I have been on a few more Huff Post Live segments since I last wrote blogged, however, the following link is to only one of those shows. I thought if you saw any of them, you should see this very special one which features the brilliant Dr. Deepak Chopra
I recently interviewed artist Young Sam Kim on his new series “A World in the City.” For the series, the artist used “hyper-collage,” a technique in which various pieces of digital photography are layered and superimposed upon one another. Through the use of this technique, Kim seemingly created a world of his own; a multidimensional space in which each time you view one of his pieces, you notice something you did not see the first time.
When observing a work of art, the mind naturally tends to piece a narrative together, not only from the associations it brings to the work, but from the work itself (as it inevitably does while viewing Kim’s artwork). After my interview with Kim I realized that even the the most creative mind’s conjecture could not breach the depth of Kim’s commentary of “A World in the City.” And through a little knowledge of the artist himself, the layers of his work deepen to a whole other dimension: Kim is hearing and vocally impaired. Continue reading
I remember the first day I babysat Melanie. I was in college and a local family hired me to watch her four days a week. Things went really well during the initial consultation. The meeting was arranged to see if she liked me. I did her nails and then we did a puzzle. She did like me, of course, and there I was again the next Monday morning. We waved from the window as her mother drove off. This job is going to be so easy, I remember thinking… And then as soon as her mother’s car was out of site, she burst out screaming and crying. She was only four years old at the time and I was too ignorant to realize that four year olds are essentially the emotional equivalent of year old babies.
My eyes bugged out of my head. I stared at her unsure of what to do. I grew up as an only child and lived a extremely solitary existence for most of my young and adult life. I had minimal experience with children up until that point. Thankfully an inkling of maternal instinct kicked in. I picked her up and soothed her until she stopped crying.
Not long ago, I was having an email conversation with a friend who was going through some heart ache. My friend told me her story then asked for my thoughts, but not before she apologized for whining.
“You’re not whining,” I said. “You’re hurting out loud. You have to listen to your heart on whether or not you want to continue on if this other person finishes their lesson. Listen within to what your spirit tells you is good for you, don’t listen to your desires. Listen to what will be Good For Your Soul.”
I was driving home this morning from an appointment and I was feeling kind of sad. Lately things just don’t seem to be going my way and I find little happiness in my day to day affairs. In my head as I drove, I asked God to help me and then I looked up and there was one of those billboards with a Bible verse on it glaring back at me “My power works best in weakness.” I read it and reread it. What was that suppose to mean? Was this some kind of riddle?
I was really having trouble understanding what it meant and even after Googling the verse I lacked further clarification. My power works best in weakness? I suppose it means that at your weakest point is when you need to be the strongest. That this is the time to sink or swim- will you pull yourself out of the metaphorical gutter or just waste away? I have pulled myself out of a lot of gutters, for sure. I continue to do so on most days even my worst ones. I have done it so many times that I have become self reliant- maybe too self reliant. I do not trust nor depend on other people. After being let down time and time again, I learned that trust is not something I should exercise with anyone. Even with my closest friends and family it is difficult for me. So instead of a trusting person, I have become a more do- it-yourself-take-charge person. This does not work when trying to relate to other people, however.
As I sit here smoking a skinny joint from the balcony of my posh Hollywood Hills mansion, I cannot help but remember the days when I slaved away in a dilapidated nursing home for $9 an hour. The management were such scumbags to me there that they fought over giving me my yearly $0.30 raise and settled on a $0.15 raise for one year and a whopping $0.10 for the following. Thank-you sir may I have another!?
During those days when my boss would leave for the afternoon, I’d stare out the window and wonder how the hell I ended up in this mess. I would watch the sun go down slowly from my office window and know it was only temporary and that one day I would transcend this position by a million percent. I hated it there.
I don’t really care about mansions. I don’t really care about marijuana. I do care about options and possibilities. I don’t live in a mansion and I don’t smoke pot, but I would like the flexibility to do so if I wanted to. I have always had an interest in film. When I write my books, I envision them in three dimensions. I see them playing out in my head like the movie and that is how I often create realistic dialogue and dramatic tension. Some of the people I admire most are Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, both writers and famous filmmakers. Both are also individuals who would be considered late bloomers by society’s standards.
Tarantino worked at a Manhattan Beach video rental store until he was thirty. It was around this time a friend with connections encouraged him to write Reservoir Dogs. It took him three weeks to write the screen play and once made into a film it received high acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. The rest is history….
Kevin Smith has a similar story. Smith worked as a clerk at a convenience store. Around age 30, Smith maxed out his credit cards and borrowed money from family to create the epic film Clerks. The production of Clerks cost $30,000. It was filmed with a regular video camera in black and white. Smith used the convenience store where he worked as the movie set. Filming in black and white allowed him to conceal the fact that they were always filming at night (because the store was open during the day) thus giving them more flexibility for the chronological details of his script. After the completion of the film, he entered it into The Sundance Film Festival where it was picked up by Miamax almost instantly.
Miracles are like seedlings, slow. Take for example an event many consider a miracle, the birth of a child. After the sperm and egg meet, it takes approximately nine months for the baby to show up. Nine months of development for the fetus, nine months of waiting for the parents. It takes nine months for a child to be born and even longer to make it happen. There’s the idea of having the baby, planning, and some people try for years before there is a successful conception. Like a seedling, a miracle often takes a long time, but you know it will eventually turn into a tree; this is called belief or faith.
Miracles, or acts of God, are like anything else. They too take planning, waiting, and persevering. For some reason, I, like many others expect miracles to happen instantaneously. Time after time I’ve hit what felt like rock bottom, and expected God or something more powerful than myself to help me find (or think of) the missing puzzle piece, only to hit rock bottom again and again. I think there’s a plausible explanation for this and it lies in scientific fact.
On Friday April 6th, famous “painter of light” Thomas Kinkade died. Kinkade is known not only for his beautifully cheerful paintings but his strong faith and belief in Christianity. Within many of his paintings, he hid the names of his family members as well as Christian messages and symbolism such as the fish that he painted under his every signature. His nickname, “painter of light,” is likely a reference to the Renaissance; the era where the techniques of point of view and specifically light and shadow depiction were technically developed and perfected. In this era, the technique chiaroscuro was born. Chiaroscuro is a technique that utilizes light and dark shades and shadows to create realistic depth through usage of these various contrasting tonalities. The discovery of this way of painting light and shadow was drastic in comparison to the Byzantine style used throughout the middle ages.
Life after the house fire became like the movie Groundhog Day. Every day was the same and I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I had no family to call and vent my grief as the only member still alive was my sister. Through constant interference not of our own doing we had not spoken in a few years. I just couldn’t seem to pick up the phone and make the first move because I was stupid.
Life was filled with menial things like picking out wallpaper and hand painting a lot of trim. The firemen had given us a couple of boxes that were decorated like Christmas presents. They had not wanted the kids to be upset so they had wrapped up the perished pets as gifts. Since it was in the dead of winter I could not bury them so I made a tiny raft and sent them down the river.
The last pet standing was Snoopy who was an emotional mess and he now slept his life away. The dog knew things were out of his control like I did and had lost his friends in the fire so he literally gave up. I would go upstairs every few hours and coax him down to eat or go outside. But most of the time I just hugged him and cried.
I started this story last Saturday after I took pictures of homes that are now red and yellow tagged and about to slide down one of the hills in San Pablo, CA. For 21 days it has rained and anyone living on a precarious slope in the Bay Area knows the dangers. One of the homes that is red tagged was actually built on the same spot that a former residence in 1973 tumbled down to its final fate. How people can build on hills or on fault lines just for a view in this area boggles my mind.
As I drove by and watched neighbours help each other load belongings into U Hauls I understood the feelings that everyone had. Fifteen years ago my home had been ravaged by fire and I too sat there looking at destruction that I did not have any control over. I cannot begin to tell you how one feels when devastation hits your inner core as you watch something you loved vanish in a few fleeting hours.
It was a cold January day and the kids were flooding the rink outside when I noticed our German shepherd, Snoopy racing in from the greenhouse with a huge plume of black smoke trailing him. If there is an emergency I am not the one to send to an EMT unit as I panic easily. I screamed for someone to call 911 and we simply thought a hose spraying a steady stream of water into the basement window was enough to contain the fire.