What is all this stuff for?

Collections I had as a child: Collections of giant plastic bugs, collections of real bugs that died, some I tried to keep alive. Collection of dolls (mostly fairy or elf) and “doughie”, an anatomically correct male doll my dad sewed for me and we sometimes made Polaroid photo shoots or 8mm films of. Collection of stickers in books re arranged by color, size, type (scratch and sniff, lisa frank) collection of stuffed animals I didnt care for but didn’t say so, cause they never did anything wrong they were just boring. Collection of books I liked or were bought for me and I reluctantly read, collections of art supplies, clay, markers that ran out (a-lot), collection of magic tricks, whoopee cushions, fake puke and jokes I couldn’t use properly cause it was always adults around. Collections of rubber animal noses, collection of dress up clothes and props, collections of rocks.

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Doughie watching TV

Do you want to see my collections? I was always so excited when they said yes and we could look together. I feel the same as an adult, but its rare that people have time to view our adult collections, unless your collection is your home. In my teens, my record collection was four boxes long, full of NW grunge, punk and soul and irresistible when I needed money. Later on, it dwindled down to one sad and lonely box. Not even my favorites, just ones I couldn’t sell. Now its back to four.

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Collections I have as an adult: Collections of photos, collections of films I have made in various mediums. Collections of records, some cds and lots of mixed tapes, collections of  found 16mm films I am not rich or settled enough to collect but sometimes try. Collections of playing cards and tarot, collections of drawings and art, collections of books I love but often get rid of because I move alot. Collections of toys and knick knacks (yes, clowns) often stored away cause they are creepy to others, collections of molly. Collections of computer cords for hard drives, collections of writing on paper, collections of rocks. What would you grab in a fire?

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Burning house at Universal studios

People with families would say each other, as the glowing aspects of vibrant life forms are like riches you can’t ignore, and I am surely jealous of. It was 1980, my dad and I were living in an apartment in NW Portland. I was four years old. My parents were separated. A fire blew up in the middle of the night. He woke me up and said, “grab what is important”. I had to think about it for an agonizing second. I grabbed doughie, the doll handmade by my father. I remember feeling safe cause we were walking to his brother’s house and I made a good choice. Nothing else I needed then.

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Me and dad and Doughie

Now, there are seemingly endless things I need on a daily basis, spaces to live and jobs and food and people. But none of it matters, cause if it was a fire, or flood, or earthquake, you grab what is alive and that would be my dog. Even though the films and memories and media are important, could I exist without them? Yeah, I’d make more, they might even be better out of spite alone. Everything is expendable, we realize very quickly when left alone suddenly or after someone dies you loved. Nothing matters but life itself, preserving it, keeping those around you alive, the ones with heartbeats.

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Ive never lost this thought in the twenty years since 1995 when everything fell apart. The year when I lost my best friend and my lover in a month. Property was nothing to me, I became homeless, and for a time, could not return to the place called home, as it was too painful. Better to wander. And wander I have. Although I’m not homeless now, I’ve never lived in any house or apartment for longer than two years since. I look around at my collections, wonder if I’m good enough to survive, wonder how much truth should be revealed and why the loss of love never stops hurting.

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Rock n Roll isn’t for cowards

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My 14th year of life was soul crushing. The best thing about it was meeting Molly. Ours was a classic 80s high school experience, ala any John Hughes movie. Preppy west siders ruled the school, bragging of snowboarding and cocaine on the weekends. Molly hung out with the smokers, the kids who wore black and tried not to go to class. Gus Van Sant was filming My Own Private Idaho. Molly’s friends kept inviting me to ditch and hang on set with River, Keanu. They sometimes got to party with them. All the good drugs, they said.

My friend Lisa’s mom drove us to the first Lollapalooza. We came back with matching t-shirts that carried a social currency. Total jocks gave us a right on, as if they were cheering a sports team and failing to see the irony. 1990 turned to 1991, punk broke into the mainstream. My home life was shattering. I joined the outsiders, getting drunk with the catholic girls from St. Mary’s, finding hills to drink on and watch my life slide out of view. The last day of school Molly signed my yearbook, asked me to hang out with her that summer. I’d never had someone pursue my friendship before and mean it. Flash forward a couple weeks in and Molly and I were thick as theives. We went to the 7-11 to pick up ice cream and watch the Breakfast Club for the millionth time while stoned. She skipped around me shyly, asking if we could be best friends. I thought it was the sweetest thing and laughed, saying you can’t ask someone to be best friends, you just are. Still, my answer was yes.

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Molly had a casette tape of Bleach, she showed it to me in her lunchbox. She wanted to start a band, move to Olympia. She was 14 and knew what she wanted, what she liked and didn’t like, what was wrong or right. She’d learned to stand up for herself, having experienced abuse since she was a child, passed around to uncles and foster families until her dad took her in and cleaned up. That summer changed everything. Molly was convinced something was different. We broke into her dad’s truck and found a whiskey bottle under his seat. The personality change was sudden, violent. She called DHS on him herself, for threatening her with a gun. But there was no where for her to go, she ended up in a group home for adjudicated youth, imprisoned by curfews and shitty food. She told me she wanted to die and I convinced her to write me a letter saying she wouldn’t. I still have that letter, I don’t have Molly.

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Like anyone’s high school years, there was so much living and excitement mixed with rejection and vulnerability. They were the most profoundly fucked up years and the most free and fun. Molly helped save me from depression and mania that followed an early assault and I tried to convince her to hang on. There is not a single living person who has had as much of an effect on me and I only had her in my life for five years. We were opposites. I was the shy one, she was loud. Parents, teachers and friends tried to keep us apart from each other. I often wonder what my life would have been like if they had been successful. We fought bitterly, did a-lot of bad drugs, petty crime, but Molly was also the girl with a strawberry shortcake lunchbox. who skipped around me asking me to be her friend and that never changed. She had a way of making bad situations better and she is the first one I want to call when anything happens, good or bad. It’s hard to replace something like that, people simply can’t be replaced.

20 years after she died, I looked at her seminal zine, Rock n Roll Fantasy for the first time and decided I couldn’t be the sole keeper of Molly’s artwork any longer. Please check out the teaser and share with your friends, help make Molly’s Rock n Roll Fantasy a reality!!!