Monthly Archives: April 2008

Making A Difference

Over the last while, I’ve been receiv­ing some very nice let­ters and com­ments.

Two, in par­tic­u­lar, touched me. This one:

I stum­bled upon your blog a few days ago. I’m read­ing all your archives right now.

One of your entries moved me so much I had to pass it to my best, most initi­mate, most sensitive/sensual girl­friends. It wasn’t a big group, but a group I felt could hear what you were say­ing in your entry. It was about find­ing the spot on a woman that should be kissed.

I read your blog every day because I can’t believe there is a man out in the uni­verse who is this intu­itive, in tune, so aware of him­self emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. I wish you had gone to my col­lege — you would have been so loved and admired.

So this entry dis­tresses me, and I don’t even know you. I under­stand lon­li­ness — I’ve never had inti­macy, or rather, I’m very afraid of it. I don’t even know why I’m telling you all this because you don’t know me either and you won’t care, but this entry hurts. You must know by now that some­one thinks of you every­day. Maybe it is your mom, maybe an ex-lover or girl­friend or male friend or co worker.

I think I’m more in shock that you can write so hon­estly and openly. I’m jeal­ous of that.

well, I just wanted to let you know that. And that I have a crush on your blog. Can a per­son crush on a blog?

Please take care,

And this from a few months ago:

Hi Jeff,

you don’t know me and we will prob­a­bly never meet. It’s sort of inter­est­ing the way the inter­net has changed the way we can know someone.

Allow me to intro­duce myself, since you have already bore your soul in a very real way that has moved me to write to a com­plete stranger-something i have never done.

I am a 30 yr old inte­rior designer, a born and bred new yorker cur­rently liv­ing in brook­lyn. It’s been slow at work lately, so to pass the time I have taken to read­ing blogs mostly design related, but some­how i read a com­ment that you had made on a ran­dom blog, look­ing back i can’t remem­ber which one unfor­tu­nately, and it led me back to your per­sonal blog somehow.

you see I am not like you at all. I feel sim­i­lar feel­ings, and even have sim­i­lar beliefs, but I don’t have the guts to put myself out there in that way. I dont even have a blog, and i can barely talk to my friends about the way im feel­ing. so for me your blog is very ther­a­peu­tic and refreshing.

like most peo­ple who blog, im sure, you won­der if any­one out there is read­ing. Well just wanted to let you know that I really like your blog and will con­tinue to read it.

I have added you as a flickr con­tact and i see that you have reciprocated-*armadilliz* I am not a stalker / crazy per­son, or any­thing like that, just a fan, so rest easy.

Take care,


And while peo­ple tell me how much they appre­ci­ate me being open and shar­ing myself, it’s noth­ing com­pared to what they share of them­selves in these let­ters. I don’t know what com­pels some­one to write to a total stranger, but it’s a warm­ing ges­ture, some­thing that inspires me when I’m feel­ing closed and self-conscious.

So I want to say thank you.

Thank you to the peo­ple who’ve writ­ten me. Thank you to the peo­ple who share their own prob­lems and issues and lives. Thank you to the peo­ple who let me know that I’ve inspired them to start their own jour­nals. Thank you for sup­port­ing me when we’ve never even spoken.

It’s your words that make me feel like I’m not so alone when I’m sit­ting in my house, won­der­ing what to do with myself. It’s your kind­ness that gives me strength when the world is falling down around me. It’s know­ing that I’ve been able to make a dif­fer­ence that keeps me going.

Thank you.

Tears as a Turn-On

It became painfully obvi­ous that my turn-on of girls cry­ing is related to my own pen­chant for sad love­mak­ing.

I’ve always liked the idea of bring­ing some­one from tears to bliss­ful phys­i­cal plea­sure. Like make-up sex with­out the fighting.

A girl was able to do that for me once, so I’ve always wanted to be able to do it for some­one else.

Either that, or my sad­ness is min­gling with my lust.

Defining Myself Through Others, Revisited

A deeper look at an old topic

Some time when I was a child, I asked my mother if she loved her nails more than she loved me. She had this kit full of nail tools — clip­pers, files made of metal and emery, toe sep­a­ra­tors, fake nails sep­a­rated in lit­tle boxes, even a small hand-held, battery-operated dremel with dif­fer­ent attach­ments used to grind, sand, and pol­ish — that she would carry with her around the house. When I asked her this ques­tion, she picked me up in her arms, and vehe­mently denied it. I didn’t believe her though, not in my heart. She had always paid more atten­tion to her nails than to me.

My dad was no bet­ter. One time I googled his name to find his work num­ber, and came across an audio/visual site where he had writ­ten a small para­graph as a review on a pro­jec­tor he had. I was crushed. It was more effort than he had ever put into my life, sit­ting in a cou­ple of short sen­tences in front of me. It would have been okay if he had been so unin­ter­ested in every­thing, but he wasn’t. He loved his car, he loved his home the­atre, he loved his karaoke, but me he had no inter­est in.

So, before I had become a teenager, I started to look for some kind of approval from other peo­ple. At that point, it was Andrew and Alex. They were my best friends in grade 3 and 4, but I changed schools in grade 5. Even after this, I tried to hang out with them but they seemed to be more inter­ested in school, and we lost touch.

Pretty soon, I real­ized that I wasn’t anyone’s “best friend”. I cried and I cried and I cried. I felt like I needed this to define myself. I needed be a pri­or­ity to some­one because I cer­tainly wasn’t a pri­or­ity to my par­ents. Without being someone’s best friend, I was worthless.

As an adult, you may feel inse­cure about cer­tain aspects of your life. You lack self-confidence in areas where you feel vul­ner­a­ble — inti­mate rela­tion­ships, social sit­u­a­tions, or work. Within your vul­ner­a­ble areas, you feel infe­rior to other peo­ple. You are hyper­sen­si­tive to crit­i­cism or rejection.

I still feel this way now. The prob­lem is that the need isn’t being met. Everyone puts other peo­ple first, and the one foun­da­tion I believed I had in my life has crum­bled. I’m never impor­tant enough.

Two things keep me from killing myself.

The thought that one day, I may mean some­thing to some­one. Or the thought that one day, I’ll be able to stop defin­ing myself through oth­ers, and sim­ply be con­tent with who I am.

Either way, something’s gotta give.

Drive To Nowhere

I put on my most com­fort­able hoodie, grab a cam­era and a tri­pod. Pass by the mir­ror and see my eyes are swollen. A base­ball cap’ll hide my face.

I put on The Alchemy Index. First is Fire. An anthem of rage, and burn­ing, and fury in the night.

I had Firebreather by Thrice play­ing here.

The flames will rise and devour me.
Oh, to breathe in fire, and know I’m free.

Honda Civic Coupe at night

I find a quiet, wind­ing road, alter­nat­ing between 60 and 30 max. About eight kilo­me­tres down, there’s a small ferry load­ing dock, with a place to park on the side of the road. I get out and take a pic­ture of the car. Other cars keep pass­ing by, their head­lights leav­ing streaks across my cam­era sensor.

The road slopes upwards around a bend, and I drive off again to find out where it goes.

Quebec at night

There’s a look­out point on a cliff, sur­rounded by a rail. Across the waves of the Ottawa river is Quebec. People come and go. Three types of people.

The cou­ples here for a roman­tic view. They park, walk up to the rail­ing, and talk to each other about noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar. The girl­friends get cold and shortly want to leave.

The kids in their parent’s cars, already high or drunk. They sit in the car with all the lights on, talk­ing through their music, obliv­i­ous to the seren­ity around them otherwise.

The men here by them­selves, aban­doned and alone on a Friday night. They sit in their cars with the lights out, and come out to lean on the rail­ing every now and then. I’m one of them.

Ottawa Rockcliffe parkway at night

On my way back, I skip Water and put on Air. A song about a boy who could fly, about falling upwards and away.

I had A Song for Milly Michaelson by Thrice play­ing here.

So, here we go.
Hold on tight and don’t let go.
I won’t ever let you fall.
I love the night.
Flying o’er these city lights.
But I love you most of all.

I miss a turn, and find a smooth pave­ment road that winds through the for­est. My eyes are dry and tired. I put on the high beams and cruise con­trol, dis­cov­er­ing another way home.

The Profits of Art

I’ve sold 10 of my fruit and body prints so far. Officially, I’ve made a small profit, with the money being used to pay off the debt incurred from the pur­chase of much photo gear.

When Dan did my read­ing two years ago, he men­tioned that I see colours dif­fer­ently from other peo­ple, and that I should try mak­ing money off my art.

Back then, I was far from con­sid­er­ing myself an “artist”. I used my cam­era to express myself in cap­tur­ing mem­o­ries, not in deliv­er­ing mes­sages. At the first Emergence Exposition, Nisha would intro­duce me to peo­ple as a pho­tog­ra­pher. I would add the word ama­teur as a pre­fix, but Nisha would cor­rect me and say aspir­ing. I sup­pose I’m more inclined to agree with her now. Being able to sup­port myself like this (albeit in a small way) makes a big difference.

It’s a great feel­ing when some­one hands me a cheque, and on the lit­tle memo line is writ­ten “art”.

The best part of the entire process though, is meet­ing peo­ple. Not just meet­ing peo­ple I ask to model for me, but when I’m deliv­er­ing prints as well. I get to see where they’re going to hang the pic­tures, and I get to meet their kids, their par­ents, their pets, their friends.

Most recently, it was Tiana, who has two dogs, a cat, and a hus­band. I didn’t get to meet Brent (or the cat) but I’m sure the oppor­tu­nity will present itself at some time in the future.

No solicitors sign

Tiana feeds her dogs some treats.



Bernie roots