Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bike near White House, Key West

Seen around the corner from The Little White House, where President Truman spent half the year, swimming, biking, fishing, lots of fishing.
what does it mean?

Mangoes go Bang the middle of the night, the mango tree sways in thunderstorms dropping ripe and green mangoes on the upstairs terrace and in the morning ripe mangoes arrive at my doorstep along with Snowball, an all white cat who only wants me to pet her for a moment, then she keeps me company or not. The early mornings here are the best, when a cool air comes through the windows and the fans whirl keeping the heat at bay. I am fortunate to be working so much, long days of writing in the patio, on the couch, at the table, although the mangoes are so ripe now, I have dodged a few on the head and computer.

A note about the writing: a residency can bring an awareness of self in a very short time. I don't have a phone and have no distractions, other than hunger. This is a time for a lot of writing, more than I had hoped for. Finishing an old draft from a year ago I was able to find a reason to complete a story about a disabled girl's sexual awakening with her Maori boyfriend and her drive to be independent despite her disability. It's another suicide story in my series of "the Suicide Monologues." However, they are not monologues; they're stories about other people.

When the work is done, there is always time for a swim, a bike ride, a walk. Taking notes now on my environment, it is rich for the future.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It Will Never Go Away

Duvall Street, Key West

Filled with fans and offspring spawned by the original fans, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville is still a big draw, with its brand name store next to the bar/restaurant -- like other bars on the Duvall Strip. But unlike other bars that offer live music played by the locals, Margaritaville has a large video screen; last night it was playing hip hop.

Dead: I told you I was sick

Key West Cemetery

Not the most beautiful plaque in the cemetery, but the funniest. You have to admire BP Roberts' (1979) family who have passed on a family joke to the living.

GM bailout on Duvall Street

It's hard to believe someone is in there, but he is, complete with goggles, this full sized car made it's way down Duvall with appreciative nods from both sides of the street.

Kew West Cemetery

Key West Cemetery

What was Arichibold Yate's relatives thinking when they erected this nude bound woman at the foot of his headstone (1966). Or was it picked by him personally, was it is last wish, like another Key West resident -- who was 40 inches tall -- who had one last wish - to be buried in a full adult sized coffin.

Tourists Gone Wild

Key West. Mallory Square. Sunset.
At the exact moment the sun sets at this SW location, tourists bolt from Mallory Square like extras running from the blob and I move against the crowd towards the sound of a woman's voice coming from a microphone. On stage: three stools: a man with a guitar, a laptop computer with top opened, and a woman behind a keyboard. She turns on the computer and a loud, familiar dance beat is heard, heads in the crowd bob, some people cheer holding up their drinks, arms extended in appreciation. The singer plays electronic keyboards with a high-tin sound; the guitarist joins in, adding a needed real musical instrument sound. People dance in front of the stage, men and women holding on to their bags, cameras and drinks, wearing very little clothing. I wouldn't call it dancing but there's no other word to call tourists gone wild in Key West. It's like they are doing a dance to the objects they are holding.

After a few verses, the guitarist begins a solo, sounds like it's going to be really good when the singer jumps back in much too soon and the guitarist backs off. In the twilight the harbour view is inviting, sailboats have left the docs for their nightly cruise and a photographer hangs photos of tourists on a fence, hoping they will like what they see when they return from their sail. Hopefully a few will go wild and tip him.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Key West

If this is May, then I am at The Studios of Key West. where I am the May visiting artist living in the Mango Tree House where each morning i am greeted by falling mangoes for breakfast and where a white cat greets me. The Studio is a performing and studio space for artists, writers and musicians; it offers workshops, classes and sponsors events and artists such as myself. The Director Eric Holowacz has done an amazing job to make this place part of the community and the staff here are also wonderful. A few artists have told me that they wouldn't stay in KW in the summer (this morning at 8 a.m. it was already 80) -- if it wasn't for The Studio.

I took a life drawing class and the Painting Bootcamp Class with Rick Worth. In only two hours I have a painting of KW complete with palms trees. Rick is a local artist originally from Missouri who has been in KW for over twenty years. He teaches the class every Tuesday night.

KW is a rich environment and I am in my second week working on a collection of pieces about suicide. Pics soon to follow.