analog galaxy

AN ANALOG GALAXY KIND OF GIRL LIVING IN A DIGITAL-HUSTLE SCREENWORLD


AN ANALOG GALAXY GIRL LIVING IN A DIGITAL-HUSTLE SCREENWORLD


Can we please talk about how my experience with social media is destroying my raw creative expression and flow?


YES


GULP


I’m saying it.


You might not know that when we think you aren’t listening, some of us creative types are talking about how we are dying slow little deaths. The kind of death where we wish to flipping god that there wasn’t a phone in our face (self-imposed, with extra points for great lighting) or on our art when we are creating. 


BUT


We feel we *have to* have the phone in our face so we can swim (frantically) in the digital hustle of being seen ... or die a slow starving artists death. 


AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT.


(Here’s a little sidenote: I am fully aware this approach works for many creatives out there, and I am truly very happy for you AND inspired by you, and the way you are able to masterfully juggle the art of social media + its vast opportunities for self-promotion + how it brings abundance to you. This is not my reality. In this post, I am not speaking from my heart about YOUR reality. I am talking about MINE … and other creatives I have dialogued with).


Here’s what it looks like for me:


***** VERY FREQUENT GENIUS FLASH OF INSPO ****


“Holy sh*t. I need to create This Thing. Woooooow.” … and I’m all heart-eyed and starry-eyed like an actual emoji because


You need to know that I transform my life through my creativity. Pick apart each morsel of beauty / sorrow / curiosity / soul questing / trauma / ancestral legacy / interpersonal relationship / etc bit by bit through the ALCHEMY of PURE ARTISTRY. So in my flashbang vision there is NEW LIFE to express, feel, process. There is a GIFT for anyone who resonates with it. There is COLLECTIVE HUMAN STORY and TRUTH in all of the rawness that I pour out from the floods through my body like a thousand full-bodied orgasms per millisecond that feel like a galaxy of a hundred batrillion stars and I am so in it to win it, because for me, creating and making things IS the core definition of who I am. My nourishment, my oxygen, my blood, my heartbeat. If I’m not creating from this place (and often in a million directions all at the same time), and simultaneously nurturing my galaxy with my devotion to it and my union WITH it, I am dying. #fact


I wholeheartedly believe this isn’t reserved for just me. I think all true creatives have their own version of this experience.


But then:


       OH. SPLAT.


       And then I turn into a 5’4” flesh robot. How can I package this so that it is consumable?


       Also known as: how can I take this luscious freaking sexy beast galaxy inside of me and smish it into a pretty lil box with a palatable label and clever copywriting?


 And then my mind spins itself off into marketing-land like nobody’s business, and that genius idea settles like rotting stardust in my belly, and I become a cesspool of decomposing and fermented genius stardust clumps, all while I’m still struggling to stay visible as an entrepreneur … and GUESS WHAT. I end up feeling depressed (like crying on the bathroom floor for days depressed) because I’m not being AUTHENTIC (which in and of itself is a crock of crap because authenticity is what I teach, people! I mean! UGH!), and all my stardusty genius has rigor mortis and begins to decompose my actual life force ... but that's supposed to be okay? Because it doesn’t ‘fit’ with my ‘brand’ or isn’t ‘consumer-friendly’ or speak a ‘consistent message’ to my ‘target market’?


WHICH REMINDS ME


My target market is the human race. Ugh. PLEASE let me out of this whole nightmare of narrowing down my message so that I fit one cozy little demographic! I'm an artist. Not a tamed-out toned-down niche in the demographics dictionary which was probably designed by some a-holes who think everyone should fit into one tidy little category so the world could go to hell in a hand basket of highly manipulated materialism and consumerism? Does anyone else but me see this as generally being a very serious issue in our world?


ANYWAY


And then suddenly it’s the year 2019 and every. damn. thing. I invested my digital-hustle energy into in the last 6 years is broken anyway and I am looking around saying: Wait? What happened? 


What happened is that I have been morphing, clusterf*cking, and muzzling myself in order to fit into a hustle screen-world when I’m *actually an ANALOG GALAXY* kind of gal.


Literally recently someone told me nobody’s going to ‘get’ my new body of work, like they didn’t ‘get’ my book … so, like, why don’t I just make things that people like?


BECAUSE I WASN’T BORN TO PLEASE THE MASSES OBVS BUT ANYWAY


Oh and by the way …


***NEITHER WERE YOU***


But back to the packaging and the branding and the marketing …


For me, the boxing up of my innate magical mystical GENIUS disrupts my deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep instinct to create, to tap into the flow, to BE the flow, to BECOME the fire and nourishment of the creative act, to let it take me, have its way with me, and transform me as I transform it in the most amazeballs kind of holy union.


*Boxing it up f*cks up my alchemy.


*Packaging creativity is creative kryptonite.


*Pretending to not sell while actually trying to sell makes me want to puke.


And I know being on the receiving end of it makes you puke too.


All the selfies, all the Insta stories, all the other ways I’ve sold out to the selling process?


***Alchemy highjacked***


It pulls me right out of myself into an external marketplace before the alchemy has had its way with me, before I have fully given myself over as its chalice, its creatrix. So I am robbing the sacred energy of creativity, myself, and YOU as the human race and my ‘target market’ (eye roll) I am here to offer my gifts as creatrix to.


I’ve fooled myself into thinking that visibility = survival when it’s actually killing me (not so) softly … 


… and I’m spending more time than I’d like to admit in some kind of black hole punctuated by fluffing up my hair for selfies and counting ‘likes’, hoping for ‘visibility’ and ‘conversion’ based on consumable packaging rather than authenticity.


And I totally suck at all of that. 


Except fluffing up my hair. I’m really good at that.


I just need to be fluffing up my hair for my own intimate process with my wild and unhinged creativity.


LET ME REMIND YOU: I get it that this entire process that doesn’t work for me does work for some creatives. I am not condemning their experience. I’ve believed in it, I’ve lived it, and I’ve tried it. And it’s real for a lot of people. But not for me.


Both, and all, experiences can be true. They can co-exist. That’s another post though, about how TWO ACTUAL THINGS can be true at the same time. It’s really real. I’ll save that for another day when I am also feeling defiant.


I am talking about MY EXPERIENCE and what fellow artists have shared with me in literal whispers ... because long ago we digested the message that we are supposed to be good little artists and sell our souls to earn our right to be creators.


(We are afraid if people knew how we felt they would un-follow us. Stop taking our classes or buying our art. Think we are ungrateful to have the visibility our friends and followers choose to give us. We aren’t ungrateful though, that’s the twist.


*We are so grateful for the love that you give us through your loyalty and literally putting the roof over our heads that we actually have forgotten who we need to be in our own skin*.)


Many creative entrepreneurs are also feeling this way:


Struggling with how to balance creative actual life with what we are supposed to present. Wondering how we can possibly compete with the masses while spending our time trying to craft The Cutest Newsletter Ever and putting pretty pictures of ourselves skipping through our lives 20 minutes after we’ve had a panic attack about paying the rent.


So there. I said them out loud. The things you aren’t supposed to say out loud.


There is a huge smart-ass tone to this post, and a whopping dose of a Provocateur. But honestly, it’s a feeble and transparent attempt to cover up a shit ton of worry about how to be REAL in a world that’s increasingly driven by curated screenscapes of contrived bullshit. 


I can ask myself hard questions, but I don’t know the answers. If I knew the answer, I’d just get on with doing it.


Is there a better way?


I don’t know.


And. At the same time I do know that within a matter of moments, I’ll be offering up posts inviting you to engage in commerce with my paintings, my workshops, or my books. When that happens, you and I will both know that my offering is coming from analog stardust, resurrected … even if offered through the screenscapes of the digital realms.


Wow.


I may have just answered my own heaving questions.


It suddenly seems so simple.


Perhaps I just need to live and create in my sensory bliss, in my own analog galaxy.


Then offer my gifts to my people through our digital spaces.


And always, always, always fluff up the world with the stardust in my hair.


…………………………………………………………….


PS. Between you and me, I thought it might be nice to speak a little truth.


Because every time I sit to craft The Cleverest Post Ever, this is the only thing my fingers and thumbs will actually type. I’ve been trying otherwise for weeks, believe me.


I give up.


Fingers and thumbs … and ANALOG GALAXY GIRL … you win.


…………………………………………………………….


Would Mozart have spent 8 hours a day scrolling?


Would Picasso, Klimt, or Kahlo have given a rats about collecting followers?


Would Einstein have taken Udemy classes on outsmarting FB algorithms?


Would the genius poet Mary Oliver, who just left us, tell me that The Soft Animal of My Body loves to siphon off my creative impulse into marketing campaigns?

i wonder ...

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 6.04.53 PM.png

I wonder what it would be like ...


To put my phone away for a whole day.

To sit in stillness.

To tame the sabotaging horribleness 

Of reaching for my phone 

Absentmindedly

Every 5 seconds

To scroll and spy and trance myself out.

I wonder what it would be like ...

To sit in my own world

Instead of yours

Or hers

Or his.

I wonder what it would be like ...

If I allowed the volcanic creative impulses inside me

To roar forth

And trickle their hot lava imprints across the world

Instead of running twelve marathons of 'branding' and 'packaging' tangents in my head

Before any creating even happens

And killing my own creativity before it reaches the finish line.

I wonder what it would be like ... 

To spend my time on me.
 

This is so heavily in my mind these days ...

Actually more in my body ...

Do you feel this too?

The Precipice + The Crawling

Screen Shot 2019-01-03 at 10.53.02 AM.png

I’m on the precipice.


That place where the edge is all I know.


What happened, happened. I can shrug it off now.


And there is a wide gap between this edge I teeter on and what will be.


With a motherlode of gold where a load of black used to be.


And I’m so f*cking grateful to be here.


I’ve clawed my way toward this edge.


I really have.


On all fours ... mostly on my belly.


I groped for the next inch of true self.


Chewed gravel, dirt, and the darkness that wanted to choke me.


I invited them to become my nourishment.


Digested the sludge of happenings that will never see the ‘light’ of social media.


... Actually ...


Someone told me recently that my social media feeds makes it seem like everything been has handed to me on a silver platter.


There are so many ways that is not the truth.


At all.


But


If a silver platter is the same thing as dragging my deadness around for far too long while consistently reaching for truth + beauty with determined focus ....


Maybe.


I’m smiling as I write these words.


I’m smiling because I know a secret.


Crawling, dragging, and digesting desert sand, rocks and dirt are the only way to actually flourish.


They kinda ARE the silver platter.


Hmmmm.


No.


Gold.


Alchemist’s gold.


Gold born from the edge of actual living.


Alchemist’s gold.


And me.


2019 is the year of my edges.


Edges I’ve handed myself on a gold platter by crawling through the lies I’ve always told myself.


Edges upon which I embody CHOICE.


Edges upon which I nurture BEAUTY.


Edges upon which I open my body to LOVE.


Edges upon which I envelop my own self with TRUST.


Edges upon which I boldly embrace what is mine to RECEIVE.


Queen of the Precipice.


Magician of the Crawling.


Watch and see.

On Art + Why I Study the Humans of War

People always wonder why a girl like me makes art about soldiers, survivors, and all the other kinds of humans who lived through, or died in, war.

This morning I suddenly decided it was time to try and explain it.

I recorded a voiceover on top of a demo video I made for a project.

The demo video is 17 minutes … so I had to choose between talking for a while or cutting my video.

So I talked for 17 minutes. Stream of consciousness … 5 am.

The art itself is a little something I made as a demo for the people in my DEEPER online workshop. In the beginning of the video you’ll see me thrust my art journal aside and reach for something to bust me out of being creative blockage.

SO. TIRED. OF. THE. BLOCKAGE.

You know that feeling, right?

So.

Here it is: a little meander into my stream of consciousness brain at 5 am …

………………………………

The next session of DEEPER begins in January. It’s been a mind-blowing experience for all of us in this round. www.erinfaithallen.com/deeper

“Erin’s DEEPER class is an unfolding experience. You start off excited about the teacher and all that she does and is: her art, her research, her travels; her passion, her energy, her sincerity. Then, gradually (or not so gradually actually), the lens is turned. You (suddenly) realize this course is in fact about yourself; your story, your curiosity, your creativity. Erin is as generous with her students as she is about her own work - she offers a complete treasure chest of practical tools as well as being the cheerleader with pompom-shakes and reassuring smiles and laughter. She is present to inspire and encourage each individual to use their own art, their own passion and energy. DEEPER is also special because Erin has created a framework and a community to feel safe enough to share the most personal of vulnerabilities as well as the joy and enthusiasm. Thank you, Erin, for your generous spirit and mind!” - Grete Semb Kempton

On Being Blackballed

erin faith allen

Two years ago-ish, someone said I 'stole their creative process’. They told anyone in our shared community who would listen, based on what I have since been told. I have also been told they made requests of friends and colleagues akin to blackballing. 

From what I can tell, the blackballing happened. If it did, it paralleled the time my world was spinning in other endings, and the clusterf*ck of it all resulted in the loss of everything I’d built, all the freelancers I engaged lost their contracts, and all the women who gathered at my events lost their opportunity to do so. I went from six figures to flat-broke in a flash.

Here’s where I’m at these days:

Women hurt women. It’s real. We need to start talking about this. NOW.

And. As humans we listen to one version of a story and make assumptions that impact the lives of other people.

‘Other people’ can feel shamed into silence. Ya know, the squeaky wheel and all that jazz.

Overall, I am settling snugly into a place where I wouldn't change a thing.

BUT.

Back when this all hit the fan ... 

I was devastated. Traumatized. Paralyzed. 

I wish I had stood my ground. Protected myself. Raised my fist high over my world like a fierce guardian, a mama bear, a believer of my self. 

I wish I had said NO. To the way I acquiesced. To the way I allowed the crumbling to just happen.

But I didn’t. Partially because the scale of what was occurring behind my back took a while to reach my awareness.

Partially because of my self-worth.

I didn’t fully believe in myself and my insanely prolific powerful creativity or voice. I didn't fully live inside my workshops and retreats. Did you know that every time I stood in front of a group to teach, I felt worthless? Like I shouldn't be there? Who did I think I was? What did I have to give? I had such massive anxiety colliding with my powerful impulse to share the beauty of creativity, and my deep desire to share the quest for voice so many of us find ourselves on. That's real, you guys. 

SPOILER: And that's how it all fell apart, REALLY.

But anyway, in summary: (of a long mothertrucking story) ...

... one in which I left the world of women’s creativity + all the beautiful retreats \ workshops I led and created + all the surges of purehearted art sharing + the book I published + all the collaborations with other female artists ...

... and every time I’ve sat down to create since then has been an epic battle with terror that I’m going to be ostracized and accused a little more ... but the fear is an understatement, y’all. I’ve been struggling creatively, blocked as hell, for over two years ... 

... for a creative being that’s like a long slow death by boa constrictor or feeling your plush rich petals slowly fade and turn to a crispy dry weed and you just die inside … and you can’t do anything to stop it …

SO 

... I dove all the way in to studying the inhumanity of war because I really needed to understand why humans are so awful to each other + what better place than war and genocide and collective history in which to do that? ...

After two years-ish of living inside a spinningly hauntingly frozen bubble of untangling layers of trauma + personal value + self-responsibility and REALLY diving into HOW this happened + WHY it hurt so bad + what I can do to make sure I value myself SO EFFING MUCH that nothing can knock me off my feet again ...

(And also victim-shaming my own self which is really like placing a muzzle with hot nails on your own mouth and a cauldron of poison down your own throat but that’s a whole other tangent) 

(I mean it’s bad enough to feel your reputation get all crucified but then to go broke on top of it + feel shame about that + watch your company crumble + pile a little more shame about your failures on top of it all is really like living in some kind of Groundhog Day insane nightmare that you can’t wake up from).

Why am I even telling you this? 

I refuse to shirk in shame or fear of reprisal. I refuse to stay silent and NOT address this issue, though time has passed.

I refuse to be a space holder for women and a student of humans and not embody the fullness of being I implore others to cultivate within themselves. 

I refuse to be all committed to holding a line of self-imposed integrity while a hacksaw chops up my life. 

I refuse to carry this burden any longer.

I refuse to wear the shame hurled at me, and I refuse to let it come anywhere near me, actually. 

I REF*CKINGFUSE to spend one more second hiding in the corner.

It’s been a long couple of years. 

........................

PLEASE NOTE ... I am not asking for well-intentioned advice. 

I am not asking for validation or assurance. 

I am not interested in dissecting or comparing ‘inspiration’ with ’stealing’. 

I am not interested in defending myself in further accusations or dialogue. Like, at all. I’ve digested all the judgments and opinions already, and in some sort of super fun double-whammy, impaled myself on them. See hot nails / muzzle comment above. 

Before you ask me to consider the other side … I have. See impale comment above.

I am not even asking you to ‘believe’ ‘my side’. UGH. So not the point for me. 

Because whether you ‘believe’ me or not is going to have ZERO impact on my lived experience. 

I repeat. I am NOT ASKING YOU TO PICK A ‘SIDE’. 

‘Sides’ are destructive when they are formed from incomplete or one-sided streams of information - in the microcosm AND the macrocosm they tear lives apart. 

***How we choose to behave in our intimate community is what we allow in our larger community*** 

I am, however, asking you to consider the above sentence surrounded by ***’s, and how you might approach conflict in a way that BUILDS community rather than burning it the f*ck down.

I am not a saint. At freaking all. I am learning this truth through my own series of mistakes, missteps, and face-planting.

......................

So ... the stories and opinions that flew around. People in my close circle have said to me: ‘Why bring this up now? Why remind everyone of the rumors? The damage is done’.

Because of exactly that. The damage has been done.

Or: ‘Prepare yourself for the backlash. There will be revenge for speaking out’.

Revenge? For speaking out? I’ve lived through two years of internal self-suffocating hell because I did not speak out, or up, or do any kind of any voicing. I did not address the gossip, address the blackballing, address the backs of friends and colleagues as they walked away, address the public shaming. Address anything.

I hid.

And I've been choking on rock bottom sea-mud for two years anyway. So revenge? In some ways it's already kinda happened.

...........................

I have slogged through this in silence. I have asked all the questions of myself and I have some answers. I know the innards of this whole thing intimately. I’ve plucked the shrapnel from my intestines. I’m clean.

I don’t need to be coddled. 

I do not want to hear things about how blah blah blah this other person is or whatever. I really don't. That stuff is irrelevant to me. It's been useless all along, and will continue to be. I only can rely on the bare facts that I named at the very beginning of this post. That is all that holds truth. The rest of it is mine to digest.

Because you know what? In spite of it all, I believe everyone gets to live out their own perspectives. Whether I agree or not.

I just need to use my voice and say NO while walking the tightrope of the NO + naming my grief and rage + ALSO naming my responsibility: I participated in this co-creation from hell because at some core level, I didn’t believe in OR occupy my own world enough to batten down the hatches when some hard stuff came calling.

...........................

This is MY story of reclamation. 

MINE.

Of learning how to occupy my self. 

Of learning the hardest way possible that NO MATTER WHAT I am solely responsible for what I allow to penetrate my world.

What I hide from. What I allow to break. What I allow to break me.

How I have allowed my fear of speaking truth to injure my world. Until now.

********How, in not FULLY EMBODYING my creativity, truths, desires, my calling to serve creative women, the work I undertook and the company I built, and MY VOICE, I am responsible for the destruction of my world.********

This realization is one powerful mofo.

Because if I am responsible, ultimately, for the destruction, then ...

I am solely responsible for rising the f*ck up to re-claim MY whopping creative visionary voice so fiercely that it is completely impenetrable.

Unfrozen. Unparalyzed. 

Saying NO to all that has happened …

Saying YES to my desires and my calling and my voice.

Saying YES to rebuilding.

I'm kinda like a motherf*cking phoenix y'all. 

Watch me rise. 

Two years later.

Better late than never.

...........................

I know. This is long. If you take nothing else away, take this:

Self-responsibility is where the magic lives. Everything else is futile. It's the only true path out of the kind of victim consciousness that will kill your life dead. 

Everything.

I promise.

...........................

And yes, I want to throw up getting ready to hit the publish button on this post, but I’m pretty tired of dying a slow and silent death over here. 

...........................

Feeling a big fat NO now. Closing the door. Walking away from this storyline.

my books

erin faith allen author

Someone complained recently that my books are too expensive.

Hmmm. 


Well, they are 344 and 408 pages, and 8.5x11 inches. They weigh between 4 and 5 pounds.

Full color, front to back, and filled mostly with sizable collections of my art. 


Additionally, they are filled with deeply personal stories about my life, and the lives of some pretty amazing people mine has intersected with.

I don’t mess around in life. In art. Or in being transparent and real. Or in research. Or in creating. In anything, really.

I split myself open in order to grow personally, to act as a guardian, or a guide, or a mirror. 
On a good day, my books are a kind of a muse for any person on a mission to live a better life. 
Ya know, the kind of life in which you live, feel, and heal all the sh*t that’s holding you back.

Sorry for my potty mouth. Just keeping it real. I swear in my books occasionally, too. 
On a practical note, these babies are mothertrucking expensive to print. Like, whopping.

I suppose I could just make puny little books; black and white pages filled with just words because that is cheapest to print. 


I could produce books that are sparse on the art + life + soul divulging side of things.

That’s not how I roll. 🤷‍♀️ How I roll is knowing that by opening myself, I provide a space for others to find the parts of themselves they’ve pushed down or left behind.

How I roll is complete and utter devotion to the causes I believe in. Humanity. Healing. Creating. Being a benevolent force of balanced good. 


How I roll is following my visions wildly, pursuing what is true for me, and offering my full self in return for anyone who is interested in cracking open one of my books ... I get it that if you are expecting a ‘normal’ book with words on pages, these books may seem expensive.

But. My books are anything but normal. All things considered, $45 and $55 seem a fair enough price.

Sometimes

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 9.54.27 AM.png

Well, sometimes I forget to brush my hair. That’s usually a good sign though. It means I’m in full creative bloom, lost in other worlds, and not really interested in surface-y things. I mean ... I’m me ... so the surface of life is kinda ‘meh’ regardless yaknowwhatimean?

This is good news for all my friends in DEEPER. This week I’ve been ALL IN, creating course content that beats the pants off of anything I’ve done before. Like, ever. 


So. Now that I’ve just posted the content in the classroom ... maybe I’ll go find my brush. 


My PAINTBRUSH 😜🎨🤣

Fevers and Prayer Books

I was up all night with a fever, and feel pretty crappy in all the ways. I decided to use my ‘sick day’ to come down to my studio and make art. Ya know. Just like, turn off my phone and dive in. 
Then I found this. It’s a Czech bible or prayer book. I purchased it on Resslova Street in Prague a couple years ago, then tucked it away for a rainy day. I forgot about it til today. 


Oh my heart. 


It’s been a super successful arty day already in spite of body aches (ugh). I’ve made some amazing new stuff, so I’m gonna shut off the world for a few days and make some more art. 
Maybe like, a week. I need this. I’ve been spinning my wheels and lemme tell ya, there’s nothing better than a mixed media cocktail to make it alllllll better.

Too ...

erin faith allen

Too female to be a military historian.

 
Too pretty to actually be smart.

Too artsy to be a historian in general.

Too emotional to be objective.

Too ‘dark’ to be ‘marketable’.

Too American.

Too girly.

Too skinny.

Too wrinkly. 
Too curvy.

Too sexy.


Too blonde.

Too vocal.

Too liberal.

Too conservative.

Too sensitive.

Too indulgent.

Too evocative.

Too provocative.

Too willing to go ‘there’. Too diversified.

Too much.

Too little.

Too everything. ***Actually though, I’m just me.*** I am who I am.

With or without your permission.

Liberators

texas liberators erin faith allen

On the left: Bill Kongable, who liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp. 
On the right: Chick Havey, who liberated Dachau. 


They were honored today at the Holocaust Museum of Houston. Those medals you see were placed around their necks by Holocaust survivors who wore their gratitude with beaming hearts and smiles.

Nine survivors. Four liberators. A room full of people in awe of time marching on, and palpably honored to be in the presence of some of history’s most important players.

(In the middle, a woman who can’t believe the immense honor of being sandwiched by two of her heroes from the Greatest Generation).

Real Life

erin faith allen

Walking my dog. Chasing my kid. Writing content for classes. Saying goodbye to tanlines, humidity-soaked skin, and freckles. Trying to remember to go the supermarket. Oh yeah, and shuffle the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Fending off a cold. Dying to paint a masterpiece ... really get lost in my process and sing at the top of my lungs while doing so. Juggling three new book ideas. Holding yet another separate big project in my whole. entire. being. Worried about the future. Oh crap I forgot to get gas and there are only like 10 miles left before I hit empty. I need to send those signed copies of my books out, too. My car is overflowing with crap that needs to be thrown out / cleaned up / put in storage. Haven’t made it to my emails in days. I just want to be a good human. I’ve made so many mistakes. Am I kind? What am I going to make Poppy for dinner. I need to go to the supermarket. And fill my car up on the way. Don’t forget it’s almost the 1st and bills are due. I totally forgot to write that book review. When am I going to start that YouTube channel with all my films. When I find the films. They are somewhere ... I need to clean out my hard drives and organize them. But first I need to do that book review. And make all the other films circulating through my brain. Right? What I’ve done isn’t enough. But first I should finish unpacking. I moved two months ago. Still haven’t hung pictures on the walls. But I need to get that other stuff done first. And and and and and ....

DEEPER

deeper prague art

My work table is set up. Like an altar, it holds some of my most hot and holy memories in these little stacks and bundles of things that are not just things. This is my inspiration for DEEPER, right here. I’ll be using these things that aren’t just things in my process, technique-wise and emotional-wise. I’ll guide and inspire you, and we will hang out together for 12 weeks making some beautiful art and great friendships. 

I get so close to my art ...

Ravensbrück art

I get really super close to my art. Like, we kinda become one. Like synonyms, or symbiotic organisms.

I suppose that’s true for all artists, right? Full throttle saturation is kinda inherent in what we do. 
How much of yourself do you give to your creative expression? 
Or your *anything*? Do you give a little? 
Do you give a lot?

Or do you just kinda float and flit? 
Take what you can and give enough to just get by?

I’ve done that, too. But it eventually sucks. Things dry the eff up. People leave. (Why would they stay?!) Shit just wears out and everything falls flat.

We’ve all been on all sides of that coin. 
Here’s the amazing thing about life: we can dive back into full absorption, full presence, full beingness, full givingness at any time. 
If we sucked yesterday, we can be awesome today.

True story.

I’m gonna choose awesome today. What about you?
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This is a painting based on the women of Ravensbrück concentration camp. I have a lot to say about that place, and these women.

Ravensbrück and the Schwedtsee

ravensbrück and the schwedtsee

One year ago today I was in the middle of my week spent researching at Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. 

I think a part of me is still there. 

I’m standing on the edge of the camp, with the crematorium just behind me; it is so close I feel it’s phantom fires hissing on my neck. 

In the distance you can see the steeple of the church in the neighboring village. 

From the church you can see the chimney of Ravensbrück’s crematorium.

Below is an excerpt from my book about the camp, and the lake on it’s shore:

We drive north from Sachsenhausen, through the pleasant little town of Fürstenberg and along the road that winds beside the Schwedtsee, the lake Fürstenberg shares with Ravensbrück. We turn right at the KZ Ravensbrück sign and go up the road until a fork splits off; we take another right. There the road turns to cobbles that bump and jiggle your body as you drive over them. 

The bump and jiggle are dark souvenirs of a road laid in winter by bare-fingered women. They were among the first prisoners who arrived at Ravensbrück in 1939, months before Germany began its invasions of other countries. Thick walls of trees rise as we pass the Soviet tank on the left, positioned as a memorial for the liberators of the camp and a stoic reminder of the scope of world war. Fragile remains of pitch-roofed SS barracks are nearly swallowed by overgrowth. And still, the bump and jiggle.

………………………………………………

Some survivors have said the Schwedtsee was used as a dumping ground for the ashes from the crematorium. There are historians who dispute that claim, saying that couldn’t have been a regular occurrence because the wind constantly blows everything back to the western edge, where Ravensbrück sprawls, and the ashes would have blown right back onto the thrower and returned to the shore. It has also been said the Germans would not have contaminated their own water in such a way. 

Either way, an estimated fifty thousand women died at Ravensbrück, often at the hands of the female guards, and many of their bodies were burned in the crematorium. After the war, a pit of ash was discovered just a short walk from the shore of the Schwedtsee, in front of the camp wall. It has been turned into a bed of roses in memoriam.

You can read more about my book HERE.

You can see the visual journal I created at and after Ravensbruck HERE.

Berlin

 

This video was taken a year ago today, exactly. In Berlin. 

I’m standing on the site of my ancestors’ home, listening to the bells of the Berliner Dom, seen in the background. My ancestral home was destroyed by Allied bombs in the war.

Four months later I would return, in the dead of winter (and in the dead of myself, truth be told) to research and write my book ‘The In Between’

Below is an excerpt from my book. It’s a stream-of-consciousness love letter to Berlin, written in a hotel room somewhere along the way: 

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Berlin and I are two peas in a pod. 

She has her scars, I have mine. 

Together we rise up from the past with a fierce gentleness easily taken for granted. 

Underneath the glistening architecture, the pulse of trauma beats. Self-inflicted wounds mingle with monsters. 

Fire-bombs and bullet holes pierce the skin of Berlin, but like Persephone she’s risen again. 

Berlin. 

Layered with darkness, crimes, and penance. Holy with the whores of resilience.

Coming home to herself after decades of lingering lostness ... tossed in between lines of time marching on, and beyond. 

Berlin is reinvention, eternally, in a city with skin.

Berlin.

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Dablice, Prague, Heydrich, and the Parachutists

The ground at Dablice is holy. 


And at the same time it is rather unholy. 


Here, headless, lay buried the seven heroes who fought the SS in the crypt and in the loft of a church on Resslova Street in Prague.

They were in hiding among the ancient bones and bibles after their plot to assassinate SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich worked out in the end, and the tyrant died of sepsis from his wounds.


Between the time of death of the Obergruppenführer and that of the heroes in the crypt, the town of Lidice was razed in one of several acts of retaliation. Its inhabits were shot, gassed, or sent off to a camp. 


But back to the church, and the bones, and the bibles, and the Nazis, and the brave parachutists who died there.

 Those men lay here, in this mass grave under or near where I stand in silent worship of their heroism. Among them are other Czechs executed for their roles in the assassination.

Mingling in eternal sleep, or eternal decomposition, or eternal juxtaposition with them all however, are the bodies of the men who ordered their death, and the traitor who betrayed their location to the Gestapo and the SS.

Unholy and holy. All at once. 


I write much more about this layered story in my book ‘The In Between’.

dablice

Why ...

erin faith allen

I am committed to telling the stories of history: my own as it unfolds, and the stories of the humans who lived before me. 


Why?

All stories connect, heal, and teach. We have to reach into ourselves to be worthy of telling them OR receiving the lessons they offer. 


The stories reach into us while whispering - sometimes quite loudly - a longing to be told. They can’t just be told, though. The teller has to fall all the way in. Feel it. Breathe it. Become it.

The stories, when received fully, strip us bare and invite us to gaze at our own naked reflection. Who are you *really*, they ask. What will you *do*, truly. Where are you *going*, actually.

Doing the telling or the receiving requires a symbiotic relationship of depth, honesty, and growth.

Connection. Healing. Teaching. Reaching. Depth. Honesty. Growth. That’s powerful stuff. And I know I can bring these ingredients to the table of humanity.

Soul-searching is my thing. Because of it, I am certain of what I am able to contribute in a time of uncertainty.

What about you? What qualities or characteristics are you certain of within yourself? What are the ingredients you can / do / will contribute to humanity?