August ~ on becoming 10….

“i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”

~ e.e. cummings, 1950


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Each year ~ actually, twice a year… I have a birth day that is not my own, but very much mine. The 4th of May, when my daughter Royal was born, and the 7th of December when my son August came into the world… and on those days, is when I truly give thanks… since it was on each of those days that my world was not only de-centered and turned upside down but made into the beautiful and difficult and trying and magical thing it is each day, raising these two independent thinkers who go out into the world each day, after you drop them off at school…They are completely on their own.

Two films in particular come to mind this year, as August turns a decade old ~ Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, which Lloyd and I saw at Pixar when it came out ~ an elegant film that was soft and gentle, and ultimately depressing watching as a mother;especially the moment when Mason’s mom, in her despair as her son goes off to school is like, “is this it”? “She’s not even aware enough to say “I just don’t know who I am when I’m not a mom”; her last baby goes, and I think it totally freaks her out.” ~ says Patricia Arquette, reflecting on her part. Started in 2002, and filmed for the next 12 years, Linklater created a fictional film of a boy’s life, and what it’s like growing up ~ “What do you want to be, Mason; what do you want to do?”  In the making of the featurette, Linklater says it perfectly ~ “You know the film was called Boyhood, but it could be called motherhood, fatherhood, bumbling through adulthood…  it was an opportunity to see parents evolve as well as the kids”

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And more recently, as in a few days ago, I went to the premiere of Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s The Mask You Live In ~ and watched another type of film about boys ~ a documentary that examines the construction of masculinity in our culture, and how our boys are growing up… the way society creates these boxes that define what boyhood is ~ what they have access to, and ultimately who they become…

In the end, we have these boys who become men ~  we birth them, love them, attempt to shape them, as they are shaped by the culture and media around us ~ becoming who they are meant to be… (or who we hope they will be)… Here is a little visual glimpse into a decade of August becoming 10…

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“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… a basket case… a princess… and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.” – John Hughes

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above ~ adventures in the snow in Leominster, Massachusetts, Oakland Zoo, a model for Jamie Westdal at Folkmanis, building a snowman in Wisconsin, graduating from Hearts’ Leap, an art gallery opening with one of Kathleen Henderson’s waxed sculptures, a fun mommy/son photoshoot with Jen Molander, skiing in Bear Valley, Children’s Fairyland, making pizza with Cal Peternell at Chez Panisse on your 5th birthday, playing soccer, hanging in the Hamptons, catching lobsters in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, making dough jewelry in Santa Cruz, seeing Mark Morris Nutcracker at Zellerbach, laying on the grass in front of the Breakers/Newport Mansions, making cupcakes with grammy’s old school egg beater, camping, homeless in Davis, checking out the skyline in NYC, shooting a bow and arrow at Pixar for BRAVE premiere, picking grapes on a vineyard, chilling at Scribe Winery, and being taken on a 4 wheel adventure with Andrew Mariani, cooking and helping out in my 4th street studio, at Joy Brace’s birthday in the country, trampolining at Barb Pridham’s, with grammy Gladys on her 90th, shooting rockets at Scribe, making lots of stuff, learning how to drive a tractor with cousin Kevin Iannacone, learning how to cook in Orinda, playing chess, an A’s game, shelling favas, hanging with Ponyo, helping Eve Love, selling ceramics, hanging around the dessert table at “#77/last supper” (thanks for catching that moment Stu Maschwitz), playing on the beach in Bolinas, napping with Chance and Echo, watching Paddington 3D, collecting fruits for our thanksgiving feast in Bolinas, a first skateboard from Flip Baber, checking out Adam Sobel’s kitchen at Little Italy, playing MadLibs, celebrating becoming 10, around Royal’s strawberry and vanilla layered cake…


“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.” ~ Ben Behunin



  • Reply December 7, 2015

    Heather Kaney

    Wonderful! Both the words and the photos.

  • Reply December 7, 2015

    Carole Borja

    Cari: the entire write up and beautiful pictures of August to celebrate his 10th birthday is fantastic. I loved the write-up and pictures. Made my day.

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