Ann Marie Vancas-artist

The friends were asleep on the floor… you could hear their breathing not so labored…
My eyes flew open but I could not move.
The sea air blew through the creaking structure… the scurry of some unknown life…
I thought about my life…trying to get me to a place that was not this.
I had somehow disturbed something that was previously undisturbed.

It’s substance came over to inspect me…I closed my eyes…hoping it would not see me…
I slowed my breathing… broke into a sweat… I knew it  could smell fear…

It moved to the window…and seeped like mercury through the cracks…. Flew over the bay in search of souls…
I thought…The sea creatures must be terrified now…then I imagined what sort of creatures could be awake right now…
I could not move to wake my friends…blissfully unaware of the drama that was unfolding… I prayed he would find what he was looking for out in that ocean. And not be back…
Then I realized. This was probably his home…

Suddenly I focused on the daytime…the bright clothing we wore on the beach...the intense sunlight…
me floating on my surfboard…sun on my shoulders…
Anything to get my mind out of this hell that I had stumbled on…

The sorrow….The obsessions…the despair and the base endless hell this creature lived in… I accidentally landed right in the middle of this…
I thought…I will try and befriend him… but I knew that this was a creature that had no friends…at least not now…
All this creature had was momentous items   of a past life…hanging on to them life a buoy floating in the vast ocean…trying not to drown in the hell he had created.

He eyed me as a way out of the darkness… inspecting me and trying to decide if he wanted to take me with him or to destroy me…

He let me know he wanted to be free…and so many years ago he was…free
He had done terrible things…and was banished to this beach house…his friends were the barnacles…
clinging to him in the hopes he would help their own daylight…
the small legged mammals that scurried in the night…because only at night…they could show their faces…
and the insects that fed on the scraps of those that lived in the daylight…
Yet all of these…held the notion that they were not living in darkness… all together…feeding off of each other…in this hell…by the sea.
My friends…still silently sleeping… I wanted to wake them…to touch the reality…and go back to the life I was from…
This dark place I was visiting…by just being awake…terrified me… It terrified me in the despair of it all…
the finality…the permanence…
I decided to look with the eyes of my soul because my eyes were too terrified to open.
I saw a blob of base creatures…at one time beautiful….merged together in a type of disgusting gruel…
Their pride created this hell…they used people…they hated those that were less fortunate…they mocked…killed….
They used love as a form of currency.., to trick the unsuspecting…and the ones who needed love…

They climbed through windows at night…all ways looking to the left and to the right…afraid of being seen…
Thinking that if they stole the ones living in the daylight…their hell would not be as bad…

Some were fooled into thinking this was life…until it was too late…
Don’t get me wrong… there was pleasure in all of this…or else why would they be here?
But this was so many years ago…at a time they were free…They squandered freedom…
And now they relive their past lives over and over…engaging others to relive it with them...
and endless swirling pit of emotion. Despair…lust…hate…jealously and greed…
There was some type of fascination it held for me…
But then suddenly..
The desperate…cloying stench of it all… I hated them all…I wanted them all to go away…
The vaporous images…sensed my rage…
And scurried to the corners with the vermin…
I saw the despair in their eyes…. And I wanted to run from this place…
at this time… the daybreak crept through the dingy windows…
I saw my surfboard leaning up against the wall… a piece of normalcy….
the creatures then went back into their darkness…
My eyes adjusted….I could smell the salt water…the seagulls awakened. They were being fed scraps form the night before by the shrimpers getting ready for their morning ventures…
I inhaled a deep breath of salt air…
I stepped over sleeping bodies…still unaware of what transpired just hours before…
I saw  2 small eyes watching me from the kitchen…a small mouse getting his last meal form his night shift… I fed him a cracker…intensely saddened for him that he lived with the night creatures of despair…
through no fault of his own…
I stepped out into the light of day…dragging my board down the steps…I let the sun warm my surf wax…preparing my board for the days adventures…
And me  wondering why I was the one that was awakened while my friends blissfully slept through it all.
As it always seemed to be…



In 2005 I listened to the same song….Moonlight Sonota…
Then….I had discovered the CD in a box…my brothers x left it behind when they moved out of the house…
I wanted something different to listen to… I had come out of a life long place of despair….
And had all of this wiped away… All of a sudden I felt at peace…and safe… and so happy.
I sat on my first computer… with my dial up modem….
I continued to write in my diary… but mostly I wanted to just sit and let the music absorb into my being…
each key..each note…floating in my brain like fingers touching each bad memory and healing it.
I cried listening to this song…looking at a dingy wall..in my back room….how different from now…looking out a window onto 288 with a view of downtown….
I now see the dark storm clouds hovering above the skyline….gently brushing the tops of the buildings  as they pass by….deciding weather or not they want to release their tears….
Same song…different view….
I used to think of not breathing…I think my breathing slowed so much as did  my heart rate…when I was in this state…I would say…perhaps my heart will just slowly stop beating for good…and I could fade away in peace….

But I had to stay here for some reason….
At this time… people whom I loved were still alive…
No so now…
Now I look on the outside and things are sunny and beautiful…but on the inside…there is sadness…because the people who saw that same sun also saw the dark storm clouds hovering over their skyline…
Sometimes we get so busy with what we call “life” that we forget the living… Including our own lives…and what it truly means to live..

Before I had a computer…I had a million diaries..and pieces of paper in which I would write my thoughts down…completely different life…but same thoughts.

I have ONE painting… that I did in the late 90’s while listening to Soundgarden’s   Fell on Black Days…
when I first saw them at Lallapaloosa …I did not particularly like this type of grunge…being as I needed loud bass and dance rhythm to get me out of my head.
But when I heard Chris Cornell’s 4 octave range…and his passion…his pain...and he was hot AF…(helps)
I said..hmmm…. I understand what he is speaking about…And I embraced wallowing in my dark thoughts as opposed to drowning them out…
So…what is this dark heavy feeling that some of us are plagued with? I don’t think it is exclusive to artists.. (performing and otherwise) we are just more vocal about it.
Others suffer in relative obscurity…
I think it can be described…as a feeling of being forced to be something…do something…live some way…that you are not capable of…but feel like your have to force yourself to literally LIVE…

And living can literally kill you…
I think that life is not just the air in your lungs…the beating of your heart…
But how do we live?
What does it mean to live? We set goals…and things we wish to accomplish….and we do them…
the satisfaction is fleeting…and we feel the need to add another accomplishment…so is this not like the hamster in the wheel?
Tell me how to live…and I will have life…
Back to the painting…
My x has it…in storage it seems… if you flip it on the back..you can see the footprints of my Doberman Pinscher Koby..who has since passed…
I’m a lil miffed this one is in storage..but there is a reason why x’s are x’s lol….
But it was the only Black and White painting I ever did…
still to this day…and it has traveled with me through many relationships…and apartment spaces…
traveled in a convertible Porche…and jeep Cherokee…Chevy Impala…actually 2..a couple of pick up trucks…
its been stepped on…cried on…displayed in shows… moved…cleaned…warped…and now stored somewhere…
When anyone else will look at it…they will see an amateur black and white painting with not much depth…and certainly no colour…
But I had to get those words on that canvas…thought they were not mine…
They belonged to Chris Cornell…while he was still living.
“don’t you lock up something you wanted to see fly…”
Because sometimes people want  you to be successful for their own sake…and to have some sort of a possession out of you…(more so for me at this time)
the irony is that…if you lock something up…you really don’t want to see it fly…. Because how can one truly fly if they are locked up?
The lock on the door is usually fear…
And life is just a form of doing time…
I never painted a black and white painting again…maybe I will one day…
I have done small drawings..on paper…
but they will never be the same…
because sometimes….if you look at a particular painting…you can see  a hidden self portrait of the artist…
a distorted snapshot of the artists soul… that only the artist can recognize…
So I ponder those that passed… friends…. That this life was so painful…that they had to leave and give up the fight of just trying to live…
And I had no time to grieve…really…
So for some reason…I stop and write this… and think of the friend I had…
And how we looked at that painting together (why black and white Annie?) And he always supported me…
And how we laughed together…and grieved..and went on our adventures….
How he liked Dos XX beer and I like Bohemia…How he hated all my boyfriends… (rightfully so)because they never truly cared about who I was…
We talked of our struggles… heartbreaks…but I just took it for granted…he would always..keep trying to live…



“I'm a search light soul they say
But I can't see it in the night
I'm only faking when I get it right…”
Lyrics by Chris Cornell…








I can see through those walls…
straight to where you are.

But you know I am here…
Standing where you cannot see me…

so I will wait…
and watch for you…



“It's four o'clock in the morning
Damn it!  listen to me good….
I'm sleeping with myself tonight…
Saved in time, thank God my music's still alive
And someone saved my life tonight …Sugar Bear”

Elton John

 


Everyone has something inside of them that keeps them going…
Sometimes things happen to force us to keep an inventory of our intentions.
And then sometimes …. We realize… that the sadness of leaving…is not the leaving.
But what is it we are leaving behind…? If our lives were saved…spared…
What are we going to do with the remaining?
Listening to my music… in between songs…. I can hear the tree frogs singing their chorus…
Their lives must be very simple… and very sweet…for such a tiny creature. To have such a loud voice…
but what exactly are they saying.,? all in unison…Speaking a language I don’t understand.
But with such simplicity…it’s importance not diminished.
As the next track plays…
They are quickly drowned out by Elton John singing about his almost suicide. And his best friend saving his life at 4AM…
Why are our lives are so complicated? Sometimes I wonder…if we…like the little green creatures singing in the marsh…are singing of life…
and we…as humans…are always searching for the meaning of our lives…
Or trying to dull the pain…to not search at all…when the meaning is right in front of us…
But they have no such worries…I imagine…I imagine…they are living in the moment…
and we…ruminating over past worries…and lives…
obsessing over the future…and really…we don’t know what the future holds…
So perhaps…like the tree frog’s song…we should live in the moment…
make sure each moment has meaning…
And we too…should sing in unison with our neighbors….
and not a swan song of things…

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You're a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly..."
Elton John…





And then there are those that attempt to destroy love.
But Love is resilient…
So is this thing about falling in love about survival?
You must make yourself hard of heart to live? Or to beat down the feeling so that the heart is nothing but a dried-up shell?
Why do we always blame love…ourselves? Should we not blame the one who seeks to destroy all that is beautiful? Love is at the same time fragile and as strong as a warrior…
The fight of the warrior should be to fight protecting the object of his love…and not to fight to protect only it’s very existence.
Love will always exist…it will just leave.
I think love for the most part is a traveler…. Looking for a place to land.
Guns are deadly if found in the wrong hands…
Same holds true for the human heart.
I know I should not say this…but some people do not deserve love…but none the less. They get it anyway..
Maybe more so than the ones that do.

“He found an unsuspecting victim and casually ripped her heart from its cage…
Bit into it and tossed it into the pile….
He laughed manically….
I do this all  in the name of love he said…
His unsuspecting victims were many.”

Taken from my previous manuscript…
”The Maniac”


This type of damage can turn an otherwise open and hopeful person into a killer.
In other words…the human heart in the wrong hands can destroy love.
Or the existence of it for that person…
Love will always exist…but it is fluid…all encompassing…it will simply leave.
The sad part for the victim…is that love can be seen..heard…but completely unreachable…
They try to go back to their previous state but cant.
So they move forward…into all that is offered…a bleak and endless void…
looking for the scraps and pieces of broken hearts on the ground…
Trying to piece them together to make some semblance of what was…
But only to have an ugly mosaic of the past…
Trying desperately to reach the future thru the past is a type of impossibility that leads to a type of insanity.
Like a type of hell…they see love in others…but cannot reach it…
Simply because they do not want to…
So they look for the trampled pieces of discarded hearts…examining them for what is salvageable…
And pretending to love what is in their hands…all the while hating their very existence.
Angry that love will not save them from pain…
Because they lack the ability to sacrifice…
The very thing love needs to exist...
It's all in the details...







In a world…so superficial…so on the surface…it’s a terrifying place to be.
Everyone has someone/something trapped inside them…trying to breathe. Trying to move…
trying to be loved…trying to love.
Some simply can’t…It’s the weakness of man.
Like a butterfly in a wire cage…every time she beats her wings to try and fly... The wings become more tattered and torn….
You can tell the depth of her longing for escape by simply counting the scars on her wings.
But how do you think she got there?
Was she born there?
Was she lured…?
None the less…the door is locked…and she pleads with her eyes for the one who holds the key….
Trapped in every rib cage beats a heart…
And if the heart beats... There is life….
Our own bodies carry this metaphor of life. Even in death.
There the human heart lies…in its cage of skin and bones…








Lessons # 1
when will you ever learn?
You just did

Lesson #2
Give your heart away but not your spirit.

Lesson #3
Base your dreams on YOUR measurement of happiness…
Not on other people’s limited expectations of you.

Lesson #4
Build a home not a house.

Lesson #5
If you are feeling restless…
Remember you are not a tree…
And you are free to move about the cabin…

Lesson#6
Don’t have a dream unless you are willing to be awakened
by the sacrifices it takes to fulfill it.

Lesson#7
The more people say you are crazy to try x y or z…
Not only should you try x y and z…but learn to sing the alphabet song while doing it.

Lesson #7
A little disciplined rebellion keeps you strong…

Lesson #8
Anger and indignance  can sometimes give you more courage than a double shot in your morning latte.


Lesson #9
lies will always give birth to more lies….


Lesson #10
the depth can be shallow…but the currents can carry  u away none the less…

Lesson #11
The truth is sometimes hard to take…swallow that shit with the best of champagnes…

Lesson #12
You will be wrong sometimes…
eat your mistakes with a side of queso and move the F on…

Lesson #13
Remember the moon is only beautiful because its light comes from the sun and not its self…
But the sun never asks for accolades ….

Lesson #14
Always be aware of what time it is…
The time is now…

Lesson #15
Always be humble…there will always be people better than you at something…
but you will always be better than someone at something else..






There is a full moon behind those storm clouds…I said to myself…

I met someone like you once.…down by the Mississippi…
On a night like tonight…people could be heard laughing….music playing.
But there she was…weather balmy…and she dipped her soul in the thought of going in….
testing the temperature…
Just then the rain began to fall.
She turned and said to me…I wanted to do great things…important things... But I failed..
I look to this river…this great and mighty river…it sustains all life…constantly flows..
Without constraint... without thought of complaint…
So tonight…I want to be with this river…it’s the only way I  feel I  can  learn of it’s secrets…
Let it carry me to the ocean…all the way… whispering tales of life on its river banks…
of life within…where fresh and salt water meet in a brackish compilation …where life fights to survive…
carry me with it….
all the while…the goal is to be covered  in the bedclothes of the ocean…
and the beauty of clear water….

I wondered  then what to say to her…if anything...
I said….
Look to the stars…watching you without sound…without complaint...

I cannot see them… she answered...they rest in that place beyond the clouds.

 Exactly…I said


But there they are…watching over you… Do not disappoint them… for they have no arms for which to reach you.

Only the reflection of the sun’s love to light your way…
Do not discount what you cannot see… You see…the eyes are the least of the senses.
Instead…try and see with the vision of your heart.
It is the most painful of the senses…in which we see…
But the pain is worth the effort… for in this way… we see what is the Truth.

She accepted this…
Thanked me and walked back to the place of laughter and music.

I looked to the moon and said…you see?
There is another like you…
Hidden behind the clouds…such as you are…





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