Monday, June 4, 2018

Tragedy meets Irony meets Color....

The woman stood, AGHAST, as she saw, for the FIRST TIME,
the TENTS ...the beautifully colored tents, filled....overflowing with HOMELESS PEOPLE....
in her new town... Fort Lauderdale.... 
just blocks away from her LUXURY APARTMENT.... steps away really....
She felt, in no particular order , very,very SAD.... somewhat GUILTY.... DISGUSTED....
ANGRY... SHOCKED....
And then.... ultimately....
She felt GALVANIZED....
As if there were a REASON for her being in THIS PARTICULAR PLACE at this particular time...
She walked into the AIR CONDITIONED building, her over-filled brain trying to PROCESS what she'd seen.... 
Only then, to be accosted by yet ANOTHER TERRIFYING VISUAL....
Two mothers....clearly "down on their luck".... YELLING feverishly at their TINY children to be careful as they ran and slid up and down the VERY STEEP escalators....dangerously....recklessly...
The woman realized, with sudden incredulity, that these dangerous escalators in the air conditioned building served as their SUMMER PLAYGROUND....
A "shelter" from the tedious & all-encompassing heat outside...
In a fleeting moment, she wondered whether those 4 people, the mothers and their kids, had been even "fortunate" enough to be granted entrance into one of the colored tents outside or if they just had the steamy streets as their beds....
The woman determined, THEN & THERE, that this was NOT ACCEPTABLE....UNTENABLE...
a violation of humanity...
She would PAINT THEM and somehow, she would save them....
Her plan began to take form....

Saturday, December 30, 2017

What a Year......

2017 changed EVERYTHING in my life....

EVERYTHING....

Mom, (Zichrona Livracha), dwindled into a shell of what she had once been....

The Alzheimer's had finally won the battle which she had fought so valiantly and with such a

FEROCITY TO CLING TO PRIDE and DIGNITY....

And in a heartbreaking moment, surrounded by the ones she loved, I, her daughter, her "TOBELA",

gave her the "permission" she so desperately needed to just "Let go, and Let GOD"...

And in that strangely illumined moment before death, she THANKED ME with her lips...

She mouthed the words, I LOVE YOU....

And then she was gone....

Off to meet ALL those loved ones she'd lost in her lifetime....

Off to rejoin her siblings who had died in Auschwitz....Her Mom...My Dad...My Brother....

What a reunion they must have had up there...

I felt, devastated, complete, resolute, and heartbroken.... at once...

To lose one's MOTHER....

That feeling of being utterly ALONE....

Well.... THAT happened.....


My son, My GORGEOUS SON, Brendan, graduated from High School.....

Became a man...

Began College....

Mind-blowingly shocking to my system... AND to HIS....

But absolutely what we hope and pray for as parents.... as Human Beings....

A Good boy.... A Solid boy.... Wise far beyond his years....

The light of my life....


We moved to the SUNSHINE STATE, Brendan and me....

He went off to college.... I went off to a LUXURY APARTMENT....

A HUGE MOVE.... a DARING MOVE....

SCARY as SHIT frankly....

But absolutely necessary....

I'll admit to extreme culture shock during those first few months....

IRMA attacked just moments after we arrived....

Lots of frenetic imbalance.... Lots to adjust to.... HEAT...

But a GOOD MOVE....No question....


Mr. Trump became PRESIDENT....

A SHOCK.... A JOKE ?

Remains to be seen...


My CAREER as an ARTIST BLEW UP.... in GREAT WAYS....

Shows, Exhibits, Museums, Galleries....

FLORIDA has been a FABULOUS CAREER MOVE for me... hands down.....

I've come to realize my PURPOSE on this planet....

To forward a LEGACY....  To REMIND the UN-REMINDED....

Gratifying.... VERY VERY Gratifying....


Old friends........BEST FRIENDS.... (Bonnie)...RETURNED....(as if they'd never been gone)....

We happily learned that TRUE LOVE and FRIENDSHIP indeed stand the test of time....

New friends.... GREAT NEW FRIENDS, entered the picture....  ALL good on that front....

Families come in all shapes and sizes..... (Gittster and Brookie)


I began speaking to my FAVORITE COUSIN, Lovely Amanda, after years of being apart....

Comforting and familiar....


Very recently, one of the GREAT LOVES OF MY LIFE died... I'm still dazed, confused, & in shock

over losing him....  Many unanswered questions.... A TRAGEDY to be sure.....


So.... That's what's up....

The EBBS and FLOWS of LIFE as we know it....

from the now-weathered perspective of  "a girl from Portland".....


Wishing ALL OF "US" a 2018 FILLED WITH

SPLENDOR and LOVE and HEALTH and ILLUMINATION....


Respectfully and Lovingly Yours....

Toby Gotesman Schneier









Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NEW PLACES ???

When all is said and done.....

And we've spent veritable EONS clawing our way to the "SUN".....


When "WATERSHED MOMENTS" have become the NEW NORM....


Yes.....


When EVERYTHING can be described as a WATERSHED MOMENT.....


When veritable BUCKETS filled with:


LAUGHTER....


TEARS....


VISIONS...

PROPHESIES ...


MARRIAGES....


DIVORCES....


BIRTHS....


DEATHS.....


ECLIPSES ...


MEDITATIONS ....


PAINTINGS ...


BOOKS ....


have ALL been REALIZED.... ACTUALIZED.... ENDURED....


WHAT THEN ???


Seriously....


WHAT THEN ?


We've ARRIVED at the SUN....


Is there a BIGGER SUN somewhere else ?


A more POTENT one ?


Is this the POT OF GOLD at the end of our ILLUSTRIOUS RAINBOW ???


Pondering.....


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Relief....and yet....

The woman walked toward the doorway of the now-frequented building...

stopped to "Purell" her hands....

(Somewhere in the recesses of her mind,
she realized that she had NEVER actually done the "Hand-Scouring" thing before....)

that, if she were being honest, she was somewhat offended when she saw others doing it...

It was as if they were trying to WASH the "Elderly" entirely from their beings...
like an infectious disease or something...

In any case, as the door opened,
she was quite stunningly taken aback by the MAGNIFICENT, sunlit day outside....

She realized almost instantaneously, that it was LESS about the GLORIOUS DAY....

and really ONLY about the visit to her MOTHER  ...

And in that moment, the TRUTH came spilling in with the rays of sunlight....

as if it were boiling tea being poured from a teapot....

TRUTH TEA...

Here's the thing:

It could have been TORRENTIALLY RAINING outside,

and she STILL would have experienced that VERY SAME feeling.....


The feeling was.....
to put it simply,

RELIEF....

(although what she was experiencing was FAR from "simple"....)

What was the relief about ?


Herein lies the REASON for which I'm compelled to tell you this story....


The woman actually DREADED going to see her mother...

SHE DREADED IT....

Why?

It was NOT because she didn't LOVE her mother......

AU CONTRAIRE...

It was because she LOVED HER MOTHER SO MUCH....

that the pain and bewilderment of the Alzheimer's Disease ....

the UNILATERAL PIRACY of her REAL MOTHER'S BODY by this villainous, dark scoundrel....

was SO DEBILITATING to her....

that she had boldly donned a cloak of INDIFFERENCE ...
an indifference SO CONVINCING, that even SHE herself was fooled by it....

She missed her mother SO MUCH....

The talks...the laughter....the arguments.....

This shell of a woman who could barely carry on a rational conversation ...

this could NOT really be her mom....

But the sad reality was....

THIS is who was left in her MOM's place....

an old, confused, slow woman....

who had sparkling moments of being her sassy and energetic self....

But those moments came less and less frequently now.....

Having said all of that....

being a committed daughter, a good Jewish girl, and really CARING.....

she came regularly and sat with her SHELL of a Mom...

holding her hands..... showing her pictures from her phone..... kissing her head...

And there, in the now-glaring sunlight of TRUTH....
she realized in VIVID COLOR,
that the reason for which  she was absolutely TERRIFIED to come here....

was the PARALYZING FEAR that HER OWN MOTHER WOULD NOT RECOGNIZE HER......

It hadn't happened yet....

But one day soon it would, to be sure....

And THIS fact of life ..... this inevitable "TURNING of the corner".....
CUT HER SO DEEPLY....
both literally and figuratively...
 that she had, somewhere along the way, unknowingly feigned "INDIFFERENCE"....
just in order to be able to survive the pain....
in order not to bleed to death....

Hence....

the GARGANTUAN  FEELING OF RELIEF every time that her
LOVELY MOTHER RECOGNIZED HER
came upon her swiftly and absolutely....
allowing her to feel, somehow, MOMENTARILY COMPLETE....

And so it went.....











Monday, August 17, 2015

A Subtle Shift....

She could barely decipher it....
The subtlety was, in fact, shrouded in subterfuge and fog...
And yet, her senses were wildly awakened by it....
That feeling of "Anticipation"....of "Satisfaction" even....
enveloped her in its warm, pink, fluffiness....
And as she stood there.....STILL...... SILENT....
it occurred to her, ever-so-delicately....
and with heightened INCREDULITY ...............
that she was.........

Wait for it...........

"""HAPPY""".
And so it went....
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tisha B'Av

On Tisha B'Av we mourn, yet again, the Destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.(Holy Temple).... Tonight , as we begin our 24 hour Fast, we are reminded, so unfortuna...tely, that we are a People who are historically,continuously,
placed in Precarious positions... Unfortunately, the state of the world today resonates in all too familiar ways... Wishing you a Safe and Easy Fast..... and continued strength in times of Oppression....
Toby Gotesman Schneier



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bits of Nostalgia Floating in the Atmosphere...

It's no big Epiphany on my part...
that we, as human beings, are HIGHLY susceptible to moments of
 REVERIE...
MEMORY...
LONGING.....
Deja vu...
We can SMELL the aroma of Apple Pie and be lifted back to a long ago scene in our Mom's kitchen...
We can hear the slight hint of a Melody, and without even being cognizant of
 WHAT the actual song IS,,,,,,,
 we are suddenly 16 years old again, with a pack of our girlfriends, driving through the streets of Portland on a Saturday night...
We can see a COLOR even,,,,, and have a STRIKING moment of unbridled sadness about a parent who is no longer with us....
a parent who wore a SHIRT of that PRECISE BLUE.....
The aforementioned are PURE, MUSCLE MEMORIES...
Completely uncontrollable....
Impossible to Eradicate, even IF we wanted to do so..
So ART is simply, at least from my abstracted perspective,
the NOTION that we can SOLIDIFY these moments in some kind of encapsulated way...
so as to SHARE them somehow....


 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Frank Note....

Having grown up in a home where both parents were Auschwitz Survivors,
I am ALL too aware of the Gargantuan Losses and Upheavals that our people have endured...
We Speak about it, Write about it, Paint about it....Light Candles about it,
Create Staggering Film about it....
We BREATH , SLEEP, & EAT the HOLOCAUST....
We OWN it....
To the extent that I'm beginning to sense a kind of perverse PRIDE around it....
As though, somehow, those TORTURED, CALAMITOUS YEARS are being held up as a BANNER of sorts....
In fact, in some VERY DRASTIC cases, I'm relatively certain that there are people in MY generation who have somehow convinced themselves that it is THEY whom actually SURVIVED THE CAMPS...........
I am 150% with everybody about NEVER FORGETTING and keeping the STORY ALIVE and FLOWING to our children...
However, I fear that we may have lost site of JUST PLAIN, OLD "LIVING"....
We CANNOT ONLY LIVE, BREATH, SLEEP, EAT, PAINT, FILM, & WRITE about the HOLOCAUST!!
We MUST LOOK and GROW and FOCUS FORWARD.... We MUST...
If NOT, the NAZIS continue to WIN OVER AND OVER....
Ecclesiastes said, "For every thing there is a SEASON..."
I, for one, CANNOT and WILL NOT be SAD ALL THE TIME....
Life has many startling and magnificent layers....
Yes, the PAST is EVER-PRESENT in our lives....
But the PRESENT and FUTURE are EVER-PRESENT as well.....
Maybe just kick it down a notch or two ?