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.

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

Tree of Life

For my 10th drum, I decided to move on to an idea that’s been brewing for awhile. I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I can’t wait to explore this series.tree-of-life
14″ goat hide drum on wood frame, with mallet
$275
(The tone is INCREDIBLE!)
1.30.17

My final mandala left me uninspired. I like it fine, but the outside ring looks muddy from a distance. Still learning about color, I suppose. And it’s lovely. It just doesn’t have the vibrancy, somehow, that I enjoy in the others from across the room. I do love the impact of the blue triangle, but wish for brightness and purity of color elsewhere.

[UPDATE: Apr. 10, 2017 After seeing this drum from a distance outside at a drum circle, I love that outer ring precisely for its ability to blend with the rest of the mandala. 🙂 ]
9
10″ drum on wood frame with rawhide lacing, plus mallet
$180
1.25.17

SOLD! (in half an hour!)

Since I started making drums, my cousin has been talking about buying one. Yesterday, I posted my most recent and she messaged on the spot, “That’s my drum!”

It was really interesting, because I had only that moment got a sense of the drum’s energy, and added that thought to the description of my experience with it. The moment I saved the edit, she messaged. I think it was her energy I felt! I really do. It was thrilling.
moon-drum
13″ on wood frame, w/ mallet
$200 (family discount price $100)
(You could talk me down, too. Order yours today!)
1.11.17

This is my first departure from the original sun/ sunflower center (sort of), and I’m really happy with it. I struggled deciding what colors to tenatively map out. Usually, I can picture how each color option will look on each round, how it will “speak” to what came before it, and how it dictates what remains. I could not get a picture in my head! This is no small thing. I was in fits and couldn’t proceed for over a week. Ultimately, this one ended up completely surprising me, and it was so exciting!

I also didn’t “trance out” as much with this drum. With others, I’ve experience a mindless escape that I don’t notice until… well, until I notice it, I guess, and then that drum has its signature somehow. Their personalities really come out of absent imagination. This drum was exciting in a very cerebral way. I concentrated and stressed quite a bit, but I feel more proud, almost. I have that satisfied sense of hard work paying off.

There is a feeling to it. Except for that spectacular lavender burst, it has a softness. Mostly, I just think it’s beautiful.

SOLD!!! To my cousin JoAnna!
I KNEW this drum felt gentle and brainy! It suits her.

drum corner.jpg

I love this little corner!

I was going to clean the house yesterday and run some errands. Instead, I decided to eat marijuana and have a day of ceremony and dancing with my cousin’s drum. Oh man, I had some visions! Or I was stoned. Whatever. Powerful, wonderful, hilarious, joyful day.

(P.S I didn’t “trance out” with this drum because I didn’t eat funny brownies making her, haha! I haven’t quite recovered from that deathly flu – A MONTH AGO, grrr – and felt lousy. Didn’t want to waste good communion on a body with no strength or energy. I didn’t mention that on that description above, because I post those on Facebook and my sweet Mormon mother sees me there. She knows, but, you know. )

(Btw, the flu triggered a son-of-a-bitch of a Fibro flare. Like, one of the worst that just will not relent. I have no time for it, because I’m rehearsing a show and I don’t pace myself there. OWWWW! Marijuana helps, a lot, but I can’t walk around talking about Spirit all the time. People think I’m crazy enough with a filter!)

Two More Drums

Marko has encouraged me to tell the story of each drum. I try to stuff them full of prayerful intent, and keep my thoughts focused on joy and harmony. What I’ve found, however, is that the mind wanders, and all of my buried bits come out to play. Since November, I’ve struggled with anger, hopelessness, and hostility. Injuries from child- to adulthood come to the fore and haunt me. I catch myself hashing out all my hurts. (I also got a hideous flu. My boyfriend and I fought over who took worse care of whom. Everything hurt, even my feelings.)

At first, I avoided painting, not wanting to taint the drum’s energy with mine, but I decided it could be a safe place to confront my shadow self and talk honestly with it. I felt raw and authentic and brave. I ended up forgiving quite a bit of myself, accepting my weak parts, and feeling a tremendous amount of peace and accomplishment. When that happened, I was flooded with warm, gooey thoughts and emotions, and LOVE for [almost] everyone!  It worked!

In the end, I grew to love this drum for the confrontation and healing it brought. I think it’s courageous and strong, and beautiful! And it seems poetic that I finished it on the last day of the year. 2016 has been a punch in the face. I feel challenged to look directly at my flaws and fears, then move forward with enthusiasm and optimism (and an eagle eye!). drum-7
12″ hand drum on wood frame
(with rawhide lacing) plus mallet
$200
Dec. 31, 2016

(Before it was painted, this drum sang through 4 powerful sessions of a women’s sweat lodge on Nov. 26. Our focus was on blessing the water and the warriors at Standing Rock, but we cried and prayed for world leaders to care for the planet, in general, and counter the damage our President-elect might do.)

(This particular wood frame was thin and flexible, and the drum dried into a wonky, oblong shape, which seems very fitting for 2016. )

****
drum-6
12″ hand drum on wood frame
(with rawhide lacing) plus mallet
$200
Dec. 21, 2016

After a couple of minutes painting, I pictured myself drumming with a friend who runs a “sound bath,” when this drum introduced itself. I started giggling. This drum makes my belly tickle! I think it shows, with her bright flower center and vibrant colors. She looks like Happy. In my mind, I watched the person receiving the sound bath start to smile, then blush, and try to stifle a laugh. With energy work, we often take ourselves very seriously, but the man got the giggles! And so did I. I laughed out loud painting this drum. I love its playful energy. This drum is for dancing!

[SOLD! In February or March 2017, to an artist friend of Marko’s. In fact, I was going to ask him to give it back, to keep as one of my own. I’m thrilled that she sings to someone else who loves her. I can make another. 😉 ]

SOLD!

I had hoped to take a better picture of my latest drum but, alas, it SOLD!!!drum-5
Marko sold it wholesale to a shop-owner who just had to have it for his wife. $120! We split it down the middle. I think that comes out to about $10 an hour, haha!

BEST JOB EVER!