January 09, 2017 – The Love Of A Good Woman

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Making art is like writing a love song to the beauty of…being alive. No artist was ever inspired to scratch graphite onto paper or lay pigment onto canvas who wasn’t in love, or devastated by sorrow, with the miracle of being alive, sentient, able to experience all of the landscapes and views, colors and splendor.

Making art with a loved one is transcendent.

The painful part is when love fails. I have a catalogue of photographs, drawings, paintings, of all of the women I have loved in my life. When the relationship fails there are hard feelings and bittersweet memories, and we tend to tell stories of the mayhem and anger and frustration – but I have all of these documents of the good times, and I can’t deny that those good times actually happened.

It kinda keeps you honest, you know? We want to paint a picture of that jerk, that dysfunctional person, that demon – but at the end of the day, we were once in love with them, weren’t we? And social media is extending this, where we can all look back at the jobs that were lost, relationships that ended, sunrises and sunsets that we will never see again.

I am nostalgic about yesterday, for God’s sake. I am riddled with sadness, almost all of the time. Because, at the end of the day, it has all been good, and memorable, and inspiring. And I continue to make artwork and celebrate the experiences I’ve had with those that are close to me, because I have to believe that maybe this time the story will last longer, that feelings won’t turn sour, that the world is going to be okay, make sense, turn out okay.

That’s how I feel when I am with this woman. I feel light. And I feel comforted. And I feel inspired. And there’s no greater feeling than having the love of a good woman. No greater feeling at all.

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Lover’s Embrace

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“Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it empowers us to develop courage; to trust that courage and build bridges with it; to trust those bridges and cross over them so we can attempt to reach each other.”

~Maya Angelou

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Love is difficult to quantify, impossible to explain. I don’t possess the skill to describe the feelings of love that I have experienced in this short life. There have been moments of incredible intensity and tremendous pain, giddy uncertainty and unrelenting ecstasy. I’m certain that anybody reading these words will agree that passionate love is a glorious thing, that each of our experiences are unique and, somehow, surprisingly similar.

On this Valentine’s Day, I decided to forego with the condemnation I typically feel inspired to express. We have, all of us, already heard the arguments against the expense, the crowded restaurants, the expectations and the pressure. Rather than hammer-out a screed about the pitfalls of the holiday, I decided instead to nestle into the corner of a coffee shop and come up with a image of love that suits me.

This is the result, and I hope you enjoy it.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Why We Need To Eliminate Marriage

Equality post“When I am instructed by the all-knowing Jehovah to profess an ostensibly ‘equal’ brotherly love within the same pages where I am instructed to murder my fellow man for engaging in a love act, I can’t help but look elsewhere for guidance.”

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Among people of all ages, ethnicities, and religions, a growing acceptance of same-sex marriage has been growing. This acceleration of tolerance culminated on 26 June 2015 with the Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring that states cannot prohibit the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or deny recognition of lawfully performed out-of-state marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the 5-4 decision, the highest court of the land invalidated gay marriage bans in the United States of America. This was no longer a state’s rights issue. A push for equality and a celebration of our inalienable rights had occurred.

Many consider this a progressive forward movement, failing to recognize the near fifty-fifty split in the court’s decision, a figure which loosely reflects the national attitude toward same-sex marriage. Some citizens of faith – certainly not all – viewed the move as an attack of their religion, and the bellicose rhetoric of conservative radio began once again to sound the trumpets about the “War On Christianity.”

The decision to overturn gay marriage bans has been viewed by some as the first stumble on the slippery slope. Some groups genuinely believe that the government has become a bloated, liberal bureaucracy that intends to dismantle their church, manipulate their faith, and legislate morality. Regardless of how foolish such an attitude may outwardly appear, the court’s decision served not to end the argument, but to reinvigorate opposition to marriage equality.

There has been unanimity among the GOP presidential candidates to have the decision overturned. The only difference in their rhetoric would be the degree to which they would fight. Ted Cruz, who won the Iowa Caucus on February 1st, has spared no opportunity to express his fervent opposition to same-sex marriage – an ironic stance for any patriot, especially a student of constitutional law.

In an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson made reference to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. He wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

If we are to examine the topic, perhaps we could recognize that the issue of marriage equality truly does hinge on the definition of marriage; we have a semantic legal problem, not a religious or moral one. The term itself, marriage, has both secular and religious connotations. In a land where there is a supposed “wall of separation” between church and state, it is the word itself that has led to such persistent conflict. The only sensible argument – an argument that has yet to be made by any politician on the hill – is the argument to eliminate marriage from our legal doctrine altogether.

It sounds extreme, but it’s actually quite sensible. If we view marriage as a tradition largely steeped in religious values, then we all ought to acquiesce and consider the term a religious one. If there is indeed a separation of church and state in these United States, then no statehouse should recognize any marriage of any kind. If we can view marriage as the joining of individuals in a religious ceremony, then it is appropriate for the ceremony to be privately held, between those individuals being married and their faith community. The government ought have nothing to do with it.

In order to honor the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, it is necessary to strip marriage of its legal status. Heretofore, the legal benefits of marriage have been distributed by a discriminatory legal apparatus that would not grant those same benefits to same-sex partnerships. This is wholly in violation of the 14th Amendment which mandates that individuals in similar situations be treated equally under the law. This is precisely why the Supreme Court eventually ruled as they did.

All partnerships, homosexual or heterosexual, should be required to apply for a domestic partnership – not a marriage license – should they seek legal status and the benefits bestowed upon legal partnerships. Fears of government intruding on hallowed faith traditions will be quelled. Citizens will enjoy greater equality under the law. People can continue to define marriage however they please, and there will be no legal consequence to those who disagree.

Supporting strong domestic unity will have a net-positive impact on our society. Such unity will serve only to create more satisfied, socially invested patriots, regardless of the form their love happens to take.

It would be a challenge to identify a distinction between denying same-sex lovers equal rights under the law and refusing to let a black person drink from the same water fountain as a white person. This is the 21st Century, and we cannot accept any argument that would diminish a person’s inalienable rights.

Spread the word.

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Consumerism, Commoditization, and Courtship

The Weed

 

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.”
~Oscar Wilde

Today’s a great opportunity to pretend I care about this holiday, but I can’t. It’s history has been obscured by shiny-bright advertisements, hideous department-store jingles, and a woeful pressure to shuck out hard-earned dollars for trinkets that’ll be discarded and flowers guaranteed to die. Beyond its history being bastardized in the name of making a buck, much of it is sketchy at best. At least, like so many great Christian tales, it’s history is unconfirmed, and it’s absolutely drenched in blood.

But I won’t be going into that.

Color me a cynic, but I don’t require a specific mark on the calendar to express the love and adoration I possess – for anybody. I can’t actually recall a time when this holiday inspired a legitimate exploration of love, anyway. I haven’t met a soul who can. It’s a pretty tricky subject to begin with, better left to poets, philosophers, and artists than flowers.com, Russel Stover, and Hallmark.

Love is fierce, beautiful, and agonizing, and it’s different for everybody. In my life, my dreams have been haunted by crudely lit bodies on the edge of the darkness, and I can recall those adolescent moments where romantic love and sexual desire fused together. Just like everybody else, I’ve never been able to make sense of ’em, and I suppose that’s what’s so romantic about…romance.

At the end of the day, we’re socialized in one direction, and our instincts drag us in another. There’s a tension that surrounds our sexuality in a repressed society, and that’s why it occupies every corner of our popular culture. It’s in our sit-coms, our pop songs, our art, and our literature. We’re obsessed with it, likely because it’s a puzzle that can’t be solved.

Especially not by a cheap box of chocolates or a diamond ring in a champagne glass.