Culture Shock

Visiting a small town can give you culture shock. Visiting a small house can do the same. I adore looking at tiny houses on the internet. I would also adore seeing them in person and sitting in the the tiny kitchens and looking out the tiny windows too if they were some around here. But here all I see is big big big.

I have a big house but I moved our life into a small part of the big house. I do not like suburban sprawl. I put our bedroom in a the smallest room of the house. It is 7 feet by 20 feet long. We don’t need that much space. Ideally I would like a 10 by 10 every room. Even for two you only need that much space to live.?So 400 feet would be plenty big for everything.

What size do the interior designers say to make a conversation area. 10 by 10. They say that because that is the space that is most comfortable to talk to several people. I think four 10 by 10 buildings in a square with a courtyard would be a great way to live. I think I t would be fun to have to go outside to get to the kitchen or bathroom. You would need another shed if you had a child. Everyone could be in a small space that was perfect for thinking all time.

I am in my bedroom and it is too big. I don’t need this much space. My theory is that Americans live in too big of a house because they are used to it and it has the effect of making everyone alienated. In Europe the rooms are tiny the villages are tiny the streets are tiny the streets are one inch from the front doors of the small houses. You can walk down the street and look in the lace curtains of the house that is right there at the end of your nose and look in and see the tiny table and chairs. People stand next to each other there.

Even if you don’t know anyone in the tiny village you love them because you have seen where they live. It is super intimate.  I love those villages. I remember looking in the windows and thinking how I wish they were home to I could see them and talk to them. New York is a little better than here because of the stoops where people hang out. But in the wealthy neighborhoods you have gates. Keep out. America with the big lawn and yard in front and our big back yards with lots of privacy. We all have lots of cars to hide in too and lots of parking lots.

Give me a village any day. I want to see you.

photo from this person

Opinionated

I love it when people are opinionated. I love it when they say they are opinionated. What else is there to choose from, non opinionated?  What you have no ideas in your head at all and are like a black hole that just sucks everything into its path.

Opinionated people a blessing to me. I know where they stand. I can know how they think and maybe they will share why they think that way. We all have reasons for thinking the way we do.  I used to think one way about everything. It made sense to me given what I knew. Now I think another way because I got more information.

It says in proverbs “a way seems right to a man until he hears the other side.”  I used to not care a lick about anything spiritual because I didn’t know anyone who thought that way. Nobody talked about that stuff so I thought well it must not be important. But now I think it is important and nobody talks about it because it might be important and they do not want that to be true so it is easier to not look at it. If you don’t look then it is not real.

That is what happened to me.   Thirty years ago, someone told me a story about how they changed, so I thought, “Maybe this is real and I am afraid to look there. What if it is true? What if I am wrong about God not being relevant to me? What if I go to hell?” I thought that. Then I asked God to prove it to me.

I just looked a little in that direction just in case I was totally wrong. I thought man the stakes are pretty high if I am wrong. They actually couldn’t get much higher. I thought God was just something floaty and maybe there. I did not understand about how someone else had to make it possible to directly talk to Him. Jesus was just freak talk. It is okay to talk God but don’t say Jesus because that is when you go over the deep end. I did not know anyone who gave any importance to Jesus. I knew nothing except he died on a cross for some reason which seems pretty pathetic to me. I thought he sure did not die for me so what is al the brouhaha about. That is what I thought because that was my experience. I did not know that Jesus was the link. pretty much the missing link.

So I said,  “if you are real, show me.” I said this to God. And  then I was afraid He would.  I was afraid that if it was true about Jesus then I would have to be a freak. and everyone would reject me as a freak and I would have no love. But then again I thought what if it is true and I am wrong then who cares if everyone rejects me. In the end ( which is pretty important) in the end I will be right and safe.

So I gingerly said ok if you are real show me.  Then it was as if I was falling over a waterfall. I am not kidding. It felt like that. in a good way. Then I was not afraid anymore. It was like what was I afraid of. He is not scary. He is the sweetest thing you could ever experience.

But I am an artist and I was afraid I would have to paint religious paintings then on and I would be weird. But He is not like that. He made me paint how I paint and every painting I do is a gift from HIm so really nothing I paint is not ok. He changed me inside forever so it is ok to just be. I am an artist, This is how I think and this is what you call a testimony. It is just what happened to me.

When I Was Looking For Nothing

So I was sitting in a hot tub on Vashon Island Washington. The sky was dark and the moon still not out. The big water was staring at me. Everyone was gone. It was just me and the sea. I was thinking how still it was and how dreamy, when I got this idea. The idea came out of the sky like a meteor. I was not trying to get an idea. I was just looking at the water and feeling the quiet.

The big painting I am going to start next week will be a dinner party with a twist. Each person in the party will be symbolic of something I need right now in my life. Each person will have a totally double meaning. 36 bodies will vie for attention at the party. Everyone I ever knew or wanted to know will be there. Only they won’t just be people. And on the table will be things that have helped me live in the past.

I am going to write a book as I paint the painting and it will be a big book that will be for children and adults to help them see better. This painting will be instructional and it is painting itself in my mind as I even write this. I see this as the most important work I have ever started and I am giving it my full concentration so I will do it in “the silence.” I think this painting is what I was born to do and it is what every year of my life so far has lead up to. This will be my crescendo. this is it and it got born in a hot tub on Vashon Island at 10:30 at night. It gives me the willies just thinking about it.

I was watching a documentary about Thomas Hart Benton. He actually died after he finished a mural. He signed it and died. That is what life should be. Do it , sign it and die.

Clutter

I was reading how clutter can totally ruin your life. It is almost like a disease. The clutter becomes more important than people and it takes on a life of its own. I like the 100 idea, only keep 100 things. You don’t need more than 100 things to have a fine life. The rest you can borrow.

With that in mind a library of stuff would be great. Everybody needs things only for a few hours really then they are done with it. I would lend out all my china and good silver and furniture to anyone who needed them for a few hours. They lend art out . Keep it in your house for a few months and then give it back and get something new.

This is not very good for the economy but it would be good for the rental business. And everybody could have a better lifestyle if only for a few hours. This idea may seem wacky but every idea at first seems crazy till you refine it and then you might be onto something.

illustration by this guy