Dancing in Broad Daylight

Special Announcement! There will be no post next Sunday, as we will be on San Juan Island! Stay tuned on August 9th for the San Juan Adventure Log!

Spence here: A little dip in the Willamette River, directly under the St. John’s Bridge in Cathedral Park… On another 90 degree-plus summer day this week, Billy and I were searching for some river action. It was after work and we both wanted a quiet picnic, but the city was bustling. Everywhere we went, people were out with their boats, coolers, floaties and dogs. I tried to embrace it–it all seemed like great fun–if you could find parking! We ended up driving to the town of St. John’s, where a lot of people from Portland have been moving in the last 10 years. Housing and rent prices seem a little more reasonable, there is a cute downtown, and St. John’s has one of the nicest riverside parks around–Cathedral Park. Accenting this amazing park is the equally amazing St John’s Bridge. When neither of us knows exactly where to go, but we know we want to go somewhere, we usually end up under that bridge. I haven’t swam there before, but I saw people jumping in and they looked refreshed afterward, so I took my chances. I slunk into the murky waters, my river shoes sucking into the mire, but as I pushed off from the shore, I smiled–finally getting my first swim of the season. The water was cool but not cold and as I emerged I felt a lot more relaxed. The heat had been taken by the river. Unfortunately, so had the bottom of one of my river shoes! The mud was too much for my old river shoes to handle, so once again, another shoe was claimed by the Willamette. At the park, there are beautiful old birch trees, which I couldn’t help but to take pictures of. Tug boats pushed by with full barges and jet skies and jet boats and one sailing yacht. Up the hill, there was a summer jazz festival going on and plenty of partiers–wow, people were real drunk! We mingled among the people for a bit, watching “kids” of all ages dancing to the echoing Motown cover songs. I appreciate the fact that people over a certain age still get drunk in public, flip their shoes off and dance in broad daylight in front of large speakers, and large crowds, like no one is watching!

I took my turn dancing in the daylight as well, later in the week at another outdoor concert. Our little family (Billy and our roommates), took a field trip to McMenamins Edgefield to see Morrissey! Formerly, the lead singer of The Smiths, Morrissey is one of my favorite songwriters. I remember first listening to The Smiths in middle school. When they broke up, I began following Morrissey’s solo career. The very first concert I ever attended was in 1992, to see Morrissey at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. I was excited to be going with two boys I had crushes on, and I was able to get permission to drive us there (an hour away) at age 17. (I wore a blue suit coat and burgundy Doc Martens!) At the time, there was still a dispute going on between the band mates of The Smiths and Morrissey so he did not play any Smiths songs. Consequently, I had never heard any of them live and haven’t seen Morrissey since. This time, at Edgefield, perhaps the statute of limitations of their legal agreements were up because Morrissey and his backing band played several Smiths hits, along with many of my favorite Morrissey solo songs. Some song highlights, for those who know: Meat is Murder (complete with slaughterhouse documentary videos showing on a large backdrop behind Morrissey’s band), Yes, I Am Blind, Suedehead, The Queen is Dead, and Stop Me if You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before. Morrissey knows just how to make someone feel slightly uncomfortable with his famous way of insulting you while complementing you. His music has always been the perfect blend of dramatic romance with dysfunctional humor, (songs like Unhappy Birthday, Girlfriend in a Coma and Some Girls are Bigger Than Others come to mind). All the kidding aside, he really was the first musical artist I had heard who wrote lyrics that were unapologetically unique. I still strive to make music like that. One of the first songs I ever wrote, (I was inspired to learn guitar in college), was a tribute to many Smith’s songs: I’ve included the lyrics listed below for your enjoyment. Thank you Morrissey. If I ever get to see him live again, I am sure to bring him roses and get front row seats!

P.S. At the beginning of the concert, Morrissey said, “Welcome to our picnic… I am the menu!”

Lavish Boy by Spence Fisher

You see this young, lavish boy, among the toughest meat,

Along the slickest of city streets.

The beautiful scars this lad acquired

Quite frankly show his best side,

Quite frankly show his blessed hide.

What you see there in the darkened alley

Is something you wish you’d never have witnessed…

Cold, cold, black and ugly…

Bitter revenge from one so young

I think can cause an endless train of trouble.

Fruitless, thoughtless, nothing,

Black leather and silver chain,

Quite frankly have been worn thin

Quite frankly have been cashed in.

A twist of fate and he’s gone.

He’ll hitchhike every last mile.

It’s a wonder no one finds him dead,

The shining moon will light the path he’ll follow.

But really has he done well,

Quite frankly I just don’t tell…

Billy here. We woke up this morning to rain. The first rain in a while. This weekend is a nice respite to the heat that the Northwest has been feeling. The entire state of Oregon is in drought right now, half of which is severe. So today people are showing their gratitude for the rain.

It’s been an inspiring week. In brief summary, I am getting geared up to go back to school, for starters. I have started collaborating with my sister in finally putting ideas to paper about a graphic novel that has been kicking around in my head for years. My dreams have been vivid and especially cathartic this week.We went to a concert to see Morrissey. We have been going to the beaches on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. I have also been simmering a theme on the back-burner for an art show I am scheduled to have in December at the coffee shop where I work. At night I am reading my favorite authors and graphic novels (this week it has been Always Coming Home by Ursula K. LeGuin and Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKeane) for study in writing my own stories. There is a lot to think about and I am staying up late turning it all over!

Everything I look at has a face in it, which seems to be a powerful metaphor. I see the face of a shrewd and kind-hearted pig in a vertebrae bone or a speaking worm in the curl of a cow’s horn. Everything, even things we don’t think of as alive, is revealing its character in a kind of mask. Is this the kind of storytelling that began myth? I don’t know, but I am going to try and tell a story out of it!

Astro-nerd interjection! New Horizons, the spacecraft that has just flown by Pluto, has uncovered an atmosphere of methane on Pluto and geological activity, including a flowing glacier made of methane, nitrogen and carbon monoxide ice!

Here on Earth it is high harvest time and we are scurrying around trying to get projects wrapped up before winter. It will be here before we know it! Harvest Festival will be suddenly weeks away. In fact, Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nuh-suh), a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season, is less than two weeks away. Lughnasadh marks the halfway point of Earth’s journey between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, or the beginning of fall, since technically the Solstice is midsummer and the Equinox is mid-autumn. With the Texan-like straw color of the greenery here, it almost feels like fall is coming. More on Lughnasadh next time!

We haven’t gotten out of the city much yet this summer, but soon we will be doing some fun trips outdoors: San Juan and the Enchantments, to name a few. We are packing as much in as we can before school starts. Probably after school starts we will be only posting once every two weeks. I can feel the Earth turning and thoughts of reflection are starting in. Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for San Juan updates!

Next Time Won’t You Sing With Me?

Spence here: I am assessing this summer already as a way to slow time down. Is the summer half over, or do we have more than half to go? A fellow yesterday said not to worry, the Fall is better anyway. Sometimes I start to get panicky around July, as I start to figure out there is limited time for all the things I have yet to do! Explore a new part of the woods, play music, see and make more art, float the river, build a deck, and a roof, and a bike… Well, I started this week off in the woods… my good friends were having their first camp-out with their nearly one year old little happy ball of smiles named Gus. I was honored to share his first moments with my friends and introduce Gus to the moss, pine cones, cold creeks and bouncy logs. Gus is such a happy kid. It is a reminder to me to have that kind of attitude and intent–to just soak up life. We read childish books and sang childish songs–we even made funny noises for no reason other than it was amusing! We camped near Mt. Hood at a place called Camp Creek. In the morning, I hiked up a ridge trail called Still Creek. It was a slight trail through towering Douglas Fir, which opened up to a deciduous paradise on the opposite side of the ridge. At the end was a cool hidden old mossy forest road and another beautiful creek.

Billy and I hit the beach this week, on Sauvie Island, just outside of Portland. We spent the afternoon with sand in our hair, watching tug boats, eating chips, splashing in the cool Columbia River and watching kite boarders catch sick air! We might have had a few beers also! I have built several bikes this week, as an apprentice at the bike shop, Cat Six. I am learning new skills hourly there. Different types of bikes have been coming through the shop lately, including a few that have the new-ish internal Shimano Nexus hub. The shop is A-1; decked out, highly organized and top-notch. I am very grateful for the expertise and integrity (and humor!) of the mechanic who is teaching me.

Our efforts to be more involved in the outer regions of our own star cluster (i.e., get out of our house more and open the hermit envelope), have been fairly successful. I think we have done a good job of balancing home life with engaging the neighbors, which has been very fulfilling. Last night I talked our neighbor Ted’s ears off about tinctures, bikes, humanure, the high desert and living roof systems. He had much to say as well–telling stories about kids he teaches who have never pooped outdoors, let alone gone camping. Wow. Not really something one can experience through a video game. He also passed along to me a helping of homegrown blueberry cobbler and a hearty laugh. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it meant a lot to me. Next week, hopefully, I can help him with a few projects he has had on his back-burner. Time slips away just as fast across the street! In between more chapters of “Swamp Thing” and conversations about plant consciousness, we managed to get our Cabana looking better than ever, with a new paint job and some fancy salvaged shingles. They really dress up the side of the house that faces the street and our roommates abode. New (rebuilt) screens installed over the last few weeks, help keep the spiders curious and the flies and mosquitoes out of our mouths when we’re sleeping! I took on another amazing “Bushcraft” assignment by making a “Rocket Stove“. This tin-can beauty claims to boil water in a minute using sticks and twigs for fuel. Hopefully, after the county fire ban lets up we can start using this stove in our outdoor kitchen. Morning coffee never tasted so good, made over a fire on a wet Autumn dawn. I would love to squash our reliance on propane altogether, but we’re not there yet. Inventing ways, or rather re-instituting old ways, may be the next step. In August, I swear, is a deck-building project–creating a homey space off the music studio and a roof to match–I know I keep talking about it, but it has to happen before ‘the rains’. As much as I freak out about the seasons changing, I really love it when they do and couldn’t imagine living in a place where it doesn’t happen. I think it is good practice to let go of what we thought would happen in a certain amount of time and embrace what has happened and most of all, what is happening. Part of feeling rich and healthy is acknowledgement of our strengths and friendships. I read a blurb sent to me from a credit card company that said something to the effect of honing one’s skills in ‘wealth management’. That is a good idea! I will take that perspective into consideration, as I have much to be grateful for. The cat is on the table and the sun is going down. Cheers to another day.

Billy here. Last night Spence and I joined the neighborhood at a dinner fundraiser at the farm across the street for a young man named Kenel Pierre, a farm volunteer and food activist from Haiti. He is planning to start a small farm and community education center to help his hometown back in Haiti grow food for themselves and restore ecological balance back to the land. He has started a fundraiser on Indiegogo. I don’t usually post such things, but reading his story is inspiring, and most of all, I found his genuine loving presence a gift to be around.

Kenel’s Story and Fundraiser on Indiegogo

People like Kenel remind me that we all can have hard upbringings and despite this we all similarly have the choice to be a happy and loving person who works hard to give back to the world. Kenel is all smiles. It seems he would never even have a judgmental thought. I found myself moved when the woman who has been hosting Kenel spoke about how incredibly difficult it is for him to ask anyone for anything. It took him great courage to get together to make this fundraiser happen, but he did it because he believes in healing the people and the land of his home and he cannot do it by himself. He needs land and tools, among other things. He talked about how the people of Hinche, where he grew up, would walk for miles to market. Everyone has to walk these miles, whether they are pregnant or carrying infants or baskets on their heads. His family labored hard just to grow food for the family to eat, having very little left to sell at the market. The young of Haiti often die of malnutrition. Growing conditions are harsh.

It makes me rethink my city crutches. When I lived in the mountains I literally walked over a mile to my mailbox one way. But lately in the heat, now that I live in the city and have disposable income, I have been driving to the grocery store instead of walking a mere 2.5 miles. It is also a powerful reminder to realize that I do have disposable income, even if I don’t feel like I do and make well under the poverty line of this country. This is because I have enough food and shelter; because I can go out to eat sometimes, even if it is only a couple of times a month. It’s easy to get into a poverty mentality, to think: Oh, I’m poor. But are we really? Monetarily speaking, it’s not true of course, as the average person in the world makes less than $3,000 a year. But it is not true in many other senses either. The life we live is abundant. There is fresh, clean water. The air is clean enough to breathe without a mask, as in some places like parts of Vietnam, as my dental assistant was telling me about her native country. We have access to amazing food. We have good beer. I am able to support myself with a part time job so that I can make art and music. I am truly feeling like one of the richest on Earth. Money comes and goes. Health and happiness and joy is the work that I strive to do.

This week we have been going to the beach and soaking up sun, I been playing a new electric guitar I bought from a friend, making art, drinking homebrew, working on our little cabin – putting up shingles and painting, and generally enjoying the outdoors and abundance of the garden. Life is good.

It’s all a part of the healthy life: the joy and the grief together. I am thankful for being opened by the awareness of adversity and trauma in the world, however painful it might be. It’s not a guilty grief but a deep reciprocity, a gratitude. In order to deeply feel the joys in life I believe we must face the difficulties as well. It is easy in the modern Westernized world to have trouble digesting anything that is not sanitized or processed, both in a very physical and literal sense and in an emotional and spiritual sense. Wholeness means to me understanding that we can’t get away from suffering, hardship, and death. This is not necessarily morbid, because without it life has no meaning. What would doing anything mean if we lived forever and did not age? Stephen Jenkinson, who has worked with the dying and writes about the dominant cultural fear of death and grief that keeps us from fully living, says it better in his interview with The Sun in the just pressed August issue.

If you’re lucky, something comes along that ruptures your artificial sense of well-being, which is preventing you from really living. In our current day the moment of awakening is not…welcome. No relief comes with it. It’s a moment of blistering realization that your entire existence as a Westerner has been a massive assault on the natural order of things, that you’re on the take. The first impulse is to fix it: go vegan, plant trees, get out of the cash economy, retreat into the woods and wait for society to collapse…the unwelcome news that is much more devastating, is that your favorite pin-up ecologist or indigenous tribe is on the take, too.

But once you realize this, you can become better. Your better self is born of grief. The guilt will pass, but the grief will not, because it is composted into something much more life-loving – but not human-hating. There’s no hating, no resigning, no withdrawing or running or transcending. Stay here. Stay long enough that the grief can have its way with you, and you begin to realize that this grief is a wisdom, a recognition that human beings are maintained by the death of other living things.

Death – not a symbolic or hypothetical end, but real, kick-ass human death – can raise up into the light the fundamental realization of much much had to die to keep you alive. What will your death feed? What will it keep alive for a time? The whole point is that, if you’re a human being, you can’t get off the hook of your obligation to life. You’re on the meat hook if you’re an omnivore, the green hook if you’re not. You’re impaled on it, and you can’t climb down. But you’re not guilty, because it can’t be otherwise.

And that’s just the food chain…trying to have a “zero carbon footprint” is a refusal to be a part of the story, as if you could exist without anyone else. I’m not saying we shouldn’t use fewer resources, but the idea that we’re going to be able to break even if we do everything right is a fundamental obscenity.

Once you come to this realization, which can all but kill you, the rest of your life can be lived in response to it, not in flight from it. You can live your life as someone who has an enduring obligation to that which has kept you alive.

– Stephen Jenkinson

The Wild and Thoughtful Salmon River

Spence here: Back to where the Huckleberries roam! Although, it is too early in the season for the huckleberries, (but luckily it is time for blueberries!) I felt happy to wander down familiar paths this week in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. I have taken my family on The Old Salmon River Trail and Billy and I have walked the lengths many times. What a magnificent forest–I feel, one of the kindliest places I have ever been–and I am proud to call the trees there my friends! The forest floor is cool and shady, the glacial-fed river always slightly breezy and refreshing, and the logs of old growth giving new life to trees, ferns, mushrooms and other kin.

My thoughts wander the depths of the galaxy lately–from low as the worms to high as the hawks. Billy and I celebrated our five years of dating anniversary! High! I am thinking about the next five years, and what we will make of it. I am very excited. We talked about an epic journey, perhaps a walk across North America. We are continually talking and moving towards simplifying our lives and conserving (and intelligently using) resources. I have begun to research ideas for building walking rickshaws. I enjoy our talks as we take a run together, walk the trails or play cribbage. I have been slowly making improvements to our music studio–beautifying the place with shingles. Billy had a great idea for the mural on the side of our house, which is turning out wonderful. More pictures of that will be included next week. We also brewed some Blue Fig Gruit this week! My internship at the bike shop is pretty fun and I am learning much.

On the low side of things, I am still lamenting over my dog bite. I got bit by the neighbor’s dog a few weeks ago and the bruises are still bothering me. The doctor I went to asked me if it was provoked! (Uh… No! Why would I provoke the neighbor’s dog?) Anyway, it has made me afraid of other dogs and this makes me simultaneously uptight and sad. I had a dream the other night about walking into the fighting ring with my future demons. The orator of my dream said not to worry this time because the fight was to be practice for much harder times ahead. What it all means, I don’t know. I read a book recently however, which talked about our being our authentic selves. When we are, we have no need to worry, as our path will open up to us as it needs and our struggles will be known and we will be supported by the people we love.

The clouds rolled back into Portland this week, giving us a little break from the heat. I am not worried so much about impending doom, but will try to keep the clouds in mind, as protection from possible blistering troubles! The water of the Salmon River refreshed my energy and celebrating another important milestone with my beau has renewed my empathy and openness. Let us try to carry that forth at least another week!

Billy here. Each day I feel so lucky and happy to be alive in the world and to be able to share my life with Spence. I was thinking on the river trail about how wonderful it is to be alive. Once, when I was a kid, I ran through a sliding glass door. Sometimes in my life I take it for granted that I’m still alive and I could’ve died then (or any other time for that matter, such as the time I was living in Las Vegas and learned on the news at my lunch break that I had missed a gun wielding hijacker by minutes on the road I took to work). Just as I was having this thought of taking life for granted, I slipped and fell to the ground, as if the forest were there to remind me again – hey, life is short and you could miss it! Sometimes I spend a lot of needless time worrying or just thinking too much. My grandma used to say that some people were just too smart for their own good, but you don’t even have to be smart to think too much.

I was going to talk about watersheds and the importance of clean water. I was going to ask if people knew where their drinking water came from or the headwaters of the nearest creek or river. While this is important, it’s just that I feel knowing something isn’t as important as enjoying it and respecting it. The limits of our knowledge don’t touch the depths of our hearts. I will never truly know the depths of the people or places I love, because they are more complex than what is possible for one mind to grasp. This is not to say that learning is in vain, but that the joy, respect, and participation we put into our experience is just as important as critical thought. And maybe critical thought alone is dangerous!

On that thought, let us pause to enjoy the fruits of the summer: blueberries and figs that go into our home brew, the strains of yeast that ferment them, the herbs that preserve them, and the water that gives us life! A toast to summer and may we loosen the grip on our hearts!

Parks and Wreck

Billy here. The theme of the week has been getting out into the city and exploring the art that is out there – the art that exists intrinsically everywhere, the art that has been made by humans, and the art that is waiting to be made. In my twenties I absolutely demonized humanity. I thought that no good came out of industrialized life (still wavering on that one) and that most of what humans have done on the planet is destroy its integrity and biodiversity. I was a rebellious (and mostly self-destructive) misanthrope. But the older I get the more I am aware of how ignorant I am!

Over the last week I devoured a collection of essays by Gary Snyder, a poet and ecologist, published in a book called A Place in Space. This reading has revitalized and given words to my childhood heartfelt conviction of a dire need to reconnect with our place within nature without doing away with our cultural evolution. The confines of a rigid patriarchal traditional society can be questioned in today’s world. We can mostly now, depending on the region, look at what worked and what did not, being relatively free to live outside of traditional or religious imperatives. But some of what we have lost is a sense of place and our connection to the food web.

The world has changed drastically since the 1950’s. In social avenues, this has been largely positive. The civil rights movements have shaken up white male privilege, though not nearly enough. Change is generational, they say. In technological ways, the computer, the internet and space exploration have completely remapped our world with mixed results. However, in economics, military and subsistence, the world has changed in ways that are primarily not positive: massive deforestation and pollution in the name of progress and development, species extinction and invasion of habitats, and the deepening of a physical and cultural genocide that started with the dawn of imperial industrialism, to name a few. Capitalism has become dominant and modes of thought that are not geared toward “progress” are highly discouraged. Progress in capitalistic terms seems to be expansion, and expansion was gained historically first by outright slavery and then by fossil fuels and wage slavery. Unlimited expansion in a finite world is literally impossible and a sure recipe for population overshoot and die off. There is no such thing as sustainable development. Development, in principle, is not sustainable.

This is such a quick turn for the species Homo sapiens. In a mere sixty years, the planet has changed more rapidly than in the entire history of humanity – another mere blip on the timescale of the Earth. The entire closed system of the water cycle – recycling the same water repeatedly – turns water around from the bottom of the ocean, back up into rain and snow, down into the aquifers, then back up again takes an estimated total two million years. Homo sapiens evolved out of Homo erectus roughly 1.8 to 0.2 million years ago. Our entire existence on the planet does not span one cycle of water, a cycle that has happened roughly 2,300 times already on Earth.

And what does this have to do with art, you ask? Art, as well as story, music, and dance, is a thing that has evolved with us out of the incredible being that is Earth. It is, like the birth of rational thought, something that emerged out of nature. We are intelligent because nature is intelligent. We are creative because nature is creative. So why isn’t expansive growth a part of nature? Well, it is, just like invasive species and cancer! But it isn’t sustainable, and this is a word that has been diluted in the last ten years…this calls for the work of trickster, of art…to remind us that dominance is ephemeral, and the only thing that lasts is water.

Humanity, like any other species on Earth, is capable of creating beauty and terror both. The two are braided together. On hot drought days like these, a feeling near panic starts to build, but I try remember the songs, the ones I learned on the wind and from the owls as a kid. That’s what keeps me going. It’s not hope,  because hope is a kind of waiting, but something more active than that, something we have to do everyday. Something like determination. Or love.

Spence here:  Summer is here in full bloom. I am shocked to learn that Multnomah County (the county encompassing Portland) is currently under a fire ban. I am aware it gets dry here in the summer–this is not a mystery–but I have never heard of a ban here in 15 years. Our summer started early–in April, and we were at 15% of snow pack–so I get it, but that doesn’t make it any less unbelievable for such a lush, vibrant, and (seemingly) wet forested area.

In any event, Billy and I braved the heat for a few days and hit the pavement, scouring for “art”. It seems there is an “Art Walk” almost every week of the month–First Thursdays, First Fridays, Second Tuesdays, Last Thursdays–we are lucky to have an abundance of favorable supportive venues. Many of my favorite pieces however, were found on the abandoned blocks of town! I love to turn the corner of a building and find a painting, intentional or not, on the side of something dilapidated, that takes my breath away, with intricate colors, complicated shapes and enough juxtaposition to fill 100 fancy magazines! There were a few formal galleries downtown, showing some really amazing work–Blue Sky Gallery (I got lost in their photography), P:ear Gallery (for homeless youth) and The Everett Street Lofts were among some of my favorite spots.

Something downtown, however, turned my heart and my stomach into depressed, confusing knots: the contingent of homeless and mentally ill folks. This has always been a part of any city-scape, and especially Portland, maybe because of the mild winter weather, I’m not sure. But as the city grows exponentially, it seems the homeless and mentally ill populations are growing right along-side. Everywhere we turned, so many suffering people, many ironically acting like zombies with physical ailments, schizophrenia, most malnourished, drugged up or just plain broke. I never felt particularly in danger, but just filled with an overwhelming sense of loss, anger, sadness and powerlessness to do anything about it. Only a couple people asked us for money and no one was really bothering anyone, but just the sheer numbers of people suffering was enough to make me want to get the hell out of downtown.

This city is only working for some people. The unemployment rate of People of Color between the ages of 16 and 19 in Portland is 55%! Compared to the national percentage of homeless People of Color (7%), Portland came in at a whopping 24%. There isn’t a single neighborhood left in Portland where Black or Native American people can afford a 2 bedroom apartment. (All statistics came from the City of Portland 2015 Housing Report and the Urban League’s latest report, State of Black Oregon).

I appreciate the efforts people are making towards connecting the dots, but it seems they are few and far between. Some individual artists have paired up with good organizations, such as the Oregon Conservancy Foundation, and Willamette Riverkeepers, as well as a gallery holding space for homeless youth (P:ear Gallery, some of my favorite pieces were there!) There is the amazing Sitka Center on the Oregon Coast, blending art and ecology, and Caldera Arts, and some public water reclamation sculptures. Sadly, a gallery I was looking forward to was closed for the holiday, Quintana Galleries, housing Indigenous Art. Nike, Adidas, Intel, Wieden-Kennedy–these are the corporations making big money off artists in the form of advertising. But how does this affect the actual health of our communities? Sure some of the stuff is super slick and cool, but how is funding a $50,000 party downtown helping anyone with real world problems? When art is soul-less, who is it really for? Maybe I am struggling to connect the dots myself.

It was good to get out there and see what people are doing and talk to people trying to get by–it was good to listen. It is inspiring to see people continue to smile and be friendly who have nothing but a raggity backpack. It is easy to get disheartened. But we can’t afford to. We have to keep doing things we love–putting art out there which heeds a call of responsibility and love. We have to embrace creativity and intelligence of all species in order to change this shit around. Today I spent most of the day painting. This week I sent off several poems to different magazines, in hopes that someone will read my work and feel something of an inspiration, regardless if it gets published. I wrote a new song and wept when I sang it to Billy. I went out this week to try to find genuineness and heart and it was successful in that we found some–even if it was unintentional or difficult.