Monday, February 28, 2011

requiem for a priest

Sometimes I think I know how things should go -- who, for instance, should get an easy death. I think my priest should have gotten a pass.

I don't know if I have explained in my not always succinct manner what hard work it is to die. Or how earnestly we hang on, for that matter, as our attachments, each one a thread, unravel in unpredictable succession.

We tend to focus on how hard it is for the family to watch someone pass (floating, skipping, slipping, wandering, marching, tromping by) -- when in fact -- because here at bluesky we deal in facts-- it is hard physical labor coming in and going out of this world.

Don't let me sugarcoat this for you.

I don't know much about priests. I don't know much about Catholicism except that they have nice windows and some good cathedrals. So it is difficult to know how to comfort a priest who is in unmanaged discomfort, spewing black vomit around the room. I thought I was on the set of the Exorcist only I was the girl and the priest's head was going to spin around. Do you say, "Its going to be okay, honey." ? Do you call the priest honey? Is that wrong?

And I thought about praying with him, for him, then remembered that Catholics don't believe mere mortals have access to God, big G, without an intermediary. But in this case, the middle man was dying so I had to improvise. I chose the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He leadeth me beside the still waters
He maketh me lie down in green pastures
He restoreth my soul

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me

And that's when it got me. He was sitting in that valley. And he struggled and struggled

And then came the social worker, one of those well-meaning sorts who wants so badly to assign spiritual meaning to physical events. She didn't know my priest. She didn't know that he would thank you graciously if you stuck a needle in his eye. She watched as my priest was touching his mouth and reaching out his hand repeatedly, smiling and nodding, and she was certain he was giving everyone a final blessing, but as the outcome showed, he was just looking for a place to puke.

Monday, February 21, 2011

encaustic images

Encaustic painting (painting with melted, pigmented beeswax) gets to that place in me that always wrecked the candles, dripping layer after layer, color after color, until the candle was no longer a candle, wax spent, morning arriving too early, again.

So this is what my busy little hands have been doing. Please buy one. The wax is expensive.

They are titled, top to bottom: Solitary Crow, A bird in the hand, Four Little Blackbirds, Old Paper, Red Ball, Crow on Barbed Wire.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I should get healthy. But to do this, I need to get well enough to leave the house. So I stay home and paint wax pictures and write books. This is my epitaph: I tried.


The encaustic work is going well. It is the perfect combination of image and language that has always appealed to me. Layers of color and words, graphic images, a beautiful mess. the real draw for me is that I don't have to clean the brushes, just buy new ones. It speaks to the degree of sloth I am capable of.

Gosh. This sounds so negative.

Friday, February 11, 2011

gold star

I like to think work doesnt' really matter, that my job is just a means to buy books and new colors of encaustic wax and nice pens for writing and valentine presents for my own true love. But this week the great state of Oregon showed up and graded my performance. I was so happy when I got an A+ for working.

My husband just finished watching Men Who Stare at Goats. He thinks we should drop acid and get back to our roots. I reminded him just where our roots come from, what they look like, gnarled and rotting, even in the considerable distance of retrospection.

Then, after I got my gold star, I started feeling really shitty again, went back to the doctor and learned it is not a virus or sinus infection that is torturing me. I have pneumonia. I am such an invalid.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I'm not crazy about zealousness. Not about anything. My mother was a Christian zealot. I was completely surrounded by zealots at one time in my life and my soul was nearly consumed by them. They meant well. Really, they did. They had my salvation in mind when they sought to control my behavior. I'm not mad at them. I get it. What pisses me off is when zealots, who do not believe my eternal life is at stake, who only have an opinion or an axe to grind, take my weekend in their busy little hands and grind it to dust. I can never get it back.