Saturday, April 9, 2016

Shelley's Year of Affirmations

Those who followed my lovely and talented sister on Instagram in 2015 (@turleyshelley) or on Facebook may have seen her densely layered yet exuberant daily affirmations--small watercolors of hippie freaks, boundary crossers, truth seekers, paper figures in need of consciousness raising paired with often deliberately prosaic inspirational quotes. The project, which kicked off on Thanksgiving Day 2014, ended on Thanksgiving Day 2015. I interviewed Shelley about her year of affirmations on New Year's Day 2016. I'm finally posting the interview four days after Shelley's 50th birthday. I'm very lucky to be related to someone so talented and interesting. I mean, just look at Shelley's painting below:

This interview took place in the fabulous Rose Establishment in fashionable downtown Salt Lake City.

How did this project get started?

I had all of these paper figures from other projects, paper dolls in bins. I wanted to do something with them. So I made cards. And then I thought, what if I posted the cards as daily affirmations? Posting a drawing a day is a thing some artists do. But I thought it would be more interesting as a project if there was a theme. 

What was the theme inspired by?

I had seen these affirmations--the text I used for each daily art piece--in a book. And they seemed to be connected to my work, which  has always been about the evolving spirituality of middle-class white Americans, and how spirituality inserts itself into mainstream American culture.

How did you start it logistically?

I started off the first da with a surplus of about 30 figures. And then once I ran out, I had to churn them out, often several days ahead of schedule. It felt good to have art be a grind, sometimes. I needed to just produce. It was beneficial for the project to really feel like work. It took the anxiety and preciousness out of art making. 

Tell me more about where the text for each day came from? 

I gathered some from affirmations from Pinterest actually. I tried to use text already in circulation. Then I started making up my own. 

What kind of feedback did you get?

People told me how much they looked forward to them. My friend said she had a really hard year and these affirmations really helped her. I felt like if I was putting this out there, I wanted to take it seriously myself. 

What's next?

I really want to do some paintings. Some of the ideas I generated over the past year, I'd like to make a lot larger. I feel like I have a big sketchbook now.

To see her affirmations (as I wasn't able to download any for this post), find Shelley on Instagram @turleyshelley and scroll back!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

request: from an apostate to a believer

me at the philadelphia magic gardens--a beautiful space created by community members in order to strengthen and preserve  their neighborhood.  it worked. 
i am an apostate member of the mormon church, and i have a sincere and humble favor to ask of my believing brothers and sisters.  

1) consider that the policy banning the children of gay marriages or partnerships from membership in the lds church is a policy and not a prophetic revelation, and is therefore subject to the fallability of man (i use the masculine noun advisedly here).  i believe that this policy was an error, that it was not released to the church handbook through the normal channels (i have some inside information on this one from a very credible but unameable first hand source.)

2) consider an interpretation of article of faith 11, one of the most cherished tenets of my own personal ethos, suggesting not only that we as mormons support freedom of religion, but that within our own religion, we should act according to our individual consciences when necessary:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

in my experience, mormons read this article almost exclusively in regards to our belief that individuals should be able to join any religion they like.  consider also: that we claim the privilege of following conscience from within the mormon congregation.  we are duty bound to follow our consciences.  i ask you to make sure you know what your own still small voice is telling you.

3) many times we are warned that "criticizing our leaders" means that we are acting against the church.  consider telling your local leaders, in writing or vocally, that this policy is antithetical to the gospel of jesus christ (in any dispensation). consider that this action would actually strengthen and build up the mormon church--consider that an empowered and proactive membership is desirable to any viable and dynamic organization.

4) consider that this is your (our?) church, in partnership with god.  you pay for it, you run it, you spread it, teach it, preach it, and live it, and you interpret the words of scripture, leaders, and the promptings of the spirit with the full sanction of your founder joseph smith.  if you think that this policy is discriminatory, harmful, damaging, and against your personal belief system, you may be right, and i urge you not to be afraid to say so.  

as a church body, i think we are ready to evolve, to be less scared of internal and also public discussion and dissent.  i urge you not to be afraid to do what you think is right. avoid smoothing over the cognitive dissonance that most christians would find obvious in such a mandate as this new so-called policy.

5)  consider reading and listening to the many stories of heartbreak, terror, shame, isolation, and persecution that your lgbtqia brothers and sisters have experienced in our church, if you haven't already.  if the effects of this policy are purely theoretical to you, do your research. talk to some real live gay people and their families, or read the abundantly available accounts of their stories online.  then check in with your consciences again and do what you know is right. 

i am no longer a practicing mormon, and i am not now, nor have i ever been, a believing mormon.  however, i have been a very active participant in my church community for my entire life, save the past few months.  i have paid tens of thousands of dollars in tithing, and spent tens of thousands of hours in church attendance and service. mormonism is my culture, my ethnicity, and my heritage. my life is as bound to mormonism as it ever was, although i am critical of some of the practices of the institutional church. i am unable to fully support the religion any more because of this kind of hateful and intolerant practice, which i believe to be unworthy of the countless good and worthy brothers and sisters i have met through my religious community.  

i know, because the people i love most in this world are sincere, faithful, and believing mormons, that it doesn't need to be this way, that it can be better.  i personally failed at making it better, and my unbelief has taken away my will to continue much longer in the official church, but i know there are stronger, smarter, and more devoted individuals than me left in the congregations, who, god help us, can fix this mess.  

i have asked mormons for help my whole life when i didn't know where else to turn.  my congregation is where i have always gone when i need something, when i'm desperate and despondent, and i can honestly say that i have always been met with an extended hand.  

so this is my request.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Come Copy Me: Copycat Night at Otto's

A lot of things have kept me in after my nights in the salt mines: morning job interviews, morning angst, general unease, but last night I went out to Otto's Shrunken Head, a mangy yet adorable bar with a back room for rock and roll, situated on the eastern heel of 14th St. (And also the site of my baby shower almost 17 years ago--I had a live dj spinning only songs containing the word "baby." There are a LOT, you know.)
Late night coffee shop
Left work at 9 pm, and made my way up the 1st Avenue bike lane instead of continuing on home. I was starving, so checked out an Avenue B coffee shop--still open at 10 pm (because the back room becomes a bar featuring a fireplace with glowing fake log) and picked up a mozzarella sandwich that the bald but luxuriously bearded barrista offered to drizzle with balsamic. He actually said, "Do you want me to drizzle this with balsamic?" So much energy at 10 pm. I stood out on the sidewalk, eating, making crumbs for rats and vermin. My bike locked up under a streetlight on B, I was heartened I got carded at the door at Otto's, which tonight was featuring bands participating in the bi-weekly eight-year long Copycat cover series. (I've so far only attended the Kinks' installment.)
Otto's has a photo booth.
Tonight was New Wave night--and I'm already getting neurotic by how much text I'm generating here--so I'll make this short. The thing I love about NYC is that I can be a middle-aged woman alone--a mom, even--out late on a week night, and I'm invisible in a good way. I fit in. No one cares. At least I like to think so.

Probably not.
Michael T's band went on first. Michael T might be as old as me: he's an androgynous, flamboyant front man, who does a lot of the Bryan Ferry segments in the performance arty tribute thing he belongs to: Kate Loves Bryan. (See video above!) He also has his own band called the Vanities. Tonight, he and his band covered The Cars, Blondie, Bowie, Ramones, Vapors--and Michael T provided necessary context and metadata.

I stayed an hour, bike down Ave B at eleven. Did not see any rats.
My fellow late night, mid-weekers

Friday, February 13, 2015

the deer also known as a hart

my love is a burden

i am your prey.

i am your  predator : : : : : artemesia, goddess of the hunt.

we are all always prey and predator.  

that is true.

+++++ there is no such thing as the top of the food chain because in the end, the earth will eat us all, and the universe will eat the earth and i don’t know who will eat the universe, just that our matter will keep getting eaten and transformed into new forms ad infinitum.  

+++++ the material world seems to indicate that 1) everything has already been created.  2) everything lives forever in some form or other.

hart hunting

so.  deer, i miss you.

you are running, and i might catch a glimpse of you out the window some time.  you are beautiful and fleet and i’ve given up my quest to capture you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Can't Go Home After Work, Dude. Am I Right, Lara?

This dude seemed happy to pose for me.
Last Tuesday, the streets here in downtown Manhattan were too icy to bike to work, so walked about two miles from the river to the East Village. Only 30 degrees around 9 pm. Not cold for this winter. Warm! Warm enough to have a conversation while walking with my hand out, holding my phone.

I'd been out all day, since before the sun, and I wasn't heading home. Heading home, would make me feel like work had won the day.

I wasn't going to let it.

Heading uptown, I ended up in the basement of Three of Cups, where a one-off Keith Richards appreciation night, called Keef and Shit: a night to celebrate the undisputed kind of cool was kicking off around 10 pm. The thing was going until 4:00 am. This was a Tuesday night. The fact that NYC, way past Guiliani time, planned to stay up way late on a school night made me very happy.

This Keef thing was also being hosted by Cynthia Ross, a cool girl rock musician who used to date another cool kid, Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys.

Because I'm super dorky and I'm at this thing alone, I sit at a bar and take notes, just like I used to do in NYC when I'd go out alone in 1989.

Here's what I wrote by votive:
Notes by low weak candle

My transcription:

Bowie's "Waiting for the Man." Long-haired dude in an oversized pimp hat. Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower." Small boisterous group sings along to this. I want someone to take my order for pizza. Stones' "Star Star"--"Way back to New York City / Where I do belong" Now those dudes are singing exuberantly to "Star Star." Rod Stewart now. I just asked the gravelly voiced girl bartender for a pizza. She told me to order upstairs. Alice Cooper's "Hey Stoopid." Omg, Faster Pussycat. Now finally, the Stones. There are cheers. "When the Whip Comes Down." "Just My Imagination"--Keith's great backing vocals here. This song is so good.

So now you know if you ever see me sitting and writing in a notebook, what I'm writing is pretty stupid. But it was really stupidly fun to sit there and I wasn't tired AT ALL. AND (see above) I got a photo of the dude in the pimp hat, channeling Keith on my way out. Plus, Keith on the wall below:

I'll be doing a stay-out-late post every week, if this one wasn't too dull. Let me know!

Monday, February 9, 2015

YOU CAN HATE ME now ::::: this document is called “smart things I say that I should be paid for but won’ t be”

listen up boys

this document is called “smart things I say that I should be paid for but won’t be”


the folder is entitled pragmatically          :::::
but not totally accurately :::::
“journalism 2015”
some smart people
just ignore


about  anything


depends on

really ugly

white capitalist dudes :::::

the best people do that.
i want to be the best.
i am not the best.


god & jesus help me.


(((((they, god & jezus,  don’t seem to like helping ladies.  especially the super fertile ladies like me with all the kids.)))))



so many things I should be doing.  Folding clothes into my kids’ drawers for school tomorrow. griddling some hamburgers for dinner.  Heating up yesterday’s mashed potatoes for dinner.
grading poor :::::

hungry & hungry & very hungry papers written by poor hungry students.


i know.
i seriously know.
it’s hard to know.


what we should pay attention to.
i like beck, beyonce, & kanye.
i mean, there are some things I like.
there are things I like about d’angleo, hildegard, machaut, marina abramovich.
kanye  had a point.
none of which.

i can’t be owned

even if I want
here and now.
(((((yeezus is my shepherd/not my shepherd & i shall/shall not want)))))
cn b dvrcd frm sck cptlstic stm.
if you can read that baby


i don’t hate you as much

a  system with no vowels, no mothers, no wymn.


but fuck.
what’s the fkn difference?
you need to go deeper.
beck resorted to a singer songwriter schtick &
he resorted.
he did.
he forsook harmonic & rhythmic interest
& he got money for it
mormons call that preistcraft
julie told me I would get bored of yeezus
& I did
\/ venice (LA) sunsets.
never disagree that LA doesn’t control the world.
i’m sorry that
i don’t hate it
it reminds me of my (white) childhood
like sstrada & shit (((((ponch)))))


carole king or james whats-his-name. the brill building heroin (white) guy. 
W (((((hite)))))
white guys pissing scared.
i’m not going to parse.
white guys R skeered.
i heard yesterday
that I am not good at parsing.
i’m sorry that you
 ((((( I )))))
have to do better, baby.
thought for a second there was
u & i ,
i’m sorry.
i probably never will be.
should I keep
be sorry like always?
i          know
you say yeah
like always baby
like five babies, baby


i was lying in bed.


there’s so much more :::::
baby yeez


Thursday, October 30, 2014

shameful and other secrets

annual halloween performance of christian asplund's fall of the house of usher

1) my secret writing place--i found a new spot and no one knows where it is.

don't try to read what's in my notebook.  it's a secret.

2) moses' secret crazy carrot coconut soup & popovers.  if i have the wherewithal, i'll make it for halloween tomorrow night.

digging cheesy new country such as lady antebellum
3) i've been listening to the eagle, 101.5, salt lake city's new country station.

and early zeroes alicia
4) i'm obsessed with mariah carey's butterfly, alicia keys butterflyz, and dolly parton's love is like a butterfly.  what can i say.

questionable television programming

5) i watched every episode of californication in a week's time.

moses and i created this soup last summer.  

Crazy Coconut Carrot Soup

1 ½ T. coconut oil
1 ½ T. vegetable oil
1 ½ c. diced yellow onion
3 large minced garlic cloves
¾ cup diced celery
¼ cup washed and finely chopped cilantro stems
2 ½ t. kosher salt
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. garlic powder
¼ t. garlic chili oil
2 cups cubed  and peeled potato
2 cups cubed and peeled sweet potato
2 lbs. peeled and chopped carrots
6-8 c. water
1 32 oz. can diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 16 oz. can coconut milk
cilantro leaves for garnish

1)   In a large kettle, heat oil to medium and sauté onion, garlic, celery, and cilantro stems.  Saute gently for a few minutes until transluscent. 
2)   Add salt, garlic powder, cumin, and chili oil and cook for a few more minutes. 
3)   Add potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, water, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until all the vegetables are so tender that they fall apart when forked.
4)   Add coconut milk and blend with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. 
5)   Adjust salt to taste if necessary, and heat the soup for a few minutes on low.  Before serving, garnish bowls of soup with cilantro leaves.
6)   Serve with Cheddar Cheesy popovers on the side—delicious for dipping in the soup.

Cheddar-Cheesy Popovers
(makes 12 medium sized popovers)

5 medium eggs
1 c. 2% milk
½ c. half & half
1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. kosher salt
1 c. of your favorite cheddar, grated
cooking spray

1)   Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray.
2)   Beat eggs in medium mixing bowl.  Add milk and half & half.  Stir in salt, grated cheddar, and finally, flower.  Mix briskly with a wire whisk.  It’s okay if a few lumps remain in the batter—kind of like pancakes, if you over mix these, they will be tough.
3)   Fill cupcake tins 2/3 of the way with batter.
4)   Bake on 450 for 20 minutes. 
5)   Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 12 minutes, then check on the popovers every two minutes until they are brown, dry, and crispy.
6)   Immediately remove from the cupcake tins so they don’t get soggy, and serve right after baking with your Crazy Coconut Carrot soup.