words to live by…


i received john cage’s list “some rules and hints for students and teachers or anybody else” when i was an undergrad.  i think my teacher gregg moore said something along the lines of rule “check out rule 4″ (rule 4: consider everything as an experiment”) because that rule has a box around it and the class he was teaching was about surface experimentation but but i think he knew that the other rules would stick with is as well and they did… even when i was overseas for 3 years and that piece of paper was in the u.s..  those especially sticky rules were

rule 1: find a place you trust and then, try trusting it for a while

rule 7: the only rule is work.  if you work it will lead to something.  it is the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.  you can fool the fans but not the players.


helpful hint: always be around.

it’s funny to put them in a list together because over the years they have applied to life in different ways depending on the context, time and country i was in but those are the ones that have been bouncing around my head the most all these years.

i still have the same piece of paper that was handed out that day.  not so surprising since (among other things) i still have a box of freshman biology 1 AND 2 notes but i do think it’s funny how you come to rely on things that come to you through positive experiences.  i just googled “john cage some rules and hints” and the list came up first thing.   hard to believe i ‘ve never googled it before.  i just pull out the folder i keep with various readings i’ve picked up over the years and pull out this old peice of paper when i need a reminder of all the other great rules that are on this list.  lately i’ve come across this list in other people’s collections.  “hey, you should look at this…” they say and i’m pleased to see what it is.
the list in it’s entirety is below (you can also click the title).


By John Cage
Rule 1: Find a place you trust and then, try trusting it for a while.
Rule 2: General duties of a student:
Pull everything out of your teacher.
Pull everything out of your fellow students.
Rule 3: General duties of a teacher:
Pull everything out of your students.
Rule 4: Consider everything as an experiment.
Rule 5: BE SELF-DISCIPLINED. This means finding someone wise or smart and
choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To
be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
Rule 6: FOLLOW THE LEADER. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no
fail. There is only make.
Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It is the
people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
You can fool the fans – but not the players.
Rule 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different
Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than
you think.
Rule 10: We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules, and how do we do that?
By leaving plenty of room for X qualities.
Helpful Hints:
Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read
everything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully and often. Save
everything. It may come in handy later.

cha cha cha changes…

i guess there always comes a time when you have to decide whether you are going to write about how great everything is or how things really are.  the thing is that things are not usually great with out some hiccups or horrible with out some bright spots.  the last month has been quite a lot of both.  it’s been awesome seeing friends prepare to exhibit, to see them succeed and move onto the next step in their careers.  it definitely makes me very excited for the next move i’ll make and for my upcoming show but it’s hard as well to see folks moving on.  it occured to me while wondering the streets of bowling green, ohio with j and s that this last year has definitely been a hey day.  these are the times you remember.  i’ve always felt confident that if you go after what you want the universe (or whatever) will sweep in and provide support, whether that means money,friends or public transportation.  and it certainly has.  what a great year with a great studio, great friends and roommates, great jobs, the list could go on and on.  great and comfortable.  then enter the last week.  studio is full of new people, everything at work is different and of course two of my favorite folks are gone.  thank goodness for j and n.p. and m and v.    it’s funny though because everyone is going through these changes alongside me but for some reason i’m balking.  i just don’t want to move right along to the next step.  i feel grumpy about music in the studio and and nervous about sharing the bathroom with some one new and possible less tolerant than s and i feel like i want to escape.  why the heck am i so full of all these super useful and rational feelings?

oh yeah!  i hate change.  i crave it but when it’s happening i hate it.  for awhile.  and then i get over it.  at least i think i do.  and i better get over it soon because i have about 700 things to do in the next month.  so check back in a month.  let’s see if the brattiness gets the best of me.

after the longest week ever.

seriously, last week was long.  i was bummed out to miss art basel in miami but life on the west coast of florida was busy enough.  at work we were being observed, at the studio we were preparing for the sale and i was preparing my own art work for the sale.  whoo, i was really running on low!

finally yesterday i had a bit of a break.  well, recently a half day is as close to a day off as i get but i’ll take what i can get.  i worked in the morning at creative clay.  we are still book making.  i know we will have to move onto something different but i’ve so enjoyed seeing m improve her skills.

afterwards i went to mazzaro’s italian deli to get something for lunch.  i’ve been hearing about this place since i moved here, but hadn’t yet been.  it was like walking into italy.  i was able to find my favorite cheese from when i was traveling in italy (romano fresca with pepper corns) not to mention arancini (sicilian rice balls) and italian tuna.  these were the things i would buy (with a roll or loaf of bread) and carry around in my bag to eat for lunch in some scenic spot.  you know how it is.  the only thing i didn’t find, but i’ll have to look next time, is white anchovies.  the arancini were very similiar to my family’s except that they had way too much cheese in them!

i relaxed the rest of the day, stepping out for an errand or two, and this morning, finally i was back to 100%.

life is not easy but it’s interesting.

it’s been a long time since i’ve written.  since i last wrote i’ve returned to the u.s. for the foreseeable future, started working again, got a second job teaching art part time, was accepted as an artist in residence at st. pete clay company.  in two weeks i’ll move to a small apartment in st. pete down the street from the studio.  i guess that’s the good stuff, in a nut shell.  it was hard to leave tokyo.  there was a moment where i knew i had to do it but it never felt easy.  it felt like getting torn out.  like a norplant stuck in scar tissue.  it sucked.  the hardest part was leaving masa, my partner of three years.  he understood, i guess.  it sounds cliche, but it would have been easier if he had been angry.  i had gotten so far away from knowing what it was that i wanted and he was the best thing in my life.  but unfortunately for me, having an awesome, kind, good hearted, respectful partner wasn’t enough for me. 

i got to the point in january or february where i thought my head was going to explode.  when i started crying at a saizarya in roppongi, my friend kiyomi wasn’t fazed.  she just told me i needed to stop thinking and just listen to my heart.  and that whatever i decided my friends and partner would support me.  that was exactly what i needed to hear.  i had gone over the facts a million times.  the people, relationships, money.  but at the end of the day, i couldn’t DEDUCE the right answer.  the answer was what it was and the facts were beside the point.   thanks for that kiyomi.

i went into a kind of hibrination when i got back.  i was totally broke, so i didn’t call anyone, didn’t visit the east coast, just concentrated all my efforts on getting back to work and making money.  i also forced myself to keep my nose to the grindstone in creating the best application and support materials i could for st. pete clay and following up on ads i saw online for arty jobs, and checked craigslist everyday. 

in tokyo, i don’t think i ever stopped trying.  but somehow, despite the energy i put in, none of it seemed to come back to me.  my game seemed to be off.  there were good times and good things but i couldn’t seem to get the big picture together. 

suddenly, the energy i’d been putting out in florida all summer came back to me to the extreme.  life is messy and imperfect but right now i have the opportunity to work on many things i am interested in and a chance to follow my passion.  and i am able to make some money doing it. 


it’s complicated.  but in my heart, it feels good.