today marks two years since i left portland for los angeles. many things in my life are very different now. re-domestication has been—& continues to be—an arduous process. even though i’ve been living in one apartment or another, it’s a life that doesn’t suit me. going from the natural feeling of living in communal, artistically-focused warehouses to being alone in just another overpriced box seems like regression. if it weren’t for the fact that i prefer la to pdx in more than a few ways outside of my living situation, the entire move would feel like a mis-step.

(granted, the first 15 months of living here were knee-deep in the pandemic & rapidly escalating toward a nervous breakdown, which then consumed the fall of 2021. so, really, i’ve only been anything close to sane here for about half of a year. but even the past six months have taken an extraordinary amount of effort to survive.)

organizing the easel

there’s a great irony in spending a few hours organizing painting supplies & then realizing, after the art supply store has closed, there aren’t any canvases prepared to paint on. it’s a pretty accurate parallel to my life in general right now & how i must go about living it—a general framework remains with some tools both old & new, however there’s very little new to actually work on that exists outside of myself. this isn’t to say there can’t be, just that more prep is needed.

i find myself hesitant to do these things, these basic motions of moving forward, of living life. nothing good has come from any turn i’ve taken on my own over the past two years—that is, without the constructs of a program like aa or the walls of a psych ward. one friend i was looking forward to discovering la with has ghosted. gas prices have made my meditative driving non-viable. sobriety has vastly limited the ways i know how to meet people. work is not easy to come by.

i do not pity myself, i have accepted these things. yet they have made the building of a new life a slow-moving train, slowly trudging across an old bridge—hearing creaks as i look out, watching debris disappear as it falls into the all-encompassing fog, not knowing what it was or if it was important to maintaining balance. there is solid ground, somewhere up ahead, but for now there is only the process of lurching forward at a pace that gets me there without derailing into whatever hell lurks below. a place i’ve been before, no doubt, but somehow worse.

the process of making art is one of energy & right now i must use all i can cultivate in hoping what i am working on finds its way into something outside of this apartment, where i can find myself part of a larger spinning wheel. for now i must continue to get shit done in what feels at times like sisyphisian routine or grotesque self-indulgence. the art scene i knew in portland was a universe trapped inside a snow-globe, and i have no expectations for los angeles, just the desire to find something.

for now, my easel is newly-organized, ready to become a mess again as i finish up the work for ‘complications.’ i do have aa as one type of social outlet, and the sun will be out for the next 100 days or so—& i get david lynch to tell me otherwise. though there is a significant chance that, in a few months, all of this comes crashing down & i’ll have to admit defeat to fate itself, but i certainly will not go down without a fight.