Thursday, April 30, 2015

Down to the bone

   It feels that way.  Like it can't get any closer, any deeper.  I'm embarrassed.  I wait and I try to find  something you will want to hear.  Something full of love and strength and inspire you a bit. That's what I look for - although your pain, concealed or expressed, comes into open hands. And I know you're not supposed to blog the un-bloggable.  But I keep failing at the first and the second is all I have to write.  Forgive me.

It will get better, I know that , you don't need to tell me - yet anything you say will feed me.

I'd been renting a house for 32 years.  Yes, I did.  I loved it, it was my home.  Cherished, cared for, clean and tidy. My god, the flowers.   A sanctuary.  And I've always needed one.  He finally showed up on the doorstep.  A sunny, warm June day. I knew it was coming, I knew it would come when the sun was finally here. I've waited and feared that knock for 32 years.  He said I had 60 days to leave, he wanted his retirement out of it right now.  $300,000.00 - cash - in 30 days and it could be mine, mine.  In 32 years he had only been there 4 times.  Just to look, no help.
Shaking , sweating , I said that I had just put my ira into it, so proud I had one. Money, please understand.  A new driveway, gutters, paint.  He shrugged. 60 days after 32 years, just a little more time?  He wanted what he wanted, now.  He shrugged.

Boxes and boxes, filling, lifting, filling, lifting.  An nowhere to carry them to.  So, so much left behind. No space, no time.  Space is a blessing, time is divine. Yellow damask Chippendale left on the curb, English secretary with all those sweet, tiny drawers.  Model replica of Palladio's Villa Rotunda, painstakingly made - wood cut with an elves saw, painted floors and plaster ceiling.  Look through the tiny windows into the 16th century.  At one time I had a lot of strength and time and too late now, I realize skill. A little money for some pieces, the Palladio, thank god.  I mourn them and many, many other things - but I take comfort, have learned to take comfort, in knowing that someone must have gasped, I hope they gasped and treasure them now, I hope they treasure them.   I lost 20#'s.

  45 days in and we found something.  Thousands of dollars to move to and in -  first and last, security. But I'm not secure.  Money, down to the bone.  It's lovely. (my beautiful daughter, the apartment whisper) It's a duplex, even better than an apartment.  Clean and spacious, a creek in the backyard. Smuggled in cat is in heaven.  We have 90 days to get out now - at least that's better than 60. They want it back too - they're old, it's nice, they'll be happy here.

30 days in, paint not dry yet but most boxes unpacked or stuffed somewhere.  My Mother is dying. No brothers or sister can or will find room for her.  Daughter and I strip the dining room. There's enough room now for a hospital bed.  There are good, good souls in Hospice, I never knew this.  But thank god.  Still it's 24/7 because I am her daughter.  So much pain between us, so much pain for her, laying in that bed. But unexpected forgiveness too.  She stroked my hair once, that made up for so much.  15 more #'s.  Food just doesn't make sense. I'm close to the bone.

She left some money.  It was her way of saying I love you. Blessings like that, and that one is a blessing, give hope.  She left me with hope.  That makes up for so much. Thanks seems so inadequate.  But that's all I have left, besides the hope. 

Death changes things. 4 siblings and no connection now.  It's to be expected, I guess.  It happens in a lot of families.  Especially when alcohol was the backdrop, the stage, the theme.

My beautiful, smart and a thousand loving adjectives daughter is struggling. It's so fucked.  So fucked that that gene gets passed on.  It will snarl one up with no discrimination.  It doesn't care about the adjectives - it only wants blood.  I don't believe in that whole "pray for me" thing.  But pray for her.  We're gonna' get separated now.  After two years of living together and trying together to beat this monster down, she has to go her own way and so do I.  We are both at the bone now.

She still takes her bipolar medicine - she says she does. But alcohol messes it up so much.  I take mine.  I crave it.  I hold it tight to my chest. It's giving me life now when the illness took away so much - from both of us.  I want her to have life too, but I can't give it to her.  She will have to find it on her own now.

I don't want to move again.  I feel so old all of a sudden.  I want someplace where I can stop for good, build another sanctuary.  But like I said, I have hope and that's so good.  It's another sunny day.  I'm going to go out to the beautiful creek and pet the happy cat.    I am at the bone but I'm skinny now.  That's good, right?

Love, Liv

And PS:   I'm reading, reading lots.
Maeve Binchy -Maeve's Times  - funny little stories she wrote when she worked for The Irish Times.
Katherine Mansfield's - Stories - lovely
Wm & H'ry - the letters of William and Henry James to each other - so loving
Alan Bennett - Untold Stories  - love, love his writing, so sensitive
Vanessa Bell - Sketches in Pen and Ink - stories of the childhood her and Virginia Woolf
and lastly
Leslie Maitland - Crossing the Borders of Time - a true love story

So that and walking, walking and walking sustain and nurture me now -   All good, proud of myself.

Monday, April 13, 2015

OMG...did it finally work?

I tried to post this yesterday and I just could not get the pictures to turn out right.  I adjusted and adjusted and every time they came out divided down the center with only one half showing.  Lowered pixels, changed size, moved location, didn't solve the problem.  So I'm just going to put it up anyway.  If it works , YAY, If it doesn't - well, try to click on the picture itself and see if it comes up better in the slide show thing. Otherwise, it is all Bloggers fault....    Yes, when I clicked on them just now it went to slide show and full size.

This is what I've been up to lately in the studio.  Lots of fun !  I'm not religious nor even that particularly spiritual, but once that Catholic art thing gets in you - it's in you.  Many years of Latin choir singing ( listening) and all that beauty of the old churches, which is pretty much completely gone now is still a big influence to me.  This work is also very influenced by the Spanish Retablo, but in no way attempts to be authentic as I am not Spanish of course.  But I am drawn to their naive and elegant work. It is not, as well necessarily about Mary in a blessed way, although that's ok.  There's a lot there in the religious belief that is beyond my scope of plausibility, but I do say the Hail Mary to put myself to sleep at night - I leave out the bit about "fruit of thy .... ".  But just the thought of a woman in charge is comforting.

I work a lot in the art of collage - in a pretty refined sense, although I respect the randomness of other people's spontaneous way of using it.

I've collected cuttings for about 20 years - Have 25 boxes of them in various subjects.  It's actually the first art I did as a child, cutting out pictures from magazines especially if they were pictures of the Beatles.  Then I'd splash them all over my walls.  My family did not promote my hobby as it was deemed silly and revealed a leaning toward fantasy that was not welcomed in a house too filled with, well, other things. But now I get to do whatever I want to do, so ha! to all of that.
Anyway, this piece took about 2 months to complete from the initial concept to design to assemblage.  After design follows weeks of hunting through 25 boxes of collection - by theme - selecting (not an easy task),  reproducing, adjusting size, and color and then a whole lot of cutting and then pasting.  I enjoy the minute detail of cutting and it's a challenge to get even the tiniest aspect, fingers especially, cut without screwing it all up and having to start over, so if you get it right it's a really nice feeling.  This is 100% paper.  The back drop is paper painted to look like canvas - whoa - that was an exciting challenge.  It is also a challenge to know when a piece is done.  I think I'm done with this one.  It will have a trim around the outside edges just to make it feel clean to the eye. But essentially I am finished. I will do a series of them, six maybe eight.  My next will be an ethnic theme and I am really looking forward to doing that.  It's very difficult to find old art with good representations of Black, Asian or Indian women.  And by the way, I strive to use only images that are antique and therefore free of any copyright infringement - I apologize if I've failed, which is inevitable. I guess I've tooted my own horn here, but it's taken me almost three years to get back to doing art and I'm proud of myself for finding my way back in.

This piece is 48" by 24". I start out big but will go smaller as I relax into it.  Big gives courage. It has a tentative title of "Under Thy Protection" (because like I said, we're - women - really in charge) but just like the process of creating the work itself, giving a title is also a process.  My goal here was to speak to the sanctity of Women.  To say that all are divine in their wisdom, compassion and grace.  Obviously women are too often neglected as to the importance of their role and the gift that they bring. And I am also particularly influenced by these gifts as expressed by the women I read who write the blogs I love.  Thank you ladies.

I'm trying to give you close up of some of the details - but I have the worst two cameras in the world - never a good enough focus.  But, someday.

Oh yes, and I forgot to say - I'm not usually into much of anything that is symbolic, but in this one the pear at her neck does symbolize nobility and grace and the two oranges on the end of her sleeves symbolize courage and strength and of course the dogs are just dogs, utterly and heart filling saints.

Thanks.  I'm going to try to write more.  I think I can do that too.