Monthly Archives: May 2014

I’m Positive!

I try to turn problems into opportunities.  Sadness into lessons.  Hurts into motivation.  Negatives into positives.

I try to tell my daughter that old saying about life giving you lemons then make some lemonade.  She said that if life doesn’t give you some sugar too, you’re gonna have some shitty lemonade.  SHE IS SO RIGHT!  So, what I’ve found is that there is plenty of sugar in life, you just have to make sure you remember that when it’s pouring lemons!

I used to beat myself up all the time.  Then fifteen years ago I decided to take positive steps to believing I had superpowers and was worthy of love and happiness.

I had hit a pretty good stride with all of that, then some bad stuff happened around 2010 and lasted for a while and then another hard thing happened in 2011 that called a lot of things into question for me. About who I was.  What I was capable of.  What I should let go of or hang on to.  I kept working hard at bringing myself out of that dark pit of despair and decided I was going to learn whatever it was these lessons were going to teach me.  And I feel much more back in balance again.  It helped when I focused my energy OUTWARD.  When I stopped thinking of just how things were affecting me and how they hurt me.  Sure, I had to do some triage first and get some intensive care out of the way,  but once I was no longer spilling my guts everywhere, I could then see more than just my own pain.  And more importantly, I could see beauty again.

The truth is, the world is full of chaos and we can’t do much about it.  We can’t stop waves from washing over towns or people from driving like shitheads on the beltway – but we CAN control how we react to things.  There will always be good times to come.  But there will also always be tough times, too.

I like to think of it like other types of practice and exercise.  A wave can knock you over but the better the swimmer you are the more quickly you can recover and the more likely you can swim back to shore.

My recovery from self loathing and low self esteem started with belly dancing classes.  Since then I have picked art back up, started photography, theatre and visual art journaling and writing stories.  All of those things helped me see inside myself and express it in a way that helps me heal.

Below are some early photos, digital collages and art I never would have done if I hadn’t started believing that I was capable of doing something worthwhile in this world.

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC  Chrildrenofthemoon Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Pink Cat

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSCforgivenessblog. vj01 vj04 vj05 vj08

artheartfate robinfairyAS_01 jg_01

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC chrisfairy_watermarked_550pixwide class torso heather full Minolta DSC Minolta DSC


PS – there is no HeatherBartlettArt anymore.  It’s all under Heather Brooks or Heather Hardy (my fiance’s last name).  Though after all it has taken to get my name back in order after my divorce, I’m not a 100% sure I will change it again.


New Deal Cafe Co-op Member Meeting

I’m told that the turnout for Sunday’s New Deal Cafe Co-op Member meeting was unusually large.  Despite the kerfuffle over some handouts and a by-law amendment petition that was creating quite a stir, the meeting was very civil.  Yes, there were some emotional moments, but when asked to respect the times allotted or when told that the subject that was being spoken about was not appropriate, each person heeded procedure.  That by-law amendment that created quite a Facebook buzz (of which I was a part) ended up failing by a large margin.

I signed up to be a member and even made a motion that passed.  The motion was related to the $50 membership fee and how long that it would cover a person as an “active” and “voting” member.  The website form I printed and filled out said the $50 covered two years and I learned that renewals were $25 each year, so it made sense that a new member would be covered for two years.  The set up is a little different in that you are forever a member, but this organization has designation for active and non-active members.  Apparently, despite what the website member form said your new member fee covered one year.  But, now it covers two.

Also, your membership must be renewed before voting because it expires the day before the annual meeting.  That assures you are “active” and therefore be able to vote.    Don’t want to wait until the DAY OF the meeting to re-new?  That’s ok.  Send your check early and indicate it is from the date of the future meeting forward and that will allow you the ability to vote.  This was according to the speaker/moderator for the evening, Bill Jones, who I felt did a great job.

Here is where you will find the minutes once they are posted as well as audit reports and so forth.  Here is where you can become a member.

The new Board of Directors is as follows:

Michael Hartman
Dina Sykes
Frank Gervasi
Neil McConlogue and Nancy Melandry remain on the board with 2-year terms expiring next year.  (Thanks Tom Jones for that 411).

Below are some photos from the the meeting.






Inspiration Poem by John

Here is another poem of John Cooper’s that I think any artist can relate to on some level.


A woman lay upon my bed.
Her eyes were nightfall’s blue.
Her skin was bright, her hair was red;
a lust of light ran through my head.
“You called,” she said. I whispered, “Who –”
when suddenly the Bitter Dead
rode furiously through.
With pounding hoofs and wings outspread,
swarming in the room they flew.
A stillness filled me. It stank of dread.
“We didn’t come for you,” they said.
“We came for Inspiration.”

Inspiration tried to run;
they snared her just the same:
for well before your life’s begun,
death’s ragged web is neatly spun.
I marveled as they caught her frame —
her skin the fire of morning sun,
her lithe attire: auroral flame.
Dead authors turned in unison.
To me their gazes came —
“All great works have long been done,
so read for reading’s sake,” said one.
“Don’t look for Inspiration.”

“Her unborn lyrics make me smother,”
a poet sniffed the air.
“Everybody and his brother
writes poetry,” declared another,
and brushed against her hair.
And from her hair he sucked a song
that lingered there like silent prayer,
but now was swallowed: a buried gong.
He smiled — “Our lady’s fair!
Her hair is long; her skin is warm.
Let’s analyze her hidden form.”
And they stripped my Inspiration.

Her ripped dress fell about her feet;
her lingerie tore like paper.
She stood in silent, dismal defeat,
ashamed of hell’s resentful elite.
Starved artists started to caper:
“She’s much better than we expected!”
“Our eyes cannot escape her!”
“She’s too perfect to be respected!”
And they all commenced to rape her.
“Moneytalks! Lickerites!” Babbled more,
“Inspiration is a painter’s whore!”
They took my Inspiration.

Nasty they grew, and coarse they were;
each monster had his way.
When they were through, she didn’t stir.
And this was the last I saw of her:
unconscious on a horse she lay.
At last, the sated Bitter Dead
mounted up and bade good-day —
“Thanks for your Inspiration,” they said,
“and before we fly away:
we laid your bitch but never paid,
so here’s another as a trade.”
And they gave me Desperation.

Poor Inspiration. I barely met her.
And so, to aid my shock,
with Desperation I wrote her a letter.
But it hasn’t made me feel much better.
With Desperation I sit and rock,
lost in thought and sipping beer.
I stare at space and watch the clock,
and contemplate what still is here:
a hopeless case of writer’s block,
a bottle of beer, a messed up bed,
a hatred for the Bitter Dead,
and a lack of Inspiration.

A Government Not Just By and For the Wealthy People

My friend Steve Johns posted this on FB today and with his permission I am sharing it with you because I think it’s really fucking important.

And this is a Fox News link —– is this real life?


If you care about constitutional government or democracy in the USA, this is likely the most important thing that you will read about all year. I recommend you disregard all prattle about how it “could never pass” or be subsequently ratified and instead simply think clearly for yourself about what what a human being is, what human rights are, what “speech” is, what you think the political process is meant to accomplish, and whether you support the core idea of this amendment or not.

This struggle could be a long one (e.g. 1776-1865, or 1776-1920), or it might actually be accomplished sometime in the next few years. It depends entirely on what the people (you and I) insist on or are willing to let slide.

Not everybody has millions or billions to spend on buying elections, but everybody does have a mouth and tongue (think “organs of speech” here), and almost everybody could afford the tiny amount per-capita that would be necessary to publicly fund robustly communicative (and hopefully shorter!) election campaigns where the candidates did not owe their designation and success entirely to self-interested big money. Of course the winners of such campaigns could then spend their time actually learning and thinking about the complex issues that face our country and the world, instead of spending the lion’s share of their time hob-nobbing and dialing for dollars to keep themselves in the game for the next election.

IMO this issue transcends dualities such as Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, etc. (and these are just unhelpful labels anyway). This is the fate of the Republic, folks. The choice is Plutocracy vs. Democracy. The SCOTUS has sided with Plutocracy. Without an amendment, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Do we refresh the tree of liberty with a Constitutional Amendment, or do we let all hope of such peaceful refreshment die in our generation? This is the question that is upon us (like it or not).


Greenbelt Artists

I have started a Facebook Group for Greenbelt artists.

It’s meant to be a place for artists of all types to come and share links to their poetry, e-books, paintings, photos, classes and workshops, gigs and so forth.

It’s meant to be a support network, also, to assure that if perhaps you are in need of a painting or photographer or some summer reading you have the opportunity to be aware of and support other Greenbelt artists.

Please share your links to your projects and events and anything else that you feel is helpful.