I wanted to get this next post out right away because my tale of woe is not my story. The real story is how I went from a situation where all seemed to have been swept away, to one of recovery and renewal.

The Hawaiian Islands have long been a place of healing and recovery for me. I needed to go somewhere after the loss of my business and home on Bainbridge Island. So I figured what better place than Hawaii?

My new girlfriend, Andrea, was ready for a change. She grew up on the Big Island and knew the Islands well, so she, her daughter and I started the process of unloading stuff, a lot of stuff. Money was scarce so we sold off things that had any value. What had previously seemed important to me was no longer as important as getting the means together to make our move. My etching press, furniture, tools, my motorcycle sidecar outfit, my guitars, paintings, and my studio full of my art supplies were all sold. The rest was either donated to the Goodwill, given away, tossed or stored.

There is a bittersweet feeling about lightening one’s load. Yes you cry a little inside when the things you love go away, but they are just things and the lightening of ones load is refreshing and worth the pain of loss.

While sitting at night by the fire ring on the edge of my high bank property, with views of Seattle, the Cascades and Puget Sound, I burned files, letters, photographs and heaps of my art. I started by sorting through my etchings, drawings and watercolors, thinking I would keep some, and give some away but I ended up just dumping the entire contents of portfolio after portfolio into the flames. What a glorious blaze it was. These pieces had given me all they could and as they swirled “back into the storm” they were giving me their last offering. I felt as though I had cleansed and purified the creative spirit in my soul. I felt renewed.

Boarding was arranged for the dogs and the long and expensive process of dealing with the State of Hawaii was begun so they would be allowed to enter the state. The dogs would have to remain on the mainland for four months to avoid a six month quarantine. Furniture, that had been my grandparents, was sold. I had often felt that the furniture was really not me anyway. With my left hand mangled, my need for guitars was finished, or so I thought at the time. I had toured thousands of miles on my bike and I loved that beautiful machine but I felt that it was now taking me on one last trip; this time instead of taking me through the southwest desert, it was taking me to Hawaii. I sold it to a well known rock and roll star and the proceeds provided some extra cushion and really made the move possible. Thank you Ben!

During all this activity, my injuries were starting to heal, the painkillers that had taken control of my body were flushed out of my life. I had heart surgery that corrected my arrhythmia and reduced my need for heart meds and the simple act of walking became do-able. The mere act of moving foreword was the best elixir, second only to the loving care I was receiving from Andrea.

I really felt I had faced the dragon in the eye and he just went POOF! I had almost been killed by a semi truck on my motorcycle and could have been killed or paralyzed from a ladder fall or been struck down by a heart attack, so I felt like I was living in bonus years. The unknown seemed more like a grand adventure. I had overcome adversity and it had somehow made me stronger with a greater sense of self worth and a much greater appreciation for just being alive. Everything had changed and I was ready to roll.

On November 16, 2012, Andrea, Carla and I bid farewell to the Great Pacific Northwest and boarded a a plane for Hawaii. Where, and how we were going to live, was literally up in the air!



  1. Rod Stollery

    You have a knack for writing, much like your artistic talent, Richard. I had no idea of what you had gone through before leaving the Northwest, except for the motorcycle mishap. Christa and I will keep you and yours in our prayers, and maybe one of these days we’ll make it over to Maui.
    Your cousin Rod

    1. rtnarts Post author

      Hey cuz
      Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot coming from an old ink stained wretch such as yourself.

      Mahalo aloha nui

  2. Philip Donahue

    Thank you for your story, Richard. I also know the difficult but liberating feeling of burning accumulated unsold art works. I have done this 3 times,now. Having lived in New Orleans for a while, I returned there for my most recent “burning,” on the banks of The Mississippi River @ Lutcher LA.

  3. Anna Tofani

    Hi Richard , I am happy to know things are better and will be much better in the future , just keep going and believe. burning old things is the best we can do because they r no serving any more.
    lots of love to you , Andrea, Carla and Duffy too

    1. rtnarts Post author

      Hi Anna
      Thank you for reading my post. I just finished my evening swim and am now sitting on the beach waiting for a beautiful Maui sunset show.
      Sending love from me and Duffy.

  4. Beans

    Thank you, Ricardo, for your inspiring words. Hope to see you when you’re in Seattle next month1 xoxoxo beans

  5. Renee Jameson

    Hi Richard, So glad your doing well and in a better place! I can picture you on the beach watching the sun set and enjoying every minute of it! Thanks for you kind words about my art. I miss seeing you and Duffy around town on Bainbridge. Give Duffy a big hug for me. XO, Renee Jameson


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