My Fetish / Mi Fetiche

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ONE AFTERNOON, WHILE we were having lunch in a restaurant in Palm Springs, California, with My Mother the Dowager Duchess and our dear friend Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here), The Dowager Duchess matter-of-factly inquired, “Mitchell, do you still have that foot fetish?”

After Judy’s coughing fit subsided, I explained.

During the many years that I carried around a sketchbook I often sketched my feet — my hands, too. Simply because they were there, easily posed, and cooperative models. Judy believed my explanation. I wish all my youthful secrets The Duchess so readily shared were as easy to explain away. Here are some examples of my fetishes.

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UNA TARDE, MIENTRAS estábamos almorzando en un restaurante en Palm Springs, California, con Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda y nuestra querida amiga Judyshannonstreetwhat (haz clic aquí), La Duquesa Viuda preguntó de manera casual: “Mitchell, todavía tienes ese fetiche de pies?

Después de que el ataque de tos de Judy cedió, expliqué.

Durante los muchos años que llevé un cuaderno de bocetos, a menudo dibujaba mis pies, también mis manos. Simplemente porque estaban allí, planteados fácilmente, y modelos cooperativos. Judy creyó mi explicación. Ojalá todos los secretos juveniles que La Duquesa compartió tan fácilmente fueran tan fáciles de explicar. Aquí hay algunos ejemplos de mis fetiches.

It’s good The Duchess never saw this sketch or she would have asked about my nipple fetish.
Es bueno que La Duquesa nunca haya visto este boceto o ella habría preguntado por mi fetiche de pezón.

Even If You Can’t Dance / Incluso Si No Puedes Bailar

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

AS MANY OF you know, I majored in art and grew up wanting to be, simply, an artist. My Mother the Dowager Duchess, although proud of my talents, told me being an artist was not an acceptable career choice (unless, of course, I was the next Picasso, “… and we all know that will never happen” she said). I have a feeling my father would have supported my choice, but that’s water under the bridge. He even wanted me to get my master’s in fine arts, but I thought, “What’s the point?” I worked at times as a graphic artist, as an illustrator in Medical Illustration, and in publishing and publications design in many different capacities. For a while, I continued to carry a sketchbook wherever I went and was never shy about sketching in public even if people looked over my shoulder. But time passed, I built a career, and I rarely pulled out the sketchbook. Years later, when I tried, I was much too self-conscious. And my attempts at sketching in private frustrated me. “You can’t draw!” I would tell myself.

I’ve been talking for a while about getting back into drawing for my own pleasure. I did a sketch for a local (retired) gallery manager here and didn’t disappoint myself (click here). Finally, I’m back to it. And with each passing day, I’m happier. And I don’t care whether I think I can draw or not. I can draw if I want to.

I pulled out an old sketchbook to carry around, having no idea how old it actually was. I found the image above and the first two below within its pages. I remember sketching at our friend’s house on Cape Cod, Massachusetts around 1990. And I remember stopping after saying to myself, “You can’t draw!” and putting the book away. Since moving to Spain, I tried again in the same book — without even noticing there were other sketches there; I was dissatisfied, and I again put the book away. The final image is what I’m currently happily doodling. I’ve never thought I could dance either, but I don’t seem to care so much anymore.

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COMO MUCHO DE vosotros ya sabráis, me especialicé en arte y crecí queriendo ser, simplemente, un artista.. Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda aunque orgullosa de mi talento, me dijo que ser artista no era una opción de carrera aceptable (a menos que, por supuesto, yo fuera el próximo Picasso, “… y todos sabemos que eso nunca sucederá”, dijo. ). Tengo la sensación de que mi padre hubiera apoyado mi elección, pero eso es agua debajo del puente. Incluso quería que obtuviera mi maestría en bellas artes, pero pensé: “¿Cuál es el punto?” Trabajé a veces como artista gráfico, como ilustrador en ilustración médica, y en diseño de publicaciones en muchas capacidades diferentes. Por un tiempo, continué llevando un cuaderno de bocetos donde quisiera y nunca tuve miedo de dibujar en público, incluso si la gente miraba por encima de mi hombro. Pero el tiempo pasó, construí una carrera y rara vez saqué el cuaderno de bocetos. Años después, cuando lo intenté, yo era demasiado consciente de mí mismo. Y mis intentos de dibujar en privado me frustraron. “¡No puedes dibujar!”, me decía a mí mismo.

He estado hablando un rato mientras volvía a dibujar por mi propio placer. Hice un dibujo para un gerente (retirado) de galerías aquí y no me decepcioné (haz clic aquí). Así que, finalmente, estoy de vuelta a eso. Y con cada día que pasa, soy más feliz. Y no me importa si creo que puedo dibujar o no. Puedo dibujar si quiero!

Saqué un viejo cuaderno de bocetos para llevar, sin tener idea de la antigüedad que tenía. Encontré la imagen de arriba y las dos primeras debajo de sus páginas. Recuerdo dibujar en la casa de nuestro amigo en Cape Cod, Massachusetts, alrededor de 1990. …. Y recuerdo que me detuve después de decirme: “¡No puedes dibujar!” y de guardar el cuaderno. Desde que me mudé a España, lo intenté de nuevo en el mismo cuaderno, sin darme cuenta de que había otros bocetos allí; estaba insatisfecho y guardé el cuaderno otra vez. La imagen final es la que actualmente estoy felizmente garabateando. Nunca pensé que pudiera bailar tampoco, pero parece que ya no me importa mucho.

Unfinished: Maggie, our friend’s dog.
Inacabada: Maggie, la perra de nuestra amiga.
Unfinished: I tried again I think about 7 years ago and said, again, “You can’t draw!”
Inacabado: Lo intenté de nuevo, creo que hace unos 7 años y dije de nuevo: “¡No puedes dibujar!”
In progress: And, now, I can if I want to.
En progreso: Y, ahora, puedo si quiero.

That Time of the Month? / ¿Esa Época del Mes?

La versión español está después de la versión ingles.

OUR FRIEND PEDRO turned 40 this year. He’s got a catastrophic imagination similar to San Geraldo’s. About two years ago, he was having lower back pain (OK, OK, it turned out to be a herniated disk so exCUSE me). However, while we were all at a restaurant, he announced that the pain was worse than the pain of childbirth. Kathleen and their 1-1/2-year-old son were sitting right there! I’ll bet Kathleen was thinking, “You want to feel the pain of childbirth!”

Pedro is currently suffering with neck pain that turned out to be more herniated disks. No more headstands when he wins at cards — not that that happens very often anyway. He explained to us — to San Geraldo and me — to the ancients — to the two friends old enough to be his parents — that now that he’s 40, his risk factors have seriously increased. “Risk factors?” I said in my best New York street accent, “I’ll show you risk factors!”

I’m fine. So relieved that my recent health concern has come to nothing. But, instead of being happy and doing a jig (THAT would be a picture), I’ve been having mentally challenging moments throughout the day and I wake up in the morning (my worst time) not necessarily thrilled to be alive. If I could play the piano, it would be a dirge. I think it’s just the crash after the weeks of stress. Maybe it’s hormones. Do men possibly go through womenopause? Maybe it’s that time of the month? Even if those were possible, I’m a bit old for either.

I continue to have wonderful moments with San Geraldo and some incredible friends. The Kid Brother continues to drive me crazy but I will always love him and will see him again in a few months. But sometimes, as we all know, it’s just not easy. (And I rarely was.)

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NUESTRO AMIGO PEDRO cumplió 40 años este año. Tiene una imaginación catastrófica similar a la de San Geraldo. Hace unos dos años, tenía dolor en la parte baja de la espalda (OK, OK, resultó ser una hernia de disco, por lo tanto, ¡Perdóneme!). Sin embargo, mientras estábamos todos en un restaurante, anunció que el dolor era peor que el dolor del parto. ¡Kathleen y su hijo de 1-1 / 2 años estaban sentados allí! Apuesto a que Kathleen estaba pensando: “¿¡¿Quieres sentir el dolor del parto!”

Pedro está sufriendo actualmente con dolor de cuello que resultó ser más discos herniados. No más paros de cabeza cuando gana en las cartas — no es que eso suceda muy a menudo de todos modos. Nos explicó — a San Geraldo y a mí — a los antiguos — los dos amigos que tenían edad suficiente para ser sus padres — que ahora que tiene 40 años, sus factores de riesgo han aumentado considerablemente.

“¿Factores de riesgo?”, dije con mi mejor acento callejero de Nueva York, “¡Te mostraré los factores de riesgo!”

Estoy bien. Tan aliviado de que mi reciente preocupación por la salud no haya llegado a nada. Pero, en lugar de ser feliz, he estado teniendo momentos mentalmente difíciles a lo largo del día y me despierto por la mañana (siempre mi peor tiempo) no necesariamente emocionado de estar vivo. Si pudiera tocar el piano, sería un asco. Creo que es sólo el choque después de semanas de estrés. Tal vez sean hormonas. ¿Es posible que los hombres pasen por la menopausia? Tal vez sea esa época del mes? Incluso si eso fuera posible, soy un poco viejo para cualquiera.

Sigo teniendo momentos maravillosos con San Geraldo y algunos amigos increíbles. El Hermanito sigue volviéndome loco, pero siempre lo amaré y lo veré de nuevo en unos pocos meses. Pero a veces, como todos entendemos, no es fácil. (Y rara vez lo era yo.)

What do you suppose a psychiatrist would have to say? (I don’t think I want to know.)
¿Qué suponías que tendría que decir un psiquiatra? (No creo que quiera saber).

Drawing on Memories

FEELING LOST AND LONELY IN AN ELEGANT APARTMENT.
SELF-PORTRAIT, AVENZA, CARRARA, ITALY, 1977.

I just pulled out an old sketchbook and discovered some drawings that brought back memories.  The memories that come back when I look at my old drawings are often more vivid than those that are awakened by looking at old photographs.  I think it’s the fact that I was completely engaged in the action at the time and spent more than a moment snapping a photo or awkwardly posing for posterity.

10 SEPT BECAME 11 SEPT 1980 WHILE I WAITED IN MY ’78 MAZDA GLC TO GIVE
A “FRIEND” A LIFT BACK TO BOSTON AFTER A BUSINESS RECEPTION IN CAMBRIDGE.
HIS NAME WAS STEVEN AND HE WAS MORE THAN AN HOUR LATE.

When I was 25, I landed a job in Medical Illustration at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.  I drew kidneys and muscle tissue.  I traced cross-sections of cadavers that had been cast in polyurethane.  I created art and typography for slides that were used by the medical school.  It was fun work and was what began my career in publications and communications.  At the time, I never went anywhere without a sketch book.  I would sketch unselfconsciously, and had been doing so for years. I doodled my way around Italy in the ’70s and gave away almost all the sketches as “thank you” gifts for the hospitality I received there.  I wish I had had a scanner!

BANANAS, MAY 1980, TOP FLOOR, 15 CHARLES STREET, BOSTON.

SEDUCTIVE BANANAS.

While working at Downstate, I drove up to Boston, just 4-1/2 hours away for a weekend visit with an old college friend, Mary.  I fell in love with Boston and immediately decided I had to move there.  I left  Downstate four months later after only 1-1/2 years for a job as a typesetter and graphic artist in a small, quirky (aka, cripplingly dysfunctional) studio in Cambridge, ironically named “Together Graphics.” The job in Cambridge paid a lot better, but was not as interesting nor did it offer the same opportunities for professional development and personal growth as the job in Brooklyn.  But it did get me to Boston, which is where I met Jerry a little over a year later.

SNACKING AS I SKETCHED, ENABLING NEW POSES.

HOURS OF SKETCHING.  I CONSUMED MY RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE OF POTASSIUM.

For my first month in Boston, while I looked for my own place, I stayed in a basement apartment on Gray Street in the South End with Brian, a friend I met through Mary.  He was to become my best friend over the years and was my first good gay friend.  I was still living the life of a straight person, thinking I could ignore who I really was and wanted to be.  As a good friend (and someone with “gaydar”), Brian clearly knew the truth, but he never let on and he let me come to terms at my own pace. I spent a month on his couch and many afternoons hanging out at Mary’s apartment with my sketchbook, sketching the room, the house plants, and, as shown here, bananas that happened to be left on the coffee table. Jerry and I had already moved twice by the time Brian and Mary decided to move together to Maui.  I lost touch with Mary, who met someone in Maui, married, and was living in Missouri the last I heard.  After a few years, Brian (who was a serial monogamist) had also met someone.  They moved to San Diego and stayed together about a year.  Brian remained in San Diego.  So, I was elated when Jerry and I had the opportunity in late 1992 to move to San Diego, as well.  But, just before we left Connecticut for San Diego, Brian went back to his parents’ home in Massachusetts, where he died at the age of 37 of complications from AIDS.

DARTMOUTH “T” STATION, 1981.  BACK FROM ENGLAND TWO WEEKS AFTER MY SISTER DIED.
ON MY WAY TO A PARTY WITH STEVEN AFTER DISCOVERING MY CAR HAD BEEN STOLEN.

I think it’s time to start sketching again.  It’s very therapeutic and I like the depth of the memories.