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First, thank you to a number of people who wrote wishing me a happy 71st birthday yesterday. The day went pretty well, for a birthday, which historically, for years, were straight out of hell’s kitchen. Maybe things are looking up, so to speak
Connie Gilbert, of Key West, wrote this endearment:
Who knew? Happy birthday, young’un.
DeeVon and Craig Quirolo, co-founders of Reef Relief wrote:
May this be an auspicious year for you Sloan! May the stars be aligned to bring you perfect happiness! Craig and DeeVon
Thanks, that would be wonderful, I think, never having experienced perfect happiness, at least not for very long; would like a few years of it, or pig out, a few centuries, or, really pig out, Eternity . Same for you and Craig. Sloan
Well, I’m not really in charge of all that, just wishing all that good for ya. Best DV
Mark Koenig, from Wisconsin, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama a while, and came down to visit me on Little Torch Key for a few days last year, wrote:
Happy Birthday you old grouch!!! Affectionately stated, but with some truth;)
I couldn’t agree with you more on “Gravity”… Story was shallow, characters were shallow, photography (mostly computer imagery) was ok for a bit, but I’d rather have gone to an IMAX theatre for a documentary on Space, International Space Station, etc. . Sorry to have contributed to George Clooney and Sandra Bullock’s retirements! On the bright side, they gave us the Senior Discount without our even asking… I was happy, Nina was pissed that they would think our 56 year old faces struck the 20 something as being Seniors;) Saved me $9…
Happy Birthday my friend and while I’ve not followed through yet on my promise [to contact my estranged daughters and try to get something moving there], your birthday reminds me that we’re not getting any younger…
Thanks. I wish you would stop worrying about that promisel; that you kept having other things to do causes me to feel you should keep doing other things. As you say, we are not getting any younger, and at the rate I’m going, you ain’t likely ever to be as old as me, unless sombody invents time travel.
Christine Russell, of Panama and Key West, wrote:
Hi Sloan -
Take a day off and enjoy the mile stone of having survived another year.
Go to the beach. Draw, relax, paint some beach stones
It was nice seeing you yesterday. I wish a few more would have kicked back and come to Ft Zach with us to enjoy what may be the most special places in Key West. It was an appreciation of another past battle – and we did enjoy the pines. Thanks to everyone who stepped up for that battle too.
Will we ever have to stop fighting to preserve what is left of the environment, and for what is so special here? I hope so.
Enjoy your day!
Hi, Christine – Thanks.
After putting up today’s post, I finished the ET soul drawing at Harpoon Harry’s after breakfast there, which was started at Fort Zach yesterday, before you and your friends arrived.
Two parts of the new drawing, telltale features, leave me pretty well convinced of the creature’s identity in one of my past lives, in this life. Wife #7.
Although, in other ways the new drawing reminds me wife #3, whom I was with when I first encountered ETs and their sky carriages; whom I was with when what I am pretty sure were Pleadeans opened me up to write star poetry; whom I was with when my first novel fell out of me, which definitely had plenty of Pleiadean influence, perhaps the funnest and/or wildest novel anyone could ever hope to write. It got published by Durrance Publishing Company, a vanity press.
Kundalina, Alabama, A Strange Tale, by Jake Carruthers, a pen name I used back then for the first three novels, the second and third were not published except in prototype form.
I kicked back at Fort Zach yesterday, had a great time for 2 hours with you and your friends. Then, I ran slap dab out of gas, hit the wall. Pedaled my bicycle back to where I live, arrived running on fumes, parked the bike, hit the sack, went away, and then the dreams came from everywhere.
I wanted to paint a rock with you and your friends yesterday, but, as I said, was out of gas. I used to be able to bone-fish the flats from dawn to dusk, now 2 hours in the sun, sitting on my butt, I’m wasted.
Maybe the new ET drawing, “I’m Back!”, will give me more juice.
Maybe tag-teamed with a second drawing, “Cross-pollination”,
a bit more riske, done maybe in 2011, when I lived in Key West, before moving back to Little Torch Key in March 2010. A woman who recently saw that drawing said the fish was a shark. I said, not hardly, it’s a sword fish
Peggy Butler, of West Palm Beach, formerly of Key West, wrote:
Happy Birthday, Sloan!
I agree with Vicki on your artwork. I’m not an artist, but I’m told I have a good eye for what’s good and what’s not, and I believe yours is good stuff. Some of it is Picasso-ish, but original, and I love the vibrant colors of all of it. My goodness, where did you learn to do that? Maybe you could have a showing down there, seriously.
My mother, who’s been gone for fifteen years now, always talked about how she wished she could paint. One day I got tired of hearing her say it without acting on it and bought her sketching supplies. This was right before she got maculardegeneration and lost her frontal sight. She plunged into her first product, a covered bridge a mile or so out of our home town, and you should have seen it. The shading and colors were almost exactly a replica of the bridge we remembered and such detail! She duplicated it for all seven of us, if I’m not mistaken. I couldn’t believe she was sitting on such talent. Who knows what her life might have been if she’d pursued art in her younger days!
So – don’t sit on your own art! Continue doing it and have a showing! You’re in the right town to do it!
Enjoy your birthday!
Hi, Peggy – Thanks.
The soul drawings’ genesis was a dream in early September 2002, of friend in Quincy, Illinois, also a professional psychic. She saw me drawing/painting what she described as a beautiful mandala, and then she saw people coming to me and paying me $20 each for their own mandalas, which I had already drawn, or drew for them when they came. Some of them came back later and paid me more money.
So, I bought a Crayoloa water color markers set, with large and small color markers, which I think now might no longer be in production, because I can’t find it anywhere down here. It used to be in the drug stores and at K-Mart. I still have two sets, but some of the markers are running low on “fuel” and don’t work well, or at all.
Anyway, I first used cut up parts of the ears of corigated boxes for the canvas, and I suppose I did a hundred of those drawings. I never knew what was going on the canvas, I just put pencil, ink pen and marker to the paper, and trusted it was going somewhere. All drawings seemed to end up pretty well.
Initially, most of the drawings were abstract. Then, they moved to more realistic, still with some abstract. Then, they moved into what only can be described as mystical.
I developed some sense of and ability to draw perspective and close up and far away, but nothing past kindergarten art school-wise. The coloring in always seemed totally separate, like starting all over what had been sketched in.
I came to feel the colors were very important, the heart of the drawings, while the sketching was the infrastructure. Sometimes I was not happy with coloring in, usually because I moved too fast, instead of stopping and waiting when I didn’t know what color to use first, or next, or where on the drawing.
Sometimes I had some pre-sense of what the sketching might look like, basically, but as the sketching proceeded, unexpected wrinkles appeared. It’s still pretty much like that, after only doing one drawing since 2011, for Hidden in Plain View last fall, before the drawings started coming again on the fall Equinox of this year.
I have no sense of what gallery down here might be interested. Personally, if the drawings are to be sold, or offered for sale, I would rather deal directly with the people for whom the drawings are, like happened in my friend the psychic’s dream in September 2002. Even so, if you have a gallery in mind, I’m all ears.
As I wrote the other day, the drawings will be a challenge to frame and hang, because they all are on the point, diagonal, and not square. I have mounted them on walls with push pins and two-sided wall tape, and have hung them from rafters, light fixtures, ceilings with light fishing line threaded through a pin hole in the top of the diagonal and tied to whatever was above, or to a push pin in the ceiling. They spin when hung that way.
Sometimes I was moved to add a poem to the back, or even to the front, of a drawing.
Every drawing was different, one of a kind. I still have two of the old ones on corigated box tops packed away somewhere. They were more realistic, but also mystical. I must have given 200 drawings away after I realized nobody was going to buy them. Once, I got upset and burned about 50 drawings. I got spanked good for that by the angels.
Since then, I have kept the drawings, except for the ones given away.
It’s fair to say, the drawings are spirit-driven. I really am just the brush the painter uses. Perhaps the canvas is my body, the bush my soul, the colors my blood, and the painter is … God?
In an email today, I showed Christine Russell the latest drawing, which was finished today, in a reply to her comment on today’s 71st birthday post. Also, I showed her an older drawing, circa 2009 perhaps, before I moved back up to Little Torch Key the following year. I imagine those two drawings will be part of tomorrow’s post.
Today’s been pretty good, as days go for me, except I got jostled in a nap dream for not sitting down with Bill Verge and Tom Milone at Harpoon Harry’s this morning, to hear what all juicy tidbits they might provide for the local political arena, or arenas. I was headed up to Office Max to get the two drawings scanned and emailed to me, and so instead of putting that on hold, I went ahead and later got jostled for not hanging around a bit longer.
Who can say what might have fallen out of the sky, if I had been there to catch it?
After pressing SEND, I saw this Facebook comment from the professional psychic in Quincy, Illinois, which is just across the Mississippi River from Hanibal, Missouri, which is where Samuel Clements, who became Mark Twain, hatched:
Wow! Sloan, I just noticed the Soul Drawings you posted to your blog yesterday. They are amazing and seem to have evolved quite a lot from the early drawings.
If the muse ever inspires you to draw one for me…. go to it… I’d like to see what might fall out..
Maybe something will start coming tomorrow.
On the writing front, John Benson (no kin to Jolly and Will Benson) wrote, continuing our dialogue reported in yesterday’s post at this website:
All Novels produced from Key West that bring major penetration brings the light of recognition to our island. I am particularly displeased with Stewie Woods, who contributes nothing to our island. I am livid with Hemingway who has left some deformed kats, a rather plan home, and two tourist trap bars. We will work toward a basis of successful publishing that attracts writers of deep regard, internationally. First, of course, we actually need that.
Joanna has added a solid step. Her book got picked up by St. Martin— as far as I can tell, the first local writer who has cracked open the tier-1 pub houses successfully.
This is ridiculous Sloan. We are mired in our little self-pubs, these ebooks of Jane-the-publisher on White street. We have no big league action. That is going to stop.
Hi, John -
Although I grew not to care for Hemingway, as a person, his novels were remarkable, I still think. Unfamiliar with the other writers you named, don’t know Jane-the-publisher, either.
The genesis for my last novel [HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale, www.PublishAmerica.com] came in a dream as I slept in a Fleming Street doorway about 100 yards from Duval Street, in late April 2001. Two days later, I understood what the dream was about, but by then I was in Helen, Georgia, where I had to go to understand what the dream was about, and then to write the novel, or rather, have it write itself though me on a borrowed computer in the Helen library, I being broke but for food stamps and two-hour a morning job watering and pruning plants in a nursery in Helen.
I don’t suppose that qualifies me as a Key West author, though, since the novel is not in the least about Key West, nor was it written here.
Maybe some day a novel set in Key West will hatch out of me. I ain’t in charge of the hatching, nor the impregnating, however. Just in the scribing do I have some in charge-ness, and even then, the Editorial Board weighs in most nights on what scribing I did the day before and want to do to this day. The Editorial Board without human bodies, not in a little or big publishing house.
Was represented by a big publishing house, once; did not make a mint, but the three books were terrific. Was represented by two little publishing houses, did not make a mint, but the two books were great. Self-published a number of books, which I give the same humble reviews.
I’d love to earn a living wage scribing kinky stories, since kinky is all what seems to want to hatch out of me, and, frankly, kinky is more fun than unkinky.
A dream last night indicated very strongly that my Editorial Board wants people to read my last novel, HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale, and not Kundalina, Alabama.
To bring me further down to earth yesterday, distant in-law Ron, who used to vacation often in and loved Key West, wrote:
SLOAN – Just realized the only Snail Mail address I have for you is the Little Torch Key address. Where should I mail you the Charlotte Observer homeless article ??? regards, Ron K
1711 Seminary Street, Key West 33040; but if you can copy it and drop it into the body of an email, I can share it with my readers. Thanks.
I would cut and paste on the computer, but I have not a clue how to do that. It is a generational thing. Expect a snail mail. Regards, Ron
If you click on CharlotteObserver.com and then click on Local News, you will see a pretty girl dishing out food to homeless folks and the attached story line. perhaps you can capture that for your readers. Clueless in Davidson .. RK
For the even more computer-challenged than moi -
DIEDRA LAIRD – firstname.lastname@example.orgPaige Waller of UpsideDown Church in action as church volunteers serve food to the homeless at the Hal Marshall Building on N. College St. Story will focus on a county program that lets churches and civic groups use county property to feed homeless people indoors. The program is credited with cutting down on loitering in uptown.Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/10/06/4370378/city-avoids-homeless-loitering.html#.UlMdwVCUShg#storylink=cpy
City avoids homeless loitering by letting them use county building for gatherings
By Mark Price
Posted: Sunday, Oct. 06, 2013
DIEDRA LAIRD – email@example.com
Paige Waller of UpsideDown Church in action as church volunteers serve food to the homeless at the Hal Marshall Building on N. College St. Story will focus on a county program that lets churches and civic groups use county property to feed homeless people indoors. The program is credited with cutting down on loitering in uptown.
Micha Autry describes herself as a religious woman who feels driven to help Charlotte’s homeless.
But that’s not easy in a city that has guidelines for just about everything, including where and when you can feed the hundreds of needy people who wander Center City streets.
“We had been setting up tables under a bridge not far from the Men’s Shelter and we were told we couldn’t do it,” said Autry, a Mount Holly woman who is part of an outreach team at her Lifebuilder Church of God, a small church in Charlotte.
“I’ve written the mayor and the governor. We even asked a downtown church if we could use their parking lot to hand out food and clothing and they said no.”
What Autry wants to do isn’t necessarily against the law.
It’s more like breaking a truce, one that has spared Charlotte the protests and bad publicity generated by recent crackdowns on the homeless in cities like Raleigh and Columbia, S.C.
Charlotte once had its own problems with the homeless, including complaints of prostitution, drug dealing and public urination that lingered long after churches finished giving out food at a site known as “the wall” off North Tryon Street.
But that changed when community leaders came up with a solution that has so far appeased both uptown businesses and most of the groups that insist feeding the hungry is a religious freedom.
The compromise: If you want to tend to uptown’s plentiful homeless population, you do it indoors, using a building at 618 N. College Street provided by Mecklenburg County. There’s a registry, too, and rules that include committing to show up with food regularly. The county even supplies security guards and social workers to connect the homeless to benefits.
This has been standard practice in Charlotte for three years now and government officials say the result has been a drop the petty criminal activity that once plagued North Tryon Street around “the wall.”
Carson Dean, head of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, says there are still faith groups that manage to slip under the radar and serve food on the streets to the homeless.
“The blow up in in Raleigh with feeding the homeless has been an ongoing issue there for years, and I think our community handled it smartly, in a less confrontational way,” Dean said.
“Here, we looked for alternatives and we did a good job of bringing everyone together to find a better way than attacking it.”
Example: Mecklenburg County officials say they’re hoping to find a way to work Micha Autry’s church into the existing meal program, once details have been ironed out on her group’s willingness to show up regularly.
By contrast, Raleigh recently told charitable and religious groups they would be arrested if they didn’t stop a long-standing tradition of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends. That stance later softened, until a different solution can be found.
In Columbia, S.C., the city council voted to have the homeless arrested in downtown unless they went to a remote shelter. The council later reversed the decision after protests erupted.
Charlotte has an estimated 7,000 homeless, including some living temporarily in hotels or doubled up in the homes of friends and family.
Use of “the wall” to feed them dates back to at least 1994, when a ministry from Freedom Christian Center began running an outdoor soup kitchen on Sunday mornings.
About a half dozen churches and civic groups are now participating in the county’s indoor program, including some who serve breakfast on weekends.
However, not every one supported the idea at first. Carson Dean noted Mecklenburg County already has a half dozen programs that already provide free food to the homeless. “Our homeless citizens aren’t going hungry,” he said. “If there was no need, why do it?”
Pastor Brenda Baruth says its a matter of wanting to minister to the homeless, which is why she had her own concerns. She is part of a faith-based group that has been giving food away in uptown for about 14 years.
“This is what I told the county: The day the county says you cannot administer the word of God in a government building will be the day I’m back on the street doing it,” said Baruth. “They assured me it would not be a problem and they have kept their word.”
Baruth has since become a major supporter of the decision to move the free meals indoors, and is particularly happy that the county is providing security.
She recalled a day four years ago when a homeless man threatened to slit the throat of another volunteer. “We decided it was time to back off and we took a year off,” she said.
Allyson Berbiglia is with a group that gives out food on Friday nights and she noted children are sometimes among the volunteers. “I’m not sure people would feel safe if (the county) didn’t provide security,” she said. “I can think of one or two times when someone got loud and disruptive and the security guard cleared them out and kept the peace.”
Peter Safir, who works with the county’s homeless support programs, is among the leaders who put together the plan to allow indoor feeding of the homeless.
Security on site reports an average of about four disruptive incidents a month, including men who show up intoxicated and start name calling, he said.
An average of 600 to 800 meals a week are being served, with some groups reporting three times the numbers they fed a year ago, Safir said.
The number of homeless families showing up has increased, too. A recent count showed 64 meals were served to kids over a one month period, Safir said. This includes mothers with infants and toddlers.
“That caught me by surprise,” he said. “When we started this out, we had no children, so to have 64 in one month is significant. I think it may reflect the fact that what we’ve done is create a safe and compassionate environment.”
On Friday, a half dozen children were served including two that were less than a year old. Church groups say the parents aren’t necessarily homeless, but they don’t have enough money to pay their rent and buy food, too.
Safir says people like that are just as welcomed as those living on the streets.
Will, who is 36, is among those living on Charlotte’s streets and he says the meals served by church groups are keeping him alive. He said he avoids the city’s shelters because they remind him too much of his years in prison.
“You can’t call yourself a Christian and be against helping people who are hungry,” said Will, as he ate chicken and rice served by a church group on Friday.
“It starts with the simple things. I’m at a place in life where I can’t see past the next meal. What these people are doing is helping me move to that next level, a better life.”
Good computer work for an Alabama boy of a young 71.
The thing that struck me in the article was the difference in approach by Charlotte to the issue. Versus the heavy handed approach of our NC capital city Raleigh, and that of the SC capital city of Columbia. The heavy handed approach seems destined for disaster. The softer more humanitarian approach seems to offer a glimmer of hope to at least some of the folks and to the community.
I am curious as to how you see these efforts from your very real hands on experience. You and Father Braddock seem to have a softer approach in mind, versus the Mayor Cates approach which seems to want the hard line approach of Raleigh, Columbia and a few other major metro areas. In the final analysis, both Raleigh and Columbia were forced to back off of their heavy handed approach to the issue, which would lead one to believe that Key West would have to do the same if it goes hardline.
I do not know if you were aware that my alma mater, the mighty bulldogs of The Citadel Military College of the South (0 and 4) went up to the mountains of North Carolina and defeated the weakly Appalachian State Hill Billy’s by a field goal in OT….
as they are wont to say in them thar hills…… “Kiss My Apps”. Roll Tide!!!
I wuz hoping to kick back all day, but the angels ain’t never seemed into me kicking back all day, or even half a day, so since you asked …
The minutes of the first five meetings of the Mayor’s Homeless Advisory committee back in 2010 set the tone for the be hard on the homeless, and be even harder on them, to encourage them to change or leave the area. That tone has not changed, but a little UPHEAVAL done went and occurred a couple of weeks ago, when four of the six city commissioners said they were not all that terribly happy about what the mayor has been trying to hatch, in the form of a new, bigger, more expensive, basically, full-service homeless rehab (attempt at rehab) shelter, and they are wanting something more basic, like tents and showers and bathrooms, and they don’t want even that on the land where the mayor wants it, the Easter Seals property next to the golf course, which, probably 100 percent odds will sue the city if it tries to put the new homeless shelter there.
Interesting, Charlotte religious crusaders have made feeding the homeless their freedom of religion constitutional right. That argument did not work down here after the city stopped local churches and ministers from feeding the homeless in public parks. The soup kitchen currently is on church-owned land, so nothing the city can do about that.
I saw former City Commissioner Bill Verge at Harpoon Harry’s this morning, and he said why not put the new shelter in the old concrete cruise missile site buildings out by the airport? First I’d heard of that idea. I don’t know anything about those buildings, and I should have stuck around and asked Bill more questions, but I was trying to kick back today and was looking forward to pedaling up to Home Depot and getting scans of two soul drawings to put in tomorrow’s post, and have them emailed to me.
There was more personal history in my reply to Ron, which the Editorial Board, not nicely, told me in dreams not to use today.
To take me even further down, excerpts from today’s Key West Citizen, my interjected thoughts in italics, the editorial cartoon was in Sunday’s edition:
Swearing to serve
Mayor’s speech promises protection for environment
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Mayor Craig Cates, during his inaugural address on Monday, pledged to keep watch over Key West’s natural resources, a week after voters rejected the idea of ordering a federal study on impacts of channel dredging.
Cates twice mentioned “quality of life” in connection with the island’s habitat after being sworn into office a third time.
“As your mayor, I will continuously work to protect our environment and your quality of life,” he said in a concise, prepared speech at Old City Hall during the midday inaugural ceremony. “The election showed how much our citizens love our island, its environment our history and quality of life.”
Cates did not know that already?
Cates, 60, won a third term on Oct. 1, defeating government critic Margaret Romero 54 to 46 percent, a tighter margin than Cates had expected. He blamed the close race on his stance in the divisive fight over a proposed federal study related to cruise ships and channel dredging.
On the same day, 74 percent of Key West voters struck down a referendum that would have asked for that federal study on channel dredging to accommodate larger cruise ships.
Enough of those 74 percent voted for and got Cates reelected with 54 percent of the total votes cast in that race. If instead they had voted for Margaret Romero, or even had written in Jolly Benson for mayor …
Romero, who opposed the study, gave anti-study voters a candidate to support, said Cates and other political observers.
Cates spent $31,000 while Romero, who has never held public office, spent $4,800 of her own money. Romero even won one of the city’s 10 precincts.
“I will work with the commission and the citizens to move our community forward in the direction we heard loud and clear we want to go,” Cates said Monday. “I will work to bring our community back together for our common goal of protecting our island and quality of life.”
That’s what the anti-bigger cruise ship camp was trying to do all along.
Cates alluded to his support for additional senior housing units in Key West, and finished by acknowledging the island has “more difficult issues” to resolve.
“But we will deal with them as a community and with respect for different opinions,” Cates said. “I will always believe in Key West and I know this is still paradise.”
The pro-bigger cruise ship lovers, including Cates, otherwise there was no point in him pushing to have the channel-widening study done, started a vicious civil war. They got smashed. They got embarrassed. My opinion, they are nowhere close to wanting to kiss and make up, because that would require them saying they are sorry and apologizing.
The real problem all along was the cruise ships calling on Key West are horrible for the environment and the city’s quality of life. What now should happen is a massive grassroots push to pressure Cates and the six city commissioners to do whatever it takes to stop those horrible ships from calling on Key West. The referendum vote and the editorial cartoon in Sunday’s Citizen were a good start in that direction, but it most likely will take an even bigger, nastier war to finish the job. Otherwise, Key West and its citizens will continue to sell out to the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships. There is no pretty way to say it, cause it ain’t pretty.
Photo compliments Jolly Benson’s brother, Will, a local tarpon guide and environmentalist.