Tuesday, December 31, 2013

astroworld, 1975

My mother, brother and sisters on the Bamboo Chute ride
at Astroworld, a theme park in Houston from 1968-2005.

Monday, December 30, 2013

it is grassy


A poem I wrote on the back of a crayon drawing in third grade.

i dreamed . . .

. . . Loretta Lynn gave birth to an enormous nail through a baby bump on the side of her torso.

my great-great-grandmother


pressing the flesh

The woman in 13D was so large she took up a good third of 13C as well. I looked down at my assigned seat, saw a seatbelt buckle emerging apologetically from beneath her left thigh, and I settled in next to her. "Am I sitting on anything?" she said.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

catahoula

photo: jackie theriot

This is a photograph of Catahoula taken by my father in 1965. He was the only passenger in a small plane flying between New Orleans and Lafayette, and the pilot was able provide him with a great shot of his hometown.

i dreamed . . .

. . . I was standing on the shoreline of a lagoon, fishing for dinner, and someone in the sky was fishing for me. I couldn’t see who the other fisherman was. All I saw was my line disappearing into lagoon water and his line descending from the clouds, dangling a golden hook.

Friday, December 13, 2013

tante doy



The following is a transcript of a conversation that took place on October 2013 between me, my mother Sue, her sister Sis, her sister Liz, her brother Phillip and my sister Monique. The subject of the conversation is Dorian Doiron, also known as Tante Doy, my grandfather’s aunt. Gampy (Etienne Doiron) was my grandfather. Mit (Regina Doiron) was Gampy’s mother. Tante Doy (Dorcian Doiron) was Mit’s sister. Tante Doy gave birth to a child out of wedlock, Gampy’s first cousin, and was forced to give her up for adoption. I was always curious about this, especially because Gampy was himself conceived out of wedlock, and wasn't given up for adoption. One sister kept her child, and the other didn’t.

jesus doesn't care

Jesus doesn't care if Santa Claus is brown. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

my dad and his groomsmen

June 23, 1964

fragment

You didn't throw it away. And not only did you not throw it away, you kept it. And not only did you keep it, you locked it in a chest. You treasured it. Then you died, the treasure was buried, and nobody cared.

Monday, December 9, 2013

boulder street art


this is not a dream

An agent greeted me at the entrance to the Denver Airport security checkpoint this morning and pointed to a screen that said RANDOMIZER. He said, "Touch this screen."

Monday, December 2, 2013

goldilocks

First my brother . . .
. . . then me


Saturday, November 16, 2013

the old place

photo: jetheriot

ode on a thistle crayon


This is a scan of a page from my journal circa 2002


lighting mood the in
to from condescend
made the once mention
the of thistle then

papered an over
in mid the her air
ever me never
the of thistle there

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

in an mri



As we die we progress through deeper and deeper states of unconsciousness. The ego falls away, layer by layer, and only the clear light of the mind remains. If we fail to recognize this luminosity at the hour of our death, the Buddhists say, we fade into oblivion and re-enter the realm of human suffering. If we recognize the clear light of the mind, and rest in it, we can break the chain of suffering and awaken into a new rebirth. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

dust jacket idea


Proposed design for the dust jacket of my forthcoming book of dreams. The woman on the back cover is my great-grandmother, Regina Doiron. The man on the front cover is her father, my great-great-grandfather, Louis Doiron.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

further proof that photographs are ghosts

photo courtesy liz gary

Tim: What do you mean when you say that?

a thing she left behind

When I was a neurology resident at Grady, I was asked to consult on a one-hundred-year-old woman who'd been admitted for a cardiac work-up. (She had a history of seizures, and the medical team wanted recommendations regarding seizure medication.) I remember doing a double take when I saw her birth year in the chart -- 1902.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

my great-grandmother

augustine babb thibodeaux

i dreamed . . .

 . . . an ugly black bird with skin instead of feathers watched me from a snow-frosted branch, all rubbery and warty like a turkey wattle.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

tante doy

five generations of doirons

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

i dreamed . . .

. . . I asked Luke if he was ready to go skiing. It was three in the afternoon, sunny, and there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. The day was almost over, and I knew if I didn’t get up immediately, I'd spend the rest of it lounging around. So I stood up with a start and poured myself a shot of whiskey.

Monday, October 21, 2013

gampy in catahoula

my grandfather Etienne Doiron
on the catahoula bridge 1946




the oldest man in catahoula




A snippet I recorded during last Saturday's Senior Citizens Day in Catahoula. This is Cajun French. Reminds me so much of my grandparents, whose primary language was this dialect. Cajun French was also my father's first language, and both my parents continue to speak it with older members of the community. I can understand a lot of it, but my generation was the first to grow up speaking English, so I can't speak it very well. The sound of it transports me to another time.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

my great-grandmother

Regina Doiron
my mother's father's mother

i dreamed . . .

. . . my mother looked out an open window in 1947 and sighed. A drought had doomed her pepper garden, turning her pepper plants into hay, and she didn’t know how to save them. She said, "I wish we had a HORNBLENDE."

my great-great-grandfather

Louis Doiron
my mother's father's mother's father

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

saute crapaud



from Saute Crapaud,
Acadian & Creole Songs for Children
Nancy Tabb Marcantel & Bill Russell 
Swallow Records – 1977


"Saute Crapaud" is one of the most well-known Cajun folk songs. "Crapaud" is French for TOAD or FROG and "Saute" means JUMP, so the title translates as JUMP, FROG! "Crapaud" also means BOOGER so that made the song extra fun to listen to as a child.

Monday, October 14, 2013

catahoula lake


vintage photograph courtesy Leona Thibodeaux

i dreamed . . .

. . . I was standing on a wooden boardwalk in an old Alaskan mining town, peeking through the open window of a grand Victorian home. A man sitting outside the diner next door warned me to stay away. “Very boring,” he said. “All they do in there is sing.”

Sunday, October 13, 2013

shoo fly



from Saute Crapaud,
Acadian & Creole Songs for Children
Nancy Tabb Marcantel & Bill Russell 
Swallow Records – 1977


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

rousseau's inn

The Weekly Messenger, 1928

Last Sunday a representative of The Messenger visited the Rousseau Inn at Catahoula Lake to look at the building and grounds. The building, which we believe is the largest in the state, for a restaurant, hotel and dancing, is built on pillars ten feet high, facing the beautiful lake, glassed in all around, with a fine floor, and lighted by 54 white globe lights.

the evangeline country & historic st. martinville


 
The Evangeline Oak, right; Attakapas trading post, center;
spire of Catholic Church, background; Bayou Teche, foreground
 
Since the Rousseau Catahoula Inn is located "in the heart of the Evangeline counutry," the following pages are devoted to a brief history of the Teche Country, St. Martinville, and the local version of the true story of Evangeline, which appears in "Acadian Reminiscences," by Judge Felix Voorhies, a direct Acadian descendant.
 
The multifarious changes that have come to the Teche Country since that far distant day when Evangeline roamed its banks, seeking her lover of the north, serve but to enhance its peculiar natural beauty. Broad pastures and fields of green with wavering harvests of cane and corn, set in relief the diminished forests of live oak, magnolia and the flowering tangle of her day, while the sky and water and delicacy of land contour remain ever and immutably the same.

Monday, September 30, 2013

i dreamed . . .

. . . I did a somersault and landed with both feet planted solidly on the back of an unclothed man kneeling on all fours. Then I broke into a garage and started planting tomato seedlings in the dark. The garage door creaked opened, and the lights of a police truck blinded me. I was caught red-handed.

best toy ever

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

i dreamed . . .


. . . everyone in Catahoula was getting ready for the vice presidential debate scheduled for live broadcast from Miss Gail's house. Street-sweepers had cleared the trash from the block party the night before, and flimsy white trash bags bulging with beer cans and beer bottles dotted St. Rita Highway. The pink brick church glittered. The elementary school sparkled. RE-ELECT JIMMY CARTER yard signs everywhere.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the moth collector

photo: jetheriot

A boy found a moth and asked his father what it meant. His father said, "What do you mean, 'What does it mean?' Dreams don't mean anything."

i dreamed . . .

. . . I laid an orange-haired Little Red Riding Hood doll in the top drawer of the dishwasher and turned the dial to RINSE ONLY.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

the hungry ghost


THE FIRST TIME I saw her I was meditating in my studio. She walked up to the window I was looking out through, and when she looked inside our eyes met.

Friday, September 13, 2013

miss kitty


At Double Trouble this afternoon Tim asked me about the stray kitty who's been visiting us lately, also known as Miss Kitty, also known as the cat we're definitely NOT adopting.

I said, "Andrew is allergic, so we can't keep her. What should I do?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

alligator hunting

cowboy in fantasyland

scanned illustration from butterick pattern
over vintage Disneyland postcard

what to do when you don't have a towel

       stand still and just drip dry

bayou benoit

photo: jetheriot

i dreamed . . .


. . . I rode from San Diego to Louisiana in the bed of a monster truck. "What is that music?" I asked the guy sitting beside me. The emotion of the music as we rounded the canyon highway's curves matched the rocky landscape so perfectly it was like the music and the landscape were one, and it was like I was one with the music. He didn't know who the composer was. He'd never heard the music before either.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

hardcover maquette

video


an unusually large finger

photo: jetheriot


Yes it was on a giant
     but the finger was large even for a giant. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

prell shampoo commercial


RADIANTLY ALIVE

When your hair looks radiantly alive
then you feel radiantly alive.

Thanks to Prell
liquid Prell
the extra rich shampoo.

Monday, August 26, 2013

wraparound hardcover idea

photo: jetheriot

Thursday, August 22, 2013

sun moon cube


This is a paper cube I made using found images.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

i dreamed . . .

. . . Tommy Lavergne, Rice University staff photographer, wasn't sure if we should hug or just shake hands when we met outside the library.


how phrases sell soap


Those old television commercials always had the best taglines. I think my all-time favorite is from a black-and-white cartoon commercial for Tide circa 1955: 

              Nothing else will wash as clean as Tide, 
       yet is so mild.

Monday, August 19, 2013

that ice cream van

dumbo ride


Disneyland postcard accordion 196?

Friday, August 16, 2013

simplicity


This is a photograph I took of a meadow near Brenham, Texas
superimposed with an image I scanned from an old Simplicity pattern.


my favorite thing i ever unburied


YOU KNOW HOW if there’s enough trash in a trash bin it’ll push the lid up a little? True story. I was riding my bike down Milam Street one morning a few springs ago when I passed a group of trash bins parked along the curb near the Houston Fire Museum. Three standard-issue municipal trash bins, wheels to the curb, were waiting to be emptied. Two of the trash bins were completely closed, but one of the trash bins, I noticed, was so stuffed with trash that whatever was inside was pushing the lid up a little. I suppose that’s what made me want to look, really, the way the lid was so invitingly cracked open, begging me to peep. It wasn’t pushed up much, maybe five or six inches, but I was able to get a nice long peek-a-boo as I zoomed past it on my bike.
     Whatever loose object was in there, preventing the lid from closing, wasn’t wrapped in a trash bag; it had a hard-edged silhouette. Whatever it was was smooth-contoured, plastic probably, oddly upright or erect, and machine-stamped with a short alpha-numeric sequence. That much I could see. I was going too fast to discern if they were letters or numerals or both.
     It might seem strange, perhaps, that the thing’s color was the last attribute I perceived before bringing my attention back to the gray pavement of urban traffic unspooling in front of me, but the lid threw such a heavy shadow over whatever was in there, dampening the range of hues to versions of muted gray. I was almost to McGowen when the name of the color came to me. Whatever was in there was — Caucasian. There was no other word for it. Some stamped plastic Caucasian something. Is it me — I braked my bike to a complete stop the moment the thought popped into my head — or was that a mannequin head in there?
       It was one of those questions you already know the answer to the moment you can put it into words. Not only did I know there would be a mannequin head in the trash bin, I knew which way it would be facing. I circled back onto the sidewalk, walked my bike on tiptoes over to the trash bin and creaked the plastic lid open, letting it slap against the squeaky backside. I’ll be damned. It was a mannequin head in there. A male Caucasian mannequin head.
     I grabbed the bald ball of it with a five-fingered grip, allowing the small bundles of trash packed around it to re-settle at the bottom of the tall bin. But I couldn’t get it out with one hand twisting it like that. The mannequin head, peculiarly, was much heavier than I’d expected, felt stuck somehow, so I started rocking it side to side in the bin. When I saw shoulders begin to emerge, then a chest, then an abdomen, it all made perfect sense. It was more than a mannequin head I was struggling to unbury.
     There was an entire mannequin head-and-torso in there — a very handsome, long, lean and legless, everything-from-the-waist-up, belly button and eyelashes even, just a flat bottom to stand on, European-looking table-top mannequin — whom I lifted up and out of the trash bin eventually. Except for his missing arms (which were still out there somewhere if his keyhole-shaped arm-holes were to be believed) the dude was in fantastic shape, no dents anywhere, clean as a whistle. What the spectacle must have looked like from the third-floor balcony of one of the townhouses across from the Houston Fire Museum that morning, a nude male mannequin sprouting from a trash bin. I spun him around and our faces met.
     It was so strange to find him in the trash bin like that, waiting for me to randomly rescue him, and, naturally, I wanted to understand who he was and where he came from. It’s silly, of course, in a circumstance such as this one, to expect a clarifying note to have been pinned somewhere, but in my not inconsiderable experience with mannequins, I knew I might find a name written somewhere, such was the case with Marie, so I scoured the ripples of his musculature for clues, tumbling him over in my hands to examine him from every angle.
     He was Danish, apparently. A label affixed to the small of his back said he was made in denmark. There was an oval patch of some sticky residue just above his left nipple — I wondered if firemen had been using the man-shaped piece of plastic to practice their emergency heart-monitoring skills on — and there was a stamped alpha-numeric sequence, G-10, on the roundest part of the back side of his bald head. No name anywhere.
     I love finding stuff in the trash, and I confess to a certain fondness for mannequins, so, needless to say, finding this mannequin in the trash was the highlight of my day. Who am I kidding? It made my week. When I pulled him up and out of the bin, I actually froze there for a second, holding him by his arm-holes, straddling my bike, too stunned to move.
     My first move was to make sure I wasn’t stealing someone’s awesome mannequin from, like, their moving boxes or something, mistaking them for trash bins. I looked across the street. I looked toward the Fire Museum. It was definitely trash day. There were trash bins all down the street. And the tall plastic box before me, I reassured myself, was definitely a trash bin. There were bags of trash inside it, for crying out loud. Which meant the mannequin torso I was holding was definitely trash. Which meant he was free for the taking. Yet somehow it seemed wrong to just snatch him like that, this handsome Danish half-man, municipal trash though he was, and I couldn’t help feeling like a thief when I tucked him under an arm and took off on my bike, pedaling home as fast as I could. I posted a picture to my Facebook page the moment I walked in the door.




     The following Sunday, shit got very weird. I was going through my Facebook page, harvesting dreams I’d posted the previous week and pasting them into a separate document where I archive my dreams, and when I got to the morning of May 8th, and I read the dream I’d posted that morning, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I came to a complete stop. This can’t be true, I thought, half-smiling. But there it was in black and white.




     I double-checked the dates. I scrolled down to my post from May 12th, the day I found the mannequin torso. I scrolled back up to May 8th, the day I dreamed I found the mannequin torso. May 8th is four days before May 12th. In other words, I dreamed I found a life-size muscular torso in a tall box and biked away with it feeling like a thief. Then four days later, I actually did find a life-size muscular torso in a tall box and bike away with it feeling like a thief. I wanted to doubt my recollection of the week’s events, but how could I argue with the evidence? My documentation was impeccable.
      Tibetan Buddhists place great importance on their tradition of hidden teachings, in which bodies of ancient knowledge are hidden away like buried treasures and revealed again centuries later when the right treasure-hunters come along to unbury them. Think of them as spiritual time capsules. A hidden teaching might take the form of a literally buried treasure, such as a relic buried underground, or it might take a more nebulous form, the first few symbols of a long-ago scripture, for example, concealed inside a stone, or a sound, a sacred syllable, secreted in an herb or tucked into a cloud and folded into a dream. A bean of cosmic wisdom, even, planted in the fertile ground of the very mind itself, might sprout a beanstalk of revelation eons later. I suspect those Tibetans are on to something. I only am left to wonder, at what point did I actually enter the dream? And did I ever leave it?





    
   


     



     
    






Wednesday, August 14, 2013

space & the ice cream van


“When the space element is balanced in us, there is room for life;
whatever arises can be accommodated.”
~Tenzin Wangyal


THE CONSTANT HAMMERING at the construction site every day for the past two months was annoying enough, but when the old busted-up ice cream van would come and park in the middle of it all and blast the most horrible noises, it was more than I could bear.
     The tune wasn’t anything I recognized, a cross between John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain, with car horns, whistles and hand claps thrown in, repeating in an infinite loop. And between each repeat, the recorded voice of a woman saying HELLO. Then the tune would start from the beginning again. Of all the noises —the hammers, the nail guns, the power saws, the beeping sounds the big trucks made when they went in reverse, the whistles, the car horns, the hand claps — it was that single spoken HELLO that sent me over the edge.

Of the five elements — earth, air, fire, water, space — space is the most fundamental, for it contains within it all the other elements. Space is everywhere always. Space is all-accommodating. But the thing is, because it’s everywhere always, we rarely notice it. People notice space like fish notice water. Space disappears. So we have to work a little harder to tune in to it, to feel it. Space isn’t as hot as fire, it’s way more subtle than air, and it’s easy to develop a kind of deafness or numbness to its presence, or to believe that it’s not even there.
     The shaman learns to harness the five elements, harmonizing with his environment. Through force of ritual he taps into the energies of each element. He feels them, absorbs them, becomes them. He warms his heart with the fire of the sun and becomes the sun. He feels the earth again and again and becomes the earth. He breathes air and he becomes it. He swallows water and is fluid. But what is space? How does he touch it? How does he become it?
     When you’re spacious, you let life happen. You’re not so intent on trying to shape it to suit your needs. You’re the one who does the bending. You rise above the particulars of a situation. Things happen, and you accommodate them. When you’re spacious, you expand. There’s always plenty of room.
     When you’re not spacious, you pound on the horn as soon as the light turns green and not one millisecond later, or you pull out a smartphone at every red light to cram something into that moment. You’re quick to assume every comment is an insult. You become every bump in the road.

Easier said than done, of course. After a long day at work and a long drive home, the last thing I wanted to see when I turned onto our street was that stupid old busted-up ice cream van. It was parked in the middle of the street, and the driver was selling ice cream to the construction workers, and the street was so packed with machinery I couldn’t squeeze past. If he’d have pulled up another twenty feet he could have parked along the curb. Didn’t he realize how selfish he was being? And that stupid song was blasting on repeat. JOHN JACOB JINGLEHEIMER SCHMIDT TOOT TOOT TOOT — with that damn HELLO between each repeat. I confess, I wasn’t feeling very spacious. I wanted to scream and pound on my horn. But I didn’t.
     I just sat back in my seat. I let the whole thing happen and savored the spectacle. It was so ridiculous — the childish van, the childish tune, not a child in sight. Only one middle-aged van driver and four mustachioed construction workers. Who could blame them? Who could blame an exhausted laborer for desiring an icy confection, especially in the middle of Houston on the hottest day of the year? Who could blame an earnest salesman for trying to make a buck?
     A weight slipped from my shoulder. I felt space, and I became it. And the construction workers morphed into four smiling children. Hungry for ice cream, I put the car in park.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

simplicity


This is a photograph I took of a kung fu studio in Midtown
superimposed with an image I scanned from an old Simplicity pattern.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

plant dream seeds . . .

. . throughout life. Not all of them will take dream root, especially if you never dream water them. But if you keep a good dream soil, if you tend your dream garden a little bit every day, don't be surprised when dream seedlings start popping up all around you.

loreauville boxing club

photo courtesy dot boutte

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

how do you remember your dreams in such detail?

I think it's helpful to step back and take a look at the whole process that has to happen for a dream to be recorded. Remembering the dream is only one part of that process. But before you can remember a dream, you first have to HAVE the dream.

sleepwalker

This is a photograph of the woods near my parent's camp in Catahoula
superimposed with an image I scanned from an old Simplicity pattern.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

space disappears



People notice space like fish notice water. Which is to say -- we don't. We just move through it like it's not there. Space disappears.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

books i'm reading

photo: jetheriot

i dreamed . . .

. . . I met a woman while waiting in line at a vegetarian pizza parlor. The line snaked through room after room, upstairs and downstairs. It was a never-ending labyrinth, and we were getting more and more frustrated. We’d had enough. “Screw this,” we said. And we hopped on our bikes and went riding through the streets of SOLSBURY.


catahoula communion


These 22 black-and-white photographs taken in the 40s, 50s and 60s in Catahoula, Louisiana depict the tradition of giving children a tall white candle on the day of their first communion. They were taken from the photograph collections of several families in Catahoula.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

picture catahoula

photo courtesy leona thibodeaux

picture CATAHOULA . . .

thought jazz

the one with the bow tie


This is my family in 1974. I'm the baby.

categorizing my dreams

photo: jetheriot

i dreamed . . .


. . . either a tiny green garden snake threaded itself through the holes of a life-size graham cracker or a life-size green garden snake threaded itself through the holes of a gigantic graham cracker.


baby raccoon in fig tree

photo: jetheriot

fire and rain

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

tea and crumping


Went to Dripping Springs, Texas yesterday (just west of Austin) to lead two Peaceful Habits groups at a brain injury rehab center there.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

argus 75

photo: jetheriot

crawfish peelers

photo courtesy leona thibodeaux

w in mirror

photo: jetheriot

i dreamed . . .

. . . I turned over an overturned canoe and surprised a rouge-crested waterbird nesting underneath.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

does this toothbrush necklace make me look gay?


photo: jetheriot

Later today I'm going to drive three pieces of art over to Lawndale (an art space in Houston) and I'm going to enter them to be considered for the annual Big Show coming up in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013