Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lost in Translation: Relearning the Language

The mathematics of a relationship are supposed to be simple, how one person exists in relation to the other, in perfect balance or out of sync. Like a shared language, based on a mutual communication and understanding, we learn the basic rules and keep practicing until we get it right.

We were lost in translation. The important words to creating a co-existance, had different definitions for us. Simply, I said "tomato", he said "tamato". Words like: "love", "monogamy", "marriage", "selfishness", and "happiness", held different truths, like rose-colored lenses. We agreed, to disagree.

Maybe it was the challenge of learning the other's language, that intrigued us. Maybe we thought we could mold the other into a "native speaker". Maybe we found a beauty in the other's dialect, but couldn't form our mouths and tongues to make the proper sounds. Finally, we gave up on words and let our instincts do the talking. But eventually that failed us too.

I spent four years of my life speaking of the relationship, as if it were our own secret club for two. The well-rehearsed words, rarely accepted by others, richochetted above my head, in a constant buzz of self-doubt. Why others couldn't relate to me, baffled and frustrated me. But maybe I had become fluent in a make-believe language, without me even knowing it. Or maybe I had just accepted a hybrid, line of speech; with the casual slang of my first-given vocabulary and the arcane definitions of an influential mentor.

Now when I speak, I correct my own thoughts, questioning whether or not they were mine to begin with. Or if they were someone else's, that somehow snuck their way into my mental dictionary and vernacular. I just want people to understand me again. To connect their eyes with mine and nod, not necessarily with approval, but that they are hearing what I am saying. I had forgotten what that was like, long ago.

To be an outsider looking in, or an insider looking out, it doesn't matter much to me, just as long as I can communicate with the rest of the human race, once again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Living In Frames?

To be honest, I am so very humbled to hear how people are responding to Living in Frames. The more I hear, the more impassioned I become in trying to keep a fluid, stream of consciousness going. Having an audience is motivating, but it also keeps me clear of how far this journey can continue. The possibilities are endless, so long as I have the language and desire to translate my experiences for you, my readers. And I enjoy sharing! (I am also a pretty, darn good listener and always open to conversations about the good ole' stuff, we call "life")

In a way, I think I was a born storyteller. How else could one explain the eclectic, feast of experiences that seem to have trailed me tirelessily, from the time of conception? My mother was already telling stories about my arrival, long before I came. And the detailed accounts of her plans for me, were meticulously logged, so when it was time for me to look back at my upbringing, I could catch up on the already backlogged material. Maybe it was in my blood? Or maybe it was just a growing appendage, like fingers defined by age and use.

I had many relatives who wrote, but never dared call themselves "writers". I guess I would be a second generation writer, knowing only of my mother who has finished a book (now if I could only get her to publish it!). Artists are many things, but least of all, coaxable.

My first real exposure to the written word, was through my mother reading 5 cent Golden Books that she had picked up in a supermarket aisle or a thrift store bookshelf, and the children's books she had written and illustrated herself, when she couldn't spare the change. She would line my crib with the fold-out books, to ooh and ahh at the pictures of simple shapes and characters, or hold me snug in her lap to point at the cardboard flaps. I would concentrate hard, grab with my chubby, dimpled hands, and sometimes mouth with slobbering, inquisition. I was a curious one, I was.

My mother's favorite image of me as an infant, was when she would lie me on my bareback, in the shaded grass of an Alabama summer, and I would stare wide-eyed at the rippling leaves of an old Chestnut. And as though that same calming energy ran through my own tiny body, I would coo like a small bird, in the comfort of my own cool, green nest. I felt a connection to my surroundings at a very young age, almost a connectedness, and consequently defined in me a sensitive and observant nature. And though to any artistically-minded individual, this would be a blessing, I have always had a love/hate relationship with the way I see the world.

If you have read my profile, which really doesn't tell you who I am, let alone say much of anything, the title of this blog, Living in Frames, came out of my own understanding of how I experience life. One may choose a quilt or a patchwork, as a better metaphor.

We all have these moments pieced together, but within those moments we have more minute details, and within those details, the smaller things we missed. The framework of our memory and our mind, can be as focused as those smallest things, like the veins of those rippling Chestnut leaves. Or the framework can be as broad as a lifetime. It's how we choose to step inside those frames, walk about, and appreciate them, that gives us our perspective.

So, that's my little anecdotal nugget, on Living in Frames, and why I chose the name for my blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where Did "IT" Go?

Every so often, I catch myself browsing the archives of, when I should be productive in other ways. Cheap laughs and pure bafflement of humanity, is usually the motivation. Lately however, I've been fascinated by old movie clips and shorts.

Maybe I crave something nostalgic. Maybe I feel as though I missed something by an age default. Or maybe there was a purity in film then, that I just don't see in this modern age. Whatever it is, I feel more of a connection to the older clips, than the lastest YouTube showcases.

This evening I came across a clip entitled, Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger, and though the idea of it just seemed completely boring to watch (regardless of who it was), I was still intrigued.

If you viewed this clip in its entirety, without scrolling the timer ahead, I am impressed. About half way through the clip, as I watched Andy dip his burger without a crack in expression, I anxiously held the mouse, tempted to click forward. But "What if I miss something?", I thought. What if he drips ketchup on his shirt and curses? Or complains that the fries are missing? Or launches into some social commentary about commercialism? I will never know what I missed out on, because I was too impatient to sit and watch.

This blog is less about YouTube and more about something that existed then. When the image of an icon eating a burger, was art, and the people who understood the language of art, appreciated it. Today, a man eating a burger, is just a commercial. And that was Andy's point; this was where our society was headed then and this is where it is today.

Art has always been created in pockets of society. In the past they were intellectual circles, where people traded ideas, theories, and inspirations. Today, I see artists as a more disconnected bunch, in constant competition for a market, for the spotlight, or for fame.

In the 1920's, when Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, Pound, Cummings, and Steiglitz, got together amongst bottles of wine, a creative energy was fueled from their camaraderie. They were avant-garde and challenging. The Post-Fauves. The Modernists. It was "Art for Art's sake!"


In the 50's, it was the Beat Generation; Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bukowski, and Burroughs. They were hip and non-conformists.


In the 60's, it was Warhol and the characters of his Factory. They were full of love and peace, and wanted beautiful things.

The 80's saw the tale end of art as a group endeavor or ideal. The Neo-Expressionists like Basquiat, Salle, and Cucchi tried to keep the circle together, but the future was inevitable.


Something real existed then, something pure, something insightful. And I feel like I really missed out. That I was born in the wrong time. It is true that being an artist is a lonely path, but sometimes I long to be connected with others who follow a similar path, who know a certain language, who can offer wisdom, inspiration, and understanding.

To know that there were "golden times", that there were circles that will never form again, and that there were "movements" would never get the same momentum these days. It's all a bit sad, I guess.

"Everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see..." - Andy Warhol

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Remembering Those Who Came Before

If we weren't quite ready to get over David Carradine's farewell, let alone understand his secret life, there passed two more great celebrity icons, for us to pick apart, piece back together, and divert our attention. The recent swarm of tabloid gossip and "news", over the death of Michael Jackson, has been overwhelming and disturbing. And there seems to be no silencing of the buzz, until something even larger to report, comes along. Even Obama's healthcare reform campaign, much needed by the majority of the population, has taken the backseat to our beloved pop, man-child.

Now, I am not going to be another voice idolizing celeboredom. Truth be told, I rarely pay attention to the nonsense surrounding these people and the elevated status the public has given them. Afterall, they are just people who have been successful in their trade, no less or more greater, to the non-publicized. And of course, they have contributed to their industry and inspired many generations, but they are not super-human, Jesus, Mother T, or Ghandi.

I've overheard and participated in many conversations over the death of David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. And they all seem to follow the same understanding of the events surrounding their death.

"Oh, they were such an influence, ahead of their time really, gone before their time. BUT... did you hear about the erotica, the kiddie porn, the arguments over the will, the relationship between them and..."

It doesn't make sense. The public turns these people into gods, then they cast on them a negative light, displaying their flaws unmercilessly, for entertainment and judgement. Society is told to honor and respect those who are successful, but then they resent doing so, and they resent those who have succeeded.

I think of how I will be remembered when I pass away or how I have remembered those I've loved, who came before me. They were not perfect. I am certainly not perfect. And there will always be some strings that are never quite tied up. But when all is said and done, and I am no longer a presence on this earth, I hope to be remembered in an honest way. Not in a way that distorts who I was, or gives my loved ones a reason to question who I really was.
I want to be remembered for the less-than-perfect-quirky-compassionate-truthseeker I am today and will be throughout my life.

I am still young and I would like to think I have many years ahead of me. But if I were to go before my time, like so many people often do, I would like something like this said about me:

She wasn't perfect. She sought beauty and love in the simpliest forms, but expressed them with great passion. Her heart was an open book and she never questioned her compassion towards others. She was inspired by many and hoped one day she could pass the gift of inspiration on to others. She loved, laughed, danced, and smiled to the end. This is how she wanted to be remembered.

By the way, she took back that Snicker's bar she stole when she was five. Just in case it was overlooked...

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."