On Finding Inspiration In Dark times

Hello Artist, welcome to the second week of finding your mojo, your inspiration, your passion for your thing again. Last week’s insight was about changing what media you’re consuming to replace it with the kind of thing you want to do more of. How’d it go? Mine was rocky. Mid-week turned into a horror show. I didn’t fair well after that.

Let’s pick up the pieces.

When I talk about inspiration, I’m not talking an inspiring sunset or movie or book. Those are great and helpful, but if you haven’t created the space within for inspiration to take root then those things fall on arid ground and never last for more than a moment. I’m talking about creating a fountain of inspiration within that you can tap into regularly. Wanting to be inspired, in my experience, means something within you needs to shift.

That usually means changing behaviors, creating routines, utilizing discipline to do so. I hate all that stuff. Wild horses couldn’t get me to do “discipline.” I die inside at the thought of it. That said, it’s really more about routines, or habits. We all have them and if we haven’t thought much about our habits, then more than likely we have many that aren’t good for creating inspiration.

With the right habits, Inspiration comes from within and can be a fount of magic you can always access.

On Tuesday I stayed up late watching the Georgia run-off and woke up in a great mood ready to create. Then the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol occurred and by 11:30 pm on Thursday I was weeping on the floor overwhelmed with despair at the fruitlessness of it all. Friday I had to watch 12 hours of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to stop the suicidal ideation.

All my life I’ve been subject to the winds of mania — deep depressive episodes followed by manic bursts of destructive behavior. More recently that manic behavior has manifested in shopping sprees. And I’m tired of it. I’ve done this for the better part of two decades. Saturday it occurred to me that I could do something else. I could go for a walk.

It cleared out the muck and lightened my load. I no longer felt the need to die or shop to feel better. Changing something simple like walking instead of shopping, broke the pattern, at least for the day and one day is all I can hope to change right now. With any luck, one day can lead to others.

And after the walk something extraordinary happened. I found the courage to approach an old project with new hope. I sat down to write the next scene of a book I’ve been trying to write for six years now. I just never believed in myself enough to keep going.

So, that’s the assignment for the week; change one bad habit and replace it with something good, something relatively easy, but also something that will lead to other good habits: iron, make the bed, dust. You never know, any one of those things could lead you to a seismic internal shift.

If this is helpful to you, follow, subscribe on YouTube and let me know in the comments what keeps you inspired. We need each other right now.

Why Are Cats? Sneak Peak at a new podcast with Cat Behaviorist, Mirian Hasani

Ever wonder why cats do what they do? Every day? Yes, then you’re my people and you may enjoy this podcast with cat behaviorist and cat psychologist Mirian Hasani. Here’s a sneak peek where she tells us about Basil the blind cat who was rescued out of a very dark and dangerous shelter. Basil had been abandoned, blind, dumped on the street. The owner of a no-kill rescue took her to save her from certain euthanasia. A whole year passed and she couldn’t get near Basil for fear of being attacked. Finally, she found Mirian and reached out to her for help. What follows is the story of how this lonely little kitty finally opened up to love.

You Tube Influencers Have Keen Eye for Racism, But Fall Hard on Sexism

 

Aba and Preach are comedians with a keen eye for racial inequality. However, their unwillingness to use that same insight to understand the gender imbalance in male/female relationships and society more largely, presents a glaring inconsistency. They complain about double standards that, in their opinion, favor women, presenting their personal and anecdotal perspective as evidence, without ever examining the historical and systemic privileges that favor men and shut out women. Why does this matter? Because they perpetuate a toxic masculinity that, however palatable to most, is the very subtext that feeds the misogyny running in the background of our culture. Unexamined, this perspective drives the narratives that result in discrediting women and marginalizing their opinions and voices. Lauryn Moses and I cannot stay silent about it. This video is the first in a series to call them out and is a response to their first video on the recent revelations regarding Chris D’elia and the barely legal girls he routinely objectified and sought to use.

 

IG: @misslaurynmoses @punt_on_point_media Twitter: @amypunt

Ollie & Lena–A Love Story

The premier of LotusLand TV, a Punt On Point Media production. LotusLand TV is a channel dedicated to raising awareness about the rescue and fostering of cats. Saving a life, changes your own. The love you give to a cat, he returns 7-fold.

 

 

Dispatches from Lockdown–CA Edition. Americans refusal to know things is why we are now number one in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases. #coronavirus, #coronavirusoutbreak, #WearMasks , #stopgathering

Dispatches From Lockdown–CA Edition

Fragments On Suicide

I’m 15 and sitting on my bed in my room writing tortured poetry.  Joy Division, Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Smiths play on a loop. Suicide soundtrack. I try cutting my wrists, but a dull knife and a low threshold for pain ruins the romance.  I want attention.

Seventh period study hall, Freshman year. George somebody or other. A tall, wide, redheaded football player, ugly. Really ugly, this guy. But popular. His best friend, Steve, wiry, tan, sun-tipped waves. A tennis player. The Beast and his Beauty.

The teacher, assistant coach of some kind–an alcoholic, barely kept his head adrift and frequently left ten minutes into class never to return. Steve and George found sport in making fun of Lara, a not very attractive, overweight girl with unwashed hair. They drew pictures of her on the board, made the whole class laugh. One day I stood up for her. George made me his target from that day forward. He and Steve drew pictures of me on the board, my face a piece of pizza. They never relented.

Lesley sat in the back on the other side of the room. I’d never met her before the day she found me at my locker and gave me a forged library pass.  “Meet me in the Library for study hall,” she said. I did, and every day after that. She came from money and the right side of town. Her dad had the right kind of job and she had all the right friends–which didn’t seem to matter to her. She saved my life. In high school kids can kill you, but they can also save you.

That you never really grows up. At a certain point she dims, but she never leaves. She hangs around to see how it all turned out, wondering about the longing you told her you’d handle, wondering if you’d make anything of it.

And so you spend the next several decades reaching for it. Until you’re tired and you’re here again, on the page, facing your high school self blank-faced and empty-handed.

“Sorry.” I say. “At least the weather’s better here.” We’re in L.A. Not Chicago.

I’m starting to bargain with the past. It won’t work. I’ll change gears. Try to put it another way.

This thing with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, well how do you make sense of it?

And the news makes you feel like a child again, because it was a longing to become something big that kept you going and now it’s betrayed you.

Celebrities carry the psychic weight of the public’s needs.  They embody our aspirations, and they feel that pressure. They know their role. Perhaps then, celebrity suicide is a fundamental rejection of us and our fantasies.

According to a report in the Daily Beast, Spade told a friend she didn’t want to seek professional help for depression. She feared it might compromise her brand of bright colorful bags and charming charms telling women we’re one in a million. I wonder if she thought that through to its natural conclusion, that her brand was more important than her life, her daughter, her husband…

I spent 15 years in the beauty industry working for a Spade adjacent company–Bobbi Brown. There’s a kind of symbiosis between them–clean, strong lines, bright pops of color, classic taste. If you wanted to project power in the early 2000’s you wore Donna Karan, carried Kate Spade, and made up your face with the neutral power of Bobbi Brown.

Now look at them. Bobbi no long sells makeup. Karan came out in public support of Weinstein, and Spade is dead. Well, Spade’s death reveals a timeless truth about her industry, negative emotions have no currency. Traffic in them and you’ll lose everything.

Be positive, relentlessly, powerfully, positive. Successful people do it well. Until they don’t.

I wonder if, right after the moment of decision and right before their last, Bourdain or Spade regretted it, remembered their children, thought about their loved ones. People who have survived the 245 foot fall from the Golden Gate Bridge have reported regretting it the second they let go…And hanging isn’t painless…You have time to reflect on not being able to turn back.

Have you ever been depressed–seriously, clinically, you can’t move from your bed depressed? Your thoughts eat themselves. Enormous black feelings cannibalize every breath and you wish you could stop existing.

That’s rage, my friend. Inverted rage at your powerlessness to effect meaningful change. Round and round you go and each time you feel better you know it’s not for long. Right around the corner lurks a trigger–snap, bang, drag, fall and there you go again down the drain and out to sea.  So you dream of the end when you can stop trying and simply let go. It feels so much easier than fighting your way back. Reaching out requires honesty, vulnerability, strength. Depression wears you down until you feel like a thread.

It wears everyone around you down too. At a certain point you’re as tired of you as they are.

A Mourning Dove sits on a power line directly in front of my balcony where I watch. Every morning she sits for hours saying very little. What happened to your love? Where is your home? Why do you like this power line?

I think about suicide because of Kate Spade. That’s its contagion. No matter what you know or how smart you think you are, suicide seduces the damned. Obsessed with Robin Williams’ death, Spade read everything on it. Two years later here we are and there she’s gone. I read three articles on her death then stopped. It gets deep in your head. You can’t leave it alone, like that loose piece of skin on the roof of your burned mouth, you keep bothering it.

But I won’t. Suicide makes those you love angry. You’ve ruined their dream. You’ve killed their hope. You’ve robbed them of a piece of themselves. They will never again feel how you made them feel, and they may never forgive you for it. The violence of your last act chars your memory forever. Each time you come to mind the acrid odor of suicide follows until it’s just too painful to remember you as clearly or as regularly. You fade, forever damned by your last most significant act. Suicide as legacy.

These are all just words scraping the surface of something I’m trying to work out, but can’t. Something is stuck and I’m caught writing childish journal entries–anything to loosen the words and locate the story. Perhaps more of this to come. Stay with me and we’ll find the thread together…

In 2006 I wrote this about a man I can’t believe I ever loved Part II

The sun pushes the clouds up extending them way above my head
Pink light spreads like layers of
cotton candy across the sky.

I’m not angry with him
I don’t blame him
I don’t ever want to be near him again.

I want to be with him again.
I cannot see my life without him

My heart told me to wait
And then asked me if it had ever been wrong before.

No, it had been right before.
It told me to get away from him all along.

But now it’s changed its mind.

In 2006 I wrote this about a man I can’t believe I ever loved Part I

I woke to your voice clinging to my thoughts
a web of tangled conversations
shaken loose by the storm in my head.

You once told me I thought like a man
Not the thing you want to hear from a lover
But then, you’d have known that.

It’s my birthday today and I know you remember
I feel your thoughts upon my body so dense I can
barely lift myself from the bed.

But I do not call and I wonder if you will
Like I wonder this time each year.

I’m relieved when you don’t but
sometimes
your absence is so near it’s like that first day
I woke and remembered you were gone.

I always knew we were made for heartbreak
You and I
It never stopped me from loving
you.

Get up
Shower
Dress
Drive to work

But I have this sense I left my body back in bed.
I want to tell you that. You’d get it.

Carrie Fisher In Memoriam.

I haven’t written in weeks. I feel stiff and incapable. Everything I’ve tried to write in that time has been unfit for public consumption—rambling, self-indulgent, self-hating. That said, I’ll take Carrie Fisher’s death as an impetus and will write to honor to her. According to a family spokesperson, she died at 8:55 a.m., in Los Angeles, after suffering a heart attack on a flight back from London on Friday. I saw her in her last public appearance live on the Graham Norton Show on BBC America. She was funny, charming, self-deprecating, and sharp. It’s hard to imagine the world without her, or that someone so full of life last week will lie in the ground this week.

Since 1977 she has been my hero. She’s failed and started again showing as much courage, strength, and ingenuity as Leia herself. I’ve always told my students to push themselves into the market using whatever was at their disposal and never wait for anyone’s permission. Fisher could have faded into history after Return of The Jedi, but she didn’t. Most would and have, particularly most actresses. Who can carry the weight of such a character as Princess Leia then go on to seize other roles and carve out other spaces in Hollywood? Women fade more quickly than men. But not Carrie Fisher. She took smaller roles and all the while wrote and wrote and wrote.  She emerged as a force that no one could ignore. And while she never escaped the specter of Princess Leia, she never let it hold her back. Always one to laugh at herself, she embraced it, in the end, and was both Carrie Fisher and Leia simultaneously—finding that, perhaps the two had more in common than any of us really understood.

Forgive this sappy eulogy. I’m not saying anything others have not or will not say in the weeks to come. She was a national treasure and an icon in her own time. She was also a deeply flawed woman who never got in the way of her career or her talent. I wish I could say the same.

Oh Carrie, my Carrie, 2016 has been a terrible year and now we’ve lost you too.

Cat Forum Interview with Chloe and Charlie

Hello dear Readers, Chloe and Charlie had the honor of an interview with Snoops and Commando, two very witty cats from Michigan. Take a look to get to know them better. They’ll be featured in the continuing series, Kiss The Kitties. Also, read Snoops and Commandos’ blog. It’s edited by mice. Can you imagine?

Adventures in Cheeseland

Today we are here with Chloe and Charlie from Insights from the Edge  (We are not sure what it is the edge of; it must be a human thing.) It is written by their mom Amy. She does not write about cats, but it’s pretty interesting anyway. Apparently she writes for a living, so that’s probably why it’s pretty good. It would be better if she wrote about cats.

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Tell us a little bit about each of you.
Chloe: My lady told me other humans found me under a dumpster at three weeks old. I was the only girl. I had many brothers. One was blind. He was a good guy. The rest were annoying. I met my lady when I was eight weeks old. She ignored me, so I liked her. All the other humans who came were so annoying. They picked me up and tried to…

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