(On the third anniversary of this photograph, now fully recovered.)
Tag Archives: Sicilian kitchen
Do you like art and the creative process? Does the “eccentric” life of the “typical” artist intrigue you? Scare you? Amuse you? Inspire you? Read on…
I would like to cordially invite you to join my ARTISTS’ group on Facebook:
It is a private, invitation-only group, but if you request membership, an admin will approve you as long as you’re not a bot.
Not only do I post my own work and artistic musings, as well as upcoming shows and #contemporary #art news, but I have SO MANY uber-talented friends worldwide, whose work I love to share with the public every day.
You could be one of them! All art is the soul, ergo beautiful.
So far the group has almost 4k (!!! — so grateful) members, so if you would like to either be a voyeur or an exhibitionist, please be my guest.
To me, my readers and followers are all VIPs.
Try it out and see if you like it…you can always leave! Ain’t no Hotel California, lol…
Feel free to also follow me on #Twittter: @jjgrape.
(I heretofore take no responsibility for any profanities or insanities contained therein. Twitter is fun! No rules. Just what we painters like best.) 😀
It’s my happy place — besides the library, the easel, or in front of my iMac. 🙂
Above are a few samplings of my paintings, but this group is dedicated to sharing the work of my many artist friends from all around the globe: a virtual #gallery of sorts! What fun.
(But it is strictly bring your own wine and cheese… 😦 Sincere apologies. Hehe.)
…just came across this one, written in the bleak summer of 2012 and never posted.
Difficult to read this, it was…i have since nearly forgotten the horrors that my eyes have seen in the past 12 months alone.
THIS, I will NEVER EVER forget: the horror of BURNING ALIVE for almost five minutes while remaining fully conscious.
I went into paralytic shock and simply stared at the hungry orange flames, greedily licking my arms and reaching for my face.
My silk tee shirt melted into my chest.
My grandmother’s antique 24K gold crucifix glowed hot in the flames, presumably almost molten. I have a burn scar underneath where it hung.
Alas, it did not survive the inferno that my little body miraculously did.
I will never forget that image of a glowing tiny Jesus, helpless on the cross, looking up at me from my own chest in my burning kitchen.
“STOP, DROP, AND ROLL”, the epic drill taught to us in elementary school during the Cold War Era,
completely slipped my mind.
However, ON A POSITIVE NOTE!!! — I am delighted to say that through the use of beautiful images and positive thinking, as well as the purest love of my three year old son, William James, I have made it through another personal Hell. Through the the magickal world that is photography, painting, and digital imagery, I have crawled, bloody and charred, from the bottom of the blackest of millennial holes. AGAIN I WILL STAND IN LIGHT. Painting religiously, writing, and shooting, while exercising like a madwoman and plying myself with vegan meals and phytonutrients, I have overcome burn injuries that would frighten Freddie Krueger into submission. (I sustained third degree burns on 80% of my body above the torso, excluding, somehow, my head — and have healed 1000% following the most gruesome nightmare i ever had while awake.)
My left arm, once slated for amputation, was surgically receated in January, using flesh and skin grafts from my lower and mid-lumbar region, and I sweated through 8 months of grueling physical therapy. I graduated!
NOW: FULL ROTATION > SKIN COMPLETELY HEALED > OFF PAIN MEDS.
My melted and charred body, has somehow (!!!???) completely regenerated itself almost as if the fire itself was eons ago in a distant forest.
SO, here goes…thank God it is over. One more nightmare under my belt.
Hold on, little Susie — this old leather belt is running out of notches.
There will probably not be One More Chance.
For my life, I am eternally grateful.
Here is the BEFORE pic of my arm, post-surgery just 10 months ago.
The last four photos are the AFTER pics, now.
July 14, 2012
“I am trying to remember — one step at a time today — that the body is merely a temple for the soul. I feel that my temple has been blasted with a wrecking ball and am sick of pretending I am fine.
Everyone thinks I am such a hero, and so beautiful, and I am sorry to tell you that it is bullshit.
I am alive. That does not make me a hero.
I have been hiding in my house in the heat trying not to cry because the painkillers do not work, and posting pretty pictures to make myself happy. I stared at my ceiling fan all night in bed, sleepless, praying that the itching and the pins and needles would stop. But every time I drifted off, BAM!!! A stab here, a pinched nerve there. I got so mad, I screamed, got out of bed, threw my pillow against the wall and made a pot of coffee. Called it quits. Heroic behavior? I think not.
I am looking at a body that was once athletic and proud and is now a shriveled mass of gristle and scar tissue. How can I sit back and allow you all to shower me with accolades simply for staying alive? How can I allow you all to tell me how beautiful I am? I look in the mirror now and I want to vomit.
I think maybe I am a writer, painter and photographer because I can create a more beautiful world than the one that actually exists. I look at the photos I post and sometimes think, “Gee, I wish that was my life.” Maybe I have disassociative disorder. Maybe, as a photographer, I am merely a liar with a camera and a paintbrush. I have been told that the world I have created is indeed a beautiful one, so that leaves me to ponder further on whether or not the filter of intense physical pain causes me to see everything as ruined and distorted — hence my unending surprise when I do see my photographs uploaded on to the screen. “Who’s life IS that? Certainly not mine!”
I am not fine. I am in pain. And I am sick of being strong today. I just can’t.
Sorry. I am going to let myself hide, let myself cry, and
just keep trying to photograph myself onto another quantum plane. Lord knows this one is feeling mighty sucky today.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. The truth comes out. If people run from me now, as I expect they may, I will smile in recognition of the fact that when you laugh, the world laughs with you.
And when you cry, you surely cry alone.
I have my paints. I have my books. I have my son.
I have God. At least I thought I did.
I am beginning to wonder.”
November 23, 2012. 9:20:48 P.M. EST
ALLES IN ORDNUNG. I am A-otay, Buckwheat.
Âllo, Herr FIRE???
Was ist das?
Who is laughing now?
The Original NYC COCKROACH — unkillable.
Janice J. Cunningham
I just play this whenever i feel lonely. I’m HOME again…”If your friends love you so much, go live with your friends!” “I’m not cleaning’ up aftah him any more, I’m NOT DOIN’ IT!” “Don’t eat that, that’s for Friday!” “Tell me now, because I don’t want to get home from the store and have you tell me I didn’t buy it!”
Smile if you are Italian and this sounds familiar. HAHA! Hilarious.
PHOENIX HAS RISEN. For the Umpteenth Time… (A memoir of a Mama On Fire – literally and metaphorically.)
(Google, if you are unaware, the bird called the PHOENIX…the one who famously arose from ashes to soar once again.)
I have a newfound respect for fire.
While cooking Indian food, i made a pound of GHEE (clarified butter, now known to me as human lighter fluid) and accidentally spilled some on my tee shirt. Did not give it a second thought.
Bent over front burner to stir the basmati rice and peas in the back, and all I remember is hearing the sound, “WHOOOOSH.”
Softly, yet roaring in my ears like the quiet loudness of the ocean surf in a hurricane.
The sound one hears in tragic nightly news footage, or worse, in personal experience,
of a building or a car spontaneously and completely combusting.
That sound was the sound of my entire upper body instantaneously igniting, and burning at lightning speed.
MY HEAD, and my entire torso from the waist to the back of my neck and ears, was ON FIRE. In flames.
Big, orange and yellow hungry ones. They licked at me with the furiosity of a tiny, starving kitten crouched in front of a ceramic dish of cold milk.
I watched in horror as my lovely brown cotton tee shirt melted into the flesh of my abdomen.
I stood very, very, still and said the most sincere and silent prayer of my entire existence.
I had accidentally turned myself into a HUMAN TIKI TORCH.
A veritable 5’2″ 95-pound candle with flaming limbs and head.
“Hmmmm,” I remember thinking, from some faraway place. “I wonder what one does in THIS predicament?”
I, who thought, as a feisty Italian-Irish NYC ex-patriate, that I KNEW it ALL.
HA! Wrong-O, Janny Dangerously.
A brand new experience for a woman who had erroneously thought she had seen and done it all — who KNEW?
I stood motionless, everything moving as in a gritty Super 8 film, watching myself burning alive.
Then I had an idea. I poured a pot of water from the sink over my head.
I heard sizzling and smelled something akin to Moo Shu Pork.
And HELL knows I do not eat pork. Won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Except Gramma Cindy’s Christmas ham. To this juicy and << VERBOTEN>> delicacy, I cannot say no.
Hypocrisy – are we all not guilty of this?
So, onward and upward.
My blouse had almost completely melted into my body and half of my hair had singed off.
There was an acrid aroma of spare ribs and burnt hair suffusing the entire kitchen, and the kitchen mat was covered in blackened tee shirt tatters.
I have a bit of OCD about cleanliness and order. Mama Jan was very, very, dismayed.
(Hello? Can we all say, UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE MILLENIUM?)
I am covered in bandages like a MUMMY — somehow strikes me as funny, to finally be a real English Mummy to my son,so very PROPER. I CAN do a very good British accent to rival that of John Cleese or Dr. Who. PERFECT after all!
Perfection makes me very content.
HEHE…funny,funny mama. NOT.
Spent the wee hours in the trauma burn unit at Metro Hospital being doused with ice water and given an IV drip of painkillers.
I was totally naked on front of some very handsome doctors, so at least i had a tad bit of fun.
Yes, I am an admittedly sick and slightly twisted woman.
Or maybe just a passionate Italian painter with a curious mind and a (literally) flaming heart.
Third degree burns over entire upper body, some skin burned completely off left upper arm. I can still use my hands! I AM SO GRATEFUL! They told me the scars would likely be pretty bad.
I asked them if they had ever read THE VELVETEEN RABBIT.
Our scars are what make us beautiful and REAL,
truly, truly REAL.
I bet I can hop even faster and higher than that ol’ stinky and much-loved stuffed rabbit any day now.
Miraculously, my face was untouched, save for a blister on my lip, and my fingertips are in pain — but I can still type, since the blisters make them momentarily numb before
the rage of pain screams at me to use a pencil to peck at the keyboard, which I am doing right now.
It is slow.
This irritates me.
I like to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.
I am fine, do not worry. I need no pity, and seek no drama.
I despise pity, and DRAMA has a very advanced GPS system. My street address, as well as my email addy and links to my FACEBOOK page, are typed in as multiple entries for ease and expedited, not to mention (KEY WORD) FREQUENT, location and usage.
If one thing is for sure, i am even MORE full of joy because when my son’s grandfather raced over to save the day,
he found me writhing on floor, smoke still rising from my burnt body.
I was softly still screaming to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and GOD ALMIGHTY to please HELP ME.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph and GOD heard me.
This, I know, is true.
As usual. As ALWAYS.
On some good painkillers and making a piece of art with the shreds of my burnt tee shirt.
God is good, so so good. Bless you, all my friends. I love you dearly. Never forget that.
I went to the little mom-and-pop candy shop around the corner with my baby’s grandfather Ted today, though it was hard to walk or get in his big truck (I am very tiny and stiff with charred flesh).
I just NEEDED to see at least a small part of the world for a few minutes after being confined to the house for fear of infection.
(Just call me Michael Jackson, HAHA.)
The owner, a lovely round and jovial elderly woman named Mary who is a real-life faux-Grandma to me, had always asked me to tell her the story of how and why I had a tracheotomy tube in my neck,
and why I was in two near-death comas. I relayed to her the tale of the “Indian Cooking Incident”.
She looked at me, smiled her sweet Italian smile, and said to Ted and me while shaking her head slowly,
“Oh my, pretty Janice. You certainly don’t do ANYTHING half-way, do you?”
(Does ANY Italian Irish woman do anything half-way?)
“No, dear Mary, I most certainly do not,” said I.
LIVE TODAY TO THE FULLEST. Treasure EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. They are, each and every second, GEMS.
The Crispy Critter/Mama On Fire hath spoken.