Show and Tell

It is an important part of my life to communicate with other trans* identified people here in blogspace, but I find that I have used this blog a “show-and-tell” platform for topics that have nothing to do with living as trans* or queer. My life is scattered into many segments. I like for writing to be part of my creative life, but my creative life also consists of drawing and painting and sculpting and knitting and computer programming and mathematics. And gardening. And canning.  And other things.

Scattered is the word.

(that reminds me, there is a website devoted to being scattered like I am, it is called Puttylike, a home for multipotentiates)

Just two weeks ago, we found that my boss’s kid is having a baby. Most years, I start knitting in August. That way, I can finish complex projects by the time that the holidays come around. This year, my first knit projects are baby items for my boss’s impending new grandchild. (I really like my boss’s son, and his wife. I have watched him grow up through high school and college now out on his own. When he was in college, his band played in our cafe. So I really like him, and am very happy for him)

So, H. and I spent the week clacking needles. scarfOne of my favorite things ever is mittens with a cord that goes through the coat.

Baby MittensAnd a hat to top it off:

Baby hatWe would have done booties, but we only had one week.  We made labels for each item, and wrapped them nicely.

My camera isn’t working, so I just placed the knitwear on my scanner.

I hope that they like everything, and that it helps to keep their baby warm this winter.

Lehigh Valley Charter High School For The Arts ( Vacation, Part 2 )

Lehigh Valley Charter High School For The Arts

Lehigh Valley Charter High School For The Arts

On Wednesday, August 19, 2015, I finally toured the new Lehigh Valley Charter High School For The Arts (Charter Arts), in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.  The old school was in a rented old industrial site (no windows in the whole school!) but it still blew me away.  Art, dance, and music was happening everywhere: in the classrooms, in the hallways, on the ceilings. The new school puts all of that in the most beautiful building: a building constructed especially for creating art, situated in a vibrant arts community, and positioned with dozens of unique and inspiring views.

Charter Arts pulls the students from 46 different school districts in eastern Pennsylvania.  Each student auditions to get into the school.  At the school, the kids do academics for half of the day, and their art (dance, figure skating, music, visual arts, theater, vocal arts) for the other half.  I have seen some of the art that these students are creating, and it is very impressive.

But here is the most wonderful thing, and the point of me writing about this school.  My friend who gave me a tour of the school made a point of telling me what a safe haven the school has become for students who are LGBT, trans, gender variant, or have just otherwise not fit in, in the places where they come from.  Charter Arts is like a college experience for these kids.  They are able to be welcomed as themselves, in a new school where nobody knows them, and where they are judged solely as artists.  The school is a place that works to transcend boundaries of socioeconomic background, class, race, and gender.  These are lofty ideals, but my friend is believes that this has really happened in her school.

My friend is super wonderful anyways, but I know that our decades long friendship has caused her to give extra thought to the students of her school who are outside of the gender norms.  I am so happy that our long friendship has led her to take a special interest in the well-being of these kids.

The school impressed me so much that I drove back up to Bethlehem twice to draw and paint the school.  My friend hasn’t seen the drawing yet, but I hope that she likes it enough to hang it in her office.

Envisioning Howard Finster

Before I return to my regularly scheduled blogging, I need to take one minute to plug my friend Norman Girardot’s book.

Howard Finster was a retired preacher from Georgia, who in his later years became a spectacularly prolific, frequently genius, self-taught artist.  In his unclassifiable book, Girardot examines Finster from the point of view of a scholar of comparative religion, but also from the point of view of a person who’s life was transformed by his interactions with Finster.

Norman spent five or six years on this book, and I am honored to have been a part of his book’s creation.  It is trully unique and insightful.

This is the book:

original coverThis is my spoofical version of the book:

officialcoverHere is the book at amazon.

If you look closely at the Amazon page for the book, you can see a picture of Norman’s face which I drew years ago.

By the way Finster left his own mark on my life, as well as thousands of other people’s lives.  We passed a banjo back and forth, while we waited for the pot of coffee to brew, and he called me a star-faced clown from heaven.  I am glad to see that he is still being talked about, 14 years after his death.

Mind Purge

Typical Trans* Column Outline

  1. I went to the {bank, restaurant, work, store}.
  2. Where a person that I {know, d0 not know, am married to}.
  3. Called me {she, he, her, his, they, yo, dude, babe, sweety, sir, ma’am, man, honey, hey baby, hey lady, girl, bitch, brother, bro, cxxt, fxxxxt}.
  4. Which caused me to feel {happy, sad, elated, confused, angered, amused, delighted, accepted, defensive, angered, mad, defensive, acknowledged, recognized, invisible, thoughtful}.
  5. But now I am feeling much better.

My intent is to stick to transition related topics here. Recently, though, everything that I think of writing seems to follow the above formula. Being a naturally scattered person, this week I am going to write about a bunch of unrelated topics, so that next week I can return with the regularly scheduled programing:

1. Everyone is getting married. Hooray for Marriage Equality.
Two of our best friends were married in New Years Eve.  Last week, in the same day, I ran into a couple of gal friends who got married in November, and a couple of guy friends who are getting married next weekend.
2. I have been making art. I go through periods when my creativity is diverted to other things, but I always return to visual art.

Mr. Imagination Shrine

Shrine To Mr. Imagination

This is my shrine to my friend Mr. Imagination, who died almost three years ago.  We spent some valuable time together, over many years, and I still feel much sadness over his parting.  There is so much in my life to remind me of him.  We traded a lot of art, so I have his work in every room of my house.  Glancing at his art usually stirs off a string of memories.

It is hard  to see in the above photo, but the shrine has a throne room on the left, and a bedroom on the right.

Here is a close up of the bedroom:

Bedroom

Bedroom in Shrine

The whole shrine is made out of a horrendous built-in spice cabinet which I ripped down when I bought the house that I live in now.  There are ritual activities associated with the shrine.  You may have tea with his dolls, or you may flatten bottle caps, for instance (I still find bags of bottle caps that friends had saved for Mr. I).

If you want to see Mr. Imaginations art, the Intuit gallery in Chicago is having a retrospective of his work right now.

More scattered topics soon until we return to trans* related topics!

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