Shortly after launching the gofundme campaign, I fell off the face of the earth. And have been unusually quiet since.
On August 15th, while working on a new banner image, my Grandma called to say she hadn't heard from my mom all day, and was going over to check in. Not long after, she called again, and although she didn't say so over the phone, I knew.
The fire department and the police were outside her apartment. And my mom was gone. And with her, everything I'd promised her we would do. The coast trip, the pallet planter, the golf cart I was going to get her when I opened the shop...she lived just around the corner. Growing her nutritious food once I figured out what the hell I was doing. The craft days with my girlfriend and her daughter. Traveling the world.
I've done a lot of dreaming over the years, imagining what the bigger start of Ssussdriad would be like. I never thought it would include the death of my mom.
My mom, Marlene Fuller or, as she preferred, "Mardi", was 50 years old, and though the disease that attacked her body and her mind also, in recent years, attacked her spirit, she was a beautiful human being, a goofy and compassionate treasure of a woman. And I took her for granted, too often rushing away because she was sometimes difficult to deal with.
She ran away to the coast with my dad at 18. She had me at 20. I was planned lol. At 2, I came to live with my grandparents. For most of my life, I thought that was because I was too much to handle, after all, I got us evicted from our apartment in Tulare because I lit the couch on fire. But as it turned out, it was because she'd found out she had polycystic kidney disease, and was told she wouldn't live past 25. Believing that, she decided I would have more stability living with my grandparents, and that losing her would be easier if I grew up with them instead of her.
She partied pretty hard after that lol, but still managed to make it to every single major event in my life. By the time she realized the doctors were wrong about how long she had to live, I was comfortable in my life at my grandparents, at a good school and had close friends, and my grandparents were financially stable. Later she would invite me to live with her, but I would refuse, for those same reasons.
She lived a lot of life in the next couple decades. She married, had my sister, raised my step sister, and brought joy to everyone she met. Her husband ended up being a shit when she got sicker. She did pretty well in her own apartment until her health lost her her license. With the loss of her independence, her health declined even more.
2 years ago we moved her into an apartment in Hanford, and though I saw her a couple times a week, I’m ashamed to say Wish and Netflix were there for her more than I was. I stayed and talked when I would visit, and I drove her to her appointments up north, but I didn’t give her the time she deserved, and the love she needed. And now she’s gone.
I finished the banner image the next morning, and even began to conceptualize a new plan for launching, knowing I didn’t have the spirit to devote to the active campaign. Between funeral arrangements, cleaning out her apartment, and desperately looking for photographs and memories to cling to, I’ve struggled more than usual to focus on my dream. But I have done so enough to bring you a new introduction.
The property I set out to save hasn’t sold yet, and It’s important to me that I get to farm near my grandparents. They both have diabetes. My Grandpa has had 4 strokes and a triple-bypass. My grandma has stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver. And I have the same disease as my mom. This project is going to demand a lot from me, and I’m attempting it for a healthier world for all. I ask that you take it seriously.
You can find the event and subsequent video here. I created it during the hardest two weeks of my life. Please give it a few minutes of your time.
Hey parents and teachers! Thank you for encouraging the children in your care to express themselves, and for facilitating their participation in November 12th's Youth Art Hop!
On November 12th, between 6 and 8 pm, youth art will fill participating shops downtown! Artist presence for the duration of the event is not required, but I encourage young artists to hang out with their art a bit to answer questions from those attending...and potentially sell some art!
If you didn't already know, participation is FREE! And I am not asking for any percentage of art sales. What I do ask is that you help me promote the event. Let's get the word out, so your kids feel supported in their creative efforts!
In the book, "Crystal Soldier" by Sharon Lee, and Steve Miller, we meet Jela. Jela is an M-Series Soldier, grown in a lab for the sole purpose of fighting the Sheriekas, a mysterious foe that threatens life throughout the galaxy.
Rumored to have once been human, the Sheriekas sought perfection. Once found, they looked back on the imperfection they'd left, and life itself became anathema. They enslaved creatures of energy to their will, and forced them to destroy planets, entire star systems, once filled with ships and commerce, gone silent, empty as if never there. The Sheriekas were unbeatable, Jela and his comrades pebbles thrown at a tsunami.
Jela and his troop had gone to investigate a planet the Sheriekas had taken an interest in, but had somehow failed to completely destroy. Inevitably, the enemy arrived, and Jela sacrificed himself to allow his troop an escape.
It's after crash-landing on the desert planet we meet M. Jela Granthor's Guard, Generalist. While crashing, Jela had aimed for what appeared to be structures. He landed farther away than he'd intended, and so marched for days toward the strange forms. As he approached, Jela realized the shapes his ship's computer couldn't identify were impossibly large fallen trees, stretching alongside an empty riverbed for as far as the eye could see.
Where one tree had fallen, another had grown, and fallen, onward along the riverbed, sometimes even falling uphill and across the dry river when something in the distance blocked the path. After some time marching alongside the fallen giants, Jela concludes they were sentient, and feels a kinship with them, seeing in them the same fight he was so familiar with. The trees had somehow held the planet against the Sheriekas. The trees were somehow the answer.
After several days of marching beside the trees, they'd began to grow shorter, as if they hastened their pace. When Jela finally reached the lake he and the trees had marched toward, he found it dry... Tired, weak, and almost out of food, he tripped over the last fallen tree. Almost, he closed his eyes for his last sleep, but a flutter of green behind his eyelids caused him to open them. A small bit of green hid behind a boulder to his side.
The tree was small, shorter than even himself, and showed signs of thirst, its leaves browning on some edges. Jela collapsed beside the tree, leaning against the boulder. He took two of his remaining 3 water pods, drank one, and broke the other over the base of the tree, and fell asleep against the rock.
Jela woke having made a decision. He'd determined the little tree was more important than himself, and so he'd eat the last of his food, drink the last of his water, and curl up to die at its base, reasoning his body would provide nutrients to his comrade. Before he could, he smelled something sweet, and looked up to see a seed pod growing among the branches, the leaves around it brown.
He stood, and contemplated taking it, thinking the tree too important for him to take that which would cost it energy. With that thought, the branch that held the pod snapped, and fell to the ground. Point taken, Jela bowed low to the tree in thanks, and picked up the pod, to find it fall open in his hand, revealing 4 kernels, their aroma causing his mouth to water.
The first kernel tasted incredible, and with it he felt energy return, and his muscles relax. By the third kernel he felt himself slipping into a trance. With the fourth...
He was a giant. On a planet ruled by giants. He felt the wind moving through his leaves as he pulled water from deep within the earth. He heard the dragons, who made their home in his canopy, soaring through the sky, felt the small claws of fledgling dragons dig into his bark as they discovered, and stretched their wings. He felt the cool breeze turn hot, and carry sand, and the water deep in the earth dry, and the final dragon fall from the sky. He remembered marching, one growth after another, growing, dying, growing, onward along the empty river, all the while holding back the darkness, the wrongness that tried to consume his home.
He remembered reaching the lake to find it dry, like he knew it would be. And remembered the cry of a metallic dragon as it fell from the stars, chased by fire.
Jela woke with the image of his crashing ship in his mind, and his own echoing laughter sounding like the memory of a dragon's cry.
Jela promised the tree that if his troop came to his rescue, he would dig it up, and carry it to a new planet where it could grow, and repopulate its race.
His troop did arrive, and he convinced them to wait to lift until he'd dug up the tree, and carried it onboard.
That tree is the Ssussdriad. It is rumored, in the Liaden Universe, to be the tree of life. To me, it represents the unfaltering will of life to live, and the ideas that will see humanity survive into the future. Our duty is that of Jela, to protect those ideas as they grow.
Protect the ideas and someday they will protect mankind.
If you groove on this project, think about supporting Ssussdriad on Patreon.
We have a really special #HopHanford coming up April 9th. We'll be featuring Youth Art, and ALSO introducing this community to Create California, an incredible Arts Education non-profit moving California Public Schools toward Arts-Integrated Education. Watch the video below for more about them 🙂
I recently had the privilege of joining House of Cupcakes for part of the day. What a business! This video was a lot of fun to make.
I am stoked..STOKED to make this call to artists! The April Art Hop will feature Youth Art, and we'll be introducing this community to CreateCa and the concept of Arts-Integrated Education!
April 10th will see a musical performance and presentations introducing CreateCa! Court House Stage! Time to be announced 🙂
Learn more about Create California! www.CreateCa.net
I started the facebook page for "Platypus Books" four years ago.. then it became "Rebel Books", then "The Tree and Dragon", and now..."Ssussdriad Books". I have considered keeping a page bookstore-specific, but have decided against it. The bookstore is a huge part of the overall plans and, if I'm effective, will be indistinguishable from the world peace movement that comes from them. We'll see..
Anyway, I uploaded a video to the bookstore facebook page, and have decided to include it here, as well, since all the posts from the bookstore page will be deleted.
Here are the old profile pics.
My first "Flog"! Finally! I met a hero in L.A. on Friday, and learned about California's Creative Economy and more! I promise to not maintain focus as I produce these Vlogs, but I will orbit the subjects of: Downtown Revitalization, Arts and Alternative Education, and Regenerative Agriculture. Thanks for tuning in 🙂
Here's the Otis Report Website: https://www.otis.edu/creative-economy...
The second day began with "This I Believe" statements from each council person. I have included them below. I believed it important to make them available in their entirety.
Top priorities established in the following 7 categories:
1) efficient & responsive Gov
- Customer Service training for staff
2) collaborative community relationships
- Develop a committee/taskforce regarding homeless
3) fiscal responsibility
-Evaluate fees and revenues in light of cannabis
4) exceptional quality of life
-Indoor Recreational facility
5) strategic economic development & infrastructure
-Evaluate Downtown East Plan
-Review Zoning needs
-Develop plan for job grown and tech sector
6) engaged and informed community
-Public relations strategy & staffing needs
7) safe & well community
Access/Public safety staffing needs of Fire and Police.