Dreaming of Wherever…

It has to be a city, or even just a big town. A college town. Not for youth, but for Community Ed, and… feel.

Just the other day, Boise occurred to me. It would be really easy, not far at all. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the drive alone, with those old lady cats of mine. I never considered Boise, because of the trauma I experienced there.

I swear to God! What is that?!

I look at patterns. If it keeps happening to ME, then I’m the common denominator. It’s on me to figure out what I’m doing to attract, create, permit, or aggravate… whatever. But I had nothing to do with a random Boise State housing assignment to a coed apartment inhabited by, among others, a madman who tried to kill me!

The fuck? How does this keep happening to me?

I’ve accepted that the chaos of my childhood has kept me glued to chaos as a kind of touchstone. I simply don’t understand it if it doesn’t hurt. It’s my job to divorce myself from that connection. If I don’t, I won’t stop repeating it. But I had nothing to do with meeting Roger T. Black, or with putting him in prison. He did that.

I’m also not responsible for a sexist institution that dismissed me and ignored reasonable complaints of alarming, disturbing behavior. “Histrionics of a woman” is an unbearable insult. (The word itself! Hyster  – Greek – “Of the womb.” I’m on fire, I’m so mad right now.) “Oh, go on now, you silly, dramatic girl,” Boise State “said” to me, practically patting my pretty little head. That mentality pisses OFF! Fuck you.

I don’t think about it often. Almost never. When I do, I’m mad all over again that my parents didn’t direct me to sue that fucking school. Boise State endangered me, for REAL. I cannot believe I took out student loans for the privilege! Then I flunked out! I’m an A student, if you hadn’t guessed. If I’m doing it, I’m doing it well.

Fuck Boise State! I should have been compensated for the crime BSU committed against me, not just that of Roger T. Black, a gangrenous diabetic who probably died in prison. (Actually, he probably got better care in the hoosegow than what he was providing for himself. And he only got 3 years!)

How did he even get near campus? It was clear he was a sexual predator, using his GI Bill – still – to “go to school,” where there’s a constant display of victims. Hell, housing will serve them to you, right across the hall. Boise State didn’t skip due diligence; they didn’t do ANY! Then they humored me when I brought abuse and peril to their attention, until Roger T. Black nearly killed me! No. Actually almost killed me.

I could have sued BSU for millions, and I should have. I will never not be pissed about that. Fuck not being litigious as a sort of religious moral stance. I’m your daughter!

That said, Boise’s lovely. 🙂

The weather is similar to Salt Lake without the inversion. There’s a huge Burner community, so I can find like-minded artistic weirdos, and I’m still close enough to attend Utah events. Huge belly dance community. Several troupes commute here twice a year to perform in Salt Lake’s biannual festivals. Huge African Drum & Dance Corp. They come to our annual camp every year and invite us to their events. And Boise is probably Idaho’s only southern town not completely right-wing zombified. At least no more than I’m used to.

Boise is an hour plus from mom (and my darling toddler nephews). There are some former-Mormon high school friends in Boise to hang out with. I can visit Marko for blank drums and didgeridoo fests and general laughs. Hell, I’ll see all my Salt Lake friends more often if a visit is an occasion. It always works out that way.

Boise??? Wow! Why not!?

Spokane? Pueblo, Colorado, popped up. (?) New Mexico? (Close to Texas.)

Speaking of Texas, flights were too expensive to visit my bestie during Christmas, so I’m headed down there for a week on Jan. 10. I’m so excited to see that baby!!! She’ll be 4-and-a-half months then. She belly laughs and chatters, and holds such enchanting attention. Her 4-yr-old sister is in love with her, and interprets her coos.

I was laughing yesterday, because I sent all of my childhood Strawberry Shortcake dolls to my best friend’s daughter for Christmas. It was a little hard to do. I’ve saved them for almost 40 years! They were intended for my kids, but even when it became clear that I wasn’t having any of those… oh, my dolls! I’ve had them my whole life! The care that went into that collection! They’re pristine. They are loved, still.

Yesterday, I Googled “vintage Strawberry Shortcake coloring books,” because the 4-yr-old doesn’t even know their names. (Shame on my best friend!) This was another reason I struggled with what had already been a difficult decision to part with those ever-loving dolls. I knew my bestie, who played with them just as I did in the 80s, wouldn’t remember anything about them (much less everything). I know her little daughter has far too many toys for one child (or 10) and my dolls have already been lost in the mix. They are not being valued properly! I loved them! But I had them in a box, in a box. Packed away in my cedar chest for decades, bringing no one even a moment’s joy. They are more valuable being played with by a 4-yr-old I love, even when they’re forgotten by her tomorrow.

So, I thought she and I could have all sorts of fun with a naming ceremony, and meet all the other friends that aren’t in my collection, by coloring together. What I found instead were sales of nearly $40 on dolls in worse shape than the ones I passed down. I had to laugh. A play date with a little girl in Texas has more value than a dollar sign. (Taurus)

I’ll keep telling myself that until it’s true, haha!

Merry Xmas! Love, Xie

I’m looking forward to 2018. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to suck harder than 2016, after his election (God, that hurt!), but a whole year of that man is too terrible to imagine. I mean it when I describe his presidency as an exercise in imagination. Doesn’t it feel that way to you? Like a bleak dystopian novel that can’t be real? We’ve all had to go numb just to get up in the morning! It does scare me a little to inure myself so completely. I mean, that’s how the apocryphal “it” happens. But, worst case scenario, Dump is out in 3 years. (I still describe that election cycle as identical to an abusive relationship. And it’s the new normal!)

I gotta say, I never dreamed I’d be the old lady who said, “The world was too terrible a place to bring a child into,” but I feel it. Not just environmental catastrophe, disregard for human rights, indifference to rape, and near-daily mass shootings. How do we explain the dissonance between the way we ask our children to behave and the cruelty and deceit of our own nation’s leaders? Not even those horrifying things. Parenting in the cyber age is beyond my emotional endurance. That alone. You cannot undo what gets online. The bullying there transcends my ability to understand. I wouldn’t want to face sexting with my pre-teen. And every modern parent will. I’m out! Gratefully so.

That’s not to say to fighting against the final slamming shut of that window didn’t hurt like hell. It was hell to finally learn the plot to that story. I’m nobody’s mother. Ouch.

2017 had Jax and Carrie, too, and that nearly killed me. I mean, dead. Oh. my. gawd. I haven’t been that close to suicide since my 20s. I wouldn’t have survived them then.

Thank god for Guys & Dolls! Thank god for my courage and tenacity. And talent. And beauty. I really like about me that I can find worth and beauty in damn near everything. So I keep finding it.

Damn, I’m tough. 2018 is a true new beginning. Everything I look at and touch will be new. I’m terrified, and so excited. 2018 is the year I trust my strength, stop testing it [in unhealthy ways], and enjoy my fucking awesome life. Goddammit. 🙂

Happy New Year. It’s a good one this year. I hope yours is, too.

****

Oh! I forgot a photo of my most recent drum, and a whole new direction that I love!
drum
12″ on wood frame with mallet
details

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Repaired!

I’ve hated my second drum since the moment I put the last color down. Marko put it in the store – Dancing Cranes (where pieces are selling!) (Crazy) – but every time I saw it there, I absolutely cringed. I finally took it back and repaired it.

I knew I knew how to fix it! Marko kept trying to reassure me that someone would love it, and I kept trying to convince myself that the very thing I hated would be the thing that might draw someone else to it. But it was a screw-up, and one I knew I could fix.

This drum taught me about color. Each row has to relate to the one before, in saturation, light or depth, or in hue. Otherwise, the mandala is jarring to the eyes and energy. This drum was ugly.

And now it’s not! Hooray!
Drum #2

Drum 2 Before

Before

It’s so nice to paint again! I quit after Wind In Her Hair took the wind out of my sails. Then my Depression hit in earnest and I lost the ability to enjoy anything. Then Jax and Carrie joined in the tag-team assault that began their marriage (and nearly killed me). Then I got into the show, specifically to thwart suicide. Next, I moved out and recovered.

At last, I can enjoy my life again! And now that the show has closed, I can paint.

Solstice Sunday

It sucks to be depressed on the most beautiful day of the year. We’re smack dab in the middle of the longest days, with a small cold front from the north. It’s only supposed to be 85 degrees today, in late June! I don’t want to go to the drum circle. I don’t want to go to Earth Jam. I don’t want to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I ruined the first drum I couldn’t recover. It sucks, too, because it was my first PERFECT piece, and then…

I’ve never made a mistake that I couldn’t modify or mask or turn into a surprise success. I told Jax, “There’s something I hate about every drum I’ve made, but she’s perfect! I love her so much. She’s perfect!”

I couldn’t leave well enough alone. One thing too far.

I gave her weeks of detached consideration. There were several small attempts at a fix that didn’t work, so I put her away quickly and thoughtfully, certain the answer would come. Finally, I found the solution, which I applied yesterday, to her destruction. There was no taking it back, no coming back, no way forward.

Many years ago, an artist friend told me the secret. “You just have to accept that you will hate 29 out of 30 things you do.” And I had, I thought, but I just can’t let go of how much I loved her. To lose her is killing me.

After the week of tolerating this awful user who just won’t leave, I crumbled. (SO much more to the story of the unwelcome couch-surfer.) I fell deep, deep, deep in the hole. At first I tried to watch the self-talk, but that only made me more abusive. Just be honest about the useless, talentless idiot you are. Stop killing yourself with that insufferable silver lining, and those unbearable lessons in the loss. Shut UP!

There’s nothing to my future but the last of my desperately clinging looks and a body that doesn’t belong to me. I fucking HURT! I have nothing and will die with less.

I’m so sick with this goddamn depression. At the worst time. It’s far worse to shut the door and draw the blinds when the weather is so lovely. I can’t get out of bed.

wind in her hair

If only I’d photographed her after finishing her body and limbs, and outlining her curves and edges. Something to remember her by before ruining everything.

Drum Circle

My cousin recently moved to Elko, NV, and had the idea to start a drum circle. She asked me to help, so I brushed up on a few basic rhythms, packed my extensive collection of noise-makers, and drove west.

First, I detoured north, to visit family in Twin Falls, ID. This was an epic winter for the Rocky Mountain desert plateau, and Shoshone Falls is higher than it’s been in decades.
shoshone

Farmers have already diverted massive amounts of water to river-wide irrigation ditches all across Magic Valley, and it’s still roaring!

Impressive as Shoshone was, I liked Cauldron Linn even better. You can walk right to the edge and dangle your feet over the river, which seems to boil as it crashes over rocks, and narrows into steep igneous canyon walls downstream. It’s deafening!
cauldron linn 3cauldron linn 4

The drum circle was small, but it went about as well as it could have, I think. I left feeling festy-buzzed, and the drive home was familiar and sweet. It’s the road that took me to and from Burning Man a lifetime ago. I’m going back this summer, for the first time in 7 years! It’s the 10-year anniversary of my virgin burn, and I can’t begin to quantify how different a person I am today, largely because of that strange thing that happens every year in the desert. It’ll be interesting to go back after so long away.
drumsOnly 5 people joined us at the Peace Park in Elko, but I was thrilled. My biggest fear was that someONE would show up. (That would be worse than none!) They all arrived within 15 minutes of each other, and we banged around for an hour-and-a-half straight. We got one groove going that was pretty darn meditative. Each drum’s voice met my ear like a conversation. It was joyful and trancey, and that, my friends, is a drum circle!

Best part? I realized I’d never seen my drums in the sunlight! I started this project last fall and my drums, like me, spent winter indoors. They are so beautiful!

I’m so lucky. Blessed, I think. I got to play at something risk-free that’s given me pleasure, respite, laughter, music, and a sense of accomplishment. I wouldn’t have done it if it cost me anything; the risk of failure is more frightening when you put money on it, in the view of a Taurus and a girl with a frail ego. A loving universe put me in the path of this wonderful, wild, generous artist. Marko and I met at Burning Man in 2007. We camped together the next year, and have been inseparable ever since.

Those drums are the thing I’m most proud of. Even without the positive feedback, they give me so much. They make my heart sing. Thank you, Marko!

brc '08

Black Rock City, 2008

(I can tell you one thing that’s changed in 10 years. People ask me now, “What’s your relationship with Marko?” These are the same people we’ve partied with for a decade, and now I seem age-appropriate for a man who’s older than my father?)

Oy! The 40s are for humility.

drumming-on-the-wall

Oh, I lie. I did see my drum in the sun at last year’s March for Love in November, after the election. It was a different experience to see them in the hands of others, with a little distance and perspective and, as mentioned, drenched in all that delicious light.

Dancing Cranes

I started painting 6 months ago… and I’m now in my favorite store! Marko added me to his stock at Dancing Cranes Imports. This gorgeous world market has a giant koi pond at its center, a vegan cafe, a performance and workshop arena, as well as massage therapists, tarot readers, reiki practicioners, and so on. It’s eye candy for original, artistic, global fare. Here’s my corner!
dancing cranes

222!

tree-of-life-2
Tree of Life II
2.22.17

14″ goat hide hand drum on wood frame
w/ mallet
$250

Just a few tiny differences really transformed it, I think. I did forget that I meant to make a shape out of the middle branches – oops! – but I love it.

222This is my FIVE YEAR Blogiversary, and I have to say it’s pretty revealing to record one’s thoughts on the same day each year. February must be shitty for me, because I’ve been down more often than not on this day. I’m currently in a big Fibro flare, which doesn’t help.

Nothing suits me better than a trip to Texas to see my best friend! (I am anxious about the flight. Travel isn’t the same since Fibro. Those seats can trigger or worsen a flare, to plague me for months. Luckily, I plan to do little more than sit and laugh. And stretch a little, I suppose.) I leave in the morning for a week, to do nothing at all but be with the family that’s more family than my own.

222 is still my favorite number; truly a magical triple digit for me. So 2.22 remains a beloved day, and I love February because something about leaving January makes me feel like it’s Spring already. I’ll snap out of winter blues soon, I’m sure, so today I recommit to getting up. I trust enthusiasm to infect me again. I am who I am.
blogiversary