Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Birth Posters in transit...

After too much ado, Birth Posters finally in transit. If you ordered one, why it could be one of these. Do you like my intense butcher brown paper wrapping and taping? Do you think they'll be stopped by customs, pounced on as porn of the maternal body? Do they look suspiciously smutty? Over-wrapped? I hope they're not opened! Mama ain't gonna be happy if that happens!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Enfolded Luminosity: Pulsing Hea(r)t, eye of Ra

A reading, a response, an interweaving, a myth-making story of the artwork by a young woman who goes by the blog name of BoureeMusique. If anyone else has a reading, I'll post it too. Many thanks!

(click on image to enlarge)

How many times can a woman post an image? It's renamed, from "Willow Women," to, "Pulsing Hea(r)t, eye of Ra." I would read that, pulsing heat/heart, eye of Ra. Why? They clearly don't look like willow women anymore- they were so stretched I thought of them as mirages, as desert dwellers (in the surreal mind it doesn't matter if willows and deserts don't go together). But that pulsing sunset, the way it throbs through them, the desert, Egypt, the Nile, Ra, ah! But Hathor, the queen who wears the sun with two horns- and who is most likely the more ancient goddess of light (before Ra, who came before Horus). It's all bound in up there. I wonder what myth the figures in this painted drawing belong to? I wonder if I can make one up, or if you can?

~~~

I will play with it - from left to right, they can be Gwynhwyfar, Morgaine, and Igraine. The Goddess surrounds and envelops them, is the vibrant sun and blood color. Gwynhwyfar is on the left, half-recognizing the Goddess's call but running from it. All she wants is the true love of a man she should have had. Had her marriage been different, life would be less painful for all of Camelot. Igraine is on the right, held by the Goddess mostly complacently. She stands motionless and in a dream-like state, thinking of her Uther. Morgaine is in the middle, her face ethereal because at times she truly embodies the Goddess. She strides - proud but more than that - confident. She sees bitter times, but the sun, the power, is always at her center, because she is ever true. BoureeMusique

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My small library...

I'm far from the world of the text, yet I'm creating my own broken text. Everything spins in my head, fragments of text here, partial images there, authors listed on rolled parchment. Perhaps the texts I've read are smattered over my mindscape like collages: rearranged, cut, reoriented, given different colours, rotated, fragments repeated that have no meaning other than to me. In my private mythology, the place where I make meaning of the heiroglyphic world, where thoughts are scrawled across pages, edited and formatted, lines drifting by that I barely see anymore. I have lost my library. The books I didn't try to memorize on the shelves where they could be found and browsed through. What I underlined then I would still underline today. When did I discover what struck me as most important and relevant could be discerned in a speed read of a few hours and it was the same as what emerged from reading slowly over a week? This discovery enabled me to read vastly and widely through a number of years. The text no longer frightened me with its weight of meaning and the tradition out of which it arose. I could read sources, influences, backgrounds, other authors of the same time period for context. One book opened another. What's important to me remains important to me and didn't change with speed of reading, nor time.

I'm still trying to understand the fundamental grammar of my life. The basic building blocks. What foundation I rest on. In the exegesis of myself, I tear my texts apart until I find bare letters, signs floating over the ground of my being.

Our artifacts are all that will remain of us.

Bare words dragged across the whiteness of pages. A few images here and there. A tune. A tiny bundle of photographs. Some memoraphilia. Memory for a generation or two.

I have been without my small library for half a year and I feel adrift and bereft. How do I re-collect those books, their memories?

Francis Yates. The Art of Memory, on Giordiano Bruno in the Renaissance. Vast tracts, whole books, entire epic poems memorized. A guide to oral memory. How did they do it? By creating a structure to keep books, chapters, paragraphs and lines in. A vast palace of the mind; the inner library. Organized, polished, filed; the cadences of words creating a natural punctuation. And so I must remember my library, for I miss it.

One packed bookcase of art books, from Prehistoric Art to the Present. A shelf of fat, white Abrams art books. Colour images. Hundreds of small colour edition books on individual artists, from the late Medieval period to the 20th Century. Numerous critics, from Ruskin to Greenburg to feminism to the new media.

Two packed bookcases of English Literature. I put Greek literature in here too. Homer, Ovid, Aeschelus. And Babylonian. Gilgamesh; Inanna. And then the periods: Medieval, Renaissance, followed by centuries, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th. Chaucer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, Pope, Blake, the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelites, Morris, Woolf, Proust, Joyce... Modern poetry had its own section, and so did novels, which were filed alphabetically.

One bookcase of Psychology, Sociology, Mythology. This is where Jung & Freud went, and Schzaz, and Neumann and Campbell, a couple of first year Introduction to Psychology texts, not much interest in the field. Along with gentle music that I used for the relaxation sequences of my yoga classes. And underneath were numerous books of photographs.

Then a packed bookcase on Science and Philosophy. I stopped collecting Science books a decade or two back. Philosophy had all the classics, the Greek Philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, jumping to Bacon and then on through to perhaps Existentialism, and into our era. Those massive collection books, like Zimmer's Philosophies of India, and another one on Chinese Philosphy. All read, all duly underlined, notes written in some book somewhere or other. People like Augustine and Aquinas were in religion.

Religion a packed bookcase, everything from so-called primitive religions to Christianity to Shaminism and Witchcraft and New Age. My small collection of the Medieval Christian mystics there.

Women's writing took up 2 bookcases. All of it 20th Century. Novels, poetry, essays, feminist theory. And my own area of speciality, maternal theory, packed a smaller bookcase, along with many drafts towards a book spanning almost 2 decades.

Next to my bed the books I was currently reading, and ones most relevant to whatever my current project was. In Vancouver I remember Alex Grey's paintings on birth, which I wanted to study to understand, and still do.

The chunks of the thought of whole lifetimes of thinkers, writers, artists, books organized in simple categories of knowledge, bits of lines, notations in my head, dim memories of book covers. I see my bookcases packed with books that were all read like disappearing visions of another lifetime.

And I wonder if I will ever be re-united with them, these old friends of mine, companions of many years, in the days to come. And I wonder what will happen to me if I never again see them, touch them, open and read the chapter headings, my underlined sections, run my fingers over their spines as I dust them.

Will only fragments of text remain, floating in my mind like resurrected debris torn from its context, its pages, the beautiful books I collected for so many years?

What is to happen now?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

On diets, from a letter to a friend...

Posted this, took it down, and received a beautiful comment from Ken, who couldn't find the post, so it's back... and then added a bathroom-mirror self-portrait, which I'm sure I'll feel silly about after I've gone out dancing, & want to come home & take it down, but which somehow seems part of a post on diet.

~

I like some weight on a man. They're always so self conscious about it too. It's quite funny. Perhaps I don't find that lean and mean in a man who's heavier? They're not happy with their bodies and want you to see pics of them when they were 'in shape,' but just as they like eating, they like sex. A man with a girth is more sensual, there's no doubt about it. In my experience anyhow. And maybe softer inside too, which I really adore.

How I would apply all that to myself I don't know. I've lost about 10 lbs since moving, but it's mostly due to lack of work, income, settledness, even kitchen supplies. I love food, tastes, textures, colours. But dislike being overly full. And wheat gives me heartburn, so I stay away from breads. Well, most carbs. They're just too heavy for me, give me indigestion. So lots of vegetables, dairy, meat, chocolate, and a slice or so of 12 grain bread a day. Like a yogi, I rarely eat after 6pm at night. I dunno. In my early 20s I was severely bulimic. It was quite a journey out of it. But I did it, on my own, it was my 'secret,' and found after I stopped binging and throwing up that my weight remained the same. I didn't put on any weight at all. Part of the journey out of bulimia was discovering that I don't need 3 meals a day, 2 is enough, and that wheat really makes me feel quite sick, and was often the reason I threw up I guess. Mind you, I still love a fresh white flour poppy seed bagel slathered in butter, but I know I'll pay for it with acid reflux some hours afterwards. My treats, then, aren't pastries, sigh, but chocolate things, coconut is ok too. All of which keeps my weight down. Since breads, starchy foods are real weight putter oners. Diet has been a long process for me. And I see my 15 year old daughter going through it now- and is trying to limit foods like pancakes, donuts, bread since she does see a direct correlation to her weight. I mean, we find that pigging out on a half a dozen buttertarts doesn't put weight on the way half a dozen donuts do. It's so interesting the way the body metabolizes, or doesn't metabolize, foods. Some foods just get converted into and stored as fat cells, I guess. Or that's how it seems. There's no reason why indulging in a large bar of imported chocolate shouldn't put on weight like a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, but it doesn't. I've always wondered if it's got something to do with evolution, and that we're optimally healthy on a 'pre-farming' diet... that wheat, corn, rice, all the cultivated crops, while feeding us in multitude, aren't really suited to our digestive systems. Evolution takes a lot longer to catch up, perhaps. I seem to do very well on what I would consider to be a modern version of the hunting-&-gathering diet. Don't laugh, and please laugh. When I talk like this people usually studiously ignore me as a crackpot.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The artist as doctor

A friend, SavonDuJour, asked of the merge of the process of Prostrations, "Interesting. How do you know when to stop?"



When you can't do anymore? Actually when my daughter came home the day I painted it she said, "Don't you dare do another thing to it - it's my favourite!" But, then, she's so sweet... (mostly, that is -:). However, I'm not sure I don't like the earlier incarnations of this piece better... the two in the middle in particular, but then I remind myself that they were soaking wet and when dry would be much faded in colour and vibrancy.

Don't we stop when we can't think of anything more 'to fix'? I don't know about you, but most of my art is trying to save 'disasters,' which makes it a very adrenaline thing. Not peaceful at all. My whole life is thrown on the line each time. When it's done, it's such a relief.

I live in acute embarrassment over my work- it's so on the edge of collapse into disparatenesses that when it works I feel like a relieved doctor who's sent someone stitched but alive into the world.

Is that fair to say? Or is it my mood this morning? The Willow Women piece got accidentally splattered with coffee and so I poured water all over it and painted it last night and it's not worked, and I can clearly see that in the morning light. Which also had something to do with my mental apparatus last night. Not being in the meditative moment. Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. But it wasn't meant to be a water drawing, didn't take kindly to being immersed. I'm thinking of covering it in spider webs of lines to see if that might resuscitate it. Short of blasting it with volts of cardio-electricity, what can I do? There's the morgue of the paper recycling bin. Or perhaps I could cut it up, organ-transplant-like, and collage it into something else.

Share your process with finishing pieces?


"Enfolded Luminosity" Series: Pulsing Hea(r)t, the eye of Ra, 25.5cm x 31 cm or 10" x 12 1/2", india ink, watercolour pencil on paper, 2006

I finished it this morning quickly- thank goodness for white pencil spiderweb lines. And I've forgotten the difficulties, not understanding how I could ever have thought "stitched," odd how that is...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Process of a painting...

Click on it to increase the size. A history of a painting... where it's been before it got to where it is. There are other histories, like 'where,' 'who,' 'why,' oh and perhaps most important, 'what'- :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Window in the Earth

When do major shifts occur? In small moments soon gone?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Enfolded Luminosity: Prostrations...


It's still and always a dance, of colour, form, energies, bodies.

This technique is not the same as paint on canvas, and I'm learning that.

I'm not, well, no, it's not, well, sometimes the idea you had in your mind and what emerges aren't, and, well, it's about acceptance. Dancing a new dance that is always different from all the other dances you've danced.

Still learning the ways watercolour pencils and paper work together; yes, her back is a little 'rubbed over,' but I don't mind that. Aren't all of our backs a little 'rubbed over' with life, what we carry, what we prostrate in our spiritual practice?

I don't know why the Fauvian slashes of colour.

This series (these pencils, this place of residence, my relationships, both in daily life and on line) I'm calling, "Enfolded Luminosity."

Willow Women was splattered this morning by a coffee spill. Maybe I'll throw a heap of water on it and see what happens... it can't be an unwetted drawing anymore.

Dance, Dream, Disappearing into each other is sold; it went quite quickly (thank you beautiful man, dear Bill); there were email exchanges with a few interested people (can I call you that, Mary? it's hardly a fair description of you, your work, our connection), and then the watercolour drawing got betrothed and is awaiting it's suitor now. These pieces are for sale, and thanks, Jean, for reminding me to be more clear about that. Now that I have a working relationship with a woman who manages a print shop, I can also offer 'art prints' on satin finish photograph paper of anything you see here...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Prostrations...



This doesn't exist in the world. It was between a drawing and a scribbling colouring episode. It only exists digitally. The water that the figures are washed under would have dried anyhow...

It's probably part of my series on temple art, the celestial dancers...

Bowing: a bent, curved, or arched object.

Whew, we have a minority government...

In Canada, we have a minority government! Harper leads, but hopefully his hands are mostly tied:

"During the lengthy winter campaign, Mr. Harper focused on issues like tax cuts, crime and cleaning up government. He also vowed to resurrect the gay marriage issue and pull out of the Kyoto Accord on climate change, but also said he wouldn't look to change abortion laws."

However, he was born and bred in the extreme right - the Western Conservative party has roots in the Reform and Alliance parties; we could be facing some difficult times ahead with Charter rights, abortion issues, education (a Conservative government in Ontario a few decades ago pulled loans from graduate students, effectively crippling higher education in this province), and other threats to individual freedom.

But I project fearful imaginings. It is a minority government. There is no strong leadership at present and we await the emergence of Canada's next leader... I'm betting, down the road, on Michael Ignatieff (I'm all for intellectuals as leaders), and Justin Trudeau.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Elections...

It is election day here, National ones. Because I haven't done last year's tax return yet, and so haven't informed the government of my new address, I wasn't on the voter's list. But my landlord told me all I needed was proof of address and something with a signature, so I took a bank statement and my passport. With my dog in tow, I took my place in the cardboard booth and, whew, voted. It would have been the only national election that I would have not voted in in my entire adult life. I'm hoping for a minority government; if Harper gets full clearance and becomes our next Prime Minister, I fear we'll be joining the States next year when it attacks Iran, and begins yet another unwanted and wasteful war. Why hasn't the Bush administration been charged with war crimes over starting a war in Iraq on false premises? Oh, I am charging at the bit tonight...

Willow Women in-progress #4

It's probably the slowest drawing I have ever done. Is it my 'style'? No. I like to draw a figure or figures, arrange the canvas and paint and water, and throw everything together and let it create itself. Fast. This drawing is the opposite process. Perhaps that's why it seems a meditative exercise in itself. The colours have to suggest themselves out of their own resonance. Waiting for them to emerge takes time, and can't be rushed. Surely like some aspects of our lives.

Sometimes we have to weigh options, and choose carefully. Allowing our choices to come out of a natural inclination. It's an intuitive process, yes, but one that's not foolhardy. All colours, or all options, are carefully considered, and then the one that both 'thinks' and 'feels' right is applied. At first carefully, just in case, and then deepened.

At this point in the process of this drawing I'm considering how we make decisions. Isn't it a lot like the way we create art?

Friday, January 20, 2006

On the location of.

Musica mundana, humana, practica. Conciliance, interconnectedness, unity. Gestalt. Impure purity of the mixture of everything. When the mess appears in the picture of the place, when the angry, bitter edges aren't hidden by the smooth surfaces of the portrait, where the blood courses beneath a fine veneer of skin. Get in close, see the pores, the pulse beneath the eye, the browning teeth. And let go, in that place of closeness, heart beating on heart, where it is dissembling, the sharp smell of breath on the body of desire. Ecstasy accepts where it is collapsing, what in us is repulsing, with the coming towards, where edges melt into, the disappearing. Light sweeps the universe without discriminating. The whole is greater than the parts. Even Apollo weeps. A music of the spheres, more than speculation. Quivering theoretical strings sing. Feel our bodies. We are pulses of electricity, energy, and chemical processes, an organics of living. Think of it as a masterpiece, the orgasm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Willow Women in-progress #3


If I lighten the paper so that it's closer to the cream white it is in real life, the colour washes out, even with enhancing. Today I only used the colour cast option to make the paper less blue. So the colour of the figures is stronger, closer to what it is here, in this room, in the light from the window. My camera is ready for pick-up at the Sony store: luckily I had extended warranty, and it was covered. Hopefully the photos will be less grainy now.

Where am I at with this watercolour drawing today? Floating land mass; floating sunset; three women clothed with the sun (but no diadems under their feet).

And I, myself, in my aging body, which doesn't know it's not young, bleeding, just like always, for far too many years. Cramps, tired, drawing in spiritually to where death meets life, where rain falls on frozen ground, the winter of my monthly cycle, time for rest, deep meditation, feeling my body fully, celebrating womanhood in quiet solitude, awaiting the end of the process of cleansing, and a return to normal energy. This is an opportune time to explore the depths of my embodied spirituality; and I do try to honour this gift, even if into my fifth decade it becomes wearisome.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Willow Women in-progress


It's not easy to post a work-in-progress, especially when I prefer to wait until something is finished before showing it to anyone. But aren't we all works-in-process in our blogs? This format allows, nay encourages, us to forge ahead with our wayward ideas and stray creativities. It all pulls together eventually. We are creating whole bodies of work here. In draft form, in finished form. So I post the progress of this little drawing, wondering myself where it's going. It's quite gaudy today, and much of my 'art' is about saving what are turning into messes, 'saving' it to the point of livability. When I can live with something, and perhaps I'm seeking bold and sensitive, polished and raw, confident and wavering, manifesting and disappearing, in whatever way that happens, then it's done. If I can 'look' at it without jumping up to 'fix' it, then it's done. There gets to be a point when you can almost look at your work as if you didn't do it. You remember the emotion of your life at the time you did it, where you were in your inner journey, but are no longer involved in the traceries of line or paint or design. It has become something in the world, and not part of your inner landscape where you are busy scribbling, drawing, painting, composing, revising and continually re-orienting your life into the work of ongoing art that it is.

Monday, January 16, 2006

First Draft Drawing: Notes on the willow women...

Willows. Long, stretchy women. Like mirages in the Sahara. Elongated. Giantesses if you met them. The three muses wandering over the desert. Tribespeople. They are the same as the last drawing, only different. There is a blue astral figure, undefined. Who is she? The sun booms out of her belly. The sun unites all three. They are comfortable in their harsh environment. Without clothes, protection, concealment, camoflage. Thin but not near starvation. These are the women that can find the one succulent shrub in a 50 mile radius and suck its roots until they are nourished with fluidity. Drinking dew. And leave it intact, so that later, once again, they can draw moisture from the plant. They read the stars like navigators, the sun like weathermen, and worship equally the sun and moon. They can sense a dust storm hours away. I'm not sure they carry complex mythologies. Or that it's necessary to have a dense theology. Only the land-dwelling ones, where what is familiar is sacred, the sand, the grass, the burning sun, the hardened soles on the feet. Only the sacred covenant with the embodied self and the land. Their strong womanliness the Shekinah of their souls. They watch; they dance; they make love; they have children; they feed everyone; and it's not effort-full, only what's expected and they sing often. There is no voyaristic gaze from millenia of art capturing them, despite their being white. Civilization barely impacts them. Though they know; indeed they do. They would be comfortable in robes on city streets too. They are free women. I don't know where the men are. Perhaps I shall attempt co-ed watercolour drawings after this one, we'll see.

early mapping of colour and form, 10" x 12", india ink, coloured pencil (so far), cotton watercolour paper, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Embodiments, Digital Composition... or BlogTalk

Oh yes I do. I create you in 'virtual space.' You don't exist where I am; I don't exist where you are. You are embedded in the digital data that I reframe, reinterpret, transmute and transform into recognizable text, image, sound. You are a binary digit. I am a binary digit. We frame each other. We exist through each other's filters. We are a "consensual hallucination." You appear as a reconstituted body, or a map of pixels, however you prefer. I am a refreshed flicker on your screen. We expand the indeterminism of our bodies by communicating this way. Perhaps you are a preconstituted frame, how am I to know? I participate in the process of reforming you, your words, your photos, your audio clips, in my own image. The "place" where we meet is a vague concretized space; wherever it is, we both meet here often. The result of our "body-brain achievement" is that we have intercepted the stream of data and created each other virtually in virtual space; we've created "an internal bodily space for sensation." Hmnn. Did you know that? "Digital data is at heart polymorphous"; now, now... don't you think that's going too far?



From notes from my sojourn to the Toronto Reference Library this afternoon where I browsed Mark Hanson's, New Philosophy for New Media (MIT Press, 2004), thanks to delightful & inspiring email conversations with Mary Godwin of Body Electric.

Bosc Pears...

On the wooden windowsill. Facing south, but too low for the winter sun. Bodies enclosed in olive brown sheaths. Blending into the wood, they lie, rounded thighs, elegant elongated necks, like decorations. A week passes where daily I hold them, press their flesh. They are like fragile stones.

On the weekend I eat one, its pale honey-coloured flavourless fruit hard and crunchy as an apple's.

Those thick, gourd-shaped, olive-brown hides don't soften. They will never soften. Only a dark spot near the stem of one of the pears reveals ripeness as it begins to collapse inwards to nourish the seeds. Even without the presence of warm soil, they would lie on the windowsill and crumple slowly, decay into new life, its possibility.

I cut them and scoop out their seeds and peel the thick russeted skin and slice them and drop them into a bowl, with apples and cranberries, for a compote. They are not so juicy that they slide in my fingers. Sometimes pears don't ripen, but remain dry and coarse. Licking the pear juice, its faint unmistakable flavour, slightly grainy, like delicate sweet-spiced sun, on my fingers, I smile. Patience to this moment of perfection.

The dog is barking, my lover is here. I crumble the topping of oats, flour, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon over the mixture of fruit, fresh lemon juice and honey, place the dessert in the slow cooker; later in the day, the fruit will feed my slender pear-shaped body...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dance, the Dream, Disappearing Into Each Other...

Only updated because I've hosted the image with Blogger. This is finished, and probably sold. There's something going on, between the crone/younger woman, that I can't decipher myself, and overtop of the blue woman. If you feel inspired, I'd love you to write some poetry or prose, an imagining of what's going on in this drawing...

And it might not be on dancing, dreaming, or disappearing...


Dance, the Dream, Disappearing Into Each Other, 8.5"x11", watercolour pencil on paper, 2006.

Scrawled along the blue woman's leg: "shadow my desire"; up the older woman's arm, "what rises into the self?"; and curling from thigh to breast to arm, "repose curls in on itself."

link to borderless image

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A recommendation...

You really should take a look at FILMLESSPHOTOS, A Photo A Day From Photojournalist John Lehmann; he's an award-winning photo journalist and one can see why. He started posting photographs on January 2nd, and he's, well, slick, sophisticated, savvy, professional, yes, and extremely talented...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Scilicet, When Evaporating Condenses, or the Effulgence of Being

Last night I wrote this after reading Rodger Kamenetz's first chapter of his new book on dreams, at his site, talkingdream. Which I think is in here. But all day I knew that some writing was coming, even before Dave so kindly led us to talkingdream. But there are synchronicities, synchronicities you understand...

On evolution, Biblical Genesis, our individual consciousnesses, bodies, how we put it together…

Scilicet, When Evaporating Condenses, or the Effulgence of Being

Soft canyons iron balls fall into. Unnamable violence. His hands around my neck in the shroud of the dream. I climb spider ladders like fishnet hose. In the morning I forget, the sky is so blue.

Blood rushes like a river's tributaries through my body. The furious tide never stops. Red wash of bone, marrow more alive than stars. Ceaseless production of red.

And on the face of the nameless sea the nameless God breathed. Wind rushing through trees.

The emotion of any poem is its core, and what beats long after. Bones grinding in their sockets. We are scaffolded from within.

Wear the bones, hidden. Hush of blood. Walking heart bombs. Steady beat, in, out, freshly reddened.

Something splinters into an infinity of light, scattering, the refracted holy. Sepulchre of being. Look for the sweetness, it is there. Find the sweet breath, breathe.

Across the continent of the world I lay my pen, weeping. Come, bring yours.

When we entered complexity, there was no turning back.

Refulgence, the brilliant light, an after thought. Past where the sticks fall like loose hay, I dip my fingers through, looking for a needle.

The mist of the evening lifts, and I see you face to face. Curvature maps the trajectory of words flying into feather canyons like iron volleys.

And then I saw it, and knew, before it disappeared into the celestial.

Feather soft canyons of thought.

Each moment I pull myself into you, though I have run away.

The horizon fills with red suns rising.

Stay out here in the space.

Where the winsomely wild.

Exchange shots, vaults of iron; put down your guns. Cling to the vestiges, or let go.

Keep running across the field, though you are coming to yourself. Sometimes the only way to get close is to go away.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Two Black Plumes

Among Christmas gifts were watercolour pencils. This is my first "attempt," and it's a throw-away sketch from a lifedrawing session last Summer (not what I would draw if I were drawing a "Drawing" if you know what I mean). Then again, maybe it is. Don't ask me about the pubic hair, please! Why did I draw it practically up to the navel in both sketches? Ink is unforgiveable, too.

It's called, "Two Black Plumes," 8"x10", india ink, watercolour pencil on paper, 2005. I apologize for the graininess of the writing, it's taken with my video camera; when my digital camera is fixed, I'll re-shoot it.

Do we know the body at all? Or only our constructions of it, our representations/self-representations...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Chit Chat, snacks, religion, the oncoming cold

-a Tim Horton's™ chocolate walnut crueller, cut in half, buttered, slathered thickly with cream cheese (a decided improvement);

-a few grains of Nescafe™ instant coffee, because it's better with a whiff of the real thing, in a hot mug of barley, rye, chicory and beetroot Krakus™ instant coffee substitute (it's 9:30pm) with 18% coffee cream;

-under a Sunbeam™ electric throw on the low setting, it's cosy in this cold basement apartment, or probably crucial to survival and not-freezing-to-death this Winter;

-Ruined by Reality by the Internal Medicine Doctor at Mad House Madman leaves my heart thumping in admiration and sadness;

-I'm thinking deeply on how attractive Zen is, the promise of fast enlightenment, and how while I read a number of books on it avidly years ago, I've never felt called to it because of its inherent harshness, preferring a tradition that combines Sufi mysticism, Bhakti yoga, Sikh warrior discipline, and an odd mixuture of esoteric Hinduism and Buddhism, or, perhaps, and this makes me smile, sensual nothingness;

-I believe that we can only be indoctrinated into a system by that system: a person enlightened in the Zen™ tradition is only enlightened in that tradition, they are not individuated in a Jungian™ sense, or a saint in a Catholic™ sense - to be individuated one needs to undergo the long process of Jungian analysis; likewise, to become a Catholic saint, one needs to undergo a long tradition of Catholic prayer and worship. Someone enlightened in the Zen tradition is a master of that tradition, but no other; the same for the Jungian, who can't claim their individuation is akin to Zen enlightenment; and the saint can't claim anything other than Catholic canonization. While I know that mastery in any tradition is wonderful to aspire to, I prefer an eclectic blend that suits my idiosyncratic temperament, being true to the idolization of individuality in my era, though I know advertising has mapped me as a 'type';

-a recipe for slow cooker apple, pear and cranberry crisp sits freshly written from the NET beside me and I keep looking at it, almost tasting the fruit and brown sugar and oats, though I won't make it until tomorrow;

-a photograph from last Summer of a statue with half of a set of arms missing that my friend, Anne, bought at a garage sale; I am sure it is a rendition of the Tibetan Buddha "Chenrezig," the Lord of Love. Please correct me if I'm wrong;

-I am pining for Summer, even as Winter begins its harsh encrustation of snow and ice and frigid wind.

New Year's Eve, 2005

Lights, planets forming, rising, speeding missiles, exploding. They set them on fire and throw them into the park. When the spheres of blue, red, white light erupt loudly and shoot erratically at their feet, they hide behind parked cars. And walk on laughing. It is New Year's Eve.

The streets are snowy, and on the way to a drumming party, I pass groups of raucous students already awash with drunkenness. Women with cleavage in low-cut, short, tight dresses, their thin wool coats wide open, negotiate the slippery, slushy streets in stilettos. They are beautifully made up; I admire their courage and fortitude. In contrast, I am making the snow squeak under my footsteps in boy's size 6 Wal-mart construction-style boots, snowpants, and a faux fur sealskin jacket with the collar pulled up. I cannot bear to be cold, even for glamour. The new year is two hours away, and there is anticipatory shouting on the streets; carloads of kids careen by, honking. It is a strange eruption of public joy. Because it seems forced it has a pallor that usually dissipates once the new year is in actual existence and everybody relaxes.

I find Xing Dance Studio and descend the stairs to the sound of drumming. Inside are about two dozen drummers and as many dancers; the space is large enough, yet intimate. The walls are mirrored and there is a black sprung dancefloor. I haven't danced in a year and feel awkward. I am dressed in a danskin with spaghetti straps, enough cleavage to be presentable, and a long see-through negligee-style black lace dress. As I take off the dress, tie it around my waist, I undo restraints on my hips and let them sway to the music, forgetting whatever self-consciousness I arrived with.

The evening is like a magician's napkin; it looks the same at the end, dark with stars all over it, but unfolded, and shaking starlight on the room. I recognize few people; I've been away 3 years. I dance hard enough to feel sweat trickle inside my danskin, as I pull back my mane of hair, the undersides are damp, and my face bright and rosy with the aerobic movements I cannot help but create with my body to that drumbeat. The woman who captivated the dance floor all evening is in her mid-50s and wears a Middle-Eastern belly dance outfit, her beautiful torso bare and shimmying, her belt jingling to the drums. I shimmy too. Why do I need to synchronize with the other dancers? Around 2am, when the group has thinned, I put my lace dress back on and run, jump, sway, stop, turn, and, shooting somewhere else, continue leaping, stopping, turning, swaying. I kick in the air, my arms above me, and spin and spin. My hair flies everywhere. I'm sure it's lethal and I can't guarantee I didn't whip anyone with it. I let go and sweep around the room like the spheres of light from a firecracker. I run so fast between the dancers and drummers, spinning this way and that, I'm sure I'm dangerous.

By chance in 1997 I ended up at the first New Year's drumming jam put on by Michael Uyttebroek on Richmond Street in a studio on the 2nd floor. It was the best New Year's I had ever been to. There was a black drummer filled with energy and beat; whenever he drummed the entire room literally jumped and danced; it was ecstatic. Michael instituted a Toronto Tam Tam drummer's group after that, and has always put on a New Year's celebration. But the gatherings lost their intimacy when they went to the large space of Dancemakers on Dupont at Ossington. When that closed down, they moved to this smaller studio like a hidden cave in the basement of what was originally a church complex. The drummers didn't form a circle of their own with the dancers dancing outside it; drummers, dancers, hands, drumsticks, feet, twirling bodies, we were all together.

And, collecting all that energy into its multiple peaks, making it shine, was a drummer who rose above the others. His sound bright, his rhythm captivating, his arms powerful; when he played, it was impossible not to dance. What great pleasure he gave me, taking me back to my early childhood in an African jungle and the drumming that I remember so clearly it is part of my soul.

After it was over, surprisingly a number of drummers complimented me on my dancing, saying it was "wild" and "joyful." And I thought my frenzied bursts were hidden in the darkness! Ah, well. I chatted with interesting men and women, including sharing life histories with a man in a long conversation afterwards, walked home alone arriving at 4:30am to a barking dog, and woke nearly 10 hours later. In 2005, yes, I had an outstanding New Year's Eve celebration...