Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy

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Winding Down and Up

This notebook is winding down in terms of filling up. It’s usefulness that is. An iron vessel of haphazard recordings. From somewhere in my head. Do things truly improve with age?


Guitars I gu20160127_144054ess, if solid wood. Wine? Gave it up back in the 80s. How many notebooks have been filled and here’s a better question — where are they now? Is something lost in the transcription from mind to lined paper? Or gained? Beats me. I just hold the pen. I walk down into the pitch-black cellar, I reach for the horseshoe nailed to the archway, any feel might bring me luck. I’m already lucky I’m still here, another day of these morning pages. No white chalk outline yet. My next word ought to be obligation. If I’m still here, even in the dark, if I’ve fingered the lucky horseshoe one more day, I’ve got to owe something. I mean it’s been gravy through the late 20s — mine — I mean how many times can you throw up sound asleep, every extra day like I step into a vehicle and drive through the city streets passing out presents. Ho ho ho. Glad to report in this notebook. I’ve never been all just a taker.


Einstein said we serve others, is what we do. Our purpose here. Glad I’ve gone along for the ride. I wish I’d learned better words along the way, and seen more, even in pitch-black basements, who knows, maybe especially there. I guess I’m okay in sunlight. I like to read poetry, now, before I come to these notebook pages. Stir all the stuff in a bowl. It’s really good when I can forget — even for the extended moment — who I am, let someone else carry that baggage for a while. My obligation, maybe the only one I’ve got, is to show up here and write. We always use to say suit up and show up. So, it’s something like that.


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Santorum, Stelazine, and It Takes All Kinds

Here’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say. When I woke up this morning.

I’ve got to agree with Rick Santorum.

I know, I 20140817_090403know. Quick to the medicine cabinet and break open the bottles of thorazine and stelazine and melaril, and every other anti-psychotic medication I still have lying around from the good old days. Maybe one of my neighbors has a syringe, and I can shoot those babies in stat. Quick now, like a bunny, shoot up, tune out, remember it’s only a bad dream – Santorum, Santorum, Santorum.

Anyway, here’s what Rick had to say this morning after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage – “Stakes are too high to cede marriage to unelected judges.”

Bang! Pow! Shazam all over again. Ricky got it right on that one. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally, one hunnerd percent right, Ricky.

Normally I don’t agree so much with Mr. Santorum. I’d say – hmmm – about zero percent of the time. Hey, we’re just two cools dudes in loose moods that happen to look at the way of the world through different eyes. S’why we have that saying, “It takes all kinds.”

But I agree with him this morning, on this particular statement, concerning this very subject. Because there is absolutely no reason on this God-given planet for nine people in robes to be deciding for anyone who can and cannot speak to their own special particular quality of love and do what’s been going on since before even the Tigress and Euphrates became popular vacation spots, and propose marriage and become married. None. Zero. All wrong. Couldn’t be wronger.

I’ll mostly quote Johnnie Mathis here, who, coincidentally, is a big fave with a long-time-ago-lesbian-friend-who-I-had-a-wicked-crush-on-but-she-just-chuckled-at-me: “It’s not for them to say.”

Cause it isn’t. Why should any two people on the face of this gray and granite planet need a law to say they can speak to their special love with the act of marriage – a union between two people who want to spend their lives together, two people lucky enough to find someone to make them feel that way. A law? That says okay? I guess it’s alright? Go ahead? If you feel you must?

Please. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?

I don’t know how many of the millions of people jumping up and down and celebrating today, with real tears of joy and thanks, thinking free at last, free at last, holding hands and kumbaya-ing all over the place with each rainbowed other, have thought, for instance, if that old Great Powhatan in the sky had seen fit to make just one change of lifespan on the planet – say, Ruth Ginsberg – which meant that President George W. Bush had the chance to pick another justice and picked someone like, say, Michelle Bachmann (and I’m a big fan of hers, I’m just using her as an example, really), so that today, therefore, the Supreme Court of The United States ruled 5-4 that there was NO constitutional right for two people of the same sex to enter into holy wedlock – well then, kids, WTF then? Are we still dancing? And romancing? Are we still ringing it around the rainbow rosy? Is everyone chiming in with their same two cents (quite like me now) with hallelujahs or dagnabbits or god will get evens or whatever? So that, if aliens are tracking our progress on big screens in the sky, they would get to watch the one hunnerd percent exact opposite of what is happening, and whose saying what and, even, whose zooming who, today?

Would that make the marriage between two people who want to get married – regardless of their sex, color, orientation, political party, religious affiliation, place of birth, date of birth, choice of favorite ice cream, Red Sox-Yankee fan, or any defining characteristic you can think of – would that make that marriage any less right? Any less sacred?

Would it?

So those who celebrate today – and, just for clarity, I’m a tea-totaling left-leaning hippie yippie cowsills lovin’ the flower girl Joan Baez for President one of them – think about it. You could just as easily, within the whimsicalness of life in the big city, been crying.

Stakes are too high to cede marriage to anyone other than the two people deciding to do it.

In other words – right wing tea party white supremacists religious morons and lefty leaning save the planet gluten-free-only liberals – get the hell out of my big church.

Ah yes……you gotta love it when the stelazine kicks in.


Grateful For the List

072There are eight million artist stories in the city. This one is mine. This one is called “Grateful For the List”.

“Make a gratitude list.” Huh? “Write a gratitude list.” What?
I do not remember if the first time I heard those words they were directed to me specifically or said to an audience in general. It was a long time ago. I was in the early stages of being brainwashed – that is, having my brain washed because Lord knows it needed it. I was working hard to try and keep an open mind about things in those days, most things, not like Red Sox and Yankees things, but most things. It was a new experience for me, keeping my mind open against the whatever, talk to the hand, no thank you attitude I had honed and owned over the years. “Try this.” No thanks. “This will help you.” No it won’t. “This might be good for you.” No, only I know what’s good for me. That was the attitude trying to loosen it’s grip on certainty, and open up a little, just a smidge, to suggestions from others. Those were the ears hearing “Write a gratitude list.”

It was explained to me that I had two choices. I could stay miserable, feel sorry for myself, go ahead and get the word “unfair” tattoed on my forehead. In other words, keep on keepin’ on with the woe that was my life. Or I could change the way I looked at things. And try – Oh Great Powhatan, is it really true – being grateful. Instead. As a way of life. I can see this or I can see that. I can focus on this or I can focus on that. I can moan about this, whine away, or I can choose something else. I can be grateful.

Now this may sound obvious and elementary and barely worth even taking the time to write about, never mind read in an artist blog. But I am here to tell you the difference between seeing the glass half empty and seeing it half full is nearly all the difference there is. Really. Truly. I ain’t kidding.
Let me give you an example. I was hired through serendipity and any number of fortunate circumstances to serve as the Director of Adolescent Services for Walden House in San Francisco. At a very high salary, way more than I had ever earned. I was given the chance for brand new experiences in my life. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the job done, could not meet some primary agency goals, and after about eight months I was told that a position was being created above me, to supervise me, and that I would be having a sizable reduction in salary. Wicked bummer, right? But, here’s the thing. I had been banging my east coast head against some people and systems in place and it wasn’t fun. I was living in California, working in San Francisco, the city by the Bay, making a ton of money, and I wasn’t having fun. Then my new boss came in and he needed my help where I was at my best (how do you work with teenagers) and didn’t need me where I was struggling (how do you fire these 11 people) and he was a great guy and we became wonderful friends. And the job became way more fun. And I was still making good money. And to this day, seven years later, Gavin remains my good friend. He has been a role model for courage. I have spent time living briefly with him here and there when I was on short-term Bay area adventures. My black car has some red paint on the right rear quarter from when I took some of the adolescent program with me driving out of the parking lot one afternoon, and when I happen to see it I don’t think of struggling at that job but of Gavin and lots of laughs and lots of good work.

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