At the Crocker Art Museum

My heart is in this place. The Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento California, is such an amazing, beautiful, wonderful museum. Put it on your MUST SEE list.

I’m just posting images today. No words necessary. If you have any questions just ask and I will answer. Or go to crockerart.org for more information.

I can’t always explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports.  It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Enjoy. Oh, one more thing. I’ll post a story inspired (sort of) by the museum. It is also about dogs and full moons and maybe a little romance…maybe.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California.

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Night Dogs (A Short Story)

Constantine Jones sat on the bottom of the museum steps wondering what just happened.

Earlier that evening he’d put on his best Armani suit, a Hermes silk tie, and was feeling good about the outcome of the evening. It was to be a charity event. Beautiful people would be there dressed up. Everyone would be relaxed, and happy, and it would be delightfully fun.

After discussing art and drinking champagne he’d lured a few well-heeled patrons to remote galleries to see some unusual modern art. There he took a few pints of blood from wrists and left his donors with no memories, except those of a delightful conversation with a well dressed, nice looking young art expert. Well, a 165 year old art expert, but that was besides the point.

Then in the main gallery, the California Room, he saw her standing in front of the Thomas Hill grand painting of Yosemite Valley. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room but she was attractive in a cute sort of California girl way, and had that delightful look of both shyness and playfulness. Her olive green dress shimmered along the neckline with iridescent beads. As she turned her head towards him it was like a lightning bolt had hit his heart. First sight.

Second sight as well. A smallish dog of unknown breed stood next to her with a service dog vest on. A service dog. Why did she need a service dog?

With his usual ease, Constantine approached the woman. He asked if he could pet the dog. She said yes. She told him she’d had a head injury when she was in Afghanistan. She’d been in the Army. He would never guessed. The dog could detect seizures.

They talked for an hour about art, and life, and it seemed as if he’d met his soul mate. It was the best hour he’d ever spent. Then she was gone. He hadn’t even asked her name.

So like Prince Charming, he sat at the bottom of the stairs wondering where Cinderella had gone. All he had of her was one of her earrings he’d found on the steps. It was a gold strand with a single diamond on the end. The diamond was real.

I might as well walk home he thought. It was just a couple of miles. He’d clear out his mind. The full moon, and lights from late night downtown bars and restaurants lit the way.

Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw a large dog wearing a back pack. A service dog? A smaller dog in a vest followed. Around the next corner, in an alley, he saw three more large dogs in the dark, all wearing packs.

Maybe it was a training exercise. The dogs could have been German Shepards looking for drugs or a missing person, or even bodies. It was weird, but at this point he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He was a Vampire so weird and unusual was over rated anyway.

Constantine thought about the woman he’d met. She’d been a nurse in a convoy, and there was a bomb. She didn’t say anything else except that her dog was named Tess. She liked Jazz music, indie films, and indie books. Of course she liked art too. She was a high school art teacher now, having moved on from nursing. But sometimes she helped out the school nurse. Weird how he got those details. He’d told her… what had he told her about himself? Not much. He was a Vampire so he never told much, at least not at first. He’d told her that he ran a philanthropic foundation that supported the arts, and other causes. He told her he had two cats and liked astronomy. She also was a watcher of the moon and stars. Then she kissed his cheek, excused herself, and a few minutes later he saw her walking out the front door of the museum.

As a Vampire he usually had a good feel for people but he couldn’t get a final read on her. Again, he thought about the fact that he didn’t even get her name. But the dog was named Tess. Tess the service dog.

Constantine thought about war. He could imagine the horrors she’d been through. He was a child during the Civil War or the War Between the States, whatever they wanted to call it. Those weren’t memories he cared to relive. He’d come out to California as soon as he was old enough to be on his own, as soon as he’d become a Vampire, and stayed there.

As he walked along the dogs with packs stayed in the alleys and shadows. Looking at the local news feeds and police scans from his iPhone he found nothing. One of his neighbors was a K-9 cop. Constantine would ask him about it tomorrow.

Arriving home at his craftsman style bungalow he noticed a few dogs in packs at the end of the street. This was getting weird. Odder, and a nice surprise, was that a woman in a slightly wrinkled olive green dress, and a single diamond and gold earring was standing on his front porch.

Tess the service dog stood beside her. Hanging off of her shoulder was a back pack.

No. It couldn’t be. She wasn’t Cinderella. She was a Werewolf.

They introduced themselves, again, but this time with names. Her name was Diana. Like the goddess of the moon.

“You have my earring,” she said smiling and holding out a hand.

“You have my heart,” he heard himself saying, much to his surprise.

Then he kissed her under the full moon, as Tess sat at attention and wagged her tail.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Special Art Auction to Benefit Song of Sahel

Special Art Auction to Benefit Song of Sahel

 

A great opportunity to acquire beautiful original artwork for your home and benefit the children of Africa!

 

Join us on September 15 at https://www.facebook.com/events/455785594445002/ or Here for the event when you can meet some of the artists involved in the project. Listen to music composed especially for the event. Hear live readings of some of the poems submitted. Listen to a radio broadcast. The event begins @10am GMT and continues around the clock until 10am the following day.

Join now. Submissions are open until 15th August.

Contact US Via www.ontheplumtree.wordpress.com for further details on how to make a submission or how to link with us.

 

http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com/

 

http://www.plumtreebooks.co/#!Shop1/c218d

 

 

From The Song of Sahel

those who have; those who have not
those who dream; those who do not
those who consume world resources; those who have nothing
those who complain about rain; those who die for rain

How Do We Show Solidarity?  

 

From Niamh Clune founder of Plum Tree Books:

 Where I was in Sahel, people were tall, black and straight as ebony sticks, and stood out in sharp relief against the barren landscape. In that terrain, even colour is forced to fight for existence. White is colourless.

People who live there are experienced in coping with three year drought cycles, in the expectation of having one good year. In 2002, after global dimming was discovered, a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) report suggested that the drought was probably caused by air pollution generated in Eurasia and in North America, which changed the properties of clouds over the Atlantic ocean disturbing the monsoons. Tropical rains shifted southwards.

 

The drought in Sahel has been in effect since the 1970′s. African seed is as hardy as the people it feeds. Droplets of rain wake them from four year dormancy. But not even that seed can withstand neglect such as this.

 

Sahel is a belt spanning Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The Sahel forms a transition between the Sahara desert in the north and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. Sāḥil ساحل literally means ‘shore, coast’ and is derived from the vegetation that grows there and which, delineates sand from savanna. The people are pastoral, eking an existence from growing a few crops. Recurring drought undermines natural, traditional coping mechanisms. Locals no longer have sufficient animal herds to trade for food during their ‘poorer’ years. It is too long since the rains came. They have been unable to rebuild herds. Animals die of starvation too.

 

I realise that musicians and artists have traditionally stepped up to fill empty, African coffers. Such gestures are born of a desire not to feel helpless in the face of overwhelming helplessness and senseless tragedy. How do we allow even one child to die of starvation?

 

How do we show solidarity for those confronting starvation, displacement, disease and death? How do we show solidarity for children who will never grow properly, whose bones will be deformed because of malnutrition, whose future will be stolen by starvation, whose budding intelligence will be arrested, nipped in the bud, denied by intervening circumstance?

 

How do we show solidarity to children whose immune systems will be weakened by starvation, allowing the ravages of disease to inflict early death?

How do we show solidarity for mothers, too weak in themselves to bury a child. The hungry desert claims tiny carcasses.

How do we show solidarity for children left orphaned, whose mothers, baked by midday sun, starved and parched, grind grain to earn useless husks with which to feed their starving children?

How do we show solidarity for a mother who, on dying breath, reaches for the child she will leave behind to whisper love’s last comfort?

Do we tell the children of Sahel that the world cares, or are we too wrapped up in our own business to spare a thought for them?

Do we, in the face of all the horrible things presently occurring in the world, maintain our Humanity and show compassion when many of us are struggling ourselves to sustain a livelihood?

We do what we can. We use what is God-given and free. We use our talent.

Children cannot eat words. Blinded by starvation, they cannot see pictures. I wondered at the incongruity of this.  Talent  has value.  It raises awareness. It inspires giving in others. As the Founder and CEO of Plum Tree Books, I put out a call across social media for artists, poets, writers and photographers to join me in a Song Of Sahel.

Song of Sahel, an anthology of poetry, fiction, music, art and photography, will be launched worldwide on September 15 on Facebook. Published by Plum Tree Books as a multi-media kindle and available on Amazon, the proceeds of the sales will go to SOS Sahel, an NGO working in the Sahel region of Africa.

Song of Sahel, brings together artists from all over the world, including the UK, US, Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Canada, South America, Germany, Netherlands, India and Australia to one platform in the hope of raising awareness of the plight of the people living in the Sahel.

 

http://www.plumtreebooks.co/#!Shop1/c218d