"Indeed, a minimum of life, an unchaining from all coarser desires, an independence in the middle of all kinds of outer nuisance; a bit of Cynicism, perhaps a bit of ‘tub’."
Friedrich Nietzsche

8 Dec 2015

Guest Contributor—Myfanwy Phillips

Dark Energy
Myfanwy Phillps in 1975
I’m having something of a hard time writing about my six year on and off relationship with Jim Christy. Evidently it’s difficult for me, not so much because everything went wrong (which it did) but because it went wrong so essentially.

I’ve been going through my journals; they cover the day we met until the day we split up. Looking back, I can’t imagine how we managed to stay together as long as we did, or even why we tried so hard to do so. We may have seen the possibilities of the combination of our talents. We thought we were in love, but I’m not sure about that. We were young, that is for sure.

We were immediately attracted to each other. I first saw a most good looking man—then I met a grand character, a serious talent, a person willing to take risks. I remember so well where and when he handed me a copy of Beyond The Spectacle, his second book, just published. I was very impressed.

There was a radio program about us humans all just being ‘stardust’. The suggestion was that gravity was not always the pull—that Einstein had written about a ‘dark energy’, something that pushes away. I kept thinking, that’s how it was with Jim Christy and I. We were never going towards each other, we were always going away. I don’t think that we wanted it to be like that, but so it was.

I met Jim at a Valentine’s Day Party in Toronto in 1975. He appeared to be pretty much free-wheeling, traveling, and at the beginning of his writing career. He was new to town, having come over the border to avoid the Vietnam war. I was living with a man I no longer cared for. My own career (painting, writing and taking photographs) was doing well. I’d just had a solo show in a relatively prestigious gallery. I understood that I needed stability to work i.e., a room, a table and a chair. I was not particularly looking for a big change….

…but, despite all the obvious warnings, Jim and I took off anyway. We went up the Alcan highway to Alaska (see Jim's Rough Road To The North). We went to Philadelphia, California, Venezuela. We went to St. Louis—we went here and then we went there. Initially it was a great time, but I became apprehensive. I wasn’t working as I had been. Jim (I think) really didn’t want to be in a relationship—perhaps he kind of did, but it didn’t work well with his peripatetic nature. Neither of us were able to stay true to ourselves when we were together.

Things went from good to bad to worse. We could not get along. Twice (in Florida) we tried to live together. I went back to Toronto to work. Jim took off and I didn’t go with him. In time, there were other people waiting in the wings and that was kind of it. It didn’t end well.

Thinking it over, some forty years later, I can’t see how it could have been any other way. We were, I believe, very much alike but I don’t think it would have helped even if we’d known.

Our backgrounds were very different. Jim had been ‘on the road’ for quite some time, having grown up Italian in Philadelphia. I had been born in India and, after I was nine, had no home to speak of. I had spent vacations in foster homes in England. When I left school I went up to London to work, and at twenty-one I took myself off to Canada. Jim and I were all over the place. We were fiercely independent. There was no way either of us were about to throw all caution to the wind.

Jim has written, sculpted and painted with a huge energy—infamous now. There are many things he’s done that I know nothing about, as we were completely out of each other’s orbit for many years. I have done mostly what I wanted to do, so far. I ended up moving a lot. My relationship with Jim Christy, electrically charged and as difficult as it was, stopped me in my tracks. It got me, paradoxically, given that Jim chose to stay in Canada, to America, which is where I had always wanted to be in the first place.

For me, that was a very good thing. Thanks, Jim!

EDITORS NOTES: When Myfanwy agreed to write about her recollections of the six years she spent with Jim Christy, one of her first concerns was that she did not want to hijack the piece with autobiographical details about herself—indeed some friends had criticised her for not focussing enough on the 'hero' of the tale and indulging instead on her own memories: "I’ve had some complaints about my piece on Jim. Too negative. Too much about me. I need to pay attention. I shall." I made it clear to Myf from the beginning that she should tell her own story, as how can one capture the essence of a relationship if one ignores ones own feelings and perspectives. But modesty has prevailed and so I've now taken it upon myself to fill in some of the gaps in Myf's short, but candid and unsentimental, memoir above, by referring to the numerous emails that have exchanged between us over the months since I first asked her to write a short piece about her time with Jim.

The other reason I was prompted to supplement Myf's portrait on Jim Christy is because she is a pretty mean artist and photographer in her own right and I fully intend to showcase some of that art here—of which Christy is of course the primary subject. With Myf's permission, I will start by sharing some of her doubts about writing the memoir, not to expose the obvious difficulty of reopening old emotions associated with a historical love affair, but because I find the neurosis of the writer about the act of writing, one of the most honest and interesting of all literary genres. The fragments below are the product of a five month long email dialogue with Myf, starting with the angst about how to proceed writing about the six years spent with, and without, Jim. These particular email fragments brought to mind the internal monologue of Samuel Beckett's hero in The Unnamables when he concludes, 'You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on.':

'I really have no idea WHAT to say about Jim Christy. Of course, I have myriad things to say, but…. I’ll sit on it...

I’ve got your questions and I have answers. I just don’t have a perspective. It is very clear to me that this is about Jim and so there is the issue of where to put myself in the narrative. Of course, I could go on, but I really don’t want to. I’ll keep thinking. In the meantime, here’s something I could include, if I can figure out how...

The letters I have from him to me are just what they are, letters between he and I. There are a few silly sketches I’ll look at and think about...

I am taking today to go through ‘stuff’ and I’m enjoying it, dredging up all kind of things which have been in boxes for eons. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of old stuff I’ve got—mostly work material. I’ll send you what I think you might think good for your bio on Jim. Please do with it as you will, put it where you want, or just keep it or discard it.  I’ll try and give you dates. I’m not so good at that either, but for crucial dates, I have journals which I could look at...

It’s not at all about me, and it never was at the time. I happened to be there. Certainly am not anymore. I just send you stuff in case you can use it. One day perhaps, I’ll put it together in some way for myself. I kind of do, on my blog, but, as I said, an overwhelming amount of stuff. I’ve been traveling too! So just take it or leave it. I think it’s grand you have latched on to Jim Christy. He’s a grand character...

I’ve been going through my journals, which are intimate and extensive, covering the day we met until the day we split up. Looking back, I can’t imagine how we managed to stay together as long as we did, or even why we tried so hard to do so...

Oh, there’s so much stuff. Put it in the folder. I’ll send you this and that, because actually, I think the this and that works on some level, without being too personal. I would agree with you about keeping some stuff aside. On the other hand, and you know, I know, some of it is pertinent and good and lively and makes things real. Nothing has to be unkind. I think that’s it, going back to Virginia Woolf and all...

Some of it was a merry dance, and some of it not so much. Some things, I do believe, changed both our lives forever...

I think that you are right about Jim’s truthfulness about his adventures. He has, of course, the gift of the gab. There is a lot I don’t know, and that I have not paid attention to; it’s 40 years, after all, since we met, and I have been on my own adventures. I just turned seventy as well, on the Ides of March. Beware!'

Myf's father Terence John Phillips

Tochi Scouts (Afghanistan)

2nd/2nd and 7th Gurkha Rifles
Some Family History

   Myf pictured above with her mother,

      Netta Isobel Richards 

Myfanwy was born in 1945 in Dehra Dun, India, 2 years before independence from the British, and so the last of several generations of British Army expatriates to be born in that country over a two hundred year period, the only exception being her grandmother who was born in Bermuda. 

Myf's parent wedding from left: Edward Frances Ommaney Richards, Myf's maternal grandfather,
best man (not identified), My's mother and father, My's paternal grandparents (grandmother was Irish)
Myf's mother was born in Poona in 1920, her father in Srinigar in 1912. Myf's paternal great grandfather John Phillips, (pictured below) was born in India and became a missionary in Damascus. One of his sons, Myf's grandfather A. G. Phillips (pictured above), went on to become the first Inspector General of India's Crown Representative Police Force (CRPF).

Myf's parents spent a fortune on her 'incarceration', as she described it, at The Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army in Bath, England, a miserable time in which Myf ran away from school several times before, at the age of seventeen, absconding permanently for the bright lights of London at the height of the 'swinging sixties'. Although Myf survived boarding school and succeeded in making a new life for herself, for her brother Desmond, born in Lincoln, England in 1948, being sent to boarding school at the age of six was catastrophic:
Myf aged 18 on the
Aldermaston to London
anti-nuclear march 1963

Myf with her younger brother Desmond

'When I was sixteen, the house band at the Chelsea Town Hall in London, and I lived in Chelsea for a while, was the Rolling Stones. It was before they hit the big time. They wore black pants and pink shirts with ruffles! We were there every Saturday night. Marianne Faithful was the girlfriend at the time and we all thought she was so beautiful that some of us have never (well, not never, but hardly ever) cut our bangs!'


'My brother was a wonderful, intelligent human being. He never got over being sent to boarding school in England. I remember him standing on the platform at Victoria station with the Universal Aunt (a woman paid to meet us from Malaysia off the 'plane, take us to Harrods to buy our school uniforms and put us on the appropriate trains to school). He was in a tweed coat with bare knees in the dead of winter, standing by his tuck box, which was almost as big as he was. Tears were pouring down his cheeks. He went on one train and I went on another. He was beaten sadistically at school by a teacher and had the scars all his life. We went to foster homes together in the holidays. Sometimes they were OK, sometimes they were not. He got so upset that my parents took him back to Malaya—as it was known then—where he was sent to a different school up Frazers Hill. When he got back to London (he might have been 17) he went briefly to Uni in London to become a geologist, but he became a musician instead, playing guitars in bars. He got into drugs, cocaine and then heroin. Finally, at 59, he drank himself to death. For years we all tried to save him. He came to Toronto where I got him an apartment and a job with friends, but he was a Londoner at heart. Jim met him. I forget when.'

At the age of twenty one, Myf left London and headed out for Canada. There she met and lived with a guy for nine years during which time she made a career for herself as a photographer and fine artist. Myf acknowledges that she never really got to like Canada, considering a place 'betwixt and between' England and America, and that the Canada which had a huge impact on Jim did not have the same resonance for her:

'Sometimes I wish I’d never left London, but then I was only there for just three plus years, from 17 to 21. After my 21st birthday party at the Hungry Horse in Fulham Road, I packed a trunk and a suitcase and went to Toronto the Good. I turned around almost immediately and wanted to go back, but I was persuaded to stay. So it was/is! I’m used to it here now. They call someone like me a ‘flatlander’.'

At the time Myf met Jim, her previous relationship had pretty much exhausted itself and Jim had just come out of his relationship with Marlyn—'the gal who threw his typewriter out of the window' (see post by Joe Nickell). Marlyn is described by Myf as follows: 

'She was something. Tall, gorgeous. I ran into her once only, so I have no idea what kind of a woman she was so no story there, other than to recall that Jim used to joke she was convinced the old Charlie Rich song, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, was all about her. They had been conducting a merry dance it would seem.'

The story of how Myf met Jim Christy—the one she said she couldn't write but gradually emerged from email conversations—continues below in her own words. 

'This and That', as Myf referred to it above...

I was living with a man I no longer cared for. We owned a house in downtown Toronto and we’d been together for nine years, mostly on, not off. I was not particularly looking around (because my own career of painting, writing and taking photographs was doing well) but I was not happy, and I was in transition. I’d just had a solo show in a relatively prestigious gallery. I understood that I needed stability to work, i.e. a room, a table, and a chair. Here is what I wrote about meeting Jim in my journal:

I went round to Kay’s for supper, we ate dates and drank a whole bottle of Szegedi Hungarian and I teetered off to this party. It was given by the woman who runs A Space, a sort of dancing, drink party full of people I didn’t know—‘artists’ as they saw themselves. I was being something of a success with various men, none of whom I particularly admired, but there was a man there who was very attractive, wonderful shoulders, Jim Christy. He was a great dancer. I went back home with him. It was a nice thing to do, he was really friendly. Talked about being writer. ... A few days later: I called up Alive Press to get Jim Christy’s number. They said he moves around a lot."

Jim Christy and I were working for Doug Marshall separately and together. We both liked him. Jim was writing reviews. Doug Marshall was a very supportive editor—he was difficult because he had a crazy, beautiful wife who was driving him nuts, and he was drinking a lot as a result. I don’t know why he died. Jim might have more interesting stuff on this than I do. He liked Jim a lot, thought he was most talented. Artists, although I suppose you could call me one, were not my thing. Discussions about paint quality just left me cold! I spent 30 years painting houses—yes. Inside and out—as my day job. I’m very good at refurbishing kitchen cabinets! I knew many more writers and journalists. Jim, Barry Dickie, Len Gasparini and I were all hanging out together for quite a while. Sometimes—often—at the Pilot Tavern. When I first met Jim he was quite fond of Southern Comfort because he’d had a fling with Janis Joplin. I guess she liked Southern Comfort too! So many stories. Memory is a strange thing, can be wayward.

I remember Jim was always surrounded by ‘wannabes’ standing in the wings. He conjured much admiration (and sometimes) envy amongst, mostly, male writers. How the women felt about him was a whole different kettle of fish! Jim was very attractive. It was sometimes hard to go out with him in public, he was such an attraction, but he seemed to manage it pretty well. I remember that Jim and I were in a Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara CA and the Mexican waitress took a great fancy to him and announced that she’d like to ‘paddle’ him! I had thought that that kind of activity was reserved for members of the British House of Commons!

Jim and I went from Toronto to St. Augustine in Florida and we attempted to live together. I think this was the second time we rented a place together. We drove out to the old School for the Deaf—abandoned by then—Ray Charles had been a student. We found old tables and chairs to furnish our place on Rhode Avenue. The landlady was a gal that looked like a pale version of Ann Margaret, and she lived with a surfer boyfriend, Doug. More doozies, as Barry Dickie would have it! I have photos, I think, but I might have thrown them out. Anyway, here’s the house in a painting, and my car, an old Chrysler. I think I must have felt that we were in a ‘doomed’ scenario, if you look at the funereal flowers! Oh, and not to miss the ocean liner that is coming to rescue me through the sand dunes! I forget what went down; I probably went back to Toronto. I’ll check it out in my journal.

The next phase of Myf's story, the trip up the Alcan highway to Alaska, is mentioned in her guest contribution to this blog above, but Jim's version of the trip can be read in full in Jim Christy Part 5, which also includes many of Myf's photos of that trip. Myf has already mentioned some of the places she and Jim visited together, so now I'll let Myf pick up the story again from their trip to St. Louis...

We agreed to meet at the airport in St. Louis. 'Meet Me In St Louis.’ We did. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, somewhere like that, tho’ there was a great looking old hotel, The Antler, downtown in an old neighborhood that was scheduled for demolition somewhere almost under The Arch (this was the era of tearing everything old down, developers coming in and putting up high rises etc.) ... 

One evening we went to a closed circuit TV heavyweight fight in a fantastic 1920’s style building, kind of like those big old Post Offices. I seem to recall it was Mohammed Ali and Joe Bugner (Brit?)—white anyway [Ali v Bugner fight was 1st July 1975 in Kuala Lumpar]. There were mostly black folk there, maybe a thousand of them or so (a few whites, not many). Most of the audience were looking fantastic; dressed to the nines in suits, two toned shoes, satins and boas—extravagant hats. The whole nine yards. What a sight to see. I seem to remember us discussing how we might proceed out of there if Bugner won. Fortunately, he lost! 

Let’s see. This might be one of the first paintings I made with Jim in it. He had that lovely shirt with the flowers. I had just moved out of my house with my former friend and into public housing. I had no money. I had birds (in cage). I had table and (I now notice) one plate and knife and spoon, and I suspect a letter to Jim!  I was single again, after almost ten years. The Antler Hotel is on the left. Then Jim and I went to the Mississippi river just to see it (there were people camping there, hence plastic chair and camper). While we were there, literally, a child drowned. Maybe this is why this painting is so muddy. The Big Muddy they call the Mississippi. It’s an ominous looking river.

Before the Ali v Bugner fight (the journal says June 28, 1975) we then went to visit a friend of Jim’s in Carbondale Penitentiary [see post on Val Santee], having shot a preacher dead on the steps of his church; a family matter as I recall. Carbondale, Illinois is the small town where Buckminster Fuller designed his geodesic dome, and some fantastic small, roundish stainless steel buildings—housing—which always made me think of the Airstream Dream! Here is the journal entry:

“I went to St. Louis. Flew into Chicago on some crumby Ozark airline sitting next to the most depressed person ever—a young army guy who told me St. Louis was a Big City, with buildings! Jim met me at the airport. He was wearing a most wonderful black shirt with flowers, he looked fantastic, and he was very cheerful having had a terrific time in Atlantic City. We got on this tiny airplane with propellers and only 12 seats and we flew to Carbondale and his friend came roaring down the road in a pickup truck and picked us up. His friend had re-married and settled down to a nice woman, Carole, living in student housing on the top floor of a two story building. It was very hot. There was only a fan. But they were happy. We had supper there and drove out to the parents place while he regaled us with tales of snakes in the woods. He had once killed a man—but he seemed to me to be gentle and thoughtful.

We went the next day to the banks of the Mississippi where the whole family was sitting around in chairs behind their trailers, parked on the banks of the river . There were piles of bricks to stop the tide coming in. It was quite the scene. Someone drowned which was depressing. Carmen was making ice cream in a yellow electric churn, it was oppressively hot. Then we drove to Jim's friend's brother's where the house was. Carole’s dream—every appliance you could imagine, electric carving knives, plastic flowers, and Helen, the wife, friendly. We had all been drinking gallons of sweet iced tea, and we had supper on picnic tables. Jim was getting depressed. I think he and his friend must have had a lovely time wandering at some stage and it looked full stop. We spent the second night in the same motel in what looked like their honeymoon suits. Air conditioning too cold, then it was too hot. We decided to leave and flew back to St. Louis.

St. Louis was completely deserted. Completely. Not a soul on the streets. It was very weird. We didn’t know where to go so we check in to the Holiday Inn where the room had a white kitchen, etc. We ventured out and walked around a bit. There were a lot of fantastic old buildings. 3 out of 4 cars were full of blacks. We ended up in a bar talking with a PE instructor. Then we went to the closed circuit fight I described before and I went back to Toronto the next day. Some things were not going well.”

Initially it was a great time, but I became quickly apprehensive. I wasn’t working. Jim, I think, was nervous as well, because he really didn’t want to be in a relationship—perhaps he kind of did, but it didn’t work with his peripatetic nature. So we both became nervous and it seemed to me that neither of us were able to stay true to ourselves when we were together. There was just no way either of us was about to change much and I don’t believe it was even necessary that we should have.

The other photo of myself was when I came down to Florida to meet Jim again. He found me the car; it was a dangerous beauty, a ’69 Lincoln with suicide doors! He had a new beau, MaryAnne, someone I did not know about, and so I went to live in an old folk’s trailer park in Ormond Beach until I could figure out what to do next. My neighbor, a good guy of 79 years old or so, tried to cheer me up with a note. “I do so admire your charm, poise and disposition.” Now that I think about it, this was the end of our relationship! 1981. So it was.

I know little about his life after we split up. I didn’t keep up, only peripherally. I moved to the States, to Gloucester, MA (a fishing town) and Jim decided to stay on in Canada even tho’ there was an amnesty for draft dodgers at some point after the end of the Vietnam war. I think he made a wise decision to cross the border because, since he was a kid from Philadelphia, he would probably have been put on the front lines in a combat situation and would perhaps (likely) not have made it back.

I lived in Gloucester for 18 years, starting in 1981. Gloucester is the town where they filmed The Perfect Storm, and where that boat went down with the storm. That actually was the week I moved there, and I was sitting at the Cape Ann Marina having a drink when the news came in that all were lost at sea! 1981. There were some breaks in Gloucester, MA where I was totally delighted to find myself in the middle of the fishing fleet! In fact, I lived on a renovated Newfoundland Jack Schooner (one of the 3) with a pirate type of person, and that was a blast, but in the end a bit like living in a large cupboard. Nice in the evenings in the summer, moored in the harbor, on deck. Gloucester is a grand little city, all gentrified now and expensive. The Portuguese fleet moved south to New Bedford and I think most of the Italians went to Fall River. The lobster and tuna thing still survives well, with the Japanese coming in from Tokyo to ship the tuna back.

After that I lived with a person for 18 years, 12 of those were near Santa Fe, well, thirteen miles south. They made a film with Jeff Bridges, a remake of True Grit, on our doorstep. It’s a grand landscape out west, but culturally I never quite got it, and, as you say, good friends are the issue. Mine are mostly in Massachusetts about three hours door to door from here. 

Now I live in northern New Hampshire, up there, not too far from the Canadian border. Some friends rented me this cabin in the middle of nowhere, six miles from North Haverhill (a town without a stop light)! Russell Banks wrote a good book, Afflicted, about such a place. It’s been interesting, to say the least. It’s rural here, always has been, and since it’s the granite state, the soil (other than in the Connecticut River valley) is poor. So poor people. Good people. Religious people. Politically conservative people, ill educated people in some ways, in other ways wise.

Myf's Cabin in the Woods
We have not had any police shootings up here for years until a month ago, when a man on a tear took his truck and tried to push over a boulder that was blocking an obsolete railway bridge. It’s not quite clear what happened next. He seemed to have stabbed himself with a pen knife. Anyway, the long and short of this sad tale is that he got out of his truck, damaged by the boulder, and started to walk towards town. He was bleeding, so he probably looked a bit scary. Anyway, someone called our equivalent of the boys in blue. They wear black here. They are armed with tasers, which are supposed to take someone down without issue. They shot him dead. I just can’t imagine why they didn’t get him tased or maybe shoot him in the leg. He was evidently unwell, as his mother finally admitted. There is no tolerance for mental illness in this country. If you try to commit suicide, and fail, you are taken to jail. That’s their solution.

I have lots of friends, but few up here. They are three hours away, in Massachusetts. One or two new ones. No, I hope that come next springtime I will have figured out what to do next. In the meantime, the cabin is great. The grass needs to be mowed. Mowing is a national obsession in America.

More Words and Pictures

Painting of Jim and I at the Colonial, perhaps the second painting I made just after we had met. The Colonial Tavern was on Yonge Street, downtown. Jim invited me there—maybe it was kind of like a ‘date’. We didn't know each other well. We sat at the bar (of course). Mose Allison was playing—he’s there at the piano, top left. I didn’t know about him, and I thought he was great, like very, very cool. The skyline of Toronto on the right, and a table of exotic looking drinks!  Bottom left is the house I’d lived in for some years, with Jim Lorimer, beginning to burn, being assisted by a plant on fire.Then there’s a cupboard with shelves and what looks like a postcard I must have written to Jim. Stamp and all! Western mountain. And on the bottom right a silhouette of Charlie Leeds, Jim’s best pal who was a great musician and had written a book. I can’t remember it’s name. I never met Charlie Lees, but I wished that I had.

Here’s a pic. of me, dancing to Jerry Lee Lewis when I was 23 at the Toronto Rock n’ Roll festival. Just before I met Mr. C. I’m in the Pennebaker film Jerry Lee Lewis, The Story of Rock n’ Roll for about three seconds at the beginning of Hound Dog! My three seconds of fame. Sorry Andy Warhol!

Jim's aunts from Virginia [although Jim's not sure about that]. I don’t think his mother is there. She was a very thin person and I didn’t take any photographs of her or his Dad on a visit I made to Philadelphia. The photo of his grannie and these ladies was taken in a town in Virginia, I should look it up. I will. I think it’s something like Desdemona. I don’t see it. You’ll have to ask Jim.

I knew the neighborhood Jim came from. It was rough (and tough). I’m sure hitchhiking was quite an ordeal throughout the States. Jim Christy pulled himself out of a very poor (economic) background, and I don’t think his parents understood what it meant to want to be a writer. Then there was the whole move to Canada, which seemed a smart one to me at the time (given Vietnam). He always made the most of everything that came his way. He’s very smart and intuitive. He can be funny and kind. I hope he’s alright, health wise. He said he was OK.
Jim has no recollection of where or when this one was taken, but looking cool as usual
I’ll get the photos together. In the meantime, without any effort at all (since I have the pics on my computer) here are two paintings of Jim that I made. One of himself at the wheel in California, driving up the highway towards Santa Barbara, Dolly Parton on the radio.

Another in Arizona, with the Alaska Highway in the rear view mirror (Wayne Newton’s swimming pool in the guitar).
Now this was a good guy in Jim’s fledging career. Jack Kapica. He worked as an editor for the Globe and Mail in Toronto in the 1970’s, and he picked up on Jim, as also did Doug Marshall, “Books In Canada”. Doug is dead. I don’t know about Jack. He is in holiday mode here, as in hat style. Jim is in the background filling up the gas tank. They were influential, inasmuch as Jim’s work began to get published.

I found this. Jim sitting in a lounge at Toronto airport with a painting and lamp from his mother’s house. We spent a lot of time in airport lounges. I think I must have made this painting at about the same time of the one of him driving near Santa Barbara, because there’s the Santa Inez mountains and hills, the Golden Gate bridge, a matchbook from Castro CA where they grow all the artichokes, and I think a snap of Hawaii with the noon in the door window. Lots of hopeful stuff at that point in time, tho’ we were both running out of money. Jim was staying at the Neal Hotel, and I went to housesit for an old torch singer type who owned the cougar for the Mercury Lincoln car distributorship. She was on the road and I looked after her six dogs and two bobcats in a ranch style house. She had had a baby elephant that escaped over the neighbors property, and the neighbor had been so enraged he came to the house and shot her husband dead! Ah. California!

Jim in chair from an old photograph taken, presumably, at his home. Even as a kid he was cool. Check out the shoes and socks! [see original photo on this post] That MAY have been the car we drove up the Alaska Highway in. It looks like it. The dog? Who knows? The sunset postcard? I can’t remember. Me. Yup. That’s me!

Well, I had galleries and they sold, including the one below. Who knows where they are. I have six left. I’m as bad as Jim at keeping records. Right now I’m not painting, but you might like to check my last effort. I can’t find it on the blog, tho’ the other Jim painting is August 2011.

This one was a dream. I saw a Brahma bull (Indian stuff?) in a pasture and I went up to it and it had a piece of paper between it’s ears on which was written, ‘I'm thirsty.’ So I went and got a bottle of water and the water went down into it’s body into the concourse at the JFK building at the airport in NYC! That’s about it. I think it was a Eero Saarinen building, from the ’60’s?

Nothing to do with Jim C. Just one of my faves from a long time ago. As I recall, it’s a dinner party. Someone is handing me a union jack plant. The Bird of Paradise is LOST! Some other person must be a carpenter (saw on face). And I guess that the enlightened one is all tied up!

Myf tells the story of how her ex, Jim Lorimer (now the publisher James Lorimer & Co Ltd) ended up keeping 10 or 12 of her paintings, including one she'd made of her own family below. 'They were attached to the walls of the house we owned together. Firmly. He never let me back in, he was so pissed off. He just could not believe that I left him and so when I left, he stole my paintings!' I could not believe that anyone would bear someone a grudge like that for forty-five years and asked Myf what she had done to get the paintings back. She said that she had approached a lawyer but the cost and the aggravation made it prohibitive. I asked Myf how she thought anyones wife would put up with having an ex-girlfriends paintings around the place. She told me that he'd been married twice since, and that 'people still refer to his apartment as the Myv Museum!' One of the paintings is described below. So if anyone out there is contemplating buying it, or any of the paintings pictured above, beware, they might be stolen property!

Here’s the painting of my family. My father, with shield and candles in his crown, is riding a dragon, facing right, legs and teeth. My brother, I think, is on the left next to my Mum. In the bottom right corner is a small section where I am giving a heart to another man! This painting is called I Want To Tell You, which I did not! I was about 25 when I made this painting and it looks to me as if I was having fun with patterns and color.

On Cars

This is the car Jim and I found in a field when we first moved to Florida in 1976. It ran. So interesting on some level. American automobiles! Beautiful, they were. Every time one of those old behemoths broke down it was $350. I remember, curiously, how suddenly, at some point, Jim turned up in a small rental car. It must have been, oh, fifteen years after we split up—I was stunned as I'd only ever seen him behind the wheel of American autos (I forget, of course, what I was driving at the time, after all the Cadillacs). As you say, to be young. It seemed a the time very important to keep up appearances, and that certainly meant cars. We had no money, and there was a surfeit of old American automobiles. BIG ones. I’m entirely culpable. I had tons of the old things. Now I have an insufferably boring 2001 Ford Explorer. It runs! 

and something else?

Not Jim Christy this time!. A postcard Myf came across, possibly Bedford, MA., that I just had to include