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Oct. 24th, 2016

Rotterdam HS

timetraveling by bus, with companions

The URL for one of Ki's last posted photos, The Man on The Bus:


I wrote a brief current comment in her dArt journal.

Interesting timetraveling in dArt calendars, too; the anna-rosenfeld professional gallery shows her "away 446 weeks" and her kiota gallery clock has apparently reset itself, there the clock now reads "away 3 days". Hmmmm!!!

Busing it up to campus rather than cabbing it (as I did in 2008), you get an impression of how much of Olympia The City stretches out west of the city center... this whole area looks like it's been built into a forest with most of the forest still very much there, it's so pervasive and surrounding you at every turn, houses set into the trees, little shops in lots of places, a couple malls. As you start climbing the hill, lots of great views of the fishing boats and pleasure sailboats and motorcraft moored in the harbor. Roads leading to Evergreen dorms come up long before you get to the campus centre. Sometimes it is only the road, the bus, and the forest on each side. It certainly is a vivid reality of Ki's world.

You can disappear completely into the woods, 24/7, your choice, hers is to go at night, where each tree is welcoming and darkly soothing and safely protects you from the whole rest of the world.

I have not yet gotten down to the Pacific Ocean from campus, I understand there is a trail or three, iffy for a wheelchair even though I would be pushing it and not sitting in it. Will see about that later.

Evergreen might be connected to the world through its myriad servers and workstations, but it is very much a green cocoon. The trees are both newly born, alive, maturing, declining, falling and rotting where they fell.. Ki is very receptive to all of this, and it's giving me (and you) lots more insight into her special world outside her room.

Blessings Be from Brad/ Silverplate88

Oct. 21st, 2016

Olympus Sureshot

act two

We're here. Last move for Brad, ever. It is act two because one of the missions in replanting here is to continue what work we can for the homeless of Olympia. To do that best, you have to become one of them.

It's a different camera angle from those available to Ki, but to remember, the last photos she published on Deviant Art in April 2008 were those she took of the city homeless and their pets and their attitudes, which come through as positive. Even today, more than eight years later, when you look at her photo essays, just as she did then, while choosing and posting them to share with us.

Positive attitudes, yes. Not surprising at all because they were reflecting Ki's own attitude.

In this shadow-world there's a boatload of determination to fight against the REALLY inept social bureaucracy which says they try to help you --- while empty beds stay empty in shelters and brothers and sisters get drenched in the rain.

Right now, tonight.

Ki railed at the visitors who came by to lecture. These lecturers had cars, money, jobs, safe places to sleep and plenty of opportunity. The lecturers berated the homeless to "go get a job" "get off drugs" "stop being so lazy" etc. etc.

She mourned "They just don't get it."

Separation gets us nowhere. Us against them. Separation from her college community peers, whether imaginary, or real, or both, is one of the big reasons Ki is not here anymore. She did NOT separate from any of us, in those last hours.

With each of us, on our own personal paths, her spirit is continuing to companion us, and we can choose to keep her work going, in whatever way or ways are given to us. A big way, of course, are the ways we might be able to work on our own demons who damage us.

Ki had been given a videocam, the same night she got it she took it downtown into the homeless community, and walked about among them, filming interviews which she told me were "very strong", and she had begun to start editing them on her computer.

There is plenty left to do.

Blessings Be from Brad / Silverplate88 co-Mod with Otter

Oct. 9th, 2016

kiotaweapon 1 pen

whatever the hell I want

Brad writes: when you see the stars, you are looking upward into history. (What I meant recognizes the fact that the light we see coming from a star has originated so far away that it has taken years, even centuries, to travel here before we see it; we are seeing starlight that really started its journey a very long time ago, before our actual lifetimes, in many cases.

Ki writes: I study whatever the hell I want. (In April 2008, she was explaining Evergreen's educational system to another girl who wanted to come visit campus.)

Yesterday I did not have to look upward into history. I looked across the room at three Evergreen students, one of them Class of 2017 (therefore, a senior), whom I'm introducing as "Brenda" ---

IMG_2728 (S3) (2) (LJ).JPG

She told us that "I didn't know anything about Palestine or Israel before I started school here." She took history courses, she developed an interest in finding out about the human rights implications of the massive funding America gives Israel each year, and did a lot of extra reading, and ended up "studying Political Economy, with a special emphasis on the Middle East." This Spring Quarter she is interning at the Rachel Corrie Foundation, and after graduation intends to keep on working on human rights issues related to Palestine.

My point is that this is the heart of education and growth, both Ki and Brenda are dedicated to the rights of poor and oppressed people ("I want to document human rights issues in Cambodia", Ki wrote in January 2008 about her summer film project there, as part of an Evergreen course).

Brenda was a member of a panel (the other two are to Brenda's right and left) discussing Student Solidarities at Evergreen and what they are actively doing to promote social justice... lots more than just reading about it. Again, a parallel to Ki.

I am also volunteering at the Foundation, dealing with the same issues, it is one of the reasons I just moved out here from New England.

My whole idea of education is that it's for exploring, to move along a bridge that takes you from where you are now to ... (destination = your choice.) That's what Ki and I were doing when we visited on campus that last April. And eight and a half years later, that's what these students are doing now. And all of this is quite exciting.

It's far more than mental exercises or taking exams. It is adventure.

It's life.

:Blessings Be from Brad / co-Mod with Gothicotter

Oct. 6th, 2016

Rotterdam HS

it's day one all the time

Brad / Silverplate88 crossposting from my other J:


Blessings Be.

Sep. 29th, 2016


You're in People's Lives For a Reason

Madelyn Gould is something called an Epidemiologic Psychiatrist at Columbia University here in the USA. She has spent the last 30 years researching depression to figure out ways to prevent suicide, which is "one of the most significant public health threats facing young people." Dr. Gould got one of her patients to agree to an interview in her office, with a NY Times reporter there also, who wrote the story (citation below.)

The client is a college junior who had dropped out of high school, survived depression and suicide ideation by rechanneling her energy into "drawing and taking photographs" instead of deciding to spend that energy ending her life by jumping off a bridge. She apparently did all of this on her own, without an active pdoc at the time.

She decided that she did not want her last emotion to be regret: "I learned that what happens in your mind at the point of death, that's your last thought. I've learned I can be OK with being miserable. I tell myself, OK I'm miserable, but I'm just going to wait... I decided instead that I'd rather make more art, learn more, be a part of something."

"And I realized you're in people's lives for a reason. They want you there. It's important to stay."

Dafna is the first name of Ki's therapist, Dafna shows up often in her original journal:

"I missed Dafna again today. And I don't care. I don't care if I never go to therapy again. Frankly I'm sick of it. Not been doing very well. Depressed. I've been involved in several ridiculous arguments/debates in the last few days and people's idiocy/amorality is really depressing... [Dafna] helps me sometimes, but for fuck's sake, four times a week, I don't need that anymore. I still have tons of issues but they're things I'm dealing with on my own and she isn't really helping with."

2006-09-21 (Ki used the same icon in her LJ entry; she is sixteen and in Israel, also a high-school dropout, now enrolled in a private Special Ed school for At-Risk kids, studying for entrance exams qualifying her to start a college career in America. Which she goes on to do.

Today the Fall Quarter at Evergreen is in full swing, freshperson classes for the 2020 graduates have started. When I move permanently to Olympia in four days, I will certainly meet students downtown, in addition to the graduates I already met last October 2015.

Ki's class was the Class of 2011.

The parallels caught my attention: one student was saved by her art, including photography; Ki was also into photography (had been for years) and was studying figure drawing in April 2008. Each overcame educational hurdles.

I think each one of us around Ki's table are --- and were --- in her life for a reason. And in one another's.

And we are all enriched as a result.

:Brad/Silverplate88... co-Mod

NYT ref is a story by Gabrielle Glaser, "Illuminating Suicide's Shadows", 8/21/2016
Helpful book: Kevin Hines writes Cracked not Broken: Surviving and Thriving
after a Suicide Attempt
. Hines is bipolar and did jump off the bridge, now has made a documentary film out next year.

Aug. 14th, 2016

kiotadreams1 purp pillow

some words for Susan

Susan Tedmon Rosenfeld, Ki's mother.

A life to honor, as well. As Ki did, though they had their differences, some very dramatic.

Susan was born here in the USA, emigrated to Israel with her husband Tom when Ki was just a tiny infant. Bore him five more children. Settled in the Occupied Territories, West Bank, Efrata. Earned a teacher's license and taught school, younger kids; for all I know she is there doing that still...

From Ki we have the note that Susan had a difficult time (at least at the beginning), she had been an "alcoholic for my first seven years".

Susan's eldest daughter was interred at the very beginning of Passover 2008, not far from their home, in Cfar Etzion cemetery, Israel.

We've already had Passover 2016, eight years later. The years pale in comparison with the hole that's left in Susan's life. Which she will always carry. As will Tom. Then, and right now today, as you are reading this.

She wrote me at the time that "grief has a trajectory all its own." We did not meet when I was there in Fall 2008, but those words ring true, and always will.

Some in our Friends circle, our Memorial circle, were not mothers in 2008, and we are now. Hopefully none of us has had to start enduring this kind of loss, hopefully none of us will for a long time to come.

Why this is timely now is that sisters and mothers of children, who are no longer here with us, are among our extended family of athletes at the 2016 Olympic Rio Games (athletes who have talked about it... and their relatives, and they are among the public witnesses in the political arenas here in the USA with our national elections quickly coming.

Out of their deep love, Sue and Tom did everything they could figure out to help Ki, including taking her out of her IP at a psych hospital AMA, getting her private pdoc help, and creating the conditions in an alternative school which enabled Ki to excel in American College Board Exams and start college at Evergreen, on the other side of the world in Washington State, even though she had been a high school dropout.

Of course our loss is not the same as theirs, and can never be. But it is a parallel challenge not just to mourn but to follow the light onward. "Mourn, but let yourself get over it," Ki wrote in 2005, in what she thought then would be a final note ending her life (which it wasn't, yet.)

What I LiveJournaled in her original LJ on the day before burial was "and now... you are not alone any longer, you've dissolved yourself into light and peace and you are really here with us more than ever in a most special way. As someone else has said, you are having the adventure of your life."

Today is Sunday 14 August, the beginning of the 435th week of her new life. This coming October we will be celebrating the holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, which in the Jewish tradition is the season we hope to be inscribed in The Book Of Life for the coming year.

Machaya Hamatim.

Which means, "life everlasting."



Ki doesn't count weeks like this anymore.

All times are the same time, now.

My prayers are that Susan will continue to find the light and peace she needs to live forward in the lives of the kids in her classes. Now and forever.

Finding peace and light.

As may we all.

Jul. 9th, 2016

Rose petals

Lilly Hope Lucario

My co-Mod Otter posted a reference to Lilly over at Facebook.

It's from a PTSD website, the words resonate with Ki's:

"...empathy is about meeting people where they are at. With no judgment, no demands, and not assuming you know their journey. Empathy is vital when helping severely traumatized / abused people. A lack of empathy only harms more."

You could add "listening" and there you have the reasons why Ki was so successful as a TeenHelp online counselor.

:Brad / Silverplate88
Autumn Whisperings

notalwaysweak has a birthday

It is happening on Sunday July 10, and he is a special member of our family.

Another of my friends, who is not linked to any of us here, also has a birthday the same day, but his started in 1926 --- so he will be ninety. And you would never know, mentally he is very sharp.

I will party for both friends.

Time melts, faith and love do not. Bridges always soar even though you cannot see the far end.

:Brad / Silverplate88 = co-Mod with Gothicotter

May. 23rd, 2016

she lived how she wanted to

IMG_0316 (2LJ).JPG
IMG_0312 (2).JPG

Haruka Weiser was a second-semester, first-year dance student at the University of Texas at Austin. It was early this past April and she'd called her roomie from her dance rehearsal to say she was finished for the evening, leaving the theatre building at 9:30PM for her five-minute walk to her dorm.

She had only a few more minutes to live...

The Austin Police Department identified her murderer-rapist and arrested him quickly, a few days later. Her burned backpack and laptop and journal were found where he had been tracked by surveillance cameras.

Haruka had been a "tiny powerful little spitfire", according to a magnet HS friend in Oregon, who hadn't started dancing until she'd been 13, very late for a dancer... but she was a natural talent who'd excelled so quickly that by 16 she was dancing professionally with Portland Ballet. She'd won a full ride at UT, a scholarship with the College of Fine Arts.

The image that stays with me powerfully is of Ki, who also was "tiny" and "powerful", who also won tuition grants for her art, and also --- early in April of her Freshman year --- would suddenly never make any more art for us; her hands and limbs also lifeless, we would not be able to watch any more of her writing and photographic art as it was growing and blossoming.

Ms. Weiser is no student I ever actually met, but she serves as a symbol for me, a symbol of all the dancers I ever designed ballet lighting for... she also will never create any more beautiful performances to share with us. And it resonates more deeply because I have attended rehearsals in the same space as Haruka, walked the same pathways on campus as she did, late last century... this was well before I had even met Ki --- first, as a cyberFriend, and later on our visit, again walking the same pathways, this time with her right next to me. At UT, the Performing Arts complex is very near the central Tower center of campus and only about a mile up the road from my home theatre THE VORTEX, which was founded by three theatre grad students who had classes in these same buildings.

Another of Haruka's friends, Jade, commented that "She lived life how she wanted to, and that's how we all should be."

And strive for... each of all our days.

:Blessings Be from Brad / Silverplate88 co-Mod

May. 11th, 2016


I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short

IMG_0247 (3) (LJ).JPG

She had "a fierce belief in leading a life of purpose..."

I was poking around in a spiritual bookstore and this book jumped up into my face: The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan.

Marina did not write the book, she couldn't, she was dead at 22.
When it came out she would have been 24.

Multiple parallels with Kiota's journeys, it's why we invited Marina to stop by.

Kiota, born in 1989, The Evergreen State College Class of 2011.
Marina, born in 1989, Yale University Class of 2012.

Marina writes (in a poem):
"...Do you wanna leave soon?
I want enough time to be in love with everything...
I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short."

Ki writes (in her original LJ, last post:)
" I think I'm leaving soon... can't stop crying..."

Marina is five days graduated from Yale, riding with her new boyfriend in an SUV. It's afternoon, broad daylight, in coastal Massachusetts. Boyfriend = neither speeding nor drugging, falls asleep. SUV runs up onto guardrail. Their airbags suddenly explode. SUV flips over at least twice. He's wearing his seatbelt, he's fine. She is not wearing hers, she bangs around tumbling inside the car screaming, her head crushes into the roof at road level, her neck snaps, she's gone.

Marina's tragedy, totally unplanned.
Kiota's, not only NOT unplanned, but rehearsed many times through many previous years.
Kiota, in coastal Washington State, other side of America. No vehicle involved.

Ki was seventeen days away from her 19th bday, she's gone.
No graduation, the closest we have to an essay is "Requiem for the Silent", her adaptation of Akhmatova. Which is more confessional than Marina, just as brilliant.

In that next week after the car crash, Marina's graduation essay goes viral, it's read more than a million-and-a-half times in 98 countries. It's also titled "The Opposite of Loneliness".

In the next weeks after 13 April 2008, hundreds of Friends in LJ are posting words of loss and mourning for Ki. Many of them, her clients also on TeenHelp, are sending words of tribute and mourning, from all over the world, to her home in Israel, to her parents. Snailmail and email.

Marina, a serious writer.
Kiota, a serious writer. And budding photojournalist.

As far as we know, Ki's instructors have kept their feelings to themselves. Marina's compiled and edited a book from her essays and non-fiction pieces, published them as The Opposite of Loneliness in 2004 (trade paper, 2015.) Anne Fadiman had been Marina's principal writing instructor and she had many comments relating directly to Ki too. This one specially resonates:

"Marina wouldn't want to be remembered because she's dead.
She would want to be remembered because she's good."

Marina, her essay, June 2012:
"We are so young, we are so young... we have so much time... what we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over... we can't, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility ---

because, in the end, it's all we have."

Marina saw the end of her life coming at her in seconds. Extreme close-up focus.
Ki saw the end of her life coming at her for years and years. Split focus, more like a montage.

When each one of them were Freshwomen, in the middle of their first year, they went out into their storms.
For Marina, a snowstorm on the East coast of America. For Ki, a rainstorm in the West. (Many of them, actually...)

Marina gets a text from her friends telling her to meet them in a bar. Marina has trekked as far as he could in the opposite direction and worms herself into a big empty lecture-halled building on campus:

"...and I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. And alone, at night, in the middle of a storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe."

Kiota's rainstorms are physical, and emotional too. In the middle of her Freshman year, walking on the Evergreen Campus trails also alone, also at night, also in the middle of winter, armed with her hunting knife, Ki was not hunting to find any friends: "I honestly believe they would not give a damn if I died tomorrow." Ki did this often --- she felt a special solace and safety, walking at night at the edge of life among the dead and rotting trees, among their new growths, along the dimly-lighted trails leading down to the ocean. Friends, yes, living evergreens dying and rebirthing all around her...

Had Ki felt "unbelievably safe" too? Doubtful ::: more likely it was feeling alone, at night, in the middle of a storm, with her campus courses and their stressors and her hostile roomies far far away. (The forests are really 'giant' and really dense.) Safety came from her blade.

"we MUST not lose this sense of possibility,
because in the end, it's all we have."

"I don't want to die. I'm scared of dying... but I can't see any other option." "I'll just have to wake up again and hurt more."

At 22, Marina's sense of possibility vanished, along with everything else: she had just been hired at the American magazine "The New Yorker" to start work with their full-time writing staff later in that summer of 2012...

At 18, Kiota's world of possibilities was expanding as fast as ripples from a stone dropped in her rainpuddle ::: college credit (with scholarship money) for a photojournalism project that summer of 2008, with a student team recruited nationally, to, as she wrote us, "document human rights abuses and the poverty in Cambodia"; a national college campus touring exhibition featuring one of her portraits; an exhibition in New York of some of her work at Aperture Foundation and Gallery. Making final arrangements once Aperture's managers and editors flew back from London where they were doing a weekend show.

Flying back on Monday, 14 April...

"I hate to be optimistic but it's like all of my greatest dreams are coming true all at once!", Ki wrote in January 2008.

This is all a very full plate for anyone, especially a college student midway through her first year in a foreign country on the other side of the world. Especially this college student...

At least a couple of us think that all of this amounted to a rising tidal wave, she was moving / being swept / into the birth of a new identity, totally separate from suicide, where that would have no place. And this was an overwhelmingly scary thing... because that was where she believed she had lived for years: failure, worthlessness, darkness, botched attempts at one final solution, "I went looking for men to hurt me." ...

There were glimmers of light, though: "I'm nowhere near as self-hating as I used to be. I don't know..."

So, from one perspective:
as we remember right now, in this May of 2016, at the beginning of her ninth year away from our mortal world:

Like Marina,
Kiota does not want to be remembered just because she's dead. (Though we vividly remember that April.)

Kiota wants to be remembered because she's good.
Which we also do.

<=> <=> <=> <=> <=>

What we hope for is that, at some point in future time, there will be compiled a fitting hardcopy memorial book of creative writing and photographs, one created by her family and her instructors, who will share and comment, which will introduce her to a lot more people... as many, and more, than all those she comforted and saved on TeenHelp... in many countries.

For right now, we are comforted because we have one another, and our lighted Memorial right here.

Blessings Be from Brad / co-Mod ::: speaking also with Otter, co-Mod

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