Explaining the Current Header

I freely (mostly because it’s so obvious) that my computer skills are lacking; particularly in the graphics area. It least that’s where I’m particularly frustrated. I think of my sister, Melissa, often; most often when I’m trying to draw.

I can no longer call her up for feedback or opinion, I can’t ask her to draw something for my site; a plan I had for teaming-up on some children’s books is not going to happen.  My work, compared to hers, is scribbling, sketching.  It should be mentioned, also, that my writing gets over-detailed, over-complicated, possibly over-thought; not something that lends itself to children’s stories.

Yet, I do think of Melissa; I do call on her spirit, wherever that is, to assist me. A high percentage of the art, or whatever it is I produce (somewhere down the spectrum), is the image I’ve worked out in my mind; then it’s all scribbling; and (if the image in my mind is perfect) the work never quite is.

When I mentioned this all to my late sister’s husband, Jerome, he said; “Oh, so, like Melissa; you think every drawing has to be… has to be perfect?”

MELISSA horses w drawing

This is the uncropped version of Melissa’s montage. I tried, unsuccessfully, several times, to include as much of the pencil drawing as possible in the header. If I knew… yeah, if I knew how, I could have used the whole thing.

When I started surfing, my drawings were about surfing. When Melissa started drawing, her drawings were of horses. Somewhere she developed the ability to capture people; not just the image expertly rendered, but the emotion, some sense of story; perfectly.

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I’ll keep the header up for a while.  Here’s one of my drawings

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Spirit Guides and a surf session made…

…special.

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I called my brother-in-law, Jerome, on Wednesday when I couldn’t make the memorial. Couldn’t. That’s a loaded word; the ceremony was in Illinois and I’m… I’m here. Part of the couldn’t has to be that I haven’t faced my sister Melissa’s passing. Passing. Couldn’t. Haven’t; not sure I will; face it. Eventually, I’m just not sure when. Our (Trisha’s and my) daughter, Drucilla, made the train trip down state from Chicago several times, as the prognosis worsened and my sister weakened.

Still, it all seemed too sudden. Way too soon. There hours before Melissa passed, Dru would return on Friday, representing Trish and me, supporting her uncle and her cousins Fergus and Emma.

Oh, I know it’s real, real like our (his eight children) father’s passing last December. I know they’re both gone, not sure where they’ve gone to. Once a person realizes (or accepts or believes) we each have a soul, something separate from the body, even from the “I think, therefore I am” consciousness, something more than just BEing; one can’t help but imagine that this very more-ness is, has to be, somehow, transcendent.

There was a full moon the night my sister passed. Is that relevant?

“You know,” Jerome said, “what your sister would have wanted is for you to go surfing.”

I tried. On Friday, with friends and relatives recounting stories two thousand miles away, I worked, crazy-hard, to finish another job while monitoring the buoys. There was a chance. As is so typical on the Strait, on that long summer evening, it was ‘almost’ something. Just not quite enough. Even so, I almost talked myself into paddling out into one foot chop. Almost.

Allow me to mention the story Jerome told about the hawks. The last painting my sister completed is of three Cooper’s hawks. During the last week, with my sister Mary Jane (Janey to me) helping out, and my sister Suellen en route, three Cooper’s Hawks landed in the trees behind Jerome and Melissa’s house, and stayed there. Every day.

Spirit Guides? I’m willing to believe so.

On Monday I met up with Mike “Squints” Cumiskey, headed out. The surf was just a bit better than ‘almost,’ probably in the ‘barely’ category. Other surfers were in the water. It’s been a long, mostly-flat summer. Bruce, the Mayor of Hobuck, according to Adam “Wipeout” James, checking it when we arrived, eventually talked himself into going out.

Maybe it’s because I persisted, a paddle providing a lot of the power on many of the waves; but, at some point, I was the only one out. It would be something if I said that, for about twenty minutes, the waves improved; not all time, but lined-up, a bit more power, and every time I paddled back out, another set was approaching.

It was something.

Though most of the other surfers had left the beach for the coast or home, I have witnesses: Mike, Bruce, Cole. They agreed it was, for this day, special. Please forgive me if I give my sister a bit of credit.

A NOTE about the drawing. I told Jerome I would write something about the surf experience, and I’d do a drawing; I just wanted it to be good enough. “Oh, so, like your sister, it has to be perfect.” It was almost a question. No, but it has to be good enough.

My Sister Melissa

Here’s a photo from a couple of years ago of my youngest (of three) sister, Melissa. This was at Seaside, near where our father lived. I had taken her son, Fergus, out, on rented boards (soft-tops; quite embarrassing) on a previous visit, she and her husband, Jerome, coming from Illinois, Fergus from Seattle. On this trip the fun seemed too much, and she and Jerome just had to also surf.

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Quite competitive. Quite a bit of fun. The last time, before this, Melissa and I surfed together was at Swamis, 1975, or so, when Trish and I lived in Encinitas. After the session, she asked, “So, now are we going to lay out?” “What? No. I don’t lay out. No. There’s things to do.”

Here is what my sister does. This is a drawing she did at my request, illustration for a short story. And, as with too many things, she sort of worried too much about it. “Just draw it.” “But, what about…?” “It’ll be great.” “You sure?” “Positive.”

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The second drawing… I’m trying to remember; I don’t think it was for me. In pulling it up on the computer, I’m stunned, amazed even, by Melissa’s ability to capture the… I mean, look at the feet, the hands. Never really go for skeletons.

But, here’s the thing: I got a group text yesterday afternoon from another sister, Mary Jane, that Melissa, who has been battling a variety of cancers, is in the hospital. “…The Doctors are talking about radiation to her brain. Please keep her in your prayers.”

Now, this is one of those weeks where Trish talked me into going to Mass. Yeah, there are a lot of issues not worth going into on how we’re both converts, about what we do and don’t believe, about how one goes from bad Seventh Day Adventist to bad Catholic (this is me, not Trish), but, with the ringer off, and the phone there mostly so I could check the time (and maybe what the buoys were doing), just waiting for the Saturday Evening Mass to begin was, probably, an odd time to get this kind of news.

Prayer. Prayer? Trish, who has her own prayer chain (yeah, I’m on it, whatever vehicle I’m driving is also on it), when I asked, “What; am I going to change God’s mind?” said, “It’s not like that.” “Do I make a deal with God? Trade out? Trade out for what?”

Bear in mind, I have, possibly more than once, prayed it would stop raining so I could finish a paint job. And it worked. Maybe a day later, but…  I made a deal with God, several times. I should say I offered a deal.  Payment plan.

So far, battered and a bit beaten up, I’ve survived. What remains intact is a certain level of faith that there is some mysterious something that we cannot understand. Someone (on TV) ridiculed those who believe there could be an entity that hears the quiet moanings, maybe it was ‘murmurings,’ of individuals among the millions of people, the silent whisperings, the unspoken wishes. Prayers.

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Here’s another drawing from Melissa. There’s a wave drawing as part of it that is mine; the girl on the beach is from a photograph of her as a young girl. It’s an illustration for a play. I never really got it. Too abstract, maybe; but now I’m studying it while I think what I can say or do to help.

Very little, really. But, if you have a prayer list, if you are someone who sends prayers and murmurings out into what we don’t at all understand except that it’s not a void, please include my sister, Melissa.

Oh, just checking this over (it’s Sunday, I should be in Sequim, painting), I got a text from Mary Jane saying our sister is ‘feeling better and eating better.’ Wow, that was quick.

 

Why is my site blow-oh-oh-ing up?

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The following for realsurfers.net has been growing slowly but steadily since I started it three years ago or so. HOWEVER, it’s been getting massive numbers of hits (for me, probably low for most porn sites) over the last week or so; I don’t know where it’s coming from, and I’m kind of freaking out; thrilled and refusing to believe it’s happening at the same time. It’s, perhaps, not unlike getting locked into an overhead wave at a spot with a brutal bottom contour.

I’ve been working quite (surprisingly) hard recently, doing some writing; some drawings; some cartoons, some of which I hope might show up in “the New Yorker” (and all will undoubtedly, eventually show up here); and shipping off and working on the realsurfers coloring book. My sister, Melissa Lynch, has been helping spread the word on Facebook.

With the difficulty in convincing anyone to have painting done this time of year, the surf either not happening or not at the right angle for anywhere close, the ground frozen and the temperature brutal, I’ve been trying to do what I can to advance my artsy career, such as it is.

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Still, I’m behind on my (okay, once, I’ll call it a…) blog. I have some news and some photos from Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, last heard from wayyy down in Baja, and have some new drawings to add to existing stories “Inside Break,” and “Locals Only Kooks Go Home.” I am working on editing the coloring book down to 48 total drawings (cheaper to ship), checking into setting up a PayPal deal so people can buy the book, and cleaning up my site. Keith Darrock may be helping me with this (we’re negotiating). Keith, Associate Librarian in Port Townsend, is also working on planning for the Third Occasional Surf Culture on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Event. We’d love to get William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of “Barbarian Days,” involved, live or (maybe, even) on Skype. If you have any influence (and we’re reaching out to surf journalism legend and Surf Culture headliner Drew Kampion for help) in getting (just guessing at his surf nickname) Willy Finn involved; yeah, use it.

So, shit’s happening; and if you’re promoting/linking/doing anything that’s helping, thank you. Since the start of what may or may not be a virus, Trish, long stating that Facebook is her thing, not mine, has been helping get some stuff on the Facebook site our daughter, Dru, set up. I think I’m at Erwin Dence, Jr, Facebook-wise, and I’m also at realsurfersdotnet@gmail.com.   So, thanks; I’m getting back to work.