An Animal at Home in it’s World

Image result for free photos wolf sleeping

Our emotional state may have little relationship to the situation of the moment; we process time, outside of time. We all know that. A minute can feel like an hour, a week like a minute, but I’m thinking of something else, how what we feel, that whole complex mess of our emotional state, is outside time…. pushing to re-enter the moment, the moment that itself has nothing to do with time, but is our connection to … everything happening, from the center of our body outward in concentric — or perhaps — not so concentric, rings.

In thought, we step out of — away from — the real, but our feelings aren’t like that. They are always connected–why we can’t control them–how, when we’re stuck in our thoughts–they seem not even a part of us. But they are… us. They are what we are–in the uncontrollable wilderness of the Real.

I have a Faerie Alter. Because my thinking self wants to explain this, because it’s not about belief in anything outside of material reality–I say, I want to nourish the contradiction, and let it go at that. But who am I talking to when I say this? My feelings have no need for that explanation. It’s always the thoughts, trying to capture, and own… what is beyond knowing.

Last night, around 1:00 am, when I was going to bed, I lit a candle on the Faerie Alter (no longer “my” alter… ). Someone had told me they were being treated for some medical condition. This morning I received an email. Last night, at 1:00 am, the person I’d been thinking about, had surgery for appendicitis.

To say — to explain this as a coincidence, or to claim that it must be something more, are two ways our thinking self removes us from the aporia… the uncontrollable real.
… how much of the anxiety, the trauma of memories… are but my feelings, pushing, struggling, to return me to the Moment … to become again… or at last… an animal at home its world?



Imagination Shall Make us Free

Surreal, Death, Desert, Dark, Prison
from 2014, on my old blog

Friday, December 19, 2014
Imagination Shall Make Us Free!

In a Facebook post, Nyle Fort, wrote of the difficulty of seeing past the neoliberal simulacra to find what is real. Maybe it helps to see this, not as binary opposites, but different *kinds* of real. In the way a fictional character is real, *as* a fictional character– which nonetheless has real generative effects.
The spectacle, too, is real, but a reality whose generative effects impair both thought and perception in such a way that we cannot see past the simulacra, or imagine, while in its thrall, another kind of reality. That suggests to me, that the way to another reality–one we can inhabit in the fullness of our human being–is not like breaking through a curtain to something that lies there, already existing, on the other side, but in the very power of imagination on which the illusion depends, that our hope lies in knowing that that power is immeasurably greater than what has been drawn on by the oppressive system holding us hostage. Like in the Faerie Queene–the flames surrounding Busirane’s castle, real enough to burn Scudamore–because he believes they are the wrong kind of real, a reality over which he has no power, while Britomart walks through them unscathed. It’s our collective belief in the simulacra that makes it ‘real’ — that is, gives it power to generate effects–in that way, challenging collective beliefs is the very essence of the work of the imagination.
We do not dance as relief from fighting oppression; we dance, because out of the dance, come the flames of passion that will burn the citadels of our oppressors. We do not sing or paint or rap or create stories to escape from one illusion to another–but TO IMAGINE THE REAL WE DESIRE, THAT WE MIGHT CREATE IT AND MAKE IT SO!

#718 Eternal Spring

For Da Vinci Art Alliance Memeber’s Show: Dec 1-22. Reception, Dec 1. 6:00
Mixed Media: Watercolor, ink, Silver acrylic, glitter. 16×20 Framed. $125
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Underpainting with acrylic (3)

I may have done way more than I should have. The acrylics are taking over. For much of the last year, I’ve been doing heavily textured, multi-layered acrylics. Because I want to avoid impasto and thick peaks and ridges, because they may not dry enough for a stable foundation, I’ve been using acrylic with softer consistency, inviting a different kind of brush work, and quite different effect. Having found a different approach–at the end of that phase, I may not move on to oil–or maybe only one for experimental purposes.
Finished lower piece here!
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Underpainting oils with acrylic (1)

I want to use acrylic underpainting, with oil–but really have no idea what I’m doing, or where to take this, so thought I’d make a record of the process. Here’s the first step. Someone gave me this 32 oz jar of Golden Cadmium Orange I’ve been trying to use up ($120 for this stuff!!!), cause can get cadmium free red’s and orange now in acrylics… not yet in oil)–so…orange and white for light-dark base. Like those orange ice cream bars…
IMG_0561View more work at Saatchi Art, and on may web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.


Honored to have my piece, #1025 Memorial to Stonewall, in this exhibition>

The William Way LGBT Community Center Gallery
1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia.

Reception: November 8, 6-8.

#1025 Stonewall50
48×30 Acrylic on canvas.
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Thinking about being Hard of Hearing

Image result for image of audiograph
I went to an audiologist this afternoon. This is what I’ve been thinking.


Deaf,” and “Hard of Hearing”, are not medical terms. There is no line on the audiogram to mark where one ends and the other begins. 1500 Hz and higher, I fall into the “moderately severe” range. Lower frequencies, mild to moderate loss.

… but how does that translate as experience? Complicting this: deaf, and HoH are not measurments, but places you occupy on different social scales–in effect, Identites.

And Deaf, with a capital ‘D’ designates a culture, as distinguished from just… deaf. Which means, you hear little or nothing… not fluent in Sign… and exist somewhere outside of both worlds: Hearing and Deaf.

Deaf, capital ‘D’ I should add, can include people with normal hearing. CODAs, for instance: Children of Deaf adults. This is not line and symbols on an audiograph.

Oh yes–deaf, or Deaf, is not the absense of sound. There are degrees of sound reception, and very few who are ‘deaf’, measure out at ZERO receptive hearing.

So what then, is HoH? More like… the degree to which you don’t belong?

To which, you don’t belong to the Hearing World, with all the expectations and privilege and bias that go along with that?

About, privilege, isn’t it?

Understanding “privilege,” is so helpful in getting this–getting, that it’s not a measurment on the audiogram, but an experience of exclusion–of being excluded. That’s where so much of the frustration comes from–cause the way Privilege works, is that it’s invisible to those carry it. And if you’re a newby in some Excluded Territory (late deaf, recently wheel-chaired… ) it isn’t always clear who or what is at fault in the frustration and discrimination that follows. Maybe even, if you’re born into that zone. Born black. Queer.  Falling into self-blame… self-hatred… or free floating anger and anxiety … is all too easy. It can kill you.

Same for any form of privilege, isn’t it?

Patriarchy, White suprmacy, homophobia, ableism. You know them by their negative faces. You know them… as their designated outsider, their designated Other. The Privileged don’t see or feel it–and pointing it out to them can provoke enything from passive denial to homocidal rage. The other side of Privilege is a Dangerous Place… it can get you killed … the cop who shoots the driver who couldn’t hear the order to roll down the window. And on and on and on….

Which takes me back to my audiology tests this afternoon. I knew they wouldn’t answer the quetions that had been floating around in my mind, questions I couldn’t quite formulate — but I needed to look at the numbers, at that graph, if only to get what it was that the tests were not going tell me, what it was I’ve been living, how I’ve come to experience myself as Other, in relation to the Hearing World–in relation to that particular form of privilege–so hard to see, because it had once been MY privilege, invisible to me!

I think I get it now… what it means… what I mean, when I say that I’m ‘hard of hearing,’ And I’m beginning to see now the privilege involved in being HoH, and not deaf… which is another degree of Otherness.

I see how, even while I’ve been Othered by the Hearing, I still possess a degee of belonging, a level of participation in the Hearing World, that Deaf/deaf, do not–and THIS is why I’ve been uncomfortable with… why the posiblity of going deaf–losing ALL the privilege of the Hearing, feels (in my imagination), like FREEDOM…. because the relationship of Other to Privileged is parallel to that of Colonized, to Collonizer! It’s THAT complicated!

Saying, “I am hard of hearing,” locates me, places me in one particular place in the broader spectrum of our oppressive social relations. This is no longer, my personal, individual problem. This is why getting a hearing aid– isn’t jut about affordability–but involves so much more! Now … NOW I can begin to sort this out. Now I can begin to THINK about what this means!

Hearing aids: my difficulty with this, has not been primarily about cost and availability–but with what determines that availability. If the solution to ‘fixing’ our hearing, is focused on each individual, each person-it will be limited to seeking  solutions from our individual place in the social and economic order, dependent on that system and that order, the very one which CREATES and MAINTAINS the ‘disability,’ by offering the privilege of normative ability and its privileges only to those who have been ‘fixed,’ that is–made to resemble the normative standard.
When we know, from the Martha’s Vineyard experience, that this distinction is constructed and unnecessary, when EVERYONE,  hearing and deaf, are taught sign language together–a rich and expressive language that adds to the experience and understanding of what it means to be human–beyond the privileged, normativity that creates discrimination and makes borders that create and exclude everything that falls outside as OTHER. Dependence on these technilogical devices, without the revolutionary educational reform that would teach SIGN univerally, is a colonizer solution to maintain power over the colonized.

The question is — what are we trying to fit into? How is it, that our social world is structured around a relationship to power that makes us outsiders. If we are made to feel like we have to search for an identity–it’s because we’ve lost the identity we thought we had–and the privilege it gave us.
Why I think learning ASL is so important–even if we never become fluent. That’s taking power for ourselves, claiming our own identity, rather than begging for fixes to make us function again like the very system that denies us equal status, the Normative system that “Others” us.
Good. Lets make hearing aids affordable for all–but at the same time, raise our awareness of how this ableist system works so we can create our OWN identity, and become good allies and advocates for others, with other kinds of excluding conditions.