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Dream element: 2.1.2016

February 1, 2016

I only recall one image: a cane toad, bigger than my hand. It was bright blue, with a pattern of white dots, and other (colored) markings that resembled Aboriginal paintings. I held it up to my right ear, which it whispered into. It also licked my ear (possibly as another mode of communication).

The toad was my good friend.



Cane toads [Rhinella marina] are native to North America, but were introduced to Australia for pest management, and became pests themselves. However, real cane toads are brownish grey.

I know amphibians can occur in all sorts of wild colors, but I don’t think I’ve ever personally seen a bright blue toad before. I don’t know how it came by its markings either: were they natural? Had a human being ‘decorated’ the toad? Had it decorated itself?

I’m suddenly getting a trickster vibe.

Bright blue is a positive color for me; white dots on a blue background were strikingly attractive.

I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction lately, including one story set in the Australian bush (although I didn’t read most of it).

= = =

I woke up smiling.

Revisiting The Artist’s Way, 2013 edition

January 23, 2016

On 2.11.2013, I wrote:

Imaginary Lives, week 1:

  • circus performer
  • poet (in Spanish)
  • xenodiplomat
  • pastry chef
  • plant doctor

Imaginary Lives, week 2:

  • geologist
  • conceptual stylist for photo sessions
  • inventor
  • interior designer
  • florist

= = =

Since then, I’ve dreamed in Spanish, I’ve written a bilingual poem, and I’ve collected several books on poems in both Spanish and English.

I’m still figuring out ‘xenodiplomat’, but just today I read something that reminded me that’s a thing I yearn to do.

Whenever I eat tasty food these days, I’m thinking about flavor combinations. (Still not cooking, yet, but it’s too soon.)

Ever since we moved into the new apartment a year plus ago, I’ve been decorating it.


On 2.11.13, I also wrote:

Week 2, Sense of Identity

10 Tiny Changes:

I would like to . . .

  1. hang up artwork in my studio
  2. finish going through my closet & figuring out what needs to go
  3. [silent retreat]
  4. do Feldenkrais (to learn how to really live in this body)
  5. dance
  6. finish trimming jade skirt, so I can wear it
  7. repair rust-brown linen shell, so I can wear it again
  8. make a yellow garment, and wear it
  9. get muscle car stamps and send mail to myself
  10. get to know Baltimore

= = =

In 2016, I’m doing #1 and #2. I don’t recall what #3 was about. I’m still trying to figure out #4 and #5. I did #9a, and #9b is an ongoing project that is wonderful.

I’ve been realizing lately that… my natural rhythms of activity, creative and otherwise, are v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w. If other people are rushing streams, I’m a glacier. But maybe that’s my autism? I’m taking in so much more data (than NT people), and it all has to be processed/interpreted/digested. And only much later do I start figuring out what use I could put any of it to.


I think I’m still processing stuff that happened at AROHO/Ghost Ranch, also in 2013.

Other people are faster, but I have lots more complexity. (I think.)


On 2.20.13, I wrote:

Week 3, Sense of Power

Detective work:

Favorite childhood toy? Miniature house interiors I created out of Kleenex boxes, then furnished and decorated. (They were not for dolls to play in.)

Favorite childhood game? Scrabble with my grandmother; also fun when my older cousins played too.

Best movie as a kid? Escape to Witch Mountain. The Man Who Would Be King. Time Bandits.

I don’t do it much but I enjoy . . . drawing. Doodling.

If I could lighten up a little, I let myself . . . make a party dress, designed by my inner 6 year old, for my 46 year old body. Something pretty and fun, the way little girls’ dresses are.

If it weren’t too late, I’d . . . learn to use the roller blades in my closet.

Favorite musical instrument? Accordion. Xylophone.

Amount of money to treat myself to entertainment per month? Probably close to $0.

What should I buy my inner artist? That set of picks, from Ace Hardware.

Taking time out for myself is . . . still hard.

I’m afraid that if I start dreaming . . . I’ll just be disappointed, if not heartbroken, when nothing works out.

Secretly enjoy reading? SFF for teens.

If I’d had a perfect childhood, I’d have grown up to be . . . an inventor, and eccentric but beloved genius.

My parents think artists are  . . . dead. All men. Unstable and unpleasant and quitters.

What makes me feel weird about this recovery is . . . I’m hoping the fifth time through The Artist’s Way process is the charm. But sorry I’ve needed 17 years of prep work to get this far.

Learning to trust myself is probably . . . the most important thing I could be doing.

Most cheer me up music? Disco. Sprightly love songs from country and pop. Stuff I can dance to. Examples: The Long Way Around by the Dixie Chicks. Nothin’ ‘Bout Love Makes Sense by LeAnn Rimes. I Melt With You by Modern English. And We Danced by the Hooters. Call Me Maybe by Carly Jepsen. KC & the Sunshine Band; the Bee Gees; the Pointer Sisters.

My favorite way to dress? Long skirts to twirl in; mismatched patterns; colorful.

= = =

In October 2014, I bought a book about making A-line dresses for little girls. I’m still not ready to make a dress for my 49-year old body, but I believe I will get there.

I’ve moved the roller blades so that I can get to them quicker. Haven’t used them yet.

I don’t have a monthly entertainment budget per se, but I do have a dedicated fund to take myself to see movies at the cinema.

I bought the set of picks, and I have used them for various things.

Since late December, I’ve been working on spending time in my studio. Not creating, usually, just… spending time in it. Looking around, thinking, daydreaming. I’m working on getting comfortable with myself as a creative person again. I’m decorating! This is the best incarnation of a studio I’ve ever had. I started having studios in… 1995, iirc. So it’s taken me 20 years of tinkering to get something that really works.

I’m no longer ‘sorry’ it took me 5 tries and 17 years to complete TAW process. I now realize that is my process.

I wear mismatched patterns all the time now. Yesterday I combined 2 different sets of horizontal stripes and plaid. It was glorious.



January 23, 2016

Our snowfall stopped ~ 8 p.m. Saturday. It’s 10:30-ish now, and the scene behind our building is eerily quiet for the first time in days — no wind.

Spouse says BWI (Baltimore’s airport) got 29 inches, the new record for one snowfall.

We’ll likely be shoveling our cars out most of Sunday.

I’m glad we didn’t have to go anywhere. I’d like to not try to drive anywhere until the snow starts melting, but that might not be possible: Amazon tried to deliver a package yesterday, and now it’s waiting for me at the post office.

Also, another armful of Inter-Library Loan books arrived at my branch of the public library Friday, so I’ll have to pick them up next week. (Or be assessed fines for all of them.)


I’m at loose ends, and I can’t figure out how to fill my time, creatively or otherwise.

I haven’t been enjoying most of the books I’ve gotten from the library, but nothing I own calls to me either.

When all else fails, sleeping fills up time, and I’ve been doing a lot of that. (When my sleep schedule will cooperate, that is.)

Thinking about trying to go through The Artist’s Way process again. The first time I got all the way through it was in 2013.


Reading List 1 of 2016

January 21, 2016

Covers the period from 1.6.2016 through 1.21.16

I own 6 of these items. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 7 of them; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 1.



  • Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion by Melissa Leventon
  • The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art by Katherine Duncan Aimone
  • Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style by Cintra Wilson


Fiction ~ Visual:

  • [Film] I Am Love {Io sono l’amore}
  • [Film] Robot & Frank
  • [TV] Masters of Sex, season 2
  • [TV] Mozart in the Jungle, season 1


Fiction ~ SFF:

  • Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
  • Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older
  • Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn


Biography & Memoir:

  • A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George by Kelly Carlin
  • Masters of Sex by Thomas Maier



  • Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg



  • Madam [sic] President by Nicolle Wallace


ambling along

January 11, 2016

Even though I’m reading books again, I’m not reading much of anything very often. I have a whole stack of books from the library — I haven’t looked at them, and some all are going back unread.

I’m spending hours in my studio, mostly just looking around and daydreaming or thinking.

I haven’t even been dreaming very much.

= = =

I do 1 or 2 things every day that are related to making my studio more congenial. I don’t press myself to do more, or to speed up the process. I’m feeling my way into new rhythms.

= = =

With all the unstructured time in my studio, I’ve realized I want everything in it to resonate with at least 1 part of me. All the parts don’t have to fit together neatly (and they don’t). I no longer want items that aren’t about present-Mea.

This is a big change, and kind of scary, so I’m being gentle with myself as I implement it.

= = =

Moving things around, rediscovered 3 books I thought I’d permanently lost. Improvised a standing desk out of a stack of shelves. Great way to store piles of books from the floor — alas, it’s too high to reach my laptop comfortably.

= = =

I no longer have any sense of my life “going” somewhere. I’m okay with that.

Dream fragments: 1.8.16

January 9, 2016


I’ve been on a day trip far from home, in (where else?) a mall. It’s been a long day, looking at things, lots of walking, thinking through what comes next. To rest a while, to eat, to capture my thoughts, I stop at a restaurant.

As I leave, I grab my bag — like a lunch sack, but in black nylon. A jaunty ring of flowered duct tape around the handle, so I can find it in a crowd of black bags.

Later, I sit again, and open my bag, intending to get out my (electronic) notebook, or possibly my phone.

It’s not until the bag’s contents are before me that I realize, this isn’t my bag. I look at the handle, and there’s indeed no jaunty ring of flowers.

Part of my stomach drops. Will I ever see all the photos stored in my notebook again? Or are they lost forever?

If only I’d carried my phone in one of my pockets! I do carry my wallet and my keys in pockets of my pants, always, so I have those. But why not my phone? Can I go back in time and make a different choice? When I envision speaking to my mother about this later, I’ll have to explain why I hadn’t made that different choice. Won’t I?

I walk back to the restaurant, which is a long way away. I turn in the other bag; ask if anyone’s found my bag.

They haven’t, but somehow there’s a phone that might be mine. I eagerly open it (it’s a flip phone), but there’s a button in the center of the keypad that won’t turn on, almost like I’ve lost my password.

That means I can’t call my family and tell them I’ve been held up. I can’t find out where they are.

I’m cut adrift.

My photos, the loss of my photos, hurts the most. How can I reconcile never seeing them again?



Fabric as floor-length veils on a trio of women. Chiffon, with embroidery at the edges in a cinnamon brown. The color of the veils is… I don’t know how to describe it properly. Sort of like peach, but not as yellowish. And yet, when the light is behind them (as it was), they glow as if from within.




I don’t know how I can dream about colors I don’t recall ever seeing in waking life, and yet, this has happened before. And since I have emotion-color synesthesia, I know that any colors that announce themselves to me in dreams are emotionally significant. I have to remember not just what they seemed to mean, but what they looked like — because I may encounter them in waking life.

But I don’t remember the dream itself, just that one image.

Cinnamon brown, of course, is related to cinnamon, which is a highly important motif in my life.

Embroidery has been much on my mind lately. I don’t know if it means something more than that.

I’ve never seen veils on women like the ones in this dream.

I don’t know what to make of any of it.



I do own a roll of duct tape in a flowered design. And I do mark my bags with a ring of it. I did that initially to the things I brought with me to Ghost Ranch in 2013, so I could easily pick out my own things. (None of my things were black, however. I don’t own a bag like the one in my dream.)

I don’t own an electronic notebook.

My current phone is a smart phone. I got it a few months before going to Ghost Ranch; I used it to take photographs that I posted to Twitter so Spouse could ‘see’ New Mexico. (He never got on Twitter and looked.)

= = =

I’ve been thinking a lot about kinship lately.

We know people by the company they keep. I keep company with, and take photographs of, mostly nonhumans: trees, fungi, moss, lichens, running water, flowers (in season), rocks, clouds, spiders and webs, occasionally birds or bugs. I have several ongoing series of photos of Spouse too.

I think I have maybe 3 photos of people I know that are not Spouse. All related to each other, all from the same visit, in late 2013. On my phone, not my regular camera(s).

I took those photos mostly for the novelty. One is a selfie with other people in it.

I knew I would… likely never see these people again.

I never look at their photos. I kept them though.

But I often look at other photos I’ve taken much more recently. Flowers, trees, my studio, whatever.

My photographs are a record of my life. My friends. My kin.

‘Family’ is a painful word. I don’t really know what it means; I know the definition that a dictionary can tell me. I know being abandoned, being betrayed, being forsworn. I know… people being ashamed to be seen with me, pretending we’re not related. I know being expected to apologize for existing, but somehow it’s never enough.

I’d like to think that ‘family’ is something completely different. Something I’ve never had, but that it exists somewhere out in the wide world.

I would never affectionately call a person ‘sister’, or ‘brother’. Definitely not any sort of ‘parent’. Not likely even ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’.

The only ‘family’ endearment I would use is claiming someone as Cousin.

Turkey vultures, the state of West Virginia, particular trees, a few (a very few) human being people. I’ve gotten more cautious over the years with calling human beings Cousin, as they’ve often been grave disappointments. West Virginia and turkey vultures, however, have never let me down.

Someday I really need to write about G-g-g-g-gm PR. She’s a character in poems I don’t know how to write, along with a mountain lion in the snow, wasp witch, and my Inner Alligator. Elders, all. None of them speak English, or any human language though. I catch a glimpse of them sometimes, rarely, but I don’t know what they’re saying. They are trying to help, I know that.

= = =

My photographs in the dream must signify something, but what? My art maybe. My life. My inner life. My attachments and affiliations. My aesthetic. My spiritual neighborhood.

Intercalary Reading List

January 5, 2016

Covers the period from 12.30.15 through 1.5.16 /// I did not read any books for 764 hours total

I own 3 of these items. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 1 of the books; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 5.



  • A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers by Margot F. Horwitz
  • An Inner Silence: The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World by Christian Sardet
  • Women Seeing Women: From the Early Days of Photography to the Present by Lothar Schirmer
  • Wynn Bullock: Revelations


Poetry & Poetics:

  • Everywhere Being is Dancing: 20 Pieces of Thinking by Robert Bringhurst
  • Poets of Jewish Culture, edited by Rosemary Canfield Reisman


Human Sexuality:

  • Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
  • [TV] Masters of Sex {Season 1}

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