My last living grandparent died a year ago, on August 28, 2015. My father’s mother.
Constance Jacqueline Bouchard Erickson. We called her “Grammy”. She was 83. I don’t have a happy memory to share, really.
I last saw my Grammy when I was about eight or nine years old. I don’t remember much except the smell of cigarettes and particular sensations, like the feeling of the upholstery of her couch and the way her voice touched my ears.
She and my mother disliked each other tremendously. From everything I’ve been told, they had two major things in common: they had the same birthday (November 27th) and they couldn’t stand each other.
Though I’m a fairly agnostic atheist now, I was raised neo-pagan. My mother is a Druid High Priestess, my father a Wiccan priest. Several people have asked me to write about my experiences being raised this way — sometimes I consider it. In the meantime, here’s a snippet. Continue reading The Winter Solstice→
The drop of a dubstep song and the scent of tequila: Las Vegas. A place where they pump extra oxygen into the casinos and clubs to keep you wide awake and dissipate the scent of cigarettes. I called it “home” for less than two years, but sometimes I feel I lived two decades inside them.
I like to believe that my life in Las Vegas made me a better person. It taught me so much about human interaction, the highs and the lows of life, and how you never know exactly what somebody else’s personal struggles are, no matter how perfect their makeup or how thick their wallet is. Living and working in Las Vegas was a study of the human condition – and how I can make someone’s day or night tremendously improved by my influence. Continue reading Right Place, Right Time→
I have a lot of passions, some of which I advocate very strongly for. I think we all have things we care tremendously about, whether it is a way of life, or religion, politics or a particular hobby.
I hate to call myself an activist, I feel like it’s not the appropriate term for me, despite my level of political involvement. I would call myself a political writer, but I think I already explained in another post how I feel more like an “interpreter”. Mostly, I just live the life I wish to have – trying to be a positive example of the things I invest my time in. Continue reading See Me→
Many years ago, a woman named Eileen sat on her front porch and looked over the chain-link fence at my strange family and our friends, all dancing around a Beltaine Maypole in a nice suburban neighborhood of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Despite our peculiar activities, I suspect it was the smell of delicious food on the grill that finally convinced her to wander over and inquire as to the reason for our celebration. She got a bit of an education on Druidism that afternoon, and made fast friends with our group.
Eileen became a frequent visitor to our home, a close friend of my mother’s, and even the emergency babysitter if my family needed someone to watch me. She was the perfect example of a good neighbor. She and Mum both loved flowers, and the space between our yards became gardens in the spring & summer of irises, lilies and roses. Continue reading Count It All Joy→
My first official job was as a Sales Representative for a company called Wilson’s Leather. I was a teenager and I loved my job, I loved my managers, I loved all of my co-workers: we were an awesome little family. My store manager was a man named Colin, who has taught me more about work ethic and sales and customer service than anyone I have ever met, and my continued success in sales environments is very much due to his influence. Continue reading What Fired Felt Like→
I am tremendously lucky in my life. I’ve had some amazing loves. I’ve been passionately kissed under fireworks and under stars, I’ve been the center of somebody’s world before, and I’ve felt the smile of my lover like the sun in the sky. If I was never loved again in my life, I think the amount of love I’ve felt and given is probably more than many get to experience in their lives.
We’ve all made mistakes in our past. We’ve dated people we probably shouldn’t have, wasted time and money, hurt people (intentionally or unintentionally) and otherwise made regrettable decisions. Mistakes are lessons if you learn from them, and what matters is that you try not to make them again. If you have crappy patterns, deliberately change them.
If you want a good future, move on from your past. Give others that opportunity as well. Move forward. If others won’t let you, leave them behind. Everybody’s got a journey, and sometimes you get to hold hands along the way, sometimes you have to fight and walk in opposite directions. But never stop moving. Never stop trying. Never stop striving. Never stop doing. Not for anybody else, but for you.
The next few photographs will include some semi-nudes, so those who would be offended or disinclined to see these (hello, family!) should probably do themselves a favor and not look any further. Spare me the lectures, too. Continue reading Baring More with Peter Paradise→
I sat at a computer all night trying to find the emotional zone that makes me tell a story. I got distracted by the typical aspects of the internet, and suddenly dawn arrived and I had no words yet, despite having spent three days telling myself it was time to write it. Finally, I grabbed a pack of clove cigarettes and a lighter and headed to my porch to watch the sun rise. I don’t even smoke, I just love the smell of burning clove, the way the tendrils of smoke rise off the ash at the end of the cigarette. I listened to birds sing and the neighborhood wake up. I started talking to someone who wasn’t there, I started telling them the story I was trying to tell in written word, and suddenly it poured out. I do this a lot. I tell it like I’m a character in a movie, like every dramatic scene that’s quiet in which a character tells another the truth. Dramatic pauses, a drag from a cigarette and thoughtful sighs. It makes it so much more artful, and suddenly those spoken words travel down to my fingers and allow me to walk back inside and type them out. It’s always this damn cigarette that brings it out.
Three years ago, on Memorial Day weekend of 2010, I left New England for my new life in Los Angeles. I was twenty-two and ready for an adventure. Many friends confessed confusion as to why I would leave, and why I’d choose Los Angeles, a city I only knew three people in, a city so much different than where I was from. Once I moved, and still to this day, I get asked by people in LA why I chose to move there.