This is me earlier today right after I thought I broke my arm. Fortunately it's not broken, just in a sling for the next few days. Allegedly I can play again next weekend. It hurt so bad I wanted to throw up. I love hockey.
But just when we think we have it, the personal goes the way of belief. What seemed so deep begins to seem naive, something that could be trusted because we hadn't read Plato or held two contradictory ideas or women in the same day. Love, then, becomes an old movie. Loss seems so common it belongs to the air, to breath itself, anyone's. We're left with style, a particular way of standing and saying, the idiosyncratic look at the frown which means nothing until we say it does. Years later, long after we believed it peculiar to ourselves, we return to love. We return to everything strange, inchoate, like living with someone, like living alone, settling for the partial, the almost satisfactory sense of it. - Stephen Dunn fromEssay On The Personal
So it’s that time of year when the top ten lists start hitting the interwebs. Lists of the critic’s favorite movies, albums, plays, etc. We are also fast approaching the turn of a New Year, a time where many a resolution is made and then promptly broken. I thought I would try and do a combo thing. Stuff I thought was pretty exceptional over the last year coupled with some of my hopes and dreams for the coming year. My own hybrid ten list if you please. So here it is:
Art: My art life took a hit during grad school and in some ways I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it back. I have a lot of artist friends and many of them would share with me how they have had to take time to undo what the pursuit of a MFA had done to their creative practice. Because I was entering into a different discipline I didn’t think that I would be affected, boy was I wrong. (On many levels.) On a whim, I started painting this year. Something I’ve been threatening to do for years. Thankfully the painting reignited the art flame. Some of the projects I have planned for the coming year include a re-start of the OC Art Blog. I plan to spend more energy writing about art, the process, the people, the exhibitions, and the craft. This blog might suffer in the shift of energy, but it’s time. A re-launch party is planned for February in the Santa Ana Artists Village, so look for announcements soon. I also plan to show work again. I’m going to show one of my photo based works in the Centered on the Center show this January at the HB Art Center and I have a new project in development (with help from Naida Osline) that I hope to show at Soundwalk next year in the fall. And finally, the project I’m most proud of is the Hoff Foundation. Formed by Michele and I as a grassroots private foundation to support artists in a difficult environment, the foundation has awarded over $30K to various artists and arts organizations located in Orange County and Long Beach since 2008. Today I received an email from an artist who we notified yesterday that she was one of our 4th quarter grant recipients, and in it she said “I have literally been jumping around the house I’m so excited.” There’s not much better than that in my opinion.
The Narrative Project of Orange County: So many doors flew open last year as Anne and I started out on the process of establishing the Project as a non-profit that it started to get a little scary. First the Public Law Center of OC stepped up, and then it was UCI’s Economic and Community Development Law Clinic. We both feel blessed and fortunate, but we also know that there is tremendous need in our community for low cost mental health services. As the year came to a close we began a conversation with our first potential partner, a local soup kitchen that serves 450+ homeless, seniors and working poor daily. Hopefully as 2012 progresses I will have much good news to report, including our newly acquired status as a 501(c)3 and new community counseling partnerships. Stay tuned!
Poetry: I wrote two drafts of poems in 2011 and finished neither. Ugh. That has got to change. My intention in 2012 is to write enough new stuff so that I can submit an application to attend the Poetry Conference at the Frost Place in New Hampshire in July. I love the Frost Place and have been there several times with Michele during trips to New England. Whenever we’re near the White Mountains we always pay the Frost Place a visit just to walk the woods, where there are plaques displaying poems written by Robert Frost while he was in Franconia. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth. I’ve wanted to attend the conference for the last couple of years but couldn’t make it happen. I hope it happens this year.
Spanish: Call it ambitious, but I want to learn to speak Spanish, or at least start the process. Michele and I came dangerously close to hiring a tutor this last year but we couldn’t make the schedules fit. Michele is taking group classes at this point while I’m falling farther behind. Trying to decide if I should do the tutor thing or take a class at the local community college. Opinions?
Fitness: Yeah…. exercise. We’ll see. Now where did I put that Cigar? Oh, next to that cookie.
Midnight in Paris: OK, a movie made the list. Woody Allen captured the city of my dreams in its entire poetic, mysterious, and romantic splendor, while dispensing the all too forgotten message that the golden age is now. The best movie set in Paris since Amelie. I’m going to live in Paris some day dammit! That dream just wont die.
Travel: Michele and I spent last New Years Eve at a street festival on the lake in Zurich, Switzerland. We rang in the New Year with thousands of Europeans from many different countries. It was one of the best New Year celebrations of my life. In March Michele and I will be going to Alaska for the first time to ride in the first leg of the Iditarod, otherwise known as “Last Great Race on Earth.” Since meeting Michele, travel has become a very important part of my life. I’m not sure of any better way to “open a mind” then to spend time visiting with different cultures and experiencing different viewpoints. I hope to continue to travel to new places, experience new things, meet new people, until it’s time to call it a day on this mortal coil.
Private Practice: So the travel piece is a nice segue way into something I’ve been thinking more and more about lately. How am I going to make a living in this new career of mine? How am I going to be able to keep doing the things I truly value, like the foundation, travel, provide low cost counseling, etc.? I bought myself a window of time with the sale of the business, but it’s time to start getting serious about how I’m going to make this all come about. Unfortunately, I need to make money. So now I am considering how I step into all that is required to build a successful private practice. This last year my private practice work grew slowly but surely. Toward the end of the year I was seeing clients in the double digits weekly, thanks to many great referrals. (Thanks!) By all accounts my first year in a private practice internship was a great success, or at least I think so. But now I feel the need to consider the economic realities of building a practice. This includes raising fees for new clients, building yet another website for my private practice, and working at expanding my visibility. I know what you’re thinking, how much more visible can I get? Well, it’s probably more about getting visible in the ways that build a private practice. I’m not sure what this will look like yet, but these are all things at the front of my mind as we enter the New Year. Should get interesting.
Family: One of the more exceptional things that happened this year actually happened two days ago when my little brother Tim let me know that his wife Kelly was expecting their first child. This is a BIG deal. Tim was the last hope that my parents would become grandparents. My older brother Michael wasn’t going to have children, and either were Michele and I. Tim and Kelly were the last hope, and after trying for a while, Success! We don’t know boy or girl yet but it doesn’t matter. I’m just so excited to have a new addition to the family, and I’m looking forward to the role of uncle. That is going to be one spoiled kid.
Miscellaneous: There are several new exciting things that will get started in 2012. I will officially start my teaching career in the coming year. After the initial self-doubt and panic, I hope to settle in and have a lot of fun. Can’t wait. I also start with the City of Huntington Beach’s Human Relations Task Force in January. My hockey league starts in January as well. I played my first pick-up game in quite some time last week and man was it a blast. More on that later I’m sure. This year I should probably figure out if I’m going to go for that PhD or not. I’m sure there’s more but I’ll try and save some stuff for later posts. If you’re still reading this, thank you. I hope your new year brings much possibility and I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. Hopefully you’ll come back some more next year!
“ Consider the dystopia: a world where polite society has vanished, where you have to fend for yourself against impossible tyranny, where you have all the responsibilities of being an adult but almost none of the privileges. Sound familiar? Teenagers don’t see dystopias as dystopias; they see them as barely fictional representations of their day-to-day lives… Why do teenagers like dystopias? Simple. They’re looking for proof that there’s a way to survive the one in which they are already living. — Patrick Ness reviewing Ship Breaker for The Guardian. Via
I did not open one present this season, that was by design and I'm happy about it. However, today my little brother and his wife Kelly let me know that I'm going to be an uncle for the first time. That was a gift. I'm going to be the best uncle a kid ever had. Merry Christmas. Some photos from the day..
25. XII. 1993 For a miracle, take one shepherd's sheepskin, throw in a pinch of now, a grain of long ago, and a handful of tomorrow. Add by eye a little chunk of space, a piece of sky,
and it will happen. For miracles, gravitating to earth, know just where people will be waiting, and eagerly will find the right address and tenant, even in a wilderness.
Or if you're leaving home, switch on a new four-pointed star, then, as you say adieu, to light a vacant world with steady blaze and follow you forever with its gaze. - Joseph Brodsky Nativity Poems five branch tree
This morning I was notified that I was being recommended for appointment to the City of Huntington Beach's Human Relations Task Force by Council Members Joe Shaw and Mathew Harper. The appointment will be made at the 1/17/12 HB City Council meeting. The Human Relations Task Force promotes and celebrates diversity in our community through education and understanding. It also works closely with the Police Department to strictly enforce and monitor all incidents that could be classified as hate crimes. I'm really looking forward to this new role and the opportunity to bring together and make more visible all the rich cultural diversity that is located in our community. Plus, there might be some art stuff involved.
"Learning how to think" really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot or will not exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed." - David Foster Wallace This Is Water Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
Fashion is one of the very few forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men. And I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain. It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial - Fashion is a Feminist Issue - Greta Christina(read the whole thing, great!)
(IMHO it could also be argued that there is much homophobia in the anti-fashion discourse as well)
After I dropped out of high school I decided I wanted to go to fashion school. So I enrolled at FIDM. I didn't want to design clothes but I wanted to be in the mix somehow. I grew up influenced by the creative style of punk rock and the fashion conscious new romantic music scenes. The combination of those two musical/style influences, and the people that participated in those scenes, captured my imagination in a profound way. While at FIDM I met all kinds of passionate women and men who had a love for creating, in many different ways. FIDM was also in introduction for me into gay culture. It was a wonderful experience cut short by my participation in another culture, the drug culture.
Unfortunately if you look at me now you would never know that I was so heavily influenced by fashion and style. I have a hard time matching socks, but I still try and pay attention to what goes on these days in the style world. I visit the Sartorialist blog often and enjoy many street style blogs. I also enjoy the personalities attached to the scene and hope to catch the attached movie soon. Yes, I know the fashion world is an easy target for much criticism, but if anything, it's all about multiplicity.