Sunday, November 1, 2015

Share #2: A Roger's Pilsner

On Friday night I joined Kevin and Ann and their shepherd/greyhound mix Lily (who happens to be pub dog of the year) at Sully's Snow Goose Pub in Greenwood. I've taken care of Lily twice while they were on vacation. Lily is a lean, lovely, sweet dog with a sense of humor, but shy. She hid under the table most of the night while there were several other large dogs cycling through the place, looking for affection and treats.

Kevin and Ann go to Sully's on Fridays after work. If I wanted their company, they wouldn't be hard to find. I used to be in that space, in one place, where people could find me. Now I move around too much, every week or two. I should keep that in mind. If you want to be found, you've got to get on the map.

I ordered a Roger's Pilsner, a local beer brewed in Georgetown from Yakima grown Czech style hops. A very good beer. Ann offered me a piece of halloween candy. I don't care for candy, but here I was being offered a holiday share and I thought I should take it so I did.

I learned a few things from my time at the pub: (1) I could watch the final game of the Rugby World Cup between New Zealand and Australia at The Market Arms in Ballard the next morning. (2) There's a sell-out event every February at the Boeing Museum of Flight called Hops & Props, celebrating craft brews with open admission, beer tasting and buffet food, but unless you have a connection it's unlikely you'll get a ticket. They sell out in November. (3) Election day, next Tuesday, is also election day at Sully's, for the new pub dog of the year. Each beer you buy awards you one vote. The place is packed with dogs on election night. Dog owners bring their friends to drink and to sway the vote away. Sounds a bit rigged, but then you can only be dog of the year once, so I suppose it works out.

15 years ago, when I lived in Boston. I hung out at pubs with friends and was a regular at a wine bar in Cambridge. I had work friends, college friends, roommates and Irish friends from Nantucket. We'd all go out dancing or drinking or to a house party Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There was live music many nights and I knew people in garage bands.There seemed to be a lot of overlap between worlds--climbers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, publishers, doctors, engineers.

Seattle's never been like that, for me. No overlap. Climbers hang with climbers. Artists hang with artists. Every world seems separate. When I came to Seattle in 1999, I was a climber, then I was a sailor, then an artist. The only group I ever drank with, a bit, were the sailors. The climbing world and the art world never offered me the time or money for that kind of socializing. As a climber, I worked a day job all week, stayed up 'til midnight Friday, packed for the weekend, got up at 4am on Saturday and drove north or east to the mountains where a small party of us would hit the trailhead at 9am, climb all day, sleep in a tent, climb again the next day, up and off the mountain, then fight traffic home on Sunday night. Mondays I'd recover at work. Later, as an artist, I was just too poor to drink and I worked all the time anyway so there wasn't the time. Seattle sounds awful in ways, but maybe it's my choices, my change in focus. Over the past 10 years, I've spent most of my time making endurance work, or in a cafes fleshing out proposals, or in a little office documenting my work or writing grants.

My Share is bringing me out again. Forcing me into relationship. I need it, which is why I'm making it. There are times, sometimes, when I feel real. When I feel alive. Times when I've got a task to do, I'm standing in a work of art, I'm researching or reading, writing or in dialog with an artist about something that seems important, I'm moving outside in the world, exploring, walking, journeying. I know what it feels like, yet I sometimes evade it. Why? Am I just contracting as Thaddeus Golas suggests in The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment? It's nice to know, if I am, I may, whenever I want, expand again, just by letting go, by wanting to. That's a releasing thought. I'm not out of air, or lost forever. I'm just contracting.

I've come up with reasons, over the years, for why I am avoiding life. It's a hiatus. A hibernation. Every dream I ever had, every faith system, everything I ever devoted my life to, fell through, dissolved when I got close. Have I been wrong to put my focus outside of myself? Should I look for that faith inside me, that kernal within? I feel I've been searching within and without. Being an artist, or being the artist I am, I find I'm lost between works. I make works to live and then I live in them. Then they end and I struggle to find other ways to live.


  1. "Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings."
    ~ Rumi