i wish i knew, i wish i had a way – to take you away from yourself.
the tricks your mind plays.. the sadness. the darkness. it’s hereditary. maybe.
i remember when you told me, that night in the car – i hope that doesn’t happen to you.
i never even realized you thought about those things.
and i told you i’d fight it, fight the darkness, but you said – you can’t. why do you think i can’t work?
so every day, i guess – i’m fighting. for both of us..
and you don’t even know it.
28 years later and i’m still trying to scale your walls.
– excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS
the darkness has crept up on me recently.
it’s funny how we get so entrenched in our own situations, worlds, societies, histories, genetics, pre-dispositions, habits, etc. that we forget it wasn’t always like this.. and we don’t have to be bound by it.
this is a strange time to be alive – one in which my heart tells me to be wild. but everything else pokes and prods at me – to stay connected, update my status, check my notifications, my messages, my comments, my likes, my invites.. share, share, share, check, check, check.
the mind has a fantastic capability.. that has been whittled down to infinite scroll and obsessive checking, reporting, observing, comparing.. everything. i am specifically talking about facebook/social media and i am specifically talking about myself..!
i made the decision a week or two ago to quit. for anyone who knows me and how interconnected i enjoy being, especially as an extra-visible media person/artist/party animal/scribe – this is strange and drastic. however – i feel my mental state was far stranger and more drastic.
i have lived on the internet since i was 12 or 13 years old. what about us internet kids, coming into our identities as early teens at the BOOM – we grew up like this, yet we have enough of “life before” to make us wistful.. is this always why i feel like i’m living in two worlds at once, pulled by both? and what about “kids these days” – who have nothing to compare it to? you’re born with an ipad in your hand.. my friend’s baby knows how to tap and swipe and she’s not even 2 years old.
there’s nothing wrong with the internet. it’s a beautiful thing. i’ve been connected to friends from all over the world – some of which i’ve still never met in person. you have a myriad amount of information at your fingertips. the ease of sharing moves at lightspeed, like life itself..
i remember fondly the days of AIM chats and ICQ, angelfire and geocities. message boards, RPG’ing, and writing stories. teaching myself HTML, the satisfaction of skinning a scrollbar or making a photo into a clickable button. endless xanga entries, lyrics, photos, and chat excerpts. all the zillions of ‘about’ statements you write as you grow, change, get older.. myspace. collecting internet friends and comments. and now facebook. and all the rest. we grew up with the rise of the internet. we remember the excitement! the addiction. all of a sudden – everything is meant to be documented and shared, and easily. there’s a whole other WORLD that exists out THERE – in internet-space. and there’s nothing in us – or in me, specifically – that knows how to turn it off.
“If science could see freedom, what would it look like? If it wanted to find the will, where would it search? [George] Eliot believed that the mind’s ability to alter itself was the source of our freedom.”
i started reading a book i found tossed around my fiancé’s apartment – “proust was a neuroscientist” by jonah lehrer. i didn’t start reading it until now, and – like many things in my life – it arrived when i was ready for it. sometimes you need a reminder of our inherent ability to learn, change, grow. literally the way we’re wired.. literally the way we evolve. the randomness. the chance. the mistakes. the oddities. the way we sneak out from under the thumbprint of concrete rules and regulations.. to be this strange being that was made to change. inherently – we are made for freedom.
this invigorates me.
to look back into history and see people emerging from their ages of anxiety. twisting and turning through theories and speculations, what stuck, what didn’t.. to be reminded that everyday – we have a chance. we have newly born parts of our brains. we can create new pathways. new patterns. and break them. and make them. again and again and again.
“…human freedom is innate, for we are the equation without a set answer. We solve ourselves.”
i guess what i’m trying to say is – it’s beautiful to be human. this freedom i am constantly grasping for – freedom from my habits, my patterns, my addictions, my anxieties – is literally in the fiber of my being. for me, it’s come through resolving to stay wild and keep away from the things i feel are WASTING my brain cells. scroll, scroll, infinite scroll – and endless DISTRACTIONS. i want to read books like these. i want to climb trees. i want to live without documenting every single moment as it happens. i want to live without so much STUFF. and i want to feel – like i have lately – that there are no longer four walls encasing me. that there is more than constantly having to keep up. more than constantly feeling like i’m missing something. more than the knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone or open up a tab for facebook or figure out a filter for instagram at every spare moment, between every task..
yes, this is our world. our gorgeous and troubled age of anxiety, our age of everything and nothing, our culture of scarcity, our over-information age, our over-stimulation age. but this is also me – having grown up with the internet, being prone to anxiety and distraction, having a past of OCD and fixation.. letting my patterns get out of control.
“Eliot was fond of quoting Tennyson’s In Memoriam: ‘There lives more faith in honest doubt,/ Believe me, than in half the creeds.’”
we fall into these pits so we can dig our way out. there is no other way. there is no learning that comes from walking on a straight road, straight into nowhere, knowing it all, seeking nothing. the learning comes from the sweat and the dirt under our fingernails. the blood and bruises. the ache. the digging. the getting up. the walking on.. the doing it again. and doing it differently.
our so-called “mistakes,” our contradictions, our doubts, our duality, our paradoxical nature, our “reckless swings of animal will” (i LOVE that phrasing).. it. is. part. of. us. the blessing of chaos and the randomness that literally allows for our evolution..
the fact that “the mind ‘is not cut in marble – it is not something solid and unalterable’ […] As Eliot wrote, ‘we are a process and an unfolding.’” this is seeming so absolutely riveting and electric to me right now. the fact that – not only is this okay.. it’s how it’s supposed to be.
i think i love this idea so much because it’s literally saying, in science, in our very BEING, our very BODY, written INTO US – is hope. we are malleable. “the soul ‘may be rescued and healed.’”
i am being reminded – by words, by nature, by my contemporaries, by science, by art – that everyday we have a chance to decide. it is MY responsibility to rewire myself, rewrite myself. that a possibility for something ELSE exists every single day, every single moment – and it’s not just new age gospel or self-help fodder. not just in our souls. but inherently – in our bodies, in our blood.
“To accept the freedom inherent in the human brain – to know that the individual is not genetically predestined – is also to accept the fact that we have no single solutions. Every day each one of us is given the gift of new neurons and plastic cortical cells; only we can decide what our brains will become.”
only WE can decide what our brains will become.
“…to be alive is to be ceaselessly beginning.”
and let us never reach the end.
ps: i picked up a four of clubs / four of wands on the street the other night, and now i know why. (ever find cards on the street? google them. playing cards translate into tarot meanings..). four of wands?
getting out of an oppressive situation
breaking free of bonds
opening to new possibilities
escaping unhappy circumstances
letting go of limitations”
“If you feel trapped or restricted right now, use the energy of the Four of Wands to launch you into freedom. Do not be afraid to claim the open vistas that are rightfully yours…” [more?]
BILLY: Nice and cool out here. Stars look like the milk of heaven. Peaceful. A man could—
there once was a girl
who thought she was too wild to be loved.
her mind had been fragmented
by too much useless information
and too much worry.
too many expectations
and too much distraction.
she cut her ties to the world and laid down in the grass,
looking up at the sky and the undersides of leaves.
she was going to find herself again.
feet in a field of dandelions, mind in the clouds.
she was going to steer her heart made of the sea.
this is the reeducation of the wild girl.
ladies & gents,
reporting to you from the other side of the rainbow.
i’m no longer using social media, for the summer or – ever? ;)
please feel free to follow these posts for pages ripped from the journey, or email me!
“when did you get so serious?
when did you let ‘em take it all away?
can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
where is the simple joy of just sitting? staring out into space, imagining. storming the castle! kickin’ rocks. climbin’ trees. gettin’ scraped up.. it’s all still there,
inside you. waiting.
once upon a time – there were other things!
once upon a time there was..
falling asleep on the floor
and daydreaming on car rides
and talking to the moon.
remember those parties when you weren’t tucked away in some room, all alone? you were making plays.. ballroom dancing.. throwing disco parties with flashlights! .. you don’t have to grow up.
we think we know everything.
in the “real world” there’s no place for imagining..
there are four walls now.
but i want you to try to remember.. there don’t have to be any walls
at all.” –excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS
* THE WILD PAPERS debut last saturday as an interactive theatre performance was BEAUTIFUL – a hit at the latimer house and for the historic house trust’s #museumanarchy initiative!
ready for a gajillion photos?!
more info on THE WILD PAPERS project is here, and i’ll post about future performances and workshops.
**edit: speaking of.. the wild papers special ENCORE is JUNE 20, 6pm @ latimer house! :)
“In a single sentence there are whole universes. Audrey Dimola and her newest installment, Traversals, reminds us of that.”
“There is beauty in her transformation into a woman who cannot be ignored. The flame burns as her words (“moments—isn’t it always/ what I come back to?/ And—is it just as often/ implicit/ that we must/ leave them all/ behind?”) sting. One can imagine the pauses in her delivery, the answer in so simple a question.
If you look closely, you may find a mantra or two to soothe a weary day or cause a hidden anniversary to be less regretful. Audrey’s prose is akin to a late night red wine binge with a good friend. No judgment, and no excess sugar either. Traversals is sweet enough as it is, and can be read straight through or in 3 stop spurts. It is the mirror of a changing city and a changing soul, ambient and pure – a phoenix breaking free, and encouraging us all to do the same.”
“To be a poet is to be brave enough to tread trough the darkest forest of the subconscious. […] Occasionally a poet comes along with a rhythm in their soul that echoes that of an entire city, a blaring staccato that slices through cement like torrents, hugging and cracking the earth. Audrey’s words cut. Talk about a poet in the wild.”
* the gorgeous diana benigno wrote an equally gorgeous review of my latest book of poetry & prose, “TRAVERSALS,” and you can read it HERE. (thankyouthankyouthankyou)
if you want to snag some of the last copies of the first run, you can order it on paypal or see other options HERE.
here’s what i’ve been doing. writing stories & sitting in trees..
there was once a girl who lived in a tree. she knew there were many things going on around her but much preferred staying up in a tree. one day a robin landed on a branch as she was reclining among the leaves as she always did. ‘why do you not explore?’ the robin asked. ‘your conscious is your own set of wings.’ the wind blew in confirmation. ‘but it is not real wings,’ the girl replied. ‘i just want to stay up here and look around.’ ‘what about the gift of perspective?’ the wolf asked, slinking up, in the dirt around the strong dark trunk. ‘what i see down here is different from what you see up there. and same for the robin who can see everything from heights way, way up in the sky.’ ‘i still much like this perspective. it’s safer,’ the girl said, throwing her arms around a wide branch. ‘everything i need is here. the sound of the wind. the shine of the leaves. animals like you all around me. and a place to stay.’ ‘but remember..’ the robin said, tilting its head to the side, ‘you are unique. and you will never know how unique until you fully experience this world.’ ‘the tree is your home,’ the wolf added, ‘but why can’t everything else be too?’ the girl thought for a moment and tightened her grip on the tree. the robin sensed her apprehension and landed closer to her. ‘sometimes only in leaving something and returning to it can you fully understand how special it is,’ the robin said gently. the wolf smiled its fangy grin. ‘be like the forest. the wind. the leaves. the bark. the dirt. the sunshine,’ he said, looking up at her. ‘you might be surprised to find it’s all a part of you already, and everywhere you go..’ the robin chimed in: ‘it will be there.’ the girl thought for awhile about laying splayed among the branches and never wanting to leave. but she also wanted to be strong enough to know what else there was out there. she gave the tree a super tight squeeze and climbed down, smiling at the wolf and the robin. ‘thank you for being here,’ she said. ‘i’m ready to discover that the world is in me just as i am in the world..’ she took a pause, looking up at her beautiful tree. ‘and that you are never, ever far from the things you hold in your heart.’ ‘be brave,’ the tree seemed to say as her feet touched the grass. and she would.
it’s never too late to start again,
to let the first (immersive) version of this wily beast loose.
will you join us?
in 2012 on what would’ve been my nana’s 66th birthday i released my first book, “DECISIONS WE MAKE WHILE WE DREAM.” this year the day after my nana’s birthday and the day before mother’s day, i’ll be doing another first: a site-specific immersive experience called “THE WILD PAPERS.” it’s been a (fittingly) wild ride to this moment – starting off with restlessness & ideas, many talks and emails filled with questions to special friends, a writing/sharing workshop at queens council on the arts and finally an unexpected opportunity from monica montgomery to present at the lewis h. latimer house museum (under their #museumanarchy program!) that led to even more talks, idea-spinning, playing and inspiration with some beautiful collaborators i am so damn grateful to have: tyler rivenbark, jacob jeffrey horstmeier & kate vander velden. it’s been challenging, terrifying, humbling, goosebump-inducing & insanely FUN.. can’t wait to see where the road goes from here.
flyer by GiAnna Ligammari // art !
“The Wild Papers” is Audrey Dimola’s latest project and initiative, a series of performances and workshops centered around sparking memories and dreams, diving headfirst into the stories that make up our lives, and rediscovering – and reclaiming – the limitless spark of wildness within us all.
On May 9th, the Latimer House in Flushing, Queens will be home to the very first incarnation of “The Wild Papers” as a performance – a unique, site-specific experience in the house and its grounds, conceived with inventor/poet/draftsman Latimer’s spirit of the unconquerable, of innovation and creativity.
You will be led through a seamless presentation of vignettes of dreams and memories, told through music, dance, poetry, and theatrical elements both specific and universal, playful and haunting. “The Wild Papers” is an exploration of the joy and poignancy of nostalgia, what we bring with us as we go forward, and what makes us who we are.
We are living with an ENDLESS barrage of memories, thoughts, and emotions, especially when it comes to the idea of HOME. Can you ever really go home again? And if you can, what do you find there – in your loved ones, your memories, yourself…?
Conceived by & featuring:
Kate Vander Velden
with Diana Benigno
rock & roll with wild on the side
(did i mention there may be ghosts),
we’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all beautiful golden sunflowers inside… -ginsberg
so! much! is! happening! all good things. i love the busy-ness but i also love just climbing a tree and staying up in it for a half hour.. ha! wanted to check in quickly with beautiful things all abound, thank GOD it seems like we’re finally slinking out of winter!
compass project is in full force again, with stickers in queens, NYC, montana, baltimore, korea! and more going out soon.. it excites me to no end to see how much people enjoy them.
trying new things! THE WILD PAPERS which has been a beautiful idea in my head for months is coming to life with the sparks of my closest collaborators and i couldn’t be more pumped – or nervous ;) THE WILD PAPERS is my latest project/initiative which is all about reclaiming wildness, the limitless of childhood, and culling memories and dreams. after initial conception and subsequent inspiration from many conversations and question exchanges with close friends, it had its more public start as the queens lit in action workshop at queens council on the arts i did last month (which was amazing! bouncy balls! compass rings! memories exchanged! laughter! writing! sense triggers! BUBBLES!) to pull memories out of my captive audience ;) in myriad fun and strange ways.. and it will debut as a site-specific performance at the lewis h. latimer house on MAY 9! this is a first for me.. hope to see you there!
in general –
feeling so grateful for my community of artists, firestarters & wordsmiths. it doesn’t matter how many times i get on that stage.. i’m always nervous, jittery, excited. because this is what i live for. and i thank god for every listener, spectator, hand shook, smile shared, spark acknowledged, boundary defied, every electric moment of feeling ALIVE.
i am learning, struggling, spreading wings, dreaming bigger and louder everyday. the ego ROAAAARRRRSSS at me but i keep finding ways to keep it quiet. who wants to hear it complaining of failure when there’s so much fun to be had? ;)
i just applied to be 2015-2018 queens poet laureate.. this is a dream i’ve had since i first discovered the existence of one and met paolo javier, who was so cool and kind to me, in 2011 or 2012. HERE. WE. GO. i am also finalizing the rundown of “art of poetry,” my very own empyre productions episode on QPTV/queens public television! which is another longtime dream i’ve had.. just goes to show – keep doin’ yo’ thang, keep being yourself – as weird, strange, whimsical as you are – because you never know who’s watching.
i’ll leave you with this:
i realize now why there is death and life to all things. snow melting and the earth breathing again. i realize now why i had to keep running. why my last love burned my sense of self to the ground. why i had to learn to dance again in the ash. we never want to let go of anything. but the trust that everything has a purpose is what makes the flowers sleep, knowing they will bloom again. i am sharing myself now in a way i only dreamed was possible. i now know why this sufi saying brings tears to my eyes and a ringing to my insides.. “shatter my heart so a new room can be created for a Limitless Love.” blessed, blessed be.
Featured Reader at debut of LIC Reading Series at LIC Bar 4/14/15 [Facebook]
Hosting the No Bullsh%t Hip Hop Showcase at Hail Hail Bar 4/23/15 [Facebook]
Participating artist in Jeanne Van Heeswijk’s “Public Faculty no. 9″ at Queens Museum – May 14-17, 2015 [Website]
THE WILD PAPERS site-specific performance debut at Lewis H. Latimer House (museum anarchy!) – 5/9/15 STAY TUNED!
**JUST ANNOUNCED!** Queens Lit Festival produced by Inspired Word NYC & co – Aug 1 & 2, 11am-5pm at LIC Bar. A grassroots celebration of literary arts plus music, open mic, vendors, ALL QUEENS BASED! I’ll be hosting some of the open mic & reppin’ my Nature of the Muse series (Aug 2nd). [More info]
when my best friend/writer/artist/revolutionary extraordinaire NICK NEON (who JUST launched his incredible website and is ALSO embarking on an exciting journey for his next feature, ultrableu) came back to the states for xmas, we shot this gorgeous dreamy video for the equally gorgeous and dreamy LISA KURNER. please take a look. this song is so special, for so many reasons. it’s my story too.
Flyer by GiAnna Ligammari // art !
iiiit’s that time again, for one more time this year! as you may or may not know, this show is MY BABY! you can find out more about it HERE, but it’s best to experience the magic & mischief LIVE!
NATURE OF THE MUSE reading & live writing show
Thurs March 26th 7:30-9:30pm
by the FIRE at LIC Bar 45-58 Vernon Blvd
(come thru the bar to the carriage house in the back!)
Five readers will present their previously written works and THEN write LIVE from random prompts written by YOU, the audience!
COME REVEL IN THE UNEXPECTED!
Richard Jeffrey Newman
With special musical guests:
NO COVER! BUY A DRINK! WRITE A PROMPT!
MAKE THE WRITERS SWEAT ;)
Hosted & roasted by yours truly, Audrey Dimola
Thanks always to Gus Rodriguez for giving this event a home! <3
ten things i’ve learned, realized, affirmed, and opened my heart to so far in 2015:
1. good love is so damn hard to find. cherish it, work on it, honor it. protect it. keep it interesting and honest. give each other space. love each other wholeheartedly. for exactly as you are.
2. honor the cycles in yourself, your mind, your libido, your emotions, your body. no one can be any ONE way, all the time. or even at an even keel all the time. stop punishing yourself for it.
3. we are of a dual nature. especially women. “women who run with the wolves” is changing my life.
“understanding this dual nature in women sometimes causes men, and even women themselves, to close their eyes and hail heaven for help. the paradox of women’s twin nature is that when one side is more cool in feeling tone, the other side is more hot. when one side is more lingering and rich relationally, the other may be somewhat glacial. often one side is more happy and elastic, while the other has a longing for “i know not what.” one may be sunny, while the other is bittersweet and wistful. these “two-women-who-are-one” are separate but conjoined elements which combine in the psyche in thousands of ways.” (estés)
4. everything will terrify you and overwhelm you. it’s all an experience. take what you can from it.
5. don’t try so hard. stop taking everything so seriously. try new things. if they don’t work out, so what? what’s the alternative – staying in limbo? not for you.
something i wrote in high school..
6. silently honor the moments you are given. take a pause. if you feel overwhelmed, just stop. take a breath. call to mind some things to be grateful for.
7. yoga/body movement makes you feel better. always. give yourself the time to express.
8. taking time to make food instead of ordering it. feeling it with your fingers. burning it.. sometimes ;) it’s all part of it.
9. social media eats your brain. so does multitasking. it’s not a skill, it’s a mind-melter. focus-robber. stop trying to do everything. compartmentalize. leave the notifications alone. if you don’t check/answer your email, the world will not explode. if you miss an opportunity, it wasn’t for you anyway.
10. play video games. laugh. do headstands. roll around on the floor. cuddle. dance to a record player. imagine. veer off the path. come back to the path. no matter what.. all roads lead to home.
may you all acknowledge the wildness & beauty in YOU, at THIS very moment,
every single day is one step closer to spring ;) got some fun stuff coming up for you in MARCH & APRIL!
with funding from Poets & Writers, i’ll be using the Queens Council on the Arts “3rd Space” for a new event i conceptualized called QUEENS LIT IN ACTION – it’s a straight-up solo reading PLUS some kind of audience engagement activity (that’s the ACTION! part) like a writing exercise, discussion, presentation, collab, panel, etc. i’m kicking it off with networking, readings from TRAVERSALS & new work, AND writing exercises/discussion involving wildness & nostalgia based on the interdisciplinary show i’m working on right now, THE WILD PAPERS**. please come! & look out for future variations of this event at QCA ;)
** hosting (one of the longest running Queens reading series, my O.G.!!) Boundless Tales Reading Series at Astoria Bookshop 3/12/15 [INFO]
** my Nature of the Muse reading & live writing show returns to the fireside carriage house at LIC Bar! – 3/26/15 readers will present their previously written works and THEN write LIVE from random prompts written by YOU, the audience! did i mention it’s by the FIRE?! [INFO]
** featured Community Poet at the Fringe Verses Open Mic & Poetry presentation at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center for Rough Draft Festival 3/31/15 [INFO]
** NEW SERIES! very excited to be one of the Featured Readers at the DEBUT of the monthly LIC Reading Series in the carriage house at LIC Bar! 4/14/15 [INFO]
** i’m also on a brand new adventure as one of 24 participating local artists in Jeanne Van Heeswijk’s “Public Faculty no. 9″ at Queens Museum – May 2015 [INFO]
COMPASS PROJECT IS BACK!
the guerrilla sticker poetry project i started back in 2012 is on again! look out for ’em & let me know if you want some, especially if you live out of state & want to stick ’em up around YOU! i’ve sent ’em out to jersey, missouri, michigan, canada, south korea & more, and i’m very happy to say they’ll be appearing at MelimeL Digital Art Design‘s 2015 Women Empowerment event next month! more info on the project & tons of fotos are HERE.
& OF COURSE..
“I am on page 60, and am completely blown away! I’m a reader, and writer of poetry too, and I must say, your words have captured some of my deepest emotions in regards to past loves. I feel so connected to your writing… very few can tug at my heart with their words, but you’ve managed to do that… this is a true gift. Moments I feel like I’m reading Neruda, one of my favorite poets. I’m utterly moved. Thank you, TRAVERSALS is truly a precious, one of a kind gift that you generously shared with the world.” -t.m. bella, writer & poet
signed copies of my newest collection of poetry and prose, TRAVERSALS, are available directly from me via PAYPAL, at the Astoria Bookshop & also at Q.E.D.: A Place to Show & Tell in astoria! support yer local biz!
NOT TO MENTION…
QUEENS LIT is ALIVE & KICKIN’ & don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise ;) check out this list of QUEENS LIT RESOURCES for ways to get involved!
we only have this life. this moment. to see through these eyes, feel with these hands, create with this mind, love with this heart. remember – even in the grit, the sorrow, the bewilderment, the ache. this is what we’ve got. it doesn’t have to be perfect. or in the right key. or fit for mass consumption. but as long as it’s yours, and you made it with HEART – you help the collective fire to burn another day.
(thnx forever&ever for adventuring with me)
c’mon let’s go,
**PS: THE WILD PAPERS is going to be my baby for awhile.. it’s a multidisciplinary show/experience involving themes of wildness, nostalgia, childhood, peter pan, wonder, resiliency, etc. it’s something i’ve been wanting to do since the beginning of last year and everything i do is going to tie back to it.. including, hopefully, going on a cross-country tour with my best friend, nick neon, and his forthcoming feature film. DREAMS.
PPS: two of my prose pieces were published in WYVERN LIT’s latest issue, “i study your details” and “all i can do now.” YES! seriously, wyvern is amazing. such a wonderful process & editor!
PPPS: i got engaged. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) there are NO WORDS to describe… <3