Born on a Thursday #51 – Grief. Loss. Winter.

This last month has been really freakin’ hard. Between friends dying, the death of two major relationships, and the possible blasting apart of a major project, I’ve been shaken and literally shaky. Despite yoga and meditation and walking the dog everyday, my stomach has been in knots and I’ve been having a hard time eating. I’m not liking all this change – I feel like I am in free fall and am having a hard time letting go. My nervous system is fried.

Grief. Loss. Winter.

This Thursday, I finally got sick. I missed the blog – and – I missed Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! speaking at Northern Arizona University.

Today, I’m still feeling queasy and exhausted, but doing my best to be active and in the sunshine. I walked into town today to buy supplies for soup – not sure if that was the best idea (8 miles or so) – but I couldn’t stay in the house.

I used to say – When in doubt, get an education. So, I’ve been thinking about an MFA for a while, it’s time to start applying – here in AZ, and outside of the state, too. I am hurting for intellectual discourse and stimulation – and my job (though I like everyone I work with) certainly isn’t providing it.

om mountain (c) 2014 Holly TroyDo I get an MFA or do I take courses from Animas Valley Institute? With the MFA, I’d probably be stuck inside much of the time. WIth Animas Valley, I’d be outdoors most of the time. Is the degree worth it? What about spending time in nature before it’s gone?

I also want to get a good camera and get into the woods and take photos. I need to buy some equipment (both photography and camping gear and probably, eventually, gulp, a vehicle).

Do I spend a month or so on an ashram?

All require money – though it’s easier to acquire money when there is an end result in mind.

At any rate, I need to do something very different from what I have been doing – or at least that’s how I feel right now.

Speaking of education – check out this video of Noam Chomsky at the University of Arizona:

A little Chomsky in the morning has me thinking all afternoon.

Here are some links to Amy Goodman doing Democracy Now! from Flagstaff, AZ.

A Slow Genocide of the People

Caught in the Crossfire

Utah’s Carbon Bomb

Thanks for reading.

Om shanti – Holly

Blue Haze, Neon and Earl Grey (or Dreaming Rock-n-Roll)

I dreamed I was in a band last night. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been on stage. I miss it sometimes a lot. I like group creative projects – I often need something larger than myself to continue, to finish work, and the group is more than “just me”. The dynamic is exhilarating, usually fun, sometimes frustrating – rarely boring. Though I haven’t been making music, I have been in a collaborative project for months now, and it is informing my solitary work in a good way (I’m painting again), and I am waking up with the desire to create almost over all else.

Paul (Ena) Kostabi - photographer unknown
Paul (Ena) Kostabi making art – photographer unknown

In my dream, Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica, Damn Kids) was on guitar. I don’t know the other members – I think Francis DiDonato (Youth Gone Mad, Direct Action, Apple) was on guitar, too. In my waking life, I was in bands with both Paul and Francis for a large part of my music career, they are incredible musicians – real artists.

The place we were playing was small. The stage and the walls were painted matte black. It was an old man’s bar recently taken over by hipsters. Afternoon light from outside was coming in through the open door and front window while we did sound check.

The show was last minute, or maybe I arrived last minute. Before the show, I was in a hotel on an elevator with my sister Kerry and we were talking on the phone with my mother. We promised to visit her. I was planning on driving out to see her after the show.

While the stage was being set up, I went for a walk doing my vocal exercises in the street. I was wearing a white linen shirt and jeans. I walked to a bar on the Lower East Side and put my makeup on. Fushia blusher on my cheeks and eyelids and black eyeliner. My hair was cropped to about three inches all around my head. It was kind of dirty, so it was easy to dishevel and shape. (This was truly a last-minute gig, normally I am all about getting dressed up for a show).

Three women in the bar were watching me put makeup on. They were dressed like flappers, with bob cuts and feathered headbands, cigarette holders and sequined dresses. When I was ready to leave, they got on their hands and knees and crawled on the worn astroturf carpeting out of the bar and fell into a heap on the sidewalk, their skirts flipping up to their waists as they kicked their feet and laughed. I had to climb over them to get out the door.

It was five minutes til showtime and I couldn’t find a cab – so I started to run back to the club, while singing scales. Everything was pale grey, six lanes of Houston Street took forever to cross. Once I was on the sidewalk again, the buildings pulsated, like they were breathing, and they swayed in the breeze. I knew I was dreaming, so I relaxed and walked.

1996.HALFbreedspromo.5.300dpi
Performing with Francis DiDonato – photo by George Tiboni

When I got back to the gig, everything was exactly as I had left it, except for the light coming in through the door and the window – it had shifted from late afternoon white to twilight blue. Neon red, blue and white reflected from above a wall of booze onto the polished bar. The open door aired the place out slightly, the atmosphere thickening toward the back of the room.

Sound check was still going on. I did some toe touches and stretched my arms and legs. I climbed onstage to check my monitors. My boyfriend (who is a former boyfriend in real life) followed me to tell me he googled my mother’s town and that no way was it an hour and a half drive. More like four hours.

I looked at him, shrugged, and turned toward the mic. Stay in the moment. Music happens in the moment. 

I woke up. My alarm had been going off for about an hour.

My real boyfriend texted me: Love my tea.

I opened my shades. Snowflakes. Pine tree tops. Sun.

A completely different life.

This video by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra looks like so much freakin’ fun. 

The Power to Dream – The People Have It

The people have the power . . .

This video was shared with me yesterday by a friend my friend Patrick. Patti Smith is an inspiration to me.

Do you have a creative activity that you do just for yourself? Is there one (or more) that you do for others?

Do you have a creative hero? If so, What does that person do that inspires you? Can you see yourself taking a hero’s journey?

Smith_01_body

Patti Smith. Photo by Robert Mappelthorpe, courtesy of Artista Records.

Fun Spot at the Library

Since this photo was taken in 2008, I have fallen in love with photography and the southwest. Excited to see what imagery my future holds – I know the way I look at things has changed.

Sacred Folly

From NAU

I’m wearing my favorite socks and dressy shoes.

Sometimes work is fun!

Photo by Steven Toya.

View original post

Born on a Thursday #24 ~ All Shook Up

self-portrait with mom (c) 2013 Holly Troy
Mom and me trying to be serious.

I’ve been visiting my family these past few days. I love my mom, and, I haven’t been back east in three years —these trips take some adjusting.

I already miss my peeps from home. I can’t wait to hug them all—and to breathe air from the big sky—and to just be quiet and let love fill up the spaces.

I miss space.

I am going to a wedding this weekend, and seeing some old good friends, and, it is all happening in the Hudson Valley. Originally, I thought of going to New York City, but after watching the heatwave happen here last week, my NYC idea faded. Then, I thought about the beach, but I knew if I saw my family first and didn’t stay in NYC, that chances were big that the beach wouldn’t happen. (For some reason, whenever I am in the presence of family, my ability to move and make clear decisions slows way down, and the first two days I was here, it rained, and today, it was chilly – so, that also knocked out the beach idea).

Big mouth CIH.300dpi
Belting it!

What’s the best thing to do when you can barely think and the weather is crappy and you’re visiting your mom who is a smoker and you are not? Look through boxes of stuff to see what you can find. I’ve been looking for two things mainly — old vocal exercise tapes with my coach Don Lawrence and videos of my performances. I found neither of those things. I did find one box with artwork and journals that have moldered and mice have made nests of, LPs that Chewie the pet rabbit has been snacking on, and, (redemption!) photos that are in pristine condition of my band The Halfbreeds!

Scanning has commenced, along with laughter and a torrent of stories!

Also, today, after two-and-a-half days of no alone time or quiet, I managed to steal away and just listen to night animals. Magic! (More magic – cherries and tomatoes! They are so tasty out here!)

How come, when I need it the most, I forget to meditate? Tomorrow morning, just like I do every morning at home, I will meditate and write. And for the rest of my time here, I will meditate and write.

Listening to the night started this post and call-and-response between my friends Arnie Mostowy, Aaron Campbell, and me:

lightning bugs, birds, and bullfrogs.
Van Halen, a duelie, and me
sugar, spice, and everything nice!
two TVs, a guy yelling, and cigarette smoke
Shotgun, zerg and you
clink of ice, bag of dirt, and leather jacket
Two turntables and a microphone
Bag of ice, Budweiser and leather jacket (Not the cold ice either….lol)
where it’s at, glory box, and naked lightbulb
The Damned, Van Halen, and Molly Hatchet
ice skating alone, half shirt, and New Jersey
slowly unscrambling old data, Kryptonite, and tequila.
photographs, yellowed paper, and sun screen.
strawberries, cherries, and an angel’s kiss in spring . . .

I love collaboration!

The Halfbreeds - Francis DiDonato, Holly Troy, Sanford Santacroce, Jennifer Haskins, and Jamey Evans
The Halfbreeds – Francis DiDonato, Holly Troy, Sanford Santacroce, Jennifer Haskins, and Jamey Evans

Thanks for reading! Have an amazing week.

Upcycled Gems – Ethereal meets Earthy

Matagi Sorensen recently finished a wedding ring commission which I photographed. It was so difficult to choose which photos were my favorite for his website.

Normally I am not into diamonds, but as I was looking at the photos I found myself completely mesmerized by this gem. This diamond has an ethereal quality that is almost hypnotic. It doesn’t seem like it could be solid!

The stone was originally from the bride’s grandmother’s engagement ring. A closer look under the microscope revealed a color and clarity from diamonds mined from the 1890s to the 1920s that were regularly used in jewelry from Germany.

The ring has two sapphires and a diamond and was originally in a classic setting. Matagi’s magic turned it into something completely modern and completely original.

Check it out – Something Old, Something New . . . 

weddingring.14

 

Pretty soon I’ll be leaving Phoenix, so I won’t be taking photo’s of Matagi’s work anymore. What a piece to end on.

Looking Outside

Oh wow! Today is Thursday! Time for Born on a Thursday #8.

IMG_2538
I have been keeping a low profile this week – a lot of changes, a lot of clarity, and a lot to think about. Plus, I’ve been working a lot.

My toe still hurts. I smashed it two weeks ago and haven’t had much time off of my feet since then. it’s not purple anymore, but it’s still swollen.

Beautiful things I’ve seen this week:

Looking up, looking down, and looking out. Allergies are intense, but the sunsets are beautiful.

Peace,

Holly

Born on a Thursday #1

I’ve decided that every Thursday I am going to post something. I was born on a Thursday – hence the names of my Thursday posts – Born on a Thursday. Maybe I’ll turn it into a blog of it’s own, but for now, this is where I’m putting my Thursday musings.

These posts are inspired by artist Charles Kurre, who I met recently on a jaunt out to Scottsdale to look at art. (Coincidentally, it was a Thursday when I met Charles). His art is playful and frenetic – and certainly worth a look—or better yet, a purchase. Check out his blog It Happens Every Tuesday.

Also, poet, adventurer, and teacher Maya Stein puts out a poem every week called Ten-Line Tuesday. She rode her bicycle from Massachusetts to Wisconsin towing along a typewriter for writing adventures with anyone who was willing to type a line or more. She called her journey Type Rider. She even rode her bike through Clinton, NJ – one of my hometown hangout places.

I walked to work today. I’ll ride my bike tomorrow. One of the great things about walking is seeing what you miss while driving. And thinking. I get flooded with ideas when I walk and ride.

I often think of Phoenix as a city that is beautiful at dawn or dusk, when the sky is pink and purple and the softest blue. In the middle of the day, the sun is so bright that it looks blown out by light. I got out of work at two in the afternoon, when “white out” can be intense — it is winter, so it is not as intense as it can be. I managed to find some beauty along the way.

Open (c) Holly Troy 2013

I am fascinated by the trees that have pale green bark here. I walked along a row of them today.

Emerge (c) Holly Troy 2013

One night, while walking, I revised an affirmation by Catherine Ponder. My affirmation went, “I love the highest and best in all beings; I attract to myself the highest and best in all beings.” It was at night, but as soon as I said those words, the bark on the trees seemed to shimmer and glow.

Blink (c) Holly Troy 2013

I felt like the trees and I were recognizing each other with gratitude and appreciation. I could finally “see.”

Haunt (c) Holly Troy 2013

Sometimes the natural world is the only thing that seems real — while at other times it feels like passing through a three-dimensional postcard. I am neither a smiling waving Pope or a winking Jesus, but I am the only thing that seems to move through space in a non-linear way while time stands still.

Rouge Postmodern (c) Holly Troy 2013

If we don’t make our mark, does it mean we don’t exist?

Sunbaked and Peeling


This is how my skin feels if I don’t reapply my sunscreen throughout the day up in the desert mountains. Flagstaff, AZ.

Seriously, this visage is haunting. It is the first time I noticed it, too, maybe because the leaves are beginning to fall, so now it is not so hidden. Considering the fight over the San Francisco Peaks and the tradition of bigotry against the indigenous people of this region—and that tradition is going strong—haunting is appropriate.