Something seems to whisper in the very dark trees of America.
“I am the monster with no face”
That’s what was written on the note. Brenda was busy locking up when she heard the faint knock at the back door. Walking down the darkened hallway towards the back of the store Brenda was thinking how thankful she was that the boss had installed a pane of glass in the top half of the door. She had always been a little hesitant opening the back door, especially this late at night, but her trepidation had worsened ever since that incident last month with the crow.
Standing there at the door she looked out onto the empty parking lot. Pressing the right side of her face to the glass she was able to look to the left side of the lot. The coolness of the glass felt nice against her skin. She could see the neighbor’s fence and the trash bin. Switching sides, she was able to see the empty sidewalk. The night looked very big out there. Convinced her mind was playing tricks on her, she was about to turn and walk away when she noticed the piece of white paper sticking out from under the door.
Picking it up, Brenda could barely make out what was written on it. Leaning with her back against the door, she was able to see it better with the street light coming in through the window. The piece of paper had been torn from someone’s daily planner. With the exception of the printed date, April 16, 2007, the only thing written on it was that strange message.
“I am the monster with no face”
Brenda didn’t know what to make of the note but standing there in the dark did nothing to help quell the fear that was beginning to build inside her. She told herself she would feel better once she got back into the light of the front office. Taking another look at the note, she was just about to make the return trip down the hallway, when she noticed that the street light that had been falling on the paper had just been obscured by something over her shoulder.
That was when she heard the second knock on the door.
It's 2:13 in the afternoon at the end of March. Peter has been sitting at the bar for almost three hours. It's been six days since his father's death and it's the one place that he thought would not remind him of what he's lost. However, like a feckless love, grief has no boundaries and walked through the door.
Peter had always thought about, and ever dreaded, the death of his father but never really thought about what he would do the day after. Like his father's failing heart, those thoughts stopped at the moment of death.
He nodded toward the bartender for another bourbon and quickly tossed it back, relishing the sting of the amber liquid as it made its way down. "Lost", Peter whispered to himself. He never liked using this euphemism, for death was nothing more than loss without the option of being found.
There was a cold wind blowing that night. It was one of those Santa Ana winds that relentlessly taps at your windows, and then once rebuffed, slips in silently under the door to cool your blood. On nights like that Alice always liked to light a fire and get comfortable with a book and a full glass of wine. Unfortunately she wouldn't be afforded that opportunity. She was there for one reason and couldn't be distracted.
Alice thumbed the edge of the carving knife and studied the door. It was one of those nights where anything could happen.
"It's been three hours and seventeen minutes since he walked out. I suppose I should turn off the TV and go to bed but it all seems so final in doing so. Maybe if I sit very still and focus on the pattern of the static, time will slow down and eventually stop and I won't have to deal with tomorrow. It's been three hours and nineteen minutes since he walked out."
I have a new piece showing at LACDA this month.
If you're around DTLA this coming Saturday, December 10th, and looking for something to do, come by the gallery and check out the group show, drink some wine ... say hello.
December 8 - 31, 2016
Reception: Saturday, December 10, 6pm-9pm
Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts
104 East Fourth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Don't you just take the past and put it in a room, in the basement, and lock the door and just never go in there? That's what I do.
Probably. In my case it's probably a whole building.
And then you meet someone special and all you want to do is toss them the key, say open up, step inside, but you can't because it's dark and there are demons and if anybody saw how ugly it is ... I keep wanting to do that - fling the door open - let the light in, clean everything out. If I could take a giant eraser and rub everything out ... starting with myself ... the thing is, Peter, if ...
No key, huh? *
I've always loved this scene between Peter and Tom. It was tender, from the heart, and for the first time, given everything that led up to this point, the lies, the deceit, and murder, there was something so truthful coming out of his mouth ... but there was one problem. Who the hell is Tom Ripley? We never get a clear picture of who he really is as a person. From start to finish he is constantly hiding behind the facade of a fake somebody.
And recently I've realized that I have been doing the same thing. Well, not to the extent of Mr. Ripley ... murder has never been part of my M.O.
I was speaking with a friend of mine about things I'm working on and goals I'd like to accomplish and in the course of the conversation she brought up the fact that there are very few people in my life that know the real me. She compared me to a puzzle ... this person may have two pieces and that person may have a few more, but they never get the full and completed picture.
"You're an enigma."
Fair enough. It gave me something to think about and I began to look back at friendships and past relationships and discovered she was right. There are maybe three or four people that I have opened up to and let in, and even when them I certainly haven't been honest all the time. I've never been one to deal in emotions. I just never thought it to be worth my time. Don't get me wrong, I have them and I'm not a total automaton, but too often I just intellectualize what I'm feeling and go about my day, never really letting them sink in or dwell on it for too long. I was calm, cool, pleasantly detached and stuck in my own head. That said, it was never my intention to withhold things or to deceive anyone but rather, for various reasons, an unconscious attempt at self-preservation. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. And that's exactly what I did with that conversation. Shelved it for a rainy day.
Well, for a few months I had been thinking about switching gears from photography to writing ... or at least some mixture of the two. But like all artists and creative people, we can be plagued with crippling self-doubt from time to time and I was dragging my feet. Then a few weeks ago, while driving to work, I passed a billboard for a new Netflix Original Film and everything seemed to click.
Jump And The Universe Will Catch You XOXO ... well, if that wasn't a sign (in both sense of the word) I don't know what is.
Fuck it! What have I to lose? So here I am, after a decade plus hiatus, back to writing. What this looks like I'm not sure. Some of it will be autobiographical, some just my musings and observations on life in general. However, it's my attempt to let go, be vulnerable, to toss you the keys and expose some of those missing pieces. After all, what's the point of learning something if you don't put it to good use?
For those that have known me for sometime, and even those of you that only know of me, hopefully you'll learn something new or maybe you'll just find something to laugh about, relate to, or even get inspired to do something positive. And for those people that got lost on the internet and stumbled upon this ... welcome.
*Taken from The Talented Mr. Ripley .. the movie, not the book. Actually, Peter Smith-Kingsley has only a brief mention in the novel. It's worth the read.
**Oddly enough, I only saw that billboard once. It was replaced by some other Netfilx show. Luke Cage I think.
Ever since David asked the question, she found herself uncharacteristically quiet.
"Three, two, one."
Fumbling with the book of matches in her hand, Mary looked up to see that the light was still red. "Three, two ... one" she counted again to herself.
The light still didn't change. This was something she used to do as a child - counting down from three, trying to time it just so, so that when the light changed from red to green, she, for a brief moment felt that she had some control in her life. Without looking up Mary knew he was staring at her and waiting for an answer. She needed to say something, anything, but she also wanted time to think, but that proved difficult when the only thing she could focus on was that old and familiar voice of self-doubt and the counting.
"Three. Two. One."
I’ve been selected as a runner up in the latest issue of Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art & Design (Issue 38-39). Great!
I’ve been published by them before so it’s nice that they have come back around, but looking closer I’ve noticed that the image selected (above) is paired with the title of another piece of mine.
Fortunately, the title works either way.
You can view the full gallery here: http://www.cqjournal.com/gallery