in the fury of
art and passion.
to the gods.
wrath to come.
in the fury of
art and passion.
to the gods.
wrath to come.
I’ve been working at a steady pace on this thing I’m calling “Fatherhood – 100 moments.” I posted 3 of them before Christmas and want to share 3 more out of the 80 or so I’ve got so far.
Unknowingly, I shared moments that deal with silence right now. It is what it is.
Hope you enjoy.
Some of my fondest memories are from working on wood with my dad. He has a workshop that is a bit too small to do much good with it, he often talked and dreamed of having a double-garage to work out from, but we always managed to pull out some magic out of that space.
It’s sort of a windowless den, maybe 16 x16 and he’s got a workbench in there, massive one, and a band-saw, tool chest, gun chest, table saw in the middle and we often had to set it at an angle to manage to work on bigger pieces of wood. I remember a few times when I had to hold the end of a piece and sort of angle myself against the stairs to make room.
My mom would inevitably come down at one point, complaining that we were making too much noise and ask “how long ’till you’re finished?”
This one time, I got it in my head to make a hipster table, the ones with just a massive piece of raw wood and metal legs that were everywhere online at the time.
It turned out to be insanely expensive to buy those in the city. It also turned out to be insanely inexpensive to make one to start with.
So I called my dad about it. He said, “I know a guy who runs a sawmill.”
The next day he had this two-inch-thick, two feet wide, eight feet long piece of a tree, bark on the edges and all.
“Guy asked a hundred for it.”
It was dry and thick and grey, with the massive teeth mark of an industrial saw, a good quarter inch a stroke.
“Guy doesn’t have a planer so we’ll have to do it by hand.”
It was going to be a lot of work. Those teeth were deep as fuck.
We got it down to the workshop, rested it on top of a bench. It was really strong and flat and massive. I ran my hand against the rugged grain, looked at the bark.
My father squeezed himself around it. He took out two sanders and some earmuffs. He silently put some fresh sandpaper in the sander and handed it to me. He look at me for half a second and smile like a freaking kid before he tossed me my muffs.
I just put them on and he started working on his end. I started working on mine. Hands following the grain the best I could. A few strokes and the grey wood made way to a softer, lighter tone of pine.
I looked at my dad’s end for a moment, just a moment. My hoodie was full of sawdust already and my muffs were damping the noise of his sander still working. His eyes focused on the job and his hands moving at a steady pace. I could hear my own breathing through my skull and I liked that.
I started working again.
I don’t think we said a single word for at least an hour. There was no need for words.
Just the noise of belt sanders,
And two men working together in perfect silence.
* * * *
There is no silence louder than the one in an empty home after you have lost your family. There is no silence like it in the world. It’s hard to walk into a place where the floors would normally be stomped with the tiny feet of your loved ones, where the kitchen would normally be alive with movement and a cat or a spouse and some oil in the pan and tofu in there too, spices, pasta, food, love, flowers sometimes…family.
There is no silence like the one you feel when you step into your home and everything is gone now. It will never be the same. You’ve had your transition, you suffered through the separation. You held your end of a deal that spared the kids the hurt of a trial and landed the shared custody you desired. The months of transition and “survival” have gone by and you’ve gone back to what seems like a real life and it hits you one day.
For me, it hit like a sledgehammer. I was alone and lonely, but I was employed and active and kept myself busy. I was walking home from work and the gym and my mind was in an ok place, all things considered.
Then I made it up my stairs as usual, turned the key and walked in. I took off my shoes, dropped my bag to the ground and then took off my hoodie. I closed the inner door behind me and I think something changed in me forever at that moment. It was at that exact moment. I can’t explain it. It was something inside of me that couldn’t handle everything anymore. I had enough time to make my way to the kitchen before I fully realized I was in trouble now.
I dropped my keys and my phone and my wallet on the counter and I turned around and I saw it. I felt it. I watched the white inner door and I felt the void in the home. No steps running around on the floor, no cat moving in the corners, no love in my life. Nothing.
I felt the most undesirable silence in the universe.
I had been a father and a spouse for almost a decade and now I was nothing. It had defined me for so long and I was so proud of it. It had been taken away from me. I was nothing again. Absolutely nothing.
I didn’t know back then it was the beginning of months of anxiety that were going to plague my existence.
I should have consulted right there. I should’ve recognized immediately the dangers of my pain and be humble enough to know that no one deserved to go through that kind of suffering alone.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t seek help for weeks but I can say for certain, It was right there and then, in November.
The hardest silence I have ever heard.
Dee comes up to my big empty bed sometimes in the middle of the night. It usually happens around midnight when the old man upstairs goes to the bathroom for the eighteenth time.
She knocks on my door and walks her tiny little body in with her blankie in hand. I barely need to wake up anymore. She knows the way by now. I just scoot over to make some room.
She stumbles, sleepy, on my mattress and stomps twice with her tiny fist where she wants me to put a pillow for her. I toss one over and she crashes on it, face down, tiny butt up in the air, ready to drool.
Obviously, she spends the rest of the night waking me up by tossing and turning and being a generally grumpy sleeper (the Celtic side is strong in that one).
I spend the absolute worst of nights. Every time, I’d swear to God, but I love it. 6 AM comes by and it’s time to wake up.
I take a minute to look at her, the way she’s peacefully passed out there. Her chest rising up and down with her soft breaths and I’m dead tired but I can’t help and think, “You got love in your life, man. You got love in your life.”
Over the years, I’ve been a drummer, bass player, signer in hardcore bands. I’ve been a writer and a poet for over a decade and then a painter as well. I’ve worked with canvas, razor blades, wood, plywood, coroplast, lines, splashes, blothces, silkscreen, stains…Sometimes I just throw paint at a canvas and see how I can get an emotion out of it.
A few weeks ago I was invited to try light painting by Eric Paré and it turned out to be one of the most intense and emotionally satisfying creative moment of my life.
He made a video out of it and I can’t ever be grateful enough for the way XANGLE presented my work and process.
This one’s going in the portfolio for sure!
Thank you so much!
I guess 2018 will be the year I explore new techniques, shapes and materials. From silkscreen to drips, splashes and abstract expressionism.
I’ve worked with plywood, coroplast, cardboard, planks and now half a tree trunk.
Here are two new ones for you. (Still touch ups to be done)
Trystych no1 and 2.
I think I’m a guy who lives a well-balanced life. I’m the guy who works 35 hours a week, spends what he makes and only what he makes. I’ll drink water instead of pepsi, I don’t do alcohol or drugs or meat. It may sound boring, but it really isn’t.
Working only 35 hours leaves me 5 hours a week to write, 5 more to train/climb/yoga and as much time as my kids really needs. I live fully every day, taking small victories when they come and live struggles as a part of existence.
I write almost every day. I find painting emotionally fulfilling. I am rarely ever stressed at work. Sometimes money gets tight as hell but I’ve lived with it in the past. I’m rarely just sitting at home, often go out to explore new parts of my own city. I go to the park with the girls, I go see art exhibitions, I climb, I create…you get the idea.
I think I’ve always been frugal by nature. That came with being straight edge. I take pleasure in certain things of life that may seem “small” but that are really all that matters : love, family, writing, art, good food, breathing and sunlight.
Life threw a few wrenches my way last year and I am now a single dad. I’m selling my home and looking to move into something slightly smaller in a better neighbourhood to cut down on my costs and commute.
This is what I call the art of compromise. Moving there will mean a smaller space but if I cut it to only what I need in terms of material, then that space will be all I need. It will reduce my commute by almost 30 minutes a day once everything is settled and it will clear about 200 dollars a month for me to put anywhere else I need (Dee’s college fund for example – which is WAY overdue!) Doing those small compromises in many facets of my life will allow me to increase my overall happiness.
So I’ve made the list of material things I actually use/need in life to make me happy at home as I’m looking to move now.
As they say, less is more but you do need these to be happy:
This what I actually need in life (in terms of material possessions)
Art on my walls
Books (only what matters)
2 sets of sheets, 2 pillows
One living room table
TV is ok.
Good speakers are mandatory!!!
One surface to prep food
One kitchen table
Full kitchen wares as cooking is the stuff of life.
Good knives for a change
One cute bench for the balcony and sitting outside.
Washer/Dryer at home
Still on the fence about a dishwasher
Broom and mop + bucket (no vacuum cleaner)
Girls get as much arts/toys/clothes as they NEED in their room (NO TABLET!!!!)
Bunk bed, two sets of sheets each
Book case (for both books and toys)
Box of legos
Box of dolls
FULL box of arts supplies
Lots of pens/crayons/glue
One small table with chairs
Set of toy train dee likes.
Never really played boardgames that much…
Clothes all they need
Necessary things for art and writing:
One work surface/desk
Laptop (no tablet)
Drawing table (optional but desired)
Set of Sakura pens (yes, less is more but you need real good tools to create)
One set of razor blades,
One set of paintbrushes
Clothes I actually need in life
Appropriate amounts of boxer shots and socks
4 pants (three clean, one dickies for work)
Bunch of t-shirt (from devastatingly old to almost recent)
5 dress shirts (2 white, 2 black, one gray)
Adidas superstar shoes (1 pair)
Winter clothes (1 winter jacket, 1 pair of boots, one snow pants, two pairs of gloves, one scarf (maybe))
Minimum amount of things I need for fitness
Set of training bands is enough to work out every single muscle
Three pairs of shorts
Considering starting snowboarding again (we’ll see)
Minimum amounts of tools necessary to home life :
Drill, bits, screws,
Small box of plaster,
Electrical tape, marrets
Two steel shovels, (because CANADA)
Bigger jobs are rare, rent or borrow as needed.
That really looks like about it for my home life. Everything else is optional and/or is to be considered a “treat”
A Welder’s Son
I am a welder’s son
Whose mind wandered
And found itself a home
In the word
And the way
Talk to each other
(Chorus) But I am a welder’s son.
I am a welder’s son
And every now and then
I need to remind myself
Of the hard, hard labour
Of the hardest craft in the world
One of them
I am a welder’s son
Whose life wandered
Beyond the massive
Weight of steel
The blinding arcs
And the burn of torches
I am a welder’s son
But there is a life beyond it
He has earned it for me
Lived it for me
And now I share words
With the world
But I am a welder’s son
I am a welder’s son.
The Humbling of the Climb (Poem)
There is something
In the way you can’t cheat it
You can’t rage through it
You can’t clench your teeth
And power through
There is something deeper to it
It forces you to look inward
If forces you ton listen for a change
And the centre is everything
It reaches into courage
And self trust
As you start to hang
More and more
At angles that defy logic
At the very tip of
And it feels like
Everything is about
But you breathe
And you hold
It forces you to think
And move in new and impossible ways.
It humbles you
It humbles you like nothing else
I now know
Is a strong deterrent
You will fall
And hurt yourself
Feel your arms
Lock and block
Feel your back ache
Till you can’t climb no more
And then that very last attempt
But just for fun
There is no winning this one
And you knew it
There’s a little bit of ego
But isin’t it part of the game as well?
And then she calls you
Back to the ground
You have nothing left in you
In the best way possible.
So you smile
And look at the wall
Or the cliff
For a new path
Or a way
“I’ll get you next time.”
And don’t forget
To say your thanks.
*this is one of the hardest thing I ever wrote (and I wrote hard ones). I’m not sure how comfortable I am sharing this but as an old rule of writing of mine “If you felt it to be true one day, then it may be the truth of someone else as well and it needs to exist.”
Still not comfortable about it, but here goes.
Man in the Mirror (poem)
I look at you but I can’t figure who you are
I just can’t
The shape is close enough
But the eyes are gone
The face is famished
There is an emptiness in the stare
There is a haze
Between you and me
The man in the mirror
I am in cat town
I am in 1Q84
I am here but I look
And there is an image alright
It moves when I move
It stares back at me
As I am staring at it
But I can’t tell
For the life of me
Who the fuck are you?
There is this growl, this grinding noise inside of me that goes from my heart to the back of my head and I am fighting it with everything I got but it is tiring and devastating.
It started in november and we are in April and although I “understand” it now, it still finds it’s way over me every now and then.
Trying to find the right meds for it is a nightmare too. People telling just “fix your life, fix your life.” like my life has a problem. Like I “chose” for this to take over.
My life is fine on every aspect I have control over.
I got my job I got my art, my writing… vegetarian for almost 20 years, sober 20 years too. A homeowner, managed to put myself through college and a proud father of two. Up at 6h30 in the morning with the energy to conquer the world and then the noise starts.
Just the fucking noise! I can’t shake the fucking growl inside of me sometimes. It hits me with a single moment of doubt and it spins and it takes everything I got to keep it from taking over… I do the meditating, I rest, I do sports, I go for a walk…it’s just exhausting.
My dad says I can just choose to be ok. My mom is terrified ill be an addict if I take meds.
20 years sober and Id be an addict because I might (just might) need long term medication. We’re still not sure what to do with me exactly. It’s a long process for sure.
I’ve isolated myself from social media because I used to bite the hook at everything they were showing me and it was frustrating how efficient they were at getting me to click.
That came at the cost of losing contact with a handful of people I cared reading about (renee, ben, sam, john, peter, vero, steph, francis…a handful of others…)
Facebook did create a very fluid communications platform. A few weeks off of it now and I’m willing to accept how efficient it has become.
I kinda wish they fix their shit now. Why do they clickbait us, try to decide what we will see or not and that whole elections meddling fiasco too… I used to only see what my friends were up to and there was a little bit of publicity and that was ok.
Things have gone too far for me right now…Im a hypersensitive anxious guy and it was too much for me till I find my voice again. The whole big brother thing also comes into conflict with my values but losing contact with a few people I cared about is real…
I don’t expect many peole to read this but it’s my plateform for now. It will be untill the noise dissipates.
Trying to find solace in solitude
Was never for me
I needed the big family
I wanted the little struggles
Before putting them to bed.
And the teeth
And the song
Or a story
And then the brief moment to yourself
Or a poem
A game of something
Or just sitting in silence
Just enough cuddles
Or a little bit of a talk
In peace and quiet
For an hour
Or not that often anyways
6 AM will come again really soon
And the kids will be jumping around
Asking to be fed
And cared for
Taken to school
All the small
Things of life
You didn’t know
Till you didn’t have then anymore.
A quiet evening
Food in the pantry
Bills are paid
And someone in your bed
That little heel hook
That puts you to sleep at night.
A family man.