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At Ian's Place - Part One, in which you may find a creature....

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At Ian's Place - Part One

I got this house-sitting arrangement with Ian through a mutual. I live at his place when I'm in LA selling art and while he's on tour, which is usually. Like a hippie crash-pad with only two hippies, one at a time. I picked up his keys at one of Cosmo's parties; even then Ian was en route to the airport.

"So you need my schedule? Should I email it?" I yelled a little over the music. I was super-thrilled about this arrangement, but the casualness and unknown variables perplexed me, especially in the middle of a party. Did my momma warn me about this?

"Yeah, no, there's a guest room. Should be all made up, might be dusty." Ian seemed distracted, maybe feeling awkward, too. "That guy in the pink t-shirt is Jack. He's my manager. Get my address from him. Hey, take care, man, my ride's here. I gotta go. I like your boots."

He handed me two keys, no keychain - one for a deadbolt, I assumed. I stuffed them in…

At Ian's Place, Part X - in Which Tricks Are Played

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Back out East again, I was still looking for new venues to show my art. Funny how Cali is the land of Disney, but over here everyone’s into sweetness and light. Bad Warhol impressions. And flowers. Every time I leave a gallery with another business card in my case, I mentally map out some sort of bloom with some sort of tentacles hidden within it. Maybe I could paint pastoral landscapes with decomposing animal carcasses strategically placed so almost nobody notices.

I got a text from Ian, who should have been in Canada: “Hey, I cut myself on this thing in the kitchen with all the blades. Jack wants to know if you have a lawyer?” Shit. I’d forgotten to get rid of the mandoline. The guy makes money on operational digits. You don’t leave sharp objects lying around musicians. Shit. I didn’t have a lawyer. Ian’s phone went to voicemail. I hung up without leaving a message.

He called back at 5 AM my time.
“Hey, sorry, I guess that was a crappy joke. You okay?” It’s true – you can hear a person s…

At Ian's Place, Part IX - in which I Do Two Risky Things

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So, business as usual, except now there was a cephalopod in my brain that kept crawling out, extending its tentacles toward that afternoon on the floor with Ian. My creative center couldn’t stop from spinning narratives. I actually wondered where Ian was, what he was doing. It was important before – and I didn’t realize until I lost it – that we weren’t connected except by occasionally occupying space between these walls, never at the same time. He was still a CD I played or someone I saw on TV sometimes. An office assistant who calls once in a while to see if I need to make a follow-up appointment.
I knew he was a real person; I know I am. We’re just not supposed to touch - but we did, eclipse of sun and moon. Worse - galaxies fell into each other. And somehow that made all the tangible things around me surreal. He sends random weird text messages like: The thing that always bugged me about the Tamarians was, how do you develop the science necessary for space travel with a language base…

The Ghost Giant - we need more fairytales

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There was once a little woman who lived a very ordinary life in a small town at the foot of the mountains. She worked in the grocery store from 10AM until 2PM every Tuesday and Thursday, offering samples of food to shoppers. When her shift was over, she’d hobble through the store with her basket in one hand and her cane in the other, choosing the best vegetables and occasionally a small cut of meat. She always made sure to catch the bus home before rush hour.

Mondays and Wednesdays she worked cleaning house or minding children after school until their parents got home. On those days, the parents would drive her home or call her a ride. In any case she was never a mile or two from her cottage next to the old forest - next to it, but not quite in it. When she was younger, she used to keep a garden of flowers and edibles, but the ground had gotten as tired as she was, and so she worked at the grocer’s for the convenience of good produce. She had no pets, but often chickens or a cat would …

At Ian's Place - Part VIII, in which There is Melon and also f*bombing (you've been warned.)

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...We Interrupt Our Regular Programming For This Important Message...

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Last year was a crazy-productive one for me and also one of my all-time lows. I found inspiration in the words of Peter Kidd when he sent them to me priority mail.  "See what happens," he said.  A lot happened. And I kept going. I started a series of sunflower paintings, and started a series of crows. I mailed art to an exhibit at Woman Made Gallery (both the exhibit and mailing art were firsts for me) and had a solo exhibit at Beanetics Coffee Roasters near my home-base.
At the same time as all this awesomeness, and perhaps exacerbated by it, I smashed head-on into a couple of my strongest demons - accepting too much workload from others and bullying - and gained assistance from my doctor instead of self-medicating. We put me on SSRIs for a few months. "See what happens," she said, not verbatim. I stopped taking the meds when my bloodwork showed stress on my liver, and I've kept working. I compiled two chapbooks of poetry and submitted individual pieces every…

At Ian's Place - Part VII, in which There is Singing. Loudly.

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Phil seemed to be getting used to my existence; he started showing up with accordion case in hand rather than going back out to the car for it. I have to assume he stopped by occasionally when I was out, but maybe not. Maybe he really was the perfect accompanist, knowing precisely when to come in.

I got used to Phil’s existence, too; I was being more like myself, which means starting mid-discussion on random topics, assuming he’d know something about them. He didn’t talk much, sometimes punctuating my monologue with accordion riffs and then laughing at his own musical jokes. This only prompted me to come up with more random topics, like a challenge. I was not wrong – he possessed a wide range of knowledge and could advance the discussion when he felt like it. I sometimes identified his accompaniment as a familiar bit of jazz; sometimes I really think he was playing K-Pop. If I yelled out titles, usually bluegrass, he'd know at least a recognizable bar or two.

Once in a while he’d com…

At Ian's Place - Part VI: in which It (sometimes) Rains in Southern California (appreciation for the Wrecking Crew)

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Everyone in Lo-Cal waits all year for the one week of rain. It usually tapers into a drizzle by afternoon but every morning is a torrential downpour, like when I jumped out of the airport shuttle with my bag at 10:50 AM. I was drenched immediately - no reason to run, then. I strolled to the patio, relishing the magic. Living in the desert taught me how precious rain is, and I’ve never forgotten. As I turned the key, I looked around me. I could see the next door neighbors standing on their small patio, beatific, holding their tiny twin babies up to see it rain.

Upon entering, I found Ian’s acoustic guitar in the living room, smashed to freaking bits. Splintered, in a pile just outside the hallway. Like someone had jumped up and down on it. That beautiful Seagull Phil never touches.
I couldn’t figure out what could have happened to the guitar unless Ian did it himself. And I couldn’t figure out what would cause him to do it. The Seagull was a high-end instrument kept in a room nobody used…