Tag Archives: musings

“Brushstrokes and Backpacks” – a brief autobiography

Note: this very freeform (and rather intentionally self-indulgent) flow was written as an assignment for a class at The Evergreen State College. Wasn’t what the professor was expecting but whatever, this is how it came out. Who i am to defy the muse #ha!

Anyhow, read if you want, whatever. Added notes from brother Bob at the end. Not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive (or comprehendible for that matter).

a photo which has nothing to do with any of the following, was just handy and folks like photos EOD

Brushstrokes and Backpacks, a brief autobiography
By Dave Olson, 2002

Preamble (extended)

My life and myself are defined by the exceptional moments, the flashes of clarity that may last a second or a day. A pleasant day of contentment or perilous adventure, overcoming fear or doing nothing but sitting/thinking/breathing in a place of beauty. Could even be a place of turmoil or even somewhere where I’m not quite sure where I am but are enjoying the ride nonetheless. Moments when the conscious, subconscious, the universe, the tangible surroundings and even any humans entering the scene (or not) seem to be washed into a harmonious watercolor.

These events, sounds, nonevents, glances, coincidences
and snapshots of sorts that stick in the mind, sometimes recalling a story, or more often just a thought when you remember the best of someone or something that seems to make the wind stop for a second.

Was it a lesson? A badge earned? Just a happy memory with no long-term importance beyond an anecdotal tale saved to tell youngsters in later years? Did I see that in a movie? Was that really my life? How long ago was that now? Was that after the fall of the Soviet Union? Where was I then? What else was I doing and how did it happen? Where did the time go and how come I still feel as though I’ve hardly started?

Continue reading “Brushstrokes and Backpacks” – a brief autobiography

Scrapbooks, in process: construction techniques and material

Sample of new scrapbook series, built with (amongst other materials): beer 6pack covers & boardgame backs, and  2002 Thuringen (Germany) sports calendar covers.

Scrapbook, in process – a pleasant way to pass the time

Scrapbook in process
Scrapbook: in process, a pleasant way to pass the time, sitting in bed, with scissors, tape, glue and ephemera

Lists of Grateful-tude

Grateful for:
* David Bowie music
* Wes Anderson films
* Rumi poetry
+ fresh notebooks & inky pens

Grateful for:
* music of The Band, The Clash, Velvet Underground, Lorde
* paintings by Matisse & Thompson
* poems of Ferlinghetti & Bukowski

No hometown means…

I’m like a “guest walk-on character” into other peoples tv show lives.

Musing and Mediations re: Creativity (and Rebellion)

Musings and Meditations for Creativity (and Rebellion)
Musings and Meditations re: Creativity (and Rebellion)

Auspicious day

9 years ago today, I presented “fuck stats make art” to a full house at SXSW, scored hash brownies and MDMA in Austin, drank whiskey backstage with the black angels. 11 years ago, signed up for Twitter. Also brother Bob’s birthday.

These days, a challenge to just get out of bed for a cup of tea… I’m really trying to “move on”, find “acceptance” and “close the book on old life” but it sure the fck ain’t easy with such wild & fulfilling actions in my past

#thanksforlistening #nosympathy #freehugs #trying

X (40th anniversary) + Mike Watt and The Secondmen / San Francisco

Stage set-up / X 40th anniversary tour/show at The Independent in San Francisco
Stage set-up / X 40th anniversary tour/show at The Independent in San Francisco

Sometimes, a plan comes together just right, and then sometimes there’s the opposite…. This night of X (Dec. 9, 2016) was definitely the opposite.

X 40th anniversary tour / show at The Independent in San Francisco - marquee
X 40th anniversary tour / show at The Independent in San Francisco – marquee

The “Plan” was to come back from a healing journey at an Ayurvedic clinic in India to meet up with old friends and celebrate this legendary punk band’s 40th anniversary. As it goes, my trip was cut short under frankly the worst circumstances (which I won’t bother you with here). Then, my friends decided to go to the LA shows instead of the San Francisco 3-night run, another friend simply didn’t show up, and phone calls to other pals couldn’t rally up any excitement.

Continue reading X (40th anniversary) + Mike Watt and The Secondmen / San Francisco

Notes about The Atlantic, and a missing lyric

Evidence: Tanya Donnelly’s Swan Song, 6 EP series

In a dream state(ish), I keep singing a lyric which I assumed/I thought is by Tanya Donnelly… but I did a crash course on her entire catalog yet cannot find any sign of the song. Also a search more widely produces not a clear match. That said, Internets is limited in my sequestered room.

Noting the same mystery happened with the lyric “Grandma take me home, I want to be alone” which later turned up on a cassette from brother Dan while in Saji, Japan on Nirvana’s outtakes “Insecticide” “grandma take me home, I want to be alone” just as I remembered it.

By this point I’d written a song in my head with the same riff and lyric. Sigh. Kept rewinding to reconcile memory from erstwhile reality. “Mom and dad went to a show, drop me off at grandpa Joe’s, I kicked and screamed, said please don’t go…”

In this case, and this isn’t the first time, and feverish haze I thought of the Atlantic.

The fucked up the Bucerias trip as well left me looking east word overwater as though in the Canadian Maritimes, basically something like “the Atlantic she calls you, the Atlantic she needs you she need you to come home.”

I’ve visualized lighthouses and rocky headlands and stone houses. Maybe Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where a Buddhist monastery is mentioned in “when things fall apart” coupled with thinking about Leonard Cohen living as a monk on Mount Baldy. The same mountain Gary  (Japhy) and Jack rambled (mostly) in Dharma Bums.

I had it “the light houses will bring you, the hearth will warn you, so please, please come soon.”

Indeed, this stretch of life for me is about reinvention, changing everything no matter the pain to me or others. This is terrible to think and worse to write but I am renewed, not by choice as I was pleasantly addicted to “old” life of authentic, adrenaline, admiration. But, by necessity, I no longer have ability to compromise to make others content. Brutal but true. Will “it” revenge self on me? Perhaps, but I know I can find silence at the edges and fringes of salt water-even the bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean. Filthy at the beach I saw despite a vantage name.


Found the song – tis: Cape Ann by Tanya Donnelly from her Swan Song series. I ordered a 3 disc vinyl delivered to Pacifica – “the Atlantic she needs you… You’re the one who got away.” Indeed.

Lyrics follow:


When the road was wide
We walked side by side
Where it narrowed one fell behind

It was okay in those days
We were headed the same way
Didn’t care who’d get there first
You copy you paste you lose
So your bird can sing
It’s a beautiful thing
And you taught her all the songs we knew
But your bird, your bird, makes up all her own words
Which is just what I loved about you

Coming off of Cape Ann
Head to toe salt and sand
And the stain of the yellowing foam
The Atlantic, she loves you, you’re the one who got away
And she wants you back home

When the road is wide
We walk side by side
Where it narrows one falls behind
It’s okay, it’s okay, we’re all heading the same way
I don’t care who gets there first

Coming off of Cape Ann
Head to toe salt and sand
And the stain of the yellowing foan
The Atlantic, she loves you, you’re the one who got away
And she wants you back home

The Atlantic, she loves you
And she wants you back home
The Atlantic, she loves you
And she wants you back home

The Atlantic, she loves you
You’re the one who got away
And she wants you back home

She wants you back
She loves you
You’re the one who got away

The Atlantic, she loves you
You’re the one who got away
She loves you

Vaguely surfacing…

Today, I attempt to vaguely surface from the painful fog of a feverish week. Next steps are difficult. Slowly slowly rebuild and regroup.

I’m as weak as a kitten and must be gentle and patient with myself. Kindly remind me. Sipping diluted apple juice, saltines. This isn’t new.

Since I was a wee babe, dehydration, fevers, and gastro conundrums have confounded me and doctors. There is no diagnosis, just incidents.

The list has grown long: vague memories in Germany alone, Guam’s hospital, Eugene, Mexico with glass IV so many nights writhing. Holding on.

The list of doctors and specialists and tests and scans and samples and processes and surgeries and examinations and medications is lengthy.

Each time, my physical elastic is stretched and dries a little bit more and snapping back to form is more challenging and less satisfying.

I loathe the days lost, heart lost, confidence lost – the experience is painful but the bits I miss might hurt even more. I feel apologetic.

I thrive on enjoying things with others & loathe to see people worry or spread spend precious energy tending to me. Though they don’t mind.

In the feverish flashbacks, I lose track of what was real and what was imagined and which happened before. Did we have that conversation?

My escape: to breathe vicariously through you. Your graduation, your running for mayor, your band’s on tour, you’ve taken a train trip.

For all my adventures, travels, and hijinks, one doubt always nags the back of my head: will I physically collapse for reasons unbeknownst?

Indeed conditions of the erstwhile gastrointestinal tract are not the greatest malady to affect we delicate humans but, i wasn’t asked.

Aside from the opportunity cost of the events I miss, the lost creativity, & distress upon others, I struggle with the blues of being weak.

The next steps never get easy: letting go of the lost past, writing off precious days, and trying to simply stand & remember importantness.

Important: creating stories, sharing with others, reminding people they are loved, letting people go, helping people flourish. Helping me.

My mind and my soul is where my attention goes. My body is a vehicle and, like my beloved VW bus, not always reliable- yet I tend diligently.

Almost 43 years old, I’m an assembly line of careful creation – this is what I live for. I want to do so much more, I have an endless supply.

Yes, I’ve adjusted lifestyles, foods, routines, herbal teas, magic formulas, endless acupuncture, and avoiding toxins & fried foods. Bored.

I even try to “slowdown” but I’m not sure what people do when they “slowdown” – Do they not know the world is waiting for them? Clock ticks.

I have two speeds: quite fast or almost stopped. I go go go because I like to & don’t want to miss life. Sleep has never come easily to me.

Now, here in bed remembering hospitals and clinics, tents & tears, machines whirring, ceiling fans spinning, convulsions and concerns, I try.

But slowing down and taking care of myself doesn’t really seem to make a difference. Is my physiology weak? If so, there’s nothing I can do.

Slowing down means doing less. This sounds very pleasant by some readings but in others, limits what I give. Shall I start to say “no”? No.

Giving my creations, my energy, my enthusiasm, my knowledge is the manna which fortifies me through the high times and the lowest. Makes me.

Shall i be more selective? But I love each chance to share! Shall I expect to receive more for what I give? That’s not my reason for giving.

PS Used to be my social posting barrages came from bus rides but now, from doctors offices #Waiting #healing #Grateful Just so you know…