Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Monster Musing
(click for larger view)
Monsters have taught me to let go of that which I hold too dear. That which I try to save, only traps me into a well known web. To get beyond attachment is the only freedom. Monsters have taught me there are no choices, only alternatives. Alternatives all lead to the same place, the framework of experience is the only difference.
Monsters have taught me the power of fear. The pain of fear is greater than that which is feared. To run is to be hunted and haunted, to stand and fight is to be respected... to stand and not fight is self control.
Monsters have taught me to see the world with eyes that question everything. Monsters have taught me not to have expectations. Beliefs are not facts, just viewpoints, not truth. Truths are harder to achieve than beliefs. People believe what they want to believe. Monsters have taught me to look and look again, hopefully, unflinching.
What have you learned from monsters?


carla said...

I have learned that the most powerful monsters are those that live inside me, and to meet them (perhaps "stand and fight" as you say) is the only way to achieve self respect. That's a strong ground to stand on.

This creature is so primitive looking...those sharp wolf teeth, the eagle eye, the curved beak-like muzzle...it's a combination that creates a formidable presence! I love the swoop of the hair-feathers that makes it all go in a circle, and the beads make this seem like some kind of tribal totem. I love the texture too...Wow!

Toni said...

For me there are no more monsters. I had to conquer them and step out of the pit. I have no intention of going back. For me now there are choices. I choose to tap into and be one with source.

For me your monster is not hard. It has a lot curves and a knowing in the eyes. An understanding.

Mark said...

What have I learned from monsters? Well, according to my ex-gf, when running away from a giant monster always go at a 90 degree angle with relation to the monster. LOL!

ValGalArt said...

Despite him being a monster he sure has flow!
Psychic Vampires are what I fear most so I hide in my cave...

LDahl said...

Carla you always see the deeper side!! I am always so pleased by your comments!
Monsters come in many guises ...internal and external... I've really had my fair share of them. But lately I've really been thinking I should be grateful for some of the monsters... I have learned a lot from them. Maybe grateful isn't the right word, but close enough:)))

Toni Kelly... I'm still in the pit, even though I know better... I keep one hand and one eye on the source though.... and I have some goals concerning the pit too! I just have to be slugging it out for now...*sigh*

Mark heheh!!! that may work for the big ones, but what about the little dinky ones that get under your fingernails!?!?! HOW are you doing??? Are you feeling better?

ValGalArt... I have to admit, I'm fond of this monster, weird huh?
Emotional Vampires are what I fear most! I had a horrible one in my life once...ye gods...what a nightmare, that was years ago now, and I am still fighting off the affects.... never let one of those monsters near you!!!

Caroline said...

Sounds like time is one of your monsters... if there are no choices that lead anywhere else its because you can't run time backwards and make a new choice and see where that leads. I can't either ;-)

I see so many other faces in this than just the monsters. In particular I see someone peeking out from between the monsters teeth - I can't tell whether they are in the mouth of the monster of just behind and looking through the gap, or maybe both.

Cate said...

This post really speaks to me. I agree with so much of what you've said, am sitting here sighing "a-ha" and "yes."

And your artwork is wonderfully frightening. Sharp. Wicked.

You leave me with a lot to consider! xo

Leezy said...

I was lured into a pit about 15 years ago, quite unknowingly and it took some time before monster truly revealed itself to me. Yes there were others, but this one was special, or so I thought. At first, alI I heard was monster's whisper. The type of whisper that would send shivers down your spine, and make your hair at the back of your head stand on end. Monster was invisible, but I knew monster was there, deep down I just knew. This pit was cold and extremely dark, especially at night. No one else saw the pit the way I did, they were fooled by the veil of monster's warmth. I was fooled too, I didn't see it coming.

When monsters attack it is in many different ways. There are strategies that they use, words that they say. I had to be careful of the words I used as to not provoke monster but sometimes I wanted to to truy see. But even though at first I was frightened, very frightened, I always felt somewhere I could tame monster, I just had to be strong.

When monsters reveal themsleves, this species of monster anyway, it is fear that empowers them. It feeds their obsession and gies them control, intimidation, menace. These monsters are dark. They have lived a life of solitude and their own pain screams in the silence. My fear soon disappeared as the physical torture became nothing but a dull ache in my bones. I had lost my emotion, I did not care what happened, anymore, but I was sure I could still tame monster. Just one more try. Over and over.

Then something happened. Too scary and surreal to really explain, but I knew at that point there was no hope for monster, I was too late. By this point I had lost all fear. I only felt sympathy and sadness. It was too dangerous for me to stay now. Monster tried to escape his pit after me as I climbed my way out, but his chains were deeply rooted and he could only make it so far. He would never have survived anyway. Someone would have killed monster if he left his pit, he couldn't handle the world the way humans can.

Not long after, I met a girl with a look in her eye. I knew. She had been trapped. But for a girl so young I could see her pain was deep already. I stretched out my hand to her, and she took it on several ocassions, but she kept climbing back into the pit she had originally fallen. I could only do so much.

Two years passed and I stumbled across a new monster, this one, came from inside. Had I been posessed? Did monster have the ability to penetrate my mind and torture me from within? There were whispers, strange eerie witch-like cackles ... demons. I wasn't frightened, I just didn't know what to do. The special elixir that I would sometimes take to help make the demons go away gradually turned into a daily ocurrence and it was all that I thought could save me. But after a while even the elixir didn't help, in fact it made things worse. I lashed out. Was I turning into a monster? Had I been infected? There was no way out. I ws ready to accept my path of destruction thinking it was the only way.

I met a lady. She reached out her hand to me and I took it. For a year we bonded and became friends. We'd sit and talk, laugh and cry. I told her about monster. I hadn't told anyone before. Some people thought they knew, but I couldn't tell them, they really wouldn't have beleived me.

Lady had a place that was filled with the purest light. It was really quite heavenly. My salvation, if you like. I loved to visit and looked forward to our weekly get togethers. I don't rememebr exactly at what point, but when our chats came to and end, I felt a great sense of peace. A stillness and calming. I was happy to say good bye, becasue it was a moving forward.

Forgiveness was the greatest challenge. But the time I had found calm, I felt nothing. No emeotion at all really. Just quiet. I no longer blamed myself for not being able to tame monster. I no longer blame myself for leaving monster behind. I don't feel guilty. I don;t feel anger or bitterness.

I feel that I was lured into that pit for a reason far beyond monster's intentions. It was about survival. What is left is a memory trace, it is not a past that defines me.

Monsters to me are everywhere. but i am not fooled anymore, and I can see them coming. I have learned to work beside them, laugh with them but I have no fear anymore. And they know.

** Sorry it's so long, it's hard to describe the pit without giving the journey. I promise this is the abridged version.

LDahl said...

Caroline I say no choices because I have found that it seems there are alternatives, but not really choices... to choose something is to give up on something else. So often both paths lead to the same pit or well, depending on your viewpoint and the passage of time. On occasion we can jump the rings and make a choice, but I've found the cost is really high.... you have to be prepared to pay the price for transmutation. Right now, I choose to go back into the pit.....at a high price I pay for the future. Worth it? Yes and no... but it too is a learning experience. The alternative, pretty much the same thing, but this is a shortcut and yes, I'm running against time.

You said: "mouth of the monster of just behind and looking through the gap, or maybe both."
I guess my words aren't very clear to just what I mean...but that is probably one reason I am an artist... it is the way I can show both sides of the coin at the same time... which is how it is... after all, it is just one coin, both sides exist at the same time. Heads or tails... it is just viewpoint.

Cate, wise Cate, I think you've had a running start...... keep running bebe...don't look back!!! You are on the right track.

Leezy thanks so very much for taking the time to share your story, I so know what you are talking about. I'm so glad to have a chance to get to know you!!! Sometimes I have this little dream where we all get together in a beautiful place for a few days and get to paint and talk and drink tea and just raise hell if (when) we feel like it!! A big hug to you for your heart and for your bravery!

andrea said...

The movement and ferocity in this is fantastic!

You commented on my most recent post but it was meant to go on Caroline's. Too funny.

onclejohann said...

The only monsters I encounter any more usually just hit me up for ice-cream money.

cream said...

I agree with Caroline that time can be a monster and the fact that sometimes we take it for granted until it eats us away...

Because of that belief we often see ourselves look back in anger at missed alternatives.

L, very nice piece and it has stirred so many emotions in everyone! Well done!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

It reminds me a bit of the Skeksis from 'The Dark Crystal' film. Nice pic !

Brian the Mennonite said...

Your words, "The pain of fear is greater than that which is feared. To run is to be hunted and haunted, to stand and fight is to be respected... to stand and not fight is self control." are incredible. If these are your own, they should be published in some form. "To stand and not fight" is something that my heritage has strived for as a part of its passifist stance. It's also something that many democrats would shout from the hills. It's sad that this greater strength is more difficult to achieve.

Jayster said...

I keep coming back an looking at this. Like andrew says it does bear a striking similarity to the skeksis. Lovely flowing lines and a great eye, that almost brings th ebeast to life........ Not that we would really want a thing like this to be alive! :)

LDahl said...

Andrea...*giggle* I apologise, but you must understand I've been working 12 hour days back to back and still trying to have a bit of life too, so if I boo-booed... I can't say I'm surprised!!!:)))
thanks for your comment, this was a fun monster to do.

onclejohann,the best kind of monsters to have around the house!!!:)))

cream, sometimes time goes around in circles, I once read that most people live the entire 'human' experience. Perhaps 'out of order' or not in the idealized way, but lived none the less. Don't you feel that most of your decisions were made for the info and place you were in at the time you acted? Time... my great-grandfather had a saying that always rang true: Too soon old, too late smart.
Oh well, as my grandmother said, "I did the best I could for what I knew at the time".

Thanks Andrew... one of my friends thought so too, but no matter, this is a character study I did to find the right feeling for a new monster character in a book... in other words, it is a monster that was done to get to the next monster. that's why I could post it here.

Brian, yeah, my words and I guess my feelings about living (and letting live). I try to pick my battles and only make a fuss when it is something that is really important... not just to me and my ego, but important to the well being of all. Sometimes I pay the price of being misunderstood for having this attitude, but if you know me long enough, you will find I'm not much of a controller, and I hate to have someone try to control me. I tend to accept others just as they are, without false expectations. To me, the true heroes are those that battle for worthwhile causes, knowing from the beginning they will not win.

Jayster, it would be pretty wild to find this going through your trash at three in the morning:))) Not that I think this one would be doing something like that... maybe lurking in your garage though!!! Heheheh!
I did this one really fast without a lot of thought, just let it flow. I liked it, so I kept it:)

merlinprincesse said...

This one only looks like a monster. In reality it is the Angel of Knowledge, Revelation and Understanding! Love it. The Monsters we meet are our own creations! They come to us because we need them to learn something. And to be stronger. Confronting, defying them is the only answer. Never ignore your personal monsters. :)

Christine Lim Simpson said...

WOW! how did I miss this?

Alina Chau said...

WOW!! This is enchanting and mysterious!! Love it!

LDahl said...

Christine ...he was lurking in the shed:)))

Alina Chau... at least he isn't "cute". My boys really give me the devil about doing monsters... but even though I still can't do bone chilling ones, they aren't cute any more, and I'll settle for that... well, maybe I'll do a few more cute ones:)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! I love this! The drawing and the musings are wonderful. I'll have to cogitate and return with an answer. Mary :-D

LDahl said...

You should see the monster I painted last week:))) The sons approved!!!
I'm starting to be able to 'get' scary! *grin*.
I do hope you come back with your thoughts, I am very sure they would be worth reading.

aynaku said...

great artwork and great writing...I believe yours are words of wisdom. In Latin monster means phenomenon, so a monster is not necessarily bad but simply different....
tnx for your comment (farm)!

LDahl said...

Aynaku...viva la difference!!! I've had three years of Latin. I hated it at the time, but it was one of the most useful classes I've ever taken. One of my dreams is to someday see Pompeii.

Rrramone said...

Love your blog, esp the mermaid and this monster, keep up the great work. :-)

LDahl said...

I wish I could post the monster I did last week, but I can't at this time, maybe later. It's pretty intense.
I did it for a project but I put my feelings about the last 6 months in it and it looks it!:))))
Thanks for visiting, hope you return.

Jessica Torrant said...

Your writing in this post was so profound. You hit on something that has been "in the air" around me, but not in words, until now. I am going to send this link to my husband and it's going to be a very wonderful meeting ground for both of us. He is a writer, and enjoys writing and consuming horror fiction (among other things). In my understanding of how this kind eyed man could love horror, his explanation is that it takes things to a supreme good vs evil level that he enjoys. I understand that now, and your writing on monsters has me even closer to understanding the process...

You also reminded me of dreams. A monster or "bad guy" chasing me through the night. Waking up and trying to shake it out of my head, but once I fell asleep, I was back in the dream and running. At some point of my childhood I thought about it while I was awake, and eventually was able to get in touch with my sleeping self to stop running, and confront the monster fearlessly. As anyone who's experienced this knows, the dream ends there.

LDahl said...

Hi Jessica, thanks for taking the time to write this wonderful comment.
I understand. I didn't feel comfortable for a long time with monsters either, but now I know you can express so much with a good monster exploration. The bravest person would not be worth so much if the worst monster he/she had to face was...say a koala bear, or an earthworm.

merlinprincesse said: "The Monsters we meet are our own creations! They come to us because we need them to learn something. And to be stronger. Confronting, defying them is the only answer. Never ignore your personal monsters. :)" I really thought it was well said!

Maybe that is where those nightmare/dreams come from..... to remind us or make us aware that we are running from ourselves and it is time to stop and deal with our fears.
I just know my own fears and phobias have had some pretty long teeth and claws:)))
Thanks again for your comment!