Thursday, February 26, 2009

our family writes haiku (and other kinds of poetry)

to where the yonder windlings blow,
and where dropped seedlings curious to grow,
have sent their breath, with ears kept low
I return my words, with hopes they land safely.

Take thee heart and massage it deeply
You have my eyes and ears freely
dance the feet and pack the car
I am with you, wherever you are

the city lives, and is not done with me yet
so you have me here too, with bricks and cement
keep the lines alive, so the pulse can sound
and be felt by the feet touching connected ground

colin o'brien-lux

squatter's rights

I feel like an imposter, sometimes.

I started renting a studio this week. It's a 500 sq. ft. unit on the 5th floor of a renovated paper mill, which sits on a river beside a wide, roaring waterfall. I share the floor with a costume designer, a glass worker, a watercolor painter and a score of other diverse artists. There's even another cartoonist, I think, about three doors down from me.

I rented the space because I can't work from home anymore. I've been doing graphic design from my home for six months, and quite frankly, it sucks. When you work from home, you are bombarded by a symphony of sirens every day. They take the form of laundry and bills and dirty dishes. You can pull an Odysseus and tie yourself to the mast if you want, but you have to come out of your bedroom/office at some point, and when you do, you think to yourself: "Damn, I'd better clean this place before someone calls FEMA."

So. I rented a studio for the sake of my graphic design business. And I rented a studio, too, because I have this overwhelming sense of expectation.

I'm drawing comics again. Last week, I wrote, illustrated, colored, lettered and published my first comic in seven years. Parts of it were clumsy. And you know what? That's okay. They say you never forget how to ride a bike. But honestly, you have to catch your balance once or twice if it's been a while since your last ride. I've been gone a long time from comics, but I've finally come back. It's the art I was born with, the art I will likely stay with for the rest of my life. And with that return is this electric sense of expectation.

Signing a year lease on a studio was definitely an "oh, shit" moment, though. Now, intention has become realilty. I have made a true, visceral move to realize a dream. That's nerve-wrecking. When you keep a dream inside your head, it's safe there, you know? But once it's born, it's subject to the rigors and pains of exposure.

Not only that, but here I am in a studio, sharing a floor with folks more trained and specialized than I am. Today, when I picked up the keys and entered the empty studio, I wanted to run into the hallway, drop to my knees and scream: "Okay, okay, okay! I confess, alright!? I haven't had any formal training as a visual artist since high school! And you know what? I've never taken a class on HTML, CSS, PHP or graphic design in my life and I've been doing it for almost a year! I'm a fake, I'm a fake! Oh, God, please, don't hurt me!"

I feel like such an imposter among artists, Neighbors. And to be honest, moving on to a floor full of artists is more than intimidating.

It's not just my lack of credentials. The word "artist" tends to be synonymous with a particular brand of culture that I've always felt excluded from. I don't understand why Keroauc should be revered. I make no statements with my clothes other than, "This is comfortable and doesn't smell like man-waft at the moment." And no matter how hard I try, Neighbors, I will never, ever look comfortable with a cigarette in my mouth.

To be honest, the only reason I'm an artist is because, I make art. I'm like the bus in the movie Speed: if I stopped making art, I would explode. That's why I do it.

So, in the midst of this new commitment, I comfort myself. I say to myself, you're renting a studio because there is no other option. Remember in third grade, when you drew cartoons to escape the daily ridicule of your classmates, when you sat at the desk furthest from your teacher to set up a makeshift studio and draw people's favorite characters on request? What you're doing now is no different, just a little more sophisticated. You're not an imposter at all.

This is who you have always been, and always will be.

our family writes haiku

Blown, scattered, winded
For a moment we feel lost
To find we are found


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

nocturnal's a bash

nocturnal’s a bash and
the shine’s not invited

nocturnal’s my blanky
til dark’s been depleted

knock turn-tables over
the dj’s defeated

nocturnal’s a bash and
the shine’s not invited

our family writes haiku

i am much like you
wandering in loose forests
can i come inside?

ariel climer

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shake The World

Shake The World from Shake The World on Vimeo.

our family writes haiku

Imagined grass grows
From the cracks of my trav'ling
Neighborhood's sidewalks...

shishir kurup


if you go here, i have asked my audience to tell me their
current obsessions. ones of any kind, shape, taste, sound.

and here, je suppose, i could tell you my own. to get the
ball rolling, because it's good to keep lists:

*white sheets
*red balloons
*the house
*new songs by (him)
*rce rough cuts
*mixed tape mail
*ugly faces
*the sound game with hannah

Friday, February 20, 2009

mighty blue

oooooocean spills then
tidies up I find it
wise that way and well how
could it be otherwise when
something so mighty’s got
the blues

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


love, from polska

Tuesday, February 17, 2009



I'm a little bit of everything today

the smell is in me now that

I've just come from the garden

it happens
oh just like that sometimes
you go into the garden
and you remember


Sunday, February 15, 2009

hallo aus berlin,

and from my adopted german niece, lina sophie.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

surface (it's been a while)

i miss scuba diving.
i miss upside-down earth.
i miss being on the other side of the looking glass.

i miss decompression, hovering those fifteen feet
below the surface of the ocean and waiting
for the nitrogen to leave my skin.

…i wake up from dreams these days
like someone coming up too fast.
my head goes through something
like the bends.
reality boils underneath my skin
like bubbles of nitrogren.

i have to take those fifteen minutes each morning,
lying quietly underneath the sheets,

becoming accustomed once again
to brain and flesh and heartbeat,

convincing myself, this is better
than life underwater.

I breath the air from ground to ceiling in a deep, deep sigh,
and lie there for a good fifteen minutes.

just decompressing.


Friday, February 13, 2009

I Am Walking

In the vein of wandering...

"The power of transcending borders and divisions through love." movie from Christopher Howe on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This isn't the type of thing I would normally post here. Or anywhere for that matter. But I thought you all might appreciate it.

Monday, February 9, 2009


say let's forget
all the names
all of them and let today be a field of foreign
flowers we walk through saying
what is this yellow one called I don't know it's latin oh
well and—oh hell just look
at it and just smell the thing already doesn't it
smell good

Saturday, February 7, 2009

lou reed on the radio

in the vein of videos. grainy ones.

i'm their biggest fan.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

surprises and marvels

Orderly travel now means going at the maximum speed for safety from point to point, but most reachable points are increasingly cluttered with people and parked cars, and so less worth going to see, and for similar reasons it is ever more inconvenient to do business in the centers of our great cities. Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.

(alan watts)

Monday, February 2, 2009

nail polish chipping days

missing your bicycle
hohner harmonica
blank crossword
carbon dioxide
green paper
silent film
fly away