NaNoWriMo and When We Begin


First off; November is National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo). I love the name. My sister and friend are both participating and I was spurred to try it. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. My sister has succeeded in hitting her word count but I am only at about 25,000 words. Even though I may not beat the clock and finish my novel in a month, I feel great about trying and I am happy with the huge chunk of novel I have to work with now. I am confident that I will finish it before the year is up and I have really enjoyed the process–which to me is the whole point. More about the novel and a sneak peak, coming soon.

This post is actually about my new song. My husband and I spent 5 months this summer living in our jeep in the national forests of Oregon. We now have landed in a town for school and work. The transition to living in the woods to living in a city has not been easy, to say the least. We are struggling with the amount of light pollution at night, the general loud noises of a city, the rush, the bustle, the push. Even though there are some fun/awesome things about the city–the university, the library, good restaurants and new friends, I haven’t missed it much. That said, adversity always makes good art, and I am happy to be writing novels and new songs. While working on my novel, I have written a new song called ‘When We Begin’, about driving in from the wild woods to the city for a job. Before we found a place to live, we found jobs in the city. We would drive into town for work from wherever nice, quiet national forest camp we stayed the night before. Every morning the commute was heart-breakingly beautiful and surreal. Treed, dark woods, heavy fog, the sound of varied thrushes and flickers to florescent highway lights, huge, bright, logging truck traffic, loud beeping of construction and sprawling, ugly chain stores. If I never see another Carl’s Jr. billboard or Kentucky Fried Chicken or Walmart semi-trailer I would die happier. The world does not need these places, by the way. We wouldn’t miss them if they weren’t there. But we will miss shimmering lakes, cold clean fast rivers, dense forests and a diversity of wildlife and plant-life. This song is about all that.

In the meantime, now that we have found a room in town to rent, to cut down on the driving, I have been trying to make the most of being here. Even though I have visions of running away again to the desert, I am trying to appreciate the new friends we have made, the opportunity to go back to school, and the ever present challenge of making money, yet staying sane. I am trying to keep up on projects that really matter to me in my heart. I really would like to record a music album and if I work for that, and work at the practice, I just might get there from here. Below are the lyrics to my new song and a Soundcloud clip. Good luck out there.



Waking, to make-believing,

At the alchemy of dawn.

Fallen leaves are love letters to Spring,

This is our luxury.

Steady now, with the brights on,

Don’t know how to respond,

Unabridged from a wild place,

To squared-off blocks and fast pace…

In the early hearts of when we begin,

Pushed to the rush and the dust and the din!

Today , I don’t know where we are.

These one-act plays, I can’t bare to watch.

Straight traffic lines and florescent lights,

I’ll never get used to it again.

In the tender hearts of where we begin,

Pushed to the rush and the dust and the din!

I’ll never get used to it again.



Dispersed Camping Tree Stories

This upcoming photographic series is dedicated to the trees I have seen on my recent adventures in the dispersed camping areas of Oregon. Most of this series will be shot on film, but I thought I would include a few digital photos to give folks an idea of the project.

Packing up our belongings, storing some but taking much of what we own with us, my husband and I decided to leave Portland and explore many of the back roads and remote areas along several key rivers. We travel and camp along these by-ways, trying to re-discover ourselves, searching for ideas and examples of “Home” in the forests and habitats which many other species dwell. I will be documenting the condition of the trees where we camp each night.

I was first intrigued by modern human artifacts when I embarked on a solo coastal backpacking trip a few years back. My curiosity grew to concern, however, after finding so much trash and seeing so many trees damaged in many back-country camping areas. My worry is for the health of the trees and our species alike. What does it say about us humans that when we venture to a peaceful setting, we shoot, stab, cut, chop, stake, carve, tie and strip the very forest area we go to enjoy? Is it our supposed separation from these environments or ourselves that makes it easy to do this? Is it frustration with our plastic over-working economic gain-based world? Is it just as easy to pound a stake into a tree as it is to dump paint or old tires into our water sources? Do our constant heinous logging techniques make these actions pale in comparison, or just illuminate an overarching colonial attitude of conquer and control? I don’t believe we can categorize this behavior only as pure thoughtlessness or drunken irresponsibility. In the coming months, I hope to find out through investigation and tree stories, just what these cruel messages can teach us. At the very least, bring some of the behavior to light, in a sort of ‘ground-truthing’ photo experiment. More to come…

December 2015 Art Show: PDX


‘An Exploration of the Fifth Season…’   by Spencer Fisher  …Photographs and Wall Sculptures

If anyone happens to be in Portland-town any time during the month of December, I will be showing some new work at Miss Zumstein Bakery and Coffee Shop (5027 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218). The opening reception is SATURDAY, December 5th, from 4-6, whereby we will celebrate with drinks, snacks and the much anticipated unveiling of the BLUEMAN SUIT. Some of the work I have posted about in the last few months will be included in this show, but much of it is new. Let’s see what more we can learn…

The following is my artist statement for this upcoming show. Thank you to all who have made this possible.

What is the ‘Fifth Season’?

The Fifth Season is at once the actual time signature of my second round of being in Portland and an addendum season to the four we are used to. In that regard, the Fifth Season is described as our emotional season, or our response to the peaks and valleys of our existence, through time. This can mean taking shelter during turbulence, or it can mean opening up to difficulties and seeking learning, acceptance and atonement—as an agreement of being human: I will be curious, move forward with respect and allow change.

As humans and artists, we all have the capacity to create lightening at any given time, even from dormancy. As a seed pushes up with seemingly no agenda except to live and fulfill a cirque of energy, I am trying to achieve this.

I have found a stride of work I am continually fascinated with. Photography, drawing, painting, making sculptures, sewing and music—all investigations really—these help me create relevance and remind me to value the gifts of each day. My methodology includes using essences of travel, dreams, studying relationships and found objects. My art then offers this vehicle for thought exploration and different ways of paying attention.

The Fifth Season also offers a chance at intimacy, if we let it. As humans, we have a lot of investigating to do of our place on Earth—our place in the galaxy. We have issues with object relationships and how we relate to one another. How we deal with our trash, for example, or ‘invasive’ species, ocean and river pollution, or war, says a lot about our willingness to evolve, ignore or control. My nature is to continually try to make things better along the way, but sometimes it is necessary only to breathe and to listen.

Definition of Season:

  1. one of the four periods of the year (spring,summer, autumn, and winter), beginning astronomically at an equinox or solstice, but geographically at different dates in different climates.
  2. a period of the year characterized by particular conditions of weather, temperature, etc.: the rainy season.
  3. a period of the year when something is best or available: the oyster season.
  4. any period or time: in the season of my youth.