Day 18

I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 18 days. You’d think I’d be proud of myself, but all I want is to smoke a cigarette. Still, I haven’t yet and I’m just getting by day by day so far. In fact, I have been pretty holed up in my house so I won’t go out and buy a pack. I’ve been doing that on purpose, but the other day I was able to go out and see the Eva Hesse movie with a few of my friends in Santa Monica.


The film really inspired me. I’m a big fan of her work and got to see a lot of art of hers I have never seen before – and learn more about her life. I went with my artist friends Lynne McDaniel and Trine Churchill, and new friend, Laramee Haynes. We also went to Bergamot Station beforehand to look in some of the galleries there, which was interesting as usual. Richard Heller has a great show up right now of Paco Pomet, a magnificent painter from Spain.

Also, while I was at Bergamot Station, I stopped in at Craig Krull and saw that he framed a few of my small works on paper and will be hanging them up during the next show. He framed a couple of my Thomas Bros. Map pieces and one of my American Rhapsody pieces.

So the Hesse documentary blew everything away for me in terms of inspiration. I don’t even have words. It made me feel better about my own work, so that’s a good thing. I saw some connections and that made me happy, and I loved her view on life, especially how she saw art in the end of her life, which was basically – it doesn’t matter. You’d have to see the film, or maybe you don’t, because it all means nothing. And I’m all about the nothing.

I suppose the film helped me to feel a little less fear than I normally feel and that’s always a good thing since it’s fear that usually follows me around like the plague. Art & Fear comes to mind – I need to re-read that since it was a book that changed my life. Artistic fearlessness. That’s important.

Now I feel a lot more fearless about showing a couple of these drawings from my sketchbook, even though they are absurd and stupid.



Absurdity and stupidity is all good. Being free of the fear to make such things is key to my practice and seeing the Hesse doc reminded me of that. It reminded me that I need to go to those places without caring, as I haven’t been drawing much lately and that’s just kind of a travesty for me. All I’ve been doing is working on my book and taking naps, and even taking naps while working on the book. Because I think I have Narcolepsy. I really do. If I didn’t already have enough problems.

I have already done one sleep study which resulted in me getting a CPAP machine which doesn’t seem to be helping much. I use it every night for at least six hours of my sleep. I’m supposed to use it for at least four. Still, I know I’m not getting much REM sleep with it. I’m having insomnia late at night – having a hard time getting to bed, dreading sleeping with that mask on. Then, during the day I’ve been falling asleep while I’ve been working, so I’ll go take long naps. I’ll feel refreshed for about a half hour afterward, but then I’m back to nodding off again, and in fact I am in a kind of dream state. I don’t know if I am asleep or awake. I find myself waking up with my face flat on my desk and sometimes I can’t even move. It’s getting worse too. Luckily I see a doctor on Monday. In the meantime, sometimes it’s been hard to get through even a full hour of time without going through a sleep attack. It’s worrisome. And I’ve been klutzy too. I fell down the other day for no reason. I’ve been using my cane ever since. Poor me!

Today I officially passed the half-way mark through the 2nd draft of my book. I’ve been able to shave off 40,000 words off of it so far, but it’s still not enough – even if I shave 40,000 more. I’m really not sure what I will do. Mjp keeps telling me not to worry about length. Lisa says I should keep it in mind. But I just keep thinking about how useless it would be if it was too big of a book. I think what’s going to happen is that I am going to do the best I can with it and finally get tired of worrying about it and it will be what it will be – my book: at whatever length.

For now, I’ve got to carry on. All of it.

One thought on “Day 18

  1. Mark Strunin May 21, 2016 / 6:06 am

    Keep up the great work to cut out the smoking. Twenty one days to break a habit. Also, you might find it helpful to do a ritual act that signifies your freedom from the habit. I took a hatchet and chopped my last pack of cigarettes ever in half. That was 1979. No smoking since except a cigar or two! I can always pull up that image and the feel of the experience of whacking that pack. Great to hear you taking care of yourself. Hope to see you soon.

    FYI I am starting a new Hebrew class at TBI on Saturday mornings from 9 – 10 AM. I will provide coffee, of course. See the TBI website for details or email me at

    Mark Strunin

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