journeying, I've been trying out some new forms of poetry. The first is a Villanelle.

Soul of the Sea

Oh ardent aria for the soul of the sea
When operatic coral awaken under an argent moon
Bear an azure sanctuary for me

Sympathetic waves lave from Charon’s ferry
Ungodliness into the tidal hands of Neptune
Oh ardent aria for the soul of the sea

Dissolving error through a rippled melody
Drifts of celestial glitter’s serous rune
Bear an azure sanctuary for me

Kraken, Leviathan form fondness for me
Where edenic reefs are hewn
Oh ardent aria for the soul of the sea

Their luminosity wanes in the Atlantis of anemone
Misty chants that wisp ere shadowed dune
Bear an azure sanctuary for me

Oh that starry fluidity would serenade soon
My ashes to ebb and emancipate my boon
Oh ardent aria for the soul of the sea
Bear an azure sanctuary for me

From Vatnajokull To Sargasso

Icelandic groans of spectral profound
Ripple forth from frozen wombs
Augural creaks ominously resound
What veiled chants Vatnajokull assumes

Squiggling chimera within frothy blooms
Traversing rampart currents to where
Sargasso lichen cover sunken tombs
Crumbling reflections exhale arctic air

We’ve journeyed to where reveries dare
To tranquilize sonorous seas
We find therein knotted waters ensnare
Unattended growth the stillness seize

Swaying headstones in a liquid breeze
Lingering fingers are sifting through
Gardens of silt laden memories
Where foam apparitions stew

In mid Atlantic we rendezvous
With glacial hymns and salty wine
Hawser meshes of the afternoon
Swimming through placid brine

This last one is a Virelay. They're both dedicated to Paul, my travel companion who lives on the opposite side of the Atlantic. We meet half way ;]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Season's Solace

Dear Mike,

Annually, I make my trek to memorialize the day I brought you home to a rocky land of cactus and Mesquite thorn. Ceremoniously, I cling to you through your family in a silence that is interrupted intermittently by the call of a wild turkey. We gather on this harsh prickly land, and I brace myself for the season’s chill. Your family comforts me, though, within this Hill Country’s beauty that you knew so intimately.

Burnt sienna and burnt umber whisper with a frigid November breath. There, vermillion dotting rolling hills against an azure sky, hushed briars nestle in for winter. A sunset highlights the spiny edges of a Prickly Pear and the golden seed heads of wild grasses. Muted beauty that you are continuously revealing to me still.

I never cared much for Fall. I never wanted Summer to end. You and I together finding so many sun bright things to do. Since your death that blindingly blank summer day, I long for Fall’s consoling blanket of solitude. I long to escape failed expectations of summer togetherness, like the way a fallen leaf is alee the cold Autumn wind. Now the quiescent place you call home mirrors my parched brittle soul that is beginning to adorn new colors of beauty you’ve yet to see.

Fitting it was then, that it was Fall when I carried you home. We spread your ashes among rock and bone under changing trees. We held each other to say good bye and remember you, but that reclusive fire that took you, laid hold of me. It’s been changing my hues to burnt earthen pigments. A newfound beauty decries the emptiness that the fire refines. Fire and ashes in my veins, but my bones are growing cold. Autumn’s beauty carries me beyond the soundless deer seeking shelter, beyond your ashes undisturbed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Award

Mary has awarded me with yet another honor! Thanks Mary! And thanks for your loyal support!

Illustration Friday: Pretend

I've been having computer problems again. I think my computer just doesn't like cold weather. Neither do I, so I snuggled under a blanket on my couch and doodled in my sketch book instead. Pretend this is my brain while I doodle.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Illustration Friday: Wise

I was going to try to participate in Illustration Friday last week, but posted this too late. Maybe this week.

Tuned Out

Trying to learn Haiku.

The Vice

Another Saturday Share at CPCCC. Saturday Share is a poetry challenge that starts on Tuesday nights when Cheryl gives us a line. This week's line was "inside out and upside down". Then everybody contributes lines of their own until 6 pm Wednesday night. Next we pick from the contributed lines and create a poem to share on Saturday. The line I picked from the list was "intrusion, confusion, confound" by Sheila A. It's a lot of fun, and can get pretty silly sometimes. Everybody is welcome to join in.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Volunteering at an animal rescue after the hurricane.

Picture by Lynda

This is Lucy. A police officer found her after Ike. That hurricane left her orphaned. She goes up for adoption this week at the Beaumont Animal Rescue. I wish I could adopt her. She and I bonded.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cards From Mary

Mary is one of the most thoughtful people I have met, and is a dear friend to me. She has sent me all of these cards you see below to encourage me during a difficult time. They are all her original artwork and photography. To see more of her work go here or here.

And here's yet another award she's sent me. Yea!

Thanks Mary!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Myself Lately...

...but seems to be appropriate for the season.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Summer Flowers '08

These were taken on my trip to Wisconsin last summer. I have more photos of flowers from this trip here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Summer Sunsets '08

To see more sunsets from my summer vacation click here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blog Award

Atomicvelvitsigh gave me this award, and I am very honored! I've been going through a tough time lately, and my mind has been far removed from blogging. Velvet's encouragement could not have come at a better time. Thank you so much! The bright cheerful colors are a welcome addition to my side bar. She said for me to pass this award on to the blogs I love, and she would definitely be one of the blogs I would like to pass it on to. There are other bloggers that have been very encouraging to me, and whose blogs I love. Three of them are Mary, who has several blogs of wonderful art, Michael, who loves to digitally alter photographs, and Ashok, whose blog isn't really an art blog, but has some wonderful commentaries on the arts. There are more. Some of the blogs no longer exist, but all of you and your blogs have been encouraging to me. Thank you!

Hurricane E-mails

Here's some e-mails I've received from friends lately. Obviously there has been a lot of people with a lot of free time around here. What else is there to do while waiting for your power to be turned back on?

Top Ten Reasons Hurricane Season Is Like Christmas:

10: You decorate the house (with plywood and tarps).
9: Last minute shopping in crowded stores.
8: Regular TV shows pre-empted for 'Specials'.
7: Family coming to stay with you.
6: Family and friends from out of state calling you.
5: Buying food you don't normally buy . . . and in large quantities.
4: Days off from work.
3: You have lit candles and lights all over.
2: You visit the liquor store to party with the neighbors.

And the #1 reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas:

1. At some point you're probably going to have a tree in your house!

The hurricane grouch quotient can be calculated by adding the number of children and pets in a home without power, multiplied by the number of days quoted on the CenterPoint telephone recording, divided by the number of fans or portable air conditioners powered by your home generator, (however if you were last in line at Home Depot and have no generator then multiply by the daily temperature high for that day reported by the news), then add the number of trips to the washateria and add the days left until school opens again. Discount by the percentage of time spent at neighbors who have power and alcohol. Recalculate as often as necessary.

• No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.

• Calories consumed during a hurricane or power outage do not count.

• Vienna sausages and Spaghetti-Os only appear on the food pyramid during hurricane season.

• Despite protests, kids can re-live their parents' youth when there were only 3 tv channels!

• Houston without traffic lights resemble Mexico City, Rome, Los Angeles and New York City all rolled into a single snarl.

• A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz beers to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.

• There are/were a lot of really big trees around here!

• People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.

• Gas mileage is recalculated based on miles per fume.

• Telemarketers function no matter what the weather is doing. New Delhi does not check the weather report in South Texas before calling

• Most popular text message after September 13: do u hve pwr

• Twenty-seven of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!

• Crickets and cicadas can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.

• Dirty clothes in an unsupervised hamper multiply at an exponential rate.

• Coffee, spaghetti and frozen pizzas can be made on a grill.

• He who has the biggest generator wins.

• Tree service companies are under-appreciated, except after hurricanes.

• There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.

• If you owned a store that sold only ice, chain saws, gas and generators, you would be rich.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Riding the Storm Out

Friday afternoon, about 4 pm, I'm sitting at my desk with a local TV station streaming through my computer the latest updates on Hurricane Ike. The winds are already picking up, even though it's outer bands have only just begun to hit Galveston. Spring Texas, a northern suburb of Houston, is a good 90 minute drive north of Galveston. Thanks to the storm's surge, the flooding of the city's bayous has already begun, even though the rain hasn't. They're asking everybody on the north side to "hunker down" and ride the storm out, so that the people on the south side can evacuate. The freeways had started to back up Thursday afternoon, and really, where would we all go? The storm is 200 miles wide. So, here I sit... and wait.

My clients have cancelled, I've cleaned and put oil in the hurricane lamps, new batteries in the flashlight, moved all potted plants and out door furniture into the garage, and my refrigerate and freezer have been stuffed full of containers filled with drinking water. I did all my cleaning Thursday, the ice chest, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry, because I'm expecting to be without water for a while. The only things left to do is one last shower, and then fill the bath tubs with water. I'll wait until the last minute to unplug and disassemble my computer, so I can move it to a safer place. The waiting, though, is pure torture.

I'm not waiting for the storm to hit. I know there will be some damage and fallen trees, but I also know I'll be alright. I'm waiting for the aftermath. In '83 when Alicia hit, we were without power and water for 2 weeks. In '05 when Rita hit, the temperatures were in the 100's. No work. No income. Getting ice or fuel was like beating buzzards off a meat truck. An entire city of [about 6 million] people who are hot, miserable, and haven't bathed for days - not my idea of fun.

Fast forward now five days to today, Wednesday. I have power and water! Yea! Unfortunately, I think my neighborhood is the only one in the entire metropolitan area that does. Living alone makes it seem like I haven't talked to anyone for days, so yesterday cabin fever and canned soup got the best of me, and I decided to go for a drive to the grocery store, hoping to find something else to eat. Whoa! I think every street light in this city is out. There were downed trees and debris everywhere. There were lines at the few gas stations still open that were about a quarter of a mile long. They were saying on my car radio that the lines in the grocery stores were just as long, and only imperishable goods were being sold. I was not going to wait in line for more canned soup, so I checked in on a friend and went home. No work for me this week, which will be tough financially. All I can do is daydream about Mexican food and margaritas, and tell my blog about it. Thank God for internet.

Other things I'm grateful for: The cool front that came in - no 100 degree weather, yea! My house is still livable in spite of losing shingles and water damage in my living room - no having to find another place to stay, yea! I've been able to bathe since Monday, yea! I'm definitely one of the lucky ones.

My brother lay in bed wide awake all night, the night of the storm, and waited for a tree branch above his bedroom to fall. It finally fell around 4 am, and the winds blew it so that it went through the roof of his dining room instead. He said after that, he could go to sleep. I heard a story on the radio about a man who, when the rains from the cool front hit, took his shampoo and soap out to his back yard and bathed. I guess if you could talk family members into holding up a shower curtain for you, that might not be such a bad idea. My greatest hardship was trying to avoid stepping on the crawfish while cleaning the shingles and tree branches out of my swampy yard. I thought to myself as I sat on my porch with my propane camping burner, heating up my soup, "if I ever run out of soup, I could always have a crawfish boil."

Unlike my brother, though, I couldn't get but a couple of hours of sleep the night of the storm. I think it was when the eye passed over us, because when I finally nodded off, about 5 am, the winds were still coming out of the northeast, and when I woke at 7 am to the sound of my fence crashing down and shingles being ripped off my roof, the winds were coming out of the southwest. I ran to the window, and I could see my banana trees were kneeling and praying to the northeast. They survived, although their leaves have been shredded by the wind.

It was a long storm. The longest I can remember. The rain started about 11 pm Friday night, and didn't stop until 5 pm Saturday evening. It seems like Alicia in '83, which was a category 3 [Ike was only a 2], lasted only about 5 or 6 hours. Maybe it was longer, but not as long as this one.

The picture above is of a sign someone posted at the only entrance to my neighborhood. In the 12 years that I've lived here, we've never had any looters.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

For Mary

See Mary's here. Learn how she makes them in the comments here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Water Dance

I've had this computer for 3 years, and I'm just now finding this program. Duh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Photo Friday: Religion [Losing my...]


Sign painting upside down
The perspective distorts
The edges all around

Brushes are misshapen
There are exaggerated reports
From backward slants taken

How will I tell the blue from the brown?

Watery blur is what I find
Magnifying tears
Gog of Magog is blind

Not bridled by it's virtual desire
But sunken in obscure fears
I evade it's visual fire

Soaked in brown from peering behind

Haunted waters are glowing
With solid feet grounded
Opaque people are flowing

Underwater lenses are spying
Shapes and colors founded
But refusing to see they're dying

An eye patch focuses knowing and prevents showing

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My blogging friend, Ashok Karra, and I have recently had a discussion on journaling, and he asked the question, "Do you think it is essential for a life coach to get her clients journaling or blogging? " I thought this was an interesting question, and wanted to write a post about it.

As I'm interested in life coaching, but not one yet, I can only answer from my experience as a personal trainer, and from my personal experience. I have found through personal training that the clients who are most successful at reaching their goals, are the ones that keep a journal. All the research on weight loss shows the same.

The first session with a client is usually spent evaluating, and discussing goals and the importance of journaling. At one gym I worked for, we gave every client a free journal when they signed up. I have them write out their goals in the present tense affirmative, and they have to be specific. For example, "I will be able to run a mile without stopping within the next six weeks." Next they are to write what obstacles are preventing them from reaching their goals, and how they plan to overcome them. I help them with the planning and what they can reasonably expect within their schedules. They are then supposed to keep track of what they do daily/weekly to reach their goals, and if the goals involve weight loss/gain, they are to keep a food log, as well.

Just the act of putting their goals in writing, increases their chances of success. I read once that physiologically, writing takes an abstract idea associated with the right brain, and breaks it down into a logical process associated with the left brain, getting the whole brain involved in focusing on the goal. Seeing their own words in writing commits them, or seals their commitment to achieving the goals, like a contract. And then, there is the realization after they start charting their progress, that they don't always eat as healthy or exercise as much as they thought. For my clients who stick with it, journaling is an eye opening experience. So, I would think that for life coaching, journaling would be just as important, if not more to achieving goals.

I asked Ashok what his thoughts were on journaling or blogging to help him achieve his goals. He is currently working on his dissertation for his graduate studies in political science. Here's his reply:

"For me, blogging started out as a way of getting thoughts down. Thoughts don't just come without strings; they're always attached to other thoughts, not all of them good. When I first started blogging, I was really hurting because a girl I liked wasn't interested in me at all. And I wondered if anything I could do or be could remedy that.

So every time, in those earlier years, that I was reading a poem or watching TV or looking at art I would have thoughts of her, and my inadequacy, and thoughts of the object at hand. Blogging helped me sort through those issues: it didn't take me really long to realize I was writing for an audience, and they had needs. Slowly my more self-absorbed thoughts began to subside. They didn't disappear; it was just that the entries focused more on where my audience and I could meet, i.e. Robert Frost's "The Pasture," and the sentiment underlying the whole discussion was informed by the initial desire to express pain. But at that point, it might have been impossible to tell I was pained in any way :)

In terms of immediate organization/dissertation help, blogging has just made me that much stronger of a writer. It must have doubled/tripled the speed I write and edit. It's made me more careful about what words I pick. It's pushed me to explore issues from a number of angles before and while writing. The dissertation right now reads like the poem commentaries I have, except with more footnotes and a slightly denser style all around.

But the main thing blogging/journaling has done is give me a public capacity. Writing helps privately - I still keep a paper journal (I've had one since 2001). But being online and working to build the audience and writing for them is huge, esp. in an age where academics like myself aren't guaranteed work. I don't need anyone to give me a job; I know what mine is, and I'm at it everyday, whether there's money or not. This is my voice, my thought, and if the world doesn't want it, it's the world's loss."

I really enjoy Ashok's poetry commentaries. You can find an index of many of his commentaries here.

While I've seen that there is a correlation between journaling and success regarding physical and academic goals, I also believe this to be true with emotional healing and growth. Another blogging friend, Mary Taitt, has talked about 'writing her way out of depression', and has written a book called Morning Shadows. "Writing my way out of depression," here's where blogging comes into the picture for me.

Ironically, I never kept a journal when I lost weight or started my exercise routine. In fact, I started blogging before I started journaling, but blogging was just a creative outlet for me to post art and photos to get feed back. I didn't know what a blog was when I started. I just wanted to participate in Illustration Friday. Soon I found others who were using their blogs to write about their personal problems, collect thoughts, or as Ashok stated, "sort through issues." I was inspired to start keeping a written journal of my own. That slowly started to spill over into my blog. Keeping a journal has been an eye opening experience in my battle with depression. Physically writing things down regularly, has helped me to see things more clearly. Like Ashok, when I post some of these things to my blog, it helps me all the more so, because I'm searching for the right words to explain my thoughts to others, forcing me to think things through.

Do life coaches recommend journaling? I know Carla does in her Wings 4 You challenges, and I've seen other blogs by life coaches that encourage it, as well. What do you think? Has journaling/blogging helped you to achieve goals? If you write a post or have written a post on this, please leave me a link to it. Thanks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nap Time and Boredom

When I was little, probably about 4 or 5, I decided I was going to run away from home. My reason - nap time was too tortuous. How could anyone just lay there for 30 minutes and do nothing? The boredom was overwhelming!

"Can I get up now?"
"It's only been 10 minutes! Go to sleep!"

If I drifted off into imaginary adventures, my mom always knew.

"Lori, if you don't lay down and go to sleep, you will not be let out or your room!"

How did she know? I would be so careful not to make a noise. Being sent to your room was supposed to be punishment, yet I had to endure this imprisonment every afternoon.

One afternoon, I snapped. I had a baby sitter that afternoon. Sandy Quist. I always looked up to her. She was so cool with her long golden hair, and the finger painting classes she'd have in her garage for little kids like me. None of that mattered, though, when she said it was nap time. I could endure no more. Being little must have been a crime. I needed to find a way to escape this horrible form of punishment. In a moment of desperation, I devised a plan for my great escape. It was to make a mad dash for the front door. Unfortunately, I was caught before I ever tasted freedom.

"Where ya goin'?" Sandy asked in confusion.
"I'm running away from home."
"Cause I'm never gonna take naps again!"
"Well... what cha gonna eat?" She was smiling now.
Hmm... I hadn't thought of that.
"Where ya gonna sleep at night?"
I just shrugged.
"Under a bridge?"

I nodded even though the thought of sleeping under a bridge seemed a little scary. Sandy was able to convince me that 30 minutes of nap time was better than living under a bridge. Now I long for nap time. My mother said that would happen one day. Laying there for 30 minutes is a lot easier when you don't have anyone scolding you for going on imaginary adventures.

Boredom. Now that's another story. I could be in the middle of watching Mr. Rogers, and suddenly be consumed by a feeling that everything in life was hopelessly mundane and boring.

"Mom, I'm bored."
"Well, go outside and play, honey."

Nothing I could do would make that feeling go away, and I really don't think that was poor Mr. Rogers' fault. As a teenager, that feeling turned into a feeling of unexplainable loneliness and boredom, and as an adult, hopelessness. I never understood that feeling, but always associated it with the color brown, and after a while, I began to realize that it's extremity was not normal.

It didn't take me long to realize that crayons seem to posses the magic I needed to keep the brown boredom monster at bay. On one of my nap time adventures, I was able to sneak into my closet with a box of crayons and create one of my first masterpieces on the wall. I thought I was pretty clever, because mom never realized I wasn't napping. Then one day, I heard her yell, "[my full legal name, middle name included]! Get in here right this instant!"

"What is this, young lady?!"

It seemed pretty obvious to me, as she was pointing to my masterpiece, so I thought, "does she know that I wasn't napping?"

Sensing my bewilderment, she announced, "We do not draw on the walls!"

Oh. What a concept. Little did she know, I would get paid to do that later in life.

I think that it was about this time when my mom said she realized that I would much rather make my own drawings than color in coloring books. She was pretty clever in that way. She started buying me colored construction paper, instead. She said it amazed her how I would sit for hours and draw, while the other kids my age would get distracted and wander off. As a teenager, I did so even more, including during class when I was supposed to be listening to teachers. School was unbearably boring to me. I usually understood the teachers the first couple of times they explained something. I would spend the rest of class drawing on my book covers. Like nap time, it was the only way I could make it through.

Now, I escape digitally into photoshop or one of my other programs. I'm finding, though, that I can use it for more than just an escape. It's helping me to understand the monster a little better. The escape detaches me a little from the overwhelming feelings, so I can look at it from a different perspective, especially if I'm escaping into a picture of something I really love. I think the more time I spend feeling positive, the better equipped I am to battle depression. Even if the drawing is negative in nature, though, the escape is still helpful in breaking down barriers, releasing the negative emotions, and in giving a positive feeling of accomplishment. It continues to amaze me how such a simple creative act can do so much on so many levels.

Here's a poem I wrote when I was probably about 16 for a class assignment:

I feel brown
Not a wood stained brown
Not a suntanned brown
Not a brown like the mantle piece
that only appeals the the guest's eye

But a childhood memory brown
Brown like the artist symbol of boredom
Brown like the mixture of
a dull, lonely blue-gray
and a sick orange
Brown like a forgotten feeling
that hasn't died yet

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not Quite Right

For Illustration Friday's Voices on 12-19-08

They all know
Everybody knows
That I'm not quite right
Their timid small talk dissipates
As I stare right through them
With empty eyes
I subvert their ease

Can't let them see
There's no control
Else I'll succumb to the madness
Concentrate my focus
Past their whispers
The worms
And the shadows

Determined to gaze long enough
For reality to be revealed
They don't realize that I understand
Perceive their discomfort
My concern with them is fleeting

Ignore the Whispers
The Worms
And the Shadows
Destroy the imagined
Before escaping past my lips
Fixate on the tangible
The alternative is a nightmare

Two months of fading
Through a disjointed world
Secrets leak without comprehension
Intellect is annulled
Desperate to fill the empty crevices
The spirit randomly dumps images
Else bereft of memory
I would perish

They all know
Everybody knows
My mother repeats the words
I once said
My memories crash in
On the crest of a wave
While hers are sucked out
In the undertow of Dementia

I watch her private fantasies
Tumble out before me
Like a play
Whose script was shuffled in the wind
Now the pages have all blown away
Nothing left to fill the empty spaces
I don't want to watch anymore

They all know
Everybody knows
My brother's uttered these words, too
"I've got brain damage", he jokes
Hoping to excuse his behavior
The voices tell him
He must lead with the right foot
The therapist stretches his mind
Twenty years of trying to see
That he needs to look away

I remember racing down back roads
He doesn't
I have to pretend it's normal
Afraid of the Whispers
The Worms
And the Shadows

Mary sent me a poem I really love called Edge Of Glass, about her mother's dementia. Check it out. You'll have to scroll down to the bottom to see the English version.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Striving for perfection
Better to desire divinity
Arrogance begets the ambition

Will judging harshly bring improvement?
Determined and driven...
Into self defeat

Fighting in fear
Inferiority and mediocrity
Arrogance is inspired by insecurity

Is there so little faith
In abilities to excel
That I should abuse?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Layers of Orange

Layers of orange
I turn my back on it
Press against it

It pressed in all around me
Screaming past me
I try to push it back


Lacking the crimson of blood
Which reaches depths of true blue
It besmears everything

Sheets of geodynamic dross
I'm left to peel

Free Software

Last Friday I downloaded Apophysis to make fractal flame designs, but couldn't figure out how to export the animations, so I went surfing for info or other programs to help me. I still haven't figured it out, but I found GIMP, which is a free photo editing program with some animation capabilities. Below is a link to my first project in GIMP. It was supposed to be for Illustration Friday's Electricity, but I didn't finish in time.

Does anybody know how to upload this kind of file to blogger? I've seen other bloggers who have done it, but I can't remember where.

Below are some flames made with Apophysis. I think the first one looks like an angry flying insect.

Same image, different colors. I love playing with color. I think this one looks like a butterfly with golden rings.

This last one started in Apophysis, then went to GIMP, and was finished in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

BluerPrintReview Issue #16

My post, "Life in the Sign Business" is in the 16th issue of BluePrintReview, which has just been released. Here's a letter from the editor:

a thief's trilogy and a discovered entry in a blog, that's what induced the theme for this issue - an issue that developed like a journey, went On Some Road, where it met Nomads Like Us, circled in a spot of Black and White, got Lost at Sea, went through bitter days, and eventually was Learning to Swim.

now it reached the point of completion, and is out there in space, its open pages waiting to be found.

blueprintreview #16 - lost, found & stolen

as so often, the process of putting the issue together revealed unexpected connections between the submitted texts and images - the same shapes in different photos, counterparting paragraphs in different stories. returning topics: the loss, not of things, but of one's way. the slow speed of time, ashen and sunfilled. the bolting spin of days.

it's always a bit of an adventure, to see how an issue turns out - you can't really plan it, and that's the beauty of it.

here the issue link:

but this lost, found and stolen journey isn't ending. just a moment, the blog that is connected to the blueprintreview, is continuing the theme. a first post is up there already - Forgotten - together with an invitation to join, and a note on the coming issue. here the link: just a moment - blog

enjoy the lost, found and stolen pages ~
and thanks so much for being part of this journey.

Weekly Wings Challenge 7 - Back to Your Future - Part Two

Again, I find myself sitting on Anemone's front porch tired and aching. I rub the swollen joints of my hands without thinking. I'd probably never notice that I do this if it wasn't for the fact that so many people point it out to me, like Anemone does now as she walks out from behind her beaded curtain carrying a bowl of fresh cut fruits and vegetables, and two glasses of homemade pineapple green drink. It's evening this time. The ocean breeze is cooler than the first visit, and is carrying with it the scent of something sweet smelling growing up the hill from us. The sinking sun on our right is casting crimson sparks on the waves as they break.

"Take a deep breath," she instructs me. "Breathe in the energy of this ocean breeze, and then exhale your anxiety through your feet. Find your ground."

This sounds so familiar to me. I do as she instructs, and then timidly ask, "What do you see when you look at me?" I remember a time when I used to look at my past with harsh criticism. Instead, a familiar faded smile lightens her face as she takes another sip of the green nectar, and then she invites me to see for myself.

Through her eyes, I see a place very different from the one where we're sitting. A land rich in diversity, from rocky rolling hills thriving with thorny mesquite and prickly pear to muggy muddy woodlands densely lush and green. Far away on the horizon is the ocean. On one of the hills, water is bubbling up from the ground, and trickling down in all directions. Most of these tiny streams, though, are being channeled into a well eroded ditch that leads to a concrete retention pond where the water stagnates and evaporates.

"This is the watershed you're at in your life right now." She explains. "You're tottering on the edge where streams of energy still flow behind you as it always has in the past, and some are starting to flow before you to create new rivers and streams. Because they tend to travel the path of least resistance, you're struggling to move forward. The path behind you is well worn, but you've made it through the hardest part. You made it up the hill, against the current, to get here. Now you try to force the streams to change their directions by forcing yourself to move forward and hoping they will follow. You have already begun to damn up the old streams that you no longer wish your energy to travel, but now you need to gently guide them to move in the direction you wish to go, and then you will follow."

Back on Anemone's patio, I sit silently contemplating. She leans over to light one of the candles that still has some life in it, and then picks up our empty dishes to carry them back inside. When she returns, she is carrying cupped in her hands a light that takes the form of dolphins. She hands them to me, and as I take hold, she gently pushes my hands toward my heart. When I touch my chest, the light disappears.

"The ones closest to you right now, don't understand you." The gentleness in her voice eases my tension. "They don't understand why you don't just pick yourself up and move forward. Be patient with them and yourself." She stresses the latter. "In your dreams dolphins represent your spiritual energy. The gift I have given you is to remind you to feed them first, then your streams will change direction and take you where you need to go."

I want to thank her, but don't know how. She hugs me, and I realize that she already knows.