so automatic

This post was locked away in drafts for years. Sharing the updated version now since its all still quite true. And since I’ve grown to be braver today than I was then…and because although I am slightly hesitant to share this post (its graphic and personal) I’m doing it anyway (obviously…) in hopes of inspiring something good. Whatever that may be. LOVE and LIGHT ALWAYS.

(sketch book drawings circa 2002- 2007)

I’m living in the house, built by my dad and maternal grandfather, that I grew up in. I lived here until I was 8, then moved with my parents, brother and sister next door to the other house my dad built. Our family called this house “the other house” for a while, and used it for storage. It is quite the time capsule. There was an old stereo system with a record player and 8-track player, lots of records and 8-tracks from the 70’s, a cabinet with liquor from my parent’s wedding (still untouched, decades later), and later, a pool table… I moved in here “on my own” when I was 18, then moved out when I was 23 and back in and out again several times from when I was 26 until now.

I’m here constantly surrounded by physical reminders of my past, some joyful, some creepy and sad. Among the old books, toys and random leftover stuff from the 1980’s in the attics/closets/cabinets are boxes upon boxes of my journals and sketchbooks. I once was a person who sketched/doodled/drew and wrote all the time. All. The. Time. In lieu of speaking to people, I drew and I wrote. It started when I was around 11 or 12 with typical stuff in my kitty cat journal. Then more typical tween stuff in my little blue diary with the little gold key. Then when I was 13/14 some things happened and the books multiplied. My brain chemistry changed and I put myself in dangerous situations with other unsupervised kids and I was taken advantage of most likely because I was a dumb, overly-trusting, insecure, pretty young girl. My first ” boyfriend” literally kicked me after I confronted him about his physically and emotionally pressuring me to be intimate with him. I didn’t tell anyone about this at the time, except for one trusted girlfriend and my books. I buried the memory until about 10 years later, when it exploded out of me with terrible consequence. It was’t until several years after that first decade-overdue reveal that I was able to talk about it and then really start the process of forgiving myself for being so angry at myself for all those years.

So, back to the books. The writing evolved to darker pondering over that particular experience, as well as thoughts on Catholicism, trustworthiness of friends and various other existential crisis (probably typical of most teenagers). In my senior year of high school, when I started considering going to college to major in fine art, I began to draw more. I was half drawing to try to figure out the proper way to draw “life”, and half drawing to escape life. The Surrealists call the practice automatic drawing, and some consider it to be a sort of yoga for artists. I know that the drawing and stream-of-consciousness writing helped me to work through many dark days…but never really turned into something I felt comfortable with selling to people as an art object…which is one of the reasons why I probably should just burn most of these books and finally release the darkness.(…but first I’ll blast some of the drawings to the internets!)

My point is that writing and drawing and sharing is beneficial. It is somewhat unfortunate, that many of the things I’ve felt compelled to share are negative and unpleasant. But it is very fortunate, for some, that these same things are useful for learning or connecting, especially for young people who have had similarly unpleasant experiences. This year I plan to return to teaching art and mentoring youth. After doing that work for almost 7 years I needed to recharge and regroup (and finish figuring myself out). I’m now ready to rock, as it were. Anyway. There are drawings about conflicts attached to this post.

Vanishing Points

water

Vanishing Points is a website that enables community members in South Louisiana to identify points of cultural significance that are threatened due to land subsidence, sea level rise and coastal erosion. The purpose of this project is to preserve this information for future generations of bayou residents while sharing noteworthy information of a people threatened by coastal land loss with the rest of the world. As part of an effort to document their threatened culture, community members log memories, interviews, and photos of places that have defined their community for generations, but are now disappearing.

This multi-faceted project continues to grow and evolve. We recently re-made the website and are currently working to create a short documentary about La Trouvaille in Chauvin, LA. Every time I think about this project I think about how fragile our unique culture is. Some think that our culture is lost- but this project enables me to see (and I hope enables you to see) that our South Louisiana culture is very much alive. Threatened, yes. But alive. Hopefully the threat of complete loss will empower us all to think more about what we can do to ensure it isn’t lost.

2014, y’all

Have you heard? There’s another one coming. Anticipation is building and I’m struggling to trust in (all of) my resolutions for the new year  I’m enjoying some festive drinks and working away on a design project. Funny thing is I know I can be whatever I truly want to be, but the mix of misfortunes and shake-ups from 2013 left a trail of debris that I’m still working to clear. Confidence issues, or something. Maybe my hesitation to be totally joyful in joining the communal welcome is  just the “you’re supposed to reflect on the year and make the next one better” pressure. Maybe its just the grey skies and cold. Maybe its knowing what I really have to do to move on…grumpo1.jpg

Anyway, here are some arty/worky things from 2013:

  • ART of the BAYOU It was wonderful getting to know all these South LA artists and truly an honor to share their work.
  • Reconnected with an artistic collaborator (we first made videos in 2001!) through the Bayou project. This connection is proving to be one of the most powerful and positive occurrences in 2013. We’re planning a homecoming show, of sorts, in Houma during March 2014. Like us? hate us?…come to the show…you won’t be disappointed. Here’s one of the (many) videos I’ve made for my dear old friend Stephen Berger’s music. [vimeo https://vimeo.com/76669876 w=600]
  • Speaking of shows, I’m excited to start the new year in the company of some beautiful, talented artists on January 4th for “Moses Knightshead’s Heaven and Hell” at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum. I’m looking forward to this show and many more to come.
  • Began work with The Helio Foundation; currently  building a partnerships and working to bring arts-based programming to kids in and around Houma
  • Picked up an exciting graphic design job creating a walking map for Historic Downtown Houma, and brochures for the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center and the Houma Downtown Marina. I’ve got Creative Suite and I’m not afraid to use it!

DCIM100GOPRO

So, happy New Year. I wish you all the blessings of now and forever.  I’ll be welcoming 2014 in a quiet old house (save for the insane fireworks blasting around it) in my favorite city with my favorite kid, while enjoying the warmth of shared art, spiritual connection and future visions…..

disenchantment

the words

Foolishly, I trusted her words. I trusted her reassuring “yeah, that went in the mail last week”. I trusted her uneasy laugh, like a good fool would. I trusted her supportive comments about my work and her matter-of-fact answers to our questions about hers. I accepted her word as truth. Weeks turned to months while I trusted. I stopped trusting and became embarrassed for having been “had” and embarrassed about not having enough “hard evidence” to win ALL of my cases about how myself and others were “had” (but time will remedy this). Embarrassment devolved into anger, and now the anger has faded to sadness. The sadness is flirting with hopelessness, in so many ways, and it is terrifying.

the project

It is a constant reminder of the words.  I’ve been assured that it will move away from this sad fact, in time, but that time isn’t here yet.  The reminder is akin to a tree blocking the road after a storm.  I have to find a way to remove it or move around it. I feel the constant need to apologize to everyone remotely related to the project. I cannot think of (much less complete) the project without feeling the effects of the words all over again. This is more of a detriment to the project than the “lost” funds will ever be.

transcendence

(…………………….please enter now) Is this where compassion for liars comes in? Forgiveness for those who knowingly act in ways that are a detriment to others?