no distinction on my lips between lipstick and wine. cracked, ruddy bliss, an epic sunset, el perro del mar. i spent today with my sweet holly girl. we drank champagne, shook bamboo trees, chased the last rays of sunshine amidst dogwood and statues and spoke to a man who takes flowers for granted. we took portraits on self-timer, running into frame unsure of what fraction of memory was captured….
i willingly enter the trebuchet of travel, aligned with whatever moments lie in wait. the mists gather as we ascend into blinding white oblivion. the wing succumbs and it is like a dream…. destination, minneapolis… a faerie wedding and a dozen shoots of dancers, models and musicians. i rock out to joan jett and adam ant as the plane window bathes in sun above the blanket of winter below. strong guitar, basketball percussion. my knees are wrapped with my playa coat, the only warm thing i own. it’s minus 7 degrees in minneapolis, the pilot says, alluding to some kind of heat wave… i can’t even begin to fathom that kind of cold…
my feet disappeared noisily as i stepped onto a frozen lake to take a photo of a wise old tree. thrilled and with hesitation i walked on water… virgin snow over thick ice over dormant water…. i circled the tree then, looking for its hiding spaces, places where gifts go, where whispers collect. the entwined aging grooves forced my stripey mitten curiousity. the roots seemed to project a strange heat, one that revealed an unnatural tuft of grass, unusual for this slumbering frozen tundra.
today i witnessed a waterfall in thick blue stop-motion tendrils. it was incredible… forced my breath outwards and a step back before choosing which to use for documenting this frigid beauty, my still camera or my video camera, opting for both…
i’ve been video taping my life again… i used to do it often in my early 20’s… but now there are too many amazing people and adventures that i want to savor.
this minneapolis trip has been so strange… i’ve never been so sold out in one city before, never felt so expected and cared for. lee and nikki of mourning doll playhouse and lee’s husband, keith from the band, invocatio, have been so kind to me. their rehearsal space was perfect for the shoots, wicked neon rockstar hallways leading to recording studios and dance floors. they drove me the 2 blocks to my hotel each night. “friends don’t let friends freeze and die.”
an endless stream of inspiration walked through the double doors. dancers who flew in from nearby states, bands who came to me thru the dresden dolls. a painter, a hooper, families, actors. they quoted my blogs and gallery images. they were nervous and sweet, building me up into something more than what i am. one even cried… so strange… it’s as if they build up an expectation of themselves when all i want is for them to center and shine…
nikki, lee and keith took me out to dinner one night and keith and i had adventures around the town before my flight to texas…. talk of celtic mythology, arthurian legend and ulcer-speak. a frostbite scare, toes… such delicate knobs of balance. my favorite part of the day besides the wise old tree and waterfall was having tea with keith, sitting warm in plush red chairs watching wisps of light snow whirl softly outside like remnants of a pillow fight. exhaustion had hit earlier and i nearly disappeared dreaming under my bear of a coat but our battle cry of “ADVENTURE!” won me over.
my thoughts are slower in this rude cold. i stare at things and don’t quite see. all things slow down. i am not used to this notion. it is disagreeable to me in every way. “the air… it wants to kill you.” keith says smiling.
the initial part of my minneapolis trip last week where i remained indoors much of the time was much easier to exist in. i shot a wedding of a faerie bride and her beloved in a zoo. a sloth hung on a tree branch during the ceremony, sucking on squash and making slow, dreamy eyes at my camera. the bride had huge tattoo wings on her back, one of the bridesmaids, a similar one. red dresses, limo shennanigans and a dance floor surrounded by dolphins who swam wildly in their tank, stopping to watch the slideshow presentation of baby photos after dinner. they gathered at the glass smiling. it was beautiful. the whole affair was unique and fae and i was happy to be there.
and now i’m on a plane to austin, texas where it is 70 degrees. i look forward to seeing pixie sunshine and her boys, porn and t and their boys, and especially my cuddle bug, boo, the shaved black pomeranean that has captured my heart.
i’m also looking forward to visiting enchanted forest again and meeting the dancers and musicians that have shoots booked. i will need some sleep at some point… for now the plane window serves as my pillow. one more hour til we land and my austin adventures begin… i dream now…
“are you near the ocean?” an aging man acclimates to a young boy asking questions to access youth and stir conversation. flames alight, fountains compete with humid frogspeak and i am centered, in a dark space on top of a mountain overlooking lake travis.
it is a paradise here, a reminder, this house, the people i meet with thriving art careers and young children. neal, who runs xingolati and sustainable waves, flew me here to austin to shoot his wedding tomorrow. familiar faces and happy smiles. faerie lights on pathways thru trees, a dog with content old eyes, patiently craving love. the cicadas join in tone and all around me are small fires and reunited people.
i close my eyes, the plane lifts off from austin… i’m going home today… “tryin to throw your arms around the world…” is in my ears… “woman, be still”… and so clouds pass and i can see the moon and the sun and the engine is deafening and shawn will be waiting for me at the airport when i get home….
i breathe in the moments, all these beautiful memories. my external hard drive with 18,000 images sits on my lap. i stare at this little box, my traveling back-up to my computer tucked under the seat. inside of it is a world of shining people from various communities… belly dancers, yoga teachers, circus performers, burners, weddings, house parties, clubs… yesterday alone, such diversity… from wrapping wayne soul sunshine into a baby burritto to calm him after stirring him up, to gypsy magick at the enchanted forest.
lucent dossier being there was a surprise. “i heard a rumor you were here” dream emerges and i hug her and shrine looks tired and sarah has cyndi lauper hair and i navigate the forest to a tree. a man in white named ‘paper’ hangs red velvet curtains across branches. i pose this bohemian brethren among humping dogs and speckled sunshine. they are ‘art outside’ and i shot wide to capture their art, outside, the mantra in my head during the shoot. my favorite shot of the day was tyler and paper fighting over a light bulb, an ‘idea’ as it were.
porn was with me, smiling out from behind my laptop where he was picking out favorites from the shoot i’d done for his family the day before. it was at a meat locker and they were dressed all gangster with bandanas, black clothing and a real gun…. the most powerful gun in the world, he says. he carried it in a blue case. i called it a drill to fool myself but in broad daylight in the middle of austin, he pulled that baby out and aimed it at me. my heart skipped and raced. the barrel of the world’s most powerful gun in my face.
behind my lens ti becomes art. beyond it, i have thoughts of being arrested or killed… and we get the shot and i try to calm down but i can’t. more baby burrito time, a visit to the international headquarters of whole foods, the store that gets me hot. a rooftop playground, the temperature soars past 90 degrees.
late afternoon porn and i head out to mars bar for happy hour. i take risks and have veggie pot stickers and fruits forbidden. my tummy has been a sport and forgives me most of the stress i put it thru on the road these past few weeks. i promise it all the cabbage juice and pureed beets it craves when i get home and am quite relieved that there have been no episodes. the dull pain seems to be fading even more and i am so grateful. everytime i eat something and all goes well, i do my happy tummy dance, which is more and more….
we sat for hours and talked about family and creativity, about fear and love, about stagnancy and how it affects our pasts and futures. loons congregated in the dense branches above us and dusk was magickal. i told him how all my life phases surge to the tune of bowie and brian eno songs. in my early 20’s i was a ‘broken head’ but now i am most definitely freaking out in my moonage daydream. as night began, we walked down congress and i bought a present for brady, as well as a black shirt for myself… it had an old camera on it. “that’s mine!” i said out loud before finding one in size small and trying it on, confirming that yes, it WAS mine. i fell dead into sleep til 4am where i twisted up out of the futon at pixie sunshine & pf’s house and quietly began packing. slow on the velcro, orgainizing my receipts, answering a mountain of emails sporatically by iphone at dawn.
the underlying theme of this trip has been asking questions about family and art. i’ve been interviewing people about parenthood and creativity. i want to know how artists can be good parents yet still remain true to their life work as artists. i watched an interview with stevie nicks a while back where they asked her why she never had children. she replied that she chose to become a full-time artist as opposed to a half-assed mother, half-assed musician. and that stuck with me and i have a certain fear of things. but more than that i have the hope that being a mother someday will make me a better artist. one austin friend is unhappy, creative mojo is lacking. another is fulfilled yet just recently had the joy of taking a shower without rushing. porn says that when your children are better than you that you know that you’ve done your job as a parent. i resonate with all he says but i never want to give up my art. it all most surely ebb and flow and one never knows how to balance it all until it truly happens… but i am a curious monster that asks alot of questions on subjects such as happiness, fulfillment and their challenges, all of which i expect in my future as a mother…
there is still time though… i will be 35 years old in a few months…. my business is surging and coasting… i work less for more money now… i have a wonderful life partner and a new house to grow into now… there is still a soul searching trip to africa that i must go on… and a certain financial consistancy that we are both waiting on… and then perhaps it will be time… for now, my eyes are wide and on the prize…