personal essay, tarot

The Hermit

Heading up to a cabin in Big Bear for a solo retreat tomorrow and I can’t wait. I know we’re supposed to be excited about the world opening up and all, but I’m pretty ambivalent about it. I miss hugs, don’t get me wrong, I miss hugs real bad, but I don’t miss traffic or drunk douchebags on the street or the lady on her phone in the checkout line or the guy with the boom box on the beach playing shitty metal that you can’t seem to get away from.

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Hilma af Klint Altarpieces No.1
exercises + experiments, personal essay

Spring Cleaning

One quarter of the country has been vaccinated, quarantines are being lifted, and I feel like one of those fumbling newborn antelope plopped down in the wide-open Serengeti with ten minutes to learn running before the lions arrive. I, and countless others with whom I’ve been in conversation over this past year, have changed. Our priorities have shifted, values realigned. We’re worried about losing ourselves out there. We want to go back. We don’t want to go backwards.

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Robert E Lee statue with protestors
mythic perspectives, personal essay

White History

I grew up in South Carolina in the 80’s and I distinctly remember a sense of pride in the room of my junior high American History class when we got to the bit about the rebel soldiers from our beloved port city of Charleston firing the first shots of the Civil War. We Southerners were a fiercely independent brand of patriots, we were taught, who weren’t going to let the Yankees living five hundred miles away tell us how to live. Even though my school had more black students than white, it was clear to me even then that nowhere in the concept of “Southerner” was the black experience. I vaguely remember learning about slavery but only in the abstract, as a sort of short-lived cultural relic, a byproduct of that era, just… how things were

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Nina Simone lyrics Birds flying high you know how I feel
activism, mythic perspectives, personal essay, tarot

Good Omens

Inauguration comes from the Latin augur: “one who sees favorable omens for success”. (The word auspicious comes from this as well.) In Ancient Rome the augur was the official diviner who was called in before important undertakings of the state to determine whether or not the gods approved. He did this by reading the flight patterns of birds.

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How Heavy, The Deep Water. How Sweet, The Hope
mythic perspectives, personal essay

We Don’t Get to Know What’s Coming

Most of us have a recurring dream of some form or other. Some folks dream of flying, of losing their teeth. I dream of waves – giant, menacing, deep-water waves rising up in the night like dark-cloaked mercenaries. On and off throughout my life I have dreamed of waves. In my youth, I would mostly watch them from a distance, a hillside perhaps, or sometimes through the window of a house, the swell rising on the horizon. Lately though, the water seems closer. A few months back, I’m having a picnic as a wave towers over my friend’s shoulder. Just last week, I am on a dock when the water below me expands like a balloon, swallowing the dock entirely right as I wake up.

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Angels Landing Zion National Park
activism, personal essay

Aesthetic Arrest

Zion National Park in May of last year. We set up camp in the shadow of one of those glorious red rock monoliths with the rushing waters from a nearby (but unseen) river as our only soundtrack. That night the moon turned the whole valley silver and the sounds of the river seemed to amplify in the still night air, enveloping us in this white-noise cocoon. After dinner I went off on my own, determined to put a visual to what now seemed to come from everywhere at once, and as I pushed through the brush, the more it consumed and bewildered me, until finally, I reached the river’s edge and stood there on the banks, for how long I really don’t remember. 

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activism, personal essay

Freedom Now

I grew up closeted in the backwoods of South Carolina in the 80’s and became interested in storytelling around 9 years old when my father would drive me into the sticks and drop me alone on the side of a dirt road with a rifle. From there I’d hike into the woods to find a marked tree with a small plank hanging from it, about 15 feet up in the air. I’d climb the tree and I’d sit on the plank and I’d wait quietly. And wait. And wait, for some unsuspecting deer to stroll by; a deer I’d never have the heart to shoot; a deer that would graze the baited corn my dad had spread out on the ground below while I silently watched, spellbound, boring all of my secrets into him telepathically, before firing in the air to spook him back to freedom. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing at the time, I just knew, on some level, that it was safer to be the boy with lousy aim than the boy who didn’t like to hunt.

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Francis O'Connor set design for Waiting for Godot
mythic perspectives, personal essay

Letting in the Mess

Samuel Beckett and Tom F. Driver on the function of art in a world in crisis

There is so much about my work as an artist that is changing. Much of what interested me just three years ago feels frivolous now. I stopped writing a romantic comedy just before Trump was elected and I’m not sure I could summon the drive to finish it now regardless of what someone offered to pay me.

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exercises + experiments, personal essay, tarot

Intuition

Intuition is having a moment. Search the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll get over 2 million hits. It’s super trendy with the witches and the healers and all the new, new-agey folk (hi me!). Considering we’re living in deeply unsettling times, it’s natural that so many of us are seeking guidance and a stronger inner compass. But I often see intuition getting lumped in with things like psychic visions or other exclusionary skillsets which is disheartening and completely misguided.

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