9 October 2017

Open House Faces. Kelly’s Fame

Kelly's Fame

We saw Kelly tonight at the Bog, I needed a hamburger after this weekend, and they have the best hamburger's in town. We had dinner with our friend Becca Eddy, and Kelly told us that the Bog was filled with blog readers on Friday who recognized or who came to see her.

Kelly does not see herself as any kind of celebrity, but an awful lot of people at the Open House told me they wanted to see her or meet her. It was a quiet rainy night tonight, and I went to take her photo, but my camera battery went dead. There is no way I am not taking a photo of you tonight, I said, and I went home and changed the battery and came back to the Bog.

Kelly is a rock start, to me, anyway. I see that is also true now of a lot of other people. We need more Kelly's in the world, she is a symbol of the America that I love.

Posted in General

Animal Love: Minnie And Maria

Animal Love

The bond of love between people and animals is so very strong in our disconnected world, especially at Bedlam Farm. Minnie has known Maria almost every day of her life, Maria was with me when I went to adopted her in Hebron, N.Y. She was practically feral as a kitten.

Three years ago, she had her right rear leg amputated after an animal attack, and the bond between these two has only grown closer. i love this photograph, it is all about pure love.

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“Red In A Blizzard” – For Sale. Check Out The New Photo Gallery

Red In A Blizzard: For Sale

I'm happy to offer "Red In A Blizzard" for sale, it's up on my new Bedlam Farm Photos For Sale Gallery, a collection of the photos I am offering for sale. This photo shows the soul of Red and is a celebration of the ethos of the working dogs we love and appreciate. They do so much for us.

The photo will be sold for $75 plus $10 shipping, it will be signed and unframed, printed on rag paper, the print will be 81/ 2×13." If you are interested, contact Maria at [email protected] You can visit the new photo gallery here.

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Openness As A Creed.You Can See Me

Openness As Faith: Fate and Cathy Stewart

At our Open House this weekend, a number of people thanked Maria and I for hosting our Open Houses and many people  thanked me for being open.  I always want to thank them for coming.

More than anything else, I am thanked for being open and sharing my life. It isn't that people want my life or agree with it, the process of sharing one's life can be valuable to others, it perhaps helps them to sort through their own lives.

My idea of openness is also disturbing to many people, we live in a cynical and wary world, and a lot of people assume it is a posture, that I put myself out there and then complain when people  presume things that make me uncomfortable.

I appreciate all those comments, they made me think quite a bit about the idea of Openness, which began as something of a marketing tool and has evolved into a faith or creed for me. In 20017, when I started the blog, I promised to be open. I noticed that very few blogs or websites were open, I thought most were so packaged and marketed that openness would in itself stand out.

I was correct. People did want authenticity.

The blog has about four million views a year now, about one-fourth of that number are unique visitors. When I started the blog and then experienced a breakdown, I promised myself, Maria, and my therapist that I would be authentic, I would never again knowingly delude or  lie or misrepresent myself as I felt I have done again and again in my life.

I believe I have mostly stayed faithful to that, and it has been a profoundly liberating and gratifying and spiritual experience for me. Being open is nothing if not selfish. I had no idea what it would do for me.

I share my life fully and openly, I do not believe there is anything anyone can say about me that I have not said about myself or acknowledge. I often feel free as a bird sailing through the sky, and i never used to feel that.

Being open was frightening to me, and often still is, I suppose that's one reason I protect my boundaries so intensely, I feel vulnerable and exposed.

Being open sometimes means hurting people or angering them or saying things  I might not normally say.

When I want to write something, I ask myself if it is what I feel and if it is true, and no matter how intense or uncomfortable, i write about it and share it.

Without this daily exercise and practice, I doubt I could have seen  how much I was to blame for the trouble Fate and I had Saturday at the Open House. It is a habit now, an instinct, a part of me.

I have no secrets, and I never pretend to be blameless or even  correct. I do not tell other people what to do because I do not know what other people should do, and I ask the same favor be returned.  That has lifted a ton of bricks off of my shoulders, and freed me to begin to learn how how to think, a lifelong and painstaking process.

I nod to Beavis & Butthead, Because I am stupid, I am free.

Because I don't know what I am supposed to think, I can think.

Online, people have become used to being rude and intrusive and presumptuous and patronizing. This is now almost seen as a birthright, and if you share your life in an open and public way, it is also widely believed that you will bend over and take whatever people want to give you.

Because it is so open and free, we have lost the inhibitions and civilities of open discourse, since there are no consequences to being cruel or invasive, we are. We are, after all, human. We can now say all of the things we want to say to people that we would never say to their faces or in their homes. Social media is the coward's training academy.

Being open in such a world is a challenge, complex and unpredictable.

Openness is not about what other people do, it is what the individual does. I write to please the face in my mirror, no one else, and I  write to try to do good, and to provoke thought and hopefully, civil discussion.

I have learned to  say so when I see that I am wrong, or when I am stupid or afraid.

Openness is about being human, and about what it means to be a human. We are flawed and imperfect, damaged and incomplete. Any writing that cannot reflect that – even when it is annoying or confusing – is not open or authentic.

Hiding what we feel is poison to the soul, I know, because I did it for so long.

To hide is, by definition, to be  false.

In our culture, marketers rule the public space, and it is considered dangerous and foolish to be open. It is easy to offend people, or to misstep, or to make people uncomfortable. I do all of those things almost every day.

But over these past few years, and thanks largely to my blog and years of talking therapy and to my relationship with Maria, I am learning to be open rather than simply say so.

Openness has become my faith.

Being open is hard, always, and rewarding, always.
It is simply out of the norm and deeply troubling and upsetting  to many people. Being open does not mean I am right, it is about what I feel, there is no right or wrong for me. Only the truth about me at the moment.

Being Open is about change. Our assumptions are our windows on the world, wrote Isaac Asimov. "Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in."

People often accuse me of changing, as if that is a crime. Changing is my life, the greatest compliment. Albert Einstein believed that change is the very definition of intelligence. Change is not hypocrisy, the lowest form of falseness. Hypocrisy is the disease of the hollow.

I love being open, I love being free, I love having no secrets to keep from the world, no facade to protect, no agenda to hide behind, not left or right to parrot.

My blog is my great work, my living memoir, and the memoirist is absolutely nothing without being open and honest – to be otherwise is to be a fraud and a cheat.

If you follow my life, you are entitled to see it and know it, any memoir that fails to do that is worth nothing.

When you read me here, you see me, for better or worse, and I well understand it is often both. Hopefully, you can take something from that that you can use.

You can see me, and that is the most precious thing I can offer you or me.

Posted in General

The Eyes Have It. Cleared To Go …

The Eyes Have It

I spend several hours this morning with a retina specialist and surgeon, and had all kinds of test done on my eyes, from dyes injected into my blood to trace my vessels to blinding macro photographs and then met a male doctor who actually speaks to his patients, a welcome and refreshing change.

He does not believe that I have any vision problems, he said my vision is excellent, we did find some broken vessels that might or might not be related to diabetes or heart troubles. He said there was no reason to do anything severe know, but that down the road, I might be getting regular eye injections.

But not yet and not now.

For now, my vision is perfect and he only prescribed  some special eye drops. The condition I had – distortion in my life eye – seems to have disappeared. So I have full clearance from the eye surgeon and the cardiologist to get about my business and get to New Mexico next week.

We are going for eight days and we will both be blogging from there, you will get no respite from me. Both of these issues could have serious and disruptive, I have skirted past both of them unscathed. A fitting ending to a magical Open House.

This does not mean I am in poor health. It means I am human and growing older. For me, that is not a crisis it is life.

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