SERESTATIC: Cleaning Out the Closets

Artemis Sere Serestatic Cleaning Out the Closets
Thursday, October 15. 42°. Mostly sunny, blustery.
 
 

Time files fast these days. Feels like just yesterday I was pulling out my summer clothes and readying for warmer weather. The seasons are swiftly changing with the roar of Canadian winds, and I'm now  exchanging button-up shirts for layers and thicker jackets.

Fierce winds push loose leaves across the yards like yellow and orange tidal waves smashing on brown beaches. The garden out back withers away and crumples to dust. The glorious plants that I grew over the last few months fight for survival in a house with few good bright spots. No matter how hard I try to keep the falling foliage under control, there is no denying Aeolus.

The cold is coming. The season I dread the most is knocking at the door. And with it, another six months of breathing dustbox air, of shoveling the driveway and marching through knee-high snowbanks, of short days and long nights, and of seldom feeling refreshed in the face of biting winds. Now we also have to fret about influenza and novel coronavirus -- on top of doldrums, seasonal affectedness disorder, holiday stress, and dangerous roads.

I despise winter almost as much as I do Donald Trump. It brings out the worst in me, recesses all of the good momentum I try to build during the year and withers me physically away, chiseling my health away with every passing winter season. I tried to move away to warmer climes last year, but it didn't work. 

It was a flawed, miserable attempt at escape from the anchors that drag me down in my life. 

Thankfully, I currently have a great, interesting job where I get to work from home. Much has changed since I left the professional world for a different path, yet a lot has remained the same. There are many disappointing and disheartening parallels to where I was in my life ten years ago, but I remain vigilant and hopeful this time around.

I've got great, supportive friends. I've found my voice and my platform, away from the buzz and turbulence of social media. I've survived the jump off the cliff and the rock bottom depths. I've found renewed confidence in myself, my art, and my place in this space. I've come to appreciate the silence away from the feeds and bickering.

I'm at peace with a "less is more" approach, and am finding that the more I clean up my life, my content and my story, the less stress I encounter. Simplicity has its merits, and an overencumbered life has gravity that cannot be undone while beneath it.

Minimalism leads to clarity, because too much stuff, too many voices, and too many commitments causes distraction and confusion.

With all of my possible might, I'm going to do my best to continue to clean up my life over the course of the next few months as I'm in virtual hibernation.

Many of you who are subscribed to this blog saw a flurry of posts recently. This blog has been running since 2010, and I've had several iterations across different platforms (livejournal and Blogger). Over the course of the build of this site, I ported content from those sites into this one, and didn't move content out of Draft status. Additionally, I made live some previous blogs that were under lockdown, and published some content that was more more personal and less polished than my newer work. Rather than trash all of those imperfect content pieces, I've decided to share them, so the story of how I got to who I am now is more clear for everyone.

I've got Echoprism Vol2 to finish and release, and a publishing calendar of exciting projects next year, including the tenth anniversary release of "Obscurious". A lot to do, with too little time to accomplish it all.

No more hiding, no more bullshit. The closets have been packed with closed boxes, clothing containers, and chattering skeletons for too long. 

If you're reading this, thanks for being part of my journey, and caring about the static of this artist's life. I appreciate your patience as this experience evolves. I'm a one-man creative army, and I have a lot to tackle.

Less is more. More space. More time. More life.

#serestatic

Artemis Sere Serestatic Cleaning Out the Closets

SERESTATIC: Egg Me On

Artemis Sere Serestatic Egg Me On
Saturday, April 25, 2020. 69°. Mostly sunny, partly cloudy, whatever.
 

Gorgeous, warm weekend day. The days are a bit of a blur to me right now, so I had to verify that it was Saturday. Without much structure, no job, little fire and inspiration, forced to stay home and maintain distance,

I'm mostly floating.

We all float down here. And wear masks and other face coverings to stave the flu away.

That's the here and now. Some deny, as most of the people I passed today not wearing face masks and not observing distance. Mouthbreathers with no clue whether or not they're asymptomatic carriers of the bug. 

I wish I could live that naive and care-free. In my state, testing opportunities for COVID-19 have have blown up, and I plan to get tested next week. I'm hoping for a positive serology test, one that identifies that I've had this coronavirus and have some antibodies to battle the coming waves and chances of re-infection.

I walk along the river in daylight and wear a bandana over my face when people approach. It is said you can catch the virus downwind when walking near people. While I'm concerned about what they could be giving to me through their heavy breathing, I'm more worried about giving them what I had.

For a month coronavirus symptoms kicked my ass. I feel better now, but I know it's not gone. I feel it in the shadow parts of me. It drains, rattles and rages in the small hours, when life is low and the bugs crawl. It ruins my slumber with deep coughs and breathless dreams.

I wonder if they know sleep. Does the virus ever rest?

If not, woe be the human race. We are no match for voracious, careless and unfeeling monsters we know little about and of which we have no control.

The tan line from bandanas will soon be a summer fashion statement.

Speaking of statements, I went out to my Mitsubishi Outlander today to find an egg or two smashed on the driver's side windshield. I'd just come back from grabbing my Mitsubishi Eclipse from winter storage in WI, so I know the egging happened in the last day.

I stood before it in awe and concern. I confirmed that it couldn't have accidentally happened (eg. fallen from a nest). Based on trajectory of smash and egg white spray across my glass, it was clearly thrown, and probably not from a moving vehicle.

The act begs the question of "why", regardless of angle of offense. 

I suppose I should be worried about the "who" a bit more, considering my beloved Trek bike was stolen off the same vehicle last summer. I have a hard time believing in coincidence. I've made frenemies, but don't know of any threats. I know I haven't led a cookie-cutter Americana life. I take positions that are unpopular and am outspoken. I am chaotic good.

The statement was either juvenile or intentional, and, either way, totally uncool and disappointing.

King Dictator makes asinine statements all the time. Many times he does so to egg on his enemies and antagonists to action, spurs his cult to spread his lies like contagion.

In a different time, I would've felt compelled to investigate such an offensive act, find some measure of justice or vengeance,

but the float has become me.

We all float down here.

Especially the ones who were dumb enough to drink bleach or breathe disinfectants at the recommendation of America's idiot King.

Just being sarcastic, of course. 

You know what's suckier than having egg smashed on the windshield of your car? Having A Ha's classic song "Take On Me"stuck in your head, only replacing "Take" with "Egg". That's been my soundtrack of madness today.

"Egg on me, Egg me on…"

You're welcome. Not you who actually egged my car.

No egg for you.

#serestatic

Artemis Sere Serestatic Egg Me On

SERESTATIC: The Breathing Virus

Artemis Sere Serestatic The Breathing Virus
Sunday, April 5, 2020. 45°. Sunny.
 
"And once the storm is over
You won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.

You won’t even be sure, in fact, that the storm is over.
But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm,
You won’t be the same person who walked in.
That’s what this storm is all about."

(Murakami)
 
The world has mostly melted now, the seasons have changed dramatically since my last update. Warmer weather and thunderstorms have pushed the frozen world away, and the green of renewal can be seen across the landscape. I can feel the welcome warmth of summer in the air, but it doesn't feel as inspiring and enlivening as it once did.
 
A year ago, I left the cushy, comfortable stability of a global corporate job for an unknown world - a future of grit, struggle and fire. I wanted to be a welder, even though it paid poorly and was a stark turn away from my professional history. My metalmorphosis was about surviving as the workers do, understanding their pain and pathway, and living a life of activity and action centered around my art. And telling the story of it. I thought my network would follow along, that all the great people that once praised my talent, production and creative output would be on the ride with me. I thought the universe would provide and come to my aid, that the successes that I had experienced over the last decade would carry into my new adventure. I listened to the wise therapists that said "live your adventure and take risks".
 
And so I did, and I can truthfully say that I'm now at one of the lowest points in my life. One year removed from my decision, and not a single thing has went as I hoped or planned, apart from having time to focus on my art and art product. I published one of the coolest things I ever have, and the act has felt pointless - far removed from how I thought I'd feel after publishing my 4th book. Yes, the gallery book was developed as a tool to organize my gallery, but it's also a color representation of my gallery, far cheaper than purchasing a piece of my work or spending money to experience multiple individual gallery shows of mine. It is valuable to anyone that cares about my art. I thought the audience I built would appreciate that.
 
I was wrong.
 
Even before the virus hit, my art was fading from view and memory, with only a few wonderful people putting passion behind their praise.
 
Now, I seldom paint. The fires of creativity inside of me have been replaced by worry, regret and frustration at a world that continues to spin and recycle lies. Leaving Facebook and Instagram were good for my soul, as it was a constant reminder of how hollow the praise of people can be. I helped build social media into the beast it is today, through advocacy armies and social strategy and content curation. I trained many on how to use social media, and lauded the benefits of the space. Those trainings and teachings have proved useful to many now that civilization has recessed into caves to dodge the virus.
 
Social media once made me feel valued and valuable.
 
Things will never be the same in our world, and the digital experience has been given new life and new meaning now that we observe forced distance. But social media will never replace the necessity of face-to-face interaction, something that was lost on me during all the years I pushed social media and tried to push my brand to new heights and broader audience. The audience metrics were always sweet, but the engagement metrics were deplorable.
 
I should've recognized that long ago, but there was too much money to be made as part of our current economic engine. We now live by Amazon and remote deliveries. We Happy Hour and meet using Zoom and other digital services. We breathe constant news feeds telling us how bad physical human contact has become, that we should wear masks (if we can find them), stay 6' apart, avoid gatherings and opportunities to spread the disease. Unemployment could hit 20-30%. Companies are freezing jobs and hunkering down. Millions may die, at least hundreds of thousands in the United States. There's a war for ppe, and my former company is on the front lines of criticism by elected officials.
 
"Our country wasn't built for this, our country wasn't built to be shut down".
 
No country is. No civilization is. Modern civilization involves a class and caste system that requires poorly-funded and protected slaves. Our King recently met with the heads of all of the professional Gladiator teams in America, and they whined about how their entertainment products are suffering with the country faltering as it faces the toughest test in our young history. People need the comfort of their overpaid Gladiators, they argue. Culture is more important than caution, they demand.
 
Even grayhairs claim that they'll die for the country, as if they're the only group affected by a bug so viral that you can catch it simply breathing around someone. Our martyrs are those people fighting the bug on the front lines of society - the under-prepared health care workers, delivery people, grocery store workers and caretakers, just to name a few. All else is overhead these days, contributors to an economic engine that cares little for cogs of its wheels.
 
After my divorce in 2001, I remember looking for a job, even while fighting with a dire chronic condition and suffering mightily. I remember sitting in an interview room with Aon Financial when the towers fell, watching the tragedy on the screen with awe and fear. The world felt very unfamiliar then. It's sad to say that it feels like history is repeating, with the great global human society faltering with a simple breath of the virus.
 
The world feels very unfamiliar now. Most of the people that I've met since that time have drifted away, leaving a handful of faithful and interested friends. All of the work experience I've had seems useless in the face of massive human tragedy, and spinning the wheels seems like the last thing I should be looking to do.
 
But I am, and the landscape is more dismal than ever. Few jobs. Few opportunities. No affordable health care. An administration that I don't trust. The rich get richer and the poor get lost in the mix.
 
And we want things to get "back to normal". I say "Fuck normal".
 
My girlfriend is a grocery store worker, working sick and sick of working around dangerous environments. She  learned yesterday that her brother has liver cancer and needs a transplant. The poor guy needs to have chemo treatment, have a major organ transplant, and needs to survive and thrive with a new liver. He's an electrician - not rich, not affluent, not connected - the salt of the earth type of person that I set out on my journey to learn from and try to help.
 
Chances are very good that the process will decimate any financial stability he has, and may require help from many other sources to survive (eg. myself and my girlfriend). Chances are good that he will contract the virus with his compromised system. Care has been inconsistent during the virus, and he has waited months to get the cancer  diagnosis that the affluent can get in days.
 
This is a terrible time to be struggling with a debilitating health condition.
 
When I was suffering from severe ulcerative colitis and the doctors wanted to perform a colostomy on me (incidentally, doctors were never able to pinpoint the cause of why my colitis set in, other than my lifestyle), I felt the same hopelessness. Hopelessness that I would heal. Hopelessness about my survival. Hopelessness that I would have a normal life.
 
Scott will never have "normal" again, thanks to a system that only takes care of those that can afford it. He lived a life of excess, never questioning the ripple effects of living drunk or living unhealthy. He trashed his liver living a life that our culture has encouraged. He is now paying for his poor choices.
 
As I sit here coughing intermittently, with headaches and fever and chills every so often, I know I'll never have a "normal" again either. I'm not asymptomatic; I'm not fully well; and I'm not sure what I have. Unable to have a virus test, I do my best to manage my own health with vitamins and adequate rest, knowing that I have "something" that I could pass onto others. The choices of the last year have jeopardized my professional "career", destroyed my artistic confidence, and put me on a path of self-destruction that has no precedent. The virus has shrunk the world down to my level of desperation.
 
And, like Scott, I'm just tired. Tired of the lies. Tired of the games. Tired of walking a stormy path. Tired of breathing in this bitter virus called "civilization", the system of excess and inequality that is as callous as our leaders. Don't let the self-help bullshit fool you: success is not guaranteed, and the universe will not come to your rescue, should you drift from your afforded comfort.
 
Ultimately, I'm reminded of a great song by a favorite band of mine, Morcheeba. Entitled "Self-Made Man", the song is a good reminder of how we're all connected, how we all have a responsibility to care for each other, and how the system we current live in is broken.
 
Will we ever learn from the flaws in our plans?
 
"There's no such thing
As a self made man
Enjoy the flaws
In the best laid plans"
 
#serestatic
Artemis Sere Serestatic The Breathing Virus