Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Keep Art Alive :: Nina Friday

Keep Art Alive; art by Nina Friday

Keep Art Alive :: The 10 Questions Project :: Nina Friday

1. What music (or other art form) inspires you when you create your art?

I have quite a collection of music, but most inspirational is my classical selection of Mozart, Vivaldi, etc, as well as my good old Russian 80's underground music, KINO, NOL' , etc

2. Long-distance road trip: What three people do you invite along (Fictional or non-fictional, dead or alive)?

Hmm, well, for sure my dear Rick Ruiners, my dear friend Claudia Leo and Hawkeye Pierce :)

3. What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

I'm always on a run , so I take my breakfast in a snack bar form.

4. What is one thing that is currently hanging on your bedroom wall?

A vintage clock that doesn't work. :)

5. What smell/scent evokes strong memories for you?

Spring air filled with blooming lilac.

6. Coffee or tea?

Morning - coffee, night -tea. :)

7. What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, you have ever received?

It usually comes from my biggest fan -Rick, if something is not working -he tells just how it is, first I get mad , then I am grateful I listened, that guy has never gave me bad advice on anything.

8. Three words that best describe you?

Fun, trusting, determined.

9. Cartoon character crush: Who was, or is, yours?

Not so much an animated cartoon, but a comic book character -SANDMAN. :)

10. The world is ending in ten minutes, and you get to listen to one - and only one - song: Which song do you choose?

I don't think I would care at that point, lol.


Find out more about Nina at her website:
Facebook and Myspace.

Current work for sale can be found

I would like to thank Nina for participating in the Keep Art Alive :: The Ten Questions Project, and for being inspirational to my work, and writing.

Go now go and check out more of her work, and buy something if you can.

Keep Art Alive and show your support.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I never thought I'd need so many people

"I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor,
drinking milkshakes, cold and long,
smiling and waving and looking so fine,
don't think you knew you were in this song."

Five Years (video) :: David Bowie
Five Years (live, video) :: David Bowie
Five Years (live) :: Placebo

Mortality is a slippery truth, translucent most of the time, and chameleon-like. We feel it so rarely, the honest and real feeling of our mortal selves. On the surface we say we know it doesn't last forever, that nothing ever does, and that our days - each stacking on the other - are numbered; but do we really believe it? We live our lives as if we have all the time in the world, as if we'll have time (eventually) to live our dreams, to tell the ones we love that we love them, to take that trip, grab hold of that love in our life, quit that job that makes us miserable, take that risk, say what we really feel.

What if we woke up tomorrow and the news said we had five years, no more, no less. What would we do differently? Would it sadden us, our grief holding us hostage within ourselves, making us unable to move? Would it motivate us, making us race and run to do those things we've put off so much? Would it make us reckless, jumping off bridges and pulling strangers round an alleyway, kissing and screaming and dancing in the street? Or would we continue to be us, in our lives, and just embrace it more, appreciate it more? Would we leave behind a story, with all our favorite characters (even the ones who don't realize their significance to us) typed and painted and coloured in brilliantly? Would we do something big enough to leave a mark behind?

Why not live like that today?

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.”

:: Richard Dawkins

Friday, April 2, 2010

In the stillness of remembering

"Thunder only happens when it's raining,
players only love you when they're playing.
They say, women, they will come and they will go,
when the rain washes you clean, you'll know,
you will know."

Dreams :: Fleetwood Mac
live video
cover (The Morning Benders)

Memory, and the feelings and consequences of remembering, seem to be a pervading theme right now, to me. The music I have found myself drawn to over the span of a week's worth of days seems to be veering in the direction of memory, lessons learned, and I suppose an over-arching subtext of learning to let go. Music is my muse, I've said it time and again, and perhaps it is that strange hand of musical, and lyrical, fate guiding me into issues I need to explore. Or, it could be me that is reaching out, and leaning towards the sounds and subject (whether on the surface, or tucked deep into my own interpretations of a song) of the very things I'm sifting and sorting through myself. Is it fate, or is it free will? I tend to be somewhere stuck in the middle, a believer in a little bit of both.

But, I digress, that pervading theme I mentioned, it is memory, isn't it? And perhaps the illusion of memory, the perception we gift everything, and the tint of the glasses we see what's happened with. Its like that game played in Summer camp, or grade school rainy days, where an event, or a picture, is recalled by a group - or a message is re-told, like in the game of telephone - everyone's impression, and memory, is a little bit different. That doesn't change much as we grow older. In some ways I think it becomes more pronounced, the differences in our recollections, and the colored lenses of our see and interpret the world glasses. We have our own pasts to come in and interfere, our life stuck issues that tilt the image, and our fears and insecurities that can turn the picture upside down, and inside out.

Is it the past, those early rejections that may have happened in our own homes, within our families, or maybe on the playgrounds and halls of school, that instill in us a more jaded perception? Can you recall the first time you were rejected? Does it still live somewhere in the tangled web of your memories? If you asked the person who rejected you would they see the moment as the same? Did one win the game, and the other get thrown into the storm? Did one carry with them a knapsack of blame that it must have been something I've done? Or, did it become an expectation, that we are all temporary, and just part of a game? Or, did both people, in some ways, get hurt in it?

How do we wash clean the marks of early rejection? Is that memory, the memory of pain, able to be washed away at all? Is the wash away the perception that everyone plays the game, that we are only loved within its constructs and constraints, and then tossed away - or maybe we run for the door ourselves - when the game is over? Or do we remember it differently, somehow? Do we recall the way we tried to hide the rules, cheat the game, change the player into something else entirely, and hideaway from the inevitable rains?

I don't know how I remember any of it exactly, the rejections, the endings, the ends of each game. I tihnk the way I recall those times, those endings, become painted by how I feel the day I look back. Sometimes I'm more fragile, breakable at a mere sideways glance, and internal bruises reach for the light of recognition and all I can remember is being thrown away. Other days, when I'm more myself (although self, like memory, is ever-changing, and colored by perception, too) - stronger, more sure of my place in this world, I remember being the one to walk away, or at least a mutual "it just isn't working, but you were wonderful" kind of goodbye. It never is that clean, though, and it never is that cruel - it is always somewhere in-between - like that space between fate and free will.

In the stillness of remembering, how do you remember?

"The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all. I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware.”

:: Eugene Ionesco

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Like the sunshine

"Joely?" :: Clementine

"Yeah Tangerine?" :: Joel

"Am I ugly?" :: Clementine

"Uh-uh." :: Joel

"When I was a kid, I thought I was. I can't believe I'm crying already. Sometimes I think people don't understand how lonely it is to be a kid, like you don't matter. So, I'm eight, and I have these toys, these dolls. my favorite is this ugly girl doll who I call Clementine, and I keep yelling at her, 'You can't be ugly! Be pretty!" It's weird, like if I can transform her, I would magically change, too." :: Clementine

[kisses Clementine] "You're pretty." :: Joel

"Joely, don't ever leave me." :: Clementine

"You're're pretty...pretty..." :: Joel
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

"Change your heart.
look around you;
change your heart
it will astound you."

Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime :: Beck

There are a million reasons why I relate to this movie so much, and why Clementine resonates with me so deeply. This scene, and the conversation they have, is one of the biggest ones. There is this near constant undercurrent of insecurity that plagues me incessentally. Most of the time I can manage to ignore it, or if it isn't disregard, it is that I'm so used it being part of my make-up that I just plod along with it in tow. It does not seem to affect my daily life much, and I've learned to push through its naggings, especially in the realm of work and parenthood, and just tell myself that I'm good at what I do. I'm a good employee, and I'm a good mother, these things hardly come into question for me.

But, that internal beast of insecurity is impossible to shut up when I let myself care about someone. I have typically such a thick wall around me when it comes to relationships, and love, that the insecurity tends to sleep, or turn off, when I deal with things like dating, or talking with someone who I deep down know there is no potential with. But, the few times I've let the walls down, and let my heart get into the picture, and fall for someone - well that insecurity is shaken violently awake and all the years of hurt, pain and rejections - those ever-echoing feelings of never being enough, or being too much, come front and center, poking at me, making it impossible to ignore.

That's when the over-thinking starts, and the doubts, and the questioning everything I do. I feel like I start to ready myself for failure, feeling as if I screw up anything that really matters to me, and that I am just going to mess it all up again. It is so defeating, so painful, so heartbreaking to feel this way and I truly hate it, but I don't know how to stop it. I try to breathe through it, but my breath gets caught in my throat, choking me. I find myself (even more) sleepless. I start to feel needy, and irrationally sad. And then I start deciding that things are falling apart, even when they are not at all. Around this time I shut down, go quiet, sink lower than anyone ever seems to really notice.

The only buoy in the water of all this self-doubt is the need to be reaffirmed. I'm an honest person, and I try to be open, so I will usually try to reach out - try, not always succeeding. And it is then, in those moments, that I am at my most fragile. It is then when I truly need to be held and told that I'm alright just as myself. But that - that part - feels so impossible to ask for.

It really hurts, somedays, to be this way.

re-blogged from an earlier incarnation of my writing - seems appropos to my life and resonated with me today.

Tonight's Train

"Nothing at all, in my head, to say to you,
only the beat of the train I'm on.
Nothing I've learned all my life on the way to you,
one day our love was over and gone."

Train Song
:: Feist & Ben Gibbard

The carnival train is leaving
every night at revolving times.
You can tell by the tinkling of ice on glass,
that the bar is still open for business.
So, you run to the platform,
suitcase in hand and a half-cocked smile.
Board and go, darling.

For those of us who brave the night air,
well, we take what we can to get by.
Sometimes its a tune played a degree too loud,
enough of a noise to drown out the asperity tinging the air.
Block out the way his eyes glass and redden (again),
as his voice sharpens itself into a dead cruel point.
Time to run, darling.

Other nights its a book of jokes and a box of tricks pulled out,
humor and laughter and fast movements
anything to distract the beast.
Make sure he is constantly looking around, averting his eyes,
harder to hit that way, aren't you?
And sometimes, yes sometimes, the loud gaffaws carry him,
until he's passed out cold.
Poison the water, darling.

But tonight, we will get on the ride, hop that train,
go off into the rainbow land of never-ever.
Take a bag of oranges and a thermos of cocoa,
smile at the elephants and clowns 'round the back.
We'll read books with bright pictures, paint the side walls with recycled decay,
and tattoo on our pale skin the girl of a thousand days.

Ride the rails, oh darling, darling.

Fill yourself with quarters

"You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends,
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank lights,
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under.
Oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over,
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wannna watch,
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults.

Make up something to believe in your heart of hearts,
so you have something to wear on your sleeve of sleeves.
So, you swear you just saw a feathery woman,
carry a blindfolded man through the trees.
Showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters.
Showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters."

Mistaken For Strangers :: The National

This song is amazing, cathartic, and somewhat timely and relatable; though I think part of me realizes that for years and years, possibly a lifetime, it is me who has mistaken myself for a stranger.

Do we fill ourselves with things to become recognizable, defined, a little less strange to everyone around us? Do we even know what it is we fill ourselves with anymore? I want to know what I'm filled with, what I'm made of, and what those around me are pieced together with. Tell your story, fill yourself with song, and keep your heart in tact.

We are all strangers to someone. We are all beloved to someone. We are all filled with so many somethings and someones.

Well I've been here before sat on the floor in a grey, grey room

"Have I still got you to be my open door?
Have I still got you to be my sandy shore?
Have I still got you to cross my bridge in this storm?
Have I still got you to keep me warm?"

Grey Room :: Damien Rice

9 version

There are brief moments that touch our lives, and people who appear for a short time and connect with us, that change the ways and hows and constructs of who we are. Perhaps we don't realize it at the time. The days are so muddied up with places to go and be, and the anxious circles of nonesense that we string ourselves up, and get lost, in. We run from point a to point b, a countdown of hours and weeks and pay periods; we wait for phone calls, texts, acknowledgements that we matter, that we exist, and that this race we are stuck in has a purpose. And then, out of nowhere, a breeze blows in - sometimes it is followed by dark skies and rain, other times a carnival of clouds parading above our heads on a stage of bright blue, and then there are those times when the ground shakes, the universe daring the pavement to crack open and pull us in. But even in those times, when the earth moves, sometimes we fail to even notice.

And then later, sometimes so very much later, we sit alone and remember. What ever those moments were, and whomever those people are to us, they appear then, tossing around in the confines of cold, grey rooms - sleepless, middle of the night times, we've all had them - and we realize we missed it.

Is it the consequence of the pace we keep in our overwhelming, falling over the edge, full but empty lives that cause us to not recognize the things that are worth keeping? The people worth hanging on to? Do we stop, at the moment of realization, and try to gather it back to us? Do we shrug our shoulders, fill another corner of our soul with sorrow, grab for yet another cigarette, another cup of coffee, another pill or drink or meaningless night in an unfamiliar bed? Do we run to the shore of the ocean, to the tracks of an already passed train, or to the crossroads of past trips and given up dreams, and just let it go? Do we make a phone call, pen a letter, text a message, dedicate a song, buy a drink and say "you are the one that got away"? Or do we learn how to open our eyes more, say what we mean more, notice the days and the hours and the moments and the ones who matter?

Is it only on the cold nights, in the grey rooms, that we miss this? Is it the loneliness that creeps in, that we usually chase away with crammed filledh ours and miscellaneous substances, that suddenly can't block it out anymore? Is that when we remember the sound of the ocean? The creak of the bathroom door? The light peeking through, our hair damp and falling clumsily out of damp, haphazardly wrapped hotel room towel? Is it only then that we remember warm arms and laughter, making love to the whir and hum of the air conditioning in the middle of Summer, and some late night black and white movie in the background? Is it then that we long to return to some brief moment, or lover, from before.

Sometimes, though, the door closes for good. But it isn't the latest earthquake that took it all away, it is time passing, the neglect, the cruel art of forgetting, and the echoing chorus of all the sad songs we play in days and nights and rooms like these. Sometimes all we can do is learn, let go, and try to make something good out of regrets, and these nearly forgotten memories.

"This kind of forgetting does not erase memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.”

:: Clarissa Pinkola Estes