Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy

Where Is Home? (Where Do I Truly Live?)



There are eight million artists stories in the city. This is mine. This is “Where Is Home?”.

Three vIMG_3132ery minor events happened to me – or through me – the other day that got me thinking. On face value there is no relationship or connection among them, just scattered different moments in my day. But they all brought me to the same place. To this question: where is home?

Let me explain. I get up early and sit in some level of meditation every morning, usually about 5:45. Then after 20-30 minutes I make coffee and sit in the recliner I bought on Craigslist for $40 when I first moved to Portland five years ago. I drink a couple of cups of coffee. While I have the coffee I read something I believe to be good for me. Today it was part of a chapter in a book called “The Attractor Factor” by Joe Vitale. Just before finishing my coffee and heading upstairs to write my “morning pages”, I read this: “If you want to attract wealth and anything else, you need to own your own power. You need to own your own energy. You can ask everyone what they think about any of your goals, but in the end, you have to decide.” Within that I saw and heard the words “own your own”. They are there twice. And I flashed on my time working for Walden House in San Francisco, an old-time drug treatment outfit, and all the sayings they had you would hear repeated throughout the day. One of which was “own your own”. It was pretty clear what someone meant when they were saying that. When you have all the troubles in the world from abusing alcohol and drugs, don’t try to lay them off on somebody else, or something else. You caused them. Own your own. It got me thinking, and when I came upstairs I wrote myself a note to write a blog about owning your own.

Three hours or so later I received an email in my in-box for a TED Talk, a series of videos of people speaking about important things. This particular Ted talk featured Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” That is not a book I have read or am inclined to read, but I watched the seven minutes and was moved by the things she said. Bouncing back from failure. Bouncing back from great success. Coming to the realization that it is not about the failure or the success but about the doing of what you love. What you wake up for, what you burn to do. What she described as “going home”. I wrote a note under the ‘own your own’ note to write about home.

A few hours later, driving in the rain back from trying to hawk my art and my greeting cards to businesses along Broadway in NE Portland, the Sly and The Family Stone song “Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin) came on the radio. As soon as I heard it (for the 10,000th time) I felt I needed to write a note under the other two, this one saying “myself”, and include that in the “own my own go home be myself” blog.

So here I am. I have thought about this all day, nudged along by three small moments. Where is my home? I thought that being home for me now was my art, but only for a minute. I love my art, being an artist now, but that is not it. I don’t jump out of bed in the morning needing to paint, consumed with painting. Then I thought about my writing, and how I have written throughout my life – high school newspaper, college newspaper, daily local newspaper, federal treatment plans, program newsletters, blog, current fiction novels. But that’s not it. More that than painting, a little, but my fingers don’t bleed for all of my internally fired and driven writing everyday. So I went back in time and thought about my nearly 40 year career in human services, much of it working with kids and being pretty good at it, much of it serving in leadership positions, and being pretty good at that. Awards, public acclaim, fat raises. But I left all that to go write and record a doo wop record, and amp up my artist life.

So, where’s home? What can’t I do without? What defines me alone in the mirror, beneath this great big universe? What is my own? What is myself? Where do I go when I go home? And my answer is completely nebulous, and completely accurate.

I want to make the world feel better. That is my home. I want to entertain the world in a way that makes it brighter, lighter, more hopeful. I want to be a leader of hope, and not only hope, but ain’t no doubt about it hope. It is who I am. It is why I jump out of bed, as I wrote in a song once, with a thrill for the day. It is because I have been given yet another chance to do something or somethings to make the world a better place. It is why I “fell” into social work; it is why I “fell” into my covering high school sports; it is why I was somehow – with my incredibly haphazard, jump-around, gypsy resume – able to serve as a leader in so many programs. It is why I sit every morning, and walk in the woods, and paint pictures of flowers and pictures of the seashore, it is why I write blogs about invitations and opportunities and adventures and love and hope and getting better and leaping at chances and growing up while staying young.

It is why I have always, always liked the idea behind the song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Home for me is trying to shine my little light. Where is home? There is home.



Author: buddycushmanart

This is my Blog, my opportunity to say what I think and write what I feel. The content has morphed in the two years of existence -- I began with personal tales of sillyness and drunkeness and soberness and times, places, and events within. Then I wrote a whole a lot of opinions about the world and its often sad shape, and how I thought we could make it better (re: engaging stories of hope). More recently I've taken to writing about this and that, including links to movies, Ted Talks, rock and roll, other writers' web pages, and more. These past seven years I have taken up the life of a painter, and my work can be seen on my web page ( www.buddycushmanfineart.com ) and my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/musicflower67). But I've been writing since I was just a young thing living on the Massachusetts coast, and storytelling is my home. I have a number of fiction works in varying degrees of completion, and have published two books of fiction in the last year, under the name W.B. Cushman. But it's here I get to share my whatevers of sorrow and hope, and hopefully, wonder and magic. Thanks for stopping in.

6 thoughts on “Where Is Home? (Where Do I Truly Live?)

  1. Another solid,wonderful piece. Made me smile and think of how quick our paths crossed, but how you affected me then and now, for the same reason, warmth in that light you shine.

  2. Love the painting, Buddy. It’s so bright and colorful! Thanks for sharing your stories.

  3. Thanks for the feedback zinemama, and for taking the time to read my stories. I appreciate it.

  4. Thank you so much for this piece! It really touched my heart. It seems you are writing about my perennial topics. 😉 My “free writing” piece for the Writing 101Challenge turned to to be about following your true nature (“own your own”). The second one was about “a place called home”. So, I might take a cue from you and write a post about what makes me get up in the mornings. At the moment, I’m really not quite sure whether it’s more than just the force of habit. *blush* Not sure if I want to make the world a better place – at the moment my endeavour is more to love it the way it is, and see everything as divine, even if it doesn’t look that way. It’s rather a challenge – but I’m doing my best ro rise to it! 🙂

  5. Thank you Zarah. I think your writing is, in fact, enabling the world to be a better place. I look forward to reading more.

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