mountain life

three (1/2) jobs + a state of creative state of mind.

The work-life balance with three (1/2) jobs and a family offers little free time. I continue working this week on an anthology of essays and a social commentary short, as well as a graphic essay/short story. 

I still find reading graphic novels as part of my "work research" these days. Some of my favorites on the nightstand now.

Lucy Knisley "The Age of License"

Demetri Martin "Point This at Your Face: Drawings"

Ros Chast "The Party, After You Left"

More words, ink, and sweat! And I should say, I love all three (1/2) jobs. Awesome hodge lodge of a creative life. (Note: The 1/2 job is running. It's a must-do.)

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life.... New shoes , better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for me....as of right now. Training for the next race. 

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life....New shoes, better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for me....as of right now. Training for the next race. 

Sketch of Life, 2

The 48-hour brine is in effect. Morning in the kitchen, finalizing the Thanksgiving menu, boiling the brine to marinate the big turkey (the family carnivores, request). The kitchen smells amazing! See Epicurious.com for yummy holiday fixings.....and looking forward to this roasted provolone recipe (i.e., appetizer) I'm making from BonAppetit. Here's to food in good company....

another inspiration at breakfast when the light hit the oozing yoke, just right....

Sunday Living of "The Art Spirit" (take 1)

Muddy pockets on back dirt road. My daughter and I having a blast.

Sunday Living of "The Art Spirit" (take 1)

Half of a whole day: Peddling over dirt roads pocked with water and mud. "Don't be afraid of the mud," I tell my kids, as I plow through the center of the puddles and flip up dirt on my mountain bike. We find moguls to pump our legs over and descend in succession. "I can wash whatever you've got on." They are resistant until they see me. Then they go for it. Enjoy the now. Wash them off later. A good day in the woods before snow hits this week.


Before the model takes his place, the wall is an identity in itself and is forward.
— Robert Henri, "The Art Spirit"

Self-portrait in loft of log cabin. The wall just was a wall until I gave it another identity. Robert Henri's art monologue came to mind.

Half of a whole day: The destination at the coffee shop for an afternoon of coffee, hot chocolate, egg nog latte, and sweet danish spilt among the children. We read our books in silence, in a group around our table. (I continue to read Robert Henri's "The Art Spirit," hence this is what filters my eyes at the moment while thinking about creativity and my awareness.) There is a great way to finish a long bike ride when the winds are gusty and it drizzles with the sun shining (random Central Oregon weather patterns), only after the huz requested we order nachos and watch football down the street at the Mexican restaurant.  

When we came home, after raking up pine needles and thinking about art going up the stairs the autumn setting sun hit the log cabin's loft. And I thought of Henri's monologue on backgrounds in portraits (hence, his quote above). 

Here's to a good week of creative energy and new output....

Minimalist Poet: The Treat of Random Finds

This past summer at Three Creek Lake, while I read a book in a canted position from a portable chair, a large man approached me. He had long sideburn chops, a belly that hung over his rodeo belt buckle, and two handguns strapped to his chest in a holster. He had come out of the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Cascade Mountain Range.

"I'm surprised you aren't reading a Kindle!" he said with a toothy smile.

"I'm no Luddite," I said. "I just prefer roaming the aisles of a library to see what I can find. I don't get that same feeling on Amazon, if you know what I mean."

"I do! I do!"

This strapped stranger and I talked for 20 minutes about books, about his life working the Barrow, Alaska pipeline (he was on his 10-day hiatus from work), and the woman he waited 20 years to catch and marry. The man was a short story in the flesh. I lived this man, this character from being in the world, rather than staying holed up in my studio and thinking up stuff. It was a genuine moment of authenticity. I appreciated him for being strange, vulnerable, and present. This man reminds me to get back to the creative version in me that I hide away during training, volleyball season, and long runs. Winter is coming, which means it's time to buckle down, resort to a warm little room of creativity, and drum up or polish off old projects I left for good weather, a mountain bike, and trainers.

Below is a gallery for you to flip through. Click and flip! Maybe it will bubble up something in you, too.....

This little gallery comes from a rare, free Friday afternoon, when I put up my feet and started to read little library finds: David Lynch's "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.

Strange coincidence: wouldn't you know that David Lynch credits this Henri book he read as a high school senior and how it became an influential piece to becoming a painter, then filmmaker. I found these two books independent of each other at the library....I MUST(!) be onto something creatively....awesome synchronicity. Digging back into poetry and film feels good again....

Where O Where Have You Been All My Life...

Photo taken from Patagonia advertisement. Shoe is called The Rover. Named by  Outside Magazine  as the Best Gear of 2014. Brilliant.

Photo taken from Patagonia advertisement. Shoe is called The Rover. Named by Outside Magazine as the Best Gear of 2014. Brilliant.

This little Patagonia ad dropped in my inbox the other day...it's like a video of the perfect date day with yourself or someone you love or dig or like.

Must get these shoes...run, climb, bike, run, climb, bike....such a video makes me miss the old SoCal backyard stomping ground of bouldering afternoons, mountain biking, and trail running. J and I crushed so many miles behind our house with our beloved dog....Good thing we can still do this in C.O....just not in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

brace yourself for tiny moments

Recap of mini proportions: a Saturday afternoon impromptu drawing session with daughter (see below), a trip to a new library (ahoy graphic novel section for adults!), and the publishing of a new illustration at The Hairpin called "The Yoga-Juice Continuum." 

 

Sometimes posts are not always timely when you're unplugged most of the day.  My little girl spread out blankets in the woods and asked me to draw blind contours with her. How could I say no.....

Sometimes posts are not always timely when you're unplugged most of the day.  My little girl spread out blankets in the woods and asked me to draw blind contours with her. How could I say no.....

Books on my desk that I will read with fever: 

Go find something to watch, some pavement/trail to pound or carve....and make it a good day. Thanks for stopping by once again.

your green monster

So many good things are posted on One Green Planet. You will find heart-breaking (in a good way) animal rescue stories, vegan recipes, organic food news, and much more. Who is being good to the world? Go there.

May your kindness show through in little ways and offer compassion to the planet. 

Selfie: Scramble climbed down the mountain to get to the creek. Water is high from the mountain's snow melt. It raged more like a river. Three-mile hike into the wilderness and a backpack picnic on the bank. Found an excellent site for bouldering, which, on the way back, had a dude hanging on the face above his crash pads. Now, welcome to a new day. Ahhh...

Selfie: Scramble climbed down the mountain to get to the creek. Water is high from the mountain's snow melt. It raged more like a river. Three-mile hike into the wilderness and a backpack picnic on the bank. Found an excellent site for bouldering, which, on the way back, had a dude hanging on the face above his crash pads. Now, welcome to a new day. Ahhh...

wild skyscrapers

Hiking and ambling. Hunting for the unknown or little surprises. I happened across this behemoth during an excursion. Needed multi-frames to even get a shot of it. Welcome to a nature-made skyscraper in the wilderness; no valet parking required beside this beast or waiting for your floor to exit, like high-rises in New York and Los Angeles. 

What does this have to do with writing and art? Everything. I take it with me as inspiration and a source of awareness. May you find your skyscraper in unlikely places? Let goodness fly out into the world….

Watch, rise, mega majestic tree! 

 

 

 

facing west

A spot where imagination does the work. And stacking wood helps, too.Happy New Year. This morning I decided to go through old drafts of stories I had written and then let them die a slow death, until now.

I happened across one from over a year ago. Part of it I like. Part of it I deleted. The give-and-take of the creative process is an interesting intersection of will and collapse. But as I start 2014 with more stories collected and finished, I think of little spots I adore and keep safe in my arsenal of architecture of storymaking.

Let the muse infuse new hues. May you find your inner beast of creativity....and run a mile or two for good measure.

For now I am reading and enjoying Paul Harding's Enon and Paul Auster's Oracle Nights. Both Pauls again on the nightstand.

the wild: two instances of a light study

hiking among snow patches and soggy forest. cashews and raw vegetables for fuel. a good time.

I realize this has become an Instagram world. But these images are not fuzzy or filtered with technology other than me learning how to push and pull the Smart phone aperture (I remember such experiments from the darkroom days of mine).

Light does its own job. Consider these images as selfies in a James Franco world. Doesn't Mr. Franco know every image you take is a selfie--"person" present in the frame or not. Each frame is a reflection of the maker. 

red light/no vacancy. loved the light post training session as seen from the driver's seat. another, yes, good time, but sweaty smelly.

tis tree hunting: (rustic chronicles continue)

Five dollars for a forestry permit and an off-roading truck equate an afternoon of good finds. Attached are a few exhibits. May you feel merry and wise, or just one, I guess.

Figure A. Bones and more wildlife bones. An intact skull found while trolling the forest for the perfect Christmas tree. We followed all guidelines.

Figure B. Ta-da: the prized and freshly cut ponderosa pine.

Figure C. Heading home. Lunch! Handmade bling, including the decorated sugar cookie ornaments adorn the tree, which are also the ones the dog eats off the tree when he thinks the coast is clear. Oops. It’s pretty darn cute.Happy holidays to you and yours.....

Brand Ambassador

The new issue of Backpacker arrived. Post Thanksgiving glut and rush, I had a chance to sit down after the gym to crack its cover. In the Trailhead section the magazine has a casting call for Brand Ambassadors for Backpacker. Holy awesome. I read the guidelines. It's for the ultimate vagabond, which I am not right now. If anyone has time to travel and become a spokesperson, this might be the job for you! Check it out....

One person's adventure is another person's lazy afternoon.....

the rustic chronicles

Thirty-five degrees upon waking. Welcome summer morning in the mountains. I continue to sketch and work on a larger piece of work, somewhat formulated in my head somewhat not. Creativity is a fluid companion who rearranges herself in dreams and takes the form of animals or light in the day. Today, with my bike, I shall find more pieces of the puzzle to where the story needs to go. Until then, meditate on this moments of quiet from a rustic life.

It's You It's Me, A Weekend Mash

Mountain time, island time, city time...dance music conjures up a good time in just about any room. So, here is a live show feed from Kaskade in San Diego (the It's You It's Me Redux) earlier this month. Seventeen minutes in rallies my heart. It really pumps old school around minute 47. Enjoy his beats. 

This photograph reminds me of the audio tracking beat profile in GarageBand, whenever I've mixed audio samples. If you go to Kasade's link (see above) you can see what I mean when you click on his latest music sample. However, this shot was taken last weekend at an outhouse along the coast. Poetry everywhere I tell ya.

Have a nice weekend of leisure and service to someone who needs it...and that person just might be you.

Namaste.

absorption of limitless space

The weekend library visit prompts much deliberation each day I devote to reading prose, poetry, philosophy. Here is an excerpt from one book that engages me.   

“One will again suffer, grow old, and die. Thus for Buddhists the final goal should be a supramundane path, one that leads out of cyclical existence altogether and which results in either state of Buddhahood or at least the more limited nirvana of an arhat or solitary realizer.”

Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, John Powers

Here are some images from my mundane world…which is close to earthbound nirvana for me. A random sample from living a simple life:

 

the art of learning

Yesterday a Swiss man who sounded like Gerard Butler came to the cabin. A former forestry worker, now a log cabin maker, he told us about our place and about an infected log in need of preservation. I asked about the man who built it. He said he was a calm man, a Buddhist, and still around.
     Mr. Guy who resembles an ATF vested agent on the back of a Humvee smiled next to me and said softly, "That explains a lot." He knows how drawn I have became to our homestead, as it leapt out of nowhere from the map. All along I have told him it is part of our dharma. He rolls his eyes at me most of the time. 
     This morning, with hot tea in hand, heading to the studio hut, I saw the light, the tree, the long grasses I've been cutting and tending. And this is why we live here. Simple images, as this. Surprises with each step. Shall I mention the bird calls? Too pathetic, sentimental? Perhaps, but glorious winged creatures they are.
     Before digging back into work, I read parts of Tricycle Magazine. Here is an excerpt from a semester ending speech from Seido Ray Ronci, monk/professor at University of Missouri. What can you glean? For me: a continuation of everything. 
"Socrates said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. It was true then and it’s true now. Ideally, an education is to help you live a fully examined life. You learn the important questions to ask. You learn how to seek for the answers to those important questions. And when you find the answers, you learn how to make sense of them. But you never can stop asking questions. There is one question of many parts that is the most important question of all: who am I; who was I before I was born; what happens when I die? This is the ultimate question that all human beings are confronted with, and that wise human beings have always aspired to answer. Until you understand that—what most people never do—there are many, many questions to ask. Education teaches you not just how to ask questions but also what questions to ask. The more you learn, of anything, the more questions you will have. In short, a good education teaches you how to learn for the rest of your life."
     Here is the article in its entirety. Have a good weekend. And examine your truth....namaste.

the clarity of non-essentials

A few days back I travelled deep into the forest to hang out with some locals who spend a lot of time in Nepal and practice Buddhism ethics. Some help run orphanages in Nepal. Others run village libraries. Some deliver stretchers to villagers and climbers on Mount Everest. The chef at the party had cooked for base camp at Everest. She rocked out the Nepalian spices and vats of delish vegetarian and vegan options.  

Upon leaving I took this image, handheld of the party's house at peace. The inside glow, the outside glow, it all flowed.

Each day I take on one more mantra of living the Buddhist way. This time, it's about the clarity that rises when you shed all non-essentials. I spent Sunday only doing what was essential. And a whole realm of creativity and lightness opened up, which had been clogged from non-essentials. Awareness: that's where it's at in all aspects of life and love and peace.