In Search Of…

Eviction-Notice

If you haven’t heard, Portland, Oregon is in a full blown housing crisis.  It’s a landlord’s market, a developer’s market.  Long-term and loyal renters have become disposable.

Urban growth boundaries tell us the only way to go is up.  Even so, it’s just not possible to keep up with the demand for housing.  And going up means demolishing single family homes in trade for typically monstrous box-shaped buildings that encroach on sidewalks and offer no green space.  Ok, I’m exaggerating, there are a few rosemary bushes out there.

Granted, some of the structures going up are thoughtfully planned and eco-friendly.  Down the street from my apartment is Ankeny Row, a collective of Passive Housing structures that greatly reduce energy consumption and focus on community, not ignoring your neighbors.  We’re all in this together, right?  Wrong.

In Oregon (and Texas), it is not law that a local government must mandate inclusion of affordable units in large projects.  Combined with a rush of no-cause evictions across Portland… this is not just about insensitive architecture anymore– which is what I told myself for a while.  It’s easier to blame differing aesthetics than to realize the loss of compassion.

Soapbox aside, I’m realizing my role in this changing housing climate.  After a twenty-five year stint of living alone, I must now enter roommate-land.  I’ll be giving up my second bedroom that served as my art studio, but it’s a small price to pay in light of so many other people’s situations.

When I first embarked on this roommate quest, I had a fairly positive attitude.  Now, well, let me tell you.

THE ART OF POSTING A ROOMMATE AD

I think I have pretty good boundaries.  I’m trying to appear approachable and “sane” for lack of a better word.  Letting people get to know you is a process… especially with total strangers.

So, I censor my unconventional, dark and sometimes mildly disturbing sense of humor.  I changed my outgoing message to include my name, not Josephine Baker’s stage manager.  I’ve always thought the outgoing message is the perfect opportunity to really express yourself, probably not so in this situation.

My wants aside, I need to do this.  I’m expecting a $100 monthly rent increase soon, and it’s just getting too tight.  I live in a highly desirable neighborhood, so I thought this might actually be a snap.

My ad is pretty straightforward and honest… looking for someone clean and sober, preferably female and close to my age, which is late 40’s.  And all the usual, quiet, respectful, clean, responsible– understanding that we’re all good at giving our own testimonials.

TRAVELING LIGHT

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“I’m an adult coloring book artist with nothing but a can opener.”

“HEY, CAN I SPEND THE NIGHT, JUST TO SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE?”

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To Paraphrase:  “I live out of town but I have a friend who lives in Portland.  She said she’d spend a few nights with you and report back about the experience.  Then if it all checks out, I’d like to come spend a night or two.  You know, just to see what it’s like.”  You know.

ALIEN FISH

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To Paraphrase:  “I’m a 26 year old, but I look 23.  You should check out my Facebook page and listen to my new music mix.  It’s called “Expectations”, because I expect alien fish to invade our oceans sometime during my lifespan.”

 

RENAISSANCE WOMAN

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Shamanic bridger.  Vitality consultant.  Cranial sacral therapist.  Gift shop employee.

Other services offered include “house cleansing” to reconnect one with their living space.  Dishes and vacuuming are included at a rate of $30 per hour!

THE CIRCUS

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A self-proclaimed ex-lion tamer and lover of all things orange.

ISO CLEAN AND SOBER FEMALE:  NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH?

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“Hi, my name is Otter because I like to swim.

Actually, i’m probably more disqualified for occasional cannabis consumption than for maleness.  Technically, I’m a mosaic chimera– an incompletely absorbed twin–but i look like a man.”

Stream of consciousness… words & story

Juice

Injustice

Kind

Joke

Flower

Fold

Midget

Twist

Red

Stitch

Click

Twinkle

Nothingness With Twinkles… Oh!  But What Twinkles!

The kind midget twisted the lemon for juice and pulp. A click drew his attention to a fold in the drapes… is this a joke, he thought?

A twinkle from behind the fabric lit the stitching in shiny neon-like light. It sped and shimmered forward into the air.

Around the kind midget flew flowers and red grapes in temporary light– bright then dissipating, its disappearance an injustice to the sense of sight.

The kind midget had lemonade and thought about imagination.

one breath taken

East of the fog, I settle in for silence

I belong here:  under broadleaf maples

atop the mottled moss

and fallen feathers

The ground is wintry

quiet as a water skipper over the creek

Weight shifting to forest bed

slumber comes to mind

Tucking gauzy white gown around my knees

I draw myself in

I imagine a girl, staring at an ocean

unafraid of its vastness

unafraid of its depth

She stirs, diving into the aqua blue

past the urchins and otters,

the tentacles of octopi

She falls deeper still

surrounded by traces of bubbles

left by the flow of her movements

She is down where there is no light

only the feeling of resistance

between limbs and water

Here, she sets up a house

lives on one breath taken –

taken in the light with wide open eyes

Drifting across anemone

the skeletons of coral

she is asleep and dreaming –

dreaming in the light and of one breath taken

We surface together, the girl and I

A moth rests its powdery wings on our joined hands

We don’t move, we take it all in

Setting amber resin on a small bed of stones

we see fire, we watch

Smoke stretches in flight

a stirring of the very moment

Spirals cast shadows we cannot see

Finding the Middle Path (or) Silent Moments with my Brain


Finding The Middle Path

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).   BPD affects how people feel about themselves, how they relate to others and how they behave.

People with BPD often have an unstable sense of who they are. That is, their self-image or sense of self often rapidly changes. They typically view themselves as evil or bad, and sometimes they may feel as if they don’t exist at all. This unstable self-image can lead to frequent changes in jobs, friendships, goals, values and gender identity.

In addition, people with BPD often engage in impulsive and risky behavior. This behavior often winds up hurting them, whether emotionally, financially or physically. For instance, they may drive recklessly, take illicit drugs or go on spending or gambling sprees.

People with BPD also often engage in suicidal behavior or deliberately injure themselves for emotional relief. In my case, I resorted to self-cutting as a means of escape. I cut my skin to feel relief… and sometimes to feel anything at all.

The borderline person uses self-cutting to distract from pain, to create a wound to nurture, to tell the world that something is wrong.  With this series of paintings, I turned the knife away from myself and onto my artwork.  Each painting is layer upon layer of color, then scratched with a knife to reveal the layers underneath.

Smoking Jacket with Tentacles

Watercolor and pulverized metal on paper, 9″ x 12″

Smoking Jacket With Tentacles

 New Orleans, 2005

Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

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 There was just no way to tell.  No explanation.

Watercolor on paper,  9″ x 12″

just no way to tell

 Sweet Face, for GG

Watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

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M’lady’snotaniron

Watercolor and chalk on paper, 9″ x 12″

m'lady's'not an iron

Silent Moments with my Brain

Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

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Scratch.

Watercolor, acrylic and chalk pastel on paper, 9″ x 12″

scratch

 

Thanks for being here…