Inspiration Feed

Coronavirus: You Are Loved @mkik808 #danceparty #youareloved

Mkik808

It's understandable to get depressed and be emotional these days - my God, I would be worried for someone if they WEREN'T flipping out.  Between the news and the panic as well as the indifference to a certain segment of the human community, I have been beside myself for days. There will be better days ahead but right now we're staying at home. I'm now on Day 18.

But yesterday I logged on to Mark Kanemura's Instagram feed  (I'd been hearing about it for days) - he throws an amazing dance party starting at 2pm PT / 5pm ET and the positivity and joy that emanate from him is infectious (in the not lethal way, of course!) :) 

I needed this emotional injection of positivity, energy, and joy, more than I can say. This man is provided the best source of healing for the grieving I am going through (click here for a great article about the grief we're all going through). 

It's 30 minutes of aerobic fun but frankly I was having a late afternoon nap when I logged on and didn't even get up at all. It threw me back to the mid 90s gay bar/club scene here in NYC - the same fun energy that kept me going back to Splash, Paladium, Limelight and more is present here.... 

Log on. Enjoy it. Move with Mark. Or just listen. I can't promise your life will be changed, but mine was. And I thank you, Mark for this. 

And remember: You Are Loved. 


In Awe of My Friends

ThanksblogEvery so often I sit back in awe of my friends: their activism, their concern, their intelligence, their integrity, their perseverance during this difficult and challenging time in our history.

The strength that my friends show to their community has been an inspiration. 

Sooo... thanks. :)

 


Better Than My Baggage

LightblogIt occurred to me the other night, as I sat at a party, that I, like most people, live and die by our baggage. I'm talking emotional baggage not Samsonite (although I did have an acquaintance once whose luggage was worth more than everything I owned combined, so that does exist out there but not the point of this blog). Something someone casually talked about made me think of a current situation I'm in and reminds me of an old situation I was in (although the current one is far less of a 'thing' than that was). Baggage. It's irritating. I want to react to the thing now not now to the thing that happened before. Follow me? 

Now I know this is an overshare but the thing that I have found in my long legged life is this: everyone has baggage. It's super irritating but it's true. LOL

And that way that they are treating you might not actually be 'you', you might be the latest stand in for whatever it is that bit them in the neck in the past. 

And, there, in a room full of crowded people, at a marvelous party, I had a kind of epiphany.

Because it would have been easy to start to slide into a little bit of a funk, but, then it hit me: I'm better than my baggage. Really. I know I am. I'm better than dwelling on this or that rather than just present for those who aren't triggering some baggage. I'm better than feeling like a pinball.  

I can't all of my baggage magically went away - wouldn't that be nice? lol - but maybe it's more of an 'let go' kind of thing where I notice but don't give it, as they say, free rent in my head. :) 

What about you? What's your baggage? What are you missing out of the present by holding on so tightly to from before? (Not that I'm asking you to put your thoughts in the comments section, of course, but maybe something to take a little inventory of if you're feeling inclined). 

Corny as it sounds, it's easier to jump for joy without all of that baggage holding me down so there might just be something to that. :) 

P.S. I try to use my own photos whenever I can because I think I'm an OK photographer and I want to try, as best as I can, to create content rather than just yank content (including pics). I'm not adverse to it (I've certainly done it) but as someone who likes to shoot and post pics, maybe I should do what I would hope others would do: give credit to the source of the image. Anyway, I digress, but I went to Home Depot the other day to find new knobs for my new dresser (I am really loving the dresser... it's amazing!) and ended up looking at bedside lamps. This was one of my favorites and it was the only even remotely artistic photo I have since I unloaded the last month's of photos to my external harddrive. So here's a lamp. I figure that with the 'epiphany' comment and the use of the photo, I look like I was trying to be cute and corny. Actually, that is exactly what I wanted. Did it work? :)  


Gone Fishin'

Sunsetblog

It's nearly the end of the summer and we're taking a little trip out of town to rest, relax and otherwise not be here.

Will be posting again starting next weekend. Or maybe before. or after. I don't know. I need a little 'gone fishin' time.

Not that we're actually going fishing but.. well, you know. 

Enjoy this summer sunset pic taken earlier this week in midtown Manhattan by yours truly. 

In the meantime, drop a note to say hello or leave a comment below. 


The Only Way To Do It Is To Go Through It #webcomics

DrawingtableblogThere are times when the blank piece of paper on my drawing table looks blanker than at other times. I don't know why this is, but it's true. 

I sketch and everything looks stupid. Does this happen to you? 

Or, maybe worse, sometimes my characters speak to me about what they're doing. They tell me fantastical things they're doing and I struggle to have the ability to depict those adventures.

I had this 'conversation' the other day: 

ME: Com'on Angie, let me know what you're doing.

ANGIE: I have.  

ME: Yeah, but I don't know how to draw that. 

ANGIE: You can, it just might take longer than you want it to, but you can. 

ME: (sighs) can what you're doing be something that I can draw, please? 

ANGIE: .... .Where's the fun in that? 

ME: (looks again at the blank piece of paper on my drawing table). 

My characters challenge me to tell their story.

And sometimes your muse tells you what you need to do and the only way to do it is to go through it. 

Has this happened to you? And what do you do then? 

Well, I think, if you want your characters to stick around, you get to work. That's what you do. 

 


The End of the World Club #hiroshima #nagasaki #leonardcohen

What would you do if you knew it was the end of the world? OK that's a dark way to start a blog post on a site about Joy. But, here me out.

In these days of heightened global anxiety, it's something that's crossed my mind occasionally. It seems like world leaders like to play 'chicken' with each other threatening annihilation if they don't get their way while the rest of us sit on the sidelines and engage in political discourse that wouldn't mean a thing if a couple of superpowers got in a Twitter war and ended up pushing a few buttons as they tried to prove to the other who is the 'bigger' man. Sure, in this country, we should vote them out, but there are times lately when I wonder if we'll even make it to those all important November 2020 elections. 

HiroshimablogFor me, this is a topic that gets real every year around now during the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

What would YOU do if you knew that the bombs were coming in 24 hours and there was no way to stop them? I know the military would have ways to divert them/shoot them down in that time, but let's just imagine - you know you have 24 hours to live - the bomb is coming for your town - how are you going to spend them? 

For me, living in New York, I'm competing with a few million other people who would be trying to get out of town and I don't realistically think that I could get far enough away in those hours to 'get away from' the devastation - not with a few million other people trying to do the same thing. 

I think that I might not try. I think that I might simply stay here and make my peace. 

I would certainly get mad at leaders who screwed it all up (this is not directed at only one political party, by the way). I would lament the things that I, like we say in Church, have done and things that I have left undone. (And I would throw the biggest "let me speak to the manager!" fit EVER. :) 

And then, once that was all finished? I would be sad. I would lament the waste and the missed opportunities we had to make a better world for ourselves and the generations to come. I would mourn how much beauty would be forever lost - souls, vegetation, culture, creatures, knowledge - and I would cry until I had no more tears left to shed. 

And then I think that I would party. I would take my laptop up to the roof of my building and I would throw a dance party for whomever wanted to join us - and we'd drink and do whatever else we wanted to do.  

I might try to skype with friends far away, I might try to see friends who live in other parts of town; I wouldn't want anyone I loved to spend their last moments alone.

Ultimately, I think, I'd want to spend the last few hours in peace in Central Park. I think there would be thousands of others there too. Those that would want their final moments to be in nature, surrounding by all that is green and good and full of life. We would certainly pray for a better world to replace the one that we, collectively, had messed up. 

I would miss all of you and our rantings - talking about our failures and our successes- and our jokes and our stories, and I would hope that everyone faced the end in a brave, humane manner doing exactly what you feel it is right for you. 

I would hang on for the last minute.. because, truly, a country that can send a nuke halfway around the world surely can have a way to divert at the last minute.... and wouldn't you want to be here for THAT moment? (I think I may have just created an HBO show... 'what happens the day after the bombs don't fall? What is the world like THEN?" I expect a 10% cut thankyouverymuch).

But, right here and now (and here's where, I think, the Joy part comes in), I hope that we can find a way out of our present circumstances; that we can retain the hope that most of us cling to for a better world and a better society; that we can see that we still have time to right the wrongs, fix the problems we face, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is such beauty in the world, there are so many things to be proud of; so much happiness to be had. So many wonderful things here for us to live for.

I know. This last bit sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can still find hope and that's given some things that I've been through in my life. And, if I can do it, so can you. I have to hold on to that.

As Kate McKinnon as Hillary said on SNL "I'm not giving up and neither should you". Those are pretty great words to live by -- as are the below. Peace. 

O, gather 'round the brokenness
Bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carried
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
Of cruelty or the grace

O, solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

O, see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

O, troubledness concealing
An undivided love
The heart beneath is teaching
To the broken heart above

And let the heavens utter
Let the earth proclaim
Come healing of the altar
Come healing of the name

O, longing of the branches
To lift the little bird
O, longing of the arteries
To purify the blood

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

- Leonard Cohen


There Is No Expiration Date On Appreciation

SkyblogGood morning and happy Monday.

While we collectively try to figure out a solution to yesterday's brain teaser, thought it might help (in my own small way) to offer this up:

It's never too late to say "thank you" for anything. There is no expiration date on well wishing and appreciation.

Thank people for help, for gifts, for their time. Even if it's six months. 2 years. 10 years later. It matters. To them. And to you. 

That's it. Nothing really headier to it than that. 

 


Yes, Virginia, There is Creativity After 15 @ktshy @katieshanahan

This comic strip by Katie Shanahan aka @ktshy is exactly the conversation I have with my 'vampires' these days about my blog, my comic strip, and creativity in general.

CreativityblogMany years ago I "temped" for a major media company in LA. I was in legal services and was assisting the head of the department.

One day I overheard this person chew out their son over the phone for missing a prep class for the SATs. The kid was 14. I wasn't really challenging them on this but was just sort of trying to get an idea of the problem... "aren't the SATs something that one takes when one is a little older?", I asked.  

This person looked at me as though I had just taken off my clothes in the office, and followed it by saying "no one does anything creative after the age of 15 and there is no merit in anything that they do after that; MY SON'S TIME IS ALMOST OVER". I must remind you here, that the son was 14. 

As someone who was, at the time, within spitting distance of 40, I was at first appalled and then I was genuinely sad for them that this is how they led their life and figured how miserable the son must be. Even if they were making bajillions of dollars, to be that full of fear and loathing, well, was it worth it? And what did taking the SATs even have to do with creativity in the first place? It all seemed to me to be so mixed up and strange. 

The son would be about 34 now and I wonder how he turned out. Was he b.s. crazy like his parent or did he (hopefully) find a way to live even a semi normal life? I would be really sad for anyone who thought that because they didn't write a blockbuster movie as a teen, that their life was a failure. 

The temp job only lasted a few weeks as I couldn't take the constant shrieking for very long (who could? Indeed, I was the third temp this person had had in as many months. Clearly this person needed some external help. Maybe the shrieking was a literal cry for help?) 

So here I am, many years later, attempting to create, write and draw... and there are days when the devil voices the 'you took too long' mantra and, although I hear it... I find a way to bring up the strength to respond "there's no cut off date for creativity" and "it won't be a waste of time if I've enjoyed it".

Thank you, Katie for the encouragement!