In June 2009, I was fired from my job as a high school teacher. This flung me into an abyss. I was 53 years old and feeling that the creative life I had always hoped to live was still born. And without a teaching job, I looked in the mirror and saw … empty eyes and an empty heart. To read about my state at that time, look here and here.
Well, it wasn’t quite that bad. I did have a creative life. About five years ago I began painting, something I’d never done before. And the creative outlet has been wonderful. You can see stuff about that here.
But with the loss of my job, I wanted something more.
Hence the “storming bohemia” project.
What happened is this: a guy who shares some of the space at my one-time art studio is a writer named Ian Tuttle. Ian invited me to hear him read at an event called Quiet Lightning. It knocked my socks off and got me thinking I would like to reignite my long dormant passion for writing, so I submitted some work.
I was turned down. But Evan Karp, ringmaster & curator of the event, contacted me to use a painting on some of his publicity and we met. Evan’s interesting story is that he came to San Francisco knowing nobody in town, and quickly found his way into the literary community by establishing a blog reviewing events around the Bay. His creative life was transformed.
Impressed and inspired, I grabbed hold of the idea of jumpstarting my own creative life by attending as many events as possible.
Many years ago, I decided to confront my difficulties with alcohol and joined an anonymous organization where I was advised to “attend 90 meetings in 90 days”, get involved, and change my life. It worked.
Following that model, I decided to attend as many literary and artistic events as I could over the next few months, get involved with the people I met, and see what would happen to me.
I began this project on June 13th, 2010. My life has, indeed, undergone a remarkable transformation.
In December, 2010 — six months after beginning this project — Storming Bohemia had attracted enough attention from local literati to warrant a mention in The New York Times.
My artistic work as a painter has continued to develop. Currently (October, 2012) I have placed my first painting with a professionally curated gallery, Refined By Fire Art Gallery in Point Richmond, California.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the literary non-profit, Quiet Lightning, and write a column (“The Storming Bohemian Punks The Muse”) for Litseen, the Bay Area’s “go to” web site for coverage of the literary scene.
About a year ago, after several months of reviewing plays at Examiner.com, I founded the website TheatreStorm to cover the local Bay Area theatre scene. Recently, SF Weekly referred to me as “the preeminent critic of small theatres in the Bay area”.
My newest project, just underway, is The Bridge Art Space (soon to be launched), sponsored by The Bridge Artist’s Community in Richmond, California, which is a website devoted to the East Bay and southern Marin visual art scene. It will include reviews, interviews and a calendar of art events.
It has been an amazing journey, and continues. I hope you will enjoy exploring the various links on this website and will join me in “storming bohemia” with the motto, “art for life’s sake”.