Tag Archives: art

Vincent’s Lament (a rewrite)

(apologies for the redundant post, but I like this version better and wanted to share it)

You, rich off the back of

my frenzied labor. Auctioning me off

like those whores I painted.

At least they were up for an honest day’s work.

 

Wildflowers should be wild, you know.

Not withering on dorm room walls under

plastic pushpins and double-sided tape.

 

Where were you when I suffered?

Without a cent to pinch. No one to remove

the monstrous veil blurring my sanity.

But not even Theo. Nor Christ himself

could save me. The green faery

only taking me deeper into Hell.

The ringing in my brain. Relentless thoughts.

Blinding colors. Dizzying motion.

Visceral. Urgent. Competing their way

to the surface ‘till I could no longer breathe.

 

I was the slave of creation.

A little death in each stroke.

My pain, now your beauty. Enjoy it.

Vincent’s Retort

 

I see you,

Littering the earth with my constellations.

Yes, MY my dancing stars, not yours to hang

On tacky dorm room walls

With push-pins and double-sided tape.

 

And you,

Rich off the back of my frenzied labor.

Wildflowers should be wild you know,

Basking in the compassionate sun.

Not withering within your dank, pretentious walls.

 

You don’t know me.

With all your analysis,

And your theories,

And your feigned sympathy

For the cliché’d “tortured artist”.

You are so proud of yourselves.

 

But you have no idea.

I had nothing but the ringing in my brain.

The relentless thoughts,

The blinding colors,

The dizzying motion,

The visceral urgency,

All competing their way to the surface

‘Till I could no longer breathe.

 

I was the slave of creation,

A little death in each stroke.

My pain is now your beauty,

You’d better enjoy it.

Just Breathe (and Paint a Horse)

IMG_1696

So a couple of weeks ago I quit my new job. It was scary. I’m not one to diagnose others but I would bet big money that my boss was in the midst of a major manic episode and I just could not be around her. She was spinning me into such a place of unbridled anxiety that I up and quit without another job in place. I know this was a huge financial risk but in this case I prioritized my mental health over all other factors. I’m still convinced it was the right thing to do. While I was in the process of taking financial risks I decided to spend the last 11 days at Miraval Resort in Tuscon. This wasn’t for the purposes of taking a “vacation”, although it’s a lovely resort, it was more about learning skills, (meditation, etc.) that will help me better manage my anxiety in ways that enhance my drug therapies. Don’t panic, I’m not giving up any of my meds, they just aren’t always enough.

Miraval has lots of super interesting classes. Everything from sound healing to meditation while swinging in a silk hammock to painting on horses (yes, ON the horse. I did it twice.) That may sound off the wall, and it was to an extent, but as a form of art therapy it’s pretty genius. You are supposed to “paint your story” on the horse, accept the imperfections created by having a moving canvas, and cooperate with another living being. Then when you are done you tell your “story” to the other participants (this is the part where everyone cries, except for me, I’m weird that way) and then you literally wash your story away as a symbol of letting go. The picture attached to this post is a visual representation of the poem “Desert Birth”

I also learned ironic tricks like “having your anxiety but not being anxious about it” That one may take some practice. And the most important and simplest of all…..JUST BREATHE. Granted, there were cheaper ways to learn that one but practicing it daily, in different styles and with the discipline required for it to really work, was worth all the money spent. Assuming I maintain it.

I was also advised to write and create, which I’ve already been doing here, so expect my tone and subject matter to be more on the zen side than before. At least I hope. The poem “Meditation” was written after I did a meditation walk of their famous labyrinth. I had to take a full breath with every step. It was excruciatingly hard to keep focus and it took forever and that’s when I realized all of this was not as easy as it looked.

None of this will be easy. Change is hard, ambiguity is hard, acknowledging  when something is wrong to the extent that every cell in your being is screaming is hard. But the decision to make the change seemed clear and obvious. I don’t know what lies ahead but rest assured I will continue breathing in the meantime.

I Stand Corrected

Remember a few years back when I wrote this post on how I can only make art when I’m manic? Well lo and behold I think I’ve proven myself wrong. I’ve been on a roll over the last couple of months (as you can see) and it’s been like a dam burst. 12 years of artistic silence and the misconception that my creativity was trapped within my disease. It may have changed a bit, and I’m still trying to find my voice among new materials, palettes, and styles, but I feel free again. I know I’m not manic. In fact if you read back a bit you will see I’ve just emerged from a depression. Maybe the beginning of this exploration (which began while I was on disability for depression) is what helped pull me out of it. The side effect has become the treatment. Go figure.