A Study in Green: Plant Needs and People Wants

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A Study in Green: Plant Needs and People Wants

by Lisa King | Saturday, January 6, 2019

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Large Angel wing Begonia at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens greenhouse, pic by Lisa King

I’m no stranger to gardening. I have kept enormous vegetable gardens and tended to sizable herb patches most all of my life. From the culinary fuzzy slipper garden by the back door, to an acre of field corn. But this year, after a plant keeping hiatus, at the encouragement of a few friends, I dove into the hobby of Indoor Botany. That meant joining the crowd of hipsters displaying tropical houseplants in their Brooklyn apartments. My Instagram feed is full of happy Millennials, proudly showing off their Monsteras, String of Pearls, Hoyas, and Sansiverias. No longer is a passion for Pothos just the realm of clipping-swaping 70’s housewives with macrame rope plant hangers. Which, come to think of it, I really love macrame plant hangers! Some of my favorite Aunts and Grannies were those green-thumbed ladies, trading African Violets, Wandering Jew, and Spider Plant babies.

I have fond memories from my childhood, of gazing at all the cuttings taking root in water along every possible windowsill of my Great-grandmothers’ farmhouse. There was something comforting about those gossamer roots, all swirling in colored glass vases, and the new, tender, vulnerable growth sprouting from trailing tendrils of new leaves. Glass in windows, goldfish in tanks with plants growing out of the top, little private worlds of guppies and betas swimming around sprigs of foliage, terrariums full of furry moss– are all fascinating, and they reach down really deep inside me, and tickle my inner child. The one that loved science and biology class.

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Terrarium, by Lisa King

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Water propagating Golden Pothos and Monstera, pic by Lisa King

I especially developed a fondness for succulents, which are really popular at the moment. I have kept both cactus and succulents in the past, but outdoors on a patio. So, I started a little collection near the sunniest spot in my house, on my drafting table in my art studio. Instead of a view of art supplies that actually needed to be corralled to a shelf, I can now draw and paint among a little miniature jungle. Aesthetic and inspiring! I filled my windows up with hanging plants, and the corners of my living room with large pots of green friends. The area where I practice yoga is surrounded by peaceful foliage, and it makes for such a relaxing practice.

The more I started to care for plants, the more I started to see similarities in my relationships with people. As I read online about each species, and what that plant needed to live its best life, the correlations with what people need to live their best life too, started to take a shape and form. I have a little sign in my living room, that says “Plants are People Too!” Well, sometimes they sure act like it! Take care of your little green friends, and don’t forget to take care of your human ones too.

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Cactus and succulents on my drafting table, pic by Lisa King

1) Water Me! No, wait, not that much! People, like plants, are either succulents or cactus, ferns, or pothos. Plants need a regular routine of watering, and that routine doesn’t depend on what is convenient for you. It depends on what the plant needs. What they need is consistency, once you establish the amount of water is healthy for the plant. Some people are succulents and cactus. They are resilient, tough, made for drought. What they need is a real deluge of love, but only once a month. And that is enough for them, and they can store it up in their special leaves. Maybe mist them occasionally, but gently. Some people are ferns. They can never have their peaty topsoil dry out, and want to be misted every day. A little bit of love, in small quantities, every day is just great for them! Then there are the pothos people. You can pretty much never do wrong with these folks. Water them a lot, and as long as they are in well-drained soil, they’ll manage. Water them too infrequently, and that’s cool. They will find water in the atmosphere, or send out roots until they find it somewhere; a career, a hobby, a calling. If you smother a succulent person with fern-like watery love, they’ll die. If you don’t give enough attention to a fern type, they’ll pine away in sadness. What plant are you like? How much water do you need? How about your children or partner? One thing is for sure…too much water, no matter what kind of plant it is, will kill it. It will rot the roots, spread disease, encourage pests, and other problems. Do you over-give to people? Are you drowning your friends? Inconsistent watering will create plants with brown spots and leggy foliage. Should you be more consistent in giving love?

2) Sunny People and Shady Ones: She loves the beach. She adores summer. She can’t have enough shorts, sandals, bare feet, romping in the grass. She is not going to be happy living in Alaska. He loves the night time. Cool glades of forest. Rainy days and lurking in the shadow of tall pines. He is not going to be happy in Florida. Just like plants, people like different climates. You can’t put a high light plant in a shady hallway. You can’t put a ground cover in your sunniest windowsill. The same thing applies to people. There are some folks who dream of gray skies, coffee shops, umbrellas, woods, and the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. Others can’t wait to romp around with their toes in the sand, absorbing as much sun and heat as possible in the summertime. Are you living where you thrive? Are you a shade loving or sun loving plant? Perhaps you are a medium light creature, and a balance of the two are essential for you. Either way, make sure you can bloom where you are planted.

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Snake plants, jade plant, cactus, and succulents, pic by Lisa King

3) I Need some SPACE! Introverts and Extroverts: There are some plants that love to be fussed over. They love to be fluffed, floofed, watered, misted, fertilized. I think of Blue Star ferns. The showy queen of the greenhouse, glossy foliage on display. Look at me! This plant is an extrovert. It’s happy on a pedestal, in the center of the showroom. People are that way too. There are other plants, humble and quiet, possibly very beautiful and exotic, but they don’t want your attention. Just occasionally. Like String of Pearls. A petite, interesting succulent, she likes to be admired, but she’s a bit delicate. Don’t touch her too much, she’ll break. She trails in exotic strands, but prefers to be off the beaten path. Maybe hanging up high, where she can peek quietly at you with her flowing tresses of round beaded leaves. I bet you know a girl like that…part cat!

4) Move Me Around Until I Thrive: Ever visit a person who says, “I’d love to keep houseplants, but I just wind up killing them”. You see brown-leafed vines, leggy, unkempt, struggling to reach a sunny windowpane. There’s an African Violet, blooms long gone, in a dark corner, longing to be on the kitchen sink. They’ve decided that the snakeplant they bought looks great in THIS pot, in THIS corner, “How cute!” they exclaim. But, you see that the pot it’s in has no drainage holes, and Sansiverias don’t like wet feet. And the corner it’s in doesn’t have medium to low light…it has NO light. Come back a month later, and it’s practically melted from root rot and darkness. Why? Because the person was selfish. Instead of considering what the plant might need, they have imposed their needs and visual wants onto the plant. A plant is a living thing. You can’t just decide “I’ll put it here” because it matches your couch. People are living things too. The same people who buy a plant because it will “look good in a particular spot” will often apply the same strategy to their friends and lovers. Instead of asking themselves, “What do I need in a lover?” and patiently dating around until they find that, they rush into a relationship because it looks good. “Look at me, I’m dating a guitar player! Look at me, I’m dating a supermodel!” But they never stop to consider what their needs might be. Guitar players and supermodels have to travel a lot. They’re dedicated to their work. You can’t just expect them to nest with you every night and watch Netflix. They need to move around. Plants need to move around too, sometimes until you find the window or room they really like. If you just must have a plant in a certain spot, research which plants might do well in those conditions. Think about what kind of people might do well in the conditions of YOUR life. Perhaps go looking for that.

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Propagating several baby String of Pearls, by Lisa King

5) I’m Dying to Propagate: Like some people, some plants can’t wait to have offspring. They will root immediately in water. The mother plant only lives a short season, and she is sprouting baby plants here and there at every turn. I think of Spider plants, Wandering Jew, even Succulents dropping off leaves that immediately form little baby pups. These plants are made to propagate. Most of them come from tropical climates, with wet, rich soil. A piece of the plant only needs to fall off into damp soil, for new plants to grow from the parent. Other plants are much slower to grow. Snake plants take a very long time to root in water, and even longer to start to show growth. Ferns spread with spores or rhizomes. They take their time, creeping along the forest floor. People are that way too. Not everyone is just dying to spread their roots and have children and big families. Some people prefer to establish their career, or finances instead. Some may not want children at all. Some might want to adopt children in need. Some may want to propagate immediately and often! There is no one size fits all, in the way people want to “propagate.” Sometimes that fertility is applied to creating other things that the world might need. The method–water or soil, root or spore– it isn’t always obvious. So, don’t judge!

6) Ask Questions and Read my Tag, Find out what I really need, not what you want me to need: Before I buy a plant, I research exactly what light, water, and food requirements the plant needs. I read the tag that comes with the plant. Ever see someone dump a cup of chlorinated tap water on their plant, like a zombie, every time they walk past it? Does that plant need water today? Is chlorine bad for the plant? To go further, is the plant a heavy feeder or does it prefer poor soil? Let’s find out. It’s like asking questions of a person. How was your day today? What would you like for dinner tonight? Which movie would you like to see? Don’t just assume because its Tuesday that Tacos are in order. Maybe there’s a rut that needs shaking up. Why don’t you ask? Do your research. Find out what that person needs, just like you would find out what kind of soil a plant really needs. People don’t come with tags on the side, saying “Low light, rich soil, water often”. You have to ask them questions, to find out what their requirements are.

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An extroverted Blue Star fern, pic by Lisa King

7) This pot is too big, This pot is too small: Some plants like to be pot-bound. They like to feel cozy and at home, nestled safely in their pot. In fact, if you put some plants in too big of a pot, they will become stressed. It’s asking too much of them, to fill up that much space with growing roots. They can go into shock. Other plants like room to roam. They may even put up baby plants at their roots, and need room for their pups! Some plants enjoy terra-cotta, because it keeps a nice, medium, constant temperature and moisture level. Some plants like to wrap their roots around a mossy ball, exposing them to some extra air circulation. What kind of roots are yours? Do you prefer to nest in a cozy little cottage? Would you rather have a spacious loft, with lots of room to dance? Or would you rather roam around the globe of a mossy ball, with the wind in your hair?

8) Talk to me and touch me occasionally: When we talk to plants, we are releasing something they like into the air, carbon dioxide. They respond by releasing something we like, oxygen. What a nice conversation! They also enjoy the vibrations of music, voice, and sounds. Who doesn’t enjoy their favorite tunes? Plant leaves get dusty in the house. A soft, warm cloth brushed gently against their leaves makes them feel comfortable. They can take in sun and moisture better, when they have had a bath. Who doesn’t enjoy the soft touch of a friend or lover? Leaf-strokers are real. Plants seem to inherently know when you are paying attention to them, and they thrive. If you lock a plant up in a room, and sure, you water and feed it, and give it light, but you never interact with it, I bet you will find that it doesn’t grow as well as the one in a room around talking, chatter, smiles, love, and touch. People are that way too. Introverts might prefer to be alone some days, but they still appreciate talk and touch, when they need it.

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This pot is just right, Jade Plant, pic by Lisa King

9) I’ll show signs, sometimes quietly, that I’m unhealthy: My leaves are a little droopy today. I have gnats swirling around my head. I have brown spots on my stem. Uh oh! Could I be a little sick? Plants, unlike children or pets, don’t shout out, “Hey, I have a fever!” They are subtle in communication. People are subtle in communication too. Illness and unhealthy habits don’t always show, until something small seems out of place. It’s up to us to be observant, and to pay attention to each other. Sometimes it’s the tiniest warning signs that we don’t want to ignore, that lets us know we should visit the doctor, or a therapist. The small things lead to larger things. It’s easy to repot a plant that is struggling in packy soil into better drained soil, before its roots begin to rot. It will bounce back. But, if you ignore the plant for months, and rot sets in, it’s too late. So, let’s pay attention to the small things before they become big things.

10) You only get out of this relationship what you put in to it: Pretty simple. You get what you give. If you don’t give your houseplants the right light, water, soil, temperature, food, and attention, you’ll have a hard time with earning that “green thumb” award. But once you find a routine, and you spend just a little time each day misting, watering, tending to, and making sure your plants are happy, then it becomes really easy to grow them. I find so much joy in the variety of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes of plants. Just like people. All varieties are interesting in their own way. Find happiness in diversity, fascination in the varying wants and needs of each other, take care of your friends and family, and ask questions of your lover. You’ll find that you and your circle will suddenly thrive and your thumb will definitely be green.

Last Wisdom- Know when to let go and when to prune: This is probably the hardest of the observations. When leaves or branches are not healthy, when they have parasites or it’s simply time to shed, you must prune your plant. Nobody wants to do it. Sometimes you even have to prune when a plant is seemingly healthy, in order for it to grow the next season. It’s better for the plant, and in the long run, just might be the thing to help it flourish. Sometimes you might even have to prune off beautiful, long fronds, in order to propagate a new plant. It took a long time to grow those trailing tresses! We hate to prune people, habits, or beliefs that no longer serve us from our lives. But, could a little pruning and trimming down actually be the one thing that helps you in the long run? Where could you use to snip and let go, in your own life, like our houseplants. Something to think about, as we go into this new year.

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Monstera, Song of India, and a Snake plant, by Lisa King

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2018: This is the Strangest Life I’ve Ever Known

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2018: This is the Strangest Life I’ve Ever Known
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Lisa King, at Electron Gardens Studio, Atlanta. Working on The Hot Place’s new album.

by Lisa King | Dec. 31, 2018

When I first discovered rock and roll, around age 5, my favorite band was The Doors. There was something oddly familiar about Jim Morrison’s croon, and I had a real attraction to the dark psychedelic image that the entire band portrayed in its photographs and on their album covers. The lyrics, according to my “woolly cotton brain of infancy”, somehow made more sense to me than the kiddie records that I was supposed to be spinning on my little Disney plastic turntable. So, as I set out to reflect on 2018, the haunting sound of Jimbo singing, “This is the strangest life I’ve ever known…” and then that Dionysian yell he shrieks in pain, seems to sum up the year for me.

 

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Green Music, Athens, Ga 2018. Photo by Lisa King

 

It’s really easy to look at your journal, the place where you are working though complicated emotions, and think you had a really bad year. In my 2018 diary, it seems that I was working through things like: Trying to stay creative without pushing myself over the edge, while managing intense grief; Feeling exhausted by lack of sleep, waking up every night several times to give a sick dog a bathroom break and medication; Anxiety and pre-grief of sorts, because my 82 year old Dad was in the hospital with a blood clot and lung infection early in the year; Trying to finish my album and sing, when my voice and heart were just not wanting to be involved; trying to write song lyrics while feeling utterly listless with writers block; The loneliness after my dog Aleister passed, of having an empty house after being used to 3 dogs around, and also the natural loneliness that all writers and painters must face, because our work space is only occupied by ourselves for long stretches of time. (Neil Gaiman, one of my personal heroes, writes extensively on the plight of loneliness and creativity.) 

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My writing desk, 2018

I would travel a lot this year, and I was working with questions when I’d return home, such as, “Am I living in the right city? Am I living in the right type of housing? Does the fact that Atlanta has no real broad vistas or truly vast and large bodies of water like an ocean, significant river, or a large lake (in town) bother you?” (Chattahoochee and Lake Lanier are not close by for me, or “significant” enough for my taste.) “Is this Summer weather, which is becoming a steady 90 degrees or higher for 4-5 months of the year, going to be something you are willing to permanently live with?” And what about wrestling with the ongoing family Karma, of a narcissistic and addicted Mother, who I love, but who I increasingly cannot spend time with, because her cruelty is just out of control the older she gets. Lastly, there’s the finances. This year, vet bills, big car and home repairs, studio time, and travel completely depleted my savings account. “Is Etsy going to still be enough for me? How do I secure my savings again, but not give up my daily routine as a visual, creative artist and as a professional working musician? Is hand to mouth going to cut it, as I get older, with no health insurance and no retirement, so to speak?” Well, ugh. That’s a lot of things on my plate to create a shit ton of anxiety and depression. On the outside, you may be seeing a graceful creative person, gliding through art galleries and on and off stages, but underneath, the swan is peddling furiously.

 

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My art studio, Etsy Shop, and where I am painting my Bent Twig Tarot deck

 

So, how did I counteract this undercurrent of crazy? I think the first thing I did was pin a ton of motivational signs around my house. Especially places I’d be standing half asleep early in the morning, like on the bathroom mirror, coffee maker, makeup mirror, and my desk. In a weird way, those simple reminders really did help me stay sane, because I would just repeat them as mantras, when the anxiety got too much to bear. Sometimes I actually felt like I was losing my sanity. Truthfully, it was scary. I would need to work in my studio, but just couldn’t handle being alone with my thoughts, so I went out a lot. Not that it helped my pocketbook, but I did go out to dinner more than I cooked this year. I also went to movies, music shows, art galleries, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and traveled to the beach and the mountains. Audible was a huge help. Not only could I listen to audiobooks focused on grief therapy, or titles on narcissistic abuse recovery, but I could also listen to motivational speakers during the afternoon, some great fiction at night, and keep my mind focused on healing. I developed a lot of spoken mantras, and I learned to physically work off extra bad energy by swimming laps at the pool, because it was too hot to hike this summer. Keeping my meditation and yoga practice strong was also a huge help. I committed to a daily morning practice, and utilized tools such as Gaiam’s Yoga App, Insight Timer, and Tricycle Buddhist Magazine.

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Hitting the Yoga Mat, on a busy day. But I still hit it!

Of course, good, close friends with empathetic ears were the main thing that also helped. The ones who don’t try to take advantage of your weakened state, and the ones who witness your pain, and help you bear it. I am so thankful for those friends, this past year. The last little helpful tidbit, is so simple: Grocery Delivery. When depression and anxiety with fatigue is at its peak, using services where you order online and either pick up in the back of the store or have them delivered to your door, including cosmetics, clothes, and other toiletries, is mind blowing. It’s totally worth the small fee or tip, and cuts down on all kinds of stress for me. Pretty much all delivery services, including Amazon and Target were a godsend this year for medication, dog supplies, personal supplies, and things I would have to travel a long way to get, with a sketchy car, and a sick dog. It meant that when I did have the energy to get out, I could go places I loved, like metaphysical shops, book stores, movies, and out to dinner.

 

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Bookshop Hop!

 

Perhaps the main thing I did to help my recovery was to learn a new hobby. For me, that became tending to a herd of green friends. Houseplants are really popular right now, among the Millennial generation, which I think is super groovy. So, taking advantage of a lot of online plant communities on social media, I started learning about tropicals like Monstera, Pilea, Hoya, Sansiveria. I rekindled a love for family favorites from the 70’s that my Grandma used to keep, like African Violets, Wandering Jew, Spider Plants, Ferns, and Pothos. Not only did it create a lot of cheer, and lift the vibration of the house, but it gave me something to care for, which filled a void that had appeared, with no dogs in the house. I added fish to my aquariums, and made some fish/plant combo propagation bowls or tanks. I really got into succulents, with their odd shapes and colors, and sprouted a sudden green thumb, growing String of Pearls, String of Bananas, Echeveria, Cactus, and Crassula. I’m no stranger to gardening. In fact, I used to have a very big herb and veggie garden, and I always had house plants in college. But, I had let that skill kind of wane, and was taking care of pets instead. So, learning how to care for some new types of plants, a little botany therapy, was just what the doctor ordered. In many ways, I learned a lot about people, taking care of plants. I’ll save that for another blog though.

 

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My Prize Monstera plant, and a Song of India

 

So, this is my yearly end of the year write up. In the next pages I’ll go month by month, and chat a bit about my life. I’ll also include my best loved books, films, TV, etc. of 2018, and I’ll include a link to a 2019 tarot card reading looking ahead to my future. It’s not meant to brag or to be a drag…it’s merely, well,…just me! I’ve been doing this for a long time, but one year I put this journal up online, and a lot of my friends really enjoyed reading it. So, I started making it public. If you’re a frenemy, or prone to feel jealousy or schadenfreude towards your social circle, or you don’t like reading the intimate thoughts of others, or you just don’t like me THAT much, I’d just quit reading at this point. This is for the close friends in my life, who I might not see as often as I’d like. It’s for those who may be struggling with their own version of creative burnout, grief, anxiety, abuse, and recovery, and are trying to get back on the horse and ride after a rough 2018. It’s about being an artist and musician, and about navigating the world of being a creative. It might not be for you. But, if you’d like a little insight into what makes me tick, then have at it. I hope you enjoy it! It’s my life.

Highlight Reel! Here are some things that I accomplished in 2018:

 

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The Hot Place opening up for David J, Little Tree Studios, photo by Chad Radford

 

1. LIVE MUSIC: I played a NINTH show with David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets) in March, with my band The Hot Place, and with James Hall at Little Tree studios. Once again, I booked the venue, decorated the set, arranged the promo and hospitality, and managed the event. Though it was difficult, because my dog Aleister was very sick, and my Dad was in the hospital, and I’d find that out just after the gig. But, the show must go on, and I’m glad that David asked me to join him once again for a great night of music. I learn so much every time I play with him, and I enjoy his presence in my life immensely. I also really appreciated the help of Chad Radford, Laura Hunt, Jordan Ososki and Patricia Villafane, Laurie Garner and Chris Mills at the event. You were all excellent show staff.

 

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My Drafting Table, About to Paint a Tarot Card drawing

 

2. TAROT: I painted five tarot cards, moving forward on my The Bent Twig Tarot Deck project. I made: Two of Disks, (Change); The Hermit; Seven of Swords, (The Trickster); The Magician; and finally Justice. Though I would not paint any more cards in 2018, those 5 cards are some of the best work I’ve done, in my opinion. I would also start to write the accompanying book for the deck, figuring out a standard format, and wrote chapters on The Empress and The Star. I also pulled together a proposal, which can go to a publisher, when ready.

 

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Electron Gardens studio, where The Hot Place is recording with Tim Delaney

 

3. RECORDED MUSIC: We finished the second album by The Hot Place, after nearly two years of work. This is my biggest achievement this year. With the help and skill of Tim Delaney at Electron Gardens, we have made a really good piece of work, in my opinion. Now, it’s just finalizing, mixing, mastering, and releasing. Time to work on album art, liner notes, and all that good stuff in early 2019. I really can’t wait for you to hear it!

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“Lunar Sea” Single, by Hexotica, on Sashimmy Records

4. RECORD RELEASES: My two indie labels, No Big Wheel Records and Sashimmy Records were busy this year. We released 5 projects: “Lunar Sea/Obscurum per Obscurius” a single by Hexotica; “Little Doll” by Album Gatefold + The Hot Place, a single which will appear on The Hot Place’s upcoming full-length release; “Mukashi Mukashi: Long Long Ago”, a Sashimmy Records Halloween sampler, which featured seven tracks of various artists from the label; and “Ashoka’s Ascension/Purposeful Wandering” a single by The Heavy Light Experiment. All were well received, and Torched Magazine did a nice piece on my label and on Hexotica. You can read the review here: https://torchedmagazine.com/2018/09/26/torched-review-hexotica-lunar-sea-and-obscurum-per-obscurius/ and you can read an extensive interview with me about all of my projects here: https://torchedmagazine.com/2018/10/07/lisa-king-on-her-latest-project-hexotica-and-more/

At the end of this blog entry, I have all the links to my musical projects in a list.

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Writing Desk and my old Smith-Corona Typewriter

5. WRITING: Inspired by “Morning Poems” by Robert Bly, in 2017 and 2018 I have been writing, more or less, a poem a day, in the morning, on my old Smith-Corona typewriter. I have another large folio of poetry entitled “Summer to Summer, July 29, 2003- June 27, 2004”. Between these two bursts of poetry, and some random stuff here and there, I think I finally have enough material for a book! So in 2019, I’d like to edit it. Here is a link to the older work, if you’d like to read any: http://www.thehotplaceband.com/poetry/

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The Swimming Pool Q’s turned 40 this year, and I helped to promote the show

6. ETSY, WEBSITES, and other various PROJECTS: My Etsy shop, Wax & Wane: A Cabinet of Curiosities continued to be rather stable this year, though Etsy has made a lot of changes which have made it harder to reach my customers without paying for advertisement. I still made a lot of smudge fans and hand crafts in 2018. I also freelance a bit, and designed a website for The Bent Twig Tarot Deck and for Electron Gardens Studio. I’m pretty good at coordinating rock shows and promotion, and I helped to promote several shows this year, including David J, The Hot Place, Chris Stamey, The Swimming Pool Q’s with Mitch Easter and their 40th Anniversary with 3, members of 86. All shows were sold out or nearly, and really successful! So cheers to that.

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Rag and Bone, one of my favorite books I read this year

BEST OF’S FOR 2018: Or, at least what I wound up watching, reading, and listening to

Watched on Netflix or TV in 2018: I don’t watch a lot of TV to be honest, even Netflix. But, when insomnia strikes, I enjoyed these: Cuckoo, 7 days out, The Great British Baking Show, Father Brown, Japanese Style Originator, Rise of the Phoenixes (still watching), Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K) “The Gauntlet”, Kingdoms of the Sky, Planet Earth II, Chef’s Table, Very British Problems, The IT Crowd, Toast of London, The Tigers of Scotland, Lords and Ladles, Football, and PBS Cooking shows.

Books I Read in 2018 (A few faves): I’ve read over 100 books this year, and you can find them on my Goodreads page. But, here’s a list of my favorites: “Creative Quest” by Questlove is my favorite book of 2018. Followed by “The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart” poems curated by Robert Bly, “A Little Book on the Human Shadow” Robert Bly, “I Shall Wear Midnight” Terry Pratchett, “The Dangerous Old Woman Series 1-5” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Mythologies” by William Butler Yeats, “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman, “The Fruitful Darkness” by raThich Nhat Hanh (Audiobook), “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli, “Mothers Who Can’t Love” by Donna Frazier Glynn & Susan Forward, “The Shepherd’s Crown” by Terry Pratchett, “Set the Boy Free” by Johnny Marr, “W.B. Yeats and His Father” by Robert Bly (Audiobook), “Madame Chrysantheme” by Pierre Loti, “The Paris Review #223-227”, “Flight of the Wild Gander” by Joseph Campbell, “Aspects of the Novel” by E.M. Forster, “Myths of Light” by Joseph Campbell, “Poetry Magazine, Jan.-Dec. Issues”, and finally “Victorian Secrets” performed by Stephen Fry for Audible. Here is a link to my Goodreads page, if you’d like to explore all the titles I read in 2018: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2018/25915828?utm_source=fb&fbclid=IwAR393BNaTlgSiBsSo-CcXx0_vRXgT_BVQCX-tD2Cip6QNqdW8t8XP3NjV0M)

Movies/DVD I watched in 2018: The Bookshop was probably my favorite film of the year. I also saw: The Death of Stalin, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, The Guardians, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Hotel Transylvania 3, Johnny English Strikes Again, Bohemian Rhapsody, Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald, and mostly these Documentaries: “Dream Dangerously (Neil Gaiman)”, Won’t you be my Neighbor? (Fred Rodgers), Three Identical Strangers, RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg), McQueen (Alexander McQueen, fashion designer), Free Solo, Love, Cecil (Cecil Beaton), Nico 1988, Maria, (Maria Callas), Tea with The Dames (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright), Everything is Photographable (Gary Winnowgrand), Filmworker (Leon Vitali’s relationship with Stanley Kubrick), Kusama-Infinity (Yayoi Kusama) and I’m sure there are many that I’ve forgotten! I also saw a lot of the operas, plays, etc. screened at the movies, including 1975 Bergman’s “Magic Flute”, Benedict Cumberbatch in “Hamlet”, NT Live “Julius Caesar” with Ben Whishaw and NT Live “Macbeth” with Anne-Marie Duff and Rory Kinnear. I also saw a lot of Korean films at a cinema I like to visit, including The Spy Gone North, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, The Negotiation, The Accidental Detective II, and The Witch I.

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One Hell of a Bookstack! by Lisa King

Music I Discovered in 2018: Not necessarily new releases. Again, I was in the middle of finishing up the second album by The Hot Place, and when I’m making my own music, I have trouble listening to too much besides my Pandora Reiki channel of instrumental drone! But I’ll mention a few. By far, my favorite album was “Call the Comet” by Johnny Marr. The best sounding platter I’ve put on my turntable for sure. I also have enjoyed “The Bela Session” by Bauhaus, and the Mazzy Star EP “Quiet/The Winter Harbor”. I listen to a lot of Byron Metcalf, Steve Roach, Govinda, William Basinski, Fripp, Eno, Peter Davidson, all ambient-leaning tracks etc. when I work. Honorable mention to a few artists who released albums this year that I dug: “Wrong Creatures” BRMC, “Everything was Beautiful” Moby, “In the Rainbow Rain” Okkervil River, “The Stars, the Oceans, & the Moon” Echo and the Bunnymen, “Imortelle” Say Lou Lou, “Dionysus” Dead Can Dance, and the new mix of The White Album, Beatles. Like I said…not really exploring new music, while making my own. When this album gets finished and out, I look forward to returning to the world of rock! So, probably best to turn to your favorite music writer, for a list of tunes from 2018.

Places I Dug, New and Old: Mellow Mushroom Decatur, My favorite 2 sushi restaurants (I keep them secret, but if you eat out with me or know me in person, you’ll wind up there, I’m sure!), Tacos at LaFonda and several other joints about town, Madras Mantra Vegetarian Indian, Phoenix & Dragon, Health Unlimited, Midtown Art Cinema, Madlife Stage and Studios, Electron Gardens, The Vista Room, Terminal West, Nicola’s, Leon’s, The Brick Store, Book Nook, Odin’s Cosmic Bookshelf, Pike’s at Toco Hills, Ace Hardware in Decatur, Little Tree Studios, The Grit, The 40 Watt, Hotel Tybee, Goose Feathers Cafe, Lupi’s Pizza, Taconooga, The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, The Michael C. Carlos Museum and their Bookshop, The Tara Theatres, Krog Street Market, and Binders Art Supply.

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Pop Art, things I encountered after visiting an Andy Warhol exhibit

Here are a few things I learned in 2018: (Often wisdom from other people)

* Anything done in love, is done well.

* Everything really does seem to boil down to patience.

* The show must go on. Really. People are depending on you.

* Rest when you’re tired, but don’t quit. Because you’ll want to quit.

* Plants are people too!

* There is no such thing as “normal”. Everyone is unique in their own way.

* Creative Projects depend on other people, their Shadow, their Ego, their Perspective. Get used to it.

* It really IS about them…it really ISN’T about you!

* That saying about “the first time someone shows you who they are, believe it.” Good or Bad. Truth.

* Be bold. Magic really, really does happen, and it happens FAST when it’s supposed to be.

 

So, without further ado, here is a month by month write up, with some reflections of the year.

 

Month by Month Reflections of 2018

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Two of Disks, or “Change”, tarot card, by Lisa King

January

Started with Aleister at the vet as soon as they opened on Jan. 2. He lost the ability to walk. He was diagnosed with a serious debilitating, hereditary spinal condition, called IVDD (Intervertrabal Disc Disease.) This story is gut wrenching, and it will take up so much of my year. At the time, we were hoping we could treat him with anti-inflammatory and pain meds. In the end, he started having seizures, and his spinal degradation was so close to his brain stem in his neck, (v/s dogs that develop it in their lower back), that it’s possible it started to effect the blood flow to his brain and other organs. I’d like to just get this out on the table first, because Aleister was such a special dog to me. He was a teacher, a healer, a companion to my other two older dogs who passed, and it was almost as if he was a bit of a divine little messenger. Surgery cost in the thousands, and there was absolutely no guarantee that it would help him, in his condition. I was treated very well by my vet, by the neurologist, and everyone involved. In the end, I had to get up every 4 hours and carry him to the bathroom. He was having to stay crated. Every day, I took him out and brushed him, loved on him, and helped him, the way he had helped me through so much in my life. I didn’t want him to suffer, so we decided that if after 6 months, he was not any better, we would do the kind thing. It was incredibly hard, watching him have ups which gave us hope, and then downs which brought us back to reality. I’ll mention him in this month to month write up, but it’s difficult to write about, even now, because he’s only been gone about 3 months. So, I’d rather mention him mostly here, so I don’t have to explain what was going on for the rest of the year.

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January Snow, pic by Lisa King

But, 2018 would keep at me. The very same week, my septic tank backed up. We had very cold temperatures, way below freezing, like 15 degree lows and 20 degree highs. Because of the ground’s frozen condition, and the daily freezing temps, the plumbers could not run their water-based machines to pump my tank. It took two weeks to finally become warm enough to fix. In the meantime, I couldn’t do laundry, use the toilets, sinks, or take a shower, or it would back up. You can imagine how miserable I felt. A suddenly sick dog, and no way to simply take a hot bath or use the toilet! We had a snow on Jan 18-20, which is always magical in the deep South. But with the plumbing, I had to make a ‘camp toilet’ out of my basin, like a chamber pot. I was not too thrilled with 2018 so far. In an effort to stay sane, I could leave the house in four hour increments, (Aleister had to be carried to the bathroom after 4 hours), so I decided maybe to go to the movies a bit. Wouldn’t you know it? My car battery died! I managed to replace that, and I managed to start a little household repair, and paint my much needed beat up front door. January was what I call “A Hard Month of Zen”. It would end in warmer climes, and we had a beautiful Supermoon at the end of the month. I was able to make it to Barnes & Noble, and with a holiday gift card, I bought the entire new Joseph Campbell book collection. It sure would help during the year. I also dug in to Audible, and listened to the “Tiffany Aching” trilogy by Terry Pratchett. I started to struggle with vulnerability issues, and self-worth. Why was all this happening to me? I had come off of a really pleasant Christmas, so my head was not in a great place to begin a new year. In a brief moment of inspiration, I painted a tarot card for my deck. It was the Two of Pentacles, (Change). I would definitely feel its presence in the upcoming year.

February

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Imbolc Ritual, by Lisa King

The pagan holiday of Imbolc would start off February. It’s one of my favorite holidays. I generally use the Sabbat to re-dedicate myself to a year and a day of practice. I ask myself if my sacred space, my belief system, the elements and forces I work with, are still serving me. I think it’s a wonderful way to evaluate where your mind is, and what you are asking from yourself and your personal practice. I had just finished a 30 Days of Yoga journey with Adrienne, and my body was feeling pretty in sync with my spirit. I kept dreaming of wolves. Big, black wolves who would come into my house, and circle around Aleister’s crate. They were protectors, I was not afraid of them. It was like wild, canine energy, surrounding him. It influenced my next tarot card, The Hermit. To my surprise, my Hermit was a Hermitess. Generally, the figure in the Major Arcana is male, but in my deck, she turned out to be Female. Aleister is still very ill. I am starting to really feel the effects of the lack of sleep, because I have to stay up and dose him at 2 a.m., then at 6 a.m. a bathroom break and breakfast, with other medication, and then back up at 11 a.m. for more meds and again at 2 p.m. The schedule would become almost automatic for me, but for the rest of the year, I grew more mentally tired from the routine.

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The Hermit, tarot card painting by Lisa King

The school shootings started happening this month, and they would go on and on all year. I went to the post office one day, and the flag was flying half mast. It really affected me, so I wrote a poem with the title “Half-Mast”. It’s also a spoken word YouTube video. The political climate was no better. A presidency that was a joke, a president who was worse. The oppressiveness in America was palpable. Would it never let up? My mother, who has always been a narcissistic parent, and addicted, had a pretty bad emotional flare up this month. Because I was raised by a narcissist, I have always fallen in with people who have drug-abusing, narcissistic personalities. It’s what I was “used to”. Never comfort, safety, trust, calm. Always verbal and physical abuse, drama, attention getting behavior surrounding me. I decided I just couldn’t deal with this anymore. I love my parents, they live close by, and they are elderly. I love my Dad, and I can’t really abandon the family entirely, or I have to abandon him too. So, I sought some help. I learned how to “go gray”, I learned how to “not feed the narcissist”, and I learned how to finally ditch some narcissistic frenemies who had conveniently and easily attached themselves to me. In one of the books I read, a quote really stood out. “Having a narcissitic Mother is like being raised by a toddler on a rampage.” This is very true. So, armed with a little sanity, the end of the month became a little easier. Why am I being so candid about my Mother’s illness in a public journal? Because I feel that in order to heal and overcome any sort of abuse, we must have frank, and honest discussions about it, without feeling embarrassed, or trying to sweep it under the rug. That only perpetuates the illness, and the unhappiness.

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Valentine’s Day, seeing “Divine Felines” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory

David J invited my band The Hot Place to play with him in March, and it would be our ninth show opening up for him! I was, of course, over the moon about that. We were about to release a single, “Little Doll”, a Stooges cover song and a collaboration with our friend Albert Gresens aka Album Gatefold, on my indie label Sashimmy Records. It was well received, and we decided to ask Albert to come up and play bass with us on a few songs at the show. James Hall was added to the bill, and we decided to book Little Tree Studios for the event. The rest of the month would be spent rehearsing, and getting back to work was really good for me. I went to the Michael C. Carlos Museum, to see the exhibit “Divine Felines” for Valentines Day, and afterwards had Sushi and Sake at my favorite restaurant. I was inspired by watching Shaun White take gold at the Winter Olympics. I started listening to the work of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Women who Run with the Wolves” and her “Dangerous Old Woman” series, about the archetype of the Wild Woman. It was resonating with me, and very empowering. I continued to read Terry Pratchett, including “Reaper Man”. This year, I would nearly finish reading his entire “Discworld” series once again. I never finished them in high school, and really enjoy them now. Feb. 21 I would get a real treat. I got to see Howard Jones at City Winery, and it was an intimate, acoustic piano, storytelling performance. It was good soul medicine! I ended the month setting up a “Living Room” on the stage at Little Tree, in preparation for the March 1st David J/The Hot Place show.

March

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The Hot Place opening up for David J at Little Tree, photo by Patricia Villafane

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David J, Little Tree studios, by Patricia Villafane

The David J/The Hot Place/James Hall show sold out, and it was a much needed bit of work for the year. Nobody but David and my band knew it, but Aleister was very ill, and my Dad would wind up in the hospital with a lung infection and a blood clot. My Mother was behaving very badly, and just embodied the energy of the tarot cards of The Devil and Cruelty. I learned a real lesson in “the show must go on.” David was very kind and compassionate, and I leaned pretty heavily on my band, and my friends who were helping me put on the show. It’s so hard to work when feeling grief, and fear, but rock and roll is a job, and despite everything that was happening to me in my personal life, the version of me that is a professional musician, had to make an appearance, and do the work. Probably one of the hardest lessons to learn. I was completely overwhelmed with despair. I had no sleep, no energy, no optimism. It was a cruel month. My friend’s car got broken into, and my favorite leather jacket was stolen. In the end, I found one just like it, barely, used, online. Happy to have that back, although it doesn’t fit quite as nicely as my old favorite. There are no tarot cards appearing for me to draw. Things are feeling bleak.

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Seven of Swords, “The Trickster”, tarot card painting by Lisa King

My printmaking teacher used to say, when you have no creativity happening, you should still go to your studio, and sit. Picasso says, “inspiration exists, but it must find you working.” So, despite feeling totally empty, I went and sat. The muses must have smiled on me, because I would paint a card that would become one of my favorite images of the year. The Seven of Swords, (The Trickster) came out of my head. I had been hearing coyotes howl a lot at night. So, this dapper and expressive animal would appear in my deck. Better things were on the horizon. The Swimming Pool Q’s were going to play at the end of the month with Mitch Easter, on Easter weekend! As a big fan, I knew that would be an amazing show. I also attended my first “Go to Meeting” live webinar, “Jung, Dreams, Astrology: As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without”, a lecture with Cathy Lynn Pagano at the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrology Society. That was exciting! I ended the month watching Buddhist Monks make a sand mandala, for Tibet Week at the Michael C. Carlos museum.

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So lucky to have been here! Mitch Easter’s guitarist, Jeff and Anne from the Q’s, Mitch himself, and Mike Mills

April

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The Last Day Aleister Stood on his own, we really had hope for this little guy…

April was a bit of optimism, because Aleister was doing better. He was up and could walk, with a little help of yoga mats throughout the house. I was starting to cook again, making a lot of Buddha Bowls and Noodle Bowls, and eating fruit and getting rest. I started to work on the book portion of my tarot deck, and made a website for it. (https://www.thebenttwigtarotdeck.com/ ) Early in the month, I watched The Masters on TV, and that always kind of “kicks off Spring” for me. Though the pollen was horrid this year, the flowers were beautiful. I started to get out more, because Aleister could go much longer without medication and help to go outside. My Dad got out of the hospital, and I would help the family by grocery shopping, cooking and taking food over, and doing some household chores a couple of times a week. My Mother came out of one of her violent fugues, and actually pitched in to help. I was able to get out to go to a meeting of the Jung Society. I attended the lecture, “The Synchronicity of the Two Red Books: Jung, Tolkien, and the Imaginary Realm”, by Becca S. Tamas on the 20th. A friend of mine gave me two tickets to go see the band Bush, which I recall liking in the 90’s. I was excited to go, because my friend CJ and his band Big Jesus would open the show. That weekend, I was able to nerd out at the Atlanta Pen Show, yes…pen show! I’ve never seen so many fountain pens and pen enthusiasts in my life. It was quite a time.

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Oh Yeah, We have an Album to Make! At EG with Tim

I took a trip down to Jonesboro, Ga to view “The Floating World”, an exhibit of ukiyo-e, Japanese woodcut prints, by my favorites, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro, and more. I saw an author’s lecture, and a Q&A by authors Michael Farris Smith (The Fighter) and Chris Offutt (Country Dark), hosted by The Bitter Southerner and A Cappella Books, at the Wrecking Bar. Had some nice cocktails and snacks. I had not been able to get into the studio much to record, so at the end of the month we started working again on vocal tracks for the new album by The Hot Place, at Electron Gardens Studio with Tim Delaney. The month would end with a Pink Moon.

May

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The Magician, tarot card painting by Lisa King

At Beltane, It was time to work on the album. In May, I charted out a “path to victory”, a permanent white board that I could carry around, to list all of the tasks to finish the record. We began to dig in. We worked a lot in the recording studio. Hot weather started to kick in, and the days would jump to a miserable 95 degrees, and pretty much remain there for the next 5 months. Every year, I start to ask myself if Atlanta is the place for me to live, when I can’t even get outside because of the heat. For Mother’s Day, always a challenge, I baked some mini-quiches and spent a little time at my parents’ house. I became inspired to write a lot, and created about 3 more chapters on this little novel I am writing. I also had been keeping up my daily poetry writing practice, and the stack was growing with work. I caught a second wind after I read the inspiring book, “Creative Quest” by Questlove. It was just what I needed. I also listened to the Audiobook. This was definitely my favorite book of the year. Taking advantage of the upswing, I became inspired and painted “The Magician” tarot card, a little homage to one of my influences, Steve Kilbey of The Church. A fitting card for him.

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Justice, tarot card painting by Lisa King

I went to see the RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) film, and immediately after seeing it, the next day, I painted her as my “Justice” tarot card. I can’t think of a more fitting Lady Justice than her! We started having a lot of storms, some of the most violent thunderstorms I’ve ever seen in Georgia. For my birthday, I visited the “Imaginary Worlds” exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I ended the month with a show at Terminal West; a great performance by my pal Matthew Sweet. On his way out of town, he left me a signed copy of his new album at his Manager’s office, and that was a very touching and kind gift from him. Aleister was still on an upswing, and we were optimistic that the conservative care was working, and that some physical therapy might be in order for him next. However, next month he would have a complete relapse, and we felt so sad for him.

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Birthday Present from Matthew Sweet

June

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Summer vocal sessions

June and the Summer solstice would be hot, and hard. I was starting to feel the heat, and the strain of it, so I started swimming laps at the pool. I also dedicated myself to a new daily morning yoga practice. I got really serious about daily yoga, and meditation, and It probably saved my life and my sanity. The woes that plagued me in January would start up again. My Mother would become abusive, and I had to abandon visiting my family for several months, including my Dad, which made me very sad. Aleister’s relapse put him back in the crate, and on medication again. My ancient car would need a new starter, tune up, and I was out of any transportation for several weeks. And that put me out of money as well! The heat and the storms continued. Lightning would strike my neighbor’s tree. Que the self-help audio once again! With the medicine schedule the pup was on, I was back to no sleep for more than 4 hours at a time.

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Jeff Calder with his Cosmic Antenna Les Paul, and Tim Delaney at Electron Gardens

I had to get back to work. More vocal takes in the studio, more guitar takes, and more organization of the album. When I wasn’t focused on that, I did a little bit of cooking. Last year, I nailed perfect crepes. This year, I totally nailed down perfect old fashioned southern biscuits! I have a recipe and a process, that is consistent, delicious, and made me pretty happy. I made another trip to The Wrecking Bar, to see a Q&A with Silas House and Caleb Johnson, and I had a few amazing peach smashes with fresh mint. At the end of the month, things would look up a bit. Chris Stamey was coming to Atlanta, and I helped to organize an acoustic and spoken word performance at A Cappella Books. I was able to meet him, and was totally a fangirl, because I was a huge admirer of his work when I was in high-school. He signed my copy of “It’s Alright”, and I was invited to the electric performance that night at the Variety Playhouse. The month ended with a huge, full sky rainbow. I really, really tried to see the brighter side of life, and through all the rain, photographed a lot of my wildflower garden and bees/butterflies all buzzing.

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July

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Call the Comet- Johnny Marr

In my diary, it just says, “Hot, Depressed, Lonely, Sad, Reading, Trying to Stay Sane.” Ooooof. The Fourth of July was low-key, as I wasn’t really seeing my parents very much. Aleister was still very wobbly, and I was carrying him around to his bed, or outside, and trying to make him comfortable. He had to make a few trips all the way across town to a neurologist. The prognosis was always the same, “He may get better with time, or he won’t. You should just be patient.” This was really hard. I did believe that he could recover, because I’d seen him bounce back once this year. So, I continued to support him. I had a single project I was looking forward to releasing, “Lunar Sea/Obscurum per Obscurious” by Hexotica on my label, Sashimmy records. That was released to a lot of nice press, including a review and interview in Torched Magazine. On the recording studio front, the last track went down on the album. I was looking forward to the new Johnny Marr album release, “Call the Comet”, as I had followed its progress most of the year. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Marr, ever since we met back in Athens Ga in the 00’s, and had a wonderful day together. I was able to record an interview with him, and we had dinner at The Grit. It left an indelible impression on me, and it also left me a lifelong fan. His new album was recorded in his own Crazy Face studio, and then mixed and mastered at Abbey Road. I think it’s the best sounding vinyl album I’ve put on my turntable all year. I was also looking forward to the tour!

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Full Moon Eclipse

I got out in my garden a good bit, and my wild grape arbor was ripening nicely for jam. Aleister was on an upswing again, because the neurologist put him on a different medicine. I took him outside on a nice day, and I didn’t know at the time, but it would be the last time he was able to enjoy grass and sky, out on a blanket. I think I sensed that it was an important day for him, so I really let him relish the outdoors. He continued to improve enough that I could go out of town to the beach for one night, and my friend Jordan who was experienced with his illness was able to come stay with him overnight. It was a much needed trip to Tybee, though it was really crowded being July. The month would end with another rock show. I was able to see Glenn Phillips Band play at Avondale Towne Cinema, newly re-opened, though that would be short lived, and the club would close again soon. There was a total lunar eclipse this month, though it was during the day, at night, the moon still had an eerie look about it.

August

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50 Shades of Mikey, at EG Studios

Lammas time is here, and I always celebrate by baking bread and making jam. I canned for a few weeks to begin the month. Mike had some guitar takes in the studio, as we were wrapping up those last songs. On the 13th of the month, late at night at about 4 a.m., I heard Aleister banging around in his crate. He was having a series of seizures, and possibly a heart attack. After he regained consciousness, in my experience from having 2 old dogs pass the few years previously, I knew he was in “that zone” and it was time to go to the emergency vet. I had been preparing myself for this all year, subconsciously. I was able to keep him comfortable in the car, and call the emergency vet in advance. The vet and I talked, for a while. I had just been talking to his main vet the week before about what to do in a crisis. We honestly didn’t believe Aleister’s quality of life was going to get any better, or that surgery was an option. So, we made the hard decision. Aleister passed peacefully in my arms that night. I was there for him the whole illness, and the whole time. I never let him out of my arms or stopped comforting him with soothing words and pats. It was as if all the magic in the whole world had just gone out, when he finally passed. On my way home, at dawn, a huge, sparkly, streaky comet spanned over the dark highway, from horizon to horizon. He always was a cosmic dog, showing up one night, appearing out of nowhere when he was most needed. Now, it was if he was saying hello from the great beyond. There will never be another angel quite like him. And the rest of my year would be spent in grief recovery. My friends would be invaluable, helping me to express my feelings, and truly morn his loss. I didn’t suppress it. I let it out. I felt the feels, because I knew it was important. In fact, I’m streaming tears at the moment, just thinking about it all again. But, as they say, we grieve in proportion to how we had loved. And I loved him very much.

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Aleister, in happy times, wearing his favorite sweater

For the rest of the month, I would just take care of myself. I cleaned up house, tidied. I visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens again, and I would, at the advice of a counselor, buy a few house plants to care for, in the absence of Aleister. I also would fill my empty fish tanks up with some Beta’s, Goldfish, and Guppies, so that there was still life in the home. I started a new kind of weekly journal, which highlights the things that are “on deck”, things I “accomplished”, things that “made me feel good”, things that “Were difficult/challenging”, To do’s, things that can wait, and surprises, feels, and self care. This was helpful for me. I was able to set up an Urn for Aleister, and he’s on the fireplace mantle, with Ruby and Sam’s Urns, my other two dogs that passed between 2015 and now. It was so strange and quiet, and empty without dogs in my life. I knew not to push it, though, and jump in to another dog commitment. Both Sam and Ruby were old dogs, and they required a lot of care in the end. Aleister required even more care. So, I knew that emotionally and physically, I needed sleep, rest, care, and some time without commitments. I just kind of coasted for the rest of the month.

September

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Green Friends, pic by LK

I would continue to occupy my mind, with Botany. The houseplant community online is vast, and a lot of young people are really into keeping them at the moment. So, I met a lot of new friends through plants, and really enjoyed learning new things about interesting species, especially succulents. I traveled a lot, since I had been very tied to the house during Aleister’s illness. I went to Rome, Ga to see The Glenn Phillips Band; to Athens, GA to visit friends; and a longer stay at Tybee beach in Savannah, at the very end of the month from Sept into October, which was extremely healing. I had been suffering with writer’s block, and I had three last songs for the Hot Place’s new album, which I needed to write lyrics for. I made a little appeal to Euterpe, the muse of lyric poetry, and she definitely heard my calling. The beach was isolated, and windy. It was almost Hawiian, as the sound of palm trees slapping and wind through grasses were my constant soundtrack. I was able to write my lyrics, and get some rest at the beach.

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Tybee Beach, Savannah, Pic by LK

Upon returning from the beach, I repainted my kitchen. I had always wanted to redesign it in a Swedish folk style, pale blues and bright reds. Football season began, and that took my mind away from a lot of brooding. I like to watch Football, because it is such a contrast to all of the art, music, and poetry I immerse myself in. It gives me a much needed mental break. I traveled to Woodstock, GA, and visited Steven Morrison, the Hot Place’s recording and mixing engineer who made our first record. He was working at the Madlife Stage and Studio, and I watched Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ perform. The last event of the month would be a visit to the Michael C. Carlos museum again, for “Chimera”, an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s silkscreens. I would return there in November to watch a Velvet Underground movie tied to the exhibit.

October

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Sashimmy Records Halloween EP

The month started with that healing time at the Beach, from Sept into October. My longtime friend Peter Heckman was coming to visit from New Zealand, and I couldn’t wait! Peter has designed all of the tour posters for the past 2 years of David J/The Hot Place shows, and some of my album art. He’s one of my oldest friends, and we go back to working together at Turtles Records in college. We had a great time at the comic book shops and used book stores. I really needed that visit! The homeowner woes continued, and as the nights turned colder, my heater broke! There would really be no end to the financial burden of the home this year. I started questioning at that point, especially after my travels, if his house and if Atlanta was the right location for me to live. I adore my house, but it’s old, and this was just one of those years where everything seemed to break. The heat and traffic of Atlanta had started to get to me as well. As if the weather were not dramatic enough this year, Hurricane Florence would blast through the Florida panhandle, and hook upwards to dump a lot of wind and rain on Atlanta. Though not as bad as hurricanes past, it was still a lot of power outages and limbs down.

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Johnny Marr, 40 Watt, Athens GA, pic by LK

I returned to Electron Gardens Studio, and finished the vocals for the new album. My singles label Sashimmy Records would release a Halloween Sampler, “Mukashi Mukashi: Long, Long Ago”, which was a huge success. It was a little overview of the music on my label. Inspired by Japanese ghost stories, I really loved the way the cover art turned out. I was starting to feel a little more sane, as the weather finally turned somewhat cool, though still seasonally very warm. It was if Autumn would never show up! A trip to see the Scarecrows in the Garden at the ABG was a highlight. But, the best part of the month was seeing Johnny Marr perform “Call the Comet” live at the 40 Watt. After a nice Samhain Ritual, and Day of the Dead solitude, it was time to look towards the winter holidays. I knew that was going to be a bit empty and sad, so this year, I was going to gift my family Thanksgiving dinner, but kept the pressure to a minimum. I was planning a trip to Chattanooga right before the holiday, and decided to have all of my Thanksgiving groceries delivered right to my door this year. That combo, of a little trip and food delivery, will certainly become a holiday tradition for me! Way less stress for sure.

November

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Pedestrian Bridge in Chattanooga, pic by LK

In November, I did a lot of small interior home renovation. Moving furniture, painting. The trip to Chattanooga was restful, and I couldn’t believe how much the city had changed. It was cold and overcast, and I kept feeling like I was in Seattle! We visited Songbirds Guitar Museum, and saw an incredible collection of guitars. Stayed at an enjoyable hotel, with a heated pool and hot tub, and enjoyed some dining and an outdoor fireplace, with black cherry/whiskey cocktails in the courtyard. My friend Peter gifted me a laptop, as he didn’t want to travel back to NZ with it. I really enjoyed that, and actually I am writing on it as we speak. It operates Linux, and I took it as an opportunity to learn a little light code. I had to rebuild it upon receiving it, installing Mint and Cinnamon OS. That was a trip! I now understand all the “Sudo” jokes online now, like a proper nerd.

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Cover Art, The Heavy Light Experiment

Sashimmy Records would release another single, “Ashoka’s Ascension/Purposeful Wandering” by a new band, The Heavy Light Experiment, featuring Welsh artist Mwydu and Atlanta’s Album Gatefold. That was a great release, I really enjoyed making the artwork for it. I returned to The Michael C. Carlos Museum for a last time in 2018 to see a filming of Warhol’s Velvet Underground films with Andy Ditzler of Film Love. It was so cool, with 8 or 9 projectors going, and psychedelic colors, while the VU droned on. I cooked a family dinner on Thanksgiving, and was appropriately thankful, as my family was well behaved. I visited the Red Light Cafe, to see Glenn Phillips’ annual day after Thanksgiving show. Going home that night, my old Toyota Corolla, which we call “the Bauhaus” because of a big sticker on the back windowshield, she turned over 350,000 miles. She’s Miss Reliable! Kind of like me.

December

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Committed to the Art of Hygge this Holiday

November and December have been particularly cold and rainy. I am the only person I know who not only enjoys this, but thrives with this kind of weather. Perhaps I’m more suited for London or Seattle? December kicked in with the very last of the recording studio work. The new album is now finished, and we are finalizing it for mixing and mastering. Probably looking at an early 2019 first or second quarter release. Hygge was my motto this Christmas/Yule. I didn’t want to get over nostalgic with the holiday ornaments, so I put up a Scandanavian Minimal style tree. Oddly enough, it still displayed old ornaments from friends and family, but not so much that it was “heavy” for me. So it was still special, in its own way. I felt a little out of sorts, not sure how emotional I would feel this year, missing Aleister. Really missing all of my dogs. But, I got by okay. I leaned in hard to my meditation, yoga, and reading. My Etsy shop had its usual holiday burst, and I did pretty well this year.

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Old Fashioned Charlie Brown lights for the decor

There was a lot of “Netflix and Chill” for me, and I kept tending to my plants, which seem to be wintering over pretty well next to all the windows I can find in the house. One of the strangest things that I experienced in December was a 4 a.m. earthquake! One that was a 4.5 in Chattanooga. It rattled my bed, knocked a water bottle off the headboard, shook the paintings crooked in my house, and it felt like the ground was liquid for 5 minutes. There were a series of aftershocks too. What next? We had unseasonably cold and hot weather, tornadoes, violent summer storms, a hurricane, an eclipse, and now an earthquake? Felt like the end times! I had a nice, quiet Winter Solstice ritual, visited with friends, especially enjoying a long, year-end recap and one of many  Pow-Wows with my shamanic bestie Jordan. I did get to visit my family for the holidays. New Year’s Eve was spent with more friends watching classic Hollywood films, The Thin Man and Top Hat. Of course, my favorite time of year is between Christmas and New Years. That “time out of time, place out of place” low key week. I am writing to you from there, at the moment!

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LK on NYE

Well, this is the part where I try to make some sort of “statement” or recap of the year. I find myself struggling to do that. I write these diary/recaps up mainly for myself, so that I can both reflect on my life, and purge. Sometimes I go back and read them from years past, just to see where I was, and how far I have come. 2018 was not a year I’d like to revisit. It was full of pain, and struggle for me. However, I managed to make art, and to finish a record, and that was worth the difficulty. I truly hope for a gentler 2019! So with that, I move forward into the future…

Lisa King xoxo

What’s on Deck for 2019? Tarot Card for the Year, and 2019 Goals and Intentions

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Every year, sometime between Yule and New Year’s Day, I pull a big tarot spread, to navigate the next year. There is always a predominant card, to symbolize the year. Last year, it was The Star. I definitely practiced the energy of that Archetype, especially on stage, earlier in the year. This year, the card I pulled to move towards, is The Empress. I’m not really surprised, as her energy has made itself known to me recently, in dreams, tending plants, in tender feelings. A good card for birth, and a good card to release this new album by The Hot Place under. I wrote a rather extensive piece on this ritual and the spread, on another blog post. If tarot interests you, perhaps you’d like to read that too! Here is the link.

Goals and Intentions for 2019

To return to the beginning theme of this entry, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near. Let it Roll Baby, Roll. All night long!” I think of that lyric by The Doors. I suppose that really summed up 2018, and it’s got into my head for 2019. I really think that the thing I want to do most is Carpe Diem and Noctem. Seize both the Day and the Night. Live as presently as possible in 2019, and really try to abandon the sadness and guilt we feel about the past, and not participate in that anxiety of looking too far into the future. My number one goal is to release the Hot Place’s second album. Everything else will fall behind that. I hope my Etsy shop does well. I hope to draw a few more tarot cards for The Bent Twig Tarot project, and maybe write up a few more chapters for the accompanying book. I hope to organize my collection of Poetry. I hope to keep writing on my Novel, which I’m not pressuring myself to do. I will continue to play music, hopefully tour a bit when I release the record. I’d love to restock my savings account, after the brutal punishing it took this year. I want to keep up my yoga, my meditation, my self-care. I’m ever conscious that my body is aging, and I would like to take care of it. So, I’m not really setting any intention other than releasing this album. There’s still a ways to go, in mixing, mastering, liner notes, and art. So, let that be enough for right now. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope that you have a prosperous and happy New year!

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Happy 2019!

Here is a Facebook Link, to all of my best photos of 2018, if you’d like to see the story of my life through images:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10213817641215373&type=1&l=cd6c8494aa

 

 

Find me here:

The Bent Twig Tarot Deck: https://www.thebenttwigtarotdeck.com/

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

http://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

Music:

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: http://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

Sashimmy Records: http://www.sashimmy.com/

Sashimmy on Bandcamp: http://sashimmyrecords.bandcamp.com/

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Art and Cooking:

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

https://www.facebook.com/nobigwheelrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/sashimmyrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/waxandwanewands/

http://www.twitter.com/NoBigWheelRecs

http://www.twitter.com/TheHotPlace

http://www.twitter.com/waxandwanewands

 

2019: What’s in the Cards?

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2019: What’s in the Cards?

by Lisa King | Sunday, December 30, 2018

Every year, in the space between Yuletide, or the Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day, I like to do a tarot reading, which will be an overview of the year to come. It’s a big reading, and it can be a little difficult to handle, because, well, what if you draw some pretty lousy cards? Yikes! However, I find that it almost always seems to be a more general result, and so far, I’ve never pulled a spread that upset me. Perhaps it is because I have an understanding that even some of the more dreaded cards are a part of life, and we can’t escape the dissonance of those forces, or our own Shadow. In fact, the Shadow self is very important. It’s the part of ourselves that we always want to hide, throw away, ignore; yet in order to be a truly whole individuated human, we must acknowledge, learn from, and not fear our Shadow selves.

When I look back on these big, yearly spreads, I’m amazed at how true they are. In my opinion, every aspect of the tarot is true at all times, but the reason I enjoy consulting them, is not to “lock in” some sort of pre-destined magickal path. I like the way that the cards ask me to view certain Archetypes and influences that might just be more present or prominent in my life, at this time. I like the way they ask me to “think out of the box” for a minute, and consider this or that side of the story, which is in fact my story. Pretty much every kind of person, emotion, force, feeling, and situation are in the codex of the tarot. It’s just about which one am I choosing to isolate, and to examine, at this moment. So, with that in mind, here’s what is in the cards for me, for 2019. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of the forces that be.

The spread I chose was called “The Darkest Night” Spread, in honor of the Winter Solstice. I found the spread online a few years back, and really thought it was helpful. It is a 8 card spread, which looks like this: (I actually modify the placement of the cards from a line to a more rectangular shape.)

wintersolsticespread

A brief breakdown of the meanings of the card placement is below:

1. ASKING: Something which I desire, which I don’t let myself have, either because I’m afraid to, or I think I’ll never have it. For me, adapting this spread, I looked at this card also as “the querent”, or what the querent longs to become. This card would represent me, and it would represent the card that would be my personal symbol in 2019.

2. GIFTING: What would happen if I let myself receive the energy of card #1? And I went on to ask, How am I going to embody and receive the energy of card #1? What would the consequences be? I chose to call this position, “The Gift to Myself”.

3. RELEASING: What needs to be released in order to make room for the energy of card #1? Right away I could also see, this could represent a fear, a block, or a blindside.

4. ACCEPTING: What lessons have you learned this past year to strengthen your desire for card #1? I expanded it into 2018 “Lesson Learned”.

5. DISSONANCE: I liked the musical element of this. What is causing discord, or disharmony in your life? Where is the Tri-tone?

6. RESONANCE: Also very musical, this would be what is lending to harmony in your life?

7. GUIDING STAR: This card represents a message of clarity to guide you on your path to card #1. come true. A good energy to manifest as a guide.

8. SEEDING STAR: This is meant to be something more physical, that one plants, like a practice, a business move, or anything that helps you grow into the energy of card #1 over the next year.

In my spread, I also wound up with a “Wild Card”. An extra card just happened to jump and flip out of the deck as I was working. I tried to ask myself what I was thinking at the time. I believe that I was feeling a bit of fear and anxiety about the new year. So, we will just call this The Wild Card.

The Cards: Let’s Break it Down, Now!

Here is a photo of my spread. In the next part, I’ll talk a bit about each card, and how it relates to me. Perhaps this will inspire you to try a similar reading for your 2019 year! Here we go:

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(note: I changed the format of the spread to be more of a rectangle, less of a line. Cards 1-3 are top row, and then Cards 4-6 are bottom row. Making a 6 card box. Then Card 7 is the far right top, and Card 8 is the far right bottom. The Wild Card is off to the side.)

 

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The Empress, ATU III: (card one) So, this spread really revolves heavily around card #1, ASKING. Or, for me, the card that represents the querent, what I long to become, what I desire that I might not let myself have, out of fear or lack, and the card that would represent my path in 2019. In other words, “Who are YOU?” and “What do YOU want out of this year?” I was not surprised in the least to pull “The Empress.” In fact, by pulling her, I knew that this reading would be very accurate. She has been visiting my dreams very heavily all year, especially at the end of the year. I have been drawn to apple greens, rose quartz pinks, flora and fauna, and a nurturing spirit. It’s funny, as I reach the end of a year, there always seems to be an Archetypal energy that is making itself known to me, in colors, images, feelings, dreams. The Empress has been that card for me this year. Perhaps it is because I am tending to a new hobby of keeping lovely, green houseplants. Maybe it is because I’ve been “pregnant” with this second album by my band The Hot Place for the whole year, especially towards the end, recently, wrapping it up. I’ve also had to be a caregiver for a sick dog and my Dad who was in the hospital, and I’ve had to do a lot of work in 2018 to individuate from some abusive narcissistic relationships from the past, including one involving my Mom. So, even though I learned a lot in 2018,  a year guided for me by “The Star”, which I very much embodied in the recording studio, on stage, in my personal relationships, in my clothing, in my makeup, color choices, and in my attitude of 2018, I can see how it has morphed from that kind of feminine energy to one of The Empress in 2019, and that is a bit different.

I have always had a bit of a challenge adopting and taking in Empress energy. Although, in the tarot deck that I am hand-painting and designing, she was one of the first cards I painted, and now that I am writing an accompanying book to the deck, her card is the second one I am choosing to write out. I believe it is from a lack of Empress and Motherly energy in my childhood. Barring my Grandmother, and my Great Grandmother on occasion, the kind, nurturing, growth-oriented energy, which relies on trust, gentleness, and safeness was just not available to me as a child from my own Mother. So, I grew up relating more to Mother Nature, spending a lot of time on horses, or in the forest. As a painter and musician, the more I developed those skills, the more I started to understand the Creatrix, and the fulfillment that creativity brings to a life. I will finally be releasing my second album in 2019, and The Empress definitely represents creativity set free, into the world, after nurturing. But, it’s also a card about self-love. Love of the physical body, love of new ideas and concepts, love of freedom, the well of romantic and spiritual love, and the sweeter things in life. I believe that this Venusian energy will definitely be beneficial for me in 2019.

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Peace, The Two of Swords: (card two) So, what WOULD happen, if I let myself embody The Empress? To receive that energy of creation, love, trust, growth? This card is the “Gift to Myself” in 2019. And that is something I really never felt in 2018: PEACE. After the tumultuous energy of 2018, I am more than happy to give myself the gift of Peace in 2019. 2018 was fraught with anxiety. Constantly dealing with large household things breaking, loved ones aging and illin’, and absolutely NO chillin’. At least, in my head. The Two of Swords is a lighter card of the sometimes merciless Swords suit, which all represent the mind, or the intellectual side of things. It is called “the spirit of balance.” Moon in Libra. It’s a dualistic card, representing a thirst for knowledge but, counterbalanced by finding that knowledge. Seek and ye shall Find. It is a card of progress, clarity, understanding polarities and seeing the world in pairs of opposites, well calculated planning of projects, fairness, and the middle point between two sides. It’s kind of like a “mini-justice” card. Sometimes it can mean you have a decision to make, and in the Rider-Waite deck, the figure with the two swords is blindfolded, representing impartiality, or as Howard Jones would put it, “Don’t crack up, bend your brain, see both sides, throw off your mental chains”. Once a decision is made, Peace is the natural state that the mind feels. I’m all for feeling some mental peace in 2019. So I’m ready to embrace this as a gift to myself, for sure.

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The Hierophant, ATU V: (card three) So, what needs to be released to make way for The Empress? My old friend, The Hierophant. Funny, because in last year’s reading, he was in position 6, and represented the Harmonious Energy that would help me in 2018. But last year’s Energy is last year, and this year it’s time to let that go. I really do love the Hierophant. Especially Crowley’s sexy Taurus. But for all his enlightenment and searching for hidden truths, for all of his Priestley Illumination, he’s no substitute for Divine Feminine Instinct. I am surrounded by Hierophants. I am blessed with strong, intelligent men in my life. I listen to them, I consult with them. Hierophants are searching for the keys to inner knowledge. They embody trust, divine intervention, true callings. But, they can be stubborn and they can be dogmatic. I believe that this card is an indication that I must learn to trust my own instincts, that might be more maternal, nurturing, and organic. A quote from C. G. Jung comes to mind: “ Although science stops at the borders of logic, nature does not. It blossoms even where no theories have as yet penetrated.” That really says it all.

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Art/Temperance, ATU XIV: (card four) This card is representing the Lessons I Learned in 2018. I know this card well, as it was the main influence card for me in 2016! By the way, once again, you know you have a big reading when a TON of Major Arcana cards are popping up in the reading. You are dealing with big energies here. Which a yearly reading should definitely have! The words that come to mind with this card is: Craftsmanship, Partnership, and Alchemy. In my professional career as a musician and a visual artist, those things are so key. I definitely took them to heart in 2016, and continued to work on those skills in 2017 and 2018. I think of The Marauders Map in Harry Potter…and how when you are finished using it, in order for the map to vanish and preserve its secrets, you must say, “Mischief Managed.” I feel this way about the Art card. I definitely have managed to Solve et Coagula, search for that Philosopher’s stone, and fulfilled the core of my being. I have challenged myself to the limit, totally got out of my comfort zone, took many calculated risks, had massive Alchemical relationships with people and situations, I have worked on and developed myself, sometimes by fire, sometimes by putrefaction, being active like this Sagittarius energy suggests. So, Mischief Managed. And, I think of this quote, “You will never be able to create unity in other things as long as you are not one within yourself.” -Agrippa von Nettesheim

three of wands card

Virtue, Three of Wands: (card five) What is causing discord in my life? Where is the brown note? The blue note? Well, the good news is that it’s not a Major card. We are looking at a 3, and we are looking at the suit of Fire, or Primal Energy. In the Rider-Waite deck, we see a man standing, looking off across the sea, with three staves in the ground. It represents the visionary, the long view. For Crowley, he sees the card as “Virtue”, or “the flames of development”. Sun in Aries. The awakening of Spring. It’s a pretty positive card, so how is this causing discord or disharmony? Well, it could be causing discontent. In a reversed situation, this card is like “cross-town traffic” by Jimi Hendrix. It can mean you are placing limits on yourself, when it’s time to spread your wings and fly. It can mean you are staying in once place, perhaps too local, when it’s time to hop on an airplane and go places. It’s indicating enterprise, and you might be somehow over-committed or allowing others to pin you down. I can see that. Especially as I’m in the “wrap it up” phase of my new album. I have a lot of choices to make…who is mixing my album? Local or abroad? Tour plans? Record label, indie or major? Also, all that Alchemical logic of the Art card, and the Hierophant might just be suppressing some belly-fire that the Empressy Goddess energy counts on. Over Virtuous? Perhaps. In need of a little indulgence? Maybe. I think this card is saying, “You’ve played it safe long enough. A little danger might do you good.” Or, “Disciplined Self-Indulgence” as Brian Eno would write on his Oblique Strategies cards.

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Two of Wands, Dominion: (card six):  This position represents Harmony, or what you are in accord with in 2019. More fire! Again, a small card, but still in the suit of Wands, and our primal energy. In Crowley’s deck, this card is “the flames of the will.” Assertiveness, Rulership, Impulsiveness, Willingness to take Action, but without being destructive. This is pretty much asking that I be aware of card 5, and fuel the flames. It is the Olympic torch, and the drive that an athlete has to be as great as they physically can. It is the “move over rover” and “here I come!” card. Mars in Aries. Watch out! After all, Aries is the battering ram that broke down the gates of enemies in Roman mythology! It represents the suppression of taboos, and you are literally just on fire. I think these last two cards as both dissonance and harmony, mean that I need a whole lot more fire in my life. So, c’mon baby, light my fire! The Empress is, after all, represented by Venus. And that means desire. So, looks like it’s time to strike a match…

new universe

The Universe, ATU XXI: (card seven) This card represents the message of clarity, the beacon, the star of light to follow on your path to becoming your best self in 2019. So, if the Empress is the Archetype for me to embody, then she is led by the energy of The Universe. I can’t imagine a bigger card than that to be a beacon! The Universe is the last card in the Major Arcana. It is the synthesis of Eros and Spirit. It is in the biggest, broadest sense, wholeness and completion. The Universe throws off the shackles of Karma. It is the full circle of the Hero’s Journey completed, and the return home. Represented by planet of Saturn, but the feminine aspect of the planet as the Great Mother Ocean. I can’t think of a card that more readily represents the end of a long project, wrapping up successfully. As this is near, and dear to my heart at the moment. I finished the recording aspect of The Hot Place’s new album in 2018, so now the band is off to mix, master, and finalize the record in 2019. That has been my underlying purpose in 2018, and to see that finally complete in 2019 is my main goal, for sure. This card is the Alpha and the Omega, the Great Work complete. So mote it be!

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The Fool, ATU O: (card eight) Well, the final card is the “seeding card” for 2019. Something you plant, something you build a foundation from. I was really shocked to see this card, because between The Universe card above, and this card, it is literally the alpha and omega of the Major Arcana. It appears that I will begin 2019 with Beginner’s Mind. For this is the card of initiation. When a Hero’s Journey begins, this is the “Call to Adventure” in a way. When it ends, you arrive at “The Universe”, or bring it all back home. But, in order to truly live a life well lived, you must answer the next Call to Adventure, and repeat the cycle over and over again. That’s what this card represents. Boundless Fantasy of setting out in a direction. Openness. A new era of experience, and taking something truly to the next level. It is the Spirit of Air, the Holy Fool, The April fool, and The Green Man. I look at this card representing what will happen in my life, after I finally release this album. What sorts of new adventures will call? How to tend to a new creation. I look forward to that leg of the journey, for sure!

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Wild Card: So, in this reading, as I was pulling cards, A Wild Card popped out of the deck. I was thinking about both fear and anxiety that one feels when pondering the future. Any time a “volunteer” card falls out of the deck, I integrate it into my reading as a Wild Card. This card is a Court card, in the emotional suit of Water: The Queen of Cups. What does she have to say? Well, she represents “the mother of the source and the inner mysteries” according to Crowley. She erases the boundaries between dream and reality. She is inner wisdom, a lot like the inner wisdom of The Empress. She is a visionary, although she can sometimes be a little too vague. She is the ocean of the Collective Unconscious. Often portrayed as a water fairy, 21 degrees Gemini to 20 degrees Cancer. She is the Lady of Lourdes and Avalon, represented by Amber, Opium, Jade, and Opal. Mystical almost to the edge of confusing, she is the muse of the poets and musicians, sometimes a blurry vision distorted in the water or haze. I believe she is the spirit that I soak up, when I visit the ocean. Or when I am pulled to lakes and streams. So, I believe her message to me is Dream. Don’t forget to Dream and Fantasize, in that healthy, childlike way, which inspires the best art and music.

I hope that you found this reading interesting, and perhaps it will inspire you to pull your own version of this spread. I have found it really helpful in navigating my new year. This reading had the appearance of 5 Major Arcana cards…which means big, big forces at work. I also had several twos and threes, which are harmonious and active numbers. And one court card. A lot of fire and water as well. So, a little more passion and emotion in 2019, and a little less earthiness and brain power. Time to unleash all the passionate feels, along with a new album, and then embark on a new adventure.

Blissings and Blessings to you in 2019,

Lisa King

Find me here:

 

The Bent Twig Tarot Deck: https://www.thebenttwigtarotdeck.com/

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

http://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

Music:

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: http://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

Sashimmy Records: http://www.sashimmy.com/

Sashimmy on Bandcamp: http://sashimmyrecords.bandcamp.com/

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Art and Cooking:

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

https://www.facebook.com/nobigwheelrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/sashimmyrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/waxandwanewands/

http://www.twitter.com/NoBigWheelRecs

http://www.twitter.com/TheHotPlace

http://www.twitter.com/waxandwanewands

Having a Self-Care Solstice and a Compassionate Christmas: 10 Ideas to Help you Manifest Joy This Season

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Having a Self-Care Solstice and a Compassionate Christmas: 10 Ideas to Help you Manifest Joy This Season

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by Lisa King | Dec. 19

The holidays are a mixed bag for a lot of us. The magical, mystical, and witchy side of me always loves the Wheel of the Year turning to Yule. Alpine forests, candles glowing on windowsills, the smell of fir trees brought indoors, spices like ginger, cinnamon, and clove all make me very happy. Not to mention all of the symbols like stars and deer making their rounds on cards and ornaments. Grey, cold, dark days are a backdrop for illuminated fairy lights indoors, and cozy reading sessions, while curled up under a favorite blanket with a hot drink. The whole atmosphere is conducive to self-awareness, introspection, solitude—and it’s a haven for introverts.

But, then there is the commercial side of a holiday that is ever-changing, and not always for the better. The consumerism of the holiday gadgets, the grocery and electronics commercials, set off an energy of depression for some people. The message is that you must have a new, expensive car to tend to your inner child. If you love your wife or girlfriend, you must buy her diamonds. If you don’t have a Norman Rockwell nuclear family gathering around the decked out table of a large, middle class home, with everyone dressed in brand new L.L. Bean sweaters, you are lacking in love. We become maudlin, and hyper-aware of friends or family that have passed away, or for some reason are not here with us. Loneliness creeps in. Inadequacy starts to enter the back of our psyche. “What if’s” start to fly around our heads. We have a strange holiday identity crisis, and can’t escape the syrupy Christmas music, the lights start to look garish instead of pretty, and the symbolism starts to seem dark. Perhaps then, we drink too much at the holiday party, or overspend at the bookshop, or we might indulge in too much of the holiday snacks, or drive ourselves crazy trying to create a “perfect holiday” scenario, that simply does not exist. We forget to look around at what we do have, and to count our blessings. We forget this is a time of rest, vacation, and heavenly peace.

When the Pagan community celebrates its holidays, the emphasis always seems to be on doing gentle, community-oriented, globally conscious, and self-care based rituals, that are kind to all, and inclusive to each family member or friend. Many rituals are geared toward the solitary practitioner. Whether it’s baking, crafting handmade home décor, setting positive intentions, or raising compassion, there is an inclusiveness for everyone, that is very important. When I celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice, I focus in on the concept which is behind the holiday—The return of light and peace into the darkness and bitter cold of winter. The days will start to get lighter after Yule, which is the darkest night of the year. I really think about that symbolism. Just as the Christian faith focuses on this little child of light, I think of the little “inner child of light” that I tend to, that is the joy inside my own soul. I’ve developed my own Yule ritual, which not only brings peace and relaxation into my sometimes chaotic holiday world, as I visit other people’s parties and invite family over for Christmas dinner, but it sets the tone for Christmas, which follows a few days after Yule. I still celebrate both holidays, the way many might celebrate Christmas plus Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, or Saturnalia.

I’ll share my personal Winter Solstice ritual with you at the end of this piece. If you’re not interested in Yuletide celebrations, just skip that part. If you are curious about the Winter Solstice/Yule, and would like to try a little celebration on the darkest night of the year, then by all means, feel free to adopt my ritual into your own practice. Why not try something new? In the meantime, here’s some tips that anyone can share and participate in, for a peaceful holiday season:

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1) Ditch Any Traditions or Beliefs That No Longer Serve You– Holiday traditions can sometimes feel more like a prison than a celebration. If you have had some toxic family situations in the past, or a bad relationship, chances are you’ve adopted some holiday baggage that no longer serves you. Was Dad always grouchy when going to get the holiday tree at the local hardware store? Then ditch it. Take a trek to a tree farm, or support a local charity or church, who might be selling Christmas trees. Did Mom always drink too much wine while dragging you through the shopping mall as a kid, when you really wanted to just ride your bike and play with your friends? Then axe the shopping mall, and consider crafting or handmaking your gifts this year. Do certain tree ornaments, decorations, or photos make you miss your grandmother, a beloved pet, or family member no longer present? Then don’t pull out the entire arsenal of ornaments and photographs this year. Try decorating a minimal tree, or a color-themed or topical themed tree. Does singing holiday carols make your hair stand up on end? Try medieval madrigals instead or some Spanish guitar music. Does the traditional Christmas Story not really symbolize anything for you? Then research the way other religions and cultures celebrate the winter time holidays. The point here is that if there is anything surrounding the holiday that makes you feel less than yourself, it’s time to chuck that in the trash and begin anew.

2) Avoid People who are Toxic for You, Make it a Point to Hang with those who Inspire You– If your Auntie makes you cringe as she comes into town, if your Brother always judges you, if that friend who drinks waaaay too much invites you to his holiday party and you know you’ll only feel guilty and hungover tomorrow, and suddenly you find yourself in the midst of toxic people, then escape. Sometimes we can’t help but having to mingle with co-workers or family that are extremely unhealthy for our well being during the Holidays. Simply say “NO” to any parties, events, dinners, or situations that make you feel horrible. If you just can’t avoid Nana this year, then consider practicing narcissist avoidance speech, or “go gray.” That means to appear dull and gray, like an uninteresting rock, which isn’t much fun for a bully to play with. For instance, if you are attacked for your image, your lifestyle, your choices, your beliefs, try to use language which will end the attack, and end the fun for the bully, such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” “You are certainly entitled to your opinion”, “Is that so, that must be terrible for you to have to endure or feel”, and “How nice. Excuse me, I have to return this call.” then leave the room. These are responses that might feel robotic, but they work very quickly to end a bully or narcissist on a rampage. You don’t have to interact with these toxic people. Stand up for yourself, diffuse the situation, appear uninteresting to pursue, and then leave. If there is someone in your life who makes you feel loved, supported, cherished, and inspired, then make sure to spend time with that person or group of people this holiday season. Those are the golden ones, and you want to keep those people around. Make time for them instead.

3) Don’t Fight the Cold Weather and Dark Nights, Practice Hygge Instead-– Yes, we’ve all heard of the Scandinavian word “Hygge” by now. It’s the art of cozying down for the winter, inside with family and friends. There is something about the notion, that really makes sense during winter. When the days are gray and cold, and it gets dark at 5 p.m., it’s really easy to succumb to sadness. First of all, this time of year was traditionally perilous in the days of yore. Our more agricultural ancestors would be afraid of starvation, or running out of wood, or wild animals during the bleak midwinter. It is OK to feel introspective, to withdraw from the outside world, to cozy up with a book or hot drink under a blanket. To hibernate is what we are programmed to do, during winter. To reflect, to relax, to draw near to the fire are all cold weather tendencies. Don’t fight it! It’s not summer anymore, and to try to do the same activities that you would do in that season would be ridiculous. Instead, pull out those hats, scarves, gloves, coats, and boots. Don’t settle for the “ugly sweater”, really buy yourself winter duds that make you feel wonderful. Pull out those hot cocoa mugs, if it makes you feel happy then decorate a tree, and indulge in the aroma of pine and fir. I personally love to decorate my house for the holidays, because if I’m going to be spending time indoors, I like to transform it with candles, greenery, berries, wreaths, and things that make me happy. If you have old, or outmoded decorations, or even old winter clothing that you no longer need, consider giving them to a shelter or church this year. Also, with light being a precious commodity, try to get up earlier, and go outside for a walk or a drive after breakfast, and get some much needed daylight in to your system, before the sun goes down.

4) Make Decorating and Shopping Local and Low Key, Or Online (Including Groceries)–Speaking of decorating, stick to the décor that makes you happy. You don’t have to do everything! Ask yourself which things, symbols, objects are really the ones that make you happy. Perhaps it’s a wreath, or a tree, scented candles, or a certain kind of lighting, or special foods. Focus on those. Take advantage of grocery delivery and pickup services. It’s well worth the $5-10 you might spend once a year to have those holiday groceries delivered, if grocery store and department store crowds make you cranky, anxious, nervous, or unhappy. Use services like Amazon or Target online ordering and delivery for specific gifts. Shop indie crafters on Etsy! Make your in-person shopping local, fun, and small, and only visit places that make you happy, such as a pet shop, book store, a cute gift shop, or record store. Avoid malls, unless they make you feel good during the holidays. This might be harder if you have kids. But, perhaps let an older sibling or friend shuttle the kids to the mall, while you shop in places that make you feel happy.

5) Don’t Oversocialize, Consider Donating to Food Banks and Shelters Instead– You can say “No”. You don’t have to attend every single holiday event this year. Every season, I get invited to a million parties, music events, art shows, or other seasonal events. Pick and choose! If I went to every event I was invited to, I’d not have a single moment for myself. If your favorite band or best friend is playing a musical show, by all means, go! If the office party is mandatory, go! But, really ask yourself, which events fill your soul with joy, and which ones are you just feeling peer pressure to attend. I try to book some coffee or drinks with my best friends. I make sure I spend time with my family, and my close circle, and I even try to get out into the fray at a Botanical Garden, Art Museum, or Bar on occasion. But, only do what you want. You are not going to somehow let down a friend or family member, if you do what is healthy for you. Real friends understand it, if you need some down time. If you find yourself with some extra time to spare, and want to socialize, consider donating your time to a soup kitchen, toy drive, food bank, or shelter this year. You can volunteer to dog sit, dog walk, or take care of someone’s pets while they travel for the holidays, if you’d rather have non-human companionship. Do what feels right for you. Don’t overextend!

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6) Don’t Succumb to Peer Pressure to be Jolly, or to be “A Certain Way”, or Celebrate Like Everyone Else— This one can be hard. The peer pressure to be “Jolly” is coming at you from all directions. From stories like The Grinch, to the message in holiday music, to advertising targeted to you. It’s OK to feel blue. It’s OK to miss loved ones. It’s OK to not feel jolly, but to feel introspective. You don’t have to “follow the pack of sheep” at the holidays. Bake goodies if the kitchen is calling. If you’re too tired, then just visit a bakery! Go to the beach, or travel to an exotic location. Don’t decorate at all. Simply take a two week, winter holiday and binge watch Netflix. Do whatever makes YOU happy. The peer pressure can be overwhelming this time of year to be a certain way. If a flamingo on the top of your tree, and a skeleton wreath on your door is what makes your heart sing, then you go do it with wild abandon. Express your individuality, don’t go with the pack. It’s YOUR holiday, after all! Don’t forget to participate in some self care, such as a massage, hot baths, a facial, some nourishing foods, vitamins, and plenty of sleep this winter. It’s perfectly okay to simply do nothing. Doing nothing is divine!

7) Avoid TV Commercials or Mass Consumerism—If the upper-class nuclear family, who is gifting each other diamonds and Lexus cars on the Holiday commercials is not your cup of tea, consider avoiding network TV commercials that are targeted at you to overspend. This time of year, I just watch Netflix or Amazon, DVD’s or go to the movies. If I do watch network TV, I fast forward through the commercials, or mute the TV set. There’s only one reason those commercials are there: to make you spend money. Some of them are funny, or entertaining, even the sentimental ones can be beautiful or striking. It’s okay if you want to participate in that kind of consumerism, but if it makes you uncomfortable, walk away from the TV and make a cup of tea. If certain Holiday movies make you feel sad, or over nostalgic, don’t watch them. I have a list of movies that I like to watch this time of year, and it’s certainly unconventional, and not “holidayish” for everyone else. But, I like to watch what makes me feel good, and so should you!

8) Book Travel Plans Early and Have Entertainment Handy—If you travel during the Holidays, make sure you book your flights and hotels early. While it might be a fun idea to stay with family, a lot of the drama and claustrophobia surrounding the holidays revolves around over-staying with family or friends in old bedrooms that make you feel like a child again, in a bad way, or cramped quarters. While one night might be fun, consider a hotel for the rest of your stay. If you’re not going far, and are driving, don’t forget the independence of a rental car, or your own vehicle, can be quite liberating when needing to step out for a bit. Pack plenty of entertainment, such as books, audio-books, laptop, tablets, adult or kids coloring books, puzzles, and other ways you can occupy your mind, so that perhaps your mouth isn’t running overtime, especially in a political debate with Grandpa! Make sure you have plenty of neutral topics to default to, such as the weather, celebrities, sports, movies, or television shows. Planned small talk might seem ridiculous, but you’d be amazed how a little planning can go a long way, when deflecting heated topics like religion, politics, and other taboo topics. Prepare! Bring your own brands of tea, coffee, soda, booze, or comforting beverage of your choice on your trip. Don’t rely on your host to have them in stock. Having a bit of home while away, can make a huge difference in your attitude and routine while visiting.

9) You Don’t Have to be Nostaligic—Nostalgia can really be hard for people around the holidays. I’d say it can be more of a source of upset than comfort. You don’t have to look through your Facebook memories at years past, and miss the way things were, or how you did something 5 years ago. You don’t have to pull out photo albums, and special ornaments, unless you feel like doing it. If anyone forces you to reminisce about the past, just remember that to dwell too much in the past creates sadness. You cannot change the past. If anyone wants to discuss things that are too far into the future, like kids, school, careers, money, well, then the anxiety starts to bubble up. Instead of playing “what if” and “what was”, try to focus on WHAT IS. Concentrate on the sights, sounds, people, events, and happenings in real time, that are right in front of your nose. Scented candles, food cooking, twinkling lights, a good conversation, a board game (can you say retro?), or a walk can focus your mind back on the now. Brushing up on your mindfulness or meditation skills in preparation for this might be a helpful exercise at morning or night. If you do happen to practice Yoga or Meditation, make sure you don’t skip your daily practice during the holidays. It can be very valuable.

10) Create or Start Something New—Not only can you start new traditions this time of year, that are comforting and supportive, you can try new things. Think about starting a new Yoga or Meditation practice, a reading challenge, or learning a new hobby. Holiday gifts can sometimes be suggestive of this. Gift someone a tarot card reading, a subscription to Audible, an art class, a musical instrument, Master Classes with writers or movie makers, a new camera, or a yearly pass to a park or museum. Start new traditions, like a woodland walk on Christmas day, or a trip to the dog park. The down-time of winter is a great chance to learn a new skill. If you’re feeling lonely or disconnected, consider group classes like Aerial Rope Circus training, shamanic drumming circles, a meditation retreat, group hikes in local state parks, or group cooking classes. Gifts can be action items, they don’t have to be objects.

I hope these ten tips will liberate your body and spirit this winter, and help you remember that it’s okay to have whatever kind of holiday season that is right for you. If you are in the mood to try something new or different, or perhaps a bit familiar, then I included my Yule ritual below. Happy Holidays!

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For Those Who Would Like to Try Something New, Here’s how I celebrate Yule: First, I smudge my whole house. Out with the inner tension, out with the collected stressful energy of visitors, out with any sad thoughts, out with the old. Then, I set out mulled wine with cranberries, oranges, and spices on the kitchen table, along with a few cookies and treats. I arrange several candles, pinecones, and favorite holiday tokens on the table. This will come in to play later. I then draw a ritual bath. I include strong banishing and cleansing oils, like Frankincense, Myrrh, Mint, Sage and Pine. They also invoke the scents of the season! I light the tub with candles. I go to my sacred space, and set up my altar for Yule. I usually include a cauldron on the altar, where I will write down a few negative things in my life that I want to banish, and write down a few manifestations of things I want to nurture, on flying wish paper, or burn them in the cauldron. It’s kind of like New Year’s Resolutions for witches!

Then, at dusk, I start my ritual. When it’s dark enough, I walk around my house, and go from room to room with a candle in my hand. I turn off every light I can in the room. I imagine the room and everything in it, going underground, hibernating, like the animals do in winter. I continue around my whole house, turning off as many lights as possible, until the only light that remains is in the bath area. I usually guide myself into the bath, (have your robe or clothes ready, and a towel, and a lighter or matches for after the bath), and after I get comfortable, I blow out all the candles. I sit in the dark, quiet house, and I do a meditation. I imagine myself underground, burrowed cozy, like a hibernating creature. I allow myself to power down. To let go of everything I hold dear. I mentally release my artistic projects, my identity, my attachments, everything. When I find the peace in the dark, quiet, nothingness, sometimes thoughts will come. I might journal those later.

After a time has passed, I slowly rise out of my hibernation, imagining I am resurfacing to the light. I reach over for the lighter, and light one candle. I let my eyes adjust. I leave the bath, lighting a few more candles in the bath area, and get dressed. Then, I turn on some music. Whatever music is energizing for me. I turn it on loud, and joyously. It contrasts against the silence. I go from room to room, and I turn on every light in the room. I might sing along with the music, or dance as I go. I imagine as much light, love, and good energy as I can flooding the rooms, like the return of the sun. I light candles in every room, and some incense that I like, and my whole house then glows with light. I will then end up in my sacred space, and perform my cauldron-based ritual of burning slips of paper with old, outmoded beliefs or situations written on them, and manifesting new things that I want to embrace for the year. Then, after my ritual, I will go to the kitchen table, and feast on the snacks and drinks. I allow myself to really feel the return of joy and light. This really helps me to feel like I have celebrated both the darkness and the light of the Winter Solstice.

2018: Getting Witchy with It – A Glimpse Forward in Ritual and Tarot

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2018: Getting Witchy with It – A Glimpse Forward in Ritual and Tarot

by Lisa King | Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

 

2018 spread with numbers

(photo by Lisa King, “Darkest Night” A Winter Solstice Spread, also a guide into the New Year, 2018)

2018: Getting Witchy With It – A Glimpse Forward in Ritual and Tarot

I get very bored with conventional Tarot spreads. I’ve dealt up The High Priestess, The Celtic Cross, The Path and everything in between. I also don’t really enjoy working with spreads that have too much of a novelty element to them. In fact, most of the time I create my own. But recently, I have come across some pretty cool spreads, which I have implemented in my practice this year. One that stands out was the spread I did on Yule/The Winter Solstice. A friend sent me to this blog called “Worts and Cunning”, right when I was about to start the tarot portion of my yearly ritual. I took it as a sign, and abandoned my conventional spread for the one presented on this blog. I really enjoyed the results. Usually the spread that I do at this time will also be used as my predictive spread for the New Year. So, I take great care in my Yule reading.

I have been creating my own tarot deck since 2016, and I am getting used to writing about tarot again. I will be making a book to accompany my cards, so any practice that I can fit in, which includes musing on the cards, is most welcome. Many of my friends are interested in tarot, so I decided to make my reading public, in the same way that I make my year-end diary available for friends and family to read. So, here goes.

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Darkest Night of the Year Spread

The first thing to be aware of is that in the photograph at the top of the blog, I have moved the card spread into a different format, so that it was more easily photographed, and it was easier to manage on my tarot table. I did include the numbers, so that you can see how I modified it. I wasn’t a fan of the layout of the cards, in a long line. I never like “long line” spreads. But, I did like what the cards represented. So, I laid my cards out differently, but kept the meanings corresponding to my new positions. As usual, even in an unconventional reading, I’m already improvising to make it my own! Basically, the spread goes like this: (Also, remember, the language used here is based around the Yule holiday energy and wordcraft.)

1. ASKING: Something which I desire, which I don’t let myself have, either because I’m afraid to, or I think I’ll never have it. For me, adapting this spread, I looked at this card also as “the querent”, or what the querent longs to become. This card would represent me, and it would represent the card that would be my personal symbol in 2018. The card I drew was Atu 17 “The Star”, Major Arcana card.

2. GIFTING: What would happen if I let myself receive the energy of card #1? And I went on to ask, How am I going to embody and receive the energy of card #1? What would the consequences be? I chose to call this position, “The Gift to Myself”. The card I drew here was the 8 of Disks, or “Prudence”. In some decks this card is the 8 of Pentacles or “Apprenticeship.”

3. RELEASING: What needs to be released in order to make room for the energy of card #1? Right away I could also see, this could represent a fear, a block, or a blindside. I drew the 2 of Disks, or “Change”. In some decks this is the 2 of Pentacles or “Balance.

4. ACCEPTING: What lessons have you learned this past year to strengthen your desire for card #1? I expanded it into 2017 “Lesson Learned”. I drew the court card, The Knight of Disks which is also The King of Pentacles in some decks.

5. DISSONANCE: I liked the musical element of this. What is causing discord, or disharmony in your life? I drew ATU 10 or “The Devil” Major Arcana card. Where is the Tri-tone

6. RESONANCE: Also very musical, this would be what is lending to harmony in your life? I drew another Major Arcana card, Atu 5, “The Hierophant” or the High Priest.

7. GUIDING STAR: I found it amusing that I had literally drawn The Star card already, but keeping with the Yuletide theme, of guiding stars, this card represents a message of clarity to guide you on your path to card #1. I drew the 9 of Cups, “Happiness” or “The wish card”, actually indicating that whatever I’m wishing will come true. A good energy to manifest as a guide, if The Star card is what I am manifesting. They go hand in hand! But more about that later.

8. SEEDING STAR: This is meant to be something more physical, that one plants, like a practice, a business move, or anything that helps you grow into the energy of card #1 over the next year. I pulled yet another Major Arcana card, meaning the higher forces are really potent in this spread, I pulled ATU 11 the “Lust” or “Strength” card. Wow! 

So, at this point, I was pretty blown away by this spread. The ritual that I conduct at Yule is a really potent one, which I will walk you through next. I really felt like this was spot-on for me, and I find that sometimes when you step out of the spreads that you tend to lean towards over and over, that the fresh energy will give you a very strong reading.

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(photo above, “Winter Solstice Cauldron”, by Lisa King)

Yuletide Ritual

At Yule, on the winter solstice, at dusk, I start my ritual. The first thing I do is set up some cakes and ale on my kitchen table, and anything else I want at my fingertips right after my experience, like pen and paper, or other tools. I also set up my sacred space and altar with any tools or things I will need in my ritual. I light one white candle on each side of my altar, to illuminate the room. I turn all the other lights off. I light whatever incense feels good that day, usually something very strong, that will clear out any “negative” or dark energies that tend to lurk about between Samhain and Yule. After marking my ritual space, and establishing sacred boundaries, I go from room to room in my home, wafting the incense, and I turn off every light in the room. I say, “Embracing the darkness, returning to the bones of the earth.”  I then walk counterclockwise into every room, and do the same thing, turn out the light, waft the incense, say my chant. When I am finished, I return to my sacred space, and every light in the house is off. It is usually very dark, it being the longest and darkest night of the year. It is always still, and quiet. Often it’s very cold. This is when I go into my “trance” state. Either in the tub, (drawn in advance, and lit by one solitary candle which I will blow out once safely in), or just in the lotus position in my sacred space in front of my altar, I contemplate a deep, dark, quiet, and imagine myself as a seed or a hibernating animal deep in the bones of the earth.

I generally play a very minimal track of Shamanic drumming. In this space, I allow whatever visions, thoughts, dreams, and messages that come to me to speak. Often I will be in this trance for an hour. I sometimes feel profound anger or sadness from the year, lingering from Samhain, as if something is pulling me apart, I travel in bits to all sorts of corners of the universe. I allow the fragmentation and disintegration to occur. Then, I am generally guided by totems, deities, energies, spirit animals, ancestors, and others back into the light, and back into myself. I notice what forces come to my aid. I usually then experience a very nirvanic and peaceful state of “reintegration” , advice, wisdom, council, and happiness. When I have returned from the bones of the earth, I imagine myself rising out of the ground, like a flower or shoot, or animal waking up from a winter nap, and get ready to embrace the light. I light the candles on my altar, do any deity or devotional work, I also have some things I am shedding or manifesting written down that I burn in my cauldron, along with anything else that has served its purpose that year. I rise, and I put on holiday music, or celebratory music, usually still quite pagan in character, and I start the “light bringing” part of the ritual, to welcome the light at yule. I light my quarter candles. I sing carols. I go from room to room, loudly banging my tibetan bells, and I turn on every single light in the house, including the holiday fairy lights and christmas tree lights. I am bringing the true, “merry and bright” feeling to every room. When I am finished, I return to my sacred space. I wrap up any other work I need to complete, and then I dismiss the quarters or any energies I am working with. I end the ritual with cakes and ale, often a hearty supper, lively drinks like eggnog or mulled wine, and I do a tarot spread, which is looking towards the new year.

So now that you have a window into my ritual, I’m ready to discuss some personal insights to this Darkest Night of the Year spread that I pulled. As far as the results and visions I received from my actual Yule ritual, those are secret, and reserved for my fellow shamanic circle of friends, when we get together and have our monthly pow-wow. That is deep magick, that I save for my circle and tribe. But, I feel like I can share my tarot insights with you, and perhaps, you can have a tiny glimpse into what I may have banished or raised in my ritual.

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(photo above, “New Altar Cloth for Yule”, a gift from a friend, by Lisa King. This is not from the actual spread we are discussing.)

Interpreting the Darkest Night of the Year Spread

So, how do I read tarot? It really depends on if I’m reading for myself or someone else. It also depends on how I am feeling that day. There really is no rule, beyond going with your gut and instinct. I like to light my candles and specific incense, and I have music that I enjoy, and a special table and altar cloth that I read on. So, after setting the vibe, and intent, and keeping the sacred space alive that I have cut out and marked the boundaries of, and doing any deity, guide, totem, or energy work that I feel is necessary, I shuffle the cards until I feel ready to start. I fan them out into a gentle arc in front of me. I allow myself to be guided, and I pull my spread. I then put my cards back into a stack, to the side, in case I want to pull extra cards. I keep them face down, and I arrange them a little neater into the spread that I am working with. After a few sips of my chosen drink, and when my notebook and pen are ready to record, I start to turn over the cards. I like to pause, one by one, and contemplate each card before turning over the next one. I study, write, speak into a digital tape recorder, draw, and interpret. I do this for each card. After I am finished, I like to keep the upturned spread on the table, looking for patterns of numbers, amount Major and Minor arcana, court cards, suits, and other things. After studying those correspondences, I photograph the spread for my journal. I then like to discuss some spreads with my circle of shamans, which is always wonderful. I like to get other opinions on some readings. I like to expand. My friend, who is an audio engineer, likes to call this, “Putting a mix up on the console”. Like mixing a song in the studio. As a fellow musician, I appreciate that analogy.

The Cards: Let’s Break it Down

the star

The Star: (card one) So, this spread really revolves heavily around card #1, ASKING. Or, for me, the card that represents the querent, what I long to become, what I desire that I might not let myself have, out of fear or lack, and the card that would represent my path in 2018. In other words, “Who are YOU?” and “What do YOU want out of this year?” I pulled Atu 17, The Star. The Aquarian Water-Bearer. I immediately smiled, and kind of chuckled when I drew this card. You see, I had carried The Star card with me on tour this year, in June, and it had really become my model energy to adopt while performing, both live and in the studio. My band The Hot Place played a mini-tour with David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets) in 2016 and 2017, and I kept that card close, on my makeup mirror every night. Though I felt like the energy of 2017 was The Chariot, for me personally, The Star kept watch. And her energy was not finished with me yet. In fact, she would push through, and become the beacon for me for 2018. The Star is all about Hope. If Princess Leia was a tarot card, she’d be The Star. Her energy is soft, sexy, feminine, bright, loving, gracious, light, hopeful, emotional, brave, and full of potential. She’s also, according to this reading, an energy that I’m afraid to let myself have or am afraid to let myself embody. I can see that. I’m a tough gal. A rocker chick. A responsible, Moon in Capricorn, practical, masculine, “get it done” kind of girl. Sometimes I flat out forget, while winding cables, and slinging amps and guitars, that I am a woman. My Dad, an ex-NASA employee and engineer raised me to be that way. My Mom was often absent, emotionally unavailable, abusing drugs or even worse, abusing me, as a child. So, I think the only way my Dad could cope with this tragedy was to give me the intelligence, education, strength, independence, and skills to overcome those adversities. The “stop crying, it’s just a scraped knee. Get on up, let me show you how to fix it, go get the first aid kit” approach. It was loving, but tough. As a result, I grew up handling emotional situations in a very similar way. I think to some extent, I’ve suppressed the qualities of softness, femininity, and sparkly star-beauty in myself, because my Dad taught me that those qualities were not very practical, and my Mom would just punish me if I shone too brightly. So, I’ve denied my inner star-princess to a great extent. Well, not anymore. She’s coming out to play, in all her velvety, twinkly, emotional glory in 2018.

prudence 2

Prudence: (card two) So, what WOULD happen, if I let myself embody The Star? To receive that energy of femininity, hope, and softness? The card I drew here was the 8 of Pentacles/Disks, or “Prudence”. Sometimes depicted as “Apprenticeship.” Sun in Virgo. I think that it’s something that I am very aware of, to live with a sense of self-mastery, a high moral standard. But, if taken in too much Virgo detail, it can be that dreaded BOX that I feel like I put myself in sometimes. Thinking outside of the box is important. Not becoming paralyzed in formalism. I think what this card is saying is, “remember to get back to the BALANCE of creative nature, and remember that chaos and order often give rise to each other.” So, if I let The Star energy control my path, I have enough inner resources to handle her. I learned to Master her on stage this past year in 2017, and as a result, had some of my best shows ever.

change

Change: (card three) So, what needs to be released to make way for The Star? The Two of Disks, that great yin/yang card, Change. Again, the box. Change is the Ouroboros. Expansive Jupiter in Boxy Capricorn. We are reminded “see both sides”. Let go of the fear of change. Flexibility. Holism. Embracing of the Unstable. So, in order to walk the path of The Star, I must let go of any fear of change. But, also, “don’t change.” As in, what really makes me tick, deep down inside, the things I love that are unsullied by what society, my lover, my parents, my friends, or my ego think. The real deal. What I adore to my toenails. Bring that out. What is really, really, really me, without suppression.

knight pent

King of Pentacles (Knight of Disks): (card four) Oh boy, do I ever know this guy. In this position, he is representing the Lessons I Learned in 2017. Well, as last year was the Year of the Chariot for me, I took the reins of that horse, and I rode, and rode, and rode. This guy, he is pausing to look over his estate, and man, he is tired from all that TENDING. He is secure, all of his i’s are dotted and his t’s are crossed. He’s heavy. Master of his natural resources. A farmer. The harvest is in good hands with him. But he’s also patriarchal, though he respects Mother Nature, and he wears the stags horns of Diana/Artemis on his helmet. He loves mother earth. But he’s a man. A reliable, steady, dude. I’ve been him in 2017, and I’ve been around a lot of fellow Knights/Kings as well. My realm overfloweth with Kings, if truth be known. We may as well be questing at Camelot for the Grail! But, it’s time to put that heaviness and burden down for something much, much lighter. It’s time to enjoy that harvest, with a teeny tiny bit of (prudent) hedonism.

devil 2

The Devil: (card five) What is causing discord in my life? Where is the brown note? The blue note? This old goat. That old Capricorn Pan loves to hound me. He loves to chase nymphs, after all. That’s what he does! That old black magician lusts for power. He’s fond of bondage though, (says the girl with the patent leather pants.) I’m not one to be afraid of the shadow. I did serious shadow work at Samhain. I’ve also been heavily criticized for being a bit of a Lucifer this year. I can’t help it if I’m a light-bearer. But, perhaps the kind of light I need to bear this year is Starlight. Projections be damned, I’ve made my deal with the devil in the pale moonlight years and years ago, and now, I’ve graduated. Time to let go of the horns!

hiero

The Hierophant: (card six): You know you’ve got a good reading going, when the Major Arcana cards are really standing up and speaking to you! Hello! These are BIG energies in this reading, not small fries. This position represents Harmony, or what you are in accord with in 2018. My, my, that Taurus, the Hierophant. The Tarot deck I like to use when I’m the most serious is the Thoth Deck, by my mentor Mr. Crowley. His Hierophant isn’t your usual priest. He’s sexy. He’s the gnostic teacher with a tiny image of the dark goddess at his feet. He’s guided by the bull of Taurus. He’s the obstacle remover, like Ganesh. He’s the leader of the Cult of the Cathedral at Chartres. He is belief, trust, illumination. GNOSIS. I am very blessed in wise men. In my life, I am surrounded by them. The way I see this card? They have created the harmony and safe space, and it’s okay for me to shine my brightest, because I’m protected by their priesthood. If you try to capture The Star, you’ll have to face the fierceness of their shadow side: intolerance. I am vibrating in accord with the High Priest. Any good star-girl should. 

cups 9

Happiness: (card seven) This card represents the message of clarity, the beacon, the star of light to follow on your path to becoming. I can’t imagine a better card to be the guide for The Star itself than Happiness. At the end of 2017, I started a morning ritual. I would ask myself, “Today, What Makes you Happy?”, “Today, if you are Feeling Down, Who is Stealing your Happiness?”, and when I would look at my day planner, “Is doing this making you Happy today? Why or Why not?” It’s a ritual about honoring your emotions. And this card is sometimes called the “wish fulfillment card.” It is all receiving wishes. “Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I see Tonight…” So, find your happiness, and find The Star. It worked for me this year on stage and in the studio, and I hope it will keep me happy in 2018.

lust

Lust/Strength: (card eight) Well, the final card is the “seeding card.” I think Lust is appropriate for that! If card seven represents the emotional, this card represents the physical. And this card is all about wild abandon, AND mastery of control. She is balanced. Once again, I get a figure with reins. I even called my 2017 diary, “Taking the Reins of The Chariot.” Well, how about “Taking the reins of the Lion” in 2018! Rowr! From an armed to the teeth, male, charioteer, to a naked, writhing, lusty female goddess riding that lion- I think that would definitely fuel both my happiness and The Star quite well. But, she’s no common whore of Babylon. She is great. She is the joy and energy of sex, transformation, the tantric sexual practices, vitality. High Spirits. She’ll wake you up! We don’t want to digress into perversion, but we sure can get down to some pleasure if we like. I’ll take it!

In the End

So, I feel like I have a pretty good direction for myself in 2018. I am just about to put down the Chariot reins that I drove so hard the past year, and enjoy a little celebratory starlight as my band The Hot Place releases their second album, and we play some live music once again with David J and friends this March. (Atlanta show Tickets onsale now!) I hope that this diary has given you some insight into my practice, my tarot card reading, and my way of interpreting the cards. Right now, I have 18 tarot cards painted for my own deck, “The Bent Twig Tarot.” So, getting used to writing about tarot is something that I’ll be doing more frequently in 2018. As I compile the book that goes along with my deck, I hope to find some insights in these blog posts. And I hope you find them enjoyable.

With Blessings,

Lisa King

xo

Doll Outtake 7

(photo above, “The Star”, outtake from the Little Doll photo session, by Lisa King)

(photo below, “The Star”, hand painted tarot card, from “The Bent Twig Tarot” deck, by Lisa King.)

the star feb 19

 

FIND ME HERE:

FULL PHOTO DIARY OF 2017 LINK HERE

 

EXTRA FEATURES:

Read my Online David J/The Hot Place Tour Diary here:

Savannah: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/haunted-when-the-minutes-drag-art-school-spirits-and-cryptic-savannah-spiral-echoes/

Athens: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/the-wild-one-and-the-goddess-gothic-triumph-in-the-city-of-athena/

See more detailed photo albums of The Hot Place here:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

Find me here:

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

http://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: http://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

Sashimmy Records: http://www.sashimmy.com/

Sashimmy on Bandcamp: http://sashimmyrecords.bandcamp.com/

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

https://www.facebook.com/nobigwheelrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/sashimmyrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/waxandwanewands/

http://www.twitter.com/NoBigWheelRecs

http://www.twitter.com/TheHotPlace

http://www.twitter.com/waxandwanewands

 

2017: Taking the Reins of the Chariot

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2017: Taking the Reins of the Chariot

by Lisa King | Sunday, January 31, 2017

our lady of the electric trees 2

 

Comfort Zone? I lived 2017 and to some extent 2016 so far out of my comfort zone, that I’m now unsure where it even lies. That’s probably a good thing. I pulled a tarot card at the beginning of the year, The Chariot. Self-mastery. Taking the reins. Guiding that carriage. All year, I kept on the straight and steady. I definitely felt like I was embodying that card, and even painted The Chariot at the beginning of the year, for my own deck. Like a good Charioteer, I found the energy to keep moving my many artistic and musical endeavors forward, or expand them outwards, and stay on course. (photo above, “Our Lady of the Electric Trees” by Lisa King)

Andy Warhol says in his book, “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol”: “You should always have a product that’s not just “you.” An actress should count up her plays and movies and a model should count up her photographs and a writer should count up his words and an artist should count up his pictures so you always know exactly what you’re worth, and you don’t get stuck thinking your product is you and your fame, and your aura.” (Take that, Kardashians.)

So, in 2017 I followed Andy’s advice and counted. I do this not to boast or brag, but to help myself see my year, my goals, my life, and who I am a little more clearly. These year-end wrap ups are invaluable to me, as an independent artist and musician, to see what I spend my time doing. So, if seeing people struggle to hit goals and targets is intimidating to you, perhaps you should stop reading at this time. If you suffer from chronic schadenfreude, I wouldn’t go on. This is about me, very intimately, so if you tend to be competitive, jealous, lazy, or not woke…or triggered by other people’s successes, you are welcome to just pass this on by. It’s like reading my diary, so, move along if you don’t want to see intimacy or vulnerability.

edge in my dream

It’s easy to think to yourself, that a certain year “sucked.” Especially after the stress of the holidays. So, I like to look at my life in a realistic way every year by organizing my favorite photographs, and cataloging what I accomplished in a year. I also like to journal about my struggles. This is something I don’t really promote on social media, but believe me, there are plenty of difficult things I face every day, including physical fatigue, asthma, arthritis, mild depression with anxiety, and introversion in a profession that demands that I be very extroverted at times. Its easy to experience creative burnout, or wrestle with control issues layered upon me by the way my parents raised me. Sometimes I find myself over-booking myself, or having a hard time trading my private life to be a public figure to a certain extent, but still keeping healthy boundaries…all of this. But, I transmute that into work. That’s what artists and musicians do. (photo above, “I Am Standing Up at the Water’s Edge in My Dream” by Lisa King.)

I also jotted down some extraordinary events or things that have happened in 2017, because it sure was an eventful year. Looking back, I swear that some of the events seem like years ago. I sure can cram a lot into 365 days, I tell you that! Those that know me well also know that I am an optimist, and despite the current powers that be that I did not elect in, and that I am daily mortified by, in 2017 I adopted the attitude of Albert Camus, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion…In art, rebellion is consummated and perpetuated in the act of real creation, not in criticism or commentary. Revolution, in its turn, can only affirm itself in a civilization and not in terror or tyranny.”

I’m a big fan of “doing” not just dreaming or talking about it. I do.

So, here is the 2017 highlights reel:

In 2017, I saw snow twice, on Jan 7 and Dec 12. Nice to have felt Winter because Summer seemed to last from March to November this year in the South. Climate change was extremely apparent this year, and it was disturbing. But, I did feel like I experienced all 4 seasons, though Spring and Autumn seem to last only a week now.

In January, I participated in the Women’s March. It was powerful. I also participated in Planned Parenthood cookie grabs, and March’s “A Day Without a Woman” and the #metoo protests. I donned a pussy hat made by my friend and safety pins on my lapels all year. I donated to many institutions including the ALT National Park Service, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and others. Very stressful year, politically.

womens march 1 21

I witnessed a Mars, Venus, Moon triune in January. I saw a supermoon in December, and many amazing full moons this year. I saw several meteor showers too. I performed several rituals, and did many Tarot card spreads for myself and others. (photo above, “Resist” by Lisa King)

This year, I’ve written an Outline, Character Description, Scenery Description, and Two full Chapters of what appears to be a novel. After I got my old childhood typewriter back, things just started coming out and on to paper. I feel like I’m a medium. I like to call my typewriter “haunted.” I’m going to just stay relaxed about it, and write on it when I’m inspired. We’ll see what happens. I also found my old notebooks full of short stories and another fully completed novel that I wrote in high-school. I’m editing those as I can. I’m not putting any pressure on myself in this area; I’m keeping it fun, an escape, and something that I’m doing because I just enjoy typing and storytelling.

I’ve written exactly 50 poems, a varying number each month, and if you add that to my other folio, I’m up to about 114 poems that I feel are good enough to publish. (I have countless other journals full of scratching, so who knows once I transcribe those.) I feel like I’m close to being able to publish a book of poetry now, which has been a goal of mine since high school!

I wrote some pretty cool blog posts.

bly writing desk

This year I painted 5 tarot cards, totaling 18 cards now, towards my deck. I’ve designed the back of the cards, and made a start/outline on the book that will accompany the deck, and started a proposal for a professional publisher. I hope in 2018 to move this project forward, thanks to the support of my Patreons. I want to publish this deck in the next 2 years at least. It’s a big goal, long-term. But it’ll happen when it’s finished. I don’t force the cards, I paint them whenever I either dream them, have a vision, or experience the card in real life. So, that doesn’t have a time line. But, I’d like to make this a reality sooner, not later, and I’m really serious about working with a professional publisher on this project. (photo above, “Writing Desk, February” by Lisa King.)

I visited 6 Art Exhibits in 2017 (“Cross Country” and the new African Art wing at the High Museum, “Threads of Time” at the Michael C. Carlos, The Booth Western Art Museum, The Curious Garden, and Scarecrows in the Garden at the ATL Botanical Gardens.) I think it’s important for artists to remember that it’s not all “output”. You have to “input” art as well. So, as my printmaking teacher Larry Thomas always said, “When you are burned out, go look at art.”

I participated in World Goth Day in May, and one way or another, supported several charities, including SOPHIE: The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Beagle Freedom Project, PAWS Atlanta, ATL Beagle Rescue, The Santa Rosa Fire Dept, North Bay Fire Relief, and THORN. I think it’s important to support charities that you trust, and be empathetic towards causes you believe in.

lk authors photo with patreon watermark

I experienced a very bizarre Time-Space spiral time anomaly this Summer, and was haunted at least twice this year. (photo above, “I Draw, Therefore I Am” by Lisa King)

This Summer I played three live shows on a Mini Tour with The Hot Place supporting David J in ATL, ATH, and Savannah, (totaling 8 shows now with David J in the past two years, with the 9th coming up in March.) I also witnessed David J playing harmonica on a new song by The Hot Place, “Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight” at Electron Gardens studio. I was also invited to play onstage with him during the tour, including playing/singing on Bela Lugosi’s Dead in a chapel/crypt in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA. That’s some goth street cred right there! Bela in a cemetery. I also conducted a spontaneous and recorded word-association interview with David J in public, at Criminal Records. That makes three recorded word association interviews that we’ve done together now.

I hung out with, in some capacity, all of Love and Rockets this year and ¾ of Bauhaus, by touring with David J, and being invited to see/meet Poptone, (Kevin Haskins, Daniel Ash, and Diva) at the Masquerade. More goth street cred!

bat girl

(photo above, “Batgirl” by David McDaniel, at The Chapel in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga. Playing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” with David J.)

oof best

The Hot Place has written and recorded nearly 15 songs for our second album. I have written all the lyrics for those songs. I played bass on all of them, and sang on all of them. I played guitar on some of them. I’m co-producing the record with Jeff Calder. I continue to grow my relationship with Mike and Jeff, as we’ve written this album together, live in the room, as a band. My main goal in 2018 is to complete and press this album into vinyl. It’s been a few years in the making, and I’ve learned that you can’t rush an album. Some musicians put out a record a year. Some put out a record every 5 years. It’ll come out when it’s finished, and that can be daunting. But, I really hope it’ll be worth the wait, because I think it’s the best music I’ve ever made. (photo above, “The Hot Place at GATH Rooftop in Athens, GA” by David McDaniel.)

The Hot Place was Wikipedia’d! Silly, but that made me feel pretty damn legit.

My indie label No Big Wheel Records designed and released 5 full-length albums, redesigned and reissued 6 EP’s or Singles, and its subsidiary sister label, Sashimmy, released and designed 17 singles this year. Sashimmy is a new project for me, and I can’t be more thrilled at the way it is turning out. Sashimmy has been very strongly embraced, and our artists have been accumulating a lot of cool press, and podcast plays. The label is just about releasing singles and we’re going to press 45’s, of mainly experimental music and some of my side projects. I’ve enjoyed new working relationships with both local and international artists via Sashimmy, and hope to work with some new musicians next year. Can you Sashimmy?

jeff

(photo above, Jeff Calder of The Hot Place/The Swimming Pool Q’s at Electron Gardens studio in Atlanta, recording guitar for the new album, by Lisa King)

mike eg

(photo above, Mike Lynn tracking guitar for The Hot Place’s new album at Electron Gardens studio in Atlanta, by Lisa King.)

I survived a Total Solar Eclipse August 21 and survived Hurricane Irma, which rocked the heck out of Atlanta on Sept 11-12. A full solar eclipse and a hurricane in one year. Wow.

I made a timed synchronous playlist for the eclipse here.

I made roughly 95 or more smudge fans for my Etsy shop, not including all the wands, runes, and jewelry that I handcrafted as well. I tried to expand into other online retail sites like Rebel’s Market, Amazon Handmade and Aftcra, but to no avail. Etsy is still the best source to sell handmade, despite some really bad anti-small seller policies they implemented this year. My income took a real hit in August. It’s very hard being a full-time freelancer, and part of me really wants to start working at a more stable job, even if just part-time. But, I know that if I fall into that lifestyle, I’ll see my creative output dwindle. Part of what motivates me to make so much art and music is that I have to pay the bills and put food on the table. So, though its a struggle, and quite frankly, really scary, I’m fortunate to be able to do this right now.

I finished hand-painting those Day of the Dead Frida Kahlo cowboy boots in October! The first place I wore them was to a bookstore. Looking forward to wearing those babies on stage!

finished boots

crows

(photo above, Crow and Peacock cruelty-free smudge fans, made by Lisa King for her Etsy shop, Wax & Wane: A Cabinet of Curiosities.)

I built 3 new websites this year for clients, including managing social media, graphics, and photos for my band and businesses. I also reviewed at least 50 books. Again, freelance work, but still in my creative wheelhouse. Blessed to be working. (photo above, “Day of the Dead Frida Kahlo painted boots, by Lisa King.)

I don’t know how many photographs I snapped and edited for bands/websites/work/hobby/pleasure, but it’s probably in the thousands. Photography still remains my favorite hobby, just before writing.

I made a lot of homemade vegetarian food, cakes, scones, dinners, desserts, and cocktails, lord knows! But one day I’d like to compile them all in a cookbook called “Kitchen Alchemy” with its accompanying website. Most of my original recipes I have in a file. But that’s on the back-burner at the moment. In the meantime, cooking sure is fun. I’ll never be a skinny girl again.

Well, after reading that, I’d say, no, I’m not in danger of thinking my product is my fame or my aura. I flat out busted my ass this year and last year, with tangible results. No wonder I’m tired! Somehow I managed to get out and hike, look at art, swim, travel, see movies, watch a whole season of football, and read a ton of books as well. I don’t know how! I’m starting to think I know how to fold space. Thanks to everyone who supports my work, and all of my endeavors. Thanks to all of my Patreon supporters. Never a dull moment!

Carpe it all…xoxo

LK

leaving for athens

(photo above, “Leaving for Athens, David J/The Hot Place Tour” by Lisa King)

2017 Month By Month Diary

JANUARY

January began with a mix of emotions. I was very upset about the political climate, to say the least. So, I felt a surge of adrenaline, because I had yet to suffer “news burnout” that we would be pelted with from the Twitterocracy. In contrast, I really do love the time just after Yule/Christmas, where everything is quiet. I can think. It reminds me of being in a ritual space, “a time out of time, in a place out of place.” In order to escape the “bad news” I hiked a lot. Winter hikes are really inspiring to me. This January, I found a magical clump of mistletoe hanging right above my favorite meditation spot by the lake. On the same day that would be traditional to cut mistletoe with a golden sickle by the Druids (the 6th day after the new moon, after the winter solstice), by chance I found myself reaching up the crooked handle of my yellow umbrella, like a modern Druid, and cut the clump out of the tree. It did not touch the ground, as it fell into the open upturned umbrella. I was able to put lovely bundles over all of my doorways for a year of protection. I watched the NFL playoffs, and entered the recording studio, working on songs for both The Hot Place, and a super secret project that would be revealed in April. At the end of January, I saw a Mars, Venus, Moon conjunction. I painted The Chariot tarot card, which I felt was the symbol of the year to come. I practiced my scone-baking, which I’m always trying to perfect! The most important thing I did in January was participate in the Women’s March in Atlanta on 1/21. I also donated to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, and because I did, my friend Jennifer knitted me a pussy hat. I wore the hat proudly all winter into spring, and again at the end of the year. I saw a beautiful full snow moon, and drank a lot of bourbon with clementine twists. I also redecorated my office, with a new computer monitor, and little office nook.

the chariot jan 23

(photo above, “The Chariot”, handpainted tarot card by Lisa King)

FEBRUARY: I would watch a heartbreaking Falcons loss at the Superbowl. Ugh! I got busy at my drafting table, and the next tarot card of the year would be The Star card, which was a direct result of a dream I had, with Johnny Marr as The Star. So, though the character is usually female, I happily broke with tradition, and painted it. It still remains one of my favorite cards of the deck. Imbolc came with hyacinths, daffodils, and the discovery of some local mead, and I like to rededicate myself to a year and a day of spiritual practice, including meditation and yoga. I spend the day refreshing altars, the yoga mat, my meditation space, and usually go shopping for some new tools or crystals. Valentine’s day was met with red roses, white tulips, and “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda, and I wrote a huge chunk of my poetry this month, inspired by Robert Bly’s “Morning Poems”. I decided to write a poem each morning for the rest of the year. I pretty much have stuck to it, barring some days when I was just too tired. I scored a huge haul of books by my favorite out-of-print author, Tanith Lee, at Book Nook, which made me very happy. At the end of the month we announced that The Hot Place would once again be invited to go on a “mini-tour” with David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets), playing Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah. This was very exciting, because I was looking forward to visiting the most haunted city in the US again, after my stint there in art school. I was curious how David’s energy and presence would shape my experience in the city, which it undeniably would. We played some amazing venues on this tour, including Little Tree Studios in Avondale, the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre in Athens, and a crypt/chapel inside Bonaventure Cemetery. Tres goth! Venus moved retrograde, which created a little friction in my day to day relationships at the end of February.

the star feb 19

(photo above, “The Star”, handpainted tarot card by Lisa King)

MARCH: March came in like a lion, with tornadic storms. But, it also arrived on a cherry blossom-scented wind. I learned to make pizza dough from scratch, which for some reason I had never made. It set off a flurry of gourmet pizza-making binges, which was a lot of fun. The Hot Place started recording on a more frequent schedule at Electron Gardens studio, and we wrote a new song, “In the Strange Oblivion”, which would become one of my favorite songs. I believe it will be our album opener. The jasmine blooms encouraged me to buy my first bottle of Vida Organic Mezcal of the year, which I enjoyed immensely. The Spring Equinox/Ostara came, and I spent most of the day outside. I started a Facebook group, “Drinks with the High Priestess”, which was intended to be a monthly tarot group meeting, in which like-minded tarot card appreciators could meet up and discuss a card as topic. It morphed instead into a more private ongoing series of meetings in which my friend Jordan Ososki and I would start to formulate the book, the design, and the back of the cards, what kind of box, and presentation I wanted for my own deck, “The Bent Twig Tarot”. So, what seemed like something I started that I could not sustain, turned into very productive work. I look forward to Jordan’s invaluable input as I keep making this deck. At the end of the month, I had a dream in which Neil Gaiman and I were discussing the “Death” card. He showed me this vision for the card, so I woke up the next day and painted it straight away. I realized that my long-distance vision was getting a bit blurry, and sprang for some amazing vintage glasses. I started a James Bond marathon, because I wanted to watch some of the early films. It turned into a year-long commitment of watching the entire series right up to the last Daniel Craig films. Whew! I also participated in the protest movement, “A Day Without a Woman”. It was slightly controversial, as some women felt that they could not participate in the protest because they would upset their families or employers. However…isn’t that what protest is about? You can read my blog entry about the experience here.

death march 16

(photo above, “Death”, hand painted tarot card by Lisa King)

APRIL: The Easter bunny had my guitars set-up for playing in the studio. New strings, a nice cleaning, fretboard oiling, and intonation set. I noticed that on my blonde Tele, there is a fret dot that is a yin-yang symbol. I’d never seen it! It was quite a cool discovery. I continued to have mezcal cocktails, as the weather was already in the upper 80’s in Atlanta. I was not looking forward to 6 months of Summer. We drank pink champagne, sake, and frolicked a bit on greening-up lawns, but also had some really violent thunderstorms. Luckily, no lightning strikes in my yard this year. I began writing my novel, or whatever that is, as it just started writing itself when I’d sit at the typewriter. The Hot Place recorded a song called, “Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight”. I did not know at the time that David J would play harmonica on the song when he came to Atlanta! Speaking of David, he had a 60th birthday this year, which was celebrated in music, on a CD complied by Darwin Meiners called “Kanreki”. The Hot Place was invited to contribute a song to this rare disc, and we covered his hit, “I’ll be Your Chauffeur.” We recorded it in January, but it was released on David’s birthday in April. I was very happy to have been a part of it.

kanreki

(above, “Kanreki”, a birthday tribute for David J. The Hot Place covered, “I’ll be Your Chauffeur” for the rare CD.)

At the end of the month, I would have a vision of a goddess in a dream. I dreamed of this figure, a compassionate goddess, who was blinded in one eye, yet had the eyes of all creatures in the folds of her dress. The butterflies and dragonflies act as her “eyes on the world”, as she wishes to watch over mankind, as a kind of guardian, and sympathetic mother. After doing some research, I found some similar goddesses in the island mythologies of the Indian Ocean. Merged with some other similar Greek mythologies, I created a very specific mythology about her. I decided that this image, in monochromatic colors, will become the decorative back of my tarot cards. In my dream, she was at a table, and reading cards, and teaching a small group of us about oils and herbs, and other esoteric learning. She almost represented the “vision” of the Tarot as divinatory tool, so that got me thinking about her as a symbol of Tarot itself. She could also be the cover of the accompanying book that I am making, to go with the cards. We shall see! I do know that the border around my cards will have some reference to my name, “The Bent Twig” tarot, which borrowed its title from a lyric in the song “Chinese White” by The Incredible String Band, “The bent twig of darkness grows the petals of the morning”. I would continue to make crystal cuffs, runes, and smudge fans in my Etsy shop, but my income started to dwindle, as Etsy was making some unfortunate changes to their seller platform. It left me kind of frazzled.

david j HHW

(photo above, David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets playing harmonica at Electron Gardens studio, on “Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight” by The Hot Place. Photo by Lisa King.)

MAY: May was mainly about rehearsing for the upcoming David J tour. I didn’t take many photos, or get out and hike, as the weather was nastily hot. Still taking advantage of reduced May museum admission, I caught the new African Art collection at The High Museum of Art, and “Cross Country.” It was an extraordinary collection of American art . I also caught the “Threads of Time” exhibit at the Michael C. Carlos museum. (No photos allowed of that one, but it was shamanic and ritual clothing of South America. Incredible exhibit.) May Day/Beltane was full of roses, and martinis! Speaking of Goth, World Goth Day would be a lot of fun to celebrate again, and we released the posters for “Make America Goth Again”, the afterparty at the Georgia Theatre David J show. We also released the beautifully-designed David J/The Hot Place tour posters, created by my friend Peter Heckman. I made cupcakes for Mother’s Day, and practiced my biscotti-making. When we were not rehearsing, I was watching the MST3K new season, and popping Jiffy Pop to snack on. We were all stunned at the passing of Chris Cornell this month. We lost many more people this year who we admired, and I suspect that we will continue to. It’s just the timing of it all, and the age of the entertainers. It’s never easy though, losing lights in the world. I really try to cherish those talents that surround me. At the end of the month, I enjoyed my birthday with a sushi dinner and a Korean movie.

peter poster david j

(above, David J/The Hot Place tour poster, by Peter Heckman.)

JUNE: Aleister Newbeagle turned 6 and a half this year! So glad to have that little element in my life. June would be our mini-tour, and it took us to Athens and Savannah with David J. I wrote extensively about my experience touring in a diary, it’s far too much to even begin to explain, so you can read about it here: (Thanks to David McDaniel for all of the tour help, and for the photographs!)

Athens: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/the-wild-one-and-the-goddess-gothic-triumph-in-the-city-of-athena/

Savannah: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/haunted-when-the-minutes-drag-art-school-spirits-and-cryptic-savannah-spiral-echoes/

trio ath

(photo above, Lisa King and Jeff Calder of The Hot Place, backing up David J at GATH Rooftop in Athens, Ga. Photo by Cat Bobon.)

It was one of the highlights of my life, going on that tour, and also it was an exercise in being out of one’s comfort zone for an entire week. My reward, so to speak, was to end the tour at Tybee Island, and stay overnight at the beach. It was heaven. The feeling of accomplishment, dipping in mother ocean, and a full-moonlit evening at the beach was a great gift to myself. Upon my return, I enjoyed some blueberry and fresh fruit martinis, with St-Germain, and spending Father’s day with my Dad. I baked him cupcakes. I got back to work in my Etsy shop, and I enjoyed playing with the new “Cosmic Tarot” deck that I had procured just before the tour. In fact, I carried The Star card with me from this deck the whole time as a totem. Just a few days after coming home from the tour, and still reeling with my third-eye very open, I had a surreal experience at Book Nook.

june 29 haunted book shop

(photo above, Book Nook haul, with some rare books from the library of Cornelia Gray Lunt, by Lisa King.)

When I walked in, I felt I was being guided by hidden spirit hands to several tomes. I stumbled across a lot of amazing condition rare first editions from the turn of the century “Mauve Decade”, including “Witch Wood” by John Buchan, from 1927. I discovered a book plate inside one of the books, from 1982, obscured by a stuck end paper. I’d always suspected the books I found were from a serious Gilded Age collector’s library. Upon finding the book plate and googling the name on it, Ms. Cornelia Gray Lunt, I found she was considered the “First Lady of Evanston, Illinois”; a writer, aesthete, artist, feminist who had these rare books in her collection. She founded one of the first music schools in Illinois. Many of the books I inherited from this great lady’s library were noir, suspense, and espionage. Amazing find. She was a dear friend of Orson Welles, I would find out later, and he called her the “most interesting person he’d ever met, right up there with Churchill!” I know, without a doubt, that I was led to those books. I have since had a few interesting experiences in Book Nook. I think I slip into a trance now, as soon as I walk in. Which is fine with me! Guide me! The Summer Solstice was spent in quiet meditation, while I focused on all that had happened so far in the year. My little gift from the fairies was a big crop of golden chanterelle mushrooms in my yard, which come back every year, if you take care of them. I had gorgeous omelets!

lk beach

(photo above, “Made it to Tybee Beach!” by Lisa King)

JULY: July came in hot, with fireworks, blackberry cobbler, fresh peach pie, vegan crab cakes, tomato sandwiches, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and a lot of cool cocktails like vodka watermelon or cucumber. The heat was terrible, and I started swimming laps again at our local pool. I would keep doing laps through the end of the summer, a time for me that is always challenging. I always experience a rise in my blood pressure during the late summer. It’s very uncomfortable. Still reeling from my Savannah tour, I drew a very meaningful self-portrait, as a young goth girl in Savannah, which would become The Fool card in my tarot deck. The best place for the artist to reside, in my opinion! I continued recording some bass in the studio, but most of this month was spent reading indoors, reviewing books, and getting my strength back from 6 months of hard work. I was definitely feeling burned out. I got to enjoy a Pylon/The Swimming Pool Q’s show at The Vista Room, which is always enjoyable, watching Jeff play with his legendary band the Q’s. It reminds me how lucky I am that he plays with Mike and I in The Hot Place, and how wonderful it is to have him in my life. At the end of the month I received a nice visit with my California friends Zoenda and Deb, from the Theme Music group that I used to be involved with. It’s always awesome meeting up with those cool ladies! On a sad note, this year we lost singer-songwriter Tommy Keene. I had just seen him with Matthew Sweet at City Winery this month, and we talked backstage with him and Matthew a good bit. He sounded really good at this show, and I was looking forward to hopefully seeing more of him. RIP Tommy. You’ll be missed.

fool fin july 19

(above, “The Fool”, hand painted tarot card by Lisa King)

matthew rip tommy keene

(photo above, Tommy Keene, second from left, playing with Matthew Sweet at City Winery. RIP Tommy. Photo by Lisa King.)

AUGUST: The big event in August was to be a full total solar eclipse! I really hurled myself into the celebration on the 21st. I made a a few pinhole viewers-one for people to get under, and one for my camera. We had a little eclipse party at my house, and I have to say, when it happened, it was one of the most surreal experiences I can recall. The quality of the light was dusky reddish purple, like a dim blacklight was put in the sun. I got some great pictures, we feasted on champagne, french toast, and bagels with smoked salmon, and I made a YouTube playlist that if you started it exactly at 1:05 EST, it would peak during the eclipse with “Eclipse” by Pink Floyd, and fade out just before 4 p.m. It told a little story, and I worked really hard on it. We had so much fun! (You can find a link to the playlist in my Highlights Reel above.) We picked the wild muscadine scuppernong grapes from my arbor during the eclipse, and I made jam. I spent most of the month canning, and made muscadine, mint, red pepper, and mango chutney for gift giving at Yule. I went over to Athens this month, to see my friend Richard Lloyd (Television) play, with Wayne Kramer of the MC5. He signed his new book for us.

lloyd aug 6

(photo above, Richard Lloyd of Television, playing with Wayne Kramer of the MC5 in Athens, Ga. Photo by Lisa King.)

I got an eye exam, and finally got prescription lenses for my two pairs of vintage glasses. I love them! The month would end with The Hot Place playing in a cool basement man-cave, at my guitarist Mike Lynn’s 50th birthday party. We reunited with some Betty’s Not A Vitamin and Unminded band mates of the past, and jammed. It was a blast! We got back into the studio, and recorded a lot of guitar this month. I tracked vocals on “A Second to Live” and some other stuff. I discovered that I love to drink organic Matcha green tea, and white tea with lots of honey in the studio before singing. No Big Wheel Records, my primary indie label, designed and released 5 full-length albums, and we redesigned and reissued 6 EP’s or Singles this month.

blackout 235 to 237

(photo above, “Blackout 2:36 to 2:37 pm, Aug. 21st Solar Eclipse through Pinhole Viewer”, by Lisa King)

SEPTEMBER: September came in with a scare! One of the biggest hurricanes on record was headed towards Atlanta and Savannah. It was highly stressful. I remembered how hard we got hit by Opal, a Cat 4 in 1995, and wasn’t looking forward to the Cat 5 squall of Irma. We lost power, and a few shingles and limbs, but thankfully no big tree damage or flooding occurred. It was very eerie, sitting in the darkness reading, listening to the constant window banging, heavy rain and winds, and howl that was that storm. I got no sleep that night, but luckily we had power restored late the next day. I kicked in to community-service mode, and many of my local friends without power came by that morning, for a hot breakfast, coffee, a shower, and companionship. We were really shook up. Later in the month, I visited the Decatur Book Festival with Jeff, who as a book reviewer for the AJC, always conducts a few author interviews. I really enjoy the author’s party event, and talking to all the book people. I felt like after that storm, I needed some peace. So, I painted the Four of Swords, and out popped a Buddha. I was feeling weak, suffering from some fatigue, arthritis, and all that nasty stuff, so I started juicing some fresh juice and drinking a lot of matcha tea. I had to go into self-recovery mode a bit, and celebrate balance with the Autumn Equinox. Football season started, so that would be a nice rest for me on a few nights of the week. I always confuse my more artistic friends, when they find out I like sports. But, I do. Takes my mind off the art parts.

al power out sept 11

(above, Aleister Newbeagle, during Hurricane Irma. The power was out, and the windows were rattling, by Lisa King.)

The Hot Place continued to hit the studio, tracking guitars and vocals for “Sunshine Messenger” and “L.A. Fog” . My angels’ trumpets bloomed, we had lots of tofu and fish tacos, and fresh fruit daiquiris this month. I had a great time seeing one of my favorite bands, The Church, at City Winery, and I procured a 2018 calendar of Steve Kilbey’s drawings. I also own his “The Time Being” tarot deck, which I love. The band had blown a tire on the tour bus, so the show started late. But, I got to say Hi to Steve, while he warmed up backstage doing pre-show yoga. The last thing I did this month was launch something I had in the making for several years, a subsidiary record label that would release only 45’s/7” singles, called “Sashimmy”–a play on the concept of ordering sushi a la carte (sashimi) and a certain kitchy 60’s concept of “shimmy.” I imagined the order sheet for the 45’s as a sushi nigiri list, like the ones you get in the restaurants. The Geisha has always been a figure that I relate to, so No Big Wheel would have a “little sister,” Sashimmy, the embodiment of the Geisha and my love of Pacific Rim Japanese culture. The label was to be based in experimental music, especially drone or electronic, with a psyche, dance, industrial edge. We released 17 singles this year, two of which were special charity releases of cover songs, that would support SOPHIE: The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and THORN. I enjoyed collaborating with several of my musical friends, and hope to keep the Sashimmy family and community active in 2018. We are accepting submissions. You can email me at: sashimmyrecords@gmail.com with two mp3’s, if you should be so inclined!

4 swords fin

(above, “The Four of Swords,” hand painted tarot card, by Lisa King)

OCTOBER: I really, really felt the darkness that is October. I started off the month with my much needed and looked forward to Indigenous People’s Day (screw calling it Columbus Day) vacation in the mountains. Since I’d already gone to the beach, I decided to visit my ancestral lands in Toccoa and North Georgia, and visited Arabia Mountain on the first day, then hit the road for Amicalola Falls, Unicoi State Park, Anna Ruby Falls, and I also visited the Booth Western Art Museum near Rome, Ga. That was a hidden gem! A great museum of Cowboy and Native American art. When I returned, I kicked the vocal takes into high gear, recording many of the vocal takes on the record. I find once you get into a groove, vocally, you should record as much as you can while your voice is healthy. Always the one for decorative footwear, I gifted myself a pair of rose-embroidered Creeper shoes this month, and more importantly, I finished the two-year decorative paint work on my Day of the Dead Frida Kahlo cowboy boots. I wore them to a bookshop the first time they were out for a spin. My Samhain was very dark. I was visited by some new entities this year, including a pretty long ritual with the energy of The Crone. I had a really bad bout of anxiety, which I believe was probably caused by having to suppress some strong and difficult emotions earlier in the year, in order to keep my sanity while touring, recording, painting, and dealing with the horrible political climate. I had a few panic attacks, early in the morning, and all I can guess is that the adrenaline and cortisol that had been building up in my body was still there, and I was pushing myself really hard in the recording studio.

3 swords finished

(above, “The Three of Swords”, hand painted tarot card, by Lisa King)

During all this, the Three of Swords tarot card came out. It’s a really emotional card for me. One of my main spirit animals is the Deer. This card represents how I feel when I’m heartbroken. Grief, crying, raining, heart pierced. It’s Saturn in Libra, a dark and heavy card, but there is some light. It’s an insightful, though painful card, when we are pierced by the Swords and Arrows of the Mind, since this card is in the suit of Air. It’s also a representation of the Jungian Individuation process, which is an uncomfortable opening up through Pain to the Higher Self. Also, it’s the bleeding heart, or sacred heart of the Mysteries of the Martyr. Nothing is as helpless as a wounded deer, to me, or a wounded bird. Wings=Air. I got a real vision of how I was feeling, and it was distinctly this Bird-Deer. It’s sorrow, but the kind of melancholy that inspires songs and paintings. The middle sword is the magical sword which is also in my Ace of Swords, an Excalibur of sorts. Just a few days later, a real deer, the biggest antlered buck I’ve ever seen in person, would come walking down my street, into my yard, and right up to my studio window. It was if I had summoned this totem to me, by painting that card. It was very moving. Halloween was a somber, yet fun day. I dressed as Frida this year, of course, in honor of my boots.

Frida FIN FIN

(photo above, Halloween as Frida, by Lisa King)

I had a very long and cathartic Samhain/Day of the Dead ritual, and a great tarot spread. I asked for some truths to be revealed, and they were, as energies like Hecate and Yemaya do not beat around the bush. The truths would be painful, as it was the ending of a long friendship of mine that would occur, at the prompting of another friend, who had wedged themselves in the middle of our relationship a lot more than I had realized. I was a bit blindsided by it, but now, I see how jealousy, lust, anger, fear, chronic negativity, and the desire to manipulate, control, and disempower the other friend, was driving this person to behave in this way. They were definitely having root chakra issues. Apparently my successes and insights into life and tarot were perceived as “self-righteousness” by this person, who then decided to convince the other friend that somehow I was causing them too much distress with my tendencies to be a light-bearer, (which can look a lot like Lucifer to some.) Still, I was disappointed that both friends decided to ghost me in the end, and that my long-term one didn’t have enough independence to see through the other friend’s gaslighting. At least let’s talk it out? Especially such an old, and long term relationship. Ghosting someone, unless it’s a domestic violence or necessary situation, sure is a rude and immature way to avoid conflict. It’s cowardly. Don’t ghost on people, ya’ll. Just go ahead and have an argument, or a cry, and confront your feelings, but don’t just avoid them, unless your safety is an issue. Still, I wish my friends well, and I hope that they can both do some shadow-work, build up their confidence and resources, develop a strong inner self and identity, create their own happiness and independence, and not be so incredibly intimidated by other people’s paths. I suppose that it makes way for new friends and relationships, when that sort of thing happens. Perhaps those two friendships just had an expiration date that I was ignoring. On the upside, I went to see the Atlanta Botanical Gardens exhibits, “The Curious Garden” and “Scarecrows in the Garden” this month. That was a joy! Also, Sashimmy artists were featured on the Rebel Songs Halloween podcast and we got some great write ups in the media.

shimmy full

(above, Sashimmy Records full catalog)

mini jacks

(photo above, Mini-Jacks, by Lisa King)

NOVEMBER: November always comes in with the Native American pow-wow. Each year, I go celebrate my Native blood, buy crafts and supplies for my Etsy shop, and enjoy the dancing. My Note 5 phone died this month, and without a second thought, I purchased a Note 8, which I love. I got to test it out this autumn and Yule with many pics. Feeling a little better after a lot of anxiety, sadness, and darkness, I went to see The Swimming Pool Q’s play with Love Tractor at the Vista Room, and it was a great way to get ready for the upcoming holidays. This is the busiest month in my Etsy shop, and this year, despite the poor platform that Etsy now has implemented, I was still able to have a pretty good holiday sales month. I had some much needed healing time at the Jung Society in Atlanta, as I went to see a storyteller spin one of my favorite tales, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and some other myths, and there was a lecture afterward, with some Jungian interpretations.

Pow Wow One FIN

(photo above, Pow-Wow, by Lisa King)

qs john underwood one

(photo above, The Swimming Pool Q’s at the Vista Room, photo by John Underwood.)

 

I got some hiking in before Thanksgiving, and I always cook a feast for friends and family. Mulled wine and cider were the drinks of choice this month. Sashimmy records released its first International EP, “Climber”, from Croatian electronic artist Juraj Vojvodić, who performs as Duke George. That was very exciting! It’s a great EP. Just a bit earlier in September, we also released a single by Album Gatefold, “Ghost Freighter Adrift in the Yavin System”. The Hot Place would start work on a collaborative single with Album Gatefold, aka Albert Gresens, for release in December. At the end of the month, Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets/Tones on Tail) invited me to come down to the new Masquerade and see Poptone, a Tones on Tail redux with his daughter Diva on bass, percussion, and keys, and of course Daniel Ash on guitar and vocals. It was a lot of fun seeing one of my favorite records, “Night Music” performed live, and to hear a few Bauhaus/Love and Rockets songs as well. It was also a joy to meet Kevin again, as we have a funny little history: One time I was stranded backstage in high school when I was a teen in the 80’s at a L&R show, and he called my Mom from a backstage pay phone, explaining that “we have your daughter”, which was hilarious, but also letting my Mom know that I was okay, and I’d be home late, because my ride had vanished. It worked! I didn’t get grounded that night, and he made sure I got home okay. Thanks Kev!

lk kev dmd wm

(photo above, Lisa King and Kevin Haskins, of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets/Tones on Tail, photo by David McDaniel.)

DECEMBER: I confess that it took some doing this year, to get into the Yule spirit. It was very hot still at the beginning of the month, as the whole year had been. But, suddenly, the temp dropped, and low and behold, we got a light and fluffy snow. My fresh pine-smelling tree and decorations were up during the storm, so it really suddenly kicked the Yuletide spirit into the air. During the snow days, I cooked more vegan crab cakes, and practiced my pancake and crepe-making skills with my new griddle that my parents gave me in May for my birthday. It’s a pancake life-saver! I pulled out the hot cocoa, the prohibition-era bourbon sours with the egg-whites, the Dalmore good scotch, homemade egg-nog, and glogg, which helped me feel warm and fuzzy, and more in the holiday spirit. After I closed my Etsy shop for the year, I got out and visited some small shops, and did my gift shopping. I boot-shopped for myself, scoring a trifecta of boot love, and I was gifted some lovely moon-baby earrings from Jeff, and some delightful bath stuff, incense, books, and chocolate from friends and family this year. Aleister got a new sweater and blanket, which he loves.

alsleep

(photo above, Holiday Beagle, by Lisa King)

The Hot Place spent some time in the studio recording Bass VI and guitar for “Home”, and studio owner Tim Delaney created a great horn arrangement for the tune. I enjoyed tracking vocals, and while I was in Electron Gardens studio, I recorded vocals for “Little Doll”, a collaboration between Album Gatefold + The Hot Place. Jeff played ebow and backwards guitar on the track in the same session. Albert Gresens, aka Album Gatefold, arranged the song, and played the majority of the instruments. He also had an idea for the cover, with some retro light projection. So, at the suggestion of my designer and friend Peter Heckman, I shot a 4 hour photo session, with an opaque projector beaming onto my nekkid skin, with some 60’s go-go girl makeup on. I enjoyed it, and really love the dark psychedelic, drone, shoegazey version we created together of The Stooges track, and Albert asked that all proceeds go to support his preferred charity, THORN, digital defenders of children. We raised and donated $50. (https://sashimmyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/little-doll-7-single). Just before Yule, I wrote a complete outline, character analysis, and scenery description of my novel. I wrote another chapter, and now, with my outline, I can bounce around the story at any time, writing in any scene. Neil Gaiman talks about that a lot, how you’ll write different scenes depending on your mood or day. It’s nearly impossible to write a linear story, from beginning to end. So, I have a lot of freedom now. Finally, the last news bit of 2017, we announced that The Hot Place will again join David J, with special guest James Hall, for a show in Atlanta on March 1, 2018 at Little Tree Studios next year. I can’t even express how wonderful that feeling is.

little doll cover

(above, “Little Doll” by Album Gatefold + The Hot Place, design directed by Albert Gresens and created by Peter Heckman. Photo by Lisa King.)

hell high vox at studio

(photo above, Lisa King in the studio at Electron Gardens, recording vocals for the new album by The Hot Place.)

THINGS I LEARNED in 2017: The Importance of Gratitude, and how sad it is to see friends or family who focus in on complaints, anger, and sadness, instead of practicing joy and thankfulness for the wonderful things they have in their life (though it’s okay to be sad too…or angry…but not without gratitude to balance it out); How cowardly and painful it is to be ghosted by a long term friend; How jealousy, and a shadow-based distorted perception that other people might have of you can be happening right under your nose, and how it can suddenly lash out and destroy things; That not all acquaintances and connections deserve to be nurtured, and that it’s just fine to be picky in your relationships, both personal and working; That boundaries are key when you are living a mostly “public” life of an artist or musician, because you have to, in many ways, trade a certain amount of privacy if you truly give yourself to the world and to your craft; That not everyone wants to be successful, no matter how much they say they do; and that All work is Beneficial, no matter how small a step you take every day.

james hall

(above, web poster for the David J show, with The Hot Place and special guest James Hall, at Little Tree Studios, March 1, 2018. Tickets are available here.)

Best of 2017 in Books, Movies, TV, and Music

I’ve read SO many books, that if you want to take a peek at my Goodreads page, you can gaze at my “Year in Books” here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2017/

So, I’m just going to mention a few things I enjoyed in 2017. I’m not good at lists. Hardly everything I saw, but some highlights are:

MOVIES/TV: Hidden Figures (technically 2016, but watched 1/5), Sherlock BBC, The Master (Korean), Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix, The Eagle Huntress (was amazing), Stephen Fry in America (old, but streamed), The Magicians on Netflix (loved the book, the stream was okay), Rewatched the entire James Bond movie collection, from beginning to end, whew!, Kedi was a favorite flick, Rogue One on Blue Ray with Special Features, Tales by Light on Netflix, MST3K new season stream, Finding Joe (streaming film about Joseph Campbell), California Typewriter may have been my favorite film, Born in China about the Pandas, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales, Wonder Woman, The Love Witch (possibly my other favorite of the year), Logan Lucky (hilarious!), Loving Vincent (well worth it), Blade Runner 2049 (also a top pick), Thor: Ragnarok, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shape of Water (highly recommend it), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (a bit tiring in the middle, but a great end.)

stack

(photo above, “Vintage Bookstack” by Lisa King)

AUDIOBOOKS/PODCASTS: Invisibilia NPR podcast, Hidden Brain podcast, Letters to a Young Poet audiobook- Rainer Maria Rilke read by Charlie Louth, The Human Shadow and What Stories Do We Need- Robert Bly, The Power of Myth-Joseph Campbell, and when I was too tired to read, the Nigel Planner Discworld narrations are great, to supplement the paper books in gaps.

PAPER BOOKS: I can only include some faves here. Please visit my Goodreads page for the entire list.

Morning Poems-Robert Bly, re-read a lot of The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, (especially the Rincewind, Witches, Tiffany Aching, and Death threads), Goddesses-Joseph Campbell, The View from the Cheap Seats & Norse Mythology-Neil Gaiman, Set the Boy Free- Johnny Marr, Jerusalem (haven’t finished this epic tome)- Alan Moore, Devotion-Patti Smith (a super favorite), A few editions of The Paris Review, Witch Wood-John Buchan (a real favorite). Seriously, though, you’ll have to visit Goodreads. I read 111 books this year. https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2017/

MUSIC/BANDS/SONGS/EP’s/ARTISTS I DISCOVERED or LISTENED TO: This is smaller and smaller every year that I’m making my own album. I think it’s hard to listen to other artists sometimes, when you’re in such a hermetic bubble of creating your own music. But, I did enjoy the new albums by: Brian Eno, Bowie, William Basinski, The Feelies, Old 97’s, Clint Mansell Loving Vincent soundtrack, Depeche Mode, The Jesus and Mary Chain, CLAVVS, Aimee Mann, Future Islands, Cigarettes After Sex, Robyn Hitchcock, Slowdive, David J, Buckingham/MacVie, Moby, Jeff Tweedy, Beck, Robert Plant, Bjork, Noel Gallagher, and U2.

NEW & OLD PLACES I VISITED OFTEN and DUG IN 2017: The Michael C. Carlos Museum, Mellow Mushroom Decatur, The High Museum of Art, Terminal West, Book Nook, Midtown Art Cinema, YDFM, The High Museum of Art, Goosefeathers, LaFonda, Jittery Joes, the new Masquerade wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I enjoyed Hotel Tybee.

Doll Outtake 7

(photo above, “The Star”, outtake from the “Little Doll” photo session, by Lisa King.)

Tarot Card for the Year: The Star and 2018 Goals and Resolutions

In 2016, I predicted that 2017 would be the year of The Chariot card. It proved very correct. It was a year of taking the reins. As I wrote last year, “The Chariot represents mastering control of opposing forces. Union of physical and intellectual powers: where the rubber meets the road. Control, but indirectly. Intuition. The power of subtlety.” I felt that. I really did. The Star card also made an appearance, as that was the card I chose to really embody in my performing persona this year. I don’t feel The Star’s energy is quite finished with me, because on the Winter Solstice I pulled a tarot spread which very clearly indicated that 2018 was going to be all about The Star card for me. A great beacon of light, I’m looking forward to The Star’s energy and approach, in 2018. The energy is soft, sexy, feminine, bright, loving, gracious, hopeful, light, emotional, and full of potential.

These were my goals for 2017. I feel that I definitely accomplished them:

  1. Finish recording The Hot Place’s new album. I’d love to release it on vinyl. (Check!)
    2. Keep painting as many tarot cards as I can. It’s a long-term project. (Check!)
    3. Play some good quality live shows in 2017. Don’t want to lose my edge. (Check!)
    4. Keep allowing my typewriter to guide and write a story, novel, or whatever it’s typing.(Check!)
    5. Read…a lot. (Check!)
    6. Practice Yoga and Meditate every day. (Well, not every day, but most days. Check!)
    7. Practice the art of listening more, talking less. (I can always do better here!)
    8. Continue to swim, and to eat a healthy, balanced diet. (Check! Though I’ve let go a bit during the holidays.)
    9. Practice more compassion, especially self-compassion. (Always a good thing to keep in mind when I overextend myself.)
    10. Stay balanced, always balance. (A constant struggle, but I feel like in the end I succeed!)

2018 Goals and Intentions 

So, what about 2018? Well, my intentions are:

  1. Release The Hot Place’s new album
  2. Keep up that Tarot card project, including making a private link to all the scanned in cards I have so far, with text with the accompanying booklet. Shop it to publishers.
  3. Play live shows again with David J, and perhaps more this fall with The Hot Place
  4. Keep typing on that novel
  5. Start to organize a poetry folio
  6. Paint my house! Poor thing! Take care of some homestead projects.
  7. Steady up my income…but not compromise my creative life. Keep up Sashimmy.
  8. Stay healthy, balanced, compassionate, woke.
  9. Hike a bit more, Yoga a little more consistently
  10. Worry less…stay in the present, stay out of the box!

lk writing desk one

(above, Lisa King at her writing desk.)

FULL PHOTO DIARY OF 2017 LINK HERE, coming soon

***

EXTRA FEATURES:

Read my Online David J/The Hot Place Tour Diary here:

Savannah: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/haunted-when-the-minutes-drag-art-school-spirits-and-cryptic-savannah-spiral-echoes/

Athens: https://nobigwheel.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/the-wild-one-and-the-goddess-gothic-triumph-in-the-city-of-athena/

See more detailed photo albums of The Hot Place here:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

Find me here:

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

http://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: http://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

Sashimmy Records: http://www.sashimmy.com/

Sashimmy on Bandcamp: http://sashimmyrecords.bandcamp.com/

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

https://www.facebook.com/nobigwheelrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/sashimmyrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/waxandwanewands/

http://www.twitter.com/NoBigWheelRecs

http://www.twitter.com/TheHotPlace

http://www.twitter.com/waxandwanewands

Instagram: nobigwheel/Lisa King

 

***

 

Love and Light to you, always.

Xo

LK

Thanks Given

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Thanks Given

plaster cornucopia

Thanks Given

by Lisa King | Wed. Nov. 22

 

Feathered blue sky, wisp over me

Strands of glittergold catch my eyelids

A clean contentment settles over this house

As leaf-dusty wind rattles the windowscreens.

 

Dog show parade, cinnamon, cardamom, clove,

Booze and herb hang in the kitchen like

A caravan on the move. The sounds of strange

Children in the distance carry with swing-set creak.

 

A pie is a sort of optimism; and wooden spoons

Of kitchen witches know exactly how to cast magick

Into meals long made. Generations gather, love, disagree-

Only to love again. We mark sadnesses and new life.

 

It’s a DNA gathering, a fable  with the best china.

Celebration of hearth and table, as land, beast, and vegetable

Fill our horns of plenty. We are not expected to work-

Commands the referee’s shrill whistle with yardage announced.

 

Pipe tobacco Uncles, sweet perfumed Grandmothers,

Wine-soaked teachers are they all. Chaos ensues;

It is ours to own. Crazy, we wonder, yet it all

Fits into place like a tender treasurebox.

 

We know we are existing on borrowed time.

Each year, the table is less full; we smile through bitter thoughts.

We pull close to the realm of the living- Present.

Take it all in, now, take it in child.

 

Book on deck, coffee in hand, we face the day in

New Pajamas, glittering twinklelights strung.

What will happen, when I am old and these bones

Surrounding me are long dust?

 

The Wheel will turn, and the Time of Giving

Thanks will continue to come.

 

 

Meditations Outside of the Digital Realm: Things I Discovered on my October 2017 Retreat

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Meditations Outside of the Digital Realm: Things I Discovered on my October 2017 Retreat

by Lisa King | Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Just some fragments I jotted down in my notebook, on my annual October retreat and digital break:

It’s much easier to step outside yourself and observe your life from the perspective of a mountaintop with hawks soaring above you and the whole world spread out at your feet.

One of my favorite things right now are Ansel Adams’ photographs of the Aspen Trees in Northern, New Mexico. They are truly magical. The lighting is just amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to see them twice this year now, and they are really speaking to me. I could build a whole room or sacred space around a giant poster of one of those photos.

birch two adamsbirch adams

I need a camera that is not attached to a phone! It’s really hard to fish out my camera while hiking, and not be tempted to check my email or messages. So, I usually opt to just leave it in my backpack, and run headphones out of it. I also miss having a separate device to listen to music or stories on. But, I’m so hooked on Audible, I doubt I’ll go back to the “Sony Walkman” or some sort of iPod player. However, this retreat I was less compelled to take pictures in my usual mode of hobby/enjoyment, but to listen to philosophy, the sounds of nature, and just think.

Beagles make wonderful traveling companions.

Day hikes and Day trips around Georgia are easy and inexpensive. Also, the cabins and yurts at our state parks are affordable and most of them are dog-friendly. The hotel rooms at the Lodges are always a great price, and really a lot of fun to visit. Book ahead via their websites. Easy peasy. Daytime activities include guided tours, hikes, zip lines, canoeing, and nighttime activities are things like reading around a fireplace in the cozy lodge lobby, meeting new people, and campfire stories told by professional storytellers with s’mores. I like to take a notebook to write, and some artwork to work on, because it gets dark early, and the nights are long and quiet.

amicalola cabinyurt

I came up with a lot of poetry and words on my hikes. One that makes me giggle is “Grumblepunk.” A new word for old punk rockers who grumble at absolutely everything. LOL!

The “Do Not Disturb” function on my phone is divine! I just set it so that a few emergency calls can come through, but otherwise, it turns any and all notifications and calls off. Yes!

Retreats tend to make my visual art and poetry more strong. Music, for me at this time, is much more communal, both in the making of it, recording of it, and performing of it. It’s nice to strike a balance, and find places that inspire the inner world of visual art. I took my watercolor pad and some projects with me.

Taking the High Road is difficult, both in Hiking and in the way we conduct our life. Lifting energy, creating harmony, setting boundaries, staying healthy…you really have to work at it in the Digital age.

High Culture can be found in the oddest of tucked away places. The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Ga is pretty bad-ass!

Sometimes Silence, Birdsong, and the sound of Rain are the best songs.

A good dose of Joseph Campbell, Schopenhauer, Confucius, Socrates, and Carl Jung while hiking can bring one’s self back into balance. The woods and the beach are just made for philosophy.

indian interior statuemyth

I am not everybody’s cup of tea. And I certainly don’t want to be!

When reflecting on the subject of Social Media at a distance, and its culture, I realized a few things:

In real life, it’s pretty normal to have about 4 or 5 really close friends at the max, that you confide in, tend to, and love. And, they love you back. It’s really hard to be concerned with the physical health, safety, mental health, moods, political opinions, birthdays, events, attitudes, sorrows, fears, careers, families, successes, gains, losses, and disappointments, etc. of 500 people online at once. (That’s about my number of FB friends.) In fact, it’s downright unnatural. I just can’t do it anymore.

I pretty much know or have known most everyone on my Friends list, and I’d say that my digital circle are all pretty darn quality people. However, there are a few folks that I realized that I don’t really associate with in “real life”, or perhaps I have intentionally removed from my life, yet I still allow their energy to linger in my digital world. This is confusing…because there is a certain separation between FB and “Real Life”, so it’s not as if I’m having to really experience their negativity first hand, but somehow, that energy still comes across in the wires. Just like how there are some of my friends that I’ve never met in person, and yet I’d consider them close digital friends, and they make my life happier by far. Their positive energy also comes through in the wires. So, what to do about this?

After contemplating it, I suppose my solution is usually just to be more proactive, and “hide” and “unfollow” the persons from my feed who are just too toxic to associate with daily, and maybe check in once a month. It’s kind of the way I choose to read the NYT or absorb current news, once a day, when I’m prepared to take the atrocious with the interesting. I haven’t done a good digital housecleaning in a while, so when I am back online, I’m going to tidy up.

“Unfriend” for me is reserved for those who are sexist, racist, act like bullies, are direct insulters, and generally all around negative. I seem to be pretty clear cut there. When I unfriend someone, I’m real sure of my actions. And I don’t hesitate. Just like in real life. I just end it. Having an opinion different of mine is fine. It’s how one decides to represent themselves when interacting with me that is the key. I never say anything on Social Media that I would not say directly to someone’s face. Digital snipers have a disturbing psychology, and I really don’t want to be involved. Luckily, I’ve only had to unfriend a small handful of people.

LA Fog Ms King FIN

To complicate things, because of my chosen professions: Music, Art, Poetry; My businesses No Big Wheel Records/Sashimmy Records and Wax & Wane on Etsy; and my graphic design/web building skills; (and I suppose the hobby of cooking, sharing recipes, photography and general love of the Arts and Sciences), it has become pretty much impossible to live a truly private life, even offline. I have, to some extent, become a public persona. I think that’s very cool, because it gives me a forum to try to elevate the energy of this planet, and do good things, make beautiful things that enrich the world, and set an example. It does leave me a bit drained, and now I realize that quarterly digital breaks are essential to my well-being. I am, to some, constantly working at a manic pace. However, when you are working every day for several hours doing what you love, it’s not a burden. It’s a pleasure. But, recording and playing music, being visually creative all the time, and trying to foster the highest level of craft possible, can definitely lead to fatigue of the mind. I’m pretty good and stepping out for dinner, a film, a visit to a gallery, or an event, but I think longer breaks are going to be in order for the future.

amicalola falls

Since I take these retreats at the same time each year, and I’m out in Nature, I can say this: Our current weather is sure disturbing, including all the earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires. In the Southeast, we used to call Dec-Feb Winter, March-May Spring, June-Aug Summer, and Sept-Nov Autumn. The past few years have followed this pattern: About 6 weeks of February and March is Winter, About 2 weeks in May is Spring, in late May temps reach 80-90 degrees and they stay in the upper 80’s low 90’s and we experience 6 MONTHS of Summer, from May until October. Autumn is reduced to mostly Halloween through Thanksgiving in Novmber, about 4 weeks. December and January are usually not truly cold enough to be winter, but not colorful enough to be Autumn. So they’re kind-of in weather limbo. Since I’ve been taking what was “Columbus Day” and what I am SO GLAD to now call “Indigenous People’s Day” off for so many years, I can always compare the October weather. I am truly worried for our environment. I see less and less wildlife when I visit the deep woods, and the rivers are lower and flow less every year. Some places just dry up. It’s really obvious to those of us who get out of the city frequently that things are changing.

anna

 

And with that, I know this: My Bliss is not in the City. The City is not where my heart lies. I am truly a lover of the land, its local spirits, and the isolation of the countryside. I am really a serious introvert! I find peace in being alone. What I do love about the city are its people. Its diversity. I wish the rural areas held more of that diverse population, and creative thinking. One thing I have noticed, in all of these little Georgia towns that pop up on the railroad or along a river, is that there are more and more art galleries, creative clothing stores, yoga studios, indie restaurants, bookshops, dance studios and performance venues in business. This makes me feel that the best parts of city culture are developing and incubating in these little towns, along with tolerance, diversity, and a love of education and the arts. That is a wonderful observation.

Lastly, after a retreat, it’s so much easier to be in the hub of the wheel, in my center, as opposed to clinging to the outer spokes, and subjecting oneself to the ups and downs of Fortune/Samsara. You’ll get seasick going constantly up and down on that wheel of life. Always wanting more, always freaking out with less. Being subject to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” You have to find your Center, firmly plant yourself there, and let it all rotate around you. You work out of that Center. It will never fail you. Also, all life is sorrowful. This is the great Buddhist revelation about living. I love the Joseph Campbell quote, “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

I hope you are able to get away yourself once in a while, and reflect on your relationship to the Digital world. One thing is for sure, it’s very hard to completely distance yourself at this point in time from it completely, especially if part of your career or business is based online.

Before I left, I had a “frenemy” say to me, “Who do you think you are?” in a haughty way, when I was posting a lot of art and music before I left. I found that bizarre, because I am pretty clear about self-knowledge and gnosis being super important to me. So, I wrote this little poem, for all the people who might think, “Who does she think she is?” Here is your answer:

“Who does she think she is?

She is someone who feels anger at injustice, but refuses to give in to despair.

She is someone who listens, but refuses to be manipulated or bullied.

She is someone who will give endlessly, but will retreat into self-care when her mind and body are tired.

She is someone who acknowledges your beliefs, but walks her own path through the dark woods at night.

She is a passionate lover, but she will not exploit or demand affection.

She is not vain, but she knows the meaning of beauty of mind, body, and spirit.

She dislikes judgemental and negative hate speech, and seeks equality by her actions.

Who does she think she is? She is powerful from experience and wise from living. She knows exactly who she is.”

xo,

Lisa King

wheel

Find me here:

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: https://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

https://www.facebook.com/nobigwheelrecords/

http://www.twitter.com/NoBigWheelRecs

http://www.twitter.com/TheHotPlace

http://www.twitter.com/waxandwanewands

Instagram: nobigwheel/Lisa King

The Wild One and The Goddess: Gothic Triumph in The City of Athena

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The Wild One and The Goddess: Gothic Triumph in The City of Athena

On tour with David J and The Hot Place in Athens, Georgia

by Lisa King | Monday, July 24

threesome

(L to R) The Hot Place’s Lisa King, David J Haskins (of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets), and Jeff Calder (of the Swimming Pool Q’s), performing Mr. J’s song, “The Day that David Bowie Died” on the Rooftop Bar of The Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA. Photo by Cat Bobon. 

Athena is the Greek Goddess of craft and wisdom. She is the protectress of Heroes and their deeds. As a sea-eagle, she guided Odysseus through his epic ocean voyage, which I believe was also an inner journey of self-discovery, of Maiden (Fearless little Nausicaa), Mother (The perfect Mature Mistress, Calypso) and Crone (Dark witch, Circe). She is a goddess of war, but with a calm demeanor. In the form of the sage Owl, she would rather negotiate and use logic or intuition to settle disagreements, not violence, when push comes to shove. Born fully formed from the head of her father Zeus, she popped out completely armed, with a shout that shook the world. We could say that she caused quite a headache for the old man! I believe that cities are living beings. They have an energy of their own, and any city named after that clever goddess, which displays a statue of her shape overlooking the town, has to be somehow influenced by her character.

athena ath ga

Statue of Athena, which overlooks the city of Athens, Ga. 

Athens has always been a special town for me. My parents were both born and raised right outside of the city in Royston, Georgia. It was the place that they had their first date in 1964, at The Georgia Theatre. They drove over to see Goldfinger, and at the time, it was considered a pretty racy flick. In between those Kentucky mint juleps served up by Pussy Galore and sipped by Mr. Bond, and over a Varsity hot dog, with a side of peach pie, it seems Athens had cast a spell on my Mom and Dad. It stuck, because they got married shortly after.

As a teen, Athens was the place that you went on the weekends, when you wanted to escape Atlanta, but you weren’t allowed to stray too far away from home. It was always a little bit chaotic, with a hodgepodge of unique shops in which you could find geegaws and primo vintage clothing not available anywhere else. There were always excellent places to eat, and weird little nooks and crannies to visit, such as train tressels covered in kudzu; small farms with chickens in the front yard, even in town; mysterious old houses; and sprawling folky granny pads. The town was built around The University of Georgia, so there was always the element of intelligentsia wafting about, and it was full of book-toting young people. Of course, on the flip side, it does own up to the nickname of “a drinking town with a football problem.” It was commonly assumed in certain circles that everyone in the state was either a Georgia Tech fan or a UGA fan, and the football rivalry was intense. (Don’t even mention Alabama, Tennessee, or Florida in the wrong circles. You might get a tooth knocked loose.)

murmur trestle

Train Trestle in Athens, Ga. made famous by the REM “Murmur” album art.

In sharp contrast to the sporting types, you also had a vivid art school, folk artists in abundance, and a thriving music scene surrounding the city. I must say, at this point, I could write a 400 page novel on Athens Music, the bands who made the city famous, and the healthy exchange of talent which crossed over in the 1970’s and 80’s from DB Records in Atlanta back and forth to Athens, down to Tampa and up to Chapel Hill, and Winston-Salem, NC. I could speak of sought-after Producers of “College Rock”, and their incredible analog studios. I could also carry on about the Elephant Six, the colorful collective so vibrant in the 90’s and 00’s, which continues on into the present.  I could link here to so many musicians, and the small clubs that they frequented, that to even start naming names would be perilous, lest I leave out the obscurest of great talent. So, if that is your cup of tea, (or more fitting, your cup of Jittery Joe’s coffee), I can recommend Party Out of Bounds: The B-52’s, R.E.M., and the Kids Who Rocked Athens, Georgia by Rodger Lyle Brown and the documentary film, Athens Ga: Inside Out , for beginners.

stonehenge

“Stonehenge”, a subdivision sign at one entrance-way into Athens, at the end of Highway 78, installed sometime in the 1990’s.

All throughout my college years, I would return again and again to Athens, driving up from SCAD in Savannah on the weekends to collaborate and commiserate with my fellow art students. I always had to enter the city from an odd righthand merge off of Highway 78 onto The Atlanta Highway, which went past a Waffle House, soda bottling warehouse, and by the mystical “Stonehenge“, an odd subdivision installation that popped up around 1990. It’s a superstition of mine, that if I don’t enter Athens in that direction, I’m not entering “Magickal Athens“, but “Mundane Athens.” Call me crazy. I won’t mind. Athens is many things. It’s quirky, a little feral, a very small scene of longtime residents who don’t always mingle or mix, and one thing in particular always stands out to me: It’s completely unpredictable. You cannot control Athens. Athens controls you. If you don’t arrive in the city with your mind open to a pop up warehouse party where you might bump into Michael Stipe or Johnny Marr; your radar up for a rare album find in its many amazing record shops; your palette ready to receive some of the best vegan cuisine you’ll ever eat; or a score at the vintage clothing store; then you are completely missing the point of this City of Athena. When you arrive in Athens, you must become Odysseus, sails at the ready. You must be on the lookout for the hipsters to clash with the jocks between Scylla and Charybdis, and use the Goddess’ wisdom and fair judgement to keep a calm temperament. You might get your hands and your clothes dirty, but you’ll find treasure if you do.

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Marquee of The Georgia Theatre, flanked by a line of Bikes, at the David J/The Hot Place show on Friday, June 9, 2017. Photo by Cat Bobon.

Recently, I rambled over to Athens at the invitation of David J, founding member of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets. My band The Hot Place opened up a few SE shows on his “Vagabond Songs” tour, to support his new double LP.  I found myself once again, in a bit of a time-spiral, as I would be performing on the Rooftop of the very same place my parents had their first date all those years ago, The Georgia Theatre. I had played in Athens with David J twice in 2016, at ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art and later that year at The World Famous. No stranger to the chaos of load ins, and soundchecks, everyone was waiting patiently ready to rock. The Hot Place’s guitarists, Mike Lynn, and Jeff Calder (of The Swimming Pool Q’s, who are very accustomed to the ways of Athena’s domain), were making their way into the city, amps and instruments in tow, while I waited on the street with the GATH staff, parking pylons in position. It was all a little topsy-turvy, as Friday night band load-ins tend to be. However, in true Gemini form, I was texting with David J, on my headset with Mike, and on chat with Jeff, all at one time. Navigation seemed to be going well, guest lists and ticketing details were being exchanged, merch help was on the way, and I had found street parking on a meter. “I am in complete control of the situation”, I thought smugly to myself.

“What was that?” the statue of Athena shouted in the wind from a few blocks over. “You’re in control are you? Oh no. No. You. Didn’t.” 

That’s when I began “sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech…”, well, at least according to Homer.

bikers line

Line of Bikes, across the street from The Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA at the David J/The Hot Place show on 6/9/17. Photo by Cat Bobon.

You could hear the rumble of many Triumph’s and Harley’s from at least a mile away. At first, it was a low hum. Then, the sharp, heart-hitting, brain-thumping blast of exhaust pipes started to echo off the buildings in the area. In a short while, the din would become so loud, I would long for some of Circe’s beeswax in ear, to block out the racket. A large SUV of sorts pulled slowly around the corner, off of Broad Street and onto N Lumpkin Street. It parked right in the middle of the road, stopping all traffic, and I swear I think its headlights were glaring at us. The GATH staff, Mike, and I were all in a line on the sidewalk, getting ready to direct Jeff in to park. I could hear the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly rattling around in my head. A car door slowly opened, and out stepped a very long and tan pair of legs, which were heavily booted, and fringed with cut-off denim shorts. This woman, an Amazon, straight out of Russ Meyer’s “Super Vixens”, coolly and steadily strode out of the car, and stood directly in front of it. Legs forming a “V”, arms crossed over her chest in defiance, she was not budging until every single biker in her gang of Wild Ones was in perfect parking formation. Athena was not only laughing at me, she was staring at me through eye-lined eyes, and mocking me, in a tight tank top. This was going to be tricky. Equally defiant, I stood my full 5 foot 2 inches, with my braided hair in leather wrapped Native American tasseled corsets, black cat-eye sunglasses pulled down tight, green Doc Martens on foot, hands on hips. These were MY parking spaces, and no, I didn’t care if she blocked traffic for an hour, I was not going to surrender. I was flanked by three warriors of the Iliad, the GATH Rooftop walls were the battlements of Troy, and I’d call in Achilles if I had to. Bikers were angrily buzzing past me, throttling their engines, blasting my hair back in a hot diesel wind, but I’d seen Mad Max. Shiny and Chrome or not, I would become Furiosa.

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(L to R), Mike Lynn, Lisa King and Jeff Calder, of The Hot Place, soundchecking on the GATH Rooftop in Athens, Ga. Photo by David McDaniel.

Eventually, some local establishments across the way, and the GATH staff were able to arrange the bikes in two spots, which were neatly lined up between parking cones, organized, impressive, lovely, and powerful. Luckily, I had brought my leather pants to sport for the evening, as we would be sharing the venue with many Bikers that night. I’ve actually always liked Biker culture, and even though my own brigade would be having Goth Night up on the roof, under a strong Sagittarius full moon, we do share a love for Beat poetry, black leather, studded and tasseled decor, silver jewelry, big old boots, and probably a deep reverence for Lemmy. The GATH staff were super helpful, the sound up on the roof was absolutely amazing, some new and old good friends arrived at the show, and Athena was smiling at us, protectress of warriors, proud of our bravery and our compassion. After all, David would play a moving version of Elvis Costello’s, “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding”,  and I think we can all agree on this:

“As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I want to know:
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?”

Indeed.

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to read Part Two of my tour diary, on the road with The Hot Place and David J, as we made for port to Savannah, Ga, you can link to it here. 

XO,

Lisa King

 

david j

David J Haskins, of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets, up on the GATH Roof, 6/9/17. Photo by David McDaniel

moon

GATH Rooftop, full moon, at the David J/The Hot Place show, 6/9/17. Photo by Cat Bobon.

goth night

DJ’s Wardaddy and CROWE, “Make America Goth Again”, Goth Dance afterparty, GATH Rooftop, Athens, Ga. 6/9/17. Photo by Cat Bobon

 

For a full photo diary of the tour, visit The Hot Place on Facebook.

 

Find me here:

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: https://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands

Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/thehotplace/

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Haunted When the Minutes Drag: Art School Spirits and Cryptic Savannah Spiral Echoes

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Haunted When the Minutes Drag: Art School Spirits and Cryptic Savannah Spiral Echoes

On Tour with David J and The Hot Place

by Lisa King | Saturday, July 8, 2017

performance art pedals

Lisa King of The Hot Place, joining David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets) on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” at The Chapel, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah. Photo by David McDaniel.

“The word that would best describe this feeling, would be haunted…” I could hear it in my head, echoing, ghostlike; the opening lines of the familiar song by Love and Rockets, now made all the more potent as I drove into the old historic district of Savannah, Georgia, my passenger none other than David J himself, who had penned the lines. I admit, I shivered for a second. We were driving into the city for a two day stay, in which David would play a private Living Room Show, followed the next day by a very special performance at The Chapel in Bonaventure Cemetery, which my band The Hot Place would open. In 2002, I interviewed Mr. Haskins , backstage at the Echo Lounge in Atlanta. It was an unconventional exchange, as I was heavily immersed in the idea of Surrealist automatic writing, Jungian word-association, the trance states of Aleister Crowley, in which spirits would speak to him, and also the way Andy Warhol carried a cassette recorder around, and recorded fascinating people just talking. I would ask David to respond immediately to words and phrases, mostly things that were relevant to me such as titles of my paintings, songs, or snatches of poetry. In that sense, I felt that it was a sharing of artistic energy. One of the things I tossed out for a reaction was, “I’ll let my sweater figure it out.” He tilted his head to one side, and said, “That makes me think of  ‘Haunted When the Minutes Drag’. ‘I touch the clothes you left behind that still retain your shape and line.’ And that was really about an obsession I had about this girl who was in art school. And I was so nervous…to speak to her…I couldn’t do that. But she used to leave like, her clothes, like a cardigan or a shirt or something, and I remember touching this piece of clothing that still somehow retained her shape and her line.” 

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A young version of myself, 1989, and the charcoal drawing I made of Peter Murphy. When it entered a state competition at UGA, it would land me a scholarship at SCAD. Parkview school newspaper.

You see, I was an art school girl. I attended The Savannah College of Art and Design in the early 1990’s. The irony? I received a scholarship from a charcoal drawing that I had made of Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. My high school newspaper took a photo of me and the drawing, and I was actually wearing a Bauhaus t-shirt on picture day. Thus the Spiral began. The city of Savannah was very different in the early ’90s. A bit lacking in nightlife for youth, there were not many places that college kids could go, and well, just be college kids, especially gothy ones with blue hair, so I found myself bored, free from parental observation, mischievous, and quite frankly, a little drugged up. The course load was heavy: Drawing I, Intro to 2-D Design, Art History, and English. I stayed in the Oglethorpe House dorm rooms, an old 6 story-hotel converted to student housing. It had a required meal plan, and the refectory food wasn’t great, especially for a vegetarian. Truthfully? It was oppressive. It felt like an outdated, gloomy Ramada Inn from the 70’s, where prostitutes and drug dealers may have frequented. My room-mate was mean and a bit suicidal. I did not like her at all, and they had policies against changing room-mates. She allowed her shady friends into our room one evening while I was out, and they stole half of my exotic post-punk clothing that I had worked so hard and saved up for, and had ordered from Bogey’s in New York , Lip Service in LA, or BOY in London, (including my thigh-high Siouxsie-style leather boots!) They took many of my record albums, which were rare 4AD or Beggars Banquet pressings, also from a trip to the UK, and even nicked a lot of my punk rock silver jewelry. Though she admitted it, I never got my my stuff back. The school was ambivalent, and they did nothing to help retrieve the stolen items. There were even cameras in the rooms, and in the halls. We had to get dressed in the bathrooms. You were forcefully told to wear your school ID clipped on your clothing at all times, around town, or you’d get demerits. You had to sign a logbook and check in and out of the dorm rooms at the old hotel desk every time you left, as if you were somehow a bit criminal just for being a student.

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The SCAD offices on Bull Street, on my recent 2017 trip

The faculty, at that time, were a bit bizarre. They spoke a lot of “art-ese”, and were very Dadaist. They talked more than they taught. There were actually mail bombs going off in town, due to some sort of dissatisfaction with the President and the Administration of the college. Lingua Franca, the esteemed literary magazine, which focused on American intellectualism and academia, would publish a scandalous piece on the art school while I was in attendance, entitled Sinister Designs. Collectively, it was all very upsetting for me, and the Lingua Franca article was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. It was straight out of the film, Art School Confidential. (I still can’t watch that film without laughing way too much. John Malkovich  is stellar in the movie, as painting Professor Sandiford.) Despite doing some fantastic work, especially in the realm of drawing and painting, I found myself too weirded out with the school, its bad press and policies, and going home to boyfriends in Atlanta, or driving to hang out with fellow UGA art students in Athens, Ga on the weekends.  To be fair, I must say that in the past 27 years, SCAD has grown, evolved, learned a few lessons, and helped to revitalize Savannah in many ways since my 90’s experience, including providing many jobs for its residents. So, for that, I am honestly most grateful, and tip my hat to my transitory Alma mater. As writer Anne Lamott says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

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My old Oglethorpe House dorm rooms at SCAD. Upon returning in 2017, they were much less gloomy with colorful painted doors, white brick, and a few renovations.

Even in my youthful discontent, and probably through a distorted lens of idealism of what “art school” should be like, there was still something about the oldest city in the state of GA; the spanish moss-lined squares; the dark vibes down by the river, where the ghosts of Pirates loomed heavily; the mysterious little fragrant courtyards; the fountain at Forsyth park, which made you feel as if you were in Paris or Rome; and always the feeling that I was being followed by somewhat benevolent spirits. Savannah had a siren’s call, that would always bring me back during the work week, though I would stray away on weekends. One of my favorite pastimes was taking strolls in the old Bonaventure Cemetery, and making long-exposure photographs with my pinhole camera and snapping polaroids of the statuary. I was in the height of my Goth period, and dressed daily in black lace, black lipstick, heavy eyeliner, Lip Service leggings, and skull-buckle kitten heel boots with clove cigarette in tow. I had blue hair, often sported a black beret, pierced my nose, and got a few tattoos. This is pretty standard fare for kids now, but in 1990, it was not so common. I would tread the cobblestones with my Sony Walkman, Bauhaus cassette playing, listening to Dark Entries or A Spy in the Cab, take pictures of tortured Angels, and draw very dark drawings, and paint very dark paintings. I also dabbled often in taking mind-expanding substances. It was quite the city to explore in altered states of consciousness. More than once I found myself having very lively conversations with the moss and trees, sprites in the woods, or in a fellow student’s dorm room, watching intently as they acted out the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show, as impromptu theatre, at the foot of the bed.

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One of the Many Lovely Gardens along the streets of Savannah, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

Eventually, youth, and what was deemed “trouble” at the time by my parents, (but was really more like the testing out of fledgling little wings), ennui, and the call of adventure lured me away from Savannah, into the waiting arms of exotic New Orleans. Not much of a stretch, really, both being quite similar. Yet New Orleans was much darker. Less a Victorian Lady, and more a Priestess of Vodun. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, The Blue Iguana Club, Doc Don’s Tattoo parlour (where I’d get a huge shoulder Gargoyle and giant calf Dragon tattoo), Tarot card reading, occult book shops, long and spooky walks along the levy at night, smoking weed by the river, and partying all night long in the Garden District would come to replace the rigors of Drawing I and Art History. I did keep making art, however. In fact, I made a lot of drawings and paintings in New Orleans. I sold some work. I was even an occasional busker with my Ovation acoustic guitar in Jackson Square. However, living the bohemian artists lifestyle was starting to tax the body and the wallet, so, eventually I made my way back to Atlanta, and I finished Art School at Georgia State under the wonderful tutelage of Larry Thomas – master printmaker; Ralph Gilbert – painter extraordinaire; and Irving Finkelstein – the best Art History teacher out there, who adored Picasso’s etchings as much as I did. What GSU may have been lacking in glamour or glossy art school atmosphere, they made up for with excellent instruction right in the heart of the city, not to mention having the best student-run movie theatre, Cinefest, and one of the top college radio stations in the country, Album 88. Savannah had become a very distant memory, its live oaks and wild beaches, back alleys and clop of carriage horses fading into the background of what a lot of people would describe as a bit of a “troubled period” of my life. New Orleans was of course upgraded to “unmentionable.” It was a time in my life that was simply labeled TABOO by everyone I knew, and then I was forced to stuff it all in a jar, with the lid on tight, and lock that time away in the dark. Jars can’t hold that kind of thing, though, and I have a feeling that in the darkness, it was glowing an eerie light. It wanted to be heard. Seen. Recognized. Looking back on it all, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. They were formative, learning experiences, and quite frankly, they were also hedonistic and fun, and isn’t that what youth, and “finding yourself” in college is all about?

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Sphinx Statues in a tucked away Savannah courtyard, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

All along the way in my life, music was my guiding beacon. From childhood turntable forays into The Doors and Pink Floyd, to middle school obsessions with Duran Duran. I played piano as a child, and I was in many bands in high school and college, including two that lasted more than a moment, Grave Shift and Unminded. I always looked at my visual art, poetry, and music as one holistic part of myself. After college, and a few decades of traveling and meandering through many spiral paths, I recently found myself back in Savannah, Ga. in 2017 with my current band, The Hot Place. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I was asked to open up a Southeast leg of David J’s Vagabond Songs LP tour, one of the stops being a gig in The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery.  In 2016, David J invited my band to open a series of Living Room Shows, and we played 5 shows that year, including Electron Gardens in Atlanta, ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, and The World Famous in Athens, Georgia. In 2017 we decided to branch out a little further, and one of the attendees of the Athens shows, Shannon Scott, offered to host a show. As a Savannah resident, who also conducts tours of Bonaventure Cemetery, he suggested that we play this lovely Chapel at the cemetery gates. The idea of playing my old goth girl stomping grounds, historic Bonaventure, in one of the most haunted cities in the US, with David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets was enough to tip my goth-o-meter over to eleven. We immediately set out to make it happen.

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The Hot Place, opening up for David J, Electron Gardens Studio, September 2016

The morning of the Bonaventure show, I had a few free hours to take a city walk and indulge my photography hobby. Oddly enough, very quickly, I found myself standing in front of my old dorm room at SCAD. It felt very surreal. I don’t believe that I could come more full circle, or spiral as I prefer, than standing in front of the literal balcony of Oglethorpe House, looking up at my old door, with In the Flat Field playing on the iPod instead of the Walkman, knowing that I had returned to this very specific spot of my youth with an actual member of Bauhaus alongside me. To top it off, another band I admired and postered up my high school walls with, next to Joy Division and The Cure, were Atlanta’s very own The Swimming Pool Q’s. Jeff Calder of the Q’s and I have a long association. I toured with the band in the early 00’s playing keyboards, we played together in The Glenn Phillips Band, and we have been working together in The Hot Place since 2011. So, not only was I returning to Savannah to open up for David J, but Jeff Calder would be riding shotgun as my guitarist. As a teen, in 1987, my first job was working at Turtle’s Records and Tapes. I had left that job when I struck out for SCAD in the early 90’s, and I would return to the job and work at Turtle’s through my college years at GSU until 1997. My main manager, during most of my career at the record shop, was Mike Lynn. I admired Mike greatly, and his band Betty’s Not a Vitamin was one of the most popular college rock bands during the time that he was my boss. Mike started playing guitar with my old band Unminded in ’94, and when that group disbanded, he joined in as the guitarist for The Hot Place, alongside Jeff Calder and I. So, another prominent person of my youth was also driving to Savannah as I stood gawking at my old dorm room, and would be playing with me that night. The idea that these key people from my early years would be flanking me on stage, was a bit mind blowing.

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Unminded, 1995. L to R, Mike Lynn, Lisa King, Andy King, and Vic Richard, photo by Peter Heckman.

I stood there, gazing up at the balcony for a long time, and somewhere in that haze, I slipped into a trance. I don’t know if there was suddenly a rip in the time-space continuum, if I was having an acid flashback, or I was seeing a mirage, but I actually SAW myself, black lace and blue hair, sitting up by that room, with my legs swinging over the balcony like I used to do. I would gaze over the city, and then I’d sketch a bit in my notebook. It was me. I was looking at a spectral version of myself. It was one of the most unnerving experiences I have had in my life. Supernatural things almost always happen to me in Savannah, and this vision was the first of several. I looked at young me, and she looked back, and I shouted, “Hey!” She just stared forward. I said again, “Hey, Lisa!” She just kept staring forward. So, I decided to say a little bit to her. “Lisa, I just want you to know that I am here, I am back in Savannah, it’s 27 years later, and I brought David J, Jeff Calder, and Mike Lynn with me. We are playing music tonight, together in Bonaventure. I know that you are about to set off on a long and difficult adventure. But, I want you to know that you are brave, smart, fierce, and you will pull through. The decisions you are about to make are GOOD ones. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are a bad person. I am here to say that you will succeed, you are following your destiny, and you are one badass little girl. Stay strong. And most importantly, keep going.” I then self-consciously looked around the street, expecting people to be staring at the crazy lady shouting a message into thin air. There was absolutely no one around. It was like a vacuum. It was quiet. I didn’t see a soul. It was as if time had stopped, and you could see dust motes floating in the sunlight. After a fashion, I snapped out of the trance, and blinked. Young Lisa was gone. All the street noise returned. I saw a family noisily walking up the street with ice creams. A jogger ran past me. A lady walking a dog kind of smiled and nodded at me. I moved along, half-dazed, but feeling like I had just done something very important. Perhaps I was in The Matrix. Or perhaps I really did just time-travel. Enigmas happen in our lives, and in my opinion, it’s best to just accept them for what they are, and marvel in awe at the mystery. As I continued my walk,  in the back of my head, I was thinking about Bowie’s words in The Man Who Sold the World, which always seemed like an encounter with a past self:

“We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago…”

griffindove

A “Griffin-dove” on a garden wall in Savannah, that I would see right after my encounter at my old SCAD Dorm room, along my city walk, 2017.

Still in awe, I made my way up to my best-loved square, Orleans. There is a small fountain there, and it was always my favorite place to sit, contemplate, read, and draw. As soon as I entered the area, a perfumed wind blew my hair. I smelled the distinct aroma of clove cigarette, patchouli oil, sandalwood, and a bit of gardenia. However, there was absolutely nobody around. I sat on a bench, taking in the perfume, and I immediately sensed a presence. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. I could feel little fingers of energy, along my spine and in my tresses, which is long, and was worn loose that day. You see, this spot in the city was always the place I first felt the presence of spirits; usually benevolent, playful, young. Perhaps tree dryads, fairies, or ghosts, Orleans Square always seems to be a magickal place. “Hello, old friend.” I said. The wind blew more fragrance towards me. “Yes, Savannah, I’m back. I’m playing music tonight at Bonaventure cemetery. You are invited. In fact, all benevolent and peaceful spirits are invited to join us.” This seemed to be pleasing to the energy swirling around me, and a big whoosh of wind jostled the spanish moss in the trees, whispering. I was feeling very content.  I heard a voice in the wind say, “Keep walking. I’ll show you some things. Do you have your camera? You always used to walk with your camera.” I grinned. “Of course I have my camera. I’m on a photo journey. Guide me!” I declared. And off I went, and I would indeed find some of the most beautiful little gated gardens, see incredible sculptures, hear wind chimes tinkling in the breeze, experience the kindness of many strangers, and take some of the most wonderful photos of Savannah that morning, on my relaxed stroll.

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Orleans Square, Savannah, photo by Lisa King, 2017

Dusk fell over the city, and it was soon time to make my way to The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery for the show. The venue was absolutely stunning, with high vaulted wooden canopies, marble walls and floors, arched gothic windows, the whole interior in hues of heavenly pale blue, indigo, warm wheat, and ceiling planks that reminded me of a Viking ship. There were beautiful white flower arrangements, and our host Shannon and his aide for the event, Mindy, were more than hospitable. In fact, the entire stay in Savannah was made all the more enjoyable and special by the kind hospitality that only those who truly love Savannah can provide. We genuinely felt welcome. I was very aware, however, that this lovely Chapel was also a Crypt. There were names on the walls, and something in my soul was just a little hesitant to make a rock and roll ruckus in such a spot. Perhaps it was just my Southern upbringing, but this was both church and cemetery, and I felt the sudden compulsion to be very quiet to honor the dead. At soundcheck, I had mixed feelings about playing in such a special location. I didn’t think that I would feel that way at all. During these Living Room tours with David, we have played at houses, recording studios, bookshops, art galleries, rooftops, and small clubs, but never a Victorian Cemetery! The sound for each show is always different, depending on the location, and that’s part of the charm of this kind of tour, and what keeps it interesting for the bands. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel, and after soundcheck, I was a mix of emotions. The sound was very cavernous and deep, hollow and big…my words would exit out of my throat, get sucked right out of me, echo around the room to heaven, and then come back at me like I was in a marble womb, or a catacomb. It was extremely goth, a big honor, and the few people that were present at soundcheck were very reverent. In fact, all evening, the tone would be one of high regard and quiet respect.

 

chapel ceiling

The Chapel ceiling, at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

Just up the road, the Bonaventure Funeral Home would be our green room, pre-show. Not only have I never played a Crypt, or in a Cemetery, but I’ve never used a Funeral Home as a green room! Outside of the Parlour, a vintage Rolls Royce Hearse was in Go position. It would drive David J to the show. The “dressing room” was large, beautiful, and I parked my makeup mirror onto a preacher’s pulpit to apply eyeliner. Can you say, “Goth?” I needed to change clothes, and as much as I love my band, and David J, I felt I should change in the loo. So, I walked down the Funeral Home hall, which was very quiet, and very strange. I could look out the windows and see the woods of the Cemetery. You could hear a pin drop. In the powder room, I got the most strange sensation that I was being watched. Not by a person, but by a spirit. As I slipped off my burgundy velvet pants, and a black Criminal Records Atlanta t-shirt, I thought I heard the playful laughter of a young girl. I shook my head and said to myself, “Okay, Lisa. Get it together. You’re just letting your imagination run wild.” I had my hair up in pigtail braids, the way I usually wear it during soundcheck, so that my long tresses do not get caught in any gear. To further protect my locks, I wrap my hair in Native American fringed black leather braid corsets, (called u-que-lu-gv-ga-no-tsi in Cherokee), which I purchased from my local Pow-wow. As I was unwrapping my hair, I distinctly smelled lilacs. Once again, the hair on my arms stood up, and I thought I heard childlike laughter again. It wasn’t spooky, it was actually endearing. I didn’t feel afraid, just curious. After I changed, I neatly folded my pants, shirt, and braid wraps up, and put them on the sink. I didn’t want to hairspray bomb my band, so I had my teasing comb and bamboo spray with me, and went to work on making my hair a bit bigger. It was wavy from being up in braids, and we were running a tad behind with showtime, so I was in a rush. Now, here’s where things get odd. I definitely felt a breeze blow through the room, and as far as I know, I picked up my stack of clothes, and my hair tools, and walked back to the green room. I’m a stickler for keeping up with my items on tour, in an organized fashion, so in my mind, I am SURE that I neatly packed my clothes back in my gig bag, and put away my hair accessories. David wanted to listen to Mazzy Star before the show, so I opened up Pandora, and the song, Lay Myself Down came on first. Hope’s influence over me is abiding, but something about her voice was reminiscent of the little girl ghostly energy I had just felt in the washroom. These were the words she was singing:

“Just like that, she follows me
My wings are under her tree.”

I thought of a little child swinging on a tree swing, I could kind of see her Victorian clothes, and sweet face. I got a distinct impression she was wearing a white dress.

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David J, performing at The Chapel in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah,  2017. Photo by Lisa King.

Our host would provide the band with a limousine for the evening, and in all fairness, I have to say that going from the green room to the gig in a limo, walking out of a big black car into a venue and directly onto the stage, was something that I’d not experienced. Well, as Bowie would say, “What you like is in the limo.” It was quite a rush to go from limo to stage for the first time in my life. So, I was already in a really bizarre mindset. We opened our show with a brand new song, only written just a few days before the tour. It’s called, In the Strange Oblivion. It’s very rare that I’d want to open a show with such a new song, but it felt very correct to me. As soon as the lyrics started pouring out, being inside that Chapel/Crypt/Cemetery, the words started to make sense.

“In the Strange Oblivion
A new season crashes forward
In the spires of Babylon
A new paradigm is altered

In the end…in the aught…in the end…

Icy shadows closing in
In the darkness of the ocean
Ancient Forces, Denizen
Cold grey labyrinth of water

In the end, in the aught, in the end…

Tendril of the strangest kind
Reaches in it takes you under
Sonar signal of the mind
Bones before you, there’s no Saviour

In the end…in the aught…in the end…”

spires

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

The Spires reminded me of the two towers of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which poke out on Savannah’s Historic District skyline like twins. The city, to my younger self, was quite Babylonian. The river, always a little dark to me with its Pirate vibes and everything painful or bright traded along that water; the ocean nearby, the chthonic monsters of the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker and those Ancient Forces and Denizens…and literally, all of the Bones in Bonaventure. I could suddenly imagine all of the bones that were surrounding us, behind us, and underneath us, as I sang this song. It was very poignant. I could visualize it all. All of my lyrics were ringing truer. The Big Black car in A Second to Live was the limo we rode to the show in. The words to Petals of Ruin:

“Petals of Ruin blow slowly away
Patterns they blew in, what could they say?
Petals of Ruin, how softly they fall
Petals of Ruin- nothing at all.”

That reads totally different, in a cemetery! In keeping with the spirit of playing new material, we also performed, Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight, a freshly recorded song in which David J had joined us in the studio a few days prior to the show. He laid down a wailing and winsome harmonica part on the track. As I sang it, I felt like I fell into a hypnotic state. I could hear my words:

“The Moon was a Perfect Priestess
The trees dried skeletons
The sky was a new horizon
The stars were all beckoning…”

And once again, with the full moon coming in the windows, surrounded by literal skeletons, I felt like I was inside one of my own songs. After the set, David asked me outside, “Did you have a good one?” I kind of looked at him with a foggy demeanor. “Did you have a good SHOW?” he said slowly, as if I was still in a dream, and he was waking a sleepwalker. “Oh! Yeah, yeah I think so.” I answered. He looked puzzled. “The audience was very reverent. It is a very impressive space to play.” I mumbled. I was definitely disoriented from all of the revelations coming at me on stage. I wasn’t used to operating on that level, in a certain way. I thought of a Steve Kilbey (of The Church band) lyric, “All my songs are coming true.”

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(L to R), Lisa King, David J and Jeff Calder, performing Bela Lugosi’s Dead, The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga. 2017. Photo by David McDaniel.

As David took the crypt, er, stage, I noticed the same lyrical phenomenon. It’s not unusual, that a genre or that a personality such as his, or even mine, would have lyrics that would apply in many different situations. But as I started hearing his words, they either reminded me of Savannah, or were also made more potent by the Cemetery venue. I was hearing, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, The Day that David Bowie Died in totally different ways, not to mention Goth Girls in Southern California:

“She works at the mortuary
She loves the flower arrangements
The night shift is the shift where she belongs.”

These words were echoing, as David played literally between two lovely white funerary flower arrangements of roses and lilies. Even the cover version he was performing of Okkervil River’s song, A Girl in Port was made all the more lovely by being in Savannah, a port city next to the ocean:

“Oh, I’m a weak and lonely sort
Though I’m not sailing just for sport
I’ve come to feel out on the sea
These urgent lives press against me

I’m just aghast, I’m not apart
My tender head with my easy heart
These several years out on the sea
Made me empty, cold and clear
Pour yourself into me

Let fall your soft and swaying skirt
Let fall your shoes, let fall your shirt
I’m not the lady-killing sort
Enough to hurt the girl in port.”

But, by far, the highlight of the night, and of the tour for me, was the invitation that David extended to Jeff and I, to join him for the encore of Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Jeff played eerie e-bow-esque accompaniments, and I joined in for the “Beeeeeelaaaa’s Undeeeeeeaaaddd” ending, and a call & response part, “Bela Lugosi sleeps with Sister Morphine”.  It was, by far, the gothest of the goth moments I’ve ever had. After the show, I was admittedly a little woozy still from the whole event, bouncing back and forth from coffee, alcohol, and herbals, my energy a zig-zag of lightning. I was exhilarated, but very sad, because the tour was over for The Hot Place. (Stay tuned for a few road stories from Athens, Ga!) I think I was just getting really good and warmed up, and comfortable on the road, so perhaps it’s time for the band to make a little jag across the land, once we finish our second album. I’ve always thought the way time progresses on a tour, in that slow, haunting way, or a really good musical performance you get lost in, is much like a sacred circle: A time out of time, in a place out of place. I’m ready to stay there. It’s a real embodiment of THE NOW.

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Tour Dedication by LK at Tybee Island, Savannah, GA. 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

After some much needed R&R at Tybee Island, including a moonlight stroll on the beach in which Mother Moon came out to greet us for just a mere 15 minutes, (but oh what a moon!), I felt very grounded finally, after the whirlwind. I am the type of person who lives a Shamanic and Magickal life, and I invite all sorts of experiences into my realm. I felt like my Savannah sojourn had filled me to the brim. Upon returning to Atlanta, I started unpacking my clothes. I noticed that everything I had taken with me was home safe and sound, but I was missing the clothing that I changed out of at the Funeral Home in Bonaventure, including my burgundy velvet pants. I was a bit perplexed, because I really felt like I had carried the clothing back to the green room, and put it in my gig bag before the show. I decided to put a shout out on Facebook concerning my missing attire, much to the laughter of friends, asking, “How do you lose your pants in a cemetery?” I figured if someone found them, they would set them aside. I was prepared to lose the clothing, as a sacrifice of sorts, though inwardly lamenting the loss of a really nice pair of velvet pants. It’s hard to find good fitting burgundy velvet nowadays!

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Mother Moon at Tybee Island, Savannah, Ga. 2017. Photo by Lisa King.

As I rested in my kitchen the day after my return, sipping coffee, I started looking at my suitcase. I swear, I heard that same Tinkerbell young girl’s laughter in my head. The hairs on my arms stood up once more, and I said out loud, “Am I being teased by a playful little ghost?” I went over to my suitcase, opened it up, and noticed that it was a bit heavier than it should be. I felt around, and I discovered a long tear in the lining of the interior. I poked around some more, and saw a tiny corner of burgundy peaking out. Perplexed, and unaware of any sort of rip in the lining before, low and behold I pulled out my lost pants, shirt, AND my black leather hair ties, which I didn’t even realize I was missing until that moment. Now, one could say, “Oh, you just didn’t know your suitcase lining was ripped, and you accidentally slipped them in there when packing.” True. However, I didn’t have my suitcase with me at Bonaventure. It was in my hotel. The clothing vanished at the gig, where I only had my gig bag and my purse. So, the clothes would have been in my gig bag, not the suitcase. I may have had a few whiskey’s, but I wasn’t ever so wasted that I suddenly would forget that I had transferred my “lost” clothes from the gig bag to the suitcase somehow that night or the next day. I didn’t even know my hair leathers were missing. If I’d somehow made the transfer, I would have seen them. Nobody else had access to my suitcase. Quite frankly, I don’t understand how the clothes got from the Funeral Home green room, and my gig bag, into the suitcase lining, which unbeknownst to me, was ripped. I spoke with Shannon, our host and a tour guide at Bonaventure. He is very familiar with the special paranormal element that resides in the city, so I told him about my clothes, and my suitcase, and about hearing the laughter at both Bonaventure and at my house. He then linked me to a story he had wrote, called Heaven’s Playground (part one) (part two) , about Little Gracie, a beloved and well-known little girl who died very young, 1889, in Savannah, and her connection to the cemetery. Her grave is one of the most visited in the city. After reading his articles, I really believe that I was experiencing this tiny spirit, who was so beloved in her time, considered an old soul, and even a good luck charm. Residents occasionally say that they see her glowing form in Johnson Square, often in a white dress. I have seen many oddities in my life, and I am very open to occult happenings. I’m a tarot card reader, a practicing pagan, a witch, a shaman, a healer, and a bit of a mystic. You may think me crazy, and that’s fine. But I know my own senses, and I know my own self, and I’ve learned to trust my visions, and listen to my gut. In my heart, I truly believe that this little soul was playfully present at our show at The Chapel. After all, I had politely invited all benovelent spirits to join us. Perhaps, as our Savannah co-host Mindy replied to me in a text, after I relayed the story to her, “I’m sure she’s tired of wearing the same clothes for so many centuries. I bet she enjoyed rocking it out in your attire for a while.” I couldn’t say it better myself.

lgStatue and gravesite of Little Gracie, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah Ga. Photo by Lastmanout.

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for another road tale, from Athens, Ga.

Much love, and gratitude,

Lisa King

xo

An entire photo journal of the David J/The Hot Place tour can be found here on Facebook.

A visual tour diary of The Hot Place/David J Tour, June 6-11, 2017. We played Little Tree Studios, Avondale; GATH…

Posted by Lisa King on Monday, July 3, 2017

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2016: It was the Season of Light, It was the Season of Darkness

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2016: It was the Season of Light, It was the Season of Darkness

by Lisa King | Jan. 4, 2017

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I knew right away that I wanted to start my 2016 year in review with that famous opening line from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens. It really does describe the year perfectly: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

I write up these year end recaps mainly for myself. They have become indispensable in helping me to look back and see what really happens in 365 days. The longer I exist in this current incarnation, the more I realize that time is not linear. I’m certain that it’s circular…or a spiral. However, we are set into the Gregorian calendar year, so I will submit, and mark these 52 weeks of my life with words. I have found that over the years, my friends like to read my yearly blog post. So, I have made many of them public, via WordPress or Facebook. This journal will be all about my feelings, beliefs, things that happened in my life, and how those things affected me. You may find some of it self-indulgent, or disagree with my perspective, and that’s fine. It’s a diary about my life, so for the curious, let’s move forward.

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I think that the hive mind would call 2016 an “Annus horribilis”. We lost many beloved celebrities, and the American Election would turn out to be a terrible surprise for some. I think that social media, and the immediacy of news reporting in 2016 really put the celebrity deaths at the top of the headlines this year. My Mom, who has always been a fan of celebrity, recalled other years such as this, where a grouping of celebs who were part of a generation all passed away at the same time. Many of the famous deaths in 2016 were sad for me, because it marked a passing of time and a certain era ending. I think that Lemmy, David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Leonard Cohen were the ones that upset me the most. I would consider that roster personally influential in some way. The rest, including Carrie Fisher and George Michael, were less directly dominant in my own life, but were nonetheless icons of my childhood and teens. The collective Facebook hand-wringing about all of the deaths in 2016 started to feel a little inauthentic to me by the end of the year, as if our very happiness depends solely on the lives of the famous. That part was a little disturbing. Equally disturbing is the notion that a certain old-school talent and analog sensibility is passing with these great entertainers, and that their energy, strengths, innovations, etc. are not being replicated with current new talent. Not that there is a lack of new icons. It concerns me that in this age of Photoshop, over-edited films, auto-tune, and radical plastic surgery that the standard of talent is not as it once was, and we are losing something eccentric, and precious. There were some very poignant tributes in song and word to the dearly departed, which made me very melancholy. We take our heroes for granted. We assume that they will just always be there for us, inspiring, delighting, and entertaining. For those of you who actually had the pleasure of meeting, working beside, or having encounters with those that we lost in 2016, I’m sure that it cast a long shadow over the year.

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The 2016 loss that made the biggest impact on my own life was the passing of my 17 year old Foxhound, Ruby. She had been my canine companion for a certain defining era of my life, and when she passed, not only did it make me feel incredibly lonely, but I realized that almost two decades of her companionship were gone, and I needed to move forward, and honor the living. Spending the Holiday Season in grief is very difficult. There is a synthetic feeling that encompasses you, and there is a struggle to try and enjoy the jolly world around you, but the post-traumatic stress of the grief breaks through the barrier many times, and leaves you out in the cold. My friends and family were very supportive. I had many anxious nights, when it was dawning on me that at my age, in my early 40’s, I will see a lot of death close to home in the next few decades. When you lose any life around you, it causes you to think of the future passing of your other loved ones. How will you deal with that? You start to see a big void of death, a huge chasm in front of you, and it’s overwhelming. But, then it starts to get better, when you realize that life is here for The Living. I really pulled my living friends, pets, family, and colleagues close in, and I am still trying to live in the Present, embracing the Now, because it really and truly is what we have. This moment, right now. Not yesterday, and not tomorrow. Now.

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The next thing I’d like to get out of the way, before I talk about my own journey in 2016, is the dreaded election. If you know me well, you know that I will talk endlessly about politics, but I do prefer to do this in person. So, I’ll just say this; I was shocked that America would make such a poor decision. I’m not going to rehash all of the anguish that I feel, because if you’ve been keeping up with my Facebook feed, you know my opinion. At the same time I was experiencing grief for the loss of both heroes and a pet, I was mourning the loss of our country’s future. I will never accept a bigoted, entitled, misogynistic, spoiled child as the President of the United States. It is a position of public service, and that’s something that the President Elect has no concept of. I also experienced a lot of rage at the Patriarchy, and I will always believe that a huge reason that we are facing a Fascist Nationalist in the White House is because the other option was a woman. That makes me furious, and I will not pretend that it does not. I honestly did not think that America would make the decision that it did, and I will admit that I underestimated the ignorance, intolerance, and desperation of a large pocket of the population. I refuse to live in a state of constant hyper-vigilance, or gloom and doom, so I will pick myself up, and do everything I can for the next 4 years to support the politics and causes that I believe in. I will leave this topic on this note: The President Elect did not win the popular vote, so we are not as backwards as it may seem. I just hope that the damage is as minimal as possible, for our fragile ecosystem, our social programs, our justice and court system, the tolerance of subcultures, and our global presence in the world.

So, now onwards from the macro to the micro.

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JANUARY: It was snowing outside, January of 2016. My band The Hot Place had a little recording session the week before, and we were starting to really roll, writing new songs. I had just painted a watercolor that reminded me of “The Moon” card from the tarot. I didn’t know what to do with the painting, so I pinned it on my studio door. I headed to the bathtub, longing for the wet heat after a rigorous yoga session, reading my new hardcover copy of Beowulf. I had my very first broken bone late in 2015, a very painful foot brake. It was fractured in 4 places. So in early 2016 I had adopted a few new rehabilitation rituals, yoga being one of them. Yoga and Meditation would become a critical practice in my life from that point forward. Since I have been a serious practitioner, 2016 would see a significant reduction in migraines, shoulder pain, arthritis/tendinitis, and asthma/allergies for me. That seems like a lot of ills…but they are all connected, allergically, or so my Doctor says. Instead of taking countless medications, I started Pranayama breathing, daily Meditation, and Hatha Yoga. To my delight, I would say it helped relieve my seasonal flare-up illnesses by more than half. Not to mention, it’s incredible therapy for stress and overthinking.

yoga  zendo

As I said, I was in the bathtub, and the next thing you know I was on my phone, trying not to drop it in the water. Questions were exchanged, and suddenly like a roller coaster ticking up to and then free-falling over a hill, my band The Hot Place was invited to open up a February Atlanta living room show by and with David J Haskins, founding member of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets. The new year had barely begun. This was unbelievably exciting. If you knew me at all in my teens, you would know that I could barely get a sentence out of my mouth without using the word, “Bauhaus.” If you took a ride in my car, Love and Rockets would be playing. If you went dancing with me, you’d be yelling, “All aboard the express kundalini!” at top volume out the window. Goth and Magick were the name of the game, black lipstick was the standard, black clothes, black beret, black nailpolish, Black Planet by the Sisters of Mercy. For goodness sake, I have a Bauhaus tattoo, a Bauhaus sticker on my car, and a giant Love and Rockets poster hanging in my living room which looms from behind the couch. I’ve had it since forever. The thought kept turning over in my mind: My band will be opening up for David J? I’m going to be able to reach out and kind of poke him on the shoulder, and he won’t be a hologram? Suddenly I realized that the high school girl who ran up onstage at the Fox Theatre and met Love and Rockets backstage after the show, and the same little girl who would again run up onstage and plant a kiss on the side of David J’s face during the “Songs from Another Season” show at the Variety Playhouse, (he exclaimed, “Lovely, darling, the check is in the post!”), she would be sharing a stage with David J by invitation? I went from a 44 year old woman to a 14 year old girl in a split second. I had whiplash.

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I’d met all the Love and Rockets lads in the 80’s, again in the 90’s, and even opened a show for David J back in the 00’s at the Echo Lounge, while playing keyboards with The Swimming Pool Q’s. I had conducted a very memorable surrealist word-association interview backstage with David J after that show in 2002, so this wasn’t all that odd to wrap my head around. But this was different, as it would involve my band and my coordination directly. It was time to wrestle with all sorts of things, like Self-worth. Fear. Anima/Animus involvement. The Shadow. Projection. There must have been an abundance of teenage angst and lust that I had projected over the years towards this exquisite man who I would be working beside. Not to mention a very large pedestal that I’m sure I had squarely sat his image onto. The rest of January would be spent wrestling with my demons. It was like that scene in The Hobbit, where Gandalf carves the rune onto Bilbo’s door, and the little cozy, home dwelling, happy Hobbit would set off on an unexpected journey, and he would never be the same again. Adventure knocked squarely on my door, very loud. I could hear Joseph Campbell whispering to me, “Are you going to go on that Hero’s Journey? C’mon…ready or not, here it is!” So, I embodied The Fool card from the Tarot, closed my eyes, stepped off the cliff, and began the journey. After announcing it on Facebook, and watching the February show sell out at breakneck speed, I did what any good goth girl would do. I started reading “Ulysses”. (I must mention here that it was early January when we lost both Lemmy and David Bowie, which would make an indelible impression on the rest of the year for many of us.)

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FEBRUARY: As Imbolc arrived, the skies started to blue up from January gray, the ground started to smell sweet, and little signs of spring arrived under the winter. The robins could be seen searching for worms in the yard. We had those romantic little warm days, where you can sit outside with a hat and sweater in a patch of sun, with no mosquitoes, and fresh air. My team won the Superbowl, and my man Peyton was victorious. I know that it puzzles some, my love of watching sports. With so much art and music in my life, it creates a calm kind of balance. Plus, bands are like teams, and I like to observe what team leaders do. St. Valentine’s day would be gentle; I stayed in and cooked some lovely eggplant involtini, a new recipe. Cooking is another hobby of mine. It relaxes me. So, I enjoyed that. Mardi Gras would come and go. My friend Kenny asked me to write a Memoir about my time spent with Nikki Sudden, for an anniversary tribute, marking his passing.

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The backdrop of February was the rehearsing, fretting, fussing, worrying, churning, that I had a BIG show coming up on the 24th, and I didn’t feel prepared. It loomed. With one giant “OM”, the next thing you know, I’d be at the airport with my guitarist Jeff Calder, picking up David, my nervous hands clammy and shaking after I’d literally put vodka in my breakfast smoothie for courage. It was instantly comfortable though, with great car conversation. I could tell we’d hit it off . After a night’s rest, the next day would bring an instore in support of David’s tome on tour, “Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick, and Benediction”at A Cappella Books in Little 5 Points. After an entertaining reading, we would catch a Jimmy Web show at Eddie’s Attic later that evening. Unfortunately, I drank far too much Absinthe the night before the Atlanta show and the next day, I had the hangover of all hangovers. We had a very violent storm overnight, and Thor hurled a giant tree branch into my yard, square into the ground like a javelin. Things were edgy. I learned a valuable lesson: Do not drink a whole bottle of Absinthe the night before an important event! I think I was “goth showing off” a bit, for David. Let’s just say I’d give myself a C+ or B- for my performance, though we played a rousing tribute to Lemmy, by performing an acoustic version of “Ace of Spades.”

 

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David’s show was impeccable. To my delight, throughout the evening David was joined onstage by James Hall, one of my favorite Atlanta-based performers. We were not sure what to expect, hosting a living room show at our rehearsal space, but it wound up being a big success. Everyone was so positive & supportive, and we had a great time. I was still so nervous that I almost left the evening without snapping a photo of David and I together. Thanks to my guitarist Mike Lynn, it was captured. I felt truly loved, and I was very sad to see David leave town. I started writing memoirs, lyrics, and poetry at a furious pace. We had a Leap Day at the end of February. I’ve always thought that was kind of like a free day, out of time and space. Someone had lit a bonfire under me. I was inspired. After all, in my 2015 year recap, I had predicted 2016 to be the year of “The Art” tarot card. I felt the chemistry and energy of that card was invoked, and that the alchemy had begun.

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MARCH: Flowers were in full bloom, and that means a little allergy and arthritis for me. I actually get a tiny bit depressed in early Spring, and I’ve never known why. Perhaps it’s just the pollen, which turns the whole city yellow. Or maybe it’s the romance. It’s sickly sweet, and I always feel a little gloomy, in rebellious response. In Atlanta, we have the most gorgeous weather and colors, but I felt terrible. So, avoiding the big sneeze, I stayed in and The Hot Place went to work writing new songs. I started painting again, and another watercolor popped up out of my head, which was very obviously “The Empress” tarot card. When paired with the other painting I had done, “The Moon”, I suddenly realized that I was making that tarot deck that I had always wanted to make. It had just happened to me, and I noticed right away that the Empress card embodied the colors of spring. I was reading a lot, doing some book reviews, and I realized that it was time to buy some reading glasses. A huge help! Easter/Ostara was sweet and mild, and I started a “Word a Day” blog challenge. This is where I really started writing again, on a daily basis. It would take me most of the Spring and Summer to complete, but I blogged on 50 different words/topics last year.

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APRIL: April was a month of poetry. I filled up so many journals, that I had to buy more. I like to write out and about, so many new lyrics were penned at Fellini’s Pizza and The Brick Store Pub. I have a specific table where I like to sit, in both places. My table. I just sat there, and wrote all month. It poured out. Lyrics, poetry, and prose. However, the allergies of March had caught up with me, and I got a really bad flu. Despite a high fever, I went to see one of my favorite bands, The Church, at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. Every time I see the Church, I have these amazing experiences afterward. So, I knew I needed the Shaman’s tent that is that band, to heal me. Last year, I had acquired a tarot deck made of Steve Kilbey’s paintings, and I was excited to purchase more of his artwork for my collection. I wrote one of my blog entries about The Church, and how they affect me.

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I was writing so much, that I needed to set up a new writing desk in my study. At the month end, Prince would pass, shortly after playing Atlanta. This was another crushing blow, and it caused me a great deal of anguish, especially as a musician. I spent some healing time in Athens, Ga. attending the wedding reception of friend and fellow musician Kevin Dunn and his lovely wife Heli. I visited ATHICA: Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, at the encouragement of Michael Lachowski of Pylon. This would be a fantastic place to host another round of David J shows, which we had been planning since February. I visited Avid Bookshop, and knew right away that it would be a wonderful venue for a book reading. I met the staff there, who were very excited, and accommodating. I would see them again in June! April ended with a Robyn Hitchcock acoustic show at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, and I needed the relaxation. But most of all, I needed a night of the quirky humor that Robyn embodies so well.

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MAY: May would mean wood-shedding for The Hot Place. Not only were we writing new songs, and recording them, but we had another series of David J shows to play, and this time we had not one but two shows to perform. Beltane/May Day was lovely as always, with roses and wine. I worked on many tarot card paintings, never really knowing which one would appear on the paper. I decided to take a bit of a surrealist, intuitive, free-form approach to making the deck. Instead of forcing imagery on the paper, I let the imagery of each card I would paint next just come to me. The card that came first was The Wheel of Fortune. It’s still one of my favorites. I was feeling that wheel very much, with all of the ups and downs of the year.

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My friend Peter, who created the psychedelic posters for The Hot Place/David J gigs that would be so popular, visited from New Zealand. We have been friends for a long time, and it was a joy to spend some time in person, having pizza and a nerd-fest at Book Nook. It was the revitalization that I needed. Thanks Peter! On Mother’s Day I made a little cake for my Mom. As if all things Mother were prevalent, the pregnant young wild maiden of the woods, “The Princess of Disks,” would appear on my watercolor paper as my next tarot card painting. I had a very poignant day at my favorite lake cove, and it was one of the most clement days of the year. I saw deer, hawks, ducks, coyotes, dragonflies, frogs, and all sorts of totem animals. I felt a growing responsibility with so much art, music, reading, writing, and other obligations weighing on me, and I think that I had a premonition of things to come in November, with the election, and I painted a prophetic version of “The Tower” tarot card.

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The month would end with a well-attended show performed by The Swimming Pool Q’s for “Rataid” at Smith’s Olde Bar. The highlight of the month was meeting up with Marty Willson Piper of The Church, and seeing his live solo show with his new band, Acres of Space, at the Red Clay Theater. I really, really needed some Marty Medicine, and he lightened my burden significantly. After a conversation that we had about his daily blog, I wrote a song for him, called “The Man of a Million Words”. I told him about it in the lobby. He loved that. He’s an avid writer. I hope he will enjoy the song!

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Approaching my birthday, the city always has a lot of free Museum days. So, I took in Eric Carle and the notebooks of Basquiat at The High Museum of Art, and I spent my birthday at my favorite place in the city: The Michael C. Carlos Museum of history, culture, and ancient artifacts. It was another soul-refresher, and around that time I had one of the most detailed and specific tarot-based dreams I have ever had. It was of The Art/Temperance card, it was directly tied to my work that year with David, and his energy, and my chakras. I painted that card, and was fortunately able to tell him the story, and show him the painting in person in June. It’s still one of my favorites in the deck. After all, I had declared 2016 the year of The Art Card, and here was the visual climax of that.

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JUNE: June would set off a drought in Atlanta like no other. It was one of the hottest, driest summers that we have ever had, and the Sun would dominate the landscape. It would not rain for about 3 months or more, and that would really affect my psyche. I need those rainy days to reboot and refresh, and it added an air of desperation to the late summer. The “Princess of Wands” would dance into my life, with her flames, in my tarot card art. We did get one last rain, as David J rolled into town on June 11-15, and brought the nurturing waters with him. We would play Atlanta, and spend two days in Athens, at Avid Bookshop and ATHICA. There was much discussion of Magick, which David’s book contains, and since he was reading excerpts from his work, the vibe was heady.

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june-show-hot-place  yellowavid

The Atlanta show was solar, with David sporting a yellow shirt, and a whole new roster of friends came to the gig. Sasha Vallely would join David on stage for a few songs, and Mr. J would don a dress in defiance of the transgender bathroom controversy, which was prevalent in the South. This was my favorite set by The Hot Place, and we revealed a new song, “Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight.” Traveling to Athens was fun as usual, and the Avid Bookshop instore and book reading was captivating. We enjoyed cocktails afterwards on the GATH rooftop bar, and later we had an after-hours tour of the Georgia Theater. I snapped some of my favorite pics of David that night, who was very patient with my constant photography. The next day, he rewarded us all with a rare performance of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” at ATHICA. This show was the best performance The Hot Place had played, in my opinion, as the large cathedral-like room gave us great natural reverb. That show was very gothic.

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We ended the mini-tour with some tarot card reading, fish and chip eating, jokes, laughter, stories, and affection. Once again, I was sad to see David leave. The sun dominated, as it should, on the Summer Solstice. I awoke early to watch the sun rise on Litha morn. I spent the day appropriately, painting The Sun tarot card. I baked cupcakes for Dad on Father’s Day. At end of the month, I caught a really cool exhibit of vintage tennis shoes/trainers at the “Sneaker Culture” exhibit at the High Museum of Art, and watched Jeff play with The Glenn Phillips band at Schroeder’s in Rome, Ga.

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JULY: Came in with a bang, and a homemade fresh peach pie. My sweet dog Ruby would turn 17, and I knew that every day with her was a blessing. I was fired up to play, and play bass I did! I laid down most all of the bass for the first half of The Hot Place’s new album at Electron Gardens Studio with Tim Delaney at the helm, and Jeff Calder producing. I should say a big “thank you” right here, to my Patreon supporters, who have helped me to pay for studio time and art supplies with their ongoing support all throughout 2016. In Space News, NASA had a success, as the Juno craft landed in Jupiter’s orbit, and I watched that streaming live. It was thrilling, being a Cocoa Beach NASA baby, and I got to talk to my Pop about his days working at The Cape. On the 6th, one of the most striking double rainbows that I have ever seen in my life appeared over my house, with a golden sky, and I knew right away that this meant it was time to paint the “10 of Cups” tarot card, with its rainbow.

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Mid-July I would have a great time at Rodney Mills 70th birthday party at The Red Clay Theater, celebrating the accomplishments of the talented man who mastered The Hot Place’s debut album, “The Language of Birds“. The Swimming Pool Q’s would open up for new incarnations of Pylon, along with with Love Tractor, at the 40 Watt Club in ATH and the EARL in ATL. I got down to the sounds which celebrated the vinyl release of “Pylon LIVE”, a lost and found live recording of the band. I partied like it was 1980 for sure. Speaking of Athens, at the end of the month, I would get to visit with my old friend Matthew Sweet as he christened the new stage at City Winery in Atlanta. The backstage party was legendary, and I got to play a couple of Matthew’s guitars. I’m still hungover from that, and I was having so much fun that I failed to even snap a photo. The last thing to linger in July was my painting of “The Lovers” card, with a Bowie-esque male figure in the work. It is a soft and beautiful card, and The Lovers can really make or break a tarot deck for me. So, I was glad that I was happy with the painting, and in love with my Lovers.

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pylon  lovers

AUGUST: All hail the Olympics! It’s Michael Phelps time! I have an obsession with the Olympics, and I always have. There is something so motivational about these athletes, who have to shine for such a short moment and train for so long, and sacrifice so much to reach great heights. This year, it was exciting to see so many records being broken. Swimming and Gymnastics were stellar. My writing desk continued to get a workout, and I actually freed my old typewriter from high school/college from my parents house, and set it up to work. When I turned it on, I think that it released a little ghost girl version of myself, and I’ve been haunted by her ever since. That typewriter is like a horcrux in reverse for me, and it is a tool of power that I had long forgotten. I immediately started writing a novel. Now, I’m not saying that I’m writing a novel. But, that typewriter is doing something on its own, and every time I sit down to it, it types for me. I’m just the vessel, and I’m curious to see where it’s all going.

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I read Patti Smith’s “M-Train” this month, and it made an indelible impression on me. The feminist, follow the prompt, making art for art’s sake, odd, quirky character that she is inspired that ethos inside me, and something clicked. I’m not sure what happened, or what it is, but I’m still feeling the effects. All of the work and excitement of the year started catching up with me this month, and I started having some rare high blood pressure issues. It was certainly stress and fatigue, and it was recommended that I start swimming three times a week. That really helped! So, I became a swimmer of late summer. I was getting ready for a third and final mini-tour with David J, and starting to feel the rehearsal pressure mounting. Swimming relieved the tension. We were also recording and practicing more new songs to reveal at the live shows, and that was a lot of work. In February I had started making some hand-painted cowboy boots, with little Dia de los Muertos characters on there. I continued to work on those boots while watching the Olympics this month. When I’m finally finished with these boots, I’m very curious to see where they will take me, at the first wearing.

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SEPTEMBER: This was another literary month. It started by watching my friend and guitarist Jeff Calder interview two authors at the Decatur Book Festival: Rodger Brown for “Party Out of Bounds The B-52’s, R.E.M., and the Kids Who Rocked Athens, Georgia” and Thomas Mullen for “Darktown.” It was hot in Decatur, and even the cold beer was not quenching the thirst. Mabon was on the horizon, and with the Autumn Equinox came Mr. Moonlight again, for another ATL/ATH mini-tour. The Freewheelin’ David J came to town, bringing once again the soothing, nourishing rain, which we needed desperately. The show at Electron Gardens on Sept. 19th was one of the most relaxed for me and for The Hot Place, and we played a new song, “Home”. We also played an old song which I love, “A Second to Live”, and a cover of the Doors “Maggie M’Gill.

free

For the first time in a while, I found that I was dead comfortable on stage. But, the pinnacle of my year was about to come: I was invited to play bass alongside David, for a grand finale of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” with all of the musicians that played that year, including James Hall, Jaz Jillette, Sasha Vallely, and Jeff Calder. It was like our own little Rolling Thunder Revue. It’s not every day that you get to meet, host, spend time with, and play bass next to someone who inspired you as a teen to pick up the instrument, (let alone influenced my songwriting, vocal style, and fashion sense!) They say to never meet your heroes, because you will be disappointed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. From the moment I stood next to him on stage, I grew as a musician, a vocalist, a bassist, as a person, and as a shaman. I had been dreading playing that bass part for weeks. At the dress rehearsal, when I first picked up my bass, I could hardly get a tone out of it I was so nervous. “Don’t be nervous! It’s only 3 notes!” exclaimed David. “But, I’m scared of you!” I said back. “What? That’s ridiculous! Don’t be scared!” he replied. As soon as we started jamming, I got very relaxed.

me-and-dave

the-hot-place-sept

lk-onstage-bass

group

By the time I took the stage during the show with my fellow musicians, and those notes came out, I felt very, very comfortable. Like I’d been playing next to him all of my life, because, in essence, I have in spirit. That moment was one of my life’s greatest peaks. I think you have to step outside yourself and see those moments clearly, as they are happening. They become burned into memory. The following day’s drive to Athens was jovial. We had an interview lined up for David with Joe Silva of WUGA”s “Just Off the Radar,” and an instore planned with my friends Michael, Jeramy, and Todd at Low Yo Yo Stuff Records. We played a relaxed set at The World Famous, and once again, Jeff and I joined David for “Knockin’” at the end of his show. This time, I would play tambourine, because I didn’t bring my bass to Athens. That was very emotional, actually, and the end of a long tour for David.

atl-sept-poster

low-yo-yo

hot-place-world-famous

david-world-f

We ended the tour once again with fish and chips, libations, and David and I decided to make a slight return to 2002, and I conducted another word-association interview with him at The Brick Store pub. I decided that I wanted to do something special with the interview, so I made a little YouTube video of our conversation, accompanied by some spontaneous drawings. Shortly after David had left, I would pass by a favorite church window in Decatur, and it inspired me to paint “The Ace of Swords” tarot card. The death of Leonard Cohen would end the month on yet another sad note.

ace

OCTOBER: Columbus Day Weekend is always my “unplug and go hike” time of the year. This year, I went to Amicalola Falls, Unicoi State Park, Anna Ruby Falls, and Toccoa Falls/Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia. My Grandmother, Irish Great-Gran Nora and her Native American husband William, and their family lived in Toccoa during my childhood. I consider these my ancestral lands. I spent many a night on Nora and William’s mountain farm porch as a kid, learning about herbalism and listening to traditional Native stories, accompanied by rattle or banjo, with fireflies all aglow, cats meowing, moon beaming, and sunflowers blooming. I always feel like I recharge in Toccoa, by absorbing a bit of that magick that they taught me, and I love to get lost in the woods.

hippie-lk  amicalola

The witch’s new year, Samhain/Halloween is always a favorite season of mine, as we enter the dark half of the year. I really felt the heaviness this year, and an unexpected slight depression started to creep over me. I was cheered to receive David’s vinyl album “Carpe Noctem” by The Theatre Bizarre Orchestra, with a Bela Lugosi 45 included by luck, and a cool indie tarot deck, “The New Wave Tarot” as little Halloween presents in the mail. I was feeling…everything in the world…so I think that inspired me to paint “The Universe” tarot card. It was a hard card to draw, being very figurative. A few nights prior, I had a dream that I was wrapped up in this snake, suspended over golden water, and had a very vivid feeling of actually being the goddess IN that card. This card took the longest to paint, as it would go on through November, but the results are lovely. A slow, crawling darkness really enveloped me, as I felt The Crone’s fierce influence on my life. Ruby was having kidney problems, and losing weight. I knew she wouldn’t be long for this world. I had a sense of dread, with the election coming up, and the holidays approaching. Shadows were everywhere, and ghosts and witches were coming out of the woodwork.

cut-you  halloween-table

NOVEMBER: Began with long voting lines. I was able to finally catch up with, and see my friend Ian Webber perform material from his new album,”Year of the Horse,” live at Eddie’s Attic, which cheered me up a lot. I’d missed his album release party, because I had been playing gigs myself. After that high, November ended in a disastrous low, and not just from the terrible election decision made by the American people. This would be the darkest few weeks of my year. Ruby started having bad kidney disease, just two days after the election. I was up most of the night with her often, though she was still playing with Aleister, and had her personality present. She was rickety. Aleister fussed over her and wouldn’t leave her side. I didn’t sleep much. At 4 a.m on the 16th, Ruby stood up, and whined, waking me up. I got up, and sat down on the floor with her, petting her. She looked right at me, a very deep stare, and suddenly she fell over unconscious. She’d had a heart attack. I knew in my gut that this was it. I got her to the emergency vet in less than 8 minutes, and she had another heart attack. She was still conscious, and I held her in my arms. We decided it was time. She passed peacefully in my arms at dawn, and she was never, ever alone. I didn’t realize how hermetic I had become in October, sensing that she would pass soon, and I didn’t want her to be by herself. She was playing with Aleister just the day before, and she was happy up to the end. She never suffered, and she was with me every second. I miss her horribly, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays would be so challenging to experience without her. Aleister was a wonderful nurse to her, and he misses her too. I set up an altar for Ruby, and placed her urn next to the urn of her lifelong companion Beagle, Sam. They are reunited as a pair, and it is a comfort to me, when I really miss them, to see their little shrines up on the fireplace together.

ruby-shrine

I started reading Neil Gaiman’s, “The View from the Cheap Seats” the day after she died, and it has helped me immensely to get through a tough time. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and it was pretty somber, but nice to visit with friends and family. I started to pull out of my depression at the beginning of December, though I didn’t really feel like decorating for Yule/Christmas. I wound up decorating a lot, which I found was good to cheer me up. I started making leather cuffs with raw crystal accents, and I got pretty busy in my Wax & Wane Etsy shop. Gentle work was the solution to get through the grief.

thanksgiving-table    cuffs-2

DECEMBER: The light started to return, with Yule around the corner. I finished my year-long commitment to read “Ulysses” cover to cover, and I discovered that I read upwards of 195 books in 2016, including some Audio books too. You can find a reading list on my Goodreads page, and I’ll write up a few that I liked at the end of this blog. I hurled myself into organizing and helping to produce Mike’s guitar sessions for The Hot Place’s new album, with Tim and Jeff at Electron Gardens in Avondale. I completed the final details on “The Universe” card, and that would be it for tarot paintings in 2016. Thanks to the support of my Patreons this year, I made a total of 12 cards! I’m looking forward to painting more in 2017, and would like to start with “The Princess of Cups”, because I had a dream about the card. I also had a dream about what I’d like the pattern on the back of the cards to look like.

mikes-session

universe tarots

What turned around the gloom for me, was putting up my christmas tree and lights, and visiting with my friends on Yule. In my Yule ritual, I did a very physical and energetic house cleaning, along with a thorough smudging, and I had a cathartic release and letting go of the darkness. I burned a lot of old energy in my cauldron. I elevated the vibe of my house. I enjoyed holiday shopping at Phoenix and Dragon, indie bookshops, and seeing movies. After Christmas, I really had a great time in the recording studio tracking vocals, keyboards, and various guitars the last week of the year.

yule

al-tree tree

New Year’s Eve was spent hiking, and New Year’s Day spent recording. I tracked some of the best vocals of my life in late December, and I’m sure that all the work that I was fortunate enough to complete in 2016 was the reason I had become a much better singer. When playing these acoustic living room shows, there’s simply no place to hide. You are the focus of attention, and you have to gain confidence, trust in yourself and your band, and you have to reach deep down inside to make a connection. I was now able to do that in the recording studio too. By singing in front of one of my heroes, and all of my Patreons and friends, I found my voice in 2016. Literally. I had a great bonfire at the end of the year, and drank champagne with friends.

rec1

hk-fr  lk-hk

WRAP UP: So, here is where I’m supposed to say something profound. I’ve been rehearsing several things to say, in reflection, but now that I’m actually here behind my keyboard, all I can say is that opportunities to go on a Hero’s Journey knock loud, and happen fast. You are never fully prepared, but must trust that you have the thing inside you that will guide you through it. Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” I can’t say it any better than that. 2016 was that cave. Thank you to everyone who entered it beside me.

-Lisa King
1/4/2017

rec2

2016 MEDIA and 2017 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

I’ve decided not to judge, or make assessments of the movies, books, and music of the year, and just to say, I enjoyed the following:

MOVIES/TV : Deep Space 9 entire series Blu-Ray release, The Revenant, IP Man 3, Hail Caesar, Sufi Soul, Shepard & Dark, Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life, Mad Max, London Has Fallen, Gods of Egypt, Eye in the Sky, Superman vs Batman, X-men Apocalypse, The Wailing, The Witch, Therapy for a Vampire, Music of Strangers:Yo Yo Ma, Secret Lives of Pets, Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River, Stranger Things on Netflix (my favorite!), Touch of Zen, Ab Fab film, Anthropoid, Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Arrival, Rogue One, and Assasin’s Creed.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Well, I read 195 or more, so I can’t list them here. Please see my Goodreads page. Honorable mention: On Audible, AUDIOBOOKS: “Black Elk Speaks”-Neiheardt, “Masks of God”-Joseph Campbell, “The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis” Owen Barfield, “Mythology” Great Courses, “Ready Player One”-Cline (my favorite!), “M-Train”- Patti Smith (life changing!), Re-read/listened to the entire Harry Potter Series, “Ulysses” was a year long commitment, “Jerusalem” Alan Moore. PAPER BOOKS: “Ulysses”-Joyce, “The View from the Cheap Seats” Neil Gaiman, “Dreams”-Carl Jung, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, “Beowulf” re-read, the new version with Christopher Tolkien, “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”-Starhawk, “The Creative Tarot” -Crispin, “Songs of Innocence and Experience”-Blake, “Moonchild”-Crowley, “The Land of the Green Man”-Kirrington, “Modern Tantra”-Kraig, “The Priestess and the Pen”-Sadovsky, and “Sacred Trickery” -Jodorowsky.

MUSIC/BANDS/SONGS/EP’s/ARTISTS I DISCOVERED: Anything by Jon Hassell, “Blackstar”-Bowie, “One Night in Indy”-Wes Montgomery, “M:FANS” -John Cale, “Year of the Horse”-Ian Webber, “The Day that David Bowie Died” EP-David J, “Carpe Noctem” -The Theatre Bizarre Orchestra, “Post Society”-Voivod, “Pylon LIVE”-Pylon, “These People”-Richard Ashcroft, “The Glowing Man”-SWANS, “You Want it Darker” -Leonard Cohen, “Before the Dawn”-Kate Bush, “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service”-A Tribe Called Quest, anything by William Basinski, “Scary Music”-James Hall and the Steady Wicked, “A Cave in England”-Laaraji, “Jungfrau Maria”-Sarah June, “Maitreya”-David Parsons, “The Push”-Astra Heights with Daniel Ash, anything by Sundial, and a million other things I just can’t think of at the moment!

 

NEW & OLD PLACES I VISITED OFTEN and DUG: My Parent’s Basement, Tipple and Rose Apothecary, Leon’s, The Brick Store Pub, Thumbs Up Cafe, A Cappella Books, Avid Bookshop, ATHICA, The World Famous, Cillies Clothing, Little Kings, 40 Watt, Odin’s Cosmic Bookshelf, Book Nook LaVista, Midtown Art Cinema, The Grit, Fellini’s, YDFM, The High Museum of Art, and The Michael C. Carlos Museum and Bookshop. Most of these are old places, I know, but good hangs.

duel

————————————————————————–

SO, WHAT’S NEW, PUSSYCAT?

chariot    thoth-chariot

I suppose for me that 2017 started off as The Tower tarot card. I mean…I really saw that card manifest in late 2016 after the election. Literally a man in a tower, and talk about a lightning bolt just blasting through all of the world. Last year, the Art Card and The Universe card dominated, with a visit often from The Princess of Wands, especially on stage. I’m not sure what card 2017 will really shape up to be. I haven’t pulled a New Year’s Day spread yet. Something in my gut is making me think of The Chariot card, which I keep dreaming about, and have brewing as my next painting. The Chariot represents mastering control of opposing forces. Union of physical and intellectual powers: where the rubber meets the road. Control, but indirectly. Intuition. The power of subtlety.

If you’ve read this far, I’m grateful. I hope that you found this interesting. This is the part where I make some loose New Year’s resolutions. Or something like predictions. Goals and stuff. I’ll just keep it simple and list 10 things I’d like to do in 2017. Some are big, some are small. Everything counts in large amounts.

1. Finish recording The Hot Place’s new album. I’d love to release it on vinyl.
2. Keep painting as many tarot cards as I can. It’s a long-term project.
3. Play some good quality live shows in 2017. Don’t want to lose my edge.
4. Keep allowing my typewriter to guide and write a story, novel, or whatever it’s typing.
5. Read…a lot.
6. Practice Yoga and Meditate every day.
7. Practice the art of listening more, talking less.
8. Continue to swim, and to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
9. Practice more compassion, especially self-compassion.
10. Stay balanced, always balance.

Blessed 2017 to you all!
Xo,
Lisa

bw-stu

Find me here:

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2015: The Year of Saying No and Letting Go! Oh, and Writing a Second Album with the Band…

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2015: The Year of Saying No and Letting Go! Oh, and Writing a Second Album with the Band…

arms up

By Lisa King | Monday, January 1st

Introduction:

2015 was The Great Year of “Saying No and Letting Go.” It’s not how I planned it to be, but that’s what it became. It puts me in mind of Joseph Campbell, and his wisdom: “Dream is the Personalized Myth.” I definitely developed my personalized myth in 2015. “The Hero, when fulfilling his destiny, must practice massive discrimination.” That is to say, “Discrimination as in Discernment and Detachment; the Crisis by which the Higher Self is attained…a retreat from the desperation of the Wasteland, to the realms within.” I think he was borrowing heavily from Carl Jung here. Campbell goes on, “The first work of The Hero is to retreat from the World Scene of secondary effects and into the causal zones of the psyche. To clarify the difficulties, to eradicate them–to battle the demons of the childhood nursery and of his Local Culture. To break through to the Archetypical images. The task then, is to return to the world, transfigured, to teach us all that was learned.”

To battle the demons of his Local Culture, indeed.

In 2015, I finally took it to heart to let go of things, people, and attachments that do not support my Hero’s Journey, or you may prefer to call it my Personal Destiny, or just my desire to be the best Artist and Musician I can. A creative person’s path is a perilous journey, fraught with all sorts of characters who do not belong. But there are also helpers. Supporters. Teachers. Allies. Those are Campbell’s “Golden Seeds” that the Hero must water and tend to. All other things are mere distractions from your Destiny, (or your goal/purpose.) For me, my main goal was to write a follow up album to “The Language of Birds”, and to do it as a BAND instead of as just an individual songwriter. That required a really different approach. It required that I trust my fellow Travelers in Music, and that they trust me.

Mentor Chart with Words

My Mentor Chart, Golden Seeds indeed…

So, if it didn’t fit, I got rid of it in 2015. That included a massive decluttering of my home, music and art studios. It also included my personal relationships. There is a pop-culture meme that I really like. “Pay close attention to those who do not clap when you win.” Now, I don’t see my art as something to be won or lost, but there is great value to this mindset. Pay close attention to those who do not support your successes. They may have in the past. This can be confusing. There may have been a time where people and things were key players in your life or career, and sometimes we simply outgrow those relationships and things. If we are healthy, we actually SHOULD outgrow some things. People will come into your field of vision, very hyper-focused on you. Sometimes with hidden agendas from simple jealousy, to grudges that I like to call, “absorbed by contact.” Those are the relationships or work partnerships that have shadows lurking within, and those shadows sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with you. You might reflect back that person’s Shadow self. You thump one of their social Masks and scare them, or anger them. Sometimes it’s a “contact negativity” due to a bad fit within your own close circle of friends and colleagues. In this case, here’s dark baggage from the past, that wasn’t even YOUR past! This often happens in Campell’s “Local Culture.” Throw that shade back to where it came. Toss the fish back in the pond. It’s a no win situation, and there’s nothing you can do but walk away and leave. If for some reason you should be wrong, it will be made known to you in the form of reconciliation. The Universe is cool that way.

Get rid of the Dabblers, Dilettantes, Wanna’ Be’s, Hangers on with Grudges, Quitters that are now Overachievers, Schmoozers, (those are hard to identify, if they are good at it!) I completely did in 2015, and truly let that shit go.

fight

And you know what happened?

Just like weeding a garden overgrown, I made room for Patrons to grow. For new, healthy, loving friendships to blossom. Without hidden agendas. I discovered that some of my best friends have been there all along. From high school and college, to new acquaintances. I found my Tribe. The best part of all, is that they clap when I win, and I clap when they win. We succeed together. Side by side. Going on this adventure together. Some of these wonderful supporters are actually long time heroes of mine, respected or well known artists and musicians. You know…sometimes when you meet your heroes, they don’t let you down. Even after 20 or 30 years. But there is a flip side: Just because someone is a self-proclaimed long-time “professional” working at an art or craft, doesn’t mean they are anything of the sort. Back to Campbell’s Hero: One must have Discernment, Disassociation, and Discrimination; as in “have discriminating taste.”

I also learned just how many people are willing to ask you to spill your creative juices for free, or even worse, just to be “collected” like postage stamps. I think of the Bob Dylan lyric, “With his faithful slave Pedro behind him he tramps, with a fantastic collection of stamps, to win friends and influence his Uncle.” That’s the most spot on lyric concerning those taking advantage of creative people ever, besides “Don’t follow leaders, watch your pawkin’ meters.” Bobby D knew the score. Just because someone is nice or cordial, doesn’t mean that they want to pay you, (even in kindness and friendship), for your creative work. In fact, some of them might even COST you money and time, and more importantly, energy. Not all creative gigs, whether art or music, are equal. If you want to make a living as a professional Creative, it pays, literally, to wait around and pick and choose opportunities that financially and emotionally support you. THERE IS A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE WILLING TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT YOUR WORK. If you ditch the entities asking you to “pay to play”, or to work for free, (or for someone else’s personal glory, or ego, which is the worst), that’s when real opportunities arise. You’ll actually have the time and energy to do your work when those opportunities come around. (I think of the Pet Shop Boys song “Opportunities”. Ha!) But in all seriousness, that is, my friends, a BIG lesson in Creative Self-Respect. I haz it in 2015 and totally haz it in 2016.

So, just say “NO” and let the hangers-on GO. Make room for the light. You can’t feed, water, and tend a garden with tons of weeds and predators. You want to spend your time cultivating the juicy, ripe, luscious, creative fruit of healthy plants. So take out the pruners, and get serious. That’s what I did in 2015, and as a result, The Hot Place has pretty much written Album #2, we have a tight-knit group of supporters, and we’re super excited about how well it’s all going.

pawkin

“Don’t follow leaders, watch your pawking metaws!”

So, my 2015 mantras were written coming off of 2014, which was spent in brutal pursuit of pressing my album into orange vinyl and completing “The Language of Birds.” In Tarot Deck terms, 2014 was the year of The Emperor. 2015 was the year of The Empress. I wrote down in my journal that last year’s keywords were: Compassion, Courage, Open-Heart, Declutter, Self-Respect, Creativity, Growth, Recovery, Fertility, and Love. My main goal was to be open and absorb a lot of Art and Music, write lyrics and songs for our new album, embody the Creative Chaos of Mother Nature…and I’d say I nailed it! It was a year of writing a ton of lyrics and poetry. I filled up journals like crazy! I made a lot of visual art as well. I grew my Etsy shop, “Wax & Wane” just like I wanted to, with a targeted vision. My record label, No Big Wheel was turned into an LLC, and I have a real office and everything! I got out and visited a bunch of museums and saw a lot of films. With the inspiration of one of my heroes, David J, I decided to start a Patreon page. Because of the supporters there, I was able to end the year in Electron Gardens studio with Tim Delaney and Jeff Calder, and break ground on Album #2 for real. I read and reviewed a lot of books, and besides breaking my foot in 4 places in June, and recovering through October, I stayed healthy and didn’t get any serious colds or flu. Which was a big deal, because I started the 2015 year off with a pretty serious pneumonia, which hung over from November/December of 2014.

art

So what’s on deck for 2016? Well, Tarot Deck wise, I’m put in mind of the Art/Temperance card. Co-operation, Balance, Compromise, Perspective, Integrity, Combining and Recombining, Profit, Management, Hero returning from the Wilderness, Harmony, and Combination.

But the BIG words in 2016 for me are Skill, Craftsmanship, Partnership, and Alchemy. Those will be above my studio workstation, as The Hot Place makes our second album this year…you can believe it.
So, I like to write up yearly goals. I don’t force myself to follow them, or beat myself up if some of them fall by the wayside. But, the touchstone each year is very important for me.

So here goes:
2016 Goals:

1. To Craft Album #2, with the combined alchemy of our band and production team.
2. Continuing to let go, completely, of all things that don’t serve this goal and attitude; both things, psychology, and people.
3. To keep writing and compiling material for a real-life, 3-D, analog Kitchen Alchemy Cookbook of my recipes, and the website that goes with it.
4. Tighten up the memoirs I’m writing about my life as a musician and artist. I’ve met some amazing people along my creative path, and I want to tell their story.
5. Continue to make Wax & Wane and No Big Wheel Records profitable. And this is THE year I pay off 100% of my debt. I only have a little bit to go, and I will owe “the man” absolutely nada.
6. Fund-raise for the actual pressing of Album #2, once it’s recorded. This will branch out from Patreon support, which has been for Pre-Production costs, and become an Indiegogo Campaign at the end of the year for actual physical manufacturing. We want to press vinyl again!
7. Keep finding a harmonious balance of management of all of my artistic/musical endeavors, dropping off what no longer serves me, (which includes shedding Sew Lucky Girl and some other creative projects that have fallen by the wayside. And that’s okay!)
8. Keep facing the Inner Shadow and embracing it, identifying the Archetypes within, keep a flashlight on my Psyche, Ego, and the Dark Places, Keep an Open Mind, Stay close to Jung, and Stay in the Moment.
9. In the words of Peter Murphy, “Look for What Seems Out of Place.”
10. Savor the craft of making this new album, writing book reviews, hiking, my meditation and yoga practice, compiling my poetry, and staying in THE NOW.

 

2016 Dreamy Things, Reaching for the Stars, Long Term Jujuland, if there was nothing to stop me:

1. Publish A Kitchen Alchemy Hardback Cookbook and Website
2. Make my big Sci-Fi novel I wrote in the 80’s into a printed graphic novel
3. Album #2 pressed into Vinyl by The Hot Place
4. Tenguzame and other No Big Wheel Acts–move the projects forward, grow the label
5. No Debt and Enough Money to keep everything ticking along
6. Repaint my House, a practical journey
7. Confirm and Book the musicians I have in mind as guests on Album #2
8. Compile a Book of my Poetry
9. Make a Tarot Deck with my Art, and my own metaphysical spin
10. Compile a coffee table book of my Paintings and Etchings
11. Update my Book Review Blog, publishing the reviews that are public and I’m able to publish
12. Have a garden this year!
13. Write More, More, More
14. Travel More, More, More! I’d love to see a Dew Tour in Breckenridge or go to Europe again
15. Plant a fruit tree orchard in the front yard, and expand my herb garden

2015 Warm Fuzzies:

1. My sweet Ruby is still around to see 2016, and is a healthy, feisty 16
2. Aleister is healthy, after a sick, heartwormy, stray puppyhood, and is an awesome doggie
3. Mom and Dad are still kicking it up!
4. My band mates are all healthy and happy
5. I have food, shelter, and love
6. I am healthy and motivated, and my broken foot and weak pneumonia lungs healed up
7. I have amazing friends
8. I like to work on my mind, body, and spirit
9. Yoga is life
10. Cooking is the most fun thing ever

Neato things from 2015:

1. I learned to make homemade Asian dumplings and wontons
2. I mastered Plow Pose and did a whole lotta’ Yoga
3. It didn’t snow, and that made me kinda’ sad
4. I saw Venus and Mars aligned this Spring
5. I saw a massive 3 planetary conjunction along with the moon in both June and October
6. I saw a rare Blue Moon in August
7. I saw a rare full moon on Christmas Day
8. I was featured in 126 Etsy Treasuries
9. I discovered that the local spirits are important
10. We have a comic book bar in Atlanta and a new Tea Parlor!

wheel of year

The 2015 Year, Month by Month Recap:

January: I started January real sick. I had really run myself down the previous months of Nov/Dec prepping for No Big Wheel Records’ release party for “The Language of Birds” and I got pneumonia. I still had a massive amount of Kickstarter packages to fulfill, and I was sooooo tired! Christmas was tough, and I cooked for my friends and family, despite having pneumonia. Eventually some antibiotics kicked its ass, because I had both viral and bacterial strains. I lost my voice with a bad bout of laryngitis, but recovered it. It was seriously stressful. It was pretty cold too, lots of freezing temps. The Hot Place started the year off with a few full band (Robert included on drums) live rehearsals, because we had planned on playing several gigs in 2015 (until my broken foot took us out!). We wrote our first song, “Streets of Thunder”; it came out of us fully formed and we really started feeling confident writing as a band. I visited with my old, good friend Peter who was in town from NZ which was awesome. I started clearing out stock and moving towards closing Sew Lucky Girl on Etsy. Movies I remember were “The Equalizer”, which was way better than I thought, and “Planet of the Apes.” Started watching the DS9 remastered Blu-Rays. No Big Wheel Records developed some new logos, and we started on artwork for the Tenguzame project. I received some great colored vinyl samples from United Record Pressing. I officially opened up No Big Wheel Studios for the year.

rock and roll weekend

January in No Big Wheel Studios, 2015

February: Had a rollicking Superbowl party, though disappointed with the outcome of the game. Had a lovely Imbolc, and a wonderful Valentine’s day, in which I baked some awesome vegan cupcakes. Best vegan cupcakes I’ve ever made! I saved the recipe. On the 11th we had a nice full band practice, with Robert on drums, and played some of our new songs. We had icy weather but no snow on the 15-20th. On Feb. 22nd I mailed my LAST The Hot Place TLOB Kickstarter package, and collapsed in giddy exhaustion at a job well done from 2014. At the end of the month, I took my first hike of 2015.

kick finish

Feb. 22, THP Kickstarter Mailouts Complete!

March: Project “Declutter” began with my closet. It extended into my art and music studios, kitchen, garage, and my circle of frenemies. LOL! On the 17th, I went to see The Church band play at Terminal West and came home SUPER inspired. I dreamed a song that night, and recorded it the next day. It’s called “Home” at the moment. No Big Wheel Studios started rolling tape on Album #2 at that time. On the 30th the band wrote a song we called “Partridge” (working title), that we now are calling “Sunshine Messenger”, which is actually the first song we hope to complete on Album #2 in the studio in 2016. Movies seen were “Mr. Turner” which was excellent, “Into the Woods”, and the “Wrecking Crew”. Saw a Venus/Jupiter conjunction at the park, and enjoyed brunches, salads, and March violet cocktails.

church

The Church band at Terminal West, March 2015

April: Started hiking for the year for real. No Big Wheel Records started working on a big archival transfer project, (for a very cool piece that David is working on, which I cannot talk about yet). Worked with Tenguzame some more, and converted an old closet into a cubby office workstation which I adore and use every day. No Big Wheel Records became an LLC, with a Tax ID, P.O. Box, Office, and we even have a landline! HA! Easter saw a total allergy pollen bomb, and I had a freaking kidney stone DURING a full live band practice on the 14th. Made a banana bundt cake on Easter/Ostara, and more vegan cupcakes, a mock veggie rabbit stew, and got a little bit of blanket sunbathing in with the beagles. I studied and brushed up on my French this month, and I learned quite a bit of Swedish on Duolingo, with the dream of traveling to Faviken in Sweden. Now, if only I can master Klingon…

april cubbie one

New Office Cubbie in a Closet!

May: May Day/Beltane was amazing! We had a bonfire, and a sweet fig and baby vegetable stew. Went to the High Museum of Art and saw the Wilfredo Lam/Andy Warhol exhibits. Museum Week was in May, so I also went to the “Spider Woman” Native American Art exhibit at the Michael C. Carlos museum. Saw the AMAZING Bruce Munro lighted installation at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Went to the cafeteria with Mom and Dad for Mother’s Day, and we had another full band live rehearsal on the 14th, in anticipation of some live shows that I had to cancel, in June, when I broke my foot. (Booooooo!) The Hot Place wrote another song, which we are calling “LA Fog”, (not the final title, a working title.) Saw The Glenn Phillips Band “Lost At Sea “reunion show, with Jeff playing with the original album lineup, and with guest Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s on the 30th. Had a sushi birthday on the 31st. Movies I saw were “Iris” and “Mad Max”, both very good. Started selling more Runes in my Wax & Wane shop, and expanded my range of smudge fans.

trip wires

Bruce Munro Install at the Botanical Gardens

June: The first half was amazing. On the 12th I celebrated Aleister’s 4th year “rescue day”. On the 13th, although it was pass-the-eff-out hot, I went to see my friend Matthew Sweet play at Oakland Cemetery’s “Tunes from the Tombs” and had dinner with him afterward. That was the highlight of my year, and actually, kind of the halfway point of 2015 for me. I started my first watercolor of the year, and got back into drawing and painting after a few years of not making a lot of visual art, because I was so busy with The Hot Place. I finally let go of a few serious toxic situations that were really disturbing me. Mega-purge. I let a LOT of things go. Went to see “African Cosmos” at the Michael C. Carlos museum, which was a great exhibit of masks and more. However, the end of June would be tragic. We lost one of my Heroes, Tanith Lee, whose Sci-Fi books were a huge teenage influence on me. In the same week we also lost Nick Marsh of Flesh for Lulu, and that was very sad. Then, in a freak accident by stepping into a hole in my garden while watering a fig tree, I broke my foot in 4 places. This would define the rest of the year for me. Not only was it the most painful physical thing I think I can recall feeling, it would shake me internally to the core. I would have to cancel gigs, put my ass on the couch, learn to walk with cast and crutches, and open up my soul to a world of darkness and vulnerability. I recall seeing “Jurassic World”, which was surprisingly good, and a big screen showing of the classic Herzog “Nosferatu”, and the documentary on H.R. Giger, which was stellar, early in the month, before I broke my foot.

aircast to go

Painted Crutches and Skully Aircast

July: This month would be defined by pain medication, icepacks, anger at having to get around with crutches, and x-rays. However, I still managed to be creative. I painted my crutches, so not to hate them so much. I kind of had to reorganize the furniture so I could get around the house with the broken foot. I did finally get out more at the end of the month, and even with the break, I managed to bake a peach pie and light off fireworks on the 4th. The band did still play on a regular rehearsal schedule, though I didn’t feel much enjoyment with bass in hand. However, on the 11th, at the inspiration of David J, I started a Patreon page. It became an amazing way to find support as an artist and a musician. I started making a lot of new visual art, and watercolors in particular. On the 19th I had my first dinner “out” at Doc Chey’s, with an Aircast on, good friends, and it was very hard. I had to learn to go to the grocery store alone with crutches, and drive with the broken foot and the pain. Cringe. Films I recall liking were “Ant Man”, and “Mr. Holmes”, which were a nice distraction once I could get out of the house. My Ortho Doc insisted that I go to the DMV to get a temporary disabled parking pass for 6 months, which made independence much easier with the break. It still hurt a ton, every second.

art desk

Starting to paint and draw again, after a break

August: Still in a world of hurt, I passed the time by hand-painting a Day of the Dead/Frida pair of cowboy boots. (Still need to finish them!) I celebrated Lammas by baking Rosemary Sourdough, and I got lively Tie-Dye and Skull printed boot covers for my Aircast. I also passed the time making jams and preserves, including a Scuppernong batch from the old wild grape arbor in my yard. I had my first crutch/cast rock show on the 16th, seeing a favorite, Howard Jones. It was much needed, uplifting, but difficult to get around. On the 20th I took a real leap and bought the domain for http://www.kitchenalchemycookbook.com. I moved the project forward, to have a real life analog cookbook printed up with all of my recipes, by talking to publishers. On the 21st The Hot Place wrote, “Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight”, which is a really cool, dark blues drone of a song. On the 27th, I got the go ahead to remove the cast, and I took my first steps in shoes (purple UGGS) and no cast or crutches, with my friend Jordan by my side. On the 30th I started Physical Therapy, which would include Belly-dance, Ballet, and Yoga. (I became a Yoga maniac! Yoga is life. Seriously, it has completely changed my health in so many good ways.) I saw the movie “Best of Enemies”, about the Vidal/Buckley debates, and it landed me in the AJC, and I did an interview with a reporter, in which I was protesting some unsavory movie theater search policies. I started walking in the park 2 miles for rehab/foot PT, and on my first day, I saw a giant Red Tailed Hawk which cheered me on. As a reward for my diligence, I bought an awesome clear Aqua trimmed Bubble Umbrella, which I’m kinda obsessed with.

hho jo t shirt

Howard Jones SWAG from the show!

September: I opened up my own little “Zendo” by a window; (a dedicated space for meditation and yoga.) On the 3rd I had a whole 12 inches cut off of my hair (overdue!) and donated it to locks of love, and on the 6th I had my first bookstore outing “post foot break.” On the 8th I drove around with the first compilation of new Hot Place songs, listening to them. It was amazing how much we’d written in 2015! On the 10th we enjoyed the first football game of the season, and I kind of felt I had mentally rebooted after that horrid foot break. The band wrote 2 new songs, both with working titles “Get Together” and “Soundcarpentry”(not the real titles, working ones), and on the 19th the Glenn Phillips Band played with Jeff and Cindy. My Angel’s trumpets bloomed the first time at the end of the month, and on the 22nd, Mabon or the Autumn Equinox we enjoyed a bonfire. I had a hike, and the last roses and honeysuckle bloomed of the season. Drivin’ and Cryin’ was inducted into the GA Music HOF awards and we were there to see that. Saw Korean film, “Wolf Totem” and loved it.

dawn meditation

My Yoga/Meditation “Zendo”. Namaste!

October: A special thing arrived in the mail for me, at the beginning of the year, “The Tarot of the Time Being” which is a deck that features artwork of The Church band’s Steve Kilbey. It has a special book, an interesting layout, and great writing about each card. It’s super special indeed. (I used the deck on Samhain, for a divination.) On the 10th I visited the Michael C. Carlos museum again, to see some black and white photos by Irish photographers, and some original texts by W.B. Yeats. I was finally able to get out of town, on my annual Columbus Day adventure and retreat, where I only write, play music, and make photos. No technology, no Facebook. I get to disconnect for a week! The end of the month would see our first Hot Place “listening party” of our new songs, with Tim at Electron Gardens. I got to see my old friend Tom, Tim’s brother, which was very cool. I finally photographed the Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Moon alignment before dawn on the 18th. Jeff and I went to the High Museum for the “Habsburg Splendor” exhibit, and had a blast. I had a TON of new books to review in my inbox on the 26th, and we enjoyed Halloween/Samhain by seeing “Crimson Peak”, which was very good. I also saw “The Martian” and “Bridge of Spies”, both well liked.

lamat

Steve Kilbey’s “Tarot of the Time Being”

November: Started with a lovely, quiet Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos, honoring and mourning my ancestors and those we lost. We had 2 weeks straight of rain, and for me, that meant migraines, which was tough. I reached my 10 weeks of PT/foot rehab moment. I was heavily influenced by reading/reviewing Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman Overture” graphic novel, a prequel to “The Sandman” series, and really started thinking about making my own graphic novel one day, out of a long Sci-Fi/Fantasy piece I wrote in high school. On the 11th, a brand new Percy Bysshe Shelley political poem was discovered and released to the public by the University of Oxford, and I got a gig doing an audio reading of it. It was very exciting. Thanksgiving was great, and I enjoyed cooking (pain free) for my family. Saw a big screen release of the classic anime film, “Ghost in the Shell” on a whim, and we saw Korean film “The Assasin” which was amazing, on Jeff’s birthday. (It might be my favorite movie of the year.) We also saw “Spectre”, which was no Skyfall, but wasn’t bad. Went on some hikes, and prepped for making a lot of stuff and selling it in my Wax & Wane shop on Etsy for the Holidays. No Big Wheel Records also opened an Etsy shop, alongside its Bandcamp Page and other websites. We’ve sold some orange vinyl this Holiday, I’m happy to say!

dia de los 2015

Dia de los Muertos

December: Yuletide was great. I finished all of my Etsy orders in a timely manner, allowing me a much needed break. Visited bookshops, Lennox mall, decorated the house and tree, baked, and made merry. The biggest thrill was officially starting Album #2 with Jeff and Tim at Electron Gardens Studio. I’m thrilled with our guide/scratch tracks so far, and look forward to recording drums with Robert very soon. Enjoyed the holidays with my family and friends, and saw the “Hitchcock/Truffaut” film, and of course loved “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The end of the month was a little sad, because we lost a personal hero of mine, Lemmy Kilmister. Rock on Lemmy. It’s been a tradition of mine to close every live show I’ve ever played (except for the last 2 with The Hot Place) with “Ace of Spades”. The Hot Place might record our special cover version of it, which we have up on YouTube. Although I didn’t want to tell anyone, and ruin the holiday merriment, a few days before Christmas I mis-stepped in my garage, simply tossing a water bottle into my recycling, and accidentally tripped on the stairs, unsure of my recovered foot. Trying to avoid re-injuring my weak, recently healed foot, I actually landed awkwardly on my good foot, and twisted my ankle. I’ve been icing the sprain (thank god no break, but much bruising), but it added a level of ridiculousness (Oh my god, this is NOT happening again) and pain to the holidays. But, after 10 days, it’s on the mend. No worries. It’s all good. We had a rollicking New Year’s Eve Party, and I woke on on New Year’s Day, hangover free for the first time in forever, despite drinking a whole bottle of the bubbly. Cheers!

lk bass at tims

First The Hot Place Session, Album #2

So, there’s my recap of 2015! I saw many more films, but I don’t have time to really look them up at the moment. If I have time, I’ll do a separate write up for Movies/Media. I also read a TON of books, but you should follow me on Goodreads to check that all out. It would take forever to type up, though I’ll try to compile maybe a top 10 soon! Pretty much, I’d say that letting go of the bad shit, and reaping the rewards of letting go by accomplishing a lot of songwriting, was the main theme of 2015. I felt like I sure enjoyed a lot of life, even though it was in pain for the later half of the year, but I definitely made the best of it. Here’s to some serious craftsmanship and alchemy for 2016!

Blessings to you and yours, and love always,
Lisa xo

 

Find me here:

Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/LisaKing?alert=1&ty=h

No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: https://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music

No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel

The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com

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Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/

 

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Half-Mast

Standard
Half-Mast

flag half mast FIN

Half-Mast

by Lisa King 2/16/18

The flag at the Post Office was flying half-mast today.

In honor of youthful, bright, glowing blood that washed the walls of homeroom

And high school halls from another shooter. Its radiance will never be removed.

The flag at the gas station was flying half-mast today.

As the people pumped and posted, running their errands with sad, desperate faces

Wondering what can I do about this. What power do I have?

The flag in the Walmart parking lot was flying half-mast today.

The very place where patriots can pile a load of ammo on their credit card.

And people get shot on Black Friday.

The flag at the Middle School down the street where I live was flying half-mast today.

Teachers wondering if they will make it home one tragic afternoon.

Children learning about post-traumatic stress disorder before they even learn to tell time.

The flag at the bar down the street was flying half-mast today.

The redneck bar. Where men driving pickups and open carrying guns drink and play pool during the day,

And think that they are not part of the problem.

The flag at the church down the road was flying half-mast today.

On the marquee were Thoughts and Prayers. We need the light of prayer, compassion for our sick souls.

Keep praying. Mother Mary hear our prayers.

The flag at the Masonic Lodge up the street was flying half-mast today.

A secret society of paranoid old men, dwelling between heaven and hell.

Where is your Golden Dawn now? In Regular Communication?

Prayers are not enough.

We need to act.

What are we going to communicate

To all of the souls of those children?

Shot dead for the Militarization of our Government

And the greed of the gun lobby.

To listen to a spoken word performance, link here.