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