This is my first post for my new blog Boondocks Babylon. As readers of Babylon Baroque are aware of I have moved from Los Angeles to a backwater outpost of San Diego , El Cajon ( I had thought San Diego provincial enough, I hadn’t a clue how cowboy East County was). El Cajon I believe translates to mean the box or something like that. Aptly named as one can certainly feel boxed in. As is true of much of our fine country many folks are unhappy and broke, it appears El Cajon is the epicenter of angry white folks, quite annoyed with lots of brown people sucking the life out of our nation-or so goes the rhetoric. Obviously this was not the sort of environment that was familiar when we lived in the westside of LA, I used to bitch and moan about the vapid conversations, the banal consumption of luxury goods and of course the well known shallowness.
Goodness I miss all that. Instead of lovely boys and girls flashing ridiculously perfect smiles I encounter the most dreary angry folks around, greying, becoming increasingly doughy and all around pissed off ; they have turned Crunch gym ( YES there is a Crunch in El Cajon, who would have imagined!) into a red-necked biker bar. It is all terribly dis-spiriting at times.
We wouldn’t have made such a drastic move if it wasn’t necessary, my mother-in-law is increasingly in need of attention, financially and emotionally, after experimenting with other options this has turned out to be the most viable solution. The husband still has his practice in Beverly Hills and he schlepps “home” to our little gated community on the weekend, a cul -de- sac with pretensions of Orange county grandeur. So that is the back story, the upside is I have been given tremendous liberty to paint, after 20 years of servile commissioned work for interior decorators, I am tickled to finally have this opportunity. As much as I may gripe about my situation, when I am in the Little Hermitage ( my studio and the name of my first house which is another story), with hummingbirds visiting my garden and snoring pugs at my feet it is quite heavenly. That is when I must feel gratitude and believe I am in the right place at the right time.
I am increasingly close to the half century mark, as an artist I have very little to show for it. As I mentioned I have worked for designers who have essentially used my abilities to suit their needs and their “vision”, I was quite literally a tool- a paintbrush with arms and legs. It wasn’t at all a pleasant experience, one that has left me a bit resentful but more specifically sad that I have wasted so much time. I am trying to race against time and create a body of work that I can feel proud about, one that reflects my interests and exploits my limited skills. I am self taught, still learning, often struggling.
This new blog will be my attempt to record this period, my Second Half. Here in suburbia, most frequently isolated save for pups and the mother-in-law, trying to put in studio time and make something of myself.
Please wish me luck.
Until next time,
Above mentioned pugs, mid snore, Viola on left, Rose on right.
15 thoughts on “Settling In And Beginning Anew”
For many reasons I enjoyed the decade of my fifties. At sixty three I am somewhat less content. I think it is the disturbing idea that I will be doing quite well to have another twenty or so years. So far I have fairly good health and a nice circle of friends. I continue to procrastinate and beat up on myself for doing so little. I hope you can come to enjoy where you now live. I wish you well and I wish you luck. I very much enjoy your blog. I visit it nearly every time I turn on my computer. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you, that is very touching, I’m heartened by your words, but please do not beat up upon yourself . I’m also very pleased you like my blog Babylon Baroque, I hope Boondocks will also be of interest-at least some of the time.
All of the strength and wisdom required for this part of your journey is within you. Situations will continue to arise which will make this apparent. It may not be an enjoyable process but it’s necessary and inevitable. At some point you will be thankful for it all.
By trusting your truest Self, you are acknowledging your belief in the source of your being, which is the source of ALL being. The temptation is to spend too much time wrapped up in thoughts of fear and doubt, but those can and will be released. They are every night when one goes to sleep, right? So continue letting go of that which you’re not, all the while knowing that you will never cease to BE.
You will make it through this transitional period and be all the better for it.
Thank you for such thoughtful words of encouragement, such kindness certainly fosters gratitude. You are very correct, I will and must become more grateful for the opportunities presented.
I am actively working on shedding what I am “not”, the struggle at times is what I am.
With great affection,
postscript: I rec’d your wonderful compact disc, your music ( and voice) fills my little hermitage, thank you.
Thom’s voice and music fill my studio too. He is a great supporter of blogging folk!
Sorry for sermonizing, but you know how I am! Now if I could only practice what I preach!
So glad you got the disc, and glad you like it! It was sent with love…
Not at all!
And your disc is received with sincere appreciation for a man of talent and kindness.
Looking forward to sharing the journey. I, too, am in my “second half” and time’s a-wastin’, as they say. I disagree that you have nothing to show for your efforts to date. You have a wealth of knowledge and insight to the creative process and it’s time to share it with other like-minded souls. Now, it’s time to get to work!
Yes indeed, time to get to work.
I think that “el cajon” technically means “the big box”
thanks, I will try to remember that.
I admit that it is hard sometimes to be a creative person and see very little in a practical sense of achievement from the decades spent so far. However, I am becoming increasingly aware that much of the obvious practical stuff is an illusion at best. Yes, it is fine to build up a portfolio of work and say ‘this I achieved’ but it is sometimes the small, seemingly inconsequential things that end up really making a life. Spending time helping someone overcome a problem, smiling a good morning to a stranger, encouraging the tentative, sitting in the sun with a pertner. These things take very little out of your own life but give others much more than you imagine.
By working intensely for the ‘goal’ can also mean that you begin to disengage from the world around you as the ‘goal’ becomes your life in a way. If I work hard at this, achieve, then I will be happy, but of course will you be happy while achieving and will the result give you what you expected?
Anyway, it’s not for me to pontificate, but I am in the same place and am only now beginning to understand that there is more to life than a full portfolio of work before I drop off the planet :-)))
Thank you John,
This very morning I was bemoaning not “working”, instead I was painting my mother-in-law’s sitting room, marketing, gardening, tending to the spouse and pups…but not productive, or so the inner critic preached.
I appreciate your empathetic words, I am struggling for balance and practicing caution as to what I wish for :}
Take care my friend,
Len, I’m finally seeing the soul of that beautiful young artist (along with the attitude) that is again rising from the ashes. My heart is so happy for you xo