TM | in memoriam 1 | Massachusetts
in memoriam 1
Labor Day, 2003

On Thursday my employer sat down beside me and said, "Trace, none of the rest of us are going to be in the office tomorrow, so why don't you just take the day off? Make it a four-day weekend."

"Um, let me think about it..." (one second) "...Okay!"

So I basked in the kind of day that had been long overdue. One of those timeless, grounding, stop-and-smell-the-roses kinds of days that gets lost amid full-time work weeks, family obligations, and too much computer time. Everything was special, from shaving to breathing.

Off and on over the years I have been a closet self-portraitist. I have asked: Is it idle narcissism, or is it a healthy exploration of the Self and a tool for self-improvement? Depends on how we use it. Personally I think it's the latter. Somewhere in my artist's dream is the idea that I can capture an image of a rare emotional state, and then deliberately, over time, become more like that idealized vision of myself. (Didn't David Byrne write a song having something to do with this?)

On the few occasions that I have revealed glimpses of this private process to trusted others, I've met with mixed response. Even my lovely, supportive spouse pokes gentle fun at all the different genres: long-haired and mysterious dark-eyed man of night, head-shaven and confident, vegetarian and emaciated, well-fed and husky, drunk (while that was an option), askate on a frozen pond, beret and a goatee, tattoo, roll-your-own, in a cemetery, in drag, etc.

"Torture-Boy," she lovingly jokes...

"...Wannabe," I add.

And I really did. There was a fleeting moment back in the eighties when, if I could have pulled it off, I would have happily donned big-black-hair, eyeliner, and black fingernails a la Robert Smith or Steven Kilbey. But I didn't. Blue toenails were about as far as I got.

In my minds eye I can be all of these and more. What it boils down to, I think, is trying to know and develop the Essential Self. And by way of this, getting to know the Essential Self that dwells in Everyone Else as well. And by way of this, saving the world and spreading peace and love forever, amen. Utopia.

Not that the self is limited to or defined by the physical, but given that we are housed in this (gradually-changing) specific physical being for the duration of our little visit to the planet, it is one aspect of ourselves worth exploring, n'est-ce pas?

The pictures with the flowers I took on August 31st, the tenth anniversary of my little brother Trevor's fatal motorcycle accident. It seemed important to document.

Thanks for the forum. The closet has been getting a little bit stuffy.
09 2003
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