Freedom is to live on the edge and still feel comfortable.

Transcript: Inside, It's as Huge as the Universe — Carol Jazzar, Ep: 16

Kristen: I'm Kristen Soller and you're tuning into Kidnapped for Dinner: conversations with creatives about the disorienting moments, fears and failures in the creative process and the very missteps to success. 

Tonight, we are welcoming Carol Jazzar to the show who is a Miami-based artist who helped shape the city's art scene as a curator, turning the two-car garage of her home in the quiet neighborhood of El Portal into a thriving exhibition space in 2007. As a result of a deeply, personal challenging period in her life, Carol shifted her focus from the more public, established life of her art circles to her inner life, reclaimed her home as a personal sanctuary and began developing her own artwork, employing collage, writing, psychoanalysis and astrology. 

Carol, welcome to the show, tonight. 

Carol: Thank you. Thank you for having me. 

Kristen: It's a pleasure. So you moved from Paris, France over 20 years ago to South Florida. What drew you to the neighborhood of El Portal?

Carol: Well, before I moved to El Portal, I lived in Miami Beach. El Portal was by chance, really. I was looking for a house. I had a little kitten and I was living in an apartment building and she was miserable. [laughter] So, I was telling her, "Oh baby. I'm gonna buy you a house," [laughter] and really the cat prompt[ed] me to look for a house and I was driving that neighborhood and I saw a woman walking down a driveway with a for [sale] sign in her hand and before she put it down, I stopped the car and said, "Ah, are you selling your house?" And that's how I got the house. 

Kristen: The cat was happy about it?

Carol: The cat was happy, yeah. [laughter] The cat is actually — I don't know if you remember, but I have [a] picture of her on the outside garage. The white cat. 

Kristen: Yes, Carol has a large print of — what's the cat's name?

Carol: Soma. 

Kristen: — Soma, on one of the walls of her home in El Portal. That's a nice homage to — 

Carol: — to Soma, yeah, who passed away. She died actually a couple of years after I moved in. 

Kristen: Where did you get the name from? 

Carol: I was reading Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and I don't know if you read it, but you know they have those robotic people and to make them happy, once a week, they give them a pill called "soma" to make them happy, to you know, take them out of their brain. 

So I said to myself, "Well, that little creature makes me happy." So, it's Soma. 

Kristen: Your little happy pill. 

Carol: Yeah. 

Kristen: What drew you or what led you into a career as a curator? 

Carol: I mean I was always interested in the art as a teenager. Actually, I wanted to write a book and take photograph[s]. That's what I thought I would do. 

When I came to Miami, I was making clothes. I was making one-of-a-kind clothes. It was alternative wear. More for clubs, maybe. And I rented a room at an art dealer. He was selling prints and I had a room at his house. I was kind of fascinated by that - his world. He had a large collection of books. So, I didn't know many people in Miami at that time so I used to come and see him at night and really, he gave me the passion for art. Told me about what he was selling and he had beautiful works by Mimmo Rotella, Lichtenstein and I knew [a] few French designers that were coming to Miami Beach at the time and he was trying to do business. So, he was always, you know, prompting me to show that piece to that person and little by little I got involved into art. And then, after that, I met a lot of artists who were complaining they didn't have a gallery and I just started like that. 

First, I was showing their work in bars and restaurants on South Beach in the late 90s, and then, I move[d] this way, you know, towards Wynwood, Design District, and then when I acquired the house a few years later, I transformed the garage into an exhibition space. It was not really a plan, it just happened organically. 

Kristen: You hadn't thought, specifically, "I will become a curator." 

Carol: No, it was just — 

Kristen: — kind of like how you found the house. It just — 

Carol: — yeah, exactly —

Kristen: —found you, in a way. It's interesting that you were showing other artists in restaurants and bars, in, you know, kind of intimate spaces like a house that people gather and it's not a conventional space to show work. But — 

Carol: No, and what's interesting is when you show art in unexpected places people who come will have an unexpected viewing because it's not the typical white cube. So, they're already different, their psychological barrier is not there. You know, they don't know where they [are] going. I mean, going to my house they had to cross a large driveway, so already you are taken by nature and then you were entering the space. So, it was different, it was more relaxed and I believe it created a different experience. 

Kristen: And did you have that in mind when you decided to open it in your home, or was it kind of, "Oh, maybe I'll temporarily have a space here and then find a gallery."

Carol: No, I never thought I would find a gallery but I saw it as a creative venture. 

Kristen: You have a beautiful space. You've these lush trees and you have this beautiful pool with ceramic tiles and all these other plants that I don't even remember the names, but... 

Carol: Yeah, no, it was fun. And you know, some of the artists did amazing, amazing shows incorporating the space, the pool, the outdoor, even the mezzanine upstairs. So, it was fun. It was, you know, it was unconventional. 

Kristen: Hard to ignore the space if you're going to show work there and do installations.

How did you see yourself kind of fitting into the fabric of the art scene in Miami?

Carol: A little bit like an outsider because my place was not a conventional place and also because I was showing whatever I wanted — I mean, good work in my view, but I was not following a trend, per se. So, I mean, I felt a little bit like an outsider but still connected to the other galleries and always, I went to see the shows that other people were showing. So, I mean, I was still part of the community and I feel like I'm still part of it. 

Kristen: Completely. Yeah, I remember, I mean, I moved to Miami in 2009 and I remember when art walks were still a thing in Wynwood and your gallery always was part of that kind of group, of that wave of galleries like Dorsch Gallery and —

Carol: I was not really part of the gallery walk because the space was out of the way, but it was a destination. That's what's different. I was not part of a circuit, so it was like, yeah, it was a peculiar creative venture and it was fun, at the beginning, you know, and exciting.

Kristen: And how do you think other artists and art enthusiasts saw your space? And saw your gallery? 

Carol: Well, I think people who came enjoyed it. They enjoyed it because it was different. I think that's what they enjoyed the most. 

Also, the art. I showed some really good artists. Some of them have attained national recognition, almost. I think it was so thoughtful, the work that I was showing. It was a little variety of works. So people who came enjoyed the the art I believe, but they also enjoyed the surrounding[s] and because it was different. I think it was easier to socialize with one another because they could go, they could see the show inside the garage and be outside, then go inside my house and hang out. So it was like a house, almost like a house party but still professional. So, all of that created a different experience. 

Kristen: Right, it was almost an art project in and of itself. 

Carol: Yeah, exactly.

Kristen: And at the time, did you kind of see yourself as a successful gallerist and curator, or how did you see yourself during this time period of having the gallery? 

Carol: Yeah, I mean, you know, depending [on] how you measure success, but definitely, at first, I was doing what I wanted so I was successful no matter how much I was getting out of - I was doing what I wanted to do. So for me, it was successful. 

Kristen: So you did eventually close your gallery, close your doors in 2013-2014 —

Carol: Yeah, 2013. 

Kristen: — 2013. What prompted you to do that? 

Carol: Following a breakdown, I have to say. It was not - I was in the middle of a breakdown, but I had been involved with a man I was in love with. At the end of 2012, we broke up - I mean, he broke up and it was such a shock that obviously, I was I was sad, but I don't know, I was very vulnerable at that time and it brought a lot of issues from my past that I had not resolved and a lot of issues from my childhood. 

And, all of a sudden — okay, the breakup was hard, but it was what was coming up that was really unexpected. It was like an eruption of feelings and memory and some of them and most of them had buried them, you know, because they were so painful at the time. You don't want to feel, you don't want to feel that pain, again. So you bury it, but everything was erupting. It was like a volcano of feelings and emotions. 

Kristen: It was the catalyst.

Carol: Yeah, exactly. 

So, for one year, I was still running the gallery. Luckily, the shows were planned at the time because I was going through the motion, but I was not really there, you know —

Kristen: And what were some of those feelings that were coming up about yourself, about your path, about everything, I guess? 

Carol: At first, it was erratic. It was disturbing, overwhelming. I decided to close and also, before before that event, I was not really happy with what I was doing. Before that, I was already doubting. I had lost my desire for what I was doing for the gallery. I didn't really want to do that. I was not on the right path anymore, somehow I felt trapped. I felt trapped by the business and because I felt responsible for other people, the artists I was working with, the community, the people I was involved with. So I felt trapped and that event — it couldn't happen otherwise, almost, you know? 

So far one year, I was still running the gallery. During that year, in 2013 — because I closed at the beginning of 2014, actually — for one year, I didn't know what was happening inside me. And I didn't talk to anyone. Some of my friend, yes, but barely because it was hard to put words into what I was feeling. 

Kristen: It was still this raw emotion. 

Carol: But at the end of 2013, I started to do a treatment. It's a Chinese treatment called Moxibustion and it's like a cigar shape and they are herbs and you apply the heat on acupuncture points. So, a doctor had recommended that treatment three years ago, but somehow that moment I felt compelled to do it and so for an hour or two every day in the morning, I was going outside to do the treatment. 

Already to be still, I started to reflect, you know, pause, reflect and go back, you know, to my path and especially my childhood. And so, I think I stop in March 2014 — that was the last show and after that, like for two years, I didn't, I couldn't do anything, really. 

Kristen: Yeah, the term, "an eruption" is an apt term. You define yourself in the past few years by a certain path, certain career and, you know, closing the door, you don't have that role to define you anymore. It must have been scary and terrifying. 

Carol: It was scary also in terms of money. I didn't know if I would be able to support myself. I had no money saved, no income. So yeah, I was scared and also, I knew I didn't want to keep on doing the gallery.

The ego was was bleeding [laughter] because, "Ah, who [am I] gonna be? I'm not going to have that —"

Kristen: — external validation.

Carol: Yeah, exactly. I have no money. I had other desires, but somehow I thought, well, you know, I'm old. I don't know if I have the energy to start again, to do something else because I had already done different business before [laughter] the gallery. So yeah, but anyway, I couldn't, I had no strength, no energy, so... 

Kristen: And did you think, even momentarily that okay, maybe once I get on my feet, I'll just reopen the gallery? Or was it an absolute thought that, "I do not want to be a curator anymore."

Carol: No, I knew I didn't want to do it. 

Kristen: So, thinking about what you're going to do after you, you know, recover. I mean, I know there's no immediate solutions, but — 

Carol: The thought was to get healthier because also, at the same time, I was in physical pain and it was not like a muscle soreness. It was like in my bones. I could feel the pain in my bone. So, it's like all my structure was breaking down.  So, I realized after that the pain I was feeling in my body was just a reflection of the pain I was feeling emotionally, psychologically, but I couldn't really express it at the time, so I was just feeling it, physically. 

Kristen: And all of that had been buried and it was just brought to your awareness. That's a big —

Carol: Yeah, it's a big shock. It's a big shock. 

Kristen: And so what were some other things that you did to kind of work through that? 

Carol: Well, the Chinese treatment and also during that time, I started to make collages because I didn't understand that experience. 

At night, I was depressed, I was not speaking to anyone, I didn't seek professional help and I was bored at night, depressed, lonely. I had a stack of Art Forum magazines. One night, I picked up one and I started to rip off pages and I created like a silhouette and then after that, you know, I was making collages. I was not thinking about what I was making. I was just - they were just coming out. 

In 2015, when I looked back and saw all these colleges, I started to place them in an order and I realized, wow, that's exactly what I went through — breakdown through breakthrough. And so it was like 30 collage[s], like 30 steps. 

Kristen: There's a true visual representation of what you were going through, emotionally. 

Carol: But it was through the image. I had not put words into it and someone came at that point, in like 2015, a woman came and I showed her and I showed them in the order and kind of told her what happened and she said, "Wow, you should publish that story," and I thought it if I publish it, it has to also be through words. And so, I mean it took me a while to start writing, but that's what I'm doing now.

Kristen:  I imagine that the collage as a medium in and of itself is really satisfying because of how tactile it was and just, you know, cutting through the pages and being able to arrange those shapes immediately on the page.

Carol: Yeah, it's intuitive. You know, you don't even think it, you cut and you you play around with different color, different shape, different form and then, well, it comes. That's it, it's there. And it's the experience. It's the energy. The energy I was feeling manifested itself through image, at that moment.

And now, when I write, the energy manifests itself again, but through words, so it's very different. It's a different type of experience. But once you're able to put words into an experience and a feeling, then you really own it. 

Kristen: Right, it's another level of processing that experience. 

Carol: Because that's how we can - we define reality through words and image and symbols. That's our three modes of apprehending reality. So, for me image came first through collages, then words. I was able to to voice that the experience, the feeling, what I felt. And then I'm going to add a third component later, which is astrology and its symbol. 

Kristen: Right, which is also a very visual tool in a way. 

Carol: Yeah, 

Kristen: So, in the aftermath of this event, how did your personal and professional goals shift? 

Carol: I mean, I cannot say that there is an aftermath of the event because it's an ongoing event now and the event is to awaken and to be alive, really. I mean, I was alive because I was living and I was on two feet walking, but I was not truly, truly alive and that's what I realized. This experience made me realize that I was not really living.

Kristen: Right, it takes complete awareness — 

Carol: Yeah, there is a saying, like a Confucious saying: We have two lives and the second one starts when we realize we only have one life. And so, it's so true, you know, because it's —

Kristen: — in a way, that, I mean, not to say that the breakup was a good thing, but — 

Carol: — no, it was a good thing. It's the best thing that could have happened to me, really. I thank[ed] that man, at first, on a daily basis. Now, once in a while, I say, "Wow, thank you. Thank you for this experience." But also, thanks to me because I could have just let it go and you know, it demands a lot on the individual. You know, also my desire shift[ed] to, "Ok, I want to live, I want to be alive," and so that that desire fuel[ed] my quest. I mean, it's a spiritual quest. 

Kristen: Right, and so knowing now that, you know, you want to work towards being more alive and aware, how do you see your experience in the past as a curator and being in this more public life? Why do you think you were kind of drawn to that for that much time? 

Carol: Well, I was drawn to the art, for sure. I always knew I was creative and like I said, when I was a teenager, I wanted to write a book and take photograph[s], but somehow because of personal experience, because so many reasons, so many circumstances, maybe lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and also because nobody told me I could do it. You know, I didn't think I would, I could make art, and not just being an artist because being an artist is just a word, but to create. 

Also, why I'm able to access it now. It's because all these years - because I had pushed down so many feelings. I was not intimate with myself and so the lack of intimacy, if you're not intimate with yourself, it's really hard to access that creative juice because that's really where it is, so I couldn't create before. 

Kristen: You didn't have that raw material. Besides collage, were there other media that you were drawn to to help process the raw emotion? 

Carol: Writing, yes. I was journaling about what was happening and also another event took place during that time because I was very emotional and so very sensitive and sensible and one day, I was driving to the supermarket and I saw a tree, a blooming tree. And it was in full bloom and as I was driving, I saw that tree magnificent, you know, and I started to cry, it was so beautiful. It was like the first time I was seeing the tree and I started to cry because it was beautiful, then came the realization, "Oh my God, I've been driving that same street for a decade, I never noticed the magnificence of that tree." 

So then, after that, I really cried for my lack of awareness and the lack of presence. So, I was depressed [laughter]. I got depressed for another few days, but then, I was walking around my neighborhood just to meditate and after all that, I started to take my camera and noticing the beauty that had eluded me for so long and I started to focus on detail, on plants, tree, flower detail. So it was nice and so when I was taking those walks, I was not thinking about my misery, you know, I was in nature, I was focusing on what I was seeing and being present. When you're present - that's it, nothing exists, you're outside of linear time. You're outside time, you're there and being outside, being in nature, you feel alive. 

I remember being depressed inside the house and as soon as I was stepping outside, my mood, you know, shifted because the leaves were waving —

Kristen: — all this life outside of you. 

Carol: Yeah, exactly. At night, the cricket, the opossum, the raccoon — they were stopping by, checking me out. And you know, there is so much life. 

Kristen: Those reminders are not so - not as far away as we think.

Carol: Yeah.

Kristen:  And I think linear is a keyword because I think a lot of us can get caught up in moving in a linear fashion. That okay, I'm going to get this job, I'm going to climb up the ladder and make this certain amount of money, and when you get caught up in that, you really do forget to be present and you start to kind of become more preoccupied with external sources of validation. 

Carol: Yeah, definitely and it was me. [laughter] It was me for decades. 

Kristen: And I think easy to hide from it. It's easy to not be intimate with yourself because those are hard realities to accept. That okay, maybe I'm not this one flat image of myself that I wanted to be.

Carol: Yeah, but I realize I was geared toward something, towards a goal, but I had to to see why I had that behavior. It's because I thought I was not enough, that I was lacking something. So I thought, "Okay, I'm not enough, but I'm going to try to achieve something in the world."

So to be loved or to be respected by other while I was not really loving myself, truly loving myself and truly respecting myself, I needed validation from the outside, from others and I mean, I cannot speak for other people, but I think sometimes, we do things in unconscious ways. It takes a while to break down our pattern, or our mechanism.

Kristen: Oh, completely. I mean, based on our experiences growing up, we develop these narratives or these scripts for ourselves that, you know —

Carol: They're myth. That's our myth. 

Kristen: Right, how do we change that? 

Carol: Yeah, exactly. You have to deconstruct your myth and eventually, you know, create other myth[s], but that are not based on past karma. 

Kristen: Right, and what was that myth for you, that you had to kind of break through? 

Carol: What do you mean?

Kristen: Based on your childhood and your upbringing, what was that old kind of script or narrative that you were holding on to? 

Carol: I mean, I don't want to say, "abandon," because my mom didn't really abandon, but she put me into — not foster, but I had a caregiver. I was raised by another family. So, that fact, I thought, "Well, if my mom had given me away like that, something must be wrong with me." 

Something was wrong with me that she didn't love me and so it was buried in my psyche. You know, I was not aware of it. But when I deconstructed from my childhood to my adult time, everything I did was trying to prove that I was not bad and to try to be loved or to be respected or to get validation from outside.

Kristen: Right, early on, you learned not to trust yourself, too, and that that instinctual, creative impulse was a thing to pursue. You learned not to do that, in a way, based on that experience.

And is that a subject that you now write about in your work or is it — 

Carol: I'm writing about - so from those college[s], it's like 30 chapter[s]. I mean, they are not long chapter[s], thousand word[s] for each. But yes, actually, I could say that art save[d] my life, in a way, because that project really is making me aware of who I am and who are we, really. Who are we? 

Kristen: That's the big question. 

Carol: We're a pile of flesh and that's it. And then, we have these energy crossing us. I mean, I don't know. We come from a spiritual place and then we experience our karma through feelings, through emotions that we are not necessarily aware of and then, you know, rationality comes after we put thoughts and then word[s] into those feelings. 

Kristen: And you can see that parallel in starting initially with the collages, which is more intuitive, and then, adding that layer of rationality through your writing.

And also you were mentioning you do photography, as well. Is that an important part of your process, or that's kind of a separate process? 

Carol: No, that's separate. And I see now that I have like two practice[s]: one indoor, inside my house that is about my nature and then another one outdoor, which is about nature.

And so, you know both is connected because I am nature and nature is me. So, it's the same, but I'm I'm using different medium. 

Kristen: Right, and you started showing your work, again. When was your first show - with your collages and your photography? 

Carol: The first show I had, actually, it was a group show, but I was still running the gallery because, like I mentioned before, I was not truly satisfied with what I was doing and I had started to play around with things, with word with collage, but not not like I'm doing now. But it was just playing around and someone invited me for — Alice Raymond, actually, she was curating a show at Dimensions Variable and she was asking artists to participate and I had put one piece. And so, that's the first show I participated. And then... 

Kristen: And how did that feel? To put your work that's so personal on display?

Carol: It felt strange. I mean, I felt disconnected from the art, from even from that experience. I remember when I brought it, I put it on the table and I turned my back and — 

Kristen: You birthed this thing and now it's very separate from you. And how did - I mean, I imagine people that supported your gallery came to these shows as well and —

Carol: It's -  you know, when you change, people around you have to change. You know, the order change, our social orders change. So for some, it was easy. For some, it was not easy. 

Kristen: How so? 

Carol: So the perception — for some people, I can see that they changed towards me. 

Kristen: Right, there's some insight on the nature of your relationships, I'm sure. 

Carol: Because now, I'm not that person. I'm a different person, so they haven't adjusted that perception yet. I mean, less now, but it was definitely true at the beginning. 

Kristen: I remember - was it an interview in Cultured Magazine or - I don't remember the Miami publication, but you had said that you didn't even really regard yourself as a curator or an art dealer but more as a provider. So I imagine, you know, people kind of see that role and when a provider or even a maternal figure of sorts kind of shifts —

Carol: Yeah, you reclaim her.

Kristen: Right.

Carol: No, it's true. I didn't see myself as a dealer or curator — it was, yeah, I don't know if I use the word "provider," but like a facilitator, I think. And that's how I saw myself: as a facilitator. Yeah, no, it's a big shift. You have to accept when people change. 

Kristen: Right and in a way, opinions vary. So if you hinge your, you know, your value on other people, it's always going to shift. 

Do you feel more grounded now, today? 

Carol: Oh, yeah, definitely. So, I was on Instagram and Facebook and few months ago, I stopped. I mean I still have my account, but I'm not putting anything and I'm not seeing post[s] and it brought some freedom, even more freedom. You don't have that social pressure. And I when I meet people that I used to see on Facebook or Instagram, we have better moments, you know, we have like a real conversation. 

Kristen: It's an interesting - it's a weird experience when you almost see somebody's life so much on social media that you don't know how to talk about that in real life. "Oh, I don't know if I should bring up that picture that I saw of them hanging out with some other people, the other night." It's not even - there's just this whole layer of rules that are introduced after, you know, having a more digital relationship, but it sounds like you did a good thing by cutting that out.

Carol: I don't know if I'll get back into it. Perhaps. 

But from astrology, I also forgot to mention when you asked me what I was doing. I've been studying astrology. My mom was - I started because my mom was always interested in it. I remember when I was a kid, she was always mentioning the planets, or the full moon or this or that, so, since we were not really close and I wanted to get to know her better, or at least have some relationship, I started to be interested in astrology. I thought, "Well, I would be subject we could share." 

And 10 years ago, in 2008, I started to study. and I have to say during that period, that has helped me because I knew what was happening in my charts. So, I knew I had particular aspect that were difficult aspect. So, I was able to understand, or at least I did after, I understood my experience through astrology. 

Kristen: Interesting, so it added more layer of understanding than when you were able to with just collage and writing. 

Carol: Yeah, and that's why that project is about those three layers: the  image, the words and the symbols. 

Kristen: I have to say, I don't know a lot about astrology except what I see in, you know, magazine columns. That's not even true to the practice, so — 

Carol: Because astrology really is astronomy, you know, it's a study of the planetary movement. 

Kristen: Was there anything surprising that you found when you dove deeper into astrology that you learned about yourself or your relationships or...? 

Carol: No, but the more I learned about myself through self-reflection, self-awareness the more I understand about astrology and what it means — that particular aspect, for example, you know, like a conjunction or the position. I understand because I live it. 

Kristen:  Had you kind of dabbled in it before the event, is what we're calling it?

Carol: No, but few, maybe three years before that happened, I went to see an astrologer and he had seen my chart and he told me about a particular aspect — it's the square between Pluto and Uranus and those are like our planet. So a square like that happens every - these planets came together in the 60s, and between 2012 and 2015 they were in their first square, which is 90 degree from each other. So, it doesn't happen on an every year basis.

So, he told me, "Well, you're going to have that and it's square to my ascendant, to the degree." So, he was explaining things and, but the way he was explaining it sounded critical and I remember when I drove back to my house, I was thinking, "Oh, my God, what's gonna happen?" And then, you know, life happened and I forgot about it. And it's during that, I mean, yeah during the event I was aware of that square and I remember "Oh, yeah..."

Kristen: So, you initially brushed it off —

Carol: Yeah.

Kristen: But its significance came back. And astrology do you feel has added this kind of spiritual, more spiritual connection with yourself?

Carol: Yeah, because it's about the mystery. I'm a mystery to myself and this is a mystery too and I'm trying to learn astrology to study it. It's a way to understand, to understand my experience here because it's abstract. I mean, even though we have cars, we have houses, we have societies. It's still an abstract experience, at least to me. And so it's one more tool that I can get to try to grab something and, you know, understand. Yeah, understand what is it to be alive? 

Kristen: Right, and I so appreciate you sharing your experience because I think it's very easy to get caught up in this digital kind of world on social media and trying to present these perfect almost, you know, flat cartoon images of ourselves. There's more layers. There's more complexity and it's okay, it's okay to be —

Carol: It's huge, actually. When you go inside, it's huge. It's as huge as the universe. 

Kristen: I would say that some of my friends even, you know, my sister and I we talk about where we're going in life. And it's so hard to cultivate that awareness. It's easy to kind of say, you know, I feel a little off, I'm not feeling happy today or I'm not fully satisfied but to go that deep and — 

Carol: And also not to blame the outside because I had that behavior: it was not my fault, it was my circumstances, it was my upbringing, it was that particular industry, it was this, it was that, it was always something. No, it's nothing. It's me.  

Kristen: And that hurts to say. 

Carol: And then when you turn your eyes back on yourself, the ego bleeds, the ego bleeds. Yeah, it's painful. It's really painful to say, "No, no, it's not the outside. Outside is perfect the way it is." It's inside that we have - I had to change. 

Kristen: Completely, and so now that you've kind of patched up your bleeding ego and are you know working on more —

Carol: — Oh, yeah, but it still bleeds once in a while [laughter] you know, they're like, once in a while there is something there that [laughter]

Kristen: [laughter] You wouldn't be human, if not.

And so what's on the horizon for you? What's coming up next, do you have any shows? Do you — 

Carol: No, right now I'm kind of a hermit, I think.

Kristen:  I would be if I lived in your house. [laughter] You have a beautiful house. 

Carol: No, I enjoy my simple life, writing, making collages, a different body of work, taking photographs, learning more about astrology, reading — trying to work on myself really, because my only goal now is to be alive, is to be aware as much as I can. And it's easy to sleep into the dream, you know to — 

Kristen: Half-awake. 

Carol: Half-awake, yeah. 

Kristen: To coast through life.

Carol: Exactly. So, it's our only awareness to be here and I'm lucky that I'm able to do it with art. I'm really lucky I'm able to do it visually. I'm able to to do it through writing and just learning. Also, enjoying other people's work. 

Kristen: Something that stuck with me when I visited you at your house to kind of talk about doing the show, you were showing me a few of your collages and there was one where you had written down, what your goal in life was or it's something related to freedom and I wanted to ask you to share that again.

Carol: I don't remember which one it was, but... 

Kristen: I think about...living on the edge... 

Carol: Ah, yeah, I remember. Freedom is to live on - I forgot how I said it. Ah, yeah - Freedom is to live on the edge and still feel comfortable. And that's that's exactly what it is. That's what freedom is, no matter what happened, no matter what comes at you and you're on the edge but still, it's okay because you know, you have faith. You have faith in yourself, you have faith in life and... yeah. 

Kristen: It's beautiful. I would like to conclude on that note. [laughter] I think that's a great last group of words. Carol, thank you so much. 

Carol: Thank you for inviting me.

I hope I made sense because maybe I was all over the place, but... 

Kristen: There's so much that you said that I could relate on so many levels, and I'm sure a lot of people could relate, so thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your experience. 

And if anybody wanted to see your collages, where can they see them? 

Carol: From that series, I'm not showing them because I want to finish the project. 

Kristen: Sure, yeah, you're still developing it. 

Carol: So no, nowhere actually. 

Kristen: All right, so people might run into you just walking around in nature. [laughter] Thank you, Carol. 

Carol: Thank you. 

Kristen: And thank you everyone for listening. And that concludes Kidnapped for Dinner. Until next time. Have a good night. 

Carol: Good night.