Thursday, September 3, 2009



Excessive solitariness is not good for you. For example, it has been found that people who live alone are far more likely later in life to suffer from Alzhimer's or dementia.

(The above images are a part of a series I did for a school assignment over the course of this spring.)

Recluse - Jessalyn Wakefield

There was a clear moment in my life when I understood that if I did not learn to be completely alone with my Self in a room, without a phone, without the Internet, without friends lovers books radios noise communication anything, if I could not learn to be in a room with my Self and only the presence of my Self for days, weeks, months, that if I did not learn this I would, quite literally, die.

So I learned.

Recluse. Patricia

1. I found this on all-knowing Wikipedia:

"In Japan, an estimated 1.2 million people are part of the phenomenon of 'Hikikomori' or 'social withdrawal' has become a major problem, often blamed on Japan's education system and social pressure to succeed."

(I had nothing to do with the badly constructed sentence).

2. I can't help thinking of North Korea.

3. Recently I was having a conversation with some people about the biblical basis for Christian monks and monasteries. I'm still not sure it exists.

4. I'm really angry at my aunt for home schooling her youngest kids and quite possibly turning them into social recluses.


I painted this two weeks ago, it's very small. I have nine or ten other paintings waiting to be scanned or photographed. I have become slightly reclusive, but I don't feel guilty about it. Time alone can be very therapeutic. I see my friends and enjoy the outside world, but on my own terms.

When I was 18 I went to San Francisco to study art, I was ahead of many of my classmates. Like my hero Balthus(it rhymes with recluse), I began painting and drawing as a very young child. It's the best training you can have, to learn to draw as you are learning everything else is a gift. I am thankful for it, art is intertwined with everything I have ever known. So, I pleaded with the school to let me skip the preliminary courses but, we never saw eye to eye. They argued that they were foundation classes, and I argued that they were a waste of my money! Needless to say they won, and I got A's with no effort. I was able to complete my assignments quickly, I used all of that free time exploring the city; climbing fire escapes, sneaking into hotels, running from crackheads, looking for the best views, using the neighboring apartment complexes heated pool, and just having the perfect time.

Now, it seems that I get a surge of energy at night, especially on the weekends. Maybe I am more nocturnal than reclusive, so often they seem to go hand in hand. I could use that energy to go out at night and party, and I do. However, more often than not I give into the urge to devote myself to the process of painting. It's more fulfilling than anything else I could do. I feel that there are secrets to attain, ideas to discover, magic waiting to happen, ideas wanting to come to fruition, and just so much more to learn.

I recently read Bathus' memoir. It was written before this death, and published after. This was done at his request. He is another famous recluse, he was rarely photographed and never gave interviews. He resisted any attempts at creating a biography, at his retrospective at Tate Modern he simply stated "Balthus is a painter of whom very little is known," Knowing how much he prized silence makes me deeply thankful for his words, they have been inspiring and comforting. When I read them I feel like I am reading the letters of a friend whose ideas and philosophies are the same as mine. Often a chapter starts in the middle of a thought. He discusses his painting rituals and a fear of dying before his work can be completed. I understand that and internalize it, I cannot put off what demands to be done. It would be wrong to. I am a servant of painting, painting does not serve me. Painting will continue if I don't, and it must be ritually seized.

So, with this comes a process of reconciliation. A balancing act. Having the right energy at the right time, acting when the idea strikes, and choosing not to become a recluse and not to feel guilty.

recluse -- st.ofle

I've been reclusive.
but only in the morning and at night.
and because having a baby does that.
I'd also like to add that I've fought it, and been out every day.

last night, and this morning I took these with Orson during his nightly "calming" drive.
it's quite peaceful actually, until the car slows for a stop light or sign, in which case orson lets the wold know how much he likes going instead of stopping.

Recluse-Sapphire Cordial

I typed the word “recluse” into google image search and the first full page was filled with brown recluse spider pics and brown recluse spider bite pics. No images of  26 year old girls cursed with wanderlust, or representations of  avoidance of previously frequented social situations that seem pointless and counter-productive.

There was however, a photograph of 31 year old Li Guoxing, an unfortunate Chinese dude who was attacked by a bear in 2006 and afterward became a recluse due to the disfigurement of his face. The picture (if you really want to see it, google his name) is pretty grisly/grizzly (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), but out of some morbid curiosity I took a closer look and found out that Gouxing later became the second ever recipient of a face transplant. Dangg.

Any time something bizarre like this catches my attention, I assume it as some sort of teaching or sign and try to relate it to my own life somehow. There is the obvious “be thankful for what you have” lesson, which is always valid, but as I was considering this in comparison to my recent afternoon spent alone in a graveyard, from which I took a similar introspective deep breath, I read that in July of 2008, Li Guoxing died. Aw, man.

I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I was trying to find more recent pics of him, to see how he healed up after the surgery. I was rooting for him. Now I feel let down (thanks a lot internet, for not telling me of his fate in the first place) and even sadder at his awful circumstances. If he’d stayed a disfigured recluse he would probably still be alive (though there was no autopsy performed, so his actual cause of death is undetermined), but he probably could have written a gripping “I survived” style auto-biography.

So I guess I’ll knock on wood and present myself with the following question: Would I want to live if I were cut off from all human contact? Granted, that’s a very extreme example of “recluse”, but for argument’s sake lets say I signed some kind of deal with the devil where I got to keep my face (I don’t even want to take into account how that kind of disfigurement would effect my psyche), but was not allowed any human companionship, ever. No friends, no lovers, no one.

Right now, when I choose to be alone it feels healthy and welcome, but honestly if there were no option I don’t think I could make it. At first I’d read all the books I’ve been putting off reading, I’d write and draw and make crazy sculptures. But after a while, I think I’d lose all my inspiration and become sullen and start to lose my mind (unless maybe there was a clause where I was still allowed go on Facebook.). After a longer while I’d probably die of a broken heart.

So I think the lesson here is thanks-giving after all. I’m thankful I have a curiosity of new places. I’m thankful for all the seemingly non-productive social situations I can choose to attend. I’m thankful I’ve never had a run-in with a bear or had to have plastic surgery, and last but not least, I’m thankful that I’ve never been required to choose between two absurd extremes and report my decision to Tim Curry.

That was a close one


vampire, nocturnal, whatever

i am becoming more and more reclusive..always have despised the sun. it's 5AM and i don't have much more interesting to say on the subject except, here is a little article about some famous recluses..

and this one too.

oh, and this guy..
(sorry for the nightmares, self)