Category: inspiration

the first time i met a bear


As my life has progressed, at different stages, I have relied on different music to drive me, to clarify me, to center me. I think a lot of people go through musical incarnations, and revisit certain records when they need to.
I always come back to the same sounds: Bill Callahan, Jason Molina, Will oldham, Mark Kozalek, Tyler Ramsey, Kurt Vile, Justin Vernon…
The day, years ago, when I was running with my dog on the Parkway AT trail and saw my first bear.. my grandmother (step) had just died, I needed to get OUT of my body, of my space. I remember rounding a curve in the path and making eye contact with this bear. I was listening to Bon Iver For Emma and sitting on a rock, my dog, unaware, on the leash next to me, while I sobbed and Justin Vernon told me what to do and how to heal and I asked the Bear for advice.
We had a conversation.
After a short while, I backed away down the path, back towards my car, real life, everything.. thanking the Bear while I walked backwards..
As I neared the last bend before reaching my car, Cease to Begin came on, and I sat on the hood of my car and wrote and wrote and wrote.
I have no idea where that journal is, probably in my storage unit somewhere, but I remember the feeling of letting everything come flowing out of my hand and letting go.
I also remember the feeling of being full, inspired, driven to keep writing and to go back down to town and keep moving.




simultaneity and every waking hour you let both ends burn

Well, the sun has finally come out. It’s noon on Thursday, the rain has been pouring down for days and days, and I am awfully relieved to avoid another wet commute (that is not a euphemism). I am at Cafe Zing, sitting in the window, realizing that I am really ready to start looking for apartments in the city.

My sweet little Subaru Forester that I bought in July has died.   But, on the bright side, the friend who I have loved since grade school is getting married. I am going to New Orleans with four of my favorite people in the world in a week. A new chapter is beginning, in which will be written the storyline that I have all the patience in the world to discover right now.

My trip to Asheville earlier this month lit a fire under my ass. Not necessarily because I want to move back there or speed through school, but because I remembered that I am surrounded (if not literally or geographically, more in my heart) by beautiful, amazing, talented, inspiring people, both in Massachusetts and North Carolina. Upon my arrival back in Boston and my modicum of involvement in the Occupy movement, coupled with the sweetness of new um, “like-like”.. I have started to try to be more present.

It seems like a strange thing to have realizations upon a series of disastrous events, but that’s how I roll. Inspiration out of the dirt, ’cause there’s so much beauty in it.

And for Fuck’s sake, this time next week, I’ll be on a plane to NoLa.

I’m off to the ICA with my printmaking class.

(simultaneity of organic and geometric forms, the dichotomy of nature and self-control. this is where my brain is right now.)

Citizens of Dewey Park – Occupiers, Organizers, and the 99%

Late Tuesday night, I headed to Dewey Park to find out how I could be of service to the Occupy Movement. After participating in the march on Monday and witnessing via a live feed (and twitter) the arrests at Rose Kennedy Greenway late monday night (see previous posts), I realized that I have never felt more politically motivated or mobilized. Unfortunately, I was feeling that there wasn’t a lot I could do other than spread the word, take pictures, and participate in an ongoing dialog with the Occupiers, my peers and family, students at my college, and countless individuals through social media outlets.

What I realized at about 1am Wednesday morning was that what I have already been doing is exactly what is needed. Those individuals who can occupy, or must occupy, do. Those who have medical training volunteer to attend to those injured, ill, or in need of some water or a cough drop. Those who are able, hold positions in the OccupyBoston Camp as cooks, legal advisors, media coordinators, logistics supervisors, and anything and everything in between. I take pictures. I am a documentarian and an anthropologist. I am a publicist and an interdisciplinary media liaison. I am a communicator through the written word and through images, and I am honored to be able, and humbly encouraged, to use this as my focus of aid in this capacity.

Armed with little else other than my camera and a positive attitude, I arrived at the Camp a bit after 10pm Tuesday, and immediately bumped into several acquaintances who were seeking the same information I was: “How do we help?” and we parted ways, each seeking an answer to our query. As if by some force, the next few hours were spent in the company of several remarkable, intelligent, and motivated individuals, people who occupy positions in the camp as everything from Volunteer EMT, to Media outreach, to providing food to those who are hungry.

What follows is the beginning of a photojournalistic project devoted to, and inspired by, those who are reminding all of us that WE are the 99%, and making it possible for those who Occupy to do so as safely, comfortably, and civilly as possible.


S, Joseph, and Corinna: These three are part of the Occupy Movement, but are not currently occupying. Corinna and Joseph are discussing the possibility of creating site-specific sculpture utilizing the trash that the Occupation is generating, such as plastic bottles, and are interested in the sense of community within the Occupation site.


Nick & Dave are here to experience the community and learn more about the righteous efforts of the movement. Nick is leaving the country in a few days, and wanted tp spend his last week before he left contributing to the cause.


Dan is a volunteer for the Legal Group at OccupyBoston. Dan believes in "the general utopia of living in a small community like this, where the humanity of the small details is what brings people together, and the idea of living in the world that you want to exist in by pure force of will and love."


Dan is an institution in the Peace Activism world. From dumpstering food for and feeding the hungry to rallying people to speak publicly about politics, Dan supports the homeless and protesting community by making sure nobody goes hungry or thirsty and mobilizing outreach and open discourse.

Sarah is a Volunteer at the Kitchen. At first, she was unsure of how to contribute to the movement, but now she feels comfortably at home. "There's a lot of talk about what the movement is, " she says, "but it already IS. People are suffering in different ways, are homeless, are already occupying public spaces. Now, here, people are being fed, taken care of, we are redefining 'public' space. It's exciting, meditative, and sustaining. "

Theresa is one of the original organizers of the Boston Occupation. She is "everywhere and nowhere" within the community, and is amazed at the progress that has occurred since the September 24th initial planning. "The occupation has developed so organically. People were waiting for the opportunity to contribute: what's your talent? what do you want to do to help? how can you contribute? All these things develop naturally within this community." Theresa is a mother of two, and homeschools her children during the day, after which she scoots over to Dewey to help out however she can.

Ryan and Acacia are Occupying working in the Media Tent. Ryan, who was formerly in the Army, is now a student pursuing a degree in Finance. "I don't want to work for a financial firm, and I'm kind of afraid to graduate in the world we live in. People I know with Masters degrees can't even find work."

Dave has been occupying for six days. He is working as a volunteer for the First Aid group as he has been an EMT. "My voice is in low-income housing," he said. "I don't understand how Corporations get tax breaks and are financially supported by our economy, and I can't find an affordable place to live."

Occupy Boston March pictures 10-10-11

pictures taken by lydia see on October 10th, at the Occupy Boston March. Feel free to use these images to further the OccupyBoston movement. Please photo credit lydiasee – where appropriate to do so. Thanks, and feel free to contact me: lydia[dot]see[dot]photography[at] (or comment below). I am. You are. We are the 99% !

Solidarity Forever: Occupy Boston

Solidarity Forever, written by Ralph Chaplin, is perhaps the most famous IWW song. It’s sung to the tune of John Brown’s Body.

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one
But the union makes us strong
Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!
It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘mid the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong
They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong

When that video was shot a few hours ago, things were going well. The OccupyBoston organizers had seemingly covered all their bases, the police were polite and accommodating, Camp#1 was alive with energy and Camp#2 was on it’s way to being approved by the DRC& Parks for use for this purpose, to which the response was “respect the plant-life and you can stay.”

Flash forward a few hours later:

“An attempt by Occupy Boston protesters to expand their encampment has resulted in a massive police crackdown and hundreds of arrests.

Around 1:30 am, police moved in with 16 police vans and along with many more police cruisers and unmarked vehicles on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Boston.  Officers dressed in black equipped with plastic handcuffs surrounded part of the camp, and protesters were given a five minute warning to leave or be arrested.  Most protesters remained, linking arms with each other and peacefully resisting.  Police moved in and, bizarrely, and eye witness reports have come in stating that police dealt violently with members of Veterans for Peace who had come to support Occupy Boston. Other reports are still coming in regarding police brutality, but remain unconfirmed.

Currently, as hundreds of peaceful protesters are being arrested alongside American Veterans, “Solidarity Forever” is being sung.  
Police have removed all digital media from protesters before arrest, which is ILLEGAL (here’s an article explaining why).
Media is limited and the only coverage we are receiving is through livestream, twitter, and facebook.’s first article

choices, or, why blame the world when you could be winning



I have been thinking a lot lately about choices.

Often we avoid taking personal responsibility for circumstantial events in our lives because we see events as rooted in chance or entirely due to external influence. I am always late for everything and I regularly find myself blaming the slow-moving old-lady driver in front of me, the slightly delayed train, the guy taking FOREVER to order his coffee. In those moments, if I allow myself some grace, perspective presides. Perspective that reminds me that regardless of the current situation, everything has been in motion by my own choices.

In an article by JD Samson on Huffington post, “I love my Job, But It Made Me Poorer,” this dilemma is discussed with regard to her current state of employment and the choices (or circumstances) in her life that have gotten her there. She opens the article by taking full ownership for her predicament,

I am so lucky that I have been able to create art and music and fulfill my passions through my job for the past 11 years. But I’m stupid enough to have put all my eggs in one basket. It is now the only thing I can do to make money. I’m 33 years old and I can’t make coffee. I don’t know how to use Excel, or bartend, or wait tables, and I’m officially too old to join the police force. I’ve lost the confidence to go back to school and feel stressed out about impending debt when I think about further education for even one second.

Unfortunately, Samson goes on to identify three external factors which prevent her from moving past this plight, three factors which she seems to blame, rather than sticking to the original assertion that her problems stem from “having put all [her] eggs in one basket.”

    1. My family will never be rich; in fact, as they get older, they will use up their supply, perhaps even leaving me with their debts…
    2. I will always be a queer woman, a woman who makes 77 cents to the man’s dollar, and a queer who makes 23 percent less than the heterosexual. Does that mean that I make 54 cents to the straight male dollar? Wow.
    3. OK, so here’s the emotional part: I’m trying to keep up with artists who have had a similar amount of success as I have had, buying expensive meals, expensive jeans, expensive drinks, and trying my hardest to appear to be making the same amount of money as they are…

While initially, it seemed like Samson indeed took full responsibility for the elements in the equation of her dissatisfaction, as she writes, she becomes steadily more “poor-me” and steadily less “I did this to myself.” In the comments section below the article, most people responded with a resounding “Yes!” but a few commenters left quite wise responses, this being my favorite:

Great article, and I was right there with you until you stopped taking personal responsibi­lity for your life and started blaming it on outside things (I’m a lesbian, my family isn’t rich). It sounds like the 3rd reason you listed, living outside your means, has far more to do with your financial struggles than the rest. Quoting wage statistics is all well and good but someone who makes her living as an artist doesn’t fall into the same wage scales as the people those numbers are aimed at (hourly wage earners) and it is basically comparing apples and oranges. Your family not being rich was a barrier to entry for you, but once you make it out of the social strata that you were born into there’s not really a huge influence on one from the other.

Anyway, thank you for sharing, it was a wonderful article and your closing points certainly resonate; everyone is suffering

in this economy and something must be done about the nonfunctio­nal system that is currently driving all of us into this national funk.

Now, I don’t want to seem insensitive, I understand the plight of the starving artist probably more than the average person, but what Samson appears to be communicating is a defeatist submission to the external: the things I cannot change outweigh the things I can.

I do not believe this is true.

Every pattern in one’s life is alterable. Unless you are stuck in a rut that is not of your own immediate design (disability, caring for a parent, contractual obligations, mortgage, debt, etc.), nothing is prohibitive. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and of course these changes can’t happen overnight, but change is possible, and probable, if only with the slightest effort.

Stuck in a loveless relationship? Hate your job? Hate your living arrangement? Hate your city? Well fuck, get on craigslist, look for a place, a job, a missed connection. Go sit on a busy city street and watch people walk by and imagine what is not prohibitive in their lives. Too broke for the jeans/dinner/apartment/whatever it is you want? Save a dollar every time you empty your pockets at night in a jar. A dime. A cent. Change jars are scoffable, I know, but it adds up fast. Need Health Insurance? Apply for Government assistance (I get Heath Insurance for free in the great state of Massachusetts because I’m poor). Learn a new skill. Always wanted to learn to bartend? Get a Bartending Bible from the library and start reading. Always late for everything (and this is the constant thorn on my side)? Plan things earlier than you have to. Schedule fun or rewarding things earlier in your day to get you started right. Get a morning coffee buddy or pick a coffee shop filled with attractive patrons and baristas, so you WANT to go in (ahem.. Dripolator Asheville).

It’s not about blame or judgement or feeling down when your goals aren’t met or the changes in your life you would like to make seem impossible. It’s not about pinning these road bumps on other people, situations “beyond your control,” or wishing your life were better, that you could make positive changes, that you can transcend your current state.

It’s about choices. Choosing the path that’s right for you, the one that will make you happy and satisfied with your life. Choosing to shed old habits, which yes, die hard, and replacing them with new habits, positive changes.

This will not happen overnight, so you (and I) might as well start now.



Tyler Ramsey “The Valley Wind” out today!

Tyler Ramsey has a formidable presence. Though outwardly regal and composed, when he sings, all the tiny and beautiful creatures come pouring out of him, amongst their stories, and wind their way out from behind the mane of chestnut curls which swing freely across his face while he plays. His arrangements are humbly alive, even the softest notes are electric, the absence of sound is heavy and substantial.

Ramsey has a singular sound, somewhere between Jason Molina and Mark Kozalek, and is able to hit notes on the higher end of the spectrum that could sound labored when sung by a less-resonant voice. Ramsey’s vocal mutability is characteristic of a seasoned musician who exercises his strengths while challenging his weaknesses. His Americana-infused finger-picking walks the line between delicate and complex, mathematical and fluid. The more complex his composition, the more effortless it seems, and yet, when playing the simplest of notes, there’s a strained beauty, a haunting quality to the sustained notes.

The Valley Wind proves Ramsey’s skill at arranging sparse yet effective compositions to accent his uncanny ability to tell stories through suggestion. The title track features a heart-beat courtesy of Seth Kauffman, and the cascade which mirrors this rhythm feeds the image of long road-trips and borders on anthemic, while “Nightbird,”** with it’s layered tracks of increasingly incandescent guitars is monumental in it’s subtlety: “is it the ocean, the ocean or the sky that you are seeing, I know sometimes our eyes can be deceiving. Is there a reason for these disconnected feelings you are feeling? Everybody knows you should be sleeping.. you should be sleeping.”

 The Valley Wind is out today.

Buy at iTunes:

Buy at Amazon:

Buy at Fat Possum Web Store:

or at any stops on his forthcoming tour, dates can be found at or on facebook

Here are a few shots from the Tyler Ramsey show in Asheville on November 18th 2010.

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler RamseyTyler Ramsey

**(“Nightbird,” is particularly resonant for me as I heard it the last time I visited Asheville, sitting in Tyler & Joti’s kitchen. The morning I left to drive back up North, we listened to the beginnings of this record, just after Tyler had shared a few of the newer songs at a show at the Grey Eagle a few nights prior, and for some reason this one stuck in so many ways. And now, eight months later, he is releasing the record as I am flying into Ashevile.. “fly home, everybody’s waiting.”)