when are we THE most vulnerable?

when we know we'll be seeing someone for whom we have the greatest respect?
when people don't know who we are?
when people do know who we are, and who we've been, but not who we might become?
when people think they know whom we are, and think they know what we might not become?

i think a lot of us try to not be vulnerable.
frankly, i think it's okay to do so: i think it's okay to be open to finding new strength that comes from that vulnerability.

i found myself feeling incredibly vulnerable today.
i wasn't sure why.
the previous evening, i'd found myself in a situation that made me extremely happy, and maybe from that came the "next day" vulnerability...the "back to reality" exposure.

is vulnerability linked to confidence?
does this have anything to do with sartre's existentialism?

i'm often labeled as "too sensitive." in the strictest sense of the definition, i suppose this might be accurate.
again, i don't usually think of this as a bad thing. IMHO, i think we all need to have greater sensitivity to others.
in my mind, sensitivity differs from political correctness.

it's often viewed as a weakness in our culture to allow oneself to be vulnerable.
you hear things such as "don't let yourself be exposed," "don't succumb to weakness," "don't leave yourself wide open."
this assumes that we can't handle the outcome. it assumes that we aren't strong enough to handle any pain or discomfort that might arise from the situation.

we're taught that we shouldn't leave ourselves unguarded or unprotected.
this creates a group of people that are SO guarded, overly so?
you can't smile at each other without a level of discomfort or distrust.
we have become a society of discomfort and distrust.

i think vulnerability comes from strength.
if we're strong enough to be vulnerable, then we're strong enough to be strong.

i end this passage, in gest.
i end by posing the rhetorical, "vulnerability is humbling and it 'builds character' ...doesn't it?"

my feeling is that if you can't expose yourself to a bit of criticism, you have no business wearing the suit.


picking on the paint

some days, i just need to take it out on my canvas or pick a fight with my paints.
maybe it's because it's been a bad day, and i really don't want to fight with anyone at work or on the Muni.
and it really has nothing more to do than i have too much bottled up energy, or that i'm sad about the state of the world, or who knows...

i wonder if this stuff is better in a journal than a blog, but i figure, i promised an uncensored look into my struggles with art.

so, i try to break some color rules,paint over a nice passage, or mix colors that aren't my palette.

paint is good for this kind of outlet.

clay is a good outlet too, sometimes.
i've found, though...that this kind of wrestling usually just makes for bad sculpture.

with paint, it becomes a dance with the canvas.
it's about random expression. how do we turn renegade energy into a form of expression?

a rough segue, here:

perhaps this is what the Bay to Breakers is all about --People trying to break the rules & the conventions to discover something new about themselves or others. Like Halloween, it becomes an accepted outlet to break the rules and be acceptance. It's about finding some fun in the outrageous.

notables from my first Bay to Breakers:

•if you're going to participate, make sure they take your number at the end, or you didn't do it.
can this be true? well, i was trying to make the 3:33:33 mark (rather than the 3:33:27) and my friend Finley reached over to avoid some sharp pointy object and then there it went, the moment passed. gone. we were through the gate and no one took my number. you'd think i'd have realized this sooner, but NO, not until we'd walked another mile back to the festivities.
ah well, too late... just because no one hears the tree when it falls, doesn't mean it never fell...uhm...okay, my word against the world... so you see why i fight with paint :)
• but, i can prove i walked it....things overheard "if you could bone anyone, would it be my mom or my dad?"
and people do this year after year -- Why?!
• other things...if there's going to be much skin a-bearing...must we see you scratch that "too much information" itch?
• we spotted at least 3 young women peeing in plain sight, slightly inebriated, shouting "OMG, don't look over here!"
(surely this is a sign i'm getting old, when i don't find this overwhelmingly funny).
• upstream salmon centipedes were some of my favorite -- another clue to my personality?
• dogs continued to be the true highlight of my day?
• when high-beams mean neither ceilings nor cars.
• when "can i help you adjust that?" is not meant to be helpful.
• when the alcohol checkpoint means they're checking to see if you can give them more alcohol.
okay, i'm sure there are more, but the bus ride getting there about did me in.
alright, alright... it WAS fun, but i don't think i can take that much humanity in such large doses.

i think i'll make up with my paint.


gratitude and a nod to good people

there are some folks that come into your life -- folks that you really don't know, nor will ever really know.
you won't necessarily ever know them intimately, and somehow that seems okay, for this makes us no less grateful in calling them our friends.

there are those folks who have somehow changed us, or brought us a moment's happiness. they might have affected us by saying the right thing (or the wrong thing) at one particular moment in our lives. they might have made us smile, or looked at us in a certain way. they might be oblivious to their affect.

then, there are some people we feel as if we've known forever. people who come into our lives as members of our family. in spite of what we say to them, they'll never know their true impact. it is their kindness and goodness that restore our faith in humankind.



i spend a lot of time thinking about people and things and looking and feeling.
i then think about projects that might or might not express those things or feelings or people.
i don't think you can invent projects, i think they invent us.
kind of like the way we think, we can try to think or paint or act a certain way, but
our core beings are just that. we are drawn to certain colors, certain sounds, certain energies, certain faces.


a crabby little tale

it was a wonderful weekend.
with all the rain and the war, etc. i think we forgot what it's like to have spring weather.
a couple days off from work always helps get perspective about one's days, and how our days might best be spent.

my last couple of days were spent organizing: cleaning out the closets (figuratively and literally), doing sculpture, more sculpture, hollowing sculpture, trying to learn how to paint, trying to remember how to paint, seeing some friends' open studios, going on some great hikes. the sunshine and fresh air both make the world seem like a better place. maybe i'm too much of a nature girl, but crowded subways, air conditioned offices and too much clutter makes for boring people, (IMHO).

i think that people should live more days as if each day were their birthday; they should do things they love-- things that make them happy.

while i love to swim and to take classes, i find myself suffering the grind.
today, i changed my pace.
today was meant for a long walk around my neighborhood. before i knew it, i found myself at the beach.

it was a perfect beach day. i was surprised to find so many people out enjoying it. i wondered how these folks have been able to set up their lives so they could spend the middle of the afternoon at the beach.

the best part of this day, was that i found myself smiling.
walking along, i realized those silly dogs, who loved the waves, who loved to run and fetch ball after ball, stick after stick, just brought simple joy to my day.
as i walked further along, i spotted a little green sandcrab. he was inching along, using two of his claws at a time. he countered those with the other little middle claws. it was graceful crabwalk crawl. so i stopped to really look at him.
he was a little shy at first; he simple looked at me and blew bubbles. (perhaps he was really just breathing, but i think he was kinda flirting with me in his own little way -- i'm sure there's some sort of scientific explanation, but i prefer to just see the obvious, at moments such as this.)
so, i stooped down to watch him for a while.

slowly, he started to circle away, a sort of horseshoe pattern. i had a feeling he was trying to keep his eyes on me. (humor, me, will ya?) so, slowly i walked around to the front of his circle and held very still, keeping my eyes on him. then, he came over to check me out. i found this to be terribly endearing.
being the freak i am, i said a few little "hello's" to him. low and behold, he came right over and made a little spot for himself right up next to me, right under the very outside arch of my right shoe. i do believe it was love at first sight.

so, i held out my hand, and he climbed right aboard. now, maybe this means i need more friends in my life, but come-on, you have to admit, it was a nice little moment. he continued to blow more bubbles at me until a group of kids over. It was at this very moment the he chose to scurry up my arm, to the tip top of my shoulder, around my back, to the right shoulder blade, then to the left shoulder blade, and then to the very place, dead center in my middle of my back, where i could not reach. (clearly there's a more practical application to that yoga stretch, than i realized.) thus, i was stuck. what should i do? as much as i would have loved to take him home and have a fun little friend, i realized his place was at the beach. so, i placed him in a shallow wave; and, with a shallow wave, (pun fully intended,) i had to say goodbye.

it is my belief that this is how we should spend our days: with enough space to find the beauty and love in little things, to make new friends and find simple love.


on turning 42

"raspberry phosphate"


late summer, early autumn.
fruit, easily grown unless cut back

phosphates, effervescence.

more self-conscious
more humble
less doubt
more doubt

wrinkles, pain, hope,
mis-truths, self-truths

one's body, one's Self.

knowing strength, feeling weakness
the world

personal histories -- raspberries and phosphates

celebrate friends, celebrate love/s
mourn friends and mourn love


decisions no longer ours to make...

back to a summer of raspberry and phosphates


(tami sloan tsark 1/27/06)*

*this piece was created for the 40x40 show currently at pier 39 theatre Q, on display through 7/11/06


TMI vs. fun to know vs. NTK

When does something fall in the
"Too Much Information" category vs. the "Need to Know" or "Fun to Know?"

for instance,
fun to know: your coworker is a marathon runner
TMI: your coworker is a marathon doper.

sometimes personal information can be fun to know. it gives you new insights into the idiosyncrasies of human nature.
sometimes that information can be too personal, sometimes boring, and sometimes, just too much!

i'm sure i'm guilty of all of the above. but pondering the differences can be fun.

boring information: your friend gets her nails done 3x/wk.
even more boring: the color of the polish or the name of the woman who does them.
fun to know: why your friend needs to get her nails done so often
TMI: the details of either of the above, or worse yet, the sound of nails being clipped in the cubicle next to you.

it's lovely to hear how excited someone is about their kid's development. it's TMI to hear about little Timmy's bodily functions. worse yet, hearing about how his actions mimic his father's. i know that story is based in love, but really folks, i like to like your kids and husband. vivid imagery is best saved for the canvas. yes?

call me squeamish, disinterested, or a snob, but thought this blog needed a little more levity.
you gotta love this dog:

p.s. Happy Bday, Lisa! Happy Mother's day, Mom and to all you moms out there.

faux summer

it's funny how the sunshine just makes people SEEM happier,
everything feels a little fresher and optimistic.

i went on a hike today, after a brief visit to the Chris Gwaltney show at Robert Greene's gallery in Mill Valley.
Great show, great hike. I'm always curious how someone can paint so simply and directly with such beautiful layers and emotion. My friend, Janey, said Gwaltney's paintings seemed to have the same kind of feeling as Mitrowsky. I'd have to agree.

So, on the hike, there were several footrace runners. On my way back to the car, some more hikers were just pulling up.
They asked the race people what was going on, and what was the prize. I didn't hear which race it was, but the upshot was that there was no prize. The man beside me said "all that work, for no purse?" That comment hit a nerve with me.
Must we all have to win something, to get something, to have something in order to make something enjoyable or worth the time invested?!! Sounded to me that this man did not appreciate the journey for just that. I hear a lot of that sentiment on the subway these days. This saddens me.


twilight mystery

excitement over the anticipation of dialog.

someone posted a comment with the username "twilight."
...and so
the mystery begins.

i began to think,
was this from a person i knew? or, better, someone i wanted to know?

now l & g's ,we have on our hands here, a genuine "twilight mystery."

i'm intrigued.

a twilight mystery has been created.
it's both the element of surprise in conjunction with the mystery.
these create the intrigue: the two together.
besides, i like the way the words "twilight" and "mystery" combined,
swirl around in one's mouth & then create a slight furrow in your brow
right before,
they're about to come out from your mouth.
if nothing else, it's got a simple poetic ring.

what can i say?
... the romantic in me dies hard.

associations, comforting irony

context of an association:
the very nature of interaction can often imply a sort of relation,
between people, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or passerby's....
whether a bond is created, often comes with the passage of time; or does it?
can connections be immediate? if so, are connections based on context, or on something more?

as i watch people relate to one another, i'm fascinated.
my questions becomes:
are interactions rooted in the unconcious, the subconscious, or in motivation?
or, do interactions grow from visceral responses?

the way in which we interact and respond to one another, can bring about many things--
unexpected joy, inherent pain, mild annoyance, or simple pleasure.
often, a key factor is rooted in the element of surprise.
when we discover something new about another person, the " unexpected" can bring upon a transition, a turning point-- when we start to look at things differently.

what draws us to others? is it the spark? the warmth? an ease about them?

it is my speculation that the strength of a friendship has less, than we think, to do with how well we get along with someone than it does with how well we connect with someone.

it's true that "familiarity breeds company," or does "familiarity breeds contempt?"

one can know someone for years and be hurt by some surprising comment or action.
inversely, you can meet a stranger and find yourself smiling for the rest of the day.

many-a friendship has been broken over things falling outside our assumptions of character, or outside an assumed knowledge or trust.

many-a friendship has been sparked when we find ourselves somehow comforted by a stranger.

many-a romance has been ignited when we discover our passions have been flamed.

the element of surprise is often the discounted factor.

it is in these times of fast-moving technology and instant communication that we sometimes discover important relations can't be pre-programmed.

it is in these times of ongoing crisis, while grasping and while reaching for tangible explanations,that we find that things can't be predicted.

in a way, it's those surprising connections in humanity that provide us with comfort.
how ironic.



one would guess that attachments would be the inverse of detachments, right?

i think we form false sense of attachment/s.
my house has become a gathering place for piles of clutter. things to which i've become attached. things i probably could live without.
but things that mark my life. photos, sentimental or inspirational. containers. paints, colors, stuff!

somehow, they fill the space that was once welcomed emptiness.
are we in a stage of "nesting?"
connotation makes me shudder, but i promised candor.

so, some things to which i think we could or should attach...


what a very strange concept -- detachment.
are there people who strive to detach?
perhaps it's just part of personality, but i don't know why folks would WANT to detach, unless it's from something offensive or painful...but still.

clearly, i struggle with the need to detach.
from caring too much about projects, or situations, or people.

there's much talk about striving for "balance"
i think you either care about something or you don't.
degree becomes a factor, no doubt.
but for me, if one feigns detachment it then becomes disingenuine.

on the commute today, there was a homeless person spouting some profanities.
verbalizing his stream of consciousness. you could see those around him detaching.
IMHO, this is a problem. I wanted to know more: Aren't we all in some way responsible for his mental illness or his unhappiness?

Idealistic or not, I think we live in a time where we need to take some responsibities for others in our community. Again, it's a matter of degree...To what end can we help? To what end must we detach to preserve our own fight and survival?



a first thought..and a few

this blog,
...borne out of a fascination for new forms of communication,

borne out of a need for the "new,"
...new types of interactions, new things to see, new people to know.

call it a search.
a recruitment, if you might, for new ways of reaching out, of dialoguing about "philosophies,"
of sharing ideas and of relating, once again, to the human spirit.

my hope?
to sustain a forum for
honest uncensored thought -- albeit self-censorship or otherwise.
(no doubt,this will be the challenge -- knowing this medium is a public one)

the goal, then, is to remove doubt.
my goal, is to toss around notions,
derived from thought or direct observation.

call them ponderings, if you might.

i endeavor to share with you,
... things, and thoughts, and ideas
... things, i hold at forefront of a moment, and more importantly, the present moment.

be they ruminations, ideas, ponderings, images, or happenings,
my goal is to speak honestly, and to write about them directly and candidly.

i hope you'll feel free to share your responses, in kind.