many of you know that tod went to washington for five weeks. he returned a week ago. fast forward to now and it appears that everything is no longer ever going to be the same. he has decided it is time for him to move on, leave huntsville and 'us' and continue on his own journey through life.
i can't say that i am shocked. i will try not to write too much about him here as it is his journey and story to tell online if he ever decides to do that. suffice to say we have been friends and partners if you will, for about seven years. i met tod when i was on the road, on MY journey towards becoming an artist. i had been gone from arizona for just over a year and after a summer of more driving/camping across the states and canada, i landed in vermont and eventually decided to spend a winter there. it was late summer/early fall and after deciding i was really going to get a little apartment in waterbury, vermont, i soon met tod who lived in stowe. we became fast friends and within a few months i moved in with him. my art world began too. i was finally in a place i could collect materials and still had some money left from my savings to take the time necessary to explore and learn. play. find my artist voice.
at the time, tod was care taking in a large home up near the von trapp lodge. it was a slice of paradise for the most part (nothing is ever perfect let us not forget but thats another story). his life had changed radically over the last few years and he is was in hibernation phase. my life had changed radically too as i ended my 20 year career as a masseuse and ventured out into the unknown with little more than clothes and necessities that fit into my car. it was a time of exploration for both of us. he had been dabbling with writing and art but the commitment or drive wasn't as strong, in a way we were a perfect fit as he loved being a part of my process and going out on 'finds' to see what juicy things could be had. he liked to go on long drives just so i could take pictures for my mixed media wall pieces. when i think about it it is pretty incredible that we got to live for free in a huge house in the middle of seemingly nowhere and mostly do as we pleased.
nothing lasts though. my money was running out. his money done ran out and then some. he got a job in stowe driving a taxi and my art got picked up by local galleries and i was making enough to live (since i didn't pay rent and all). i too drove the cab sometimes but i was determined to make it with art and was actually making it until the economy blew a fuse. fast forward five years and we move to huntsville texas thanks to nellie sending me an online article about dan phillips. it felt right. we knew the house we caretook for was going to be sold soon and vermont just wasn't feeling like a supportive environment anymore. we both were ready to be more 'in the world' and not stuck on a mountain. winters were getting long and hard and i just wanted to be in the sunshine again and not try to work outside in harsh conditions. we went for it and moved to huntsville, texas oct of 2009.
we both were intrigued by the idea of functional art and dan's houses are definitely functional art. it did turn out that we helped work on the bone house but i soon found myself unable to stay away from my own art and physically handle the work for the phoenix commotion (too many years as a masseuse kind of screwed up my body) i spent more and more time on my own art and eventually stopped working with the phoenix commotion altogether. tod lasted a bit longer than i did but he had physical limitations as well and was also feeling there was something else he needed to be doing. huntsville doesn't offer distractions. you either know what you want to do and do it or you go nuts. you dont get to escape here. (ironic isn't it that there are 23+ prison wards in huntsville) bad joke...
anyhow. i dove head first into my vase making and flower making and tod tried to dive there too. truth be told he made some really cool flowers that touch me so much i almost can't stand looking at them. he has a gift for art. for seeing. for finding things....but he doesn't enjoy it the same way. he isn't wanting to spend day after day hour after hour working on something. he has too much logic or something floating around in his brain. it isn't (to use his words) 'satisfying' the way it is for me. i can spend the whole day working on something and not want to stop but he gets angry and frustrated after an hour. not a good sign. what he does crave is intellectual stimulation. culture. literature. stimulation that quite frankly does not exist here the way it does in washington. i get it. it was good to hear he met some people in washington his last week there on Vashon Island. you know its a good sign when out of the blue you meet people and they invite you to come back and maybe rent a room or whatever ...you know its a good sign when you are looking and you find. when you are found. that is what happened to me in vermont and i have a feeling that is what is happening to tod right now. i think he has found some people that are on the path he is to travel on.
and me? well i'd be lying if i said i was groovy. this has been a hideous week for me. my panic roared it's ugly head. while i've been making my bills just fine i'm not quite prepared to pay more or move. and moving...when i think about all the heavy stuff i have and how i logistically deal with all of my stuff it feels totally overwhelming. my first thought of course is art. i have to be able to still make art. i have to be able to live somewhere that supports that. period.
so while i've been living pretty much day to day and somehow making it, i know that things are going to change and i need to adapt. once i calmed down a bit i realized i DO have support here. true i haven't been the most outgoing person, but i have made strides with getting to know people and there might be an opportunity for me to move into another place that would have an art studio. it will be more expensive but if it works out ( i will share more when i know), it could be a really good thing for me. if it doesn't work out, i'm not sure what the hell i'm going to do. not sure at all.
so. tod plans to leave by the end of the month. i will stay here until i know where else to go. i would have to have my rent adjusted to continue living in this $800 a month loft. i could pay my $400 but not tod's half. i figure i have six weeks or so to work like a maniac on art. it's the best thing for me. i've been working like mad on flowers this week and even some new vases. art has always been what heals me and makes me feel sane. when i make art i go towards a healthy place in my mind and body. it nourishes me. comforts me and keeps my brain empty. call me stubborn or crazy but i insist that i am able to make art. to live and work as an artist. i feel that life is way too short to spend it doing anything other than what feeds your soul. it still challenges me when i think about what it means. i felt i had more purpose when i was a massage therapist but i was also incredibly unhappy and unwell. i've yet to figure out an overall 'purpose' to what i'm doing right now other than saving my life and sanity. doing what feels best and right for my being. my self. whatever it is that makes me get up everyday and live.
art called out to me like the faintest of whispers that you think you hear in the wind. i followed that voice. it's been a seven year journey and i can't believe that it is all supposed to just end. so i will just have to suit up and solder on. i will miss my tod. i will miss having that person around day in and day out who oftentimes seemed happier than i was when i sold something. when i made something. when my work got shown in galleries. when he or i found something cool on the road. i will miss the one person i've ever been able to live with. to share poignant moments with. someone who believed in me as an artist before i even knew what there was to believe in. i've learned much about myself by traveling with tod to this point in our lives. i think we both have. we will remain good friends but i know the best thing for him is to go and focus on himself as i have focused on me. [art] it feels really sad and really lonely. i've already cried so much it's ridiculous. i'm sure when he leaves the floodgates will burst again but i know in my heart of hearts this is the best thing for both of us. he hasn't been happy these last six months. it has affected our lives and day to day. much as i would love for things to have never changed....we all know that life isn't like that and change IS good and all i can do is welcome the next chapter.
ugh. time to cry again.