29 DECEMBER, 7:02 AM
One of my resolutions is to call my parents and talk to them like real people. The calling part is possible, but after yesterdayís belated holiday get together, I donít know if the "real talk" is in the cards. God, they know how to press my buttonsÖItís not that theyíre bad people, in fact, at times, I quite enjoy them. Itís more that they bring out the worst in me. Itís like Iíve spent the second half of my life escaping the competitive and argumentative training that they provided. Topping it off, theyíre always pissed that I defy authority (as if!) and Iím always sad that theyíre so unhappy because of their acquiescence to authority. When we spend time alone Ė which we always do because my bitch of a sister has written them off and never acknowledges anything but her needs Ė they drag me back to everything Iíve tried to escape. Sigh.
So, after dinner, presents, etc, etc I made my escape from Connecticut. Upon my return I made my way to the mall and replaced my moth eaten sweaters with shiny new happy, not-moth-eaten sweaters and proceeded to my usual Friday watering hole. The spree didnít quite exorcise the ghosts of my past and I think my mood lashed out at least a couple of innocents.
Iíve been thinking a lot about what triggers my dark side. My operative theory is that I have an extremely low threshold for people who try to live through me or who try to use me to gain insights that can genuinely be garnered only through personal work. I donít mind sharing and certainly I do as a teacher, but oh my, there comes a time that the student should out distance the teacher or, at least, give something back. In the best relationships this is the case. I suppose our consumerist society really does encourage the other model. Maybe thatís why Iím angry so much?
Is it so much to ask for reciprocity? Is it too much to expect that people will be engaged in their own becoming? Am I out of bounds to be pissy when people want to benefit from my struggle, my relationships without feeding me in return?
Maybe itís all just echoes of the Millennium? Thank god thatís almost over!
27 DECEMBER, 11:17 AM
Speaking of New Year's, here's a pic that Jen just gave me. It's from the Masquerade Ball that we threw last year. It was great fun, although my date and I ended up arguing and we haven't really spoken to each other since...
27 DECEMBER, 11:05 AM
While Iíve been sick Iíve been thinking about resolutions and now that Iím feeling better I realize that most of them have to do with feeling good. Itís startling how thankful I am to not have a headache, not to have the chills and not to ache all over. It makes me wonder why I consciously do things that make me feel like shit.
My working list of resolutions is:
I will be open to love.
I will not smoke.
I will drink in moderation.
I will work to enliven my curiosity.
I will defy the expectations of others and live by my values.
I will try to be more transparent
I will call my parents more often and talk to them like real people.
I will try to remember that I know how to be charming.
I will make a greater effort to declaim what I believe.
I will work toward being more potent.
27 DECEMBER, 9:34 AM
Iíve been sick for the past couple of days. It hit me in the middle of dinner on Xmas Eve. Usually, you can simply make an excuse and leave. Unfortunately, I was the host. Iíve been pretty inanimate since then. Today I seem to have a little spark, but still no appetiteÖ My buddy, Kurt, has been a doll for hanging with me, watching movies and keeping me company.
23 DECEMBER, 9:36 AM
Iíve been partying like a rock star for the past five days and finally crapped out last night at about 11:30Ö Itís nice, actually, to be up and about at a decent hour on a Sunday morning.
22DECEMBER, 1:03 PM
I saw this the first time and laughed myself silly. If you are within driving distance of PVD on Sunday night, you MUST come see this:
Princess Pearl's Cabaret Holiday, Live at Downcity...
Encore Performance By Popular demand!
An evening of Songs and Stories and Homemade Christmas Ornaments.
Sunday evening Dec. 23 after 9pm at DownCity Diner.
Pearl's last show of 2001... No Cover!
Got The Holiday Blues?
Would a Christmas Carol Cheer your heart?
Don't know what to wear to that swell affair?
Got a hankering for homemade crafts?
Got a longing for a warm holiday embrace?
What do the upcoming holidays hold in store for you?
Ask a Princess...
Come to DownCity and enjoy some holiday cheer with your friends.
22 DECEMBER, 12:27 PM
OK, I'm a reluctant, cultural Christian (at best) and this time of year always makes me a little nervous. The past three days have been Parties, parties, parties and tonight seems to be more of the same. There's nothing to complain about in all that and, indeed, the parties have started to get me in a festive mood. I even dragged a little tree into the house and strung some lights on it. Of course it's an art project, so I'm waiting for sunset to make twisted x-mas photographs areound the twinkling lights. If you're a correspondant you'll probably be getting an e-card with it soon. If you're not a regular correspondant and you want a card, drop me a line. I'm just doing my part to bring cheer to the queer corners of the internet.
Speaking of which, isn't this photo charming? The ghosts of x-mas past.... I think I was 21 when it was taken. All that vitality and no idea how to use it!
20 DECEMBER, 7:57 AM
Iím drinking coffee and waiting for my new stove to be delivered. The delivery guy said some time between 7:30 and 8:30 this morningÖ I was hoping heíd say between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. Sigh. Itís a small price to pay for the possibilities of actually, once again, having an oven.
Last night I had a drink with a friend and I was amused that our conversation turned to the idea of the integrated self. After writing yesterdayís homage to the wild, untamed multitude of voices within, it was funny to here him say that he thinks that people should strive to be the same in every context. I challenged him saying that I thought what made people interesting were their inconsistencies. I think he got what I was saying, but Iím not sure whether heíll ultimately agree with me. The search for integration, synthesis, it seems to me, is a big waste of time. Iíve been better served by striving to balance the inconsistencies!
Ohhh, thereís that authoritative voice. And, Iím writing from the studio. There goes yesterdayís theory Ė shot to hell.
19 DECEMBER, 2:14 PM
I work between two computers -- one in my office and one in my studio. Sometimes, over the course of one day, I switch computers 4-5 times -- staring in the studio in the early morning, transferring to the office for the business day, with the occasional switch back over lunch or a run home. I've noticed that i write in different voices at the different machines; I ask different questions and construct meaning in different ways. This intrigues me.
Walking back to work from lunch this afternoon, it occurred to me that I could develop a correspondence -- "correspondence" being my current preoccupation -- between these machines, these voices. I immediately, passing the meridian between home and office, thought: "schizophrenia." Isn't that it? Doesn't our society immediately pathologize the acknowledgement of different voices existing within us? It seems so absurd that my consciousness should be formed by this particular psychological fixation (how easily I switch to the lingo of the pathological!) and that I should be concerned by what I consciously know to be a bounded concept. Indeed, among my favorite thoughts is Whitman's: "I contradict myself? So I contradict myself, I am large I contain multitudes." Ah, Whitman, is there nothing you can't teach us?
So, dialogue between inner voices does seem verging on the extreme; it's the sort of thing that makes people nervous. Of course, that's intriguing in it's own right.
The voices cleave themselves roughly toward two sensibilities. The studio voice is full of questions, self-doubt, regret, and caution about too easily becoming inured by answers. The studio voice takes risks in questioning but is cautious in action. The office voice has authority, it seeks to answer, process, and move along the questions it confronts. The office voice is directive and bold, but sometimes lacks imagination. The office voice is bounded by conventions and acquiesces a little too easily to power.
Can you guess which computer on which I'm writing now?
19 DECEMBER, 1:03 PM
Iím home for lunch and trying to gather the right essays for my winter session syllabus. The course is called the self in society and focuses on the way that individuals relate to social systems. Itís especially intriguing in light off 9-11, but Iím not sure whether I want to bring my politics into the whole thing. Like I can avoid it? The biggest problem is that I have only 6 weeks in which to teach the course. Although the classroom hours are the same as a 12-week course, the compression of face-time prohibits a certain kind off reflection.
There is so much about which I am almost thinking Ė the ideas dance around the edge of my consciousness and I find myself looking for time to pull them in, wrestle with them and play. Yet, I feel this great sense that there isnít any time Ė that thereís too much on the horizon; too much holiday shopping and parties, too much pressure to have fun, be joyous. God, I hate this time of year.
Then, I look around and realize that I do have time. My calendar is relatively clear, I can chart my own course. My use of time, my sense of time, the urgency of the undone is whatís fucked today.
18 DECEMBER, 7:48 PM
Iíve been thinking about stress management a lot today. Mostly it comes from an article that I read in the Christian Science Monitor about the "over-work ethic" of current American society. That is the new culture that has subverted a need to work to derive a sense of moral virtue to a need to over work to feel worthy of being part of society. Sigh. Why is it that we canít look inside and to those we love to find worth? Why do we need to justify our place on the planet through over work. Itís fuckiní killiní us.
16 DECEMBER, 12:21 AM
Do you ever feel like a complete loser? I went out tonight and I just couldnít connect and then I thought about all the things that I do wrong. Like going to a party alone. Like going to dinner alone. Like cruising bars alone. Jesus, itís like all the spectres of loneliness have descended on me tonight and I just canít fuckiní shake them.
15 DECEMBER, 11:53 AM
Iíve been in the studio for a few hours this morning, which is surprising; given the spectacle I was part of last night. Somehow I found myself simultaneously making out with two of my best friends at a leather bar. I donít have any regrets, and I hope the same holds for them, but God, what is it about boys. We sure as hell like to play around. Itís funny to realize now that we were the spectator sport for the bar for about and hour. I hope the audience enjoyed themselves as much as I didÖ.
Anyway, back to the studio, I am trying to work on the biological father paintings. Iím not sure whether the painting mojo is working or not. The painting that Iím currently working on seems to be coming in and out of focus. Iím not sure whether Iím onto something or painting like a baby. Sigh. If on the process of discovery were more decipherable! I suppose that would take the fun out of it.
I was talking with a friend yesterday and we both articulated how weíre not crazy about Picasso right now. Weíve come to the realization that heís derivative Ė stealing and improvising on the break through of others. A showman, for sure, but who wants to be known for that. Iím taken with the Pollack film these days and I keep going back to a Lee Krasner line when Pollack starts the drip / splatter paintings. She says, "Pollack, youíve broken it wide open." Thatís what I want. I want to break it wide open.
The biological father paintings arenít doing it right now. Iím not open enough to discovery and they are just derivative of what Iíve already seen. The current painting is trying too hard to be Caravaggio and not open to the possible revelation it itís own being. How does one develop the strength to be true to oneís vision? I have to keep reminding myself to take risks. Like kissing best friends on dance floors in the dark.
I just remembered a dream I had last night. I was at my next graduate school residency and they were short a faculty member so my advisor "volunteered" me. I got there and was assigned a group of new students Ė everyone seemed so calm about it. I was terrified, which is funny as I regularly teach undergraduate students in pretty rigorous contexts. I think it has to do with my G3 report Ė and the critique I posed within it. I wonder whether I could rise the standards that I set forth? I wonder whether I am projecting my own studentsí critiques of the Swearer Center (of me) onto the MFA-IA program? I wonder, regardless of the psychological origin of the dream, whether it matters?
What does it even mean to "break it wide open?" Iíve done something interesting with the composition of the "Caravaggio" rip-off and opened it up some, but itís still too careful, too sedate. Thatís a funny word to use for a painting Ė "sedate." Canít one have contemplative, quiet little paintings? Why is it that I want this painting to be ripping things open? Why do I think that the biodad should be so active? Why am I making these paintings again?
Itís a day of questions.
Iím on a coffee break Ė just returned from Starbucks with my half decaf / half mild roast. Itís a little bitter, but I didnít need the rocket fuel. Iím trying to figure out the Christmas present for the year. I think itís going to be a reproduction of a painting Ė ya know, high quality photo, probably framed. Now, finding the right image is the trick. I just knocked off a landscape, which I think would work, but Iím concerned that it doesnít reflect my current work. It is a good example of my old work, though. Funny how, even having avoided them for months, I can knock off a decent landscape in minutes. Why is figurative work so much harder?
The truth is that I could choose a painting from the vast archive, but I feel like thatís both cheating and a little presumptuous. Iím not sure I can assume that my friends want a big olí homoerotic painting of me in their lives. Something tamer, perhaps?
Somehow, tame doesnít seem in my mood todayÖ.
Iíve left the studio for the day. Iím sanguine about what Iíve done but have no great sense of accomplishment. Thereís a way in which I think Iíve resolved these paintings for myself Ė or at least the concept. They donít seem insistent at the moment. I suppose Iíve wandered away from these paintings before Ė and wandered back. I guess I shouldnít be too hard on myself.
Well, Iím going to nap for a while, go to a holiday party and then grab some dinner. A typical SaturdayÖ.
13 DECEMBER, 7:31 PM
I'm having trouble with the daily photo server this morning, so you get it here. Life's busy, so no words right now. Maybe later!
10 DECEMBER, 11:56 AM What someone else has written about me:
Peter Hocking has agreed to lead a workshop on seeing and connecting at his studio. Peter is Executive Director of the Swearer Center for Public Service and is a painter who graduated from RISD. He is an accomplished artist who focused on landscapes for a while, but has moved on to portraits. He will show and talk about what he's currently working on--a project that he's calling "The Biological Father." It "explores issues of patrimony, adoption, homophobia, and aging." Not a discussion, but rather an exercise in looking at people and painting them and being looked at and painted, the workshop indirectly poses questions such as: How do we see people? What does it mean to see people? Does a relationship exist between seeing people and connecting to them? Do we see people only in the way that our eyes process them? How do we make sense of what we see when we see people? What does it mean to look in someone's eyes, or not to? What role does imagination play in seeing? How do we know if what we see and feel is real, if connection is only imagined? Spaced is limited for this very special opportunity, and you must sign up in advance.
I guess we know what I'm doing tonight....
9 DECEMBER, 7:26 PM
This is a funny thing to write, but, if you are a regular reader of my blog and haven't written me b-4 (or lately), why not drop me a line? I'm thinking about adding an interactive component to the site. Would you join the conversation?
First snow of the season. Freaky that it was 75 degrees two days ago.... The seventh sign? 12.08.01.8:28AM
9 DECEMBER, 8:30 AM
Notes from last nightís carousing (always travel with a note pad):
Iím at the Eagle again and I not sure why. Some guy just came up to me and told me that I am handsome which, of course, perplexes me. More than that, I have no idea what to do with the information. Why is it that I find it so hard to the perceptions or, at least, the intentions of other people?
Itís Military Police night and there are a bunch of fags dressed as tough guys. Theyíre trying their level best to be butch, but itís just not working. I like the theater of it, but Iím not eager to have them try to sell me raffle tix. I donít believe that theater should break down the so-called fourth wall.
(I moved across the bar to avoid the raffle. I donít like winning things.)
The costume and drag of the whole scene is fascinating. Somehow Iíve had a hard time focusing on the studio today Ė no doubt a result of not smoking. I have so many half-thoughts about painting here. I am unsure how one sets the priority to actually make them happen?
Tonight, I seem to have impunity Ė no one is interrupting my writing.
OK,OK so the scene is early Ė it is only 11 PM Ė but itís also weird. I have to say that I donít get it at all. The music is Madonna and the crowd is a kind-of mix of heavy metal and soft rock. Itís hard to read what the fuck is happening. Maybe Madonna is a cross of metal and soft rock? Regardless, I am captivated by it all. These boys seem to be taking it way too seriously.
I wonder what else is happening in town?
Thereís a funny contradiction to this place. I always try to be inconspicuous, yet I realize that with a cigar, a-shirt and head shave I could own the fuckiní place. Funny.
I will admit a fascination with whatís happening around me. Iím not aroused as much as I am entertained. It might be because I jerked off before I went out, but I prefer to believe itís because this place is amusing not arousing.
One might think that the scene would be about power and control Ė military police and all Ė but itís not. In fact it doesnít seem to be different from any other night Ė except the drag. God knows, the same old pornís on the TVÖ
I seem to be writing the obvious yet I think I am trying to break through some knowledge about the biological father. Iím struggling. Itís not Ďdadí enough and too sexy. Sigh.
Whatís with the moustaches? The biker staches are great Ė but theyíre practically beards Ė but the run-of-the-mill, Burt Reynolds staches are cheesy. I donít get them or the men who wear them. Maybe they know something I donít? Perhaps I should try one?
I am really fascinated that after writing all this I am still here. Thereís no reason for me to be here Ė thereís no one in whom I am interested and I have no intention of hooking up. Yet I am fascinated with the movement of the crowd. Is this what Whitman meant?
The funny this is thatís itís still early Ė as I am writing my assessment, most are just starting their evenings. The casual reader might think that Iím an asshole for writing all this and perhaps I am. Yet, all this is written with reverence as much as critique. Watching and recording, never talking; there is solidarity even in silence.
8 DECEMBER, 5:45 PM
I thought I was the son, but today I realized I am the father.
7 DECEMBER, 8:37 AM
Driving to the office and walking into the building I had an interesting thought. Since I gave up smoking I feel like I am waking from a long, strange nightmare. I have a freakish amount of energy all of a sudden.
7 DECEMBER, 8:10 AM
Ohmygod, ohmygod,ohmygod I love this.
7 DECEMBER, 7:26 AM
I woke up early this morning and spent an hour or so in the studio Ė cleaning up, getting ready for the next few days. Looking at the work, I am excited to get down to work. I can feel the images and ideas swelling inside me and I really want to jump in, get my hands into it. The yearning might make the interminable meetings that I have today kind of hard! Ha!
The heat wave is supposed to break today, but it was still warm enough to be comfortable outside in a tee-shirt at 5:45 AM. Strange to be hoping for cold weather, but these days, as enjoyable as 70 degrees in December is, seem disorienting. How can I possible brace myself for Christmas shopping when Iím resisting spring fever? Who am I kidding? In a week Iíll be bitching about the cold.
Yesterday was the last session of the Presidential Seminar. It was a good class, but never really pushed beyond the edge. The students were a bit to solicitous of one another and, perhaps, afraid of offending. Itís too bad. I need to consider how I can incite stronger passions in my Winter Session class. Which reminds me, I have to get that syllabus together this weekend. Yikes! How is it that there is never time to just be? Always, always there is another taskÖ.
Last night, a bartender tried to tell me that the physical withdrawal from smoking passes within 2 days. I find that ridiculous and told him so, but, as such situations happen, he wasnít hearing it. Regardless, Iím now on day-5, feeling good, and amazed at the energy I suddenly have. Iím hoping that it really is the no smoking and not just the rushing hormones! Weíll know in a week.
Footnote: Looking at the site as I post this, I am reminded that I need to spend some time on fine-tuning it. Stay tuned. Soon, there will be changes....
6 DECEMBER, 12:34 PM
Posted my notes from the violence conversation last night.
6 DECEMBER, 7:15 AM
Ok, I cheated. Not on my lover because, as faith readers know, I ainít getting any. I had three hits off a Winston last night. I think it was a good thing to do. They were the first three hits Iíd had in three days. I didnít like them very much. I think of this as part of the process.
That came at the end of an engaging evening, though. Late in the afternoon I read that Mark Doty has published a new volume of poems Ė titled Source -- which I ran out and bought. At first scan, Iím in love with Mark all over again!
Dinner was great. I had invited several of the leading thinkers on violence prevention tot he Swearer Center for a conversation about how SCX might develop an on-going, long-term commitment to anti-violence work. The conversation was amazing and I learned a tremendous amount. I will write up my notes today and post them to the "mapping identity" section of the site. Iíll keep you posted.
Finally, I got a message from a friend who shared this site with a colleague who knows a lot about art. Great feedback, which helps to address some of the crisis of faith Iíve been feeling about painting.
5 DECEMBER, 4:30 PM
I can't look at images of New York without thinking about Bill. It's a little ridiculous as we haven't been together for almost two years and ostensibly I've been over him for a while. Yet, looking through Mitch Epstein's _The City_, I am overwhelmed with a sort of nostalgia for the city; not the sweeping skyscrapers or the grandeur of it all, rather the everydayness of looking across to rooftops of tenements and picking up coffee in Greek cups. It's amazing how deeply that city, that relationship affected me. Sigh.
The day proceeds. Since I stopped smoking I've noticed moments of lucidity that are unusual for their focus and insight. I am noticing things -- little details of things, on the street, etc -- and am kind of amazed. I'm also a twitchy bastard most of the time, but when the twitching stops I am seeing things, having thoughts, understanding. Remarkable. Maybe it's just the freakishly warm weather we're experiencing? After all, two weeks of 65-70 degree days in late November / early December is bound to cause some sort of misaligned spring fever. Sharper vision is, perhaps, the result of raging hormones?
I am thinking that I need to keep another, private journal. I've had a number of conversations with folks about this journal -- mostly regarding whether it really is transparent, whether, in it, I am really taking risks. I think I'm missing a control for the comparison. Simply put, I don't know whether I am editing too much, whether my candor is being compromised by the public nature of all this. The voice that whispers "yes, you are being self censuring," is the voice that wants to rip into people who are frustrating, the voice that wants to excoriate all that is wicked and annoying in my life. It's the voice that wants release but rejects accountability. I wonder whether that voice should be given license in a black bound book which can be culled for the harmless, the castrated bits suitable for dissemination? Another voice tells me to focus and be thoughtful on how such stories can be told without harming the innocent or enraging the guilty. Time will tell.
5 DECEMBER, 8:22 AM
Day-3 of no smokes: itís not as hard as I thought it would be, although I keep having weird "visions" of smoking. They occur at moments that my body is in the habit of smoking Ė after meals, waking up, drinking coffee. Itís interesting to be reminded of the bodyís recollection of being. The funny thing is that I really donít want a cigarette, itís more that I want the act of smoking. Iím thinking of replacing smokes with baby carrots.
Physically, my body continues to clear itself of the crap that has been collecting on my lungs, in my throat. I wish I could speed this up, but the vitamins and fluids donít seem to be bringing any rapid relief. Itís like having a lowógrade cold Ė which I may have, but the irony of getting sick while Iím trying to attend to my health is too much for me to acknowledge. I prefer to think that I am experiencing some greater kind of healing. I canít, right now, embrace the possibility that Iím suffering from something as pedestrian as the common cold.
This weekís _New Yorker_ has a profile of Richard Posner Ė the prolific, conservative legal scholar. I found myself being more attracted to him because of his quirkiness than Iíve ever been to his ideas. I was surprised at the transparency of the writerís efforts to craft him as idiosyncratic and almost a classic example of Freudian neuroses. He really comes across as a freak -- hung up on his families short comings, living in opposition to his parents politics -- allowing emotion to define intellect. It's hardly the image that Posner tries to project in his public life. I suspect that he doesnít like the profile too much, but if he does, if itís accurate, it says a lot about the location of intellectuals. If true, I might actually like him because he's not so "conservative" after all and he would solidly confirm my theory that no one grows up.
Recent daily photos are playing with this idea Ė clearly I have not grown up Ė as they are using classic superhero poses for their motif. It will probably continue for a few more days. Maybe over the weekend Iíll even start playing with costumeÖ. It's probably the influence of _Justice League_ on Cartoon Network. I'ts amazing that they can transform _SuperFriends_ into something with edge and content. Ah, all I learned from reading comic books.....
4 DECEMBER, 7:59 AM
Information on what happens to your body after quitting (link below). I had my first smoke-free day yesterday and already feel the cilia cleaning out my lungs. I never coughed when I was smoking, but now my throat is sore and I am coughing up shit.
Ah, being healthy never felt so crappy.
3 DECEMBER, 9:03 PM
I went to a Royce Fellowship dinner tonight and heard Prof. George Morgan talk about the curriculum and inter-disciplinarity. Prof. Morgan was one of Brownís first professors to work in an inter-disciplinary manner. In 1961, after being named a full professor, he resigned his department to become a "university professor" which is a position that had never and has never existed. He defied the idea of working within the German university and risked the unknown.
Prof. Morgan made an interesting point about inter-disciplinarity Ė which informs my misgivings about Goddardís use of "inter-disciplinarity" in the MFA-IA program. While we all acknowledge the importance and limitations of the disciplines, the importance of working between and across disciplines, we donít question whether there might be something more than disciplinarity and inter-disciplinarity. We have not risked constructing the possibility that knowledge is created in entirely different models of seeing and constructing meaning. Indeed, the structure of inter-disciplinarity is no more, no less constraining than the disciplines. Itís simply another way of framing the questions.
Clearly I need to think about this more thoroughlyÖ
3 DECEMBER, 7:26 AM
The process of quitting is really about developing a new discipline. As I get days into this, Iím seeing different gaps that I have allowed to open in my life. Itís interesting to consider how I might address these gaps. One of the things I have realized about smoking is just how much time it takes up. Thereís the act of smoking itself --- which is a time suck Ė but more than that, thereís all the time I spent feeling like shit. Itís a drain on the body. I am starting to feel more energy and more consistently able to face things.
One weird side effect is that Iíve had a scratchy throat for the past two days. In ten years of smoking I rarely had a soar throat, now I do. Iím thinking two things. First, the feeling is actually about healing; second, maybe I just picked up a soar throat. Weíll keep a watch on this and maybe take some extra vitamins this morning.
The question of discipline is an interesting one, though. Iím wondering now about the other gaps Iím seeing Ė like the use of time, the use of money, keeping my space together in a more consistent way, etc. Ė and whether I might be able to address these, too. I think itís about clarity of mind and the ability to do many things simultaneously.
2 DECEMBER, 10:48 PM
I forgot to add that I finally got out onto the shed roof and made the repairs. It's temproary, but, with tuition and daily expenses, I sure don't have the clams to fix it right. It should hold for a season or two.... Still have to put up a new face board, but probably won't get to Home Depot until the weekend. I just took a glance at the agenda and this week's a killer -- dinners every night until Friday. All are good events, but no free time on my horizon.
I just have to keep reminding myself "it's what the living do." Thank you, Marie Howe.
2 DECEMBER, 9:54PM
New packet's up and the link is to the right. I'm glad the semester is over and that all I have left is the neccessary evaluation. It's been a good semester and I am happy with all I've accomplished and the dialogue that I've had with Pam. It's been a transformational semester in amny ways and I'll be unpacking it for some months (years?) to come.
On the smoke front, I've been pretty good -- just one and a half smokes today. It's pretty amazing that I've cut back from a pack a day just a week ago... Although I wanted to be smoke-free today, I am happy to be at such a controlled level. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...each will get a little easier.
I had a great day, writing my packet with Phil. It was great to be able to do this writing side by side with someone struggling with the same (similar) questions. Solidarity is a powerful location.
2 DECEMBER, 8:22 AM
I went to an opening / fund-raiser at New Urban Arts last night. The photograph is of me and "the boys" Ė a couple of special friends who, when were are all together at grad school, form a troika. The event was fun and I hope it brought in some good money. Regardless, it built good will in that it attracted some new people to the program. I have high hopes that theyíll become as enamored with the program as I am. If youíre interested in knowing more (or making a donation Ė hint, hint) their site is http://www.newurbanarts.org ("click" me and the boys for easy access).
I just got up from the crappiest nightís sleep. I could never really fall deeply asleep and my body never got comfortable. I think itís a detox reaction, which continues to fascinate me. Although itís annoying in a way, itís also amazing to feel my body again. I only had one cigarette (OK, two half cigarettes) yesterday and Iím going for none today. Weíll see how it goes.
The piece I submitted to last nightís show didnít sell Ė which pisses me off. Not so much in that MY work didnít sell, but rather that I wish NUA had gotten the $200 clams. I am realizing that commercial work and work are different animals. Ya know, I am tempted to do a whole series of landscapes just to have some commercial work in the can for events like this. Is that selling out?
I havenít been in the studio in over a week and am beginning to jones for that, too. It may be just a reaction to the smoking. I smoke too much in the studio and part of my aversion this past week is that I want to be stable in my quitting before entering such a dangerous place. Hell, though, I got through dinner at Downcity last night without a smoke Ė and without a drink for that matter. Maybe I am developing will power?
Well, today I have no choice. I must write my packet. Itís the last one, so I have to develop the big finale number to delight and bring closure to the semester. Yikes.
1 DECEMBER 2001, 3:55 PM
I should be writing my packet, being a good student, working on actually getting my degree, but somehow I canít bring myself to settle in with the books and the questions and actually be responsible to making academic theory on this lovely afternoon. So, instead, I will dodge the packet and write to the blog, make theory about life and hope that it passes as art in this little project.
Which raises the question as to whether this site is art or a vehicle for archiving and documenting art. Ah, I now, itís an old debate. One side righteously will proclaim "Of course it is ART." Others will balk and suggest that I haul my ass to the studio. Yet, I ask not to invoke the debate, rather I am interested in the way that this site is read. I am having more "internet celebrity" moments Ė those in which someone whoís read this engages me in real time / real space.
Donít get me wrong, I actually kind off like those moments. Who wouldnít like people telling you that they enjoy your work? Yet, there is a familiarity, a way of knowing about me that is jarring. They know things about me that I donít recall telling them and I have to constantly remind myself that theyíve read it Ė making a million adjustments during the conversation.
I also wonder whether itís fair. They have me at a disadvantage Ė we all recognize. Iím beginning to doubt it. Iím beginning to understand that this is a performance, a constriction and that all the transparency is nothing but a subconscious construction of an identity Ė an idealization of self. The ugly stuff is missing (even though there is a bunch that alludes to the dark edge).
I wonder whether I might start a page with an entirely different identity Ė a doppelganger or, more interestingly, someone entirely different. Assumed identities side by side. A funny possibility. Funny, because I suspect that I could do it an maintain itís authenticity. It would just be another way of telling the story.
Is it the edge of insanityÖ?
30 NOVEMBER, 4:58 PM
Walking home this evening I was taken by the light and atmosphere Ė low and fading light Ė and swept up in memories of walking on similar streets at the same atmospheric "moment." Suddenly, I thought of Christmas shopping in Manhattan when Bill and I were still together. Then I was walking down George Street with a friend with warm coffee in my hand. Then I was yearning, really yearning for those moments of connection, safety and warmth. I looked into the sky and realized that I had that sense of safety, connection to the world. Indeed, I was imprinting onto my soul another memory of this beautiful light, this sense of serenity.
I realized that as a painter Iím often trying to capture these fleeting moments of beauty, connection, feeling and that the process of making images is often, for me, about a perfect moment. I donít mean perfect in the sense that everything is fine and wonderful, rather I mean a moment that is full, complete unto itself -- a moment that is about connection. The connection isnít necessarily (or often) about connection to another person. More often itís about connection to oneself, to the world, to an idea. Indeed, often itís about disconnection form another person Ė especially those people to whom I am "supposed" to be connected.
In this moment I was fully enraptured by my experience in New York. It was like I experienced all of the good moments with Bill in a split second. The images, the sense of magic that is Manhattan suddenly rushed back. I donít know if this means that Iím yearning for New York (or Bill, for that matter Ė although I did have a sexy dream about him recently) or if it means that these experiences are so integrated in me that I donít really need to be in New York to experience it. Perhaps the magic that I feel in New York is something about me and not the place. Indeed, perhaps place, object, image are merely catalysts for exposing the best parts of us. Perhaps we donít need to seek such exhilaration outside of ourselves? I, surely, donít mean this as a definitive statement, but I do think we spend an awful lot of time looking for contentment, excitement, fulfillment (and probably a gazillion other "ments") from things, people, ideas that are external to our souls.
On the matter of seeking fulfillment from the outside, the anti-smoking campaign is going well. Iíve had 2 so far today and am not really jonesing. The test comes soon Ė when I enter the studio for the weekend. The studio is a place of pervasive smoking Ė itís about "looking" time. I donít know whether Iíll be able to break it.
Iím learning something of the irony of quitting, too. Now that I am beginning to control the cravings, when I do light up it the smokeís affect is really good.
29 November, 12:34 PM It's a funny realization that my world view is changing, that as I settle into my thirties I am seeing the world in a profoundly different way than i did in my twenties. There's something about time, accomplishment, relationships, etc that seems to be very different -- in terms of how I enjoy things. The difficult part is that my cognition and my experience have not yet aligned so I'm expecting things based on my 20s model of knowing and experiencing things in a new way. Odd.
29 NOVEMBER, 8:49 AM
I keep wondering why itís so hard getting up in the morning. I used to love to go to work, now I find it really hard to get motivated. Itís fine when I get there, but the IDEA of spending the day at work seems so oppressive in the morning.
At first I thought it was that I was bored with the work Ė it has been 14 years Ė and then I thought that it was because I want to be doing other work (the studio). Now, I think it has something to do with desire. I am beginning to understand the ways that I am impatient in regard to those things I desire. I want things quickly and am usually willing to expend the energy and resources to get / do what I desire. Iím learning that the things I desire now happen over time and thatís a jarring realization. Itís like when you are young and can expect to fall in love Ė to be swept away. I have a theory that as an adult, with defenses, falling in love is a slower affair. In work, it means that I canít be as agile as I once was and that so many people expect me to respond to them. So, it may be the collision of fast desire and slow yearning thatís making me so cranky in the morning.
Having articulated this, I wonder now how to deal with it. Certainly some of the lethargy has to do with my inability to articulate what I need and want. Iím always too accommodating, too eager to make others happy (forbid that they should dislike me!). I need to better understand how to take care of my own needs. God knows, that if I donít theyíll emerge regardless.
Speaking of which, howís that quitting smoking things going, Pete? Well, funny you should ask. It was going well Ė down to 4-5 smokes a day. Then, I had a date last night (niceóthanks J!) and I learned that itís so easy to fall off the wagon. Just kiss my lips with wine and I jones for a smoke. So, yesterday, instead of my 5-smoke limit it was probably closer to 10Ö
277 NOVEMBER, 1:27 PM
Iím home for lunch Ė eating salmon burgers (who thinks of these things?) Ė and trying not to obsess about smoking. I was able to keep it to three yesterday, although I did go and buy the pack. Iíve only had one-half a cigarette with coffee this morning (which will be the hardest to let go of) and another third in the late morning (God, I was jittery).
The sensations of withdrawal are interesting. When I started smoking it was for the incredible sensation of the nicotine Ė the rush, the high. Now that Iím in withdrawal I actually remember that sensation which Ė truthfully Ė I probably havenít felt in five years.
Another interesting thing is that my mind is racing. Iím not sure whether it a lack of that leveling influence of nicotine or the fact that the coffee now actually hits me. I keep jumping from topic to topic. The thoughts are pretty interesting, too.
Like, I was thinking about my work life and the incredible number of hours that my employer expects of me. Iíve probably averaged about 70 hours a week for the past 14 years, which comes to a mind-numbing 46,000 hours. Compare this with my father who worked for 35 years, but in a very rigidly defined schedule Ė 65,000 hours. He gave up some flexibility but sure as Hell made more money than I do. Sigh.
Of course, he hated his professional life and I actually like mine.
Why is the world spinning so fuckiní fast?
Oh yeah, regarding the smoke watch, I just noticed that I developing a weird rocking thing. Back and forth in my chair. Grand, not only do I have to feel like shit, I also have to look like an idiot.
It's time for my next half smoke. Hell, it WILL be better than the pack a day thing.
When do I get to be one of those self righteous, ex-smoker pricks -- who have been harassing me for years -- and bitch people out for smoking on the side walk? I want to be the bastard. NOW!
26 NOVEMBER, 7:31 PM
I'm trying to quit smoking -- or, at least, seriously cut back -- and the withdrawal is making me fuckin' nuts. I've only had two today and really, really want another. I'm out, though, and to have one I'll have to buy a pack, which seems to defeat the whole endeavor.
The rationalizations are interesting, too. So, I want to buy that pack, to have one smoke and I rationalize that it'll be my last pack. The last pack I ever buy. Then I think how absurd that is.
Sometimes, I really enjoy smoking. Lately, it's made me feel like shit. I think it's really fucked my body chemistry. I mean, I've never been as depressed as I have the last couple of years. I think there's a correlation.
The other gruesome detail is that if I continue to work on quitting I am sure I'll get really fat.
Maybe I should switch to cigars....
26 NOVEMBER, 6 AM
After puttering away the day, I went to Downcity for dinner last night. It was my intention to do some writing, perhaps to finish the outline of my Goddard G3 progress report, but I ran into JC and had a long conversation instead. If Iíd been serious about writing I could have stayed home and made dinner, done some writing and gone to bed early. After a day of being alone, though, I needed to be among people and this seemed like the right thing to do. Regardless off it's virtue, it was nice to catch up with JC.
After dinner, Kurt suggested that we grab a beer at the Eagle. I went over while he closed the restaurant and started to write. Itís funny the reactions that you get when you write in a bar Ė when you are trying to be inconspicuous. Suddenly, when youíre trying to be invisible, you become a magnet. Weird.
Anyway, hereís what I wrote:
"Iím at the Eagle on a Sunday night and thinking about the use of time Ė the ways that people use spaces to play and the possibility that we all just pass most of our time.
[The first guy stops over Ė weíll call him GS Ė to tell me that heís leaving but would like to stay with me. He explains that heís been talking to a guy most of the night and canít stay with me without being a jerk so heís going home. Iím OK with this Ė trying to be one with the woodwork Ė but he keeps staring at me longingly. I suggest he give me his number and he writes "Nice to meet you. Nice Eyes -- great chemistry. I am a really sweet, sincere guy! (Itís all about me) -- woof." He implores me to go to his car with him. I decline explaining that I am waiting for Kurt. Exit guy one.]
"So, that was an interesting interlude. I guess all of us are simply looking for a connection. We look for the possibility that someone can fill in the blanks Ė let us know the character of the interstice in which we reside.
[Second guy arrives Ė weíll call him Aa. This one I've kissed before on the dance floor, although nothing's ever materialized with him. Heís handsome, but thereís something too intense about his stare. Itís as if he has dark thoughts that he wants to share but doesnít really have dark thoughts. He just wants me to think he does. He tells me that he only came into the bar because he saw me as he was driving by. How do you respond to that? Is there an implied contract here? Do I owe him something by virtue of distracting him from his appointed rounds? Exit guy two.)
"So, I keep getting interrupted. Each guy asks me what I am writing. Itís funny when I tell them that Iím trying to figure out how to spend a Sunday afternoon. They offer suggestions. The last guy suggested sex Ė it was his third suggestion, after movies and theater, of course.
"The funny thing is that I donít know how to fill a Sunday afternoon. If I work in the studio that seems real, but the everyday Ė laundry, reading, vacuuming, etc Ė seems so ephemeral. Being alone this afternoon seemed so lonely. As the sun set and the rain became to fall, I could imagine that I was the only person for miles or that the world was composed of disconnected individuals in lonely rooms. Truth is there re probably a thousand people in my city who had similar thoughts, who experienced the same melancholia. Perhaps, Thoreau was right, it is about silent desperation.
"How is it that we thrive? How do we learn to live in the day to day?"
Thereís nothing too profound about these musings, but they did keep me from sleeping. So, I arise at 5:30 to write this up and to face the possibility of the day. I can already feel that itís going to be a sleepy day. Not sure I got enough zís to even make it throughÖ I have that weird not-enough-sleep-so-I-want-to-throw-up feeling.
Oh yeah, when you wake up before sunrise, this is what my bedroom window looks like. Abstract. Spooky.
25 NOVEMBER, 10:21 AM
I went to "bear night" at the Eagle last night. It was fun. Iím not usually the "bear" type, but the most beautiful man captivated my attention for at least an hour. Of course, I was too chicken shit to talk to him. He was THAT beautiful. He had shaved head, kinda big gut, beautiful eyes, and the most solid, architectural beard I have ever seen. The beard defined his head Ė making it the most powerful, incredible head I may have EVER seen. I wish I could paint him.
I spent some time with the biological father paintings last night. I realized that Iím creating a whole cosmology around these paintings and the relationships between these men. Less and less do I think of them as me and more and more I assume their experience. Itís bizarre, but I started to wonder whether I could appropriate the narrative Iíve constructed. Then I start thinking about introducing myself as the kid in the paintings Ė using an entirely constructed autobiography. I suppose stranger things have happened. It wouldnít be an entire fabrication as the narrative is constructed from my experiences. Itís more ideal, less stressed from my own autobiography, but it is mine. Itís funny to realize that the biological father narrative is essentially a harder life, but the reflection on it is a clearer vision of selfÖ. This has something to be mined.
Regardless of the ever-emerging meanings, the new paintings are beautiful. Iím finally getting the hang of painting again, which is good as itís only about 18 fucking months into "re-teaching" myself to paintÖ Iím starting to integrate what I know of my landscape period with what Iíve learned from the figurative work. Interesting stuff is emerging. Iím posting a comparison of where I was a year ago and where I am today Ė as a painter that is.
Ah, the holidays, they do inspire us to take stockÖ.
This is one of 27 self portraits that I did last fall. It's hard to put myself back in that place -- alboring over these simplistic images. Sigh. The process is a big part of it all.
This painting is 12 x 14" on canvas board.
This is a detail of a painting on which I was working last night. The form, drawing, use of color, composition are so much stronger than last year's work. I couldn't have gotten here without the old work, though, and I'm now wondering where I'll be a year from now! Pretty overwhelming to consider it all.
This painting is 48 x 48" on a plywood.
24 NOVEMBER, 12:55 PM
Added four new paintings to the biological father project. They're at:
24 NOVEMBER, 11:44 AM
Post-Thanksgiving weekend is always funny ttime. Lots of people are away and then there's tthe whole homecoming thing. When you're out you are never sure who's a potential keeper and who's just looking for an "away game." Last night was funny that way. I finally realized that I'm too judgemental on this level and talking with people whom you'll never see again is OK. Sometimes, I'm just too damn efficient.
Fooling around with the camera this AM. Got a decent shot of the new hair cut. It's funny to have hair again. Now, I just wait for it to grow.....
23 NOVEMBER, 10:13 AM
Here's the Thanksgiving wrap-up:
I went home to find that my folks had invited a cousin of my dad's who I haven't seen since age 10. She was going to be alone in Florida because of her kids' travel schedules so my Mom convinced her to come visit Connecticut (which is a good thing). Everything was fine until dinner when she started talking about having a stroke a year ago and it's concomitant mental health issues -- which started putting things into perspective. Like the stories she started telling about shooting rattle snakes (over and over) when she was a "young bride" on a farm in rural Florida. Nothing wrong with this image of a toughening , powerful woman defending her family against the incursions of nature's danger, until....she starts a story about shooting a rattler on the grounds of her current gated community -- like last year at age 77. She explained that no one else would do it and she was worried about the kids who played in the park. The "community's" authorities (muckity mucks, I think she said) disagreed. So she threatened them to try to take her gun. She's got lawyers. I just kept wondering whether she was packin' heat at dinner.....
After dinner I raided the family photo album. Gosh, now I've got more biological father references than I can shake a stick at!
16 NOVEMBER, 8:56 AM
There's nothing like a good, hot shower to start the day. this may go into the "more-than-you-need-to-know" category, but today was the first time since May that I used shampoo. The hair is definitely growing in -- and I haven't used shaving cream on it for a month! Ah, changes.... Wonder how long I can keep one "hair agenda?" Maybe I should have a contest to let readers chose the next style? Such contests seem to be all the rage on the net. Fabulous prizes for one and all!
I wrote in my notebook the other night that "life seems out of control and I don't know why. I think it's because I am running between modalities. But that seems absurd." We all run between modalities and each mode to which I code switch is one in which I have expertise. Maybe it's just the switching that's tuckering me out?
"I do know that my subconscious is manifest with control fantasy. There is not reason that life should be this busy -- this unbalanced. "
Yesterday I wrote about Kris' comment that my site seems full of risk and my reflexive denial. I find myself considering this more and more. I'm trying to resist the urge to ignor the site and to continue to push the transparency project further (transparent shower curtain and all!). I do know tthat I've not been promoting the site around the web very much. I've hunkered down in my little web bunker. I suppose this has something to do with avoiding relationships and their concomitant responsibility. Not a good position to be in and I'll have to work on pushing myself here, too.
After all, what's life without risk.
And, to contradict all this, isn't my philosophy one of radical disorientation? Where is tthe line between being disoriented and making meaning out of all of it? Perhaps, the world is too disoriented right now for me to be still playing this particular game.
Here's to living on the edge of the end of history.....
15 NOVEMBER, 8:04 AM
I'm not sure why I seem to have developed an aversion to daily writing on tthe blog and to posting to the site in general (although I know this is a bit of an exageration as I just added 10 new paintings the other day). I had dinner with a friend and she had just read the site. Here reaction was that she was surprised at how open I was being on the site. Reflexively, I denied opennness. Now tthat I'm thinking about it, it might eb the reason that I pulled back -- not her words, rather my intuition that I've said too much. Right now I seem to need some extraordinary level of control -- or at least my sub conscious does.
It's an interesting set of feeling to explore / resist / etc.
13 NOVEMBER, 8:30 AM
I'm trying to get back into the daily habit of writing to the blog. Things have been busy -- who's not? -- and I've lost the focus of coming to the web everyday. the funny thing is that I've been consciously trying to cultivate mental discipline in the other parts of my life. perhaps, this is a sub-conscious message telling me just how distracting the silver porn box, I mean the computer can be....
12 NOVEMBER, 8:51 PM
I've been writing the new packet all day and uploading a bunch of new paintings to the site. Not many words left after blowing my load on the packet and now I have to write my mid program review.....
Anyway, the biggest down load of paintings is at the biological father page and the packet is in theory.
7 NOVEMBER, 8:10 AM
Breakfast and blog, what could be better. Isn't it amazing that some mornings you can wake up andd be happy to face the day? Why, then, are other mornings so hard? Rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'll push on and into the day, happy to be alive.
6 NOVEMBER, 9:18 PM
Well, I'm less surly and feeling back to my vaguely human self again.
Going through certain gauntlets is important -- you learn a lot about yourself and the competancies and shortcomings that define you. It's nice to remember that I'm not fully formed and that there are things that I still have to learn. Essential things. not just facts and speciffic knowledges. Things that are about the very process of living.
Anyway, my mood is now more loopy than before. The photo tells the tale....
2 NOVEMBER, 8:15 AM
I was talking with a colleague after work last night and confessing my current depression. He made an interesting observation: our society is on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. Itís a haunting thought that Iím a canary in the coalmine.
Not that Iím having a nervous breakdown, but I canít ignore that I am depressed.
During class yesterday, someone said something that inspired me to write this note:
"Suppression of joy is a form of homophobia Ė the emergence of a hyper masculine gay culture makes it hard to express playfulness, boyishness, joy. The stakes of joy seem higher today than they did a few years ago."
When I came out, it was OK to be queer, to indulge in irony, play and camp. Part off the joy of being gay was being fey. My feminist voice tells me that this is misogyny. Itís so interesting that queer culture has disintegrated so rapidly and gay culture, that is the dominantly constructed current culture of homosexuality, has inculcated itself in our consciousness. We need to interrogate this trend, re-establish the pluralism of queer culture and celebrate the diversity of life. Perhaps, from there we, I can find joy?
Thatís one side of it, but there is another set off clues that are starting to emerge. These clues are about time and the body. Our society tries to be the master off time. I find myself measuring time Ė whether I have thirty minutes between appointments, twelve hours before I must be back in the office, four hours to paint. Such measuring precludes the possibility of living in the moment, indeed one is always postulating the next moment, preparing for what comes next.
The clues about the body are related to time, and to homophobia, and they relate to the uses of the body. If one lives in the moment, one can experience the senses. When one is outside of time, one is also outside of the body.
So, the goal is to step into moments of time, to use my senses, and to find the space to express joy.
31 OCTOBER, 6:56 PM
Still surly, but I have manged to upload some new paintings.
30 OCTOBER, 10:14 PM
I feel surly today. Not very social, so I won't write much. I'll just make the note that I need to remember how to feel certain things, to be open to risk, and to set the right priorities.
29 OCTOBER, 11:23 PM
Another great day in the studio. I'll post the fruits of my labor soon....
Life is so strange these days. I can't believe that the government is warning us of "indeterminant" threats of terrorism. It's so frustrating to think that something horrible is going to happen tomorrow, the government knows more than it's saying, and we get to wait and pray. There has to be a better way....
Walk carefully, friends.
28 OCTOBER, 5:15 PM
Iíve had a couple of GOOD days in the studio. Iíve found it hard to paint since 11 September and itís a relief to be recovering from the miasma of grief and the sense that my work is inconsequential. I suppose, in some way, I have come to understand that all I can do is proceed with that which most authentically emerges from inside me.
The new projects are a resolution of the "last day" painting. It can be found on "art praxis." The other project is "beautiful strangers."
I started this project because Iím thinking about the nature of portraiture. It seems to me that most portrait painters have some connection Ė affection of commerce Ė with their subject. Iím fascinated by the beautiful strangers that I canít get out of my mind Ė the person you see on the street, the web, where ever. These paintings are a kind of mediation on this idea.
I actually started the beautiful strangers as an exercise to get my hand and eye coordinated. After almost 8 weeks away from daily painting I was afraid that Iíd have lost some coordination. The surprising thing is that itís better than before and I think Iím having a breakthrough in the use of color and the rendering of form. Nice, indeed.
"Last day" is about a former relationship and my continuing work to integrate all I learned from it. The previous iteration was clumsy and Iíd been struggling with it for months. I decided that rather than work more on that canvas that Iíd just start all over again on a blank slate. It worked. The painting emerged very quickly and I think it says what I could not get the other to say. Thank God for process, eh?
27 OCTOBER, 1:23 PM
Kinda depressing, but predictable....
26 OCTOBER, 11:06 AM I hate it when there are conflicting horoscopes. At least both are hopeful....
Daily Horoscope: If you want to make sure that everyone hears your important message, be sure to project your voice as much as possible when speaking. Your subtle magic has a more mundane explanation for those who don't believe in the supernatural.
Romantic Horoscope: Although you have spent years being that scared and lonely child cowering in the corner, lately you have been the master of equanimity. What your lover -- or potential lover -- does not realize is that the metamorphosis was the result of hard work. There is no reason to let them in on the secret.
25 OCTOBER, 10:25 PM
Packet three is posted. It's a bit thin.
I'm exhausted. What a week.....
24 OCTOBER, 9:29 PM
Notes after my Maine talk are now published here:
24 OCTOBER, 7:54 PM
The talk in Maine went really well and I will annotate the copy of it that's on the site to provide more details later this evening -- should you be interested in what I learned, the quality of the hotel, etc, etc.
I am fast and furiously trying to get my packet assembled and off to my advisor. I just wrote up my practicum -- a degree requirement -- and placed it on a new page callled "goddard." It's where my degree requirements will be documented. Not a lot of new stuff here, just routing the "powers that be" to the appropriate areas of the site.
Taking stock of where I am in the degree criteria track, I feel pretty good to be at the half way point of the degree. let's see if i can convince the committee!
22 OCTOBER, 11:06 AM
I'm giving a talk in Maine tomorrow about my work and process as an artist. I've added a draft of it to the site -- link below. God knows, since I still have 24 hours, how much more I'll add.
21 October, 12:17 PM
Last night I threw a birthday party for my friend, Phoebe. It was a lot of fun -- I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.
Some folks were a little blurry by the end of the night -- not sure if it was the photographer or the subject.... Probably six and one-half dozen.
But, we started wearing the silly hats before we started drinking.
I wore the cowboy hat -- which has quite an affect on the boys. We went to the drag bar after the party and the cowboy hat was like a magnet. Maybe I should always wear it?
Anyway, I'll be eating "dead party" for days.....
19 OCTOBER, 6:03 PM
OKOKOKOKOK, itís Friday afternoon after a BUSY week. My slides, which I had to take for a lecture on Tuesday came out pretty well. Not, great, but good enough (isnít that an important distinction: good enough. Sometimes I donít think we allow ourselves to embrace it. Good enough is pretty absolute in its own way, why worry so much about perfection?).
So, now I have to write that lecture, donít I? HmmmmmÖÖ.
How does one encapsulate oneís practice as an artist? I know that artists are supposed to have artistís statements, but they seem so essentializing. Perhaps I have to bracket this whole idea and not try to write about my whole self, rather just a part of my practice? Or the process through which I make art? Itís so confusing.
And, yet, itís not. I know how I make work and I know why. I just donít speak about the foundation of my work that often. And, perhaps, I donít trust that the ideas that form the foundation of my work are very good.
19 OCTOBER, 8:35 AM
I've missed a few days.... I guess I've been living in real time this week. Slammed, actually, by my responsibilities in the real world. All's OK, though (for those who write me worried emails when I write such!)
More this weekend.....
16 OCTOBER, 9:23 PM
Some days, you get the bear; some days, the bear gets you.
15 OCTOBER, 7:43 PM
I've had a delightful day, reading and thinking and being a student. Just great.
I participated in the Worship service for Ruth Simmons' installation as Brown's president. The preacher was James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church In New York. He spoke on the theme "No Time for Foolishness." He was moving and I left with much to consider about the way that I've been living my life.
They even gave me a flower....
13 OCTOBER, 6:43 PM
I'm off to Half Mast tonight. Hope it's fun. I'm never very good at going to shows with my own work in it.
Lazy day, otherwise. Should have done more.
12 OCTOBER, noon
I've had a great morning, thinking, puttering and taking care of a few things I've put off.
Like, I shaved. I flirted with the idea of a beard, but I think it makes me look older than I feel and is an appropriated marker of identity. I'll write more about it in the identity section soon. Anyhow, if you want to see what I feel is a more authentic look for me, there's a new photo in the daily.
This isn't saying that I won't flirt with the beard again. After all, shaving's a pain in the ass and it is getting cold. Ah vanity, all is vanity...
11 OCTOBER, 9:51 PM
The Cowboys are in a show this weekend. Info below.
The Mill City Gallery presents: *H A L F - M A S T*
SATURDAY - OCT.13, 7pm-?
*An evening of ART & MUSIC to benefit RELIEF EFFORTS*
$5 at the door/$4 in advance. ALL proceeds will go to support relief efforts.
Advance tickets are available from:
Clayton Rockefeller - Croc02@hotmail.com, Polina Malikin - email@example.com, James Laurie -
Half Mast is a cross-generational, multimedia response to the tragedies, featuring breakdancing, drumming, live hip-hop, and an art exhibit.
The purpose of the evening is to increase awareness and raise funds for organizations working to prevent people from falling through the cracks amidst the attackís repercussions. Honoring both the ambivalence and grief represented by flags not fully raised, Half Mast is an attempt to reaffirm our common priorities.
11OCTOBER, 9:41 PM
It's National Coming Out Day. If you haven't figured it out, I'm queer.
Yup, a full-blown (no pun intended) sissy, pansy, fagy, gay boy.
Is that clear?
10 OCTOBER, 9:08 PM
Another great day. It makes for good feeling, but not very good blog drama.
Why is it that conflict and pain seem to be so much more compelling than love and happiness? I think this is part of what's happening in the worrld right now. After years of security and (relative, albeit inequitably distributed) happiness, we need something to push against. Whether it's those pushing for military intervention or the peaceniks, we're all at our best when we find conflict to engage.
Well, I'm not engaging conflict right now. I'm balancing the myriad responsibilities that I hold. It's exhilerating. Talk about drama.....
9 OCTOBER, 10:53 PM
I had a great day. I received an AMAZING gift in the mail which has made me feel light and exhilerated.
Gifts generally make me feel nervous. I get all concenred about reciprocation, about meaning, about losing myself in another. I consciously realize that I'm projecting my fears onto another person and losing the meaning of their gift, given freely. It's a crime on my part; a lack of grace. I'm working on it.
The rest of the day was great, too. OK, waking up was hard. The descent of cold is making me want to stay curled up in ball until noon. Or is that the depression? Who can say....? But the rest of the day was busy, productive, affirming. I could get used to the fall.
8 OCTOBER, 7:41 PM
I made some prints of the cowboys for a show that my friend, Phil, is organizing. It's a show of work about the current crisis. The opening's this Saturday.
I'm also planning to update the cowboy site with some re-engineered images
8 OCTOBER, 1:11 AM
This just in:
Now, that's "theory."
8 OCTOBER, 12:56 AM
I went to the TripleCrown tonight -- the mr. ms. and ms. Gay RI pagent -- and had my first experiecne with the intersection of my cyber and real time worlds. Pretty fascinating.
A guy who'd emailed me a few weeks back came up to me and introduced himself. He's nice, a sweet man. I froze. the intersection made me aware of the power of the medium. Suddenly, I knew what Madonna must feel. Not really, but it was disarming.
The pagent was something, too. My hat's off to folks who can put themselves out that way. In the name of charity, too. I hope some good money was raised for the queer community center.
On another level, it was surreal being at a gay "beauty pagent" while my country is bombing the Hell out of of a sovereign nation. I wore my Afgani hat -- without consciously realizing it until a friend reminded me and cautioned me to be careful.
My prayers with the innocents this night... My prayers with those not innocent, too. If my theology is right a lot of folks just signed themselves up for a stay in Hell. Such is the fine line between rightousness and self-rightousness,
7 OCTOBER, 12:08 PM
torpor | TOR-per | noun
1 : mental or spiritual sluggishness : apathy, lethargy
2 : a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility
Example sentence: On the first crisp, autumn weekend, I finally shook off the torpor that had set in with the seemingly endless dog days of summer.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE SENTENCE: On the first crisp, autumn weekend, I still couldn't shake off the torpor caused by aeroplanes felling skyscrapers.
6 OCTOBER, 6:26 PM
I love this -- a punk rock Star Trek Band.
As they say, take it up with Starfleet, lady!
6 OCTOBER, 2:15 PM
Working on the identity pages today. It's rainy and dark. Indeed, I feel "pissy."
Time to re-frame.....
New context, please?
6 OCTOBER, 11:41 AM
No triumph yet.
Although, the guys at the bar last night were unexpectedly "friendly."
5 OCTOBER, 9:43 AM
Here's my horoscope for the next few days. It seems too good to be true. Let's keep track of it.
Friday, 5th October 2001 Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 20) You are just days away from your next big break. Indeed, as Saturn and Jupiter are already in semi-sextile aspect by any astrologer's orb of aspect, we can legitimately describe your entire situation now as being potentially most fortunate. We are not, of course, talking about the kind of luck required to win lotteries. But we are looking at a fairly clear promise from an unusually emphatic sky. Where effort is being expended, where dedication is being applied, where intelligence is being employed, where motive is pure and where circumstances will permit; triumph is assured!
4 OCTOBER, 8:54 PM
I have a painting in the RISD Faculty Biennial this month. The opening is tomorrow night at 5:30 at the RISD Museum. Funny to have the tables turned -- I remember going as a student to check out my teachers' work....
I'm a little nervous.
2 OCTOBER, 9:08 PM
Found this on Jonno's blog:
welt∑schmerz: pronunciation: 'velt-"shmerts
Etymology: German, from Welt world + Schmerz pain
1 : mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state
2 : a mood of sentimental sadness
Pretty well sums up my mood.
Those Germans have a word for everything.....
2 OCTOBER, 8:47 PM
I woke up with a sore throat and stayed home from work. read some more Judith Butler, a critique of her by Martha Nussbaum, and some queer theory by David Savran. it inspired me to start an identtity mapping project. If you want the boring details of my gender performativity, there's an autobiographical piece in process. The link is to the right.
MONDAY, 1 OCTOBER, 11:07 PM
From my friend Ian's site:
Yes, I confessed,
I was yours entirely.
'If from the distance'
1 OCTOBER, 10:48 PM
Packet 2 is, as they say in the entertainment industry, in the can. If you're compelled to read about my hopes and doubts about this site and my work as an artist, you can find it here:
1 OCTOBER, 9:28 AM
I'm working on my packet, which is due today. The second packet is always harder than the first. The first packet is filled with hope and inspiration, the second is pragmatically lighter than the first -- less time is available for constructing content and there's a cognative shift necessary to realize that they're not being compared. The second is more about dialogue than production.
I have such a hard time making this sort of internal adjustment.
30 September, 6:24 PM
I added 2 new paintings this evening.
29 September, 11:59 PM
I went out the last two nights. I was exhausted both times and found that I couldnít connect with anyone Ė my friends or anyone else. Yet, Iím really lonely and find myself thinking about past relationships. Thereís something about this season change. The emergence of spring gets oneís juices flowing. Fall brings a decided impulse to hibernate, to get into bed with someone and just hold on.
Iím finding it hard to meet anyone to whom I might want to hold on, though. I think I might be going to the wrong placesÖ. Iím also coming to understand that Iím not ready to meet someone, to be with someone. Usually this is okay, but itís fall Ė didnít I already explain this? So the circle is viscous.
What does it mean to be "ready" to meet someone anyway?
I have a theory that it means, for me, to be ready to commit to one person. I have no problem making myself desirable, no problem flirting. The problem is acknowledging that Iím lovable Ė not simply desirable. Thereís an unfortunate distinction here.
For about a year Iíve been working on a project called the biological father. Itís on the site Ė or, at least, parts of it are Ė and it deals with no knowing who my biological father is. It also implies that my adopted family didnít provide some essential element to my identity. Before this sounds like violins and before the tears start falling, let me explain that this is an intellectual project. It implies all sorts of things, but canít be read as a literal autobiography. Yet, the driving question is one of wholeness.
I have another theory. Itís that our identities and abilities to form lasting relationships emerge from a feeling of relatedness thatís imprinted in childhood. My better impulses tell me that this is psychobabble, but itís an insistent voice. I have a hard time feeling related. People express feelings to me that, often, I donít understand. I mean, itís not like I donít like them Ė even love them Ė but thereís something missing in me that prevents me from understanding the feeling, the impulse that they try to convey.
So, with boys itís hard. Iím thirty-five and I donít even know what I want from a relationship.
Oh well, my parents are coming for lunch tomorrow. That should clear things upÖ.
28 September, 7:50 PM
Main Entry: rep∑re∑sen∑ta∑tion
Pronunciation: "re-pri-"zen-'tA-sh&n, -z&n-
Date: 15th century
1 : one that represents : as a : an artistic likeness or image b (1) : a statement or account made to influence opinion or action (2) : an incidental or collateral statement of fact on the faith of which a contract is entered into c : a dramatic production or performance d (1) : a usually formal statement made against something or to effect a change (2) : a usually formal protest
28 September, 9:25 AM
Whatís the line between who I am and who I represent myself to be on the web?
Thereís a lot of me up here Ė representations of who I am and who I want to be. The tricky piece of all this that Iím caught in a paradox between who I am and who Iím becoming. The question might be about being. Itís also about who Iím willing to be publicly and what I reserve for my private self.
The Greeks had the idea of the Polis Ė you know Acropolis, metropolis, megatropolis Ė that is the "city." In the Polis there were distinct roles that people played and events to which citizens were present. For example, someone heading through the Polis to purchase goods might be present to a trial and even shout out his opinion for all to hear. Private life, for the Greeks, was another thing altogether. The web strikes me as a Polis.
Today, we live in a celebrity culture where the distinctions between the public and private have been eroded. Our roles in the public and private spheres are less distinct and harder to define. Some of this has to do with media; some has to do with the growing systems of power that govern our private lives. And more has to do with our desires to be voyeuristic and exhibitionistic.
Now, Iím not pointing a finger, at you or me, but rather trying to define some brackets around this work Ė for both you and me.
27 September, 8:10 AM
I thought Enterprise was AMAZING. It similtaniously captured our xenophobia and virtues. Although I know it was filmed before 11 September, it spoke to the social and political problems we face today. I look forward to future episodes.
I started a new project this morning. It's a daily photo archive. I'm intrigued by the comments people make too me about the change-ability of my "look." I thought I might track it and see what's going on. I'm not sure if it's a rapid set of changes I'm going through -- like some mid-life puberty -- or an act of will. Time will tell.
Click the photo for a link to the day one pic.
26 September, 6:22 PM
Call me a geek, but I'm psyched for the new Star Trek series -- Enterprise -- which premiers tonight. I can use some hopeful, feel good sci fi right now.
24 September, 7:58 AM
I went to dinner last night as an act of will. I find myself retreating to my interior -- hiding from what is happening in the world. This is not good.
I am beginning to understand why the population is wrapping itself in the flag. It seems safe. In addition, to normalize it seems even safer. Do we even remember the days before we had flags taped to every car aerial?
My escape came in the form of a 40 mile ride yesterday. It was the first time I'd rode since my "goo" bike got stolen last spring. I had the "bad" bike re-built last week and tested it yesterday. Let's just say, the bike is in better shape than the rider. Ouch.
20 September, 8:09 AM
Have you noticed the way language is beingg used in this international crisis? It's fascinating how easily we're manipulated by language.
"Life goes on" is increasingly part of the national lexicon. I'm not sure whether it's patriotic "can't let the terrorists win" rhetoric or a more human tradition of bringing closure to grief. It's probably both.
I'm particularly incensed by "operation infinite justice." Break it down, angels. It's terrifying. And, it just screams to be a cowboy.
A sobering element to my day is that this is the re-scheduled 11 September. Everything that got cancelled that day is scheduled today. I won't make the mistake of bitching about it -- like I did last time -- rather, I'll find joy in the sheer fact that i am alive and can still embrace a day of hard work.
If nothing else, this tragedy has reminded me how easy I have it and reinforced my sense of obligation to live life fully. Amen.
19 September, 7:23 AM
Jerome sends the image below. A reminder that in history there is a chain that connects people committed to justice. We are not the first to be confronted with this dilemma.
18 September, 11:27 PM
Made some more cowboys tonight. Let's hope they speak for themselves.
Too tired to write much more...
17 September, 10:24 PM
I've had an extraordinary dialogue about the cowboy photographs with a friend. He asked me all the right questions about the limitations of my images and offered me an alternative -- which is posted below.
Irony and anger infuse these images. Our leaders are acting like cowboys -- evoking, even, the idea of "dead or alive." It's enough to cause shame. How can the American president be so base and shamelessly evil? Another case of evil maurading in the guise of Christianity. One would think that they teach compassion and justice in Texas Sunday school.
17 September, 7:54 AM
While we worry about the attrocities perpetuated by foreign terrorists, we have to be vigilant about domestic terror, too.
Jerry Falwell has been up to his old tricks. He has been qoted as saying:
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
You can make your feelings about this known at "Denounce Jerry Falwell" hosted on the web by a free online petition service, at:
16 September, midnight
I've started to receive feedback on the cowboys. Below is one response that particularly moved me.
I also have received some negative feedback. One saddened me and one was astute in asking whether these weren't simply propaganda. I'm not surre, but I think political art can always be critiqued as propaganda. I simply hope that my "propaganda" is more just than theirs.
From a colleague:
"the first thing that makes me take my breath in, not sharply, but somehow is the immediate memory of my brother , a little boy, in cowboy gear.
later a conscientious objector
i had a cowgirl suit, too
i was playing with the little metal cap gun. no caps. i hated hated hated the loud noise
remembering, or just knowing with my body, something i'd seen on tv, i put my face real real close to the gun to aim at i have no idea what
i locked my lip into the hammer as it slammed shut and maybe that would not have impeded others in gun careers but it did stop me
maybe you saw the drawing that came to me in staff meeting; the second tower exploding
it's the image i need to draw out, exorcize, first"
15 September, 11:33 PM
I'm starting to find my center again. We can do things, like make art and tell our version of events.
I made a page for alternative media. Educating ourselves is the most effective tool we have at the moment.
14 September, 8:53 AM
I am still reeling. The grief and sense of powerlessness comes in waves.
I am beginning to see that my power is not as a politician or rescue worker and I need tto let go of the powerlessness of not being able to help. I need to find the places that I am powerful and engage that power in the service of good. I just wish our politicians could have such a revelation....
12 September, 9:38 PM
I am so sad and angry about what's happened in the world these past two days. I am more terrified about what is yet to come.
There's so much talk about terrorism and asymetrical warfare. There's so much sabre rattling; so little humility and humanity.
We're told that asymetrical warfare is new. It's not. It's the story of David and Goliath. What we refuse to see is that we are Goliath.
I don't write to justify or explain the unjustifiable. Yesterday's acts were brutal and can not be forgiven. yet, the motivation for these acts is grounded in a long history of imperialism and arrogance on the part of the American government and, yes, the American people.
We call them terrorists and religious zealots. They think of themselves as soldiers. We see these acts as unjustified. They see them as a retaliation for a long list of US sponsored military attrocities against various peoples across the globe.
Do we remember our foray into Sudan? Do we question the deaths that American military caused in striking a Sudanese pharmicutical factory? Do we wonder why the US government had to pay reparations for makeing that mistake, or, more terrifying, why we interceded and stopped a UN inquiry into the "incident?" Indeed we can only guess the thousands who were killed in that attack.
These are not religious people, they are a military. We think in terms of nation-staes and are blind to the fact that the nation state is disolving. We are becoming a global society and the actors in this drama are intent on shoring up the crumbling walls of nations.
This is why we must stop and reflect on the appropriate response to this atrocity. We are not solely victims today, we are collaborators in a war. We have enormous power that we can chose to use in the interest of peace or push the planet to the precipice of global war.
If you care about peace, I urge you to sign the following petition.
Please Sign this Petition
11 September, 8:57 PM
I feel like an asshole. Not only do I bitch about a projected hard day, but yesterday I make a joke abut terrorism. It's a lesson in humility and the realities of the emerging world.
I am overcome by the events of the day. I can't belieev that the World Trade Center is gone -- I can't even count the number of times I walked around the Plaza -- and haven't even begun to comprehend the loss of life, the intense grief that we all face.
We have to remember that we are all victims -- no matter our race, ethnicity, nationalism. This is not an attack on America, it's an attack on the human soul.
My heart is with all who have been directly affected and who have lost someone they love.
11 September, 8:20 AM
I have a 13 hour day in front of me and it's a little daunting to think about. Funny how some days just seem to be a magnet for obligations.
The hardest thing about it is that I have to step outside of my own preoccupations for the coming hours. It's the hardest thing about having a split life. Afterall I'd be really content to slink into the studio and lock the door for the next 13 hours!
Buck up and fly right!
10 September, 8:58 PM
I've been fooling around with a friend and sending funny pix back and forth. i just found this one -- from my old passport. My parents were afraid to let me travel with it. they thought customs would never let me back into the country for fear of my terrorist appearance... Go figure.
It occurred to me last night that I've not explained the reference that names this site: REAL. It's a tribute to a book that's incredibly evocative for me. _REAL: The Letters of Mina Harker and Sam D'Allesandro_ is a correspondence between two writers who have assumed vampiric identies, loosely based on characters in Bram Stoker's _Dracula_. It's a mediation on desire and mortality. The image is linked to a source for acquiring this great book.
10 September, 7:25 AM
I woke up this morning and turned on the Today show. It's what I do every morning. It's a slow news day, so the first fifteen minutes have been on the economy's downturn. Two things strike me.
First, there's a lot of talk about the over-exhuberant stock market and the fading belief in the Internet. This seems like a good thing. The Internet was hailed as a location of democratic proliferation and then as a center of the new economy. I think we're learning that for the economy this thing is a tool. I don't think we've started to explore the potential of the web for its democratic potential.
Sure a variety of personal web sites have proliferated, but the content is often predictable. Some sites, to be sure, are incredible. In the end, though, I think the web exhorts us to pick up our digital cameras and hit the key boards. Go out there and build a site! Join the discourse!
Second, there's a lot of political finger pointing. Is it Clinton's fault or Bush's? The economists and Republicans point to the downturn's genesis during the Clinton administration. The Democrats point to Bush's tax cut and his looming deficeit. I have to say that I think it's something else.
I think we've lost hope. We've certainly lost hope in the idea that the Internet and other technologies are going to make us all rich, but more than that I think we don't have hope in the current administration. That Bush has entered office with the presumption to lead is absurd.
Bush wasn't elected by a plurality of the electorate and I don't think the people have faith that he, or those who surround him, have the values to lead the country forward. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the sky will fall, but I miss Clinton. For all his shortcomings, he inspired a sense of hope and progress in the country. We need to believe in ourselves. I think the economy is about a collective consciousness and we underestimate its psychological dimension.
Maybe, this isn't so bad, though. Perhaps this is just a sign of the deflation of the American empire. The Soviet Union crashed over a decade ago, perhaps this is our slide. The plurality of the world might be better off if we are slowed down in our appetites. If we can't buy stuff, we won't consume so many resources.
Unfortunately, though, we live in a system that doesn't work this way. The rich will continue to consume and it's those in the middle and at tthe bottom who will pay for their gluttony.
9 September, 5 PM
I've been working like a dog getting this site updated. There is all sort of new stuff and a lot of re-working of old stuff. I have a few more hours of writing and then the first packet of the semester will be posted. All that new content! Yikes.
It's been a beautiful weekend and i've been tied to the computer. I finally figured out that it was a great day yesterday when some friends came over for dinner. I went out to light the grill at 7:30 and realized it was the first time I'd set foot outside. At least i got to sit outside and enjoy a fantastic evening.
I've been looking for little moments of beauty. Making this site has made me aware of teh need to edit. It's easy to slam folks with images and harder to consider the image that will tell a story. Below is an image the captures the various flotsom I've collected at the beach this summer.
8 September, 11:27 AM
I've been adding things to the site this AM. There's a virtual tour of my house in the art section and a bunch of old paintings added. Click on the icon below and you'll go directly to them.
8 September, 8 AM
When I woke up this morning I decided to shave my head again.
I went BBC last spring and kept it up for most of the summer. August was distracting and I let my hair grow back. Yesterday I just couldn't stand it so I buzzed it down. This morning I realized that i really wanted it to be BBC.
Anyway, i think I grew it back for a couple of reasons: I grew bored with the routine of shaving (sorry to you guys who really like the routine), I'm not sure I want to look just one way (I like change), and I was concerned that some folks were intimidated by the look. I do work that requires me to "connect" with people. I can't afford for them to be afraid of me -- it just makes more work for me. Now that the school year's started we'll see how it goes!
7 September, 7:24 PM
Well, this is it, it's finally the weekend that I have to submit my first "packet" to Pam, my advisor. That means i have to get this site into shape. Can you hear the whip cracking in the background?
It's funny, staring this site was such a thrill. I had so much "content" to add and it came together fairly fast. Now, I'm apprehensive becasue the initial excitement, as the site coalesced, has dissapated and I am faced with a beginning and aware that I am now responsible for the next iteration.
My anxiety has more to do with my own need for "perfection" than any external barometer of success that might be "judging" me. That's more daunting -- at least when it's external you can push back. When it's internal you really have to do some work. Shit, sometimes I don't like responsibility!
There's so much I could do to enhance this site that it's somewhat daunting to consdier how to proceed. I've had suggestions -- add my voice, show my cock, be careful what you reveal, etc, etc. All good advice. The question is what's necessary?
So, I put it to you. What sould make this site deeper, more textured, richer?
7 September, 5:30 PM
I buzzed my hair when I got home. I'd been letting the top grow out, but decided on my walk home that I didn't like it much. I had long hair for a long time and it's really liberating to have it short. the bald thing is intimidating to some people and i think it puts a wall between me and people with whom I want to connect, so I don't think I'm ready to make the big commitment to being BBC. But, I don't think I want "hair" either. Being buzzed seems a good compromise.
5 September, 7 AM
I've been thinking a lot about homophobia. I learned yesterday that an, arguably, influential person doesn't like my leadership of the center I direct because I'm gay. It's been a long time since I've been confronted by this kind of stupidity.
I can parse this intrusion into my life, after all the person who said it is widely thought of as insane. I'm protected by state anti-discrimination laws. Not to mention, I have a good sense of myself and won't internalize it.
Yet, that she can say this sort of blatantly homophbic thing and feel that it's OK is a reminder of the irrational hatred that lies beneath the surface. Indeed, it's a reminder that people make judgements like this all the time and say nothing.
Be careful out there, boys!
3 September, 11:51 PM
I may have to re-name this the "occassional" blog if I don't get better at daily postings. I've been on the web this weekend, mostly writing to people and conversing. More than that, though, I think I've felt the need to be embodied. The net can make one feel so ephemeral at times. I think I felt the risk of being, as one friend wrote me, "another lost soul on the internet." To fight this, I added a photograph to my correspondence, a signature, if you will, that intended to give me some corporeality. The photo was of me waking up and I've added it below.
Waking up is a good metaphor for my life right now. I feel like I am awakening from some deep sleep. It almost feels like I am entering adolescence again. I keep having this feeling that I am abuot to lose my virginity again. It's nice, in a real way, but scary as shit. You remember.
30 August, 9:45 PM
Gosh, what a tiring day! Although I am exhausted, the mystery and marvels of the day exhilarate me. Isnít it wonderful to feel connected?
I spent six straight hours advising students this afternoon. It took a lot of energy, but I left feeling like I am doing EXACTLY what I want to be doing. The giving of energy results in an exchange of sorts. I just wish these old bones could muster the energy to keep it going this evening. Oh well, getting to sleep early has itís own rewards, too.
Iíve been having these wonderful correspondences with people who have found this site. Itís amazing to learn about my work through the insightful eyes of others. Itís a bit overwhelming to have such gratitude toward people who I may never meet. Itís also wonderful to feel the love of those I know who have found this and offered support and who continue to challenge me.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
30 August, 7:07 AM
I've missed a few days, which I didn't want to do. It's not that I haven't been writing or thinking or engaged with this project. Rather, it's that sometimes life re-prioritizes for you.
My job has inserted itself into center stage. It's the beginning of the academic year and first year students are arriving on campus. There's something magical about the "first day of school" and the way that it focuses me on some "higher value."
I'm working on walking tours of Providence for new students. in doing them we are trying to contextualize their education to a place. Places have values -- inscribed into the landscape and the souls of its people. Often, we walk through our lives completely oblivious to the ways that our context affects our development, molds our values. It helps us pass on our highest values and it allows us to be part of a long chain of human existance. Yet, without reflection, it can allow us to integrate the worst values of place -- pride, corruption, anti-intellectualism -- into our being, too.
27 August, 10:35 PM
Iíve been introspective today and been writing friends tonight. The first is from a letter to one friend and the second to another friend.
I spent the day at a funeral. It was for Denise, my neighbor as a child. Itís very funny that Iíve been as affected as I have since I had not seen her in about 15 years. Yet, the news of her passing did strike a deep chord Ė bringing with it many memories and much gratitude for the gifts she bestowed on me. She gave me my first set of oil paints and was the first to tell me that I would be both a teacher and an artist. She was from Switzerland, very gracious, very thoughtful and giving. My parents, of course, were at the funeral, too. It was good to see them, as it always is, but I was also overtaken by all sorts of odd feelings and regrets.
I think Iíve always been working toward some goal of being an adult and Iíve used my parents as some sort of barometer. Yet, Iíve always found it hard to be around my parents. Iím always uncomfortable with the sort of conversation they inspire and initiate. Itís detached. Today, surrounded by their peers and people who mean more to them than to me, I was aware of how important it was for them to associate themselves with me. There were countless introductions of me as "the little boy that you probably wonít remember" or to a friendís 7 year old daughter as " my little boy." They also wouldnít let me speak Ė even when Iíd start a conversation with someone, my dad would butt in and take control of the conversation.
Certainly, the day was marked by grief, introspection, and an avoidance of confronting the real absence, the matter at hand. I understand the complexity of the moment, but I am still saddened by it. Perhaps most I am saddened by the immense distance between I feel toward my past. I am aware that Iím an architect of the distance, still itís hard to embrace that you canít connect with those who nurtured you and harder still to reconcile the knowledge that I symbolize to them something than I canít be. It was also very hard to be "closeted" for the day. The immense silencing of the closet is always bracing.
To Jerome, in response to something he wrote:
Thanks. This is beautiful and poetic. I agree with you totally. I think you've said better than I why Providence is so good for me. I have a little carriage house here, which is close to the center of things and tucked away so people can't find it unless they're given precise directions. It is a sanctuary, a refuge from the hard things in the world.
I think sometimes, though that I've holed myself up too much in the refuge. I've had this profound feeling lately that I've been living in such a way that I am waiting. I'm waiting to be ready to live my life. I don't like this idea or this feeling. I think it's what made me so sad about the gathering today. The people I met seem to be deferring life for some other time. The liturgy at the funeral was "carpe diem" and how Denise "seized the day" in her life. I think this is true, but I have this feeling that there's always more.
As far as being too sensitive and thinking too much, those are familiar to me, too. My parents, lovers, friends have accused me of such from time to time, but, like you, I don't see an alternative. I am a seer, watcher, listener and I process, sometimes, too internally. A lot of people think that makes me mysterious or intimidating. Really, it's just about being in the moment, listening, taking it all in, relating it to my experience.
26 August, 4:26 PM
I've posted some paintings from this weekend's studio sessions. There are some in the "New figurative painting" section and the image below will take you to a piece I've been working on for a while.
Now, I'm going grocery shopping.....
25 August, 8:11 PM
A day spent painting has resulted in four new figurative works. I'm too tired to post them, but I will drop one in the column to the right. It's not done yet.
25 August, 11:30 AM
I spent the morning taking referenec photos for some new paintings. A taste of the future is at right.
24 August, 10:15 PM
People think that they know you. Worse, they think they know what's wrong with you. Everyone talks about what's wrong with people. If its not the decline of the family, its the decadence of anyone who's having fun thats leading to the end of the world or to our moral decline: Death of a Nation.
Do you ever watch early morning television? I swear it's made for people who live their lives making armchair pronouncements about the state of the world. It's their daily dose of "facts" -- the grist that allows pathologies to be named -- which can be mixed into their analysis of what's wrong with everyone else -- and themselves. That's fucked, too. We believe this shit -- studies, the census, doctors, scientists, et al, et al, et al -- and try to adjust our lives to be "right." I heard on the TODAY show that in 1900 people consumed 20 pounds of sugar a year. That's disgusting to think about in its own right, but then they followed up with the punch line: the average American now consumes one hundred fifty pounds of sugar each year. That's like eating my own weight in sugar, but, I guess, if you eat that much sugar you're not my weight...
The pronouncements affect us, contain us, define us. We are made to feel that desire is wrong and that were too stupid to live a good life -- without experts, that is. But I can't blame the experts; they're just trying to make a buck and get through the day. They're responsible for what they say, to be sure, but we buy it and reproduce it in the ways we make ourselves (and others) feel bad. It's a way of consuming without having to put cash on the nail. I wonder if it's why so many people I know are denizens of psychopharmacology?
Even so, I can't start my day without Katie, Matt and Al.
23 August, 11 PM
I've been reading Kenneth Gergen's book, The Saturated Self, today. I find my self mourning for my sense of self in an overly saturated world. I also read Lynne Luciano's _Looking Good: Male Body Image in Modern America_ this morning. It only reinforced my sadness. On the positiove side, I found a site called the Alexander project which holds out the hope for individual gay masculinity... It's at http://members.aol.com/alxproject/AlexP.htm
I suppose the sadness comes from the constant bombardment we experience in our daily life. There's so little opportunity for stillness, silence, quiet. Sigh.
I am coming to understand that I need space and time to explore the possibility of being and that the life I;ve constructed is too compressed. It's such an internal fight between the desire to make a difference in the external world and the need / desire to make a difference in my internal being.
Any thoughts out there?
21 August 10:15 PM
So, why is it that people make pleasure into an object of shame? I mean, why do other people make us feel like our pleasure should be shameful?
Revel in your body.
20 August, 10 PM
It's the first day of the Goddard semester, so I took my last vacation day from Brown and spent the day in the studio. I have mixed feelings about the beginning of the academic year. I'm excited about getting back to work, but fearful that the activity of the year will preclude the time I need to really produce in the studio. Sigh.
Nevertheless, I did have a good day painting. I started to lash together some paintings -- which allows me to "save" some pieces that didn't come to fruitation on their own. By putting them together I get new meaning. I can't complain about that.
Tomorrow's a full day so I best get to bed.
19 August, 9:30 PM
It's been an interesting weekend. The greatest punctuation was a phone call and correspondence with a fine and fabulous friend. Aren't real connections what life's about?
I've been painting, too. I'm off the biological father paintings for the moment and onto some older (and new) paintings about masculinity. I'm really fascinated with the ways that masculinity is constructed in the physical identities of men. I'm also interested in the contradictions between masculine and feminine physical constructions.
It's especially interesting in that everyone defends their manifestation of masculinity -- as if it's something that needs to be "protected." In this work I am not trying to promote some vision of the "masculine," rather I am interested in the various ways that men are men. So, I'm painting muscle men, long-hairs, men in dresses, etc, etc... Somehow, they all seem to be me.
I'll post images soon -- or at least as soon as I have something I feel confident in showing.
18 August at noon
I had a crisis of faith last night and shaved my mustache. New picture is at right.
It happened late, after many drinks, and probably in response to something that happened to me at the Eagle earlier in the night. I danced with this REALLY hot guy -- kinda shy, but not shy. Anyway, after we danced he thanked me and walked off. I got the impression that he was attracted and scared at the same time. That's when I realized the mustache is artifice. I'm no daddy.
17 August 8 PM
It's been a weird day. I've tried to paint, but the spirit just hasn't been in it.
I may just take a shower and try again.
16 August, midnight
I went to a dinner party at a friend's house tonight. It was fun, but I didn't have the energy. When you blow your load during the workday it's hard to get excited at night.
Maybe it was the wine.....
14 August, 8 PM
I've experienced a rush of art this week. Three more paintings and a few lines of verse added to the "biological father" pages.
The new work is called "correspondences" -- which refers to the biology and aging of father and son as well as between life and fiction. The above thumbnail is a link to the work.
13 August, 7:42 PM
Added new work tonight. First, a bunch of new paintings in the "Biological Father" project and one new figurative painting. I spent most of the weekend making them, so I don't have a lot to report.....
AMAZING day! Painted, went to Home Depot, the beach, a carnival, and out drinking with friends. What could be better?
Started to paint on linen again. I can't believe that I ever stopped -- it's am amazing material. Oh yeah, now I remember why. It costs a million bucks. It's worth it.
Today, at work, I was part of a workshop on "participatory education." The facilitator asked us to write about our best educational experience. This is what I came up with:
My best learning experience is my time at Goddard College. Its forced me to consider my position, to be explicit about my goals and to locate myself as an artists and person.
Its been profoundly frustrating at times because it has made me be accountable for my education, for my life in ways that make me anxious. It has taken away the safety of the "teacher" -- especially in the sense that theres no one to blame if Im not making progress, no bad teaching to use as a default. It has forced me to consider the ways that I enjoy rhetoric and theory and how I like to talk without any intention of acting on my ideas or pronouncements. Its force me to consider how I couple theory and practice and then live accordingly.
Its a transformational model, but one for which I might not have been ready earlier in my life. I think that it works for me because my peers and advisors are generous -- more so than I -- in their willingness to gently point out my contradictions and to pull me out of the "thick skin" Ive developed. They force me to confront my blind spots and my arrogance.
It's still hot --all over North America, I hear -- but somehow we don't see this as a natural disaster. How is it that when there's a blizzard we understand to shut things down and hole-up. Why don't we understand that heat should slow us down. too?
7 August, evening
Quiet day today. I met with some colleagues, ran a workshop on non-profit board management, gave a crew cut to a friend, and SWELTERED in the heat wave. What sucks the most is that it's too hot to paint.
I also found this photo from last winter -- when, undoubtedly, it was too cold to paint!
6 August, near midnight EDT
I was reading Mark Doty's _Still Life with Oysters and Lemon_ tonight and came across ann AMAZING line. He's writing about looking at the still life that names the book:
" And the overall effect, the result of looking and looking into its brimming surface as long as I could look, is love, by which I mean a sense of tenderness toward experience, of being held within an intimacy with the things of the world."
It's that a lovely thought with which to end the day?
5 August 2001, 11:50 PM EDT
Do you ever feel like Mary Tyler Moore? I was out tonight and talking with some friends. Everything seemed to point to being in our mid-thiries and single. It was kind of depressing.
4 August 2001, 12:50 PM EDT
Janet gave me an emptied Canadian Camel pack. A good reminder from our friends to the north. Reminder to Self: Listen to the Canadians.
3 August 2001
It's hot and I don't have enough air conditioning. The comination makes it hard to make web sites, don'tcha know. Anyway, I've put up a new page about my relationship to the X-Men. It's rough, but you'll get the point.
I'm starting to get some traffic to the site, which makes me happy. Let me know what you think. Tell you friends to stop by!! Just don't tell Marvel Comics -- I'm not sure they'll understand the line between copyright and satire!
2 August 2001
I asked my friend Janet to look at the site and she made some BRILLIANT observations. More importantly, she is encouraging of the direction of the site. Now I just have to keep building content.
One of Janet's observations: the color of the blog text is too dark. How is it now?
1 August 2001
Opening day of the web log. Site is started and content is being generated. Mail me your observations and I'll reply.
Providence, RI, 12 January 2002
At Goddard College, Plainfield , VT, 3 January 2002
I made the soup, Jennie made the pix.