an experimental non non non non fiction post subtitled YOU ASK FOR WATER AND THEY GIVE YOU GASOLINE

hey thanks for helping me the only way you knew how, but I can’t stop telling every one I know. If you have the time and patience here is a letter I sent a new pen pal who lives in the Ukraine… Its a happy story but I can’t stop crying. Like all the good ones you know?

Thanks, and I had the best gift of all, I don’t know if I told you this, cause I tell everybody slightly different stories but my first friend in the city when I went to art school was {REDACTED} he was a few years older and wiser than me and he was the only one who could talk to me in the begining, I never left my room just drank whiskey and listened to sad songs cause I was far away from everyone who cared about me. He was soooo smart and sooo friendly I didn’t really believe in him, he some how knew more about music than me. I was the only kid in highschool besides my sister and 2 best friends who listened to anything made before 1985, I got it all for free cause I would bring in granola bars and bananas and eat them in the library cause no one else would talk to me and I saved up my lunch money and every friday I would buy a used cd! I listened to it on infinite repeat all week then bought the next album by whatever band I was into that month. But this kid knew it all he even taught me how to play the Velvet Underground Sweet Jane on his dime store guitar (which was and still is my favorite song of all time) and we sang it together at the talent show and everybody noticed me for the first time.
He never spoke a word of it to me but the entire time his mother was dying of cancer, and when she finaly left this world he broke down and went schizophrenic, he jumped off bridges and drank paint thinner (he was a weird primitve painter) and when he wasn’t locked up in pysch wards he was painting amazing huge murals everywhere and writing his own songs for the first time. They were beautiful and we would walk all over town (he didn’t like wearing shoes so he went bare foot everywhere) and he would teach me the new song of the week and by the weekend I knew every line and we would harmonize all the choruses. They were sad songs about hated people and monster that no one could love, cause he loved everyone and no one would love him but me and we couldn’t have sex cause we were not gay. So we got on each other nerves cause he was faster than me at everything, he got restraining orders against him because every woman who would talk to him would end up painted huge and beautiful or he would write 20 minute songs for them and play them outside there house at midnite every nite for a week.
I kinda understood what he was going through, but one night he tried to strangle my best oldest friend and then wouldn’t stop speaking in different voices about the devil and how no one but me could understand him and that every one else was satan and trying to drive us apart so I cut off all contact with him for 4 years, he would call me all the time, would email me every day then one day it stopped and I was both guilty and relieved… then time passed and I got more and more guilty and I couldn’t stop asking mutual acquaintances if they had seen him, the women who filed restraining orders eventually realized he was just painfully lonely and they talked him through everything, every day if necessary and they even posed for him and bought his cds that he drew all over with weird cryptic figures. We were all worried and guilty over it because he taught us all what a real artist looks like. They may seem insane at first but thats because they just have a different way of doing things, but they want what every one wants, friends and lovers and fans because every one is special at something and we all deserve our 15 minutes of fame for fucks sake, he taught me how to talk to people I didn’t know, cause every one eventually came to his side, and if he could do it, I could do it because he showed me how and I never forget anything important.

When I went crazy and ended up locked away I met all sorts of {REDACTED} and they were all beautiful souls trapped in a world that didn’t understand them, but they were all AMAZING at something and taught me how to be sane when you need to be and crazy good at what you love and how to negotiate the two different worlds (I learned sooooo much more from the older lady patients than I ever could from the doctors) and because I saw him partially destroyed by the system designed to help him I was very wary of the ‘good’ doctors recommendations for lithium. He taught me how to sing to strangers so I sang my way out and the second I was out the guilt doubled, how could I abandon the man who taught me everything… how could I, the dude who can talk to anyone, cut off the man who gave me artistic wings and told me every day that I could do anything if I had the energy and right tools. I wanted to kill myself over it cause I thought he had finally done it for good and I would never be able to sing with him again (the thing that made me feel best…) cause I was trying to raise him on everything, phone calls, emails, hand written letters . I couldn’t stop crying at all the sad songs I listened to before he taught me how to talk to strangers. Today after I heard good news at the gallery (he LOVED IT, told me to bring in 4 times the work in 1 month which I’m pretty sure means he understood what I was trying to say but he needs to understand more before he can figure out how to fucking sell it to rich morons, “thats his job not mine” he told me!!!!) and it was hell trying to find him I was listening to billie holiday sing about remembering georgia and all the terrible boy friend she ever had and Boston is going through a heat breaking record and the air conditioning in my truck is shot and I can’t stop crying or sweating or smoking the entire time, it took 4 hours because I couldn’t stop crying because I didn’t know if he was alive or dead and couldn’t see all the poorly placed road signs. I assumed that whatever his fate ended up I would arrive at soon enough. We are all gonna die sooner rather than later and I don’t want to die, I have tooooooooooooooo many things to do, people don’t know the things {REDACTED} taught me yet, they think I pay the people in my pictures or I stage everything cause every where there is disrespect (something you taught me) and NOBODY SEES ANYTHING (something I learned on my own) and I was crying for his mother who set the ball in motion, and I was crying for my own mother cause she will too die someday, and I was crying for {REDACTED} cause I cut him off when he needed me the most and he could be dead, anyone could be… and I could die any minute and my work wouldn’t be done and no one would know how special they are cause I’m the only person I know who does it the way that I do (diane arbus taught me that) and it was sooooo fucking hot that I was stopping every few miles to buy or steal water cause between the crying and sweating I was losing gallons a minute and I had terrible pains all through my body (I had also not eaten anything for 48 hours) and I finaly showed up at his house and I rang the door bell and I screamed his name and I looked around back and found a still burning cigarette (he learned to smoke cause I couldn’t stop) and I was just about to break down and cry for the millionth time when his brother found me, I hugged him and asked if {REDACTED} was buried or still walking around and singing and he said he was taking a shower and he wanted to see me…. I couldn’t hug that guy enough, I was crying with joy for the first time in years and when the man himself {REDACTED} came out I tackled him to the ground and kissed him all over cause he was me in a few years and if he could still be living then we all have a chance no matter how damaged we are. He had some how had a stroke (brain lost blood for a second, could happn to any one at anytime, like a act of god, like a ligheting stike or tornado or tsunami) Everthing I ever wanted had come true and I was I was let go at an execution for everything true and beautiuful that had ever existed, it was like I was kicked out of eden or heaven and was told I didn’t have to spend eternity in hell. If he was still walking around, and boy could he sing every song we ever did, and it was the most perfect version of all time, everything we sang together was the perfect version we sang sweet jane and when it goes, any one who ever had a heart wouldn’t turn around and break it, I was sent to heaven and I didn’t leave his home…. I can’t say this enuff I could have died today and I didn’t and you too could die but you didn’t and every breath is precious and if you treat it like it could be your last than you are an artist it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it as good as is you can because we get better everyday and the world as a whole has been getting better every day since that first darwinian warm pool somewhere and there is no god but we invented him because we felt sooooo alone at nite and because {REDACTED} wasn’t done with life I didn’t have to be and my life could have some meaning in a lonely lonely universe. I can’t stop crying now but it feels so good, like spring rain that you know will feed you all summer and the summer after that and all the way down through history because we are weak alone but get 2 of us humans around a camp fire and we are so strong we could change the world if only they understood out dialect or language….. I can’t type enough about today cause I don’t even give a fuck about the gallery because that will come and go but if {REDACTED} is still alive and being beautiful then I can do the same thing cause he taught me how.
If you made it this far I thank you, cause I HAD TO TELL SOMEBODY and I like writing to people I will never meet in person because its safer that way there is no way you can really hurt me like the way they hurt {REDACTED} because he went through hell 100 times over and is still standing and will tell you all about it if only you have the time and patience to listen… LONG LIVE {REDACTED}


29 thoughts on “an experimental non non non non fiction post subtitled YOU ASK FOR WATER AND THEY GIVE YOU GASOLINE

  1. letter from anon hardcore toureg tuff as nails red head
    a whole lot of this reads very selfishly. You might want to look into that ex “i was away from everyone who cared about me” (who did you care about?) ex (interp) i didn’t believe in {REDACTED}… he was smarter than me… {REDACTED} is alive and i’m happy cause that means i can stay alive too…

    why don’t you just care about him. He needs that… all this time i thought you were having a relavation about how you were callous to someone who was really in a bad way and had guilt for being a bad friend… but it seems (reads) as though you only care cause you think you’re having this glamourous breakdown and you’re looking to him to see how it plays out and you’re scared for your own hide. which is really tacky.

  2. letter from anon lonely heart who keeps buying Russian grooms
    I would absolutly not publish this for many reasons:

    1. it makes you look bad
    not good writing
    has little to do with your actual art
    2. your jaunt into crazy will pass, and no one wants to read a photo blog about it. Stick to your work and the work of others.

    3. leave poor {REDACTED} out of your blog unless you speak to him first… and then, if you do and he’s okay with it… dont be a callous selfish prick about it… cause that’s how you’re coming off.

  3. hmm… you know the woman was right, but so was I so I tried to meet her in the middle, I had to post her comments because they were a different kind of truth and if you can’t understand that then you are really screwed. Thanks Red! Thanks so much and I hope you know that I’m a True Beliver and I actually remember what you told me, you are right about 33% of the time just like me just like everyone else! THANKS {REDACTED}

  4. Letter from anon different red head, good advice actually but its my blog and I’ll do what I want!
    Hey Eddy. I’m gonna go ahead and also suggest you take that post about {REDACTED}down. I don’t think it’s fair to him to publicize this kind of information. I’m happy you found him and got closure on the situation, but this isn’t your story, it’s his. At the very least, change his name in the post. AND– I’d like to point out– your personal take on it is much more glamorous or whimsical than schizophrenia or tragedy actually is. I just don’t think it does justice to either of you.

    Your blog is for your photography, right? This is not the way to get people to look at your pictures or take you seriously.

    Just my two cents, but I really think you need to consider the liberties you take with other people’s lives under the guise of making art. We disagree on this, but I do not think all people are inherently objects meant to be picked up and played with at whim.

  5. real quick {EDDY HERE} you gals are right, but its so sad that in this country in this day and age I can’t tell everyone about {REDACTED} but I know one thing for sure, NO ONE READS ANYTHING THIS LONG, 1 in a million will get to this part and if they do then god bless em they needed it more than anyone else, you were right about redacting {REDACTEDS} name but you weren’t there you don’t know what its like, I really value your advice you are some of the smartest people I know (NO JOKE) but sometimes you have to warm up the audience for an old friend, cause he’s new in town and no one knows how good he do. Thanks and I hope you understand someday!

  6. it really unfortunate how little you have clearly learned over the years, you romanticizing what happened to {REDACTED} then exploiting it for your own selfish means, disgusting, then the redacted thing really??? any one who knows you knows the story of poor old {REDACTED}. its clear that you have taken this blog in a strange direction one that you use for personal attention whoring, eddy i loved you and the things you wrote please tread lightly on others, like you dont want to turn out like him. great quote

    “Just my two cents, but I really think you need to consider the liberties you take with other people’s lives under the guise of making art. We disagree on this, but I do not think all people are inherently objects meant to be picked up and played with at whim.”

    • who are you again, I try and talk to people everyday, its fine if they don’t get what I’m trying to say today cause I’ll try again later, but on the internet every one is invisible so I have to know who you are before I can really respond, I tried to email you but it failed 3 times in a row and the internet just sucks sometimes, thats why I HAD to drive to {REDACTED} house and hug him in person, its a true story, I hope you can believe that please email me at

  7. email from anon person, I don’t even remember who it is
    it really unfortunate how little you have clearly learned over the years, you romanticizing what happened to {REDACTED} then exploiting it for your own selfish means, disgusting, then the redacted thing really??? any one who knows you knows the story of poor old {REDACTED}. its clear that you have taken this blog in a strange direction one that you use for personal attention whoring, eddy i loved you and the things you wrote please tread lightly on others, like you dont want to turn out like him. great quote

    “Just my two cents, but I really think you need to consider the liberties you take with other people’s lives under the guise of making art. We disagree on this, but I do not think all people are inherently objects meant to be picked up and played with at whim.”

    • I hear you and that’s why I was so ashamed for so many years about so many things… Its so sad the way we can’t ask for help from people we know and love, that’s why I’ve been talking to strangers for the last 8 years. And yeah I wanted everyone to know ALL ABOUT {REDACTED} thats why I made it obvious, {REDACTED} IS ALIVE AND SO ARE WE please continue to listen to me and I’ll try harder and harder every day to listen to you

  8. email from anon the first person who understood right off the bat, who knew it would be a meeta maid?
    Your story did bring bittersweet tears to my eyes (in the car dealership, waiting for my car to be serviced. Ha. But true.)
    It made me think about how weird friendship is. I have a friend I’ve known since we were in the first grade together — the only one I’ve stayed in touch with from that time. He is like a touchstone, someone to remind me that I come from someplace and haven’t just been floating from place to place forever. But you know, sometimes I think this friendship exists only in my mind. Like he means something to me that he can never comprehend. So we’ll go six months without so much as a text or phone call, a year between times we see each other, and I’ll start to think I’m crazy to call him my friend because I put myself out there often and hear only silence back. So I say that’s it, I am a fool to waste my time! (Mostly my ego is just bruised. How can he not think of me long enough to say hello?) Inevitably this is when he reappears and we have the kind of long rambling all-encompassing conversation you can only have with someone you’ve known your whole life. Then back to nothing. Ouch. I try not to let these experiences make me close myself off. I would rather be open and a little bruised than closed and lonely/bitter. The trick, I think, and I am trying to remember, is not to “Expect”. To give for the sake of giving not for what I want back. This is why I love postcards. There is no return address.
    thanks sooooo much, we are not just for resting am I rite?

  9. email from a anon crafts person
    Let me rephrase what I commented on your blog: I’m proud of you for posting this because I know you wanted to write something about you being in the psych ward. But, I don’t think it’s fair to use your friend to your advantage, like some other people have pointed out to you. I really don’t think you’ll ever learn how to stop taking people for advantage, really. And that makes me worried and sad for you. Coming from someone who you took advantage of already, this should mean something to you.

  10. email from an anon public school teacher
    Eddy, it’s easy to strike out at someone you don’t know. especially in cyberspace. These responses seem to me more about the person writing them than they do about you. Like you touched a nerve.

    You know what else? To those people calling you selfish, selfishness is sometimes the thing that keeps you alive. Literally. It is highly underrated. To quote Princess Bride, “Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

    And to quote the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

  11. facebook email from a reformed anon poet of the Ukraine
    ————————————————————————————————————————–Well, I read that, it’s too late, because I was busy whole day, writing article for my job, but I did it. And yeah, you’ve already tell me about your friend. Wow, I mean, I always wanted to have friend like that, or to be a friend like that for someone, but I just can’t, and I didn’t have somebody like your {REDACTED}. All my stories about friendship are from fucking books and movies. And now I have this one in my collection, yours, thank you for telling me it.
    About the death, you know, I think you are the only person I knoe, that understood it. I mean, people know, they are going to die, it’s like “huh, okay” for everyone, but noone feels it. It was maybe year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, I understood, that I will be dead one day, my hands are going to rot, and there will be day, when my yes going to stop seeing, and this scared me so much. It was like “oh my, i didn’t know”. And I was thinking about my parents and my brother, they are going to die someday too.
    I am happy for your gallery things, as I understood, everything is okay?! Your works worth all the fame and attention/

  12. facebook email from Me Eddy Pula to my friend and true artist of the caucus
    hmmm I consider you a friend, you found me rite? I needed some one to talk to and you found me and you wrote the most perfect letters. If you could understand where I was coming from, and your work preceded you (I LOVE IT) then I knew I wasn’t alone, and if there was 1 in the Ukraine then there had to be others, and we just had to find each other didn’t we? Keep your eyes open Kazvan, theres probably some one who needs your help living half a mile away from you.
    Also to your Arbus problem if you don’t know her poetry you really should, I am going to attempt to recite one of her letters to her mother, or maybe her daughter Doon or maybe Avedon
    I had a dream last nite, I was on a burning titanic in the north atlantic and every one was coming to a masked ball and they would all let me take all their pictures and the music…. it was on fire and no one but me noticed not even the sooty fiddler player, and I never had to reload my camera and there was no deadlines to meet.
    It was Heaven- Arbus

  13. Your title brings me back to the purpose of your posting. Too bad the results of this experiment weren’t what you were hoping for.

    I can also say that we have all been there in some way, shape or form, the randomness of the moment of loss and the gratifying moment of reconcilation. Whether you were having a genuine epiphany, experimenting with the reactions of people around you or both, I strongly encourage you pick up your Hasselblad and express this experience visually because that has always been your most successful way of conveying your message.

  14. email from anon person who says they want to talk
    hey, don’t post this to your blog.
    I’m really just wondering, what the hell are you doing? why are you posting everyone’s responses to your post? why did you choose to put such a personal post on your photography blog? It seems to me like you’re being kind of over the top manic. I don’t mean that in a mean way. I know I’ve been mean to you in prior emails, but that was some stuff you needed to hear.
    That being said, I wouldn’t mind having correspondence with you as photographers doing what we do, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot on your part for us to ever have a friendship again. I know you’re going through a lot and I know it probably sucks. But what you’re doing on your blog right now really isn’t helping. Maybe you should just rewrite the entry in a more positive tone? I don’t know. I’m just worried about you.

  15. email from an anon dark girl
    Left a reply. You’re not a writer, you’re a photographer.

  16. email from me (Eddy Pula) in response to lurking darkrooms
    I’m sick of having to say the same things to the same people every day, and having them take it wrong so just that blog post is a experiment in public everything. Fear hides in dark corners of you life, internet, closets, basements, heck the woods. So I decided to let the light in! I would like to talk to you to about anything but my problems or what you think my problems are. And if you wanna talk about anything at all thats fine, but if anyone at anytime drops me a line about the {REDACTED} post its going the comments ANON style, just a new thing to try you know.

  17. email to anons everywhere from ME (EDDY PULA)!
    just to be clear if you want to talk about your problems or your work or your successes I won’t tell a soul, well maybe about awesome pictures, I hope thats still cool! I’d really love to come to your {REDACTED} but I was worried you’d call the cops or something, not that you would but like I said about fear when you wouldn’t talk to me my mind wandered to bad things that have happened to me in the past. I hope you understand.

  18. facebook email fron anon the smartest person I’ve ever met
    Just think of it like this. Photographers are activists. You are photographing connections and things that you think are important and necessary, trying to show people things you think are missed or wonderful or important…with a point in mind: improving the human condition. And this is just my personal feeling, but I think artists need to protect our subjects and each other. Have mercy, lessen suffering, try to make people understand you but don’t force them. So be careful with {REDACTED} story, please. Try and separate yourself and the similarities you see to your own life from it. He is his own person, he is not you, we are all the heroes of our own personal stories. We’re all just communicators, right? That’s what artists are. So, be a good activist. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

    “The greatest religious problem today is how to be both a mystic and a militant; in other words how to combine the search for an expansion of inner awareness with effective social action, and how to feel one’s true identity in both.” -Ursula LeGuin

    we are all casual tees of the dance. no one works on the steps only the flats , and narrow is absurd. open you fist and flex your inner torso. have one ?? have two or are they empty. oh eddy you see the sargasso of time.

    • ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
      {EDDY HERE} THANKS LIZ, thanks for giving birth to my best friend and letting us run free and driving us where no one else would go, and thanks for too many things to really write down (HARD TO BELIVE SUCH A SMALL WOMAN COULD DO SO MUCH) but thanks, and Liz, I’m gonna miss you the most……………………………………………………………………..

      • too all the sad mother fudgers out there, Liz Burbank gave the World 4 beautiful children, and my favorite one by a Nose is Jeremiah Burbank, and me and Liz have been arguing and agreeing since I turned 13 years young, and she taught me everything, but through channels (12 ACTV) and gifts and Advice and friends, and sons and sisters………………………………… I can’t thank her enough, and if you think I talk to much……………….. Well you haven’t met LIZ BURBANK THEN and for that I am sorry for YOU

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