Toodle-oo 2016

Happy end to 2016, all! And man, am I glad for it.

My best analogy would be a roller coaster. The year started as a steady climb, up up up towards the sun, elevating my excitement, then a nominal twist around, a clear view of my surroundings, lush and lovely, before plunging, straight down, body lifting away from its harness, into a cavern of no end, in complete darkness, only to shoot out into the brightness once more, theme park camera flashing to capture the stoic expression upon my face before the rasping cart slams to a complete stop.

There might be a poem in that…

All in all, it was a year filled with hope. Hope that my independent productions would find happy homes or an interested audience. Hope that my love life would improve in a new domesticated living situation. Hope that my illness would stabilize, allowing my physical, emotional and mental health to be balanced. Hope that my inner circle of trusted friends would expand exponentially. With hope and a super injection of faith, these events did occur with great success. For that I am grateful. But there were costs and consequences, as described by that speeding coaster above.

One double-twist I didn’t brace myself for was merging my artistic process with another person’s standards. We were not on the same page with that. Living on my own I was able to carve out a creative space within my home, but combining two households, and the forces within, left me with no creative wiggle room. I felt my creativity fizzle, as you can witness by the dearth of blog posts this year. I overcompensated, helping others out with their life plans, supporting other artists with their endeavors, more caught up in their needs as opposed to my artistic process. The costs of supporting my productions was a giant loop with nauseating hang time in the middle. Fortunately, I didn’t get to a-block-of-ramen-as-my-one-daily-meal broke, but I’m still recuperating from such a dizzying situation. I asked myself, has the Von Simeon Experience reached its zenith?

Because of the intense focus away from my artistic self, I felt my confidence wane. Then the response to The Living Goddess Exhibit happened. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I received was a strong indication that the Von Simeon Experience is far from over. I’ve carved out a niche, a nice one, one that I can expose with the right resources. The fatalist in me of course then asks, but can you keep it up? I hope so. I really hope so.

I did step up my mental health advocacy this year, reaching out to fellow MIs, sharing poetry, participating in local mental health awareness events. I’ve renewed my NAMI membership, and am thinking of doing more with the Pinellas County charter. I’ve been invited to contribute articles and poetry about living with bipolar disorder. After Carrie Fisher’s passing, I’m encouraged to do so in her honor.

Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for reading, period!

May the new year be a gentle undulation through soft blue skies, easy coasts and mellow bounces, feather-light in ride.

And now, this video of the height-defying coaster I actually rode in July 2016. It’s gnarly!

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Bless the Zeitgeber

BF enters our home after dawn, returning from the previous evening’s menschkeit. He finds me wide awake, sitting up in bed with the overhead light on, coloring in a black-and-white picture on my lap table. “What time did you wake up?” “5:50…” I respond, as I fill roses with crimson. He groans. “Go back to bed…”

But I can’t. I’m as alert as a track runner about to sprint off the blocks. This has been my life for the last six weeks. Med changes bring about biological changes. The answer the medical team had regarding my situation? Take your pills earlier. Nope. Still wide awake before the sunrise.

I am maximizing the utility of less hours of sleep. I conduct yoga stretches, tai chi walks, centering exercises, meditations, channels, mudras, anything to get that energy to go anywhere but within. I’ve gone through the Rolodex of morning star deities and have gained much insight, especially on how to merge the primordial with the 0s and 1s. More details on that later. What else? I’ve written poetry, I’ve paid more attention to emails, and yes, I’m blogging more frequently. Again, gotta ground all this swirling energy, and the mood stabilizers just ain’t doing it. Thus, the reason why I approach my mental health treatment plan with Western AND shamanic medicine. I try to compensate one’s failures with the other one’s practiced successes.

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Yesterday was a full moon in Sagittarius and I thought, “Alright, cosmic buddies, I’ve been told a Sag is good for me. Let’s take advantage of it.” After an attempt at a nap, we headed to our municipal pool and enjoyed a dip before the Father’s Day rush. I flung myself off the diving board, slithered down the water slide, carved ten ½ laps, all while earning a lovely glaze of a tan. Later, we met up with our closest friends for a Sunday cookout. The moon rising, I spend as much time on the patio and walking about.

After our delightful evening, we prepare to depart with filled tummies. Standing by the car, I look above at a clear, inky blue night and a bright Sagittarius moon.

My feet plant in second position. I feel my body sway.

The top of my head feels like a tendril of ivy climbing upwards towards the moon.

My arms begin to flutter in rhythm; eventually they rise and sway, Parting The White Horse Mane.

My eyes close. I begin to hum.

BF approaches. “What are you doing?”

A moon dance.”

Then you are an Airbender.”

I say nothing, then enter the car.

This morning, I receive loving kisses, then collapse back to sleep. The next time I wake, it’s because the dog wants to go outside.

It’s 8:53am.

We’ve made a breakthrough.

The Notebook

I thought the pile of administrative trash was a touch too heavy…

An interesting habit of mine when I’m in the hospital is to collect magazine pages. It seems I had ripped apart an Italian Vogue magazine in this bundle before me, the bundle I’ve been avoiding since I came home March 16th.

It is not so much the content as to the constancy of these bundles. Every hospital stay, a folder with my name on it. Hoarded inside, my daily schedule. Journal entries. Poems. Rants about my roommate(s). This last bundle, though, was different.

Somebody else’s journal entries, poems, rants were tucked in with mine. As well, a purple composition book, bent vertically, with a sloppily-written title on the outside cover. The best I could make out was “The Realm of The…” in whoever-the-heck’s handwriting. To be sure, I turn the pages of the heavily written-in notebook. I see my barely-inked handwriting, a side effect of strong anti-psychotics. Whoever-the-Heck marked my entries with faces; many sad, some with a line for a mouth. Either way, Whoever-the-Heck didn’t like where my mind goes when my mind goes.

Neither do I.

When I finished reading through it, I made a mental note to try to recover the small poems I had written while psychotic. Lovely little pieces, small and neat like the tiny white fish of St Pete Beach. Then I busied with following up on past due bills, organizing them by hospital (which was tricky because hello! I was out of my mind, how would I know where I was??) and chasing down hospital administrators who owe me explanations.

Knowing that BF would be home shortly, I pick up the papers to shred and take them to their resting place. I finish labeling half my rolling file folder cart. I cast aside all old, unrecyclable folders. I stack the folders and the box the new folders came in atop each other, then walk it out to the trash.

Today, intended for a post, I find that the poems are lost to the garbage. The notebook, it seems, was in the same pile as the unrecyclable folders.  I am relieved. RELIEVED. The reason why I hold on to advertisements and scribblings is because I know I won’t remember the experience, and a part of me feels as if I have to, as much detail as possible. But why do I have to remember? Being double minded means, one mind functions in society and the other mind doesn’t. So if that mind segment isn’t conducive to social interaction, then surely, the other segment shouldn’t fight so hard to retain useless data! Perhaps that’s the keyboard key stuck in a pressed position, the piece of spinach jammed in that impossible crevice of the teeth. Treatment needs to get me there – to a place where I know nothing, I am nobody, I am serene.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Continuing The Search For Divine Inspiration

BF went through my purse and discovered my collage intentions. But that’s alright, I’ve come up with an alternate, artistic plan!
While the fine folks at Davidson put it together, I’m back to my slender slab of wall.

The wall theme is “Divine Inspiration.” I want to display a mix of my personal art during moments of mania, intertwined with iconography and archetypes whom either visited me in my manic form, or channeled with me during intense meditation. This area of my home will serve as a cosmic altar! ‘Thank you for keeping me alive, and here’s who gets to be on my Wall of Fame…’;)

Earlier this week, I gave you some goddess candidates. This time I give you the warrior goddess options. Many are beautiful representations from existing tarot decks, but I think ordering individual prints instead of box upon boxes of tarot would be most economical, right?

More I’ve stolen from Pin. Let me know which one is your favorites (more than one is fine)!

Exploring the Divine Feminine

Today is one of those, ‘the mind is flying, but the body’s too weak to react’ days. So I do what anyone in the bed at 3pm does…look up ideas for a gallery wall!

Remember last year about this time, I was talking about designing a throne room, and how successful that came out? I feel driven once again by the interior decorating bug. Already on Facebook I’ve demonstrated a rapid return to the visual arts. Kinda like the movie, “How to Train Your Dragon,” I’m attempting to train my mania to divert into something useful, even creative. So far, so good!

The wall theme is “Divine Inspiration.” I want to display a mix of my personal art during moments of mania, intertwined with iconography and archetypes whom either visited me in my manic form, or channeled with me during intense meditation. This area of my home will serve as a cosmic altar! ‘Thank you for keeping me alive, and here’s who gets to be on my Wall of Fame…’ 😉

Let’s go through what I’ve picked from Pin thus far. Comment on which style you think works best for me!

Just In Time For Halloween

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NEW Anthology available thru Thirteen o'clock Press

Inside this anthology you’ll find yours truly in both prose and poem form!

The story I submitted is from the perspective of a social predator locked in a holding facility, terrifying residents and staff alike. Oh and the evil person happens to be female 😉

There’s three poems dedicated to women in the throes of mania, circumstances varying but each known too well in modern society. I consider A Coterie of Diamonds a forewarning to readers…if you push a woman too far, prepare for major consequences!

Thanks be to Thirteen o’clock Press for publishing my art, my 2nd antho feature with this press. Support your favorite indie artist and many others by purchasing through Lulu.com 😀

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Renewed! After Much Procrastination…

Days before the cut off, I finally get around to salvaging vonsimeon.com! I tell ya, September was way too distracting to pay attention to WordPress’s many reminder emails. I blame the onslaught of pumpkin spice everything.

Still technologically determined, as repairs to my truck superceded buying a new notebook. I checked out a place in Seminole which offers refurbs and parts for building CPUs, prices comparable to newegg.com.

What can be done then, with this artistic downtime? ‘If you can’t give money, give time’ I always say! During Carmada 2015 I volunteered at the information table for the Nomad Art Bus, brainchild of gifted artist and all around amazing person Carrie Boucher. The mobile studio visits disenfranchised communities, at-risk schools, and other places where art funding is nil; I can totally get behind that! Visit the site and keep gas in the tank with a donation.

Have a wonderful week!

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NOMAD Art Bus at Carmada

Hot Biker Chicks of Pinellas County

She approached with heavy Megan Fox-style panting, not a single wiggle to her lean profile, pushing a three-wheeled exercise stroller with two well-behaved younguns strapped in for the ride. Her smile fanned the driveway, holding my gaze, interrupting the fill of my bike tires prior to an inaugural ride. Her skin, a scintillating coat of sweat which made me consider, if I was to bite her right now, she’d taste like crispy salted caramel. She’s still smiling and I’m still checking her out. The left brain asks, “What does she want??” The right brain predicts, “My money says she’s a nanny!”

Caramel approached with the pram. She sexily exhaled as she pointed out the deflated front tire, and could I help her air it up? I scowl inside: she’s pulling the Hot Damsel In Distress on meeeeee? That’s my move! At least she’s close enough for me to admire her toned thighs and sculpted calves. Shoving kids on a run does wonders for the human form! Alas, no ass. That’s Jenga. Right brain concedes to left.

The way the tire pump latches is too bulky for the small tire space, plus the receiver is funnily angled. Not gonna ruin my equipment for a hot chick, so had to send Salted Caramel on her way. Graciously she thanked me, waving as she bounced off.

I can get used to the suburbs.


Credit: supertran.net
Credit: supertran.net

We’re two weeks out, and muscle memory has kicked the door down. I’m able to walk a mile with the Bobster and push two miles on the bike before my legs tire. At peak performance I was burning up cardio machines and playing in bike lanes for ten miles on average. We’re getting there people! Santiago’s Manolin springing forward.

That takes care of the physical development, but how about this big brain? The apathy I shared in my fisherman’s post has tempered a bit. Every day I sit at my laptop and excrete the garbage getting in the way of genuine reflection. In reflection lies the idea, strong enough to stir tangible thoughts and visceral reactions into typed or written form. Just like thigh muscles, brain muscle memory is quite possible; the gift isn’t lost it’s just not exercised enough. Finally, a pay off. I really like the idea presented in my documentary post! Needs rewriting, yes, needs more carrots or potatoes, maybe even some Texas Pete’s. I’ll keep adapting it; you’re welcome to offer suggestions as I clean up. So there’s good news; the creative cauldron is ready to cook in!

Spiritually I’m indulging on companionship and doing it healthily. It’s…nice…different in a good way…this pseudo-domestication that is cohabitation. Something about sharing a nap or a homecooked meal keeps the crazy kitties at bay, or at least, bothering someone else for now. Major Lazer was onto something when he produced “Lean On” wasn’t he?

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