Putting in my “two cents”

There is no need to describe recent events in American politics and how sickening they have been. It seems things may be moving in a better direction.

Anyway, I’ve been speaking with friends and clients and family about the immigration policies. I was struck by a lot of things, and noticed that I did not directly post any thoughts or opinions.

This morning after an interesting session with someone who’s experienced this stuff firsthand, I had a hunger for poetry. I was feeling that there is no way to express this kind of thing without looking to the poets. I looked up poetry about Immigration and stepped into a great world.

I found and read two poems by Juan Felipa Herrera that were especially resonant and moving. I didn’t even know he is the poet laureate; I actually never know who is, something to pay more attention to. But it was great knowing that there is the ugly bad stuff and then right next to it, look who is the poet laureate of our country.

Here is the link to the poetry, which I won’t quote as it is copyrighted. One poem has a lot of Spanish and then English translation, the Borderbus. Very beautiful expression of what the reality is for many coming here.


Writing for 15 Minutes:

I’ve tried different options each day. Some days in the journal just to get out thoughts, even shred the pages sometimes. Other times I write in my journal parts of my ideas for my Drawing/Writing project or a different essay format project.

This is the latest, putting some of the writing in the blog. Last week I thought of changing the subtitle to: “Pictures and Words”. Maybe that would be the title of the Drawings I’m doing, but “Drawings and Words” or “Lines and Words”.

The blog does feel like it joins pictures and words. “Words and Pictures” sounds off. It’s weird as the film “Words and Pictures” sounded fine and stuck in my mind. The film isn’t great but there are cool things going on in it. Like the idea of pitting students against each other in a crazy contest between words/writing and pictures/images. Why shouldn’t writing and making art be a kind of sport and why not have competitions like that. The students had to struggle with how to convince people that Words and writing, uses of words are most important or that images of all kinds, whether paintings, drawings or photos, or some mixture, are more vital than words. Which does the world need more?

It’s an absurd idea but to some aliens, people going nuts watching a bunch of humans dressed in a costume run back and forth across a field kicking a round object seems as absurd as a contest between pictures and words.

Cake or cupcakes? I say definitely cupcakes for lots of reasons. Coffee or tea? Tomato or tomato?Dogs or cats? Football or soccer?

Books or Films? Graphic novels and comics are so perfect in their genre combining both pictures and words, the actual written form on paper, as opposed to films with image and speaking. Obviously TV and film accomplish both, but at the same time, they are missing the thing of turning pages, of reading or reading/looking in the case of the graphic novel.

Right now I am reading the Lemony Snickett books, whole post could be on that, out loud with my 10 year old. We’ve seen the TV series, so it’s interesting reading the real books that spawned the film and TV. It’s great most of all because it’s a book about books, about reading and how reading is the escape from the troubles and unfortunate and fortunate events of life. It’s about words as well, and how we define them.

It appeals to me because books were my haven as a child. I put off learning to read until first grade, probably because I liked being read to. Once I started reading, I found a magic place that is impossible to describe and unlike TV or film or even audio books. Sitting alone with a book, you have a companion full of great stuff, words and pictures…

Writing Time: New drawings and writing

I am very excited that my doing my new morning ritual of waking up around 6:15, meditation, yoga, writing and drawing, has been so positive and really expanded my creativity. The principle of doing things for 15 minutes a day is a big part of this new discipline, as well as going to bed of course much earlier. My bedtime is now around 10:30, way earlier than ever before.

I’m now on day 26 of this morning and 15 minute practice thing. I always start with meditation for 15 minutes, followed by 20 or more minutes of yoga. Then I do either 15 minutes of writing or drawing. If I write in the morning, then later in the day I set the timer and do the 15 minutes of drawing and vice versa. This morning I did drawing and haven’t had a moment for the writing until now.

So this is my 15 minutes of writing that I usually reserve for my journal. Some of the writing is stuff I rip up and throw out and some of it is just journaling and some of it is about things I want to eventually write or edit or use in some way.

The best thing that happened with the drawing and writing besides really getting back to the drawing, was how the drawing and writing for the first time ever started to go together. The way it happened was first I got back to really getting in touch with how much just drawing, making marks and lines on paper, is really my most authentic form of art making. I felt like I had neglected it and was hiding in collage and other stuff and hadn’t really gotten to purely draw in months. Then the drawings started to be connected to what I’d been painting/using collage and paint doing, namely my cityscapes.

These cityscapes of the past months was a return to cityscapes I did a long time ago, around 2006 – 2010, on and off, that I titled “Inner Landscapes”. Now that they got back into the drawings, the lines and marks started to be houses and buildings again, but there is more going on now that is different from the previous series or even what I’d been doing this past year. Suddenly I had a drawing and was writing a story about the landscape I drew, a desolate landscape that was a kind of deserted place.

The first one that got paired with writing was a kind of empty street. Then I made another one that was called “After the Fire” that continued some of the themes from the first one. I’m in the middle of writing another one that feels like it’s about Tokyo, when I lived there as a child from 1977-1979. The drawings seem to be about old places in my mind, and in each writing there is a child sitting up in a room alone. I think the next one will involve this child being in Tokyo. From the writing it isn’t yet clear that these are old places in my mind, but I think as they continue building, it will become clear what the concept of the Inner Landscape involves.

Through writing during and on the back of the drawing about the spaces in the drawing, I am more in touch with what I think of as the “Inner Landscape”, where before I just thought, these are not meant to be images of the city, they are imagined landscapes in my head, so whenever people saw them and said, “Oh those are the city.” or “Is that NYC?” it seemed off to me and like I couldn’t explain exactly what they were or why they were Inner Landscapes.

Strangely I had recently started thinking that the cityscapes I was making were actually about New York City and living here and 9/11 and that the first series from over 10 years ago were more connected to 9/11 and living here downtown near Ground Zero than I previously realized.

15 minutes are up. I have been trusting that 15 minutes is usually enough, especially with the writing. I will post some photos of the drawings and writings thus far.

Thought for the day…

I started this post writing:

One day, when gender identity is fully respected when humans realize they don’t have to understand someone else’s identity, they just have to listen and respect what the person says…

That was when I stopped and had a moment of silence and nothing. Perfect time to end the thought for the day…

5 Minutes of Writing

I am trying to do things in 15 minute chunks and if not, then in 7 or ten or even five minute chunks. I did my morning 15 minutes meditation and 25 minutes yoga and about ten minutes of writing in my journal so this is the five minutes I have left. I have done my daily comic strip and now I have these few minutes.

I am thinking a lot about Kate Spade’s suicide, including but not limited to, the ligature she tied to the doorknob to strangle herself, the housekeeper’s trauma from being the one to find her, the husband’s trauma from being in the house, and most of all, the 13 year old daughter’s trauma of finding out her mom killed herself and getting the suicide note written to her telling her it wasn’t her fault.

One of my patients yesterday in talking about this event said that there seems to be no way to kill yourself that doesn’t physically involve a big mess or a torturous painful death. I guess the choice tends to be between getting it to happen quickly and leaving a mess versus getting it to take longer and still leaving a mess.

I’m out of minutes, but I will say that I have trouble finding any compassion at first. I have to let myself be pissed off at the dead person who is now dead and doesn’t have to deal with the physical and emotional mess they have caused. It took me almost a day to reach the point of compassion, thanks to hearing an annoying news person actually say something useful, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.”

I arrived at kindness after a lot of anger. I now feel some compassion not just for those left behind with the big mess and the black hole in their heart, but also for the terrible pain Kate Spade was in and the battle I know nothing about that she was fighting and lost. I will not say Rest in Peace, as I don’t really know what that means, but I think she is no longer in pain as she no longer exists and life is hard for everyone. Be grateful for the amount of time you get of someone.


You can’t wait for Inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.-Jack London

I would add that I usually bring ice cream, broccoli, paint markers, glitter pens and go after it with a fancy water gun full of glitter water and slime!!!