Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

I’m Dreaming

1. I saw Inception tonight, I think after everyone else here already did. There were about 15 people in there & I knew almost all of them (we came together, my town is not that small that I know everyone.) I just need to say the physicality in that movie really is like my dream world, they captured the details, the breadth, the depth, the grandiosity and the specificity. I have this city that I’ve visited for years in my dreams. It’s the first clue I had that I loved maps (besides pouring over them in real life, that wasn’t enough of a clue.) (Also I can visit a place for the first time again in years and I know exactly where I am.) (I like to know where I stand.) This dream city has been made up of the neighborhoods and places I have lived all my life. I used to live in Huntington Beach briefly. So the beach had a prominent place in my dreams. And I often dreamed of buffaloes chasing me down the street. I’m sorry, this is certainly getting rather boring for anyone but me. Anyway, back to the beach, there were often tsunamis in my dreams. I learned over time how to avoid getting sucked into the wave, where to stand, how to run. The thing is, I haven’t dreamed about that even once since the tsunami hit Indonesia in 2005. Not that I think my dreams were predictive, but more that real life has trumped that dream. I could no longer use that image once real life claimed it.

2. So another dream, just one, last year, it was during the fight over Prop 8. At the height of it. I inexplicably dreamed about the older brother of a friend of mine from high school. I had no reason to think about him. But maybe I’d overheard his name? I really don’t think I did. Anyway, he was not my direct friend, but he was one of the group of cool kids that were the older brothers of my friends. They talked leftist politics together, made little zines, made art, listened to the best music. Anyway, I dreamed about him and in this dream, I saw him murdered, mercilessly, there was a lot of blood. You have to know, I don’t dream those kinds of frightening things, and when my dreams are frightening, they are not bloody. But this was both. I googled his name when I woke up. He was/is a lead attorney in the fight to ban gay marriage. How could things end up this way? Him? What?!? And this dream?!? I can’t write his name, I’m too afraid that someone would do something horrible, because, you know, this blog is widely read. In my dreams. 🙂

3. This next part could be succinct but I’ll probably ruin it. At age 14 I sat down, looked out the window, and decided what I wanted out of life. It stays with me. I knew I wanted this art thing, to raise children, to have love, to know God. So, 4, 3, 2, 1, here I am. If I ever sound like it’s having children that’s held me back before now (have I addressed this before?) well it isn’t just them. It’s also me. Paul Kos looked me in the eye at art school and said, are you going to do this thing? I said, it may take me a long time, but I will never quit. So even if it looks like I quit at some point, or really- that I never got started- well, things aren’t what they seem. I needed until now to clarify my thoughts. At 20, I couldn’t even fathom how people said with such conviction what they liked & didn’t like in art. I had no idea what I thought. Someone said how much they loved Agnes Martin. I wasn’t sure. I just watched. (What are those lines? Why those colors? Why is nothing happening there? What is it?) I am still watching, but now I am making things, too. Finally. And I absolutely love Agnes Martin now. But I still feel like I am always just a breath away from this all falling apart, because I don’t trust that this is real, that it will last. I hardly trust myself. I’m here doing this now, but will I be in 6 months? I want to say that because I have been waiting for this moment, that it’s started now, and there’s no stopping it. I want this art thing, I have always wanted it. Have I really started to work? After all this time? Is this a dream? It is.

4. In real life, I’m not surrounded by artists–it’s quite the opposite. I went to an art show today, Alexis K Manheim’s, and I loved seeing her work in person. I love seeing the materials and thinking about the moment when each piece is made, and the decision to turn in this direction, then that. I like the digging into the paper with a pastel chunk, I like the marks that seem to be records of the sounds of life. I haven’t done a lot of drawing or painting for a while, but the materials and strokes of the artist still make me very happy. I remember times when I’ve gotten lost in picture making and there’s so much joy in that. Then I paid a quick visit to the Fisher Collection (SFMoMA)–quick, because of needing to pick up Hub, then return home, drop him at his car, and drive on to a movie with friends (Inception!). So at SFMoMA I sat, in the Agnes Martin room, and I breathed. Her work energizes and soothes me at the same time. It’s atmospheric and it’s ordered. It’s the desert air, it’s clarity. You know this if you know the desert intimately. I know the visual language to take all this in and hear the beautiful silence there. I know a language my friends don’t know they are missing. I wish they could know what I know. My life is rich because I know this beauty. They see the beauty on their hikes, they taste it in their raw food (?), they know it in the regular life they live, in some way. But I get this art thing, and I feel so lucky. I love art.

5. Online life is unreal. One thing I really need to say is, in some of my posts, you saw a back and forth I had with the artist Jesse P. Martin. I haven’t known how quite to say it, but I want to say a public thank you to him- he so graciously and kindly took time to look at my work when I asked him, and he gave feedback on my work- it’s not so much that he liked it (although he seemed to) but that he cared enough to let my work speak & have a voice. From online interaction to real life meaning. What a valuable gift to me, thank you Jesse.

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