I mean that in more ways than one! First, I welcome you back to this blog, which has been dormant for a while, because many reasons. Second, I have been welcomed back to Weir Farm for another stint as Artist-in-Residence. This time I intend to focus on landscapes, mostly large oils, but also some smaller watercolors.
Of course, this will the first time in a looooong while that I'll be able to focus on art at all. It's been almost 2.5 years since the accident, and those years also featured the loss of my mother, and six weeks later my cat Smudge. To say nothing of my ability to work and support myself by any means, my creative momentum on many projects, both art and writing, and, well, large chunks of sanity along the way. The friends who've helped support me and hold me together during these years deserve sainthood for their efforts.
I've made some good strides lately, and have some reason to believe I may have leveled up on my path to recovery. KNOCK ON WOOD. With my arrival at Weir, it seemed an opportune time to pull this website out of the closet – and have a means to let the world know what I was up to while hopefully minimizing social media backwash from whatever the world is up to.
So here it is. Here I am. I can't promise anything at this point, but I've opened the gate to this path of communication.
I've unloaded the car, unpacked some things, and most things are just like they were back in February 2016. Keep your fingers crossed, because one way or another, some paint is gonna hit some surfaces, for better or for worse!
In which I detail one of the ways I know it's the mTBI & not aging or something other natural forces.
Despite a recent incident in which I made it extremely clear that the "me too" occurrences that compare my mTBI issues with aging and such were offensive, aggravating, off-base, and needed to be shelved, I still f*cking encounter them.
IT IS NOT THE SAME. The symptom may appear to be the same from someone on the listening end of my complaint. But LET ME ASSURE YOU, it is not the same on the actual experience end of things.
Let me detail one of the ways I know.
Almost all of us has had that "tip of the tongue" can't think of a word moment. Right? I'm familiar with those. I've had a few.
Those feel like you're wandering down a path to that word and the path becomes overgrown with bushes & weeds, and you need to dig through the underbrush to reveal the path to the thing you're looking for.
At least that's how it feels to me. There's something foggy, something obscuring the word. And the experience has that "tip of the tongue" feel to it, you ALMOST have it. And, if you're like me, you don't get stuck on some other word instead.
Since the accident, I have had word issues of a completely different nature.
In these, the path to the word stops dead. Bridge out. Road closed. And I can push up against that all I want, and can't get any closer to it. There's no underbrush to shove aside. It's somewhere on the other side of a ravine I can't cross.
I swear, that's exactly how it feels. Road closed. Bridge out.
Except instead of there being a sign that says "road closed," it says another word, – or in a few cases two words – that relate to the word I'm looking for in one or a few oddball ways.
Let me give you one of my favorite examples:
One of the earliest occurrences came about a year or so ago, in a discussion about pesticides, agriculture, Monsanto, and whatnot.
The word I was looking for was "Roundup," the pesticide.
I could not think of Roundup at all, but instead, kept getting "downpour" from my brain.
Look at the two words: Roundup. Downpour. ROUNDUP. DOWNPOUR.
Look at the letters they have in common. Say them. Listen to the cadence: ROUND-up. DOWN-pour. Listen to the sounds they have in common. Think about them. Note the "up" and "down" relationship, too. roundUP. DOWNpour.
So in this discussion, as I tried to think of the word "Roundup," all I kept getting back from the brain search was "downpour," and nothing else. Not a single hint, or other letter to start with. Just downpour.
Until I finally said, "I know this isn't right, but all I can think of is 'downpour'…… Roundup. It's Roundup."
In the nanosecond I decided to say "downpour" out loud and the brain command traveled through the various nerves to make my mouth do so, I jumped the ravine to the correct word.
Let me repeat that: I get completely stuck on a word with no way around and one or two very clearly NOT the right word words, and I get miraculously unstuck when I say the WRONG words OUT LOUD.
This is unlike any sort of "tip of the tongue," "just can't think of it," "there's a word for that," word memory brain fog issue I've ever had or heard of.
See? It's not the same. The apparent effect to an observer may appear the same. But the reason & experience of it ARE NOT.
Some people can't read a sign because they're near-sighted. Some people can't because their eyes are excessively dry. Some people can't because they're partially or completely blind.
Same overall effect, very different reasons why & experiences. So cut it out.
It's common for humans to try to find ways to relate. Sure, I get that. And in the cases where I'm tempted to, I make sure to think, "there's probably more differences here that I can't see or understand than similarities to my experience, so I should bear that in mind as I try to sympathize, and I should NOT EVER TRY TO DISMISS OR EXPLAIN AWAY THE OTHER PERSON'S EXPERIENCE WITH SOMETHING SIMPLER BECAUSE IT'S WHAT I THINK IN MY UNTRAINED UNPROFESSIONAL NOT-MEDICAL CASUAL OPINION."
Try it. Your friendships will be better for it.
Not one single one of us has any idea what it is to be inside someone else's brain, shoes, body, mind, or what not, with or without injuries or diseases or conditions.
I've been dealing with this mTBI for over a year now. I KNOW the fucking difference between a brain-fog missing word and a bridge-out. I'm sorry to hear that you, whether it be in aging, general flakiness or peri-menopause, experience some things that appear similar. I, too, may have experienced some things similar to that. But this is different, and I don't have the time to explain everything written here every time it happens. Because that explaining takes a lot of brain power that I don't have to spare. Got it?
So, let me reinforce, that I have a whole other experience of it that is, in fact, completely different, thanks. I have a LOT of self-awareness about this, and I'm working with actual trained medical professionals on it. So those trump your "me, too!" no matter how similar things might appear from the angle of your point of view.
Please make a freaking note of it. Because you're driving me nuts & stressing my brain out, and I don't need any more of that, particularly from friends.
Ever since I started watching this light show yesterday evening, I've been trying to compose some thoughts and words to go along with it. But words won't do the trick here. At least, not words I can come up with right now. I have had a "right brain headache" (where I got hit) since my "pretty good day" of Monday, when I got some work on a drawing project done. So the creative words may just be hiding under all that.
So, really, I was all set to just push some work around the place, cleaning and such. The headache that started with waking up hadn't gone away enough to do much else. I heard it raining, and some distant thunder, and took a look outside.
The first thing I noticed was the double rainbow. The lower band was particularly intense, with the upper band stronger than I've seen in a double rainbow. They arced across a backdrop of gray clouds, and band between the two was darker than above or below, with below being quite a bit brighter.
As I watched, lightning flickered around the scene. I decided to watch until I'd had enough, which ended up being like 45 minutes or an hour, with the remnants of the lighting in the far distance, and when the last of the rainbow finally faded. The rainbow faded in & out & in several times throughout. Somewhere in there, the lower band intensified until it had a faint additional rainbow repeated immediately under it. At some point, I decided it was too cool to not try to capture some of it on camera to share with everyone. I got some decent shots, too.
The lightning ones come from stills of video I took. I might try to edit it into a movie at some point, but even slowed down, the lightning flashes are pretty fast.
Really, the thing that struck me most with all this intense beauty and power, force and threat, was it as the most appropriate metaphor for my life & my brain right now. There's lots of art & writing in there that wants to come out. But it's interrupted by the lightning storms of the migraines & headaches, which themselves may someday be a conduit for some other kind of creativity. If I can manage to hang on long enough.
My brain is hard-wired to be creative. It needs to let it out, I need to express things in paint or words, otherwise it interrupts my natural positive feedback loop. And that's pretty much where I'm at. Extremely interrupted. It's not good, and I have no idea when, how, or if it's going to get better.
Trying to focus on smaller things since the accident. Here, I want to capture in a small watercolor the sense of light and color that I pulled off in the "Winter at Weir" painting that rekindled my love of oils last year.
I realized the other day that I haven't oil painted since the car accident. Literally, the last time I oil painted was the day before the accident, when I put the final touches on two oil landscapes for a show. It broke my heart.
I attribute any serious deviation in color between the two works so far to the radically different lighting. Well. At least some of it. The two works are a hundred miles away from each other right now, so someday they'll hopefully be in the same room.
So, yeah. Big lapse here. I have still not quite climbed out of the most recent head-injury-relapse. I had to focus on using my "spoons" for the most urgent work (spoon theory: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory, butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory). This has not been kind on my disposition.
But I'm here right now, and going to try to do this thing, an 8-day artist's challenge. Complete with official public commitment:
I’m participating in the #AbundantArtShow! Its an 8 day mini-show of artists’ work from all over the world. Over the next 8 days I’ll be showing some of my work as well as sharing my favorites from other artists.
Wish me luck & all. Please.
Too much light! In the stores, now, and cloudy days. I need sunglasses almost all the time. The glorious bright, sunny, 85˚ F day that is today might have sizzled my brain into short-circuit, if I hadn't been prepared: Sometimes, one pair is not enough.
I have a particularly dark pair that fits nicely over my glasses, and has side & top protection, much like these:
But nope. I need more. So every sunny day like this I thank cheapskate Angi of the past, who hung on to the thing at the bottom for emergencies (I break sunglasses a lot).
It? They? It. It's a disposable insert that I got from one of the eye doctors at one of the several appointments I had to investigate my post-accident vision issues. And it is GDMF dark. But still, on sunny days, not dark enough by itself.
So, yeah. I wear them together. And in the car I still keep the sun visor down, even on cloudy days. Maybe someone could write a spoof 80s song about it. The 2 or 3 people I've explained this to in-person seem horrified. Me, I made it through most of the day. And that's all I really needed today.
I would like, someday, to return to the sun-lovin' daytime critter that I used to be. I suppose I do still LOVE the sun. I just can't enjoy the wonderful sunny days so much. I would also like to be able to coax my sense of humor out to participate in writing about these things. But so far, not so much. If only I could blame it on writing all the vampire stuff…
author / artist rambles on about painting, writing, cats, punk rock, vampires, ska-core, mTBI, comics, and life in general.