Decatur Market and Art Gallery: Dreams on Fire

I spent last Saturday night perusing various pieces of art on display at a local gallery/ cooperative in Decatur Village. It was a fun evening of conversation with other artists and casual “interpretation” of the deeper meaning behind some of their works. The theme of the event was Dreams on Fire and Mali Harrell’s fused glass “Fire Flower” offered a visually literal representation of the concept. When I visited her website after the exhibition, I could see clearly why she refers to glass as her “constant muse” – especially when it comes to finding joy in the unexpected “imperfections” that work their way into her finished pieces. I wondered, and still wonder, where the imperfections lie in some of my favorites that range from playful sea sponges to dresses inspired by famous women to full body figurines in her Ladies series. The execution was flawless, as far as I could tell!

Fire Flower

One of my other favorite artists of the evening – and probably the one whose style physically and emotionally drew me in the most – was Penny Treese. She refers to herself as an encaustic artist and I immediately wanted to learn more about this medium that I hadn’t heard of before. As an artist, I naturally gravitate towards art forms that involve a layered, nuanced process that I can immerse myself in on multiple levels, and Penny’s work did not leave me disappointed.Treese creates both landscapes and female figures, but it was one of her female figures that stopped both me and my husband in our tracks. We couldn’t tell if the woman was dancing or in pain, falling or being uplifted, naked or clothed – and yet it was all of these questions and contradictions that compelled us to deeper dialogue and curiosity about what we were seeing.

encaustic 2Encaustic 1

 

I was reminded of my original CultSTATUS logo The Dancer as well as my current and permanent logo The cS Angel. Both images were meant to discuss deeper issues and concepts than their surface visual depictions revealed. I hoped that my works would engender a similar reaction with my own viewers. And yet, no artist – especially an emerging artist like myself – wants to find an exact mirror of their process already being accomplished by someone else. So it was a pleasant surprise to read Penny’s artist statement and discover that her intent was something completely different than what I would have expected.

The short of it was that she used an aging process with coffee, wine, water, salt, cold, and heat to physically “age” her subjects and then reveal their inner beauty through the encaustic process. It was a concept that left me wildly inspired! I wanted to call up my sister-in-law who recently used a similar process to give her hand-made wedding invitations a vintage appeal. Who says aged can’t be beautiful? I’m also thinking about taking a few encaustic art classes, now that I’ve experienced it first hand! I’d want to blend the form with my love for graffiti, papier mache, and collage as well – but discovering my own style would be half the fun. Oh, and did I mention how much I LOVE her business cards? Got any spare change? ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Spare Change

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Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Over the past year, I’ve started recording a lot of my creative thoughts and ideas to help with my writing. In the meantime, my husband has reignited my love for Star Trek. He’s been watching old episodes on YouTube and giving me flashbacks to my childhood and Thursday nights spent stretched out on the living room floor with my dad and Sir Patrick Stewart – sorry Shatner, but I’m an eighties baby!

The recordings are meant to help with the fact that I struggle to fully translate my outgoing, welcoming, artistic side because I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. The way it usually goes is that I have this great, original idea but by the time I finish “tweaking” it, all that’s left is a highly accurate albeit emotionally void shell of what I first came up with. And that’s if someone else hasn’t beat me to the punch because apparently tweaking takes time!

The Rabbits in my mind are fun, vibrant, and a little cheeky but unless you happen to be in the room when my inspiration first strikes, you’d never get to see that side of my personality. Which is why I’ve started making video recordings as well. At first, I was only making audio recordings for my own personal benefit. But in recent weeks, I’ve started to feel like I need to share a visual of my process as well. How late am I on the whole self-recording wave???

Anyway, I figure if I’m starting to put myself out there with grant applications and public art projects then it’s time to dive into the deep end and let it all hang out. So, here are two videos I made a few nights ago when I was going through a pretty nerve-wracking experience. ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Oops! I ramble when I’m nervous and I guess I ran out of memory … Here’s the rest!

Coming Through My Headphones: @Joyful_Sings!

I’m counting down to the 4th of July tomorrow … make that in less than an hour. I’m looking forward to some All-American barbecue, fireworks, quality time spent with family and friends,  & a celebration of our freedoms. But I’m also counting down to the iTunes release of @Joyful_Sings first single, “Deepest Fear”!

@Joyful_Sings aka Joy Conaway is one of those independent artists I really like because she has focus and direction in a way that most haven’t quite figured out yet. Joy knows her vocal strengths and she totally plays into them. She’s released about 12 covers and one original song on her Sound Cloud profile and my favorites all have the same tendencies even though they’re across different genres.

Joy’s voice has an ethereal, whispered quality to it that all of her fans love. Add that she’s brilliant at executing the ever challenging Self-Harmony and it’s hard not to enJOY as she asks of all her listeners. But don’t let her breathy signature sound fool you. Her range and power vocals are equally present as displayed in her penchant for covering Hayley Williams’ tracks. Those are some of my favorites, actually.

So you know I’m dying for more of her original content to see how she weaves in her own unique style. She’s proven that she has roots in such greats as Nina Simone (my imaginary auntie), Anita Baker, and Michael Jackson too, so what’s next?

Like any growing artist there is always room for improvement: Her self-harmonies are so amazing, I’m almost underwhelmed by her attempts at duets with other actual people – is that really a flaw though? And her enunciation in her original songs isn’t quite clear enough to follow the lyrics, but even that comes across as a typical production issue for someone trying to fund her own breakout.

cS Favorites:

There’s her original song “Finally”

Her cover of ZEDD & Hayley Williams “Stay the Night”

Beyoncés “XO” – Her best duet, I think.

Katy Perry Mashup – Flawless transitions!

A Thousand Years – There’s that heavenly vocal quality again!

The Only Exception – More Hayley …

Plain Gold Ring – I told you there was Nina! Daayyyuum, she did Auntie proud didn’t she?

and these live performance gems that really can’t be described …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SN-0n0-OuE

In a world where support for Indie artists is hard to come by, I’m jumping on the Team Joy bandwagon with both hands in the hair. I’ve only got one question: Is it midnight yet???? ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

 

My GeeChee ♡ In Greece!

 

I’m a GeeChee Girl at heart. Down in my soul, before I even fully understood what it meant to be Geechee, I knew that I was it. So, what is Geechee? Oxford English, Wiki, and Miriam have their official definitions. And combined, it’s not bad. But like I said, I’ve been a GeeChee long before I learned the technical renderings.

Geechee

Line breaks: Gee|chee

Pronunciation: /’gi:t:CHi’ /


NOUN

1. [MASS NOUN] An English-African creole dialect spoken by African Americans in the Low-country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Compare with Gullah.

2. A speaker of Geechee.

3. A native rice farmer from the U.S. Gullah region.


ORIGIN

from the name of the Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

from Kissi, an ethnic group living along the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

A variant of Gullah, from present-day Angola or the “Gola” ethnicity in Sierra Lone and Liberia.

 

That’s what the “experts” have to say on the subject. But, I grew up on the memory of my family teasing my mom that she was “nothin’ but a Geechee … ” because she loves to cook white rice with every meal, is stubborn as all hell when she has her mind set on something, and can never be content with any one thing or place. In short, she’s a countrified wanderer. And based on that understanding, I don’t see my Gullah GeeChee ways as all that different from Roma “Gypsies”, French “Bohemians”, or S. Asian “Dombas”. That’s something I’m passionate about – finding the universality in our unique cultural differences.

So it was a dream come true for me when I started planning my first international trip last January. My husband and I had decided to go on a delayed honeymoon in the Summer and, as long as I made sure to carefully organize everything (read: not blow our budget), I had free reign to follow my hearts desire. I chose Greece because I’d wanted to go there since my college days as a business student in New York. Study abroad programs in school always said their economy was closest to ours for case study purposes – the tragic irony of which has not escaped my notice.

In true Geechee fashion, I couldn’t be satisfied with a trip to just one city in Greece. I craved a romantic beach getaway in Santorini and a historically rich tour of artifacts in Athens. I wanted to make wild, crazy memories in hipster party-town Mykonos and unwind in a refined Italian-esque village on Crete. A cruise seemed too structured and formulaic. But bed-hopping through the country like blogger Lucky/Gutsy – with no set plans except a backpack and a prayer – while tempting, was way too adventurous even for me. In the end, I spent the past seven months toiling over my own happy medium and then spent ten days experiencing it all.

We flew into Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, took the metro to the first of five hotels we would stay in, and let the island-hopping fun begin. Clearly, I was inspired by the experience because I came home with almost 3,000 photos total between each of our 2 Gig camera phones! Let’s just say I was dumping to my Dropbox app like mad. I’ve shared some of the more touristy pictures to my private Facebook page and I’m in the process of curating the rest for future photography exhibitions. But I couldn’t let this experience pass without sharing some exclusive, edited and unedited pics with you guys too.

We may have been in Greece, but it didn’t take long for me to find the “universal” parts of the culture. One of the first things I noticed was the street art. It was seedy and edgy and dirty and provocative and political and bright and bold and beautiful beyond my wildest imaginings. So without further ado, I give you: My GeeChee ❤ In Greece – The Graffiti Edition! ~ cS

P.s. Of course, all wall murals, tags, and graffiti belong to and are under the ownership of the their respective street artists. However, photographic images in their edited and unedited formats remain the exclusive property of myself, Constance SHERESE and are not available in part or in whole for copy, reproduction, sale, or other mass marketing without express written permission as solicited through post or electronic mail. (c) 2014.

The Legal Stuff. So, sue me! Better yet, how ’bout we skip that part. Deal? Thanks! 😉

 

20140531_121423-2 - Level Adj 25 Input - Tone Curve 72, 172 20140531_121321 Brightness

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Free Kostas

 

 

 

 

Love the way someone turned this old electrical box into a "supply box".

Love the way someone turned this old electrical meter into a “supply box”.

Octopus

Never let a photo op slip away ...

Never let a good Photo Op. pass you by …

Cool Cat!

Cool Cat!

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Gonna have to brush up my language skills for this one …

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20140531_140243 - 2 20140531_150748

(c) Constance SHERESE, 2014

Coming Through My Headphones: K. Flay

I’m back from my belated honeymoon and cranking out all the inspiration I got while in Greece. But I’m also getting back to my musical posts because there’s always something interesting pumping through my headphones. This week’s no different. I’m currently listening to music from new artist K. Flay (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Kristine Flaherty).

Listening to K. Flay’s album “Life As A Dog” my first thoughts were : Oh hell, the Lana Del Ray gravy train has officially rolled in. We all know the formula: Sultry, sex-pot voice. Lyrics clearly designed to piss off puritan mothers everywhere. The all American good-girl-gone-bad, chain-smoking image. And there’s no picture on the album cover, but I’m sure she’s got a doe-eyed baby face to contrast with her jaded tough-girl sound.

The Album, 'Life As A Dog', Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

The Album, ‘Life As A Dog’, Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

It’s a great formula, as they go. Don’t get it twisted, I love me some Lana and her raspy 60’s pop vocals – if not her necrophile tendencies. I’m a tried and true goody goody, so the bad girl sex-pot lyrics don’t exactly hit home for me, but it’s refreshing to see a young woman daring to question the status quo for what’s acceptable behavior. And K. Flay pulls it off as well as any other with songs like Everyone I Know, Wishing It Was You, Bad Things, Turn It Around, & the summer anthem Thicker Than Dust.

But let’s not lie to ourselves here – this is clearly part of a formula and nothing more. Right? Well, not exactly. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few key differences between K and her contemporaries. For one she prefers a little chronic with her flow instead of the typical menthol flavored ciggy. And speaking of flow – girlfriend’s got it! Not just the Eminem fast talking stream-of-consciousness flow that others have adopted either. Yeah, she channels Em’ well, but then she flips it and goes deeper a la Snoop Dogg, Dre, & an old school West Coast sound that I have a hard time brushing off as contrived.

Yes, she’s a Stanford graduate from suburban Illinois – and that isn’t exactly ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – but she isn’t claiming to be, so it’s all good. And with the addition of her own unique sound in the form of punk influences, 80’s video game background music, and a sarcastic, slightly self-deprecating social commentary reminiscent of Tina Fey – I’m not so sure this album is a formula after all. If it is, I’m falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Can we be ‘thicker than dust’ BFF’s?

K. Flay has a thing for saying she’s bad. Maybe. Maybe not. But if she’s good at being bad. I’m better at goin’ hard for the party. Oh, and did I mention this chick ain’t no baby-faced innocent after all. Check out the pictures and song breakdown below. I think this could work!

Chronicsweatshirt

SweatKicks

96keyboard

Everyone I Know – It has that sarcastic, light-hearted melody and dark lyrics. The dark parts are maybe a little too dark? I believe her as Tina Fey playing a character, but otherwise I don’t know.

Make Me Fade – Chronic? Snoop? Roll down the windows and dip bounce to the down beat. Okay, I’m a believer!

Can’t Sleep – Sound all her own. Current. Still borrowed from the 80’s. Belongs in a vintage video game.

Wishing It Was You – “Sucking on a bottle of Jim Beam wishing it was you.”

Yeah, she said it. Did you hear it? Take a minute to soak in the smutty innuendo. Now share it with a friend. Electronic hip-hop sound.

Fever – First 40 seconds: Who am I listening to? Tegan & Sara? Next 40: Or is it Eminem? Back & forth in intervals. Then hallucinogenic drop beat to give meaning to the title. I’m feeling feverish alright.

Bad Things – Pure Slim Shady, cleaning out the skeletons in my closet, but for some reason I wanna dance.

I’m Good – I need a blunt.

Turn It Around – “Just because you sin, well that don’t make you a sinner.”

“What I gotta figure, if it hurts is it worth it? Know that I know better. Tomorrow I could turn it around.”

I love how she alternates between all-out rebellion and level-headed repentance. Isn’t that what we all go through at some point?

Thicker Than Dust – Requisite summer anthem. Alcohol, chanting, powerful, on top of the world.

“Me and my friends … thicker than dust. I need to keep my mind, my mind movin’ on up because it’s always going down, always going down … Nobody around got a husband. Nobody around got a wife to call … Waking up to go to sleep again … Naked girls, diamond rings … money’s over-rated, sex ain’t hard to find, we’re not in-love, since when is that a crime?”

Time For You – “You got drunk and said you love me, but I wouldn’t come inside. I’ve got options, trust me. Yeah I know other guys … ”

She starts off strong, but doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon enough there’s talk of commitment and I wanna tell her “Oh honey, this is not going to end well. What happened to ‘nobody around got a husband?'” It’s bitter and depressing, but I love the vulnerability.

Get It Right – “Want you to know that I wanna be better, but it feels like it’s gonna take forever.”

K. Flay gets better with each track, and I don’t think it’s gonna take forever for her to get noticed. That’s it. Go cop the album tomorrow, folks! ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Coming Through My Headphones: Pandora Premieres David Gray!

david-gray-mutineers

I’m a music lover. Actually, make that a music stalker. A certified, constantly-updating-the-soundtrack-to-my-life, digging-through-old-crates-for-vintage-vinyls, bury-me-with-my-boom-box-headphones music stalker of clinical proportions. And with the rise of internet music sharing it’s become that much easier for me to feed my psychosis.

So, it goes without saying that I am also a Pandora lover. I’ve tried other services like iHeart, Slacker, and Spotify but they never seem to measure up. Maybe it’s that Pandora remains committed to it’s roots in the Music Genome Project as a way to create a unique listening experience for each user. With time, I really have come to feel as if my Pandora experience has evolved along with me. Now that Google Play Music, Amazon Cloud Player, and iTunes Match are revolutionizing music storage and accessibility in their own right, Pandora has once again had to redefine itself in order to keep up.

Yes, those are almost forty stations you see listed on my page!

Don’t worry. As usual, they’ve transitioned with ease and kept the best of what loyal listeners love. Just when I was beginning to think I’d created and fine tuned as many “stations” as I could ever possibly want or need, I started receiving emails from Pandora for something new: the ability to listen to select albums – tailored to my existing listening preferences – a week before their official release date! I had already been working on a way to share my eclectic music tastes with all of you – through a recurring “Coming Through My Headphones” series on the blog – when I received this as my motivation to stop “tweaking” the idea and get it out there!

So, here’s my review for one of the albums I’ve been listening to on Pandora Premieres over the past few weeks. I’ve actually heard great music from several artists: Rebelution, Cisco Adler, O.A.R., Danny Boone, David Gray, The Antlers, Nightmare on Wax, The Downtown Fiction, & Swollen Members. But if I’m going to do justice to each of their unique sounds, it’s better that I only review one or two of them at a time, so first up is David Gray. But keep an eye out for reviews on the others coming soon!

David Gray – Mutineers – Available June 17th

The obvious comparisons would place David Gray among the likes of Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, and Dave Matthews – all of whom are wonderful artists to be compared to – but I think Gray distinguishes himself on this album as a more diverse and expansive musician than just his folk-rock roots. How?

Well for starters, there’s a reason he chose Mutineers as the title track. Are those echoes of Robert Plant I hear??? I know. That’s a borderline sacrilegious statement. No one compares to the voice of Robert Plant. But listen closely and you’ve gotta admit the undertones are there. And what better way to set the tone for a connection between his British Folk roots and a broader sound that includes Rock, Hip Hop, Blues, and Gospel? Minus the Hip Hop influences, Led Zeppelin are one of the definitive bands known for blending multiple sounds seamlessly.

Mutineers starts off light, airy, innocent, and almost hopeful with the piano and keyboard intro.  Then around the 3:30 mark he kicks it up a notch with a manic drum beat. The drums have been there all along, but more controlled and measured. Now, they let loose in similar fashion to a Jimmy Page guitar solo that signals the oncoming ravenous-sex-god-refrain we’ve all been waiting for, and after an endless 25 second wait there it is… Do you hear it? In his throaty “Oooh, kick off your shoes, baby… Ohhh!” Yeah, I’m a groupie. And I’d kill to see this performed live. I can just imagine when the harmonica comes in a few moments later – the stomping feet, clapping hands, and joyful bandying.

It’s clearly no Stairway To Heaven, but that’s why it’s perfect. Gray isn’t going for a Zeppelin cover. With Mutineers, he’s going for classic David Gray taken to a new height – and after 11 studio albums he’s definitely procured a fine vintage all his own. If one song also happens to draw up memories of a certain legendary rock band/ lead singer … well, all I have to say is: “Does anybody remember laughter? … baby, Oooohhh! … just give it to me give it to me give it to me …. sugar, sugar …”

In contrast, Back In The World is my morning cup o’ joe. I don’t know about being back in the world again, but I definitely feel like I could take on the world with this song. And what’s with that beat-box upkick at the 2:30 mark? Suddenly, I wanna bust a few old school rhymes over this track.

“I’m naked like a tree, it’s the only way to be

when I’m searchin’ for me, for Nelson Mandela Free

Starving for FRESH, DOPE

BEAUTY…

Back in this world that can’t see

Void of sight for the likes of WE

Me and my boy D. Gray

askin’ y’all whose to say?

whose to say how it goes

what do they really know?

Only way to be, naked like a tree yes, yes y’all

dancin’ in the leaves, Coltrane blurrin’ with crazy

Genius, Madness, Love

Love put a song in his heart y’all

Yeah some days it’s misery

but that’s the mystery

the creativity.

Every. day. Uh.”

Where are Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick when you need ’em? And what’s with that gospel choir finale? Okay, I’m done. Well, not really. If this is my morning pick me up I guess that means I’m just starting. But yea, expect this song to get a lot of play on repeat!

A few of my other favorites include: Last Summer which I can only describe as Miguel Bose Si Tu No Vuelves meets Guns N Roses Patience meets Michael Franti Firefly? Maybe it’s the acoustic guitar strum that reminds me of the Slash/Izzy Stradlin opening. There’s no denying the whistling as a shared trait between all three songs: Patience, Last Summer, and Si Tu No Vuelves – not to mention the aching violin strings in Last Summer and Si Tu No Vuelves. I’m probably reaching with that reference to Firefly, but what can I say, Pandora knows my heart! There’s got to be some shared acoustic sonority or something in there, because I swear I hear a connection!

Then there’s Snow In Vegas which has a slow start but a great pick up halfway through and shows off several stand out lyrics in lines like:

“Just when I was thinking we’d come about as far as this old road could take us,

time to pull on over baby, yeah just stop the car and it falls like snow in Vegas.

And we’ll leave that sign up on the door, so the hotel maid don’t wake us.

Now pigs can fly and I’ll command these breakers.

Any thing you want yeah, any thing at all

any little thing you’re needing, all you do is call.

Got my money where my mouth is, the sugar’s in the cane

If I had a million dollars, I’d blow it on champagne

We’re vain yeah and we’re greedy we’re selfish and we’re needy

but it’s just the way God made us.

Now pigs can fly and I’ll command these breakers.”

Cake And Eat It brings back that beloved gospel choir sound, this time in the form of an interlude reprise. And where Snow In Vegas highlighted Gray’s songwriting ability, Birds of The High Arctic shows off his vocal range a la Elton John and pure British Folk. Girl Like You is the most “out there” of the bunch offering up a synth borderline electronic sound. The tunnel effect “wind-oooohhs” add a ghost-like mysterious quality, and there goes that spunky gospel choir again in the “Yeahs” which cascades into what almost sounds like a free style jazz session wrap up.

Finally, I think Gulls might be my number one track. At the very least it’s my ahhhh factor. I’d been wanting to talk about this song since I started but I was trying to pace myself. So, of course, Gray placed it as the very last song on the album. Which is part of what makes it so great – that stretching. aching. building. well-paced waiting for what’s to come. It almost vibrates with each note. And if  other songs on the album alternated between highlighting vocal quality and lyrical ability, Gulls has it all packaged into one. Vocal quality. Lyrics. Musical Depth. Guitar build. Chills. Speaker warping. Everything.

This land belongs to the gulls. And the gulls to their cry.

And their cry to the wind. And the wind belongs to no one.

The wind belongs to no one

Toward the seed that God sowed

Oh baby, Try to recognize it in my mind. Try to snuff it out before it happens.

… (The writing’s on the writing’s on the writing’s on the wall) … “

Final verdict: Get the album. Now. Today. Well, not today since it’s not available until tomorrow, but you know what I mean. Just do it. You won’t regret it. A+, David Gray. A+!

~ Constance SHERESE, cS

My Love Affair With Anaïs Nin

We’ve been seeing each other for over a month. It’s still early in the relationship, so I’m a bit premature in saying this, but I think she could be The One. My latest and greatest literary Muse. Why?

She inspires me. She challenges my preconceived notions. She makes me laugh. She pisses me off. She writes Erotica! She’s more than a little dysfunctional – but I’ve got talking rabbits in my mind, so who am I to judge? We disagree on key issues like abortion, fidelity, incest, honesty, and polygamy. But, “God how I love [her] Words!” And anyone who can feed my insatiable appetite for language automatically goes on my short list of True Loves, no questions asked.

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

So how did we fall for each other? Well, here’s the low down on the whole sneaky seduction – as told through my favorite Anaïs Nin quotes, of course!

It started innocently enough. In late March, my friend Selana posted this quote on her Facebook page:

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

This was about halfway through my self-imposed forty day “Facebook Fast” for Lent, so I didn’t actually see the full post online, but leave it to my oft-forgotten account settings and Gmail to send e-mail updates to my phone whenever a close friend changed their status. I took a moment to glance at the quote before quickly deleting it. The thought occurred to me that I really liked the eloquent wording, but I pressed the trash icon before I had a chance to see who the phrase was attributed to.

I guess you could say Anaïs and I spotted each other in a crowded room, shared a brief “moment”, but didn’t manage to exchange names or contact information. The moment passed quickly enough and I thought that was the end of it. Surely, I’d never see her again.

But less than two weeks later, there she was popping up in my line of sight once more! This time I was scrolling through the never-ending stream of advertisements that accumulate in my Gmail promotions tab. I paused to get my daily fix of curly girl hair inspiration from Curly Nikki, and what do I see from one of the many guest bloggers but this gem that literally stopped me in my tracks:

“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anaïs Nin

If I’m being completely honest, I loved the quote but still wasn’t quite in-love with the author just yet. I’m a rabbit kind of girl, after all. Some days, when I’m feeling extra boundless, I’m even a bird.

image

I’m a bird, I’m a bird! Say it… Tell me I’m a bird… Better yet, I’m an Angel!!! #Boundless

But a mermaid? I could appreciate the sentiment behind the words, but they weren’t exactly speaking to my soul in that intimate voice that comes right before The Fall. On the bright side, I had a name to go along with the quote now, although I hadn’t yet realized it was the same person from my friend Selana’s earlier post.

Another week passed when I saw these words from fellow blogger and new friend Cristian Mihai “You cannot save people.” He attributed the partial quote to Anaïs also, and after several run-ins with her name, I knew I had to find out more. These accidental meetings were starting to feel downright kismet!

I stalked out her entire life. Her journals – expurgated and otherwise. Her erotic writings for a private collector. Her political views.  Her psychotherapy and incestuous relationships. Her marriages to two men at the same time. Her lovers. I wanted it all. Clearly I was obsessed.

Which, I guess, makes me something of the Anaïs to her June Miller? I told myself the whole thing would blow over soon enough – I can be fickle with my Muses that way – but for the moment, these were the Words that fanned the flames of my devotion:

“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

A taste of my own search for Imagination

A taste of my own search for Imagination.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

You know how I love stars and constellations!

You know how I love my stars and constellations!

 

“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!

“The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.”

“Our love of each other was like two long shadows kissing without hope of reality.”

“I write emotional algebra.”

“In chaos, there is fertility.”

Feeling pretty "chaotic".

Feeling pretty “chaotic”.

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

After that last one, the only thing I could think of were the “mosaic eyes” that sit behind the Wish Boutique parking lot in my Little 5 Points ‘hood. Was the Boogie Blogger watching me … or could it be Anaïs? ~ cS

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