06 July 2012

The Big Burn

Journal Burn at Ocean Beach

I'm staying in the outer sunset in a small apartment.  It is so thrilling to be in a safe neighborhood with Sunset Super (huge Asian grocery) only two blocks away.  I have made productive time of my week off by setting up my sewing machine and beginning to work on my PJ's Pussies again.  I have an exhibition coming up on November 2nd at Other Nature in Berlin.  I've walked to the beach and stared out at the Pacific Ocean a few times.  You know, it's exactly the same as when I left it?  Something about the sea has always been comforting to me.  In the grand scheme of things, I am so unimportant.  Whether I keep breathing or cease, am happy or sad, am here or not, the ocean keeps rolling in and out to the gravitational pull of the moon.
It seemed only right that I should have my book-burning bonfire next to the ocean. 

Yesterday was spent salvaging a handful of pages from two big storage crates of notebooks, for that night I would take them all to the fire pits at Ocean Beach and burn them.  I spent the majority of the day either on Skype with Robert, reading him things from my past, or with my friend Ra.
At 17:45, my old friend Lilli picked me up and we loaded up her car with my journals.  I was nervous about the evening.  Was I erasing my past or freeing myself of old demons.  I had wanted to create some sort of ritual aspect, but the practicality of the venture, the ridding myself of the material possessions, seemed at the forefront for me.  I wish I had organized the event better, picked out certain passages for myself and others to read.  The evening pulled together nicely anyway, with there being the focus of beginning on starting a fire in high wind to center my chaotic flurry of thoughts and direct my energy in a forward moving fashion. 
I had spent all day with the material, all my writing: shame, secrets, fantasies, dreams and regrets.  All of the loneliness, isolation, alienation, strength, compassion, and absurdity that I have ever felt was between the pages of 1993 to 2011.  I learned things about myself.  In the past, I have allowed people to treat me so badly.  I have accepted the treatment of chauvinists and manipulators without question, always trying to look inside them, find excuses for their behavior in some tortured past, some internal struggle.  I struggled with substances and addiction?  Who knew?  I've been writing about sexuality, gender, otherness, drawing pictures of vaginas since I was 18 years old.  As we age, our form may change, our technique improve, but we work with the same themes over and over again.  14 years of these themes, questions, emotions.  Among the things I kept are several drawings and poems, some specific moments, and maybe an entry to share and burn with Robert when I return to Berlin in August. 
I also realized that, damn, I used to write!  All the time!  With a pen!  On lined paper!  I was really good at it.  Really good!  Why, oh why am I not doing that anymore? I will get a new journal and attempt to start a new practice.  I will not be afraid to write about the things I used to write about.  I will write about how I feel about everything.  I have a lot to say. 
Goodbye self-hatred and not fitting in.  Goodbye shame and insecurity.  Goodbye isolation and believing I am too different or weird or freaky or unique for people to love and understand.  Goodbye addiction and suicide.  Goodbye letting men treat me like garbage. 
Goodbye abuse! 
Goodbye bad boyfriends!
Hello self-worth, self love and self-empowerment!

My life: an intense and radical experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone but I don't regret at all.

And now, photos:
Box 2
                                                                        The Journals
Box 1
We arrived early enough to get a pit!

Lilli stoked the fire

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Me!  The beach in San Francisco is not warm!

It took a little while, but we finally got a nice steady burn going on.

Part of a perk to writing in notebooks vs. a computer is that a journals are so sensual, not only stimulating for the eye but for the tactile senses as well.

The sun begins to say goodnight.

A LOT of ash!

I think this journal is from '99 or 2000? Maybe 2002?  Somethings never change.

Everything burned.  Let's sit, watch and go home.

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