sophie’s choice

so i am applying for this award that goes to mothers who write &/or draw.  there are a bunch of categories, but they encourage you to only enter in one. i have been agonizing over whether i should go with the graphic novel category and enter moses jones or if i should enter in the drawing category and just showcase my ink stain whimsy series (among other drawings i feel strongly about.)

seriously, it has been agonizing.

last night i was sure that i could write a graphic novel to go with my ink stain whimsy series and enter it & mojo in the graphic novel category…. and maybe i could. and maybe i will! but not right now. i started to. split into a few different directions. saw images in my head i knew i could not at this time create.

finally, i started to physically go through all of my pages of moses jones and all of my ink stains.
reading moses jones had a much stronger pull for me than my inkstains.
i love my ink stains. they are totally a relaxing and fun art to do.
but graphic novels…
moses jones…
how i love my graphic novels.

i even dug through some of my other comics. weener coop and just me & my lizard brain:

man, i love comics & graphic novels.

so i am going to convince myself that the judges will see the beauty i see in moses jones and award me a greatly needed cash prize.

 

where am i?

the last time i smiled
was two years ago
in pictures since
it’s like i’m trying to smile
but i can’t
my smile is gone
he took it
& which is the greater sin?
that he took my smile–
or that i let him?

& daddy 034

there it is. my last smile. two summers ago when i first left dusty due to his refusing to stop seeing his girlfriend…of course, since i had left him, he was being super sweet to me…and that might be why i am smiling. fuck it. fuck that bastard.

i feel so lost lately. i am on auto-pilot. spirals of self-pity & anger. is this part of healing…or just another level of my own personal hell?

i don’t like that i have lost my smile. sometimes my smile was the best part of me. once when i worked as a baker behind a big glass window that people would knock on and i would smile at them (okay, that makes me sound like a zoo animal–nevertheless), a person slipped me a note that said, “i would walk a million miles for one of your smiles,” and i’m sure i still have that note somewhere.

who am i without my smile?

sometimes i wonder when exactly my heart fell into its current state of decay.

i try to do dating sites, but then i think, “who the fuck would want to deal with this?” meaning me, my life, my being trapped on a homestead, my four overwhelming minions, my general fucked-upness….

i have $45 in my bank account. i am seemingly unable to figure out how to make money. which is another trap. poverty. do i continue to borrow from my credit card? that seems like a bad idea…but what happens when i need gas for the truck? or toilet paper? there are only 4 rolls left. do i go pick leaves? switch to cloth?

a friend told me about a grant for moms who are artists or writers. i am both. i could enter in like four different categories–at least–i have that much material. since becoming a mom, i have done more art & writing than ever….
but what if it all sucks? surely everyone else is better than i am.  i could never win a grant. no one will publish me. i always get the, “we really enjoyed this, but…” rejections. which are probably just standard rejections designed so i don’t stick my head in the oven.

i started working on the inking shown at the top of this post a couple of weeks ago.
this is as far as i have gotten.
and i haven’t gotten any more work done on the project i have half a summer to finish….

what is the matter with me?
how do i pop myself out of this puddle of misery?
i’m not dancing. not smiling. & my dreams are a soup of anxiety.  the highlight of my week was getting two dairy goats. since then i have actually told them, “you complete me.”

i think maybe i was a shepherd in a past life…or a herd dog.

not alone

i thought it was
you & me
against the world
but
i was all alone
the whole
time
i was all alone

i have a key around my neck with the words “not alone” engraved on one side and a heart engraved on the other side. it was made by a woman who suffers from anxiety to remind us that even when we feel alone, we are not.

i am not alone.

i mean i know that when i hear a song on the radio and wonder how the artist got a hold of my journal. even a poem i wrote last week reminded someone of the lyrics of a tool song. he sent the lyrics to me, and i was blown away by how much the writer of the song was feeling what i felt–and also by how much better he expressed it.

sometimes i feel very, very alone though.
sometimes it is hard to remember that i am not.
i have to remind myself & convince myself that i have a tribe out there that i have never met. (i have seen the blind melon video so i know that it must be true–right?)

i wrote the above poem for dusty. he cannot seem to grasp how much he hurt me. he won’t stop with the words that are ten years too late. he threw me away for other women and broke parts of me that i did not realize hadn’t already been broken. and now he just wants everything to be magically okay. so i have nightmares all night long. living with dusty in my dreams. trying to thaw his coldness. one dream had three men break into our place. i was trying to save the minions; dusty disappeared. the dream ended just before i was going to be raped. that sums it up. i don’t feel safe with him. i don’t feel like a priority. i feel like he is never on my side. that he does not have my back…not at all.

and that is what i need. i need someone i can count on.

not dusty.

so right now, i am alone…but not for always.

still-life for sawyer

today is my birthday
so
of course
i deleted my facebook page
and turned off my phone
not
because
i don’t want people to celebrate me
but because
i so desperately do
want that.
so if it doesn’t happen
i will be hurt
and if it does happen
i will be suspect
once a year?
once a year you remember me?
once a year you stop by
to say “hello.”
i know.
everyone is busy with their own lives
and how often do i reach out?
but don’t you see
how difficult it is for me to reach out
when all i expect is rejection
and disappointment?
today is my birthday…
i want fireworks, fancy chocolates, and fancy drinks
with loud & happy people…
but i suspect that won’t happen
i’m not that special
no one would even remember me if it weren’t for facebook
so i hide
from disappointment
& insincerity
i curl up in a ball
& cry
because
today is my birthday

it’s like dusty. all of a sudden he is saying all of the things that i wanted to hear ten years ago. and he expects me to just jump into his arms and eat up the bullshit.
but i can’t
because it is bullshit. ten years too late and said in a voice that makes me think he is being coached by someone. someone else. he never listened to me when i told him what i needed from him. now he is listening to another voice that is telling him what to say to get me back. maybe an inner voice…maybe an outer one. should i be flattered that he is trying so hard? to win me back?
but i’m not
because it is insincere. it is trap. it is manipulation. it is his trying to survive by pulling me under and floating to safety on my body. i have to remind myself of this–that his sweet words cover up a poisonous person.

and when i reject his come-ons…he resorts to talking child placement. he starts talking about how he wants the minions half-time. it’s like his next move after i block his move to capture my queen. talking about what an excellent father he is and how much he loves them.
he never did value me as a mother. i have put everything into being a mother, and for a while, i even believed i was a good mother. but he spent the past 12 years belittling my role as a mother. 12 years basically ignoring the minions. he was a dad when it was fun to be a dad–but when it wasn’t fun, he abandoned ship. his character in my moses jones comic wasn’t intentional. i didn’t set out to make him be an absent father figure…but dusty is an absent father figure. he is literally here, but he is gone. away. making himself unavailable to us even though he is right in front of us. it’s a weird gift, i guess, knowing how to make people not ask for your help or your contribution even though you are right there and completely able…and now because i won’t play his game, his next move is to remove the minions from their primary caretaker on a homestead with room to run and a life to live, to live with him half-time. where? at his mom’s house? or when he meets another woman–her house? dusty isn’t one to get things done  himself…he likes to take the easiest route possible. how will he care for four wild minions half-time?

and it’s my birthday.
and i’m broke.
i can’t even bake myself a cake because i have no money to go grocery shopping, and i somehow didn’t get the renewal for my foodshare (yes, i am on foodstamps) so i am desperately trying to get the state to renew my foodshare so i can buy groceries. fortunately, we have a garden giving us potatoes, beans, herbs, & greens. chickens for eggs–though they do so reluctantly. and a small store of dry goods–but no flour or honey for a cake.
and i was supposed to buy two goats this week…but i don’t have the money. obviously…. i am torn–it seems like a good investment, but how do i pull money out of my ass for goats when i am not sure how i am going to take care of every thing else?

i need a life coach. i need a fucking life coach. there has to be a way to make money. i do so much every day. surely it’s worth something to someone?

fuck.

happy birthday, me.

spring garden

my spring garden
my spring garden keeps me from getting any art done
i am so tired by the end of every day
it feels like i never sit still
i go to do one thing,
and i do three other things on my way
because
well
they have to be done.

springgarden1

so my inkings are few & far between as i am overwhelmed with garden, livestock, a yard to tend, a house to keep clean-ish, four kids to feed & care for….
spring is a busy time.

IMG_3832

now i have to focus all my art on finishing a project
i agreed to illustrate
i am excited about it. yet my sketchbook eludes me.
i think about working on it all the time
but i need to sit & actually put pen to paper.
i need to be sketching the characters ever day
to get familiar with their faces…

IMG_3872

i also need to learn to cultivate mushrooms, grow herbs for health, become more confidant about checking my bee hives, build a bigger house for my ever expanding poultry, and learn more about goats (i’m getting goats next!)

IMG_3949

homesteading
alone
with four kids
is just non-stop

chaos

good chaos
bad chaos
& all the chaos
inbetween
my muse
& my unamused

what keeps me busy, inspires me. what inspires me, keeps me busy.

on the bullfrog song homestead with me:
7 sheep
8 hens
8 pullets
2 chicks
7 muscovy ducksings
7 turklings
1 gosling
2 toads
1 tarantula
1 cat
1 dog
2 beehives
4 minions
and one ex-husband.

i welcome most of these things. okay, all but the ex-husband. i have realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that i do not want to live with him.

whether he’s good or bad, i do not want to live with him.
i want to get on with my life.
and he is not my future.
i do not love him.

bunny moon

part of my process
when i am getting familiar with a character
is to draw that character over & over
until i have gotten to know her.

i really like this character
i am excited about being part of her story

i also started another ink stain drawing

IMG_3673

it’s kind of chaotic, but i think i can pull it off
that’s part of the fun for me
making cohesion
out of chaos
that is actually my life
gluing together the good bits
arranging the parts that work
filling in the blanks and drawing out the whimsy
to make a perfect picture…
or something like that.