Dried Marigolds

Marigolds and Mosquitos: I sure do miss Florida

writing

I miss the oceans of marigolds, and spending time doing nothing with my friends. These are my biggest memories of Florida. I miss being able to garden all year round. Marigolds and mosquitos. Pot and painting. Sitting outside, inhaling the gulf breeze and pulling up weeds from the garden.

Holly and I would be outside collecting marigolds from the back yard. We would do this every day. It would only take a day or two before the flowers are dried. The Florida head would do us this one favor.

After they dried, we would walk around with our jazz cigarette picking weeds and throwing seeds.

I loved it. As one cohort of flowers dies, another one is beginning to bloom.

Dried marigold flowers

The crushed flowers on our fingertips would smell so good. A sweet smell that I’ll never forget. We could have used the flowers for orange dye, but we never did. The benefit of having an ocean of orange in the back yard was one too tempting to give up, even for a perfect pigment.

We grew these marigolds because of their beauty, and because of how easy they are to care for. We also grew them because they help ward off mosquitos and other annoying insects that call South-Central Florida home.

French marigolds repel whiteflies, and kill bad nematodes in your soil. They have a strong scent which repels bad insects and attracts the good ones, making marigolds a great companion plant.

Plant marigolds in your garden with:

  • basil
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant,
  • gourds
  • kale
  • potatoes,
  • squash
  • tomatoes

Throughout our gardens, we would have other plants. Some are orange, many are not. Fruiting trees, flowering trees, cacti and succulents and everything in between. Florida is good for those that love to grow. I hope you’ll grow some in your own garden, too!

Holly and I in the garden

Ealy 2000s website designed by camicamirobot

And then we would write- my experiences growing up in the first generation of digital natives

internet, writing

I got married in January. We went to the court house and signed paperwork and we were carrying our baby in his carseat and I was wearing ripped up old jeans. It was a little awkward, as am I. We’ve been together since September 2017, and I notice some big differences. I’m so used to living alone, so I really did this too quickly and the adjustment period has been interesting. Now, not only do I have another adult human to live with, but a baby human.

I like to write. It’s why I started this blog so many years ago. I know that no one I know in my real life actually reads it, but for me it’s just as useful as a session with a therapist. I’m kissing it all on the forehead. Goodnight, anxiety. See you next time.

He does not write. He does not read. No social media. He does watch a lot of videos on Youtube, but otherwise does not spend any time entertaining what I like to call the Intrusive internet.

I cant even imagine not having the urge to write. I feel like we are both considered digital natives (born 1989 and 1990) but my experiences must have been much different from that of our peers growing up. I had websites from such a young age, and continued to maintain various websites and blogs into my adulthood, I know that my siblings both did as well, at least at various points. My friends would write, and I just assumed the whole world did.

At first it would be angelfire, tripod.net or AOL pages. Yahoo had a webpage hosting service as well that I had used. For me, this was an incredible outlet to show the world my art.

Illustration from age 16 on one of my first websites
Illustration from age 16 on one of my first websites

I could tinker and write code and make a home on this cyber planet.

I could have all of the pieces of digital furniture that my heart desired. I could write and write and share my art, my videos, my poems and ideas and life. And maybe one day someone would care. It wasn’t until years later, when I was in my early twenties that I thought about how this trend of digital lives being the norm is shaping the way people die.

I spend so much time thinking about it and I decided to model my internet life and my website as a massive memorial. I want you to be able to remember what kind of person I was when you read these posts. I am meek. I am nervous. I am trying.

And I like to write.

Mothers on social media, and how the internet has changed family dynamics

Boise, Idaho, motherhood, Posts tagged as "artists" from the blog, technology, writing

This is something I’ve been thinking/reading about lately. Mostly reactions to this article about a freshly minted 14 year old on social media who was shocked about the content posted about her by family without her knowledge.

We have a generation of babies right now that will likely emerge as adults in a world with internet.

Babies with videos and images of themselves being assaulted by cheese, learning how to speak and walk. Babies growing up, throwing tantrums and asking questions all documented- sometimes in its entirety- on the internet.

I feel the compulsion interesting and understandable. It has only become very recently that families were able to do more than simply pull photos out from your wallet or purse. Now that we are able to share online, we will overshare. This leaves each person vulnerable. Imagine what this data is doing for machine learning.

We are watching the first generation of people with internet raising their children.

Right now, teenagers exist in the United States that have been entirely denied a private childhood, and I think that’s a problem.

Blogging around your children robs them of something that was afforded to you: the right to have some of their most intimate and vulnerable moments as humans exposed to the internet without consent.

I don’t think that posting a photo is a bad thing, but the volumes of data provided to huge platforms as Facebook and similar is a very scary thought. I would imagine the learning would become so successful that predictions can be made on virtually anything about a person if for example Facebook had data on them from birth to adulthood.

While it would be best to not post photos at all on the internet, I already posted my son’s newborn photo on this website. I’m excited for him to be a part of the rest of my life, and I don’t regret it. I am making a promise to him and to myself that it would be the last one. It’s hard, because he is extremely beautiful to me but this feels like the right way to go.

When he is able to understand what the internet is and tells me he wants to explore it, then we can catch back up. So far, there’s a lot of evidence to back up claims that too much internet access can cause or exacerbate depression.

I want to keep him informed about the opportunities that the internet can provide, as well as the dangers of it.

I want to teach him how to use the internet effectively.

This will be an interesting conversation as his father is not an “internet” person outside of youtube. I work online in the social media and advertising space. We both have vastly different and useful opinions on the internet to share. We also agree that the more time he spends in nature, the better off if will be.

I don’t make art enough these days to update the gallery, but I’m thinking about it. Life is tiring right now because little one is nearly 4 months old. I’ll draft something next weekend.

I hope you’ve noticed the work uploading more art on to this web page. I have a huge variety of work from photography to illustrations with pen to large scale mixed media/ acrylic paintings.

They span over a decade at least, so I’ve been entertaining the idea of respecting myself as an artist.

Not just as a slug of a woman.

With love,

Art Vs Artist

Boise, Idaho, writing

Am I an artist anymore? This is where my mind is at. It’s March 2nd, 2019. I’ve been pushing myself to prioritize making art, for my own mental health.

To come to terms with the rapid evolution of my life into a married mother. Trying to find out where Camille sits after all of these changes were and continue to be a challenge. I am doing well and should be proud of myself. This painting is actually fairly large and is painted over something I did back in July.

A car dealer came over to our apartment to look at some art to buy, a fast talking and real slick looking guy. I had listed several paintings on the app “LetGo“. He wanted to buy 4 paintings but only left with 2 because the works I physically have of are mostly quite small with 2 exceptions. He hated this one, I hated it and I painted over it. It has a devil, and I don’t much like the devil.

I guess when my husband said it, it really clicked. When you have a lot of money, you have big walls and want big art. I immediately took it off the wall, onto my easel and went over it with paint. Several layers of paint.

We’re going to be staying in Boise as a family for another 6 months, and the plan is to move back to Tampa Bay in late September so we don’t have to spend another winter in Idaho. I am going to keep this momentum of constant art creation on a much larger scale that my usual while we’re still out here in Boise. Every day I hold this boy and he’s so beautiful and sleeps and I make time for art. I’m married to the best guy I’ve ever met and life it truly awesome.

Plastic Dolls from 1967

quick snapshots as a busy no longer pregnant/ artist

motherhood, writing

My pregnant mind. A perfect pile on the counter left there intentionally. Plastic doll, some lace, some, ideas floating around. It serves as a gift, a little reminder. Of all the small, beautiful things that have been and that are to come.

My maternity leave is almost over. The last few weeks of my pregnancy were extremely draining of my mind and energy. Then, I gave birth and have been getting to know that tiny person I grew. I still have a lot of “meeting” to do, and that’s fascinating of itself. He’s ever evolving for the entire rest of my life.

I don’t know how I’ll manage having to direct my attention to work and away from him. Coming to terms with my privilege to be able to spend so much time with baby while on my leave. Since November 30th without stressing out about bills and finances.

I feel extremely sad that many mothers don’t get to have any time with their little babies without feeling the financial burdens of taking that time off without pay.

This event feels so life changing, I don’t truly even feel like the same person anymore and cannot relate to who I was 3 months ago.

Before the gravity of my permanent exhaustion settles in.

I’m going to do it anyway, I’ll report back to you soon to let you know how it goes. The way the situation is unraveling, he will have a lot of time to bond with his father. That’s a beautiful thing to me. They look a lot alike. I don’t know if the baby eyes will always be this blue, but watching them blend together with the passing of time will be something of a treat for me to see.

When I look back at my older artwork, my thoughts and personality I no longer identify with. Early to mid twenties, unhinged, creative and perverted. I’ve evolved. I’ve become more dynamic.

I’m a mother now, a parent, a wife. I have other duties that will define me, I’m not just an artist. How I am going to reflect these changes artistically, I still don’t know. I’m quite curious to find out. My uterus isn’t pregnant anymore but my mind feels like it will always be. Bursting will renewed life over and over again until I

To check out the latest art, check out the new “Mothers Milk” gallery.

Stripping away my identity, one day at a time

pregnancy, writing

That’s what the past 6 months have felt like. My identity will replaced to the slavery of child rearing. My life will soon no longer revolve around me, only my own whims and desires. Soon, a brand new child will come into the world. 

As a self-proclaimed wild-card, this is a bit much to accept. I’m 29 years old this year and still feel like a child myself, stumbling around life.

This could be me at 24, tripping in the woods and dipping my toes in the springs. I’m paying close attention to the ripples that start from my toes and end nowhere, around the planet, everywhere. 

I’d like to think the ripples extended themselves all the way to the point in my life where I met my partner in Eugene.

To the point when he impregnated me during a cold night in Boise, and to the moment right now where I’m typing with my laptop propped up against my very large belly.

Our son could kick the laptop off my lap in a violent kick of his tiny legs if he really wanted to, and the fact that he hasn’t says something. 

I am scared I won’t be myself anymore, I’ll just become a mother. It should be fine to have a reduction from an individual woman to a mother.  But in my stomach, it does not feel fine. My obligations are daunting. I should feel that If thats what it takes then I’ll do it. I will disintegrate. 

But for me, growing up, it was never like that. 

Something about my childhood is that we always knew our place. We knew that 

My parents had passions beyond raising us.

For my father, music was his passion.

He loved playing guitar more than anything in the world, more than spending time with us, more than anything. He shared his gift and passion with us and with the world and it is beautiful to me. We all knew our dad, Billy Bongster. 

Dad loved to play music, & smoke pot and that was fine and it inspired us to find our own passions in life. For me, that was always art. She loved to have fun, and she is truly a free spirit. Always dancing, going on adventures, immersing herself in self love and exploration.

I want to raise my child in the same way, to know that mommy loves to paint and daddy loves to skate and we love him to the ends of the earth.

It’s important to me that he develops a passion for something in life. He should know we’re here to help him find his way. I get lost thinking about this tiny fetus that will eventually grow into an adult. An adult who will be around long after I am gone from this planet. 

Based on current data projections, his life expectancy is 76 years old. Having been born in the year 2018, he will lie through the year 2094. I can only hope.  Born to me is a child of the future. How much has life changed for us born in the late 80s and early 90s? Everything I am experiencing is already obsolete. 

Life changed a lot for our parents and our grandparents. It’s a massive duty to raise a human to love and protect our earth and to understand intimately how our actions drive both positive and negative change.

Unsure how well we will do as parents or how well the planet will fare, I’m riddled with anxiety. This isn’t based on just our influence, but influence of everyone carrying new life right now. Those that have birthed in recent years and will in the near future.  “Is it even a good idea to give birth right now?,” our Senator Alexandria Ocasio~Cortez asks recently.  I think the same things and it makes me feel guilty. 

All that I can do is promise him, myself, my partner and the universe this: I will do my best. and will continue to be myself and project my energies into the world. My hopes for a positive change are forever unwavering. 

A son, shining in the hot summer sky

pregnancy, writing

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 I meet my son. What a nervous feeling this is. I wonder if you’ll identify with that, assigned gender, and 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.

July 24th, it was a Tuesday. Thats when I went for an anatomical scan with Shane.  To further add more traits to the child growing in my womb. “Oh wow. He has quite large testicles, it’s definitely a boy”, the nurse exclaimed. My fiance smirked and said something funny.

It’s strange and fascinating to me that while growing in my womb, tumbling and kicking and roaming about in the limited expanse of his universe, I am out here on earth struggling to sleep, too.

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. Check out the new art in the meantime. I’ve been quite productive with a commission by my good friend Frank Wood.

Thunder Mountain Suicide

traveling, writing

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

That’s because he wasn’t really a Native American. In reality, he was just a hippie. Living in the western US and taking road trips across the country like many Americans of his generation did.

Zant was a WW2 veteran from Oklahoma and his gift to the world amounts to an array of wild sculptures off a Highway in Nevada.  Many people drive past the artwork off Nevada’s highway unknowingly.

Between Winnemucca and Lovelock off I-80, about 120 miles east of Reno. Very close to the exit for a tiny town named Imlay with a pop. 200 lies Thunder Mountain.

During 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.

Why not, considering that I am 5 hours northeast of the junk Mecca.

Intended to be a shelter for the apocalypse after Frank Van Zant, aka Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, had an epiphany.  It was constructed from concrete, old cars, typewriters, bottles, recycled metals and miscellaneous junk.

It was originally a series of homes created together on five acres off of Interstate 80 in Nevada.

What it looked like in its prime I can only imagine. The monument suffered for years as vandalism, arson, and abuse have worn it out. Then, in 1992 it was declared a historic site in Nevada and finally 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.. ( about my digital footprint)

pregnancy, writing

 I suppose when you get to a certain age, you start realizing you’ve been putting efforts into the wrong things.

For whatever reason, this week I read through all of my previous posts. The digital footprints I’ve littered across the internet. 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 and goals that have swallow me up and spit me back out. It’s like I’m constantly treading the harsh waves of the Atlantic ocean.

Hello, I am Camille and I feel sad. Happy. Ecstatic. Terrified. Angry. I’m feeling all kinds of ways.

I thought 2014 was as hard as things could get for me. I didn’t know the capacity for pain life carries with it back then.

Definitely didn’t expect to have to deal with drug addiction in my family again. Not with a sibling. I never anticipated a nephew that has to grow up in an environment even worse than was the situation was for me and my siblings.

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.

It’s cold out here, but at least I don’t know anyone and the pain ain’t so close to my heart.

Unable to drive up the street and look at it. There is suddenly no need to see those tattoos, those track marks, those rotting teeth looking back at me. Asking to borrow money, for my forgiveness, saying cruel things.

That they could become such significant stressors to me was mind boggling. Even from 3,000 miles away, 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 tell myself.

This all feels so unfair.

Unsure of 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. If ever I had an enemy, that entire situation would be it.

I want to shake the world and find peace in the hearts of the people I love but my hand keeps getting 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.

Yeah, I can proudly say I broke out of my “caste system” and made something of myself. but I still feel 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.

My soul has become a puddle somewhere that gets stepped on and ignored and is more or less a mess that no one will ever clean up.

Perhaps 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.

Rebuilding my own soul is tiring work.

Sometimes I think it’s probably the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.

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. Browsing the internet in it’s many forms when you notice “RIP brother, fly with the angels” posted to so-and-so’s wall. It’s 2018 and this is still a process untouched by technology. Despite its powerful ways of solving problems, technology has not touched death. Not like this, anyways.  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.

Navigating to their social media accounts and what you see is a human and his respective data frozen in time. Whatever 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 drunk 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 internet profiles as if they were tombs in a graveyard. Rereading their posts as if they were unintended epitaphs to their life.

Is there a right way to handle death on the internet?

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 and there 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.