A son

pregnancy, writing

July 24th. A Tuesday. Thats when I went for an anatomical scan to further add more vague traits to the human person character growing in my womb. It’s strange and fascinating to me that while growing in my womb, tumbling and kicking and roaming about in the limited expansive of his own universe, I am out here on earth struggling to sleep, too.

My son.

It’s a nice finishing touch of a thought I’ve had since I found out. What else is there to discover? I have just about 4 months to go before we meet. What a nervous feeling this is. I wonder if you’ll identify with that, I wonder if you’ll be healthy. I wonder what color eyes you’ll have, and if you’ll be as enamored with music and art as I am. I wonder if you’ll share my father’s birthdate, or if you’ll have a sense of humor like your own father.

A sense of athleticism.

I wonder all kinds of things, with each stroke of the paint brush. I’m trying to keep busy inside, at least.

 

 

Thunder Mountain Suicide

traveling, writing

Frank Van Zant doesn’t sound like the name of a famous Native American

In reality, he was probably just a hippie living on the western US, taking road trips across the country like many Americans of his generation did. He was a WW2 veteran from Oklahoma, and his gift to the world amounts to an array of wild sculptures many drive past through Nevada’s vast nothingness unknowingly. Located between Winnemucca and Lovelock off I-80, about 120 miles east of Reno and very close to the exit for a tiny town named Imlay with a population of less than 200 lies Thunder Mountain.

Somehow, through a late night click-fest on wikipedia, I learned of Thunder Mountain. The idea of it reminded me of a film I’ve loved for years called the Holy Mountain, so I wanted to check it out, being only a rough 5 hours northeast of the junk Mecca.

It was intended to be a shelter for the impending apocalypse after Frank Van Zant, aka Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder had an epiphany in the late 1960s. Made from concrete, old cars, typewriters, bottles, recycled metals and other miscellaneous junk, the monument was originally a series of homes which were created together on five acres off of Interstate 80 in Nevada.

What it looked like in its prime, I can only imagine as years of vandalism, arson, and abuse have tried to shred the beauty of this place away from it until in 1992 it was declared a historic site in Nevada and provided protection.

Thunder Mountain Suicide

In 1989, Frank Van Zant shot himself in the head. His legacy lives in the garden and fascinating “junk castle” dedicated to the life and abuse of Native Americans well into 2018.

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I suppose..

pregnancy, writing

When you get so old you start realizing you are putting efforts into the wrong place.

I suppose I read through past posts, the digital footprints I’ve littered across the internet because I’m too conscious to ever litter in the real world. This kind of litter, I guess it’s not that bad compared to a plastic grocery bag a turtle might get caught up in. Or an old Dr. Pepper can of soda that becomes the eventual home to a school of fish larvae in the gulf.

Various moods, visuals, different pains resulted from different situations, romantic partners, goals that swallow me up and spit me back out like I’m constantly treading the deep waves of the east Atlantic ocean.

Hello, I am Camille and I feel sad. Happy. Ecstatic. Terrified. Angry.

I’m feeling all kinds of ways lately. I thought 2014 was as bad as things could get but I didn’t know the capacity for pain life carries with it. I didn’t expect to have to deal with drug addiction in my family, again, with a sibling. I never anticipated a nephew that has to grow up in an environment as colorful and riddled in the stress of being the child of an addict even worse than was the situation for me and my siblings. I never imagined that kind of pain a little boy that survived despite the world working against him from birth would bring me. It drove me away from my home state of which I love. Gosh, it’s cold out here but at least I don’t know anyone and the pain ain’t so close to my heart. I can’t drive up the street and look at it. I don’t need to see those tattoos, those track marks, those rotting teeth looking back at me, asking to borrow money, asking for my forgiveness, saying cruel things.

I didn’t know how largely they could become stressors even from 3,000 miles away, building up at me and eating away at me until I can’t take it anymore and just cry. into my pillows, a strong shoulder, whatever is available. Grow up, be a woman, you’re almost 30 years old. I hate myself for it but it all seems so unfair.

I don’t know who to talk to, who could I talk to? They just say “I’m sorry” and I am sorry too because it’s a problem that can’t be fixed and if ever i had an enemy that situation would be it. I want to shake the world and find peace in the hearts of the people I love but my hand gets bitten, my heart turns cold and it just hurts and hurts and hurts.

Trying to let go is hard. All of the effort put into others was misdirected. Sure, I can proudly say I broke out of my caste system and made something of myself but I feel oh.. i don’t know. Incomplete. Like I left my soul somewhere on the floor and left the room and left the house and left the state and now I don’t have one anymore, it’s become a puddle somewhere that gets stepped on and ignored and is more or less a mess that no one will ever clean up.

Maybe it’s too late to get that soul back but I found a way to build a new one. Stop paying mind to everything that hurts and build a love inside myself. Cells multiplying every day, cells made out of love and maybe some biological material and DNA too but mostly love.

It’s rebuilding my soul, and sure it’s tiring and sometimes I think it’s probably the worst feeling but it’s rebuilding something I lost a long time ago and so the exhaustion, it’s probably worth it to me. It will be my greatest work of art. The building of a brand new soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when you die on the internet?

technology, writing

We’ve all been there by now. It’s 2018 and this is still a process untouched by technology and its powerful ways solving for all problems, even the ones we didn’t know we had. You have a friend or family member die, the person gone forever from your life.

Facebook shows you “On this day” posts from this person in the past.

You can go to their social media accounts and see a human and his respective data frozen in time. Whatever situation or mood they were in when that last post was made is how they will be remembered forever in the digital world.

A specific tragedy that we all saw coming

I’m thinking about an old drinking buddy of mine from back in Florida. I remember one night scrolling through Facebook seeing a lot of wild posts from him, blacked out drunk and posting nonsense on Facebook. The next morning was a Saturday morning, and he posted that he was lucky he didn’t wake up in jail.

That Saturday night, there weren’t as many drunken posts. Just a tag at a bar from earlier in the evening. The next day on Facebook, I’m seeing R.I.P. posts on his wall and my heart is sinking. His body was found face down in a pool outside of the gated community he lived in. He must have been too fucked up too walk properly, and had fallen into the pool and passed out. That beaming smile and fuck-it-lets-party attitude will never be sitting at the bar downtown. He’ll never be at another house party, or Florida Gamers event. Rest in peace, my dude.

Every few days I would visit his profile, and reread his posts about waking up in jail. It would ring out to me “someone should have been a better friend” or something like that. I come up with all kinds of narratives about what happened and how shitty it was no one ever put their hand on his shoulder and told him life could offer so much more.  I would sit there and think about how Facebook was just memorializing him at that point in his life, and not really anything about who he was as a person.

Every time someone died, I would do the same thing. Adoringly visit their profiles, as if they were tombs in a graveyard and rereading their posts as if they were unintended epitaphs to their life.

Is there a right way to handle death on social media?

This is something society never had to think about before, but it can’t keep sitting untouched a topic. Is it invasive, to have the digital content and histories of the dead reserved? Is it public domain? Is nothing sacred? Even I don’t know how I feel about it, but the thought is constantly itching at my mind. I wonder, what is the last piece of content I will leave behind? It’s like a form of accountability. Before you post this or that, would it truly be a good impression to leave on the digital universe after you go away? Are you leaving an impact? Is it pretentious of me to be thinking so deeply about it, even?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I cannot wait to see the world touch on them as it grows harder and harder to ignore the fact that people die every single day and the content they produced in the past piles up.

The implications of the digital afterlife are strong when you really consider ownership and privacy of memorialized digital content.

Yes, I drove from Central Florida to Central Oregon by myself.

photography, photos, traveling, writing

I was asked the question a lot while I was passing through long stretches of interstate gas stations mostly located in the middle of nowhere.

Watching the landscape and hearing the accents evolve hand in hand as I reached each clerk and asked to filler’ up. leaving  Florida was bittersweet for me. I didn’t want to do it, but I knew deep down I had to. My Mini Cooper was filled to the very top, with just enough space to form a window of space that I can use for driving. Off we go. May 10th. Got to New Orleans, LA late that night and got a hotel room in the heart of the city, close to the famous French Quarter.

The adventure brought me into the window of a stranger’s van to hit a joint, on the stoop of some strangers home in the lower east side, completely lost, in circles, on a public bus, frantically searching for my car in a huge city of which I have never lived on a dying phone and buying beer for locals to help keep me safe as an act of self preservation. It worked and after 9 hours on my feet I finally found my Mini tucked away in a small parking area in the middle of the French Quarter and made my way Northwest towards and through Texas.

Texas took a very long time to drive though, it was vast and empty and beautiful. I drove 100 MPH through a small stretch of highway 100 miles away from the New Mexico border. My heart racing as I clutched onto my life at the steering wheel, pleased at how happy my car was purring along the highway. It was made for this. I only speed up to 99-102 a few times during the trip, and for only a few seconds at most. The roads were so empty for so long, and when you have over 3,000 miles left to go you need to do something to keep yourself excited.

That few days traveling from Florida to Colorado, I had to grow into myself and stand up tall and be defensive and strong and alone. There’s something about the solitude that makes you feel so vulnerable in the world. Some days its clearer than others that my discomfort is because I am a woman more because I am a human.

I was only in New Mexico for about 30 minutes while I traversed from Texas to Colorado where my Dad and his wife live.  It somehow managed to be the only state that I got a speeding ticket in. I got to Colorado City, CO the next day at 3am and slept in my car in front of an empty lot in a trailer park, unsure which was actually his due to the incredible low lighting. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone sleeping in a mini cooper, it’s simple impossible to make comfortable.

I woke up, of course as soon as the sun came up and met the handsome mountain across the street. He had snow on top and was one of the many mountains surrounded this small town and the surrounding towns of Pueblo county. At an elevation of  ‎5,853 ft , I was way up high for a gal from Florida for the past few years of my life.

I stayed with my dad, who is a blues guitarist and musician and a retired pot dealer. I had a great time with him and we went to several gigs where I could see him play and have a few drinks and dance! He is playing with an amazing group called Sonrisa.

Traveling through the rest of Colorado, Wyoming and then spending the night in Twin Falls, Idaho was an adventure filled with the most amazing landscapes I’ve ever had to pay minimal attention to because I was also driving in the snowy mountains. The rest of this journey, and a lot of my summer 2017 are kind of hard to think about, and especially to write about but I feel like with 2018 rapidly approaching, it’s about time I at least dance around it.

The truest description of this beautiful, crazy summer was just an explosion of very intense emotions that left me a little scared. Living in Eugene in nice and I have a nice bobcat brain on a shelf in my living room with a small tv and a couch and sure it’s a little cold outside and it will be for a while but I have someone to snuggle now and I have my cat and that’s the end result, then I’m ok with it.

I don’t know what I was really looking for when I left Florida.

But this seems alright. In 2018, I am opting to have less income and more time, for as long as is necessary to take something off the ground. What exactly? ///…

 

 

 

Where should I begin? Traveling and waking up in the Pacific Northwest

traveling, writing

Well, its been two months and it feels a lot more like six. It’s frustrating when you continue drawing upon your own patterns to ensure some kind of disaster. Does it take a while before that part of your brain kicks in to do damage control, or is mine simply missing, or malfunctioning?

Sometimes, all the time, I fall in and out of love too easily. It’s as easy as the ocean waves saying hello and goodbye on the beach. Despite my best efforts when I know my love is like some sort of an opiate, it comes with great consequences and I can tell it’s going to be explosive and a part of me is excited about all of that energy coming from out of nowhere, coming from our little human hearts.

After a lot of spirals and headaches and crying and silent concern and walking around breathing as carefully as possible and heart racing and a mental breakdown and a lot of other necessary but uncomfortable feelings and situations, I guess foresight is everything and I have my space back as much as I’d like to have it and someone somewhere has to start fresh at the beginning of a full circle. It’s like watching clouds. I’ll be in my own window littered living room in less than 3 weeks and I’ll have plans hanging up and cute rugs and art everywhere and thats all I’ve needed for months now.

Feist is singing, my throat is dry and my skin feels soft and textured. One lover out, one lover in, this is my world. Exploring love. I’m smiling in the sunshine every day and its nice but I am excited for the challenges of my first winter in the Pacific Northwest.

I feel like my desire to plan or strive is melting away but it’s ok because I’m happy and I’m doing fine. There’s a theme of something going on out here. I went to a work related event in Vancouver, Canada and explored the city on foot. I drank at a bar with cowgirl table top dancers and laughed with large tables full of Italians. Did a dab with an editor and spoke honestly about art and emotion. I smiled, a lot, even though I hate my smile.

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Panorama of Vancouver, CA from Cambie Bridge

 

We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been painting again, and the results are bright and colorful.

Tragic Heroes of Portland: 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche-

Posts tagged as "artists" from the blog, writing

I didn’t even know that Portland was the city of roses until I got here.  The sweet aroma swelled me as I walked through the Northeast Portland neighbourhoods towards a coffee shop.  I drove over 3,000 miles to get here and I was excited and ready to leave the negative religious right pro-confederacy attitudes behind in the south.

Walked no less then 10 miles in New Orleans today …phone died by noon. Got coffee with a voodoo priestess, bought a chicken foot, blow kisses to the dirty kids in the french quarter, find some broken guitar, somehow end up in the bad side of town, sat on a stoop and made a conversation happen with a deaf guy who had a thug life tattoo..walk around with a guardian angel named Ronnie with two plates of shelter dinner trying to find a phone charger, gave up and traded $7 and a 25 oz Hurricane for a him to wait with me at a bus stop. Made way back to business district. Could not find where I parked, kind of panicked a little, just walked around in circles until I found the coop in some hole-in-the-wall parking lot that I probably walked past 3 times. Left, stayed in a dive hotel, woke up and left again.  I stayed in Colorado City, CO for a week with my dad and saw his latin fusion band, Sonrisa, play live a few times.

And then we got here, to Portland on May 23rd. Friday afternoon marked the beginning of Ramadan and I was planning to fast myself for unrelated stomach flu reasons. 

We had fun. Delicious foods and bus riding and exploring the city.  I didn’t read about it until the next day, on Saturday, that 3 men had been stabbed. Three white men on a train in Portland for defending some dark skinned teenage girls from a terrorist.

portland

I cannot stop thinking about it. How proud I am to be a human along side of them, of how protective they were in the face of evil. I want this heroism to be normalised.  To become a standard. I must nod to the sacrifice these men made and hope that more men after them will stand up for the rights and comforts of all humans. Rest in peace, Gentlemen. Thank you for everything.

The train loves you, too.

 

A long drive and a fresh tattoo

Posts tagged as "artists" from the blog, writing

Portland, Oregon is 3,051 miles away, equivalent to 46 hours drive. When I wake up on Wednesday morning, I’ll be sure to apologize to my mini cooper for the adventure and the extra luggage. I cannot wait to stop in the diners, drive through much of America and plant my feet in new earth and try to find myself out there. It feels like I’ve spent many nights grapsing at some white lights which have remains just out of reach. I can only hope I am getting closer.

I’m so ready. I said all the goodbyes I have the energy for. I finally got the passion flower inked into my arm forever like I promised my sister I would 5 1/2 years ago. The passion flowers at the house in Moon Lake are blooming the day I am set to go over there and pick her up and head to Modern Moose studios on 54.  They were breathtaking, and I went outside to capture photos of them while Allie called her boyfriend on the phone and generally got ready to go.

passifloraink2

On the ride there, should told me how hard this week has been and about how Ezekial loves to smile  and has a few less tubes in his face. I’m happy for him, we’re going to grab a small bite to each before spending 6 hours at the tattoo shop getting some memories represented on our bodies somewhere for the rest of our lives. I loved the pain. I’m also not really surprised I did. I’m not sure I’d ever get another one, as I never saw myself the “tattoo” type, and already the conversations it starts with other humans is noticable and endearing.  Three more days, and I’m gone. Me and my mini cooper and a lot of stuff and memories, driving for 46 hours. Maybe even, probably, even longer.

 

Life, or something like it. A micropreemie nephew and the cooler weathers of new territory

micopreemie, writing

As the months swim by me, the changes and directions we are all experiencing are predictable and complex. My small family of humans, animals, plants and dreams. It is April 9th, 2017. A Sunday. Since we last spoke, my younger sister went into an early labor at 22 weeks pregnant. Baby Zeke managed to stay in until 23 weeks, when he was born at Tampa General Hospital. She was taken by Bayflight helicopter from Trinity to Tampa General after staying for 2 nights in Trinity with excessive bleeding. He is doing stable right now, but the reality of her micropremie and seeing him struggle to develop outside of the womb is completely heartbreaking and fascinating and generally super intense all at the same time. His skin at first was a bright pink and is now looking a lot like translucent flesh. He’s so small.. not even 2lbs yet. I look at him sometimes and just stare and every minute he’s in a different, fragile state. He doesn’t look real. He seems like another doll on the shelf, just this tiny human that sometimes moves his still forming body around and is breathing and existing with the help of some tubes and a lot of machinery. It’s been very hard figuring out how to react,  I am so scared for this little human and his mother. I feel like I have been reading prognosis journals ever since it happened, obsessing over the outcome and just praying to god and not even knowing what to say to my sister. He’s been a miracle for his entire conception and all I can do is keep praying grows stronger and stronger every day.

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Aunt Camille and baby Ezekiel Thelonious. Donate to his GoFundMe page here! 

When I leave the Hospital, I am still of course working and building gardens and this time around planning details of my very soon move to Oregon, on the west coast of the U.S.

Further away than I have ever been. A new city, a new climate, and new opportunities. The time has come to finally leave Florida and all of her bad memories and good memories and growth and fun and overpopulation problems and everything like that. I’m leaving so much behind, including a struggling nephew and a human I fell in love with and will always adore and a lot of bad habits, too.

I’m leaving behind my lack of creativity, my boredom and my cries. I am leaving behind beautiful gardens I made, and relationships I built. I’m leaving behind some heroes, some family and some friends.

But what awaits me, I truly feel is worth all I’m leaving behind here in Florida.

Life is not slowing down for me or anyone. I still have so much I want to do.

Who knew we would be here on January 21st, 2017?

writing

The day is breezy and sunny in Tarpon Springs, Florida. It’s fifteen minutes past 11:00am and the whirring of construction is nearby and in full swing. Flowers have begun to uncurl and birds and playing along the power lines.

Across the Tampa Bay area, thousands of women are on their way out to downtown St. Petersburg to march in the Women’s March on Washington to protest against the inauguration of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

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It is a painful reality to confront at 7:45 am as I walk to Hellas to get a cappuccino while my household slept.  The newspaper says there are protests happening with hundreds of thousands of people in around 250 countries.  A small flock of tears are welling but of course i’m in public but I feel proud as can be for the fighters and their stories.  This is the reality of that future I spent years dreaming of.

Those of us enamored with the idea of technology believed: surely the internet will bring the world together. Surely we will finally have peace and equality for all on the planet. Learn and love each other for the first time.  And maybe we still might, but the journey will take longer than we knew.

There is just so much more hate than we could have anticipated and hate is hard to unlearn.  You can consider the huge advance of programs, not even programs with the internet but programs from entrepreneurs and businessmen and women who want to see everyones lives improve because technology has that power.

In fact, these companies are investing more in educating the people than any of the government programs which have been left collecting dust for so long while we spend trillions of dollars on war and bailing out the big banks.  You look at LinkedIn’s investing and acquisition of Lynda, the uprising of MOOC culture and sites such as Courser.org , Udemy.com, EdEx.com, and even universities themselves offering training and educational content for free.  The way we teach and learn as a society is evolving because the danger of having and nurturing uneducated masses is more obvious than it ever has been before.

For so long, we allowed systemic gentrification and mass relocating to the massive and growing urban sprawls, meanwhile allowing rural communities to be driven into economic collapse, abandoning them, their education and their future.

I hope now, as the Unites States of America, we the people can really ACTIVE ourselves and make a difference in the direction of good in 2020. We need to stay strong through this presidency, and fight every step of the way to protect our rights and our progress so far. We need to hold our governments accountable, as they represent us.

We cannot stand by and expect them to do good, ignoring our rights as citizens. These are truly dark and historically significant times and the time is not now to do nothing.