Thursday, August 20, 2009

Circadian Rhythm

I have been incessantly working for the past 3 hours on my newest Illustration Friday piece that deals with the concept of wrapped. For those of you who do not know, "Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory art exhibit for illustrators and artists of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively." Not only is it a great experience but it is one that enables you to build on skill, concepts, networking, and your building your portfolio. Think of it as a visual poetry reading.

I had been struggling with an idea for a couple of days but none of the ideas that came to me really spoke enough to inspire me to push forth and bring them into "reality", that is until my mother called. I am emotionally coming to terms with a difficulty relationship and yet she felt the need to remind me that my own biological clock is ticking and she would really like to have a grandchild before she dies. Do all mothers do this? Kevin and I have been together for a looonnng time yet marriage is a very scary concept for him, for some reason. I want to get married, settle down and have a family!

I think relationships are especially difficult for creative people. I know people don't get me.......I think way too much and analyze everything, I am odd and out of the box, disappear deep within myself, and need long moments of alone time to create my art and write. I am not going to apologize for it, I am who I am.

However by the end of the phone call I was in tears and really upset. Instead of bottling up the emotional assault of this issue, I decided to use it and turn it into a quick illustration study. So instead of drawing something all "wrapped up" or "entwined" I decided to take this real life dilemma that I have been dealing with and feeling really consumed by and "wrapped" up in and put a visual spin on it!

Enjoy..........She is the spouse of Father Time, she is the biological clock, she is Circadian Rhythm :o) and she is totally not done in my typical rendering style...and I am not sure if I am going to keep the numbers. There still is a few areas that need some work but for now I post her as she is.

Monday, August 3, 2009


In astrology we know a quincunx as a planetary alignment where two planets are 150 degrees from each other. The planets involved in a quincunx do not share the same quality or element and have very little in common with each other. The three words most commonly associated with the astrological Quincunx are; irritation, annoyance, and adjustment. Now, if I am correctly interpreting astrology’s definition right, then I swear I am stuck in a quincunx.

There must be some bizarre planetary alignments going on right now- that is the only possible explanation I can have for the over-abundance of irritations, annoyances, and adjustments that I currently find in my life. Of course this all stems from the fact that I am frustrated with my lack of creative adventure and spontaneity this summer. I have nearly three months to myself and my own artistic endeavors but I am finding it hard to break out and get a body of work done. That isn’t to say that I haven’t finished a handful of pieces, because I have, I just don’t have the “drive” that I normally have and have found it difficult to really dig deep down inside myself and connect with that energy. Have I lost my perspective perhaps?

As a creative person I understand that I will never fit into the category of what is deemed as average or normal. Creative people’s mind-workings can be compared to those of a bi-polar manic depressive as we are often beyond happy with artistic success, or have our hearts broken in frustration and disappointment. The creative highs we get can be dizzying, blinding, exhilarating and the lows can be deep, dark, and seemingly insurmountable. Creative careers are both rewarding and tormenting and yet true lovers of their craft continue onward.

I know that when I am having a great day and the creative juices are flowing well, I am most elated to have been given the gift of creativity. Then I get to thinking, what if I didn’t know this feeling of the creative high? What would my life be like? I wonder how many other artists, musicians, writers, poets, crafters, etc, have ever wondered this very same thought. I know some of my most joyous moments have been found among artistic successes and for that I am grateful and most appreciative.

I do struggle with those ominous dark days with grey clouds that linger so closely to my head that I struggle to put my brush to canvas. The days when I am down and just want to disappear to a place where the world cannot find me, I can be so overwhelmed with the “to dos” and the “should dos” that my tears won’t stop and the panic attack is so real that it takes my breath away. However, despite the panic attacks and the tears I still continue down my creative path and never give up. I haven’t yet, wished to be someone else who has a life that is quiet and predictable and God forbid “a bit normal”. No, I think that sort of existence is one where I would surely perish.

All of us “creative” souls are blessed with the amazing ability to be able to hear the music in everything. The music plays louder and much more melodic to us than to anyone else. We will strive to pursue a project or an artful task and we do not consider a piece finished until it sings to us…and perhaps only to us. That is the gift and the burden we share as creative spirits and artistic souls. After having written all this gobbledygook I have now come to realize that perhaps the way my life is best described is by the mathematical definition of the word quincunx. I am the single dot in the middle of four corner points which represent the four things in my life that I love most……, family, education, and animals.

A Literary Movement Less Observed & Barely Given a Name

“House of Dawn” by Navarro Scott Momaday, if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you pick it up and start. I have read it three times and now after having recently read “History of the Ojibway People” written by my own relative, William Whipple Warren, for the fourth time, I have found myself in deep contemplation about many amazing works of literature by America’s indigenous that have been passed by and overlooked by the self-proclaimed literary elites. Why? Because these writers hold such a riveting truth about circumstances from the past and present that it is only necessary to keep them silenced? Is it a racial thing? Just what is the main reason there is so little emphasis placed on the literary stance of the indigenous peoples of North America?

It is not my intention to demean the eminent writers and poets who have found their respective homes among the great literary movements of our times. No, my intention is to place a fraction of blame on the supercilious scholars of the literary world, who, with their bombastic lectures on literary criticism have had a hand in establishing the popularity or lack of, of a given movement, author,or poet- they collectively hold a power that is not so unlike the media's power in today’s political arena.

Let it be known that I am not saying those literary movements, writers, or poets are not deserving of their merit, I am just merely suggesting that perhaps they wouldn’t be as “favored” if the literary critics and scholars hadn’t placed so much emphasis upon them in the first place. Any intelligent free-thinking individual is well aware of the fact that people always follow what they perceive as being popular or in style at the moment and the mavericks are always criticized and chastised for their so-called unconventional ways.

There are a great many writers and poets who slip through the cracks, whose eloquent words go barely unnoticed due to these circumstances. My main focus in this rather verbose diatribe is on American Literature and its obvious lack of a certain indigenous voice that deserves to be recognized on a grand scale. There are many notable movements within American Literature and yet I am saddened by the fact that there is relatively no emphasis in American Literature placed on the writings by America’s indigenous people, past and or present. I find this to be a humiliating ignominious dismissal of honorable writing talent, a denial of a writing talent that can play an integral albeit vital role within the realm of American Literature.

Navarro Scott Momaday is really still the only Native writer who has received distinguished merit in the literary world and he first did so with his book, “House Made of Dawn”, which won him the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction back in 1969. If you have not read this book, and consider yourself a well-read person, I say once again that you get a copy as soon as you are able to.

Despite all of Momaday’s writing success there still hasn’t been much done to bring the works of other indigenous writers to the forefront. I also see this trend within the art, music, and acting, realms as well, which again, is very unfortunate. Even Black writers, poets, actors, musicians, as a collective whole see more success than Native Americans within these creative fields. My question is why is it so hard for the Native writers, artists, muscians, actors to get noticed? I still cannot find a specific answer to this question to better help me understand this reality and if anyone out there has a clue or opinion to this, then please by all means, enlighten me.

The indigenous cultures of North America have stories of old oral traditions that are being captured by pen, brush, and instrument by a plethora of very talented indigenous writers, poets, artists, and even musicians, and yet they slip by barely noticed by the collective masses. Native American culture is steeped in oral tradition and the younger native generations are just now realizing that this oral tradition does need to be captured and contained within pages of bound books and codes of websites. It is the only way to save what should never be forgotten. There is a history deep-rooted here in this great North American continent that needs to be explored and remembered and the indigenous cultures are the only ones capable of bringing these stories to life-to share their experiences and truths. I have grown tired of seeing “non-natives” writing about Native American cultures, stories, traditions, and songs. It is a huge travesty to see writers who are not Native American writing about the "true Native experience" when they themselves are not Native. I also want to see more Native American literature being offered in English courses at the high school level and I want to see literature that is written by Native Americans themselves.

I have heard many literary scholars and critics make the accusation that Native American’s did not have a substantial English-language education until the mid to late nineties and that is the reason behind why indigenous writers are not recognized as highly within the literary world. This is a mendacious claim at best and one that is the malefactor behind the lack of notoriety indigenous writers in America are getting. I am sure it does play a partial role but I am more inclined to believe that a political role has the upper hand in this matter. Let me remind you that my relative, William Whipple Warren, wrote an amazing literary account of his time in the early 1800s. The book he wrote, “History of the Ojibway People” wasn’t published until after his death in 1885 but the book is still published today and has been used at the college level in “few” Native American studies programs.

The worth of William Warren’s book is great and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Native American Literature, culture, and history. I am not biased in recommending this book because he is a relative, I really truly believe it to be an honest account of the reality of the times. What I have always found astounding about his book is it opens doors to understanding the racism of that time period and the inner struggle the author had with being of “mixed-blood”. His father was white and his mother was French-Ojibway, he lived in both worlds in a time when one world was virtually devouring the other. To read his account of the changes and the occurrences that was happening around him really enlightens the reader to his difficult reality- perhaps a reality responsible for the decline of his health and cutting him down so early in life. William Whipple Warren had many plans to write more books and wanted desperately to write a book that documented and captured the culture of the Ojibway people before their “forced assimilation".

Much of what he wrote was tailored to suite the “Christian-minded” Anglo-Saxon “immigrants” on advice of his own “white” friends, who told him that Christian people would not be able to understand the spiritual beliefs or customs of the native people. In reality we all know what was meant by that sentiment, as we all know how “not-so” understanding Christians have been towards other religions and beliefs in the past-and present. Large portions of his book were indeed changed so it would be more widely accepted. This no-doubt upset him greatly because he wanted the truth to be told, as any good writer does. His experience was real and he wanted that reality to be shared in a hope that it would be understood. But that could not happen, he was ahead of his time, and I believe it was this knowledge that broke him so indescribably so.

I do know that a literary critic by the name of Kenneth Lincoln was the first to ever make an attempt to label the Native American Literary movement and he called it the Native American Renaissance in a book he wrote by that same name. However it was a name that was never utilized by the rest of the scholars of the literary world, instead they did what they did best-they criticized it. They even went so-far-as to say that the name had vexing implications and had disparaging connotations, and I am not so inclined to agree.

I personally believe that Kenneth Lincoln’s book is a seminal work that has opened doors ever so slightly into a realm of writing that deserves a name and deserves to be widely recognized as a specific literary movement. I am left pondering one essential question…if the critics and the almighty literary scholars found the name, Native American Renaissance, so demeaning, then why haven’t they come up with a better one? It has been over 20 years since Kenneth Lincoln coined a name and yet no one has tried since.

Just what is keeping the scholars and critics from acknowledging Native American writers on a grander scale? While I continue to ponder this question I will go about my time reading books by Navarro Scott Momaday, Joseph Bruchac, Douglas M. George Kanentiio, James Welch, Gerald Vizenor, Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon J. Ortiz, Nila Northsun, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Duane Niatum, Paula Gunn Allen……………..

I’ll leave you with your Cavalier Poets, your authors of Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Naturalism, Symbolism, Modernism; you can study writers of The Lost Generation, read poetry and prose from Imaginism or of Oulipo, or of any other movement if you so choose, but do not forget there are other writers out there, Native American or otherwise, who have words worthy of your attention that slip on by without notice, and it is such a shame. One thing is for sure, the written word is bound in time between leather and cardboard, so when we are all collectively ready to read beyond what we know as “great” literature, those books will be there waiting, perhaps a little dusty, but they will be there…………….and we will learn a great deal.

The Words That Set Me Free

I walked to a peaceful place where I could be alone.
I walked to the place where I could write a poem, or two, or three.
It was then I realised that there was something more than just me.
The words were at my place, untouched by time,
filling an emptiness I had felt before.
But that went away, and even more, I could picture myself above a tree,
In this secreat place, where I hover
like a bird above the words
that set me free.


The future hides another time, another place.
Evoke it might the question of the human race.
Oh, nothing much it could have been: we may suppose
Quite savage, but with grace it passed, as all things must
And all things will--A flash of light in time and space
Creation, evolution bound attracts, repels polarity.
And everywhere is flight, the rush away from singularity.
As eons come and eons passAnd space doth trickle through the glass
The constant only change can be to seek a balance.
What matters total entropy when all that isAnd all that was a cycle must complete.
The cycle starts and ends, and starts in singularity.
Within this vast and cosmic scheme the spirit moves.
The force creates, evolves--and there is man,
That creature called the human race.Will it have time to keep its place?
Has it enough intelligence?
Or was it just--
A flash of light in time and space?

Άρείων (Areion)

Poseidon, Poseidon

You have captivated me since I was a child.

I have loved you and your many names always:

Brother of Zeus and Hades

I have loved your grace and respected your temper
feared your might and power
Tumultuous blue thundering waves against soft sand shore

Alas, I must confess to you, I love Areion, your son even more.

With thunder beneath his hooves, Areion made off with me heart
and from him I shall never part.

Areion, Areion
Son of the Sea,

with grace, temper, might, and power
not so unlike your father's.
I have loved you since I was a child.

The Dry Spell

The walls are tumbling in. I can’t breathe. I am upside down, inside out, I can’t find myself. Perplexed, confused, and scared, and seeing no end. Sanity slips ever so quickly from my grasp. I am losing myself, “Momma Hen, Momma Hen, the fox has taken your baby again…………………………..”

First off let me say that I have been in a slump lately and honestly the very last place I want to be right now is in my studio. I feel completely stuck and the creative juices just aren’t flowing as readily as I would like them to be. I know my blogs and recent posting have a lot of people wondering what on earth is going on with this poor artist; well a lot has been going on and I have had some trouble coping, but I am coping- however slowly that might be. I am stuck in a rut, a creative dry-spell. Something all my artist and music friends can surely relate to and understand where I am coming from!

I have, by all accounts, totally shut down and am currently riding a massive wave of depression. This is the worse amount of depression I have ever suffered and it has hit like a ton of bricks. It has occurred to me that I haven’t had a chance to “get away” for over four years and those who know me well, know that I don’t stick around in one place for very long. Sometimes I regret having bought a house in Virginia, actually if I must be blunt and honest, it isn’t just sometimes that I regret it, it is all the time.

I am not use to having “roots” anywhere other than New England, my childhood home-between land and sea. I have since 2002 liked the freedom of being able to get up and move whenever I have that urge. Perhaps this is just the Sagittarius nature of my character speaking at the moment, but none-the-less I have a great desire to go “somewhere”. I have decided that since I have nearly the next three months to myself I am going to abscond to a place where I can relax, collect my thoughts, and take a refreshing moment to pick up the shattered pieces of my life.…….New England calls and the ocean calls loudest!

I miss home terribly and I am beginning to think that Virginia is completely inescapable and that is partly due to its enormous size. I am used to being able to hop in the car and drive 45 minutes and be in another state, as is such the case when you live in the New England area. I can drive an hour from my home in CT and be in Boston, two hours from my home in CT going in another direction and I can be in Vermont skiing. Then of course an hour in yet another direction and I am in Rhode Island, here in Virginia, an hour gets me to the Grocery store. I miss my small quaint towns where everyone knows everyone and they aren’t living at the speed of light, like they do here in NOVA outside of DC.

I apologize to my endearing friends, whether I know you in reality or this cyber world. You have had a hand in helping me through some rough patches and you are all there to support my art and my creative ideas. Thanks for the phone calls, the text messages, those emails, and some wonderfully uplifting music that has been sent my way; you have all played an inspiring role in my life. Thank you all! Please know that if it wasn’t for you all I probably have greater trouble climbing out of this ominous black hole.

I did actually pick up a pencil and draw today so maybe I will find my old self soon!

Perspicacious Circumlocution

Stolid I am not, overly opposite in fact I am.......Misunderstood again, as always, where is the balance I seek? Evasive, as usual, balance eludes me-yet again. Proteus, the noble sea god king, comes to assist me in conquering and controlling my rational mind-conjuring a protean existence that so readily allows me to prevaricate from the truths of the new human reality. One that allows me to understand what it means to be an artist- what it means to be of the creative mindset. An egregiously wayward process to live one’s life some might say, but therein lays the great travesty of it all.

The artists, the writers, the poets, the musicians, have become the few remaining creative souls surviving within a lost humanity. They know all too well of the importance of being protean. The world has become a breeding ground for the pallid bipedal primate species known as Homo sapiens. A species who takes pride in being capable of abstract reasoning, language skills, introspections, problem solving, and the ability to manipulate tools

Yet humans have collectively become blind to the fact they have manipulated themselves-manipulated each other, into a vacuous state of being. Through mendacious political systems and supercilious religious organizations that both use persuasion to promote their malevolent ideals that repress and control the human experience. They squeeze the very essence of free thought and expression out of the collective masses. Life has become nothing more than an ephemeral moment for the feeble minded many.

It is the sagacious creative souls- the artists, the writers, the poets, the musicians who have the prescient and mercurial ability to understand what it is they must create and compose to elicit a much needed living response in a dying humanity. Creativity and imagination will resuscitate humanity’s heart and keep it beating and in tune with life's wondrous rhythm.

Having taken the time to say all of this, I wonder still if I am so misunderstood? I believe I am finding my footing, my balance, my firm grasp on this world during this life, finding what it is I need to succeed with the talent that was graciously given to me by the divine. I am among the lucky ones, don't you see? Not so mundane are those who hold the keys to the power of creative influence.

It was Henry Miller who said, “The future we create, whereas the past can only be recreated. As for the constantly vanishing point called the present, that fulcrum which simultaneously melts into past and future, only those who deal with the eternal know and live in it, acknowledging it to be all. At the outbreak of the war, art was by universal agreement at perilously low ebb. So was life, one might say. The artist, always in advance of his time, could register nothing but death and destruction. Art...that very creative quality which unfortunately seems vital only in times of destruction.”

Einstein's quotes are, as always, most inspirational to me:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

La Corta Salida

Usted vino a mí con una cálida sonrisa y un futuro brillante
Y he celebrado con un solo corazón
Tomé la libertad de usted, y cambió su forma de vida
Pero usted todavía me amaba.
Que construyó su vida alrededor de mí y traté de comprender mis caminos
Usted aprendió mis sentimientos y la forma de hacer el mejor de ellos
Usted sabía cuándo celebrar conmigo y cuando que me deje ir
Cómo me hacen sonreír y cuando quiero llorar
Usted me amó y me encantó de nuevo
Te digo esto porque me importa, porque Te quiero, cariño.
Ha llegado el momento de que me vaya, por razones que se desconocen
Dejando que es difícil de hacer, pero mis sentimientos se debe demostrar
Sólo sé que estás allí
Y sólo puedo encontrar lejos de dejar mis sentimientos y mis sentidos parte
Le pido de nuevo, por favor trate de comprender
Mis sentimientos y mi manera
Los problemas no se ustedes, pero los de mi propio
Y como un niño que se escapó.