Monday, September 05, 2005

Lost And Found

I just got off the phone with my mom! She finally managed to find brief access to a phone that was working, and called me to let me know she and my little brother had survived. The conversation was rushed, a flurry of questions and snipped answers and racing hearts:
Hello? Clayton James! Momyou'reok! Yeah, baby, we OK. We're at Tom's abandoned house in Slidell. Where were you when the storm hit? We went to a shelter in Kiln. Awwwbaby it was bad, the roof got torn off, we had no food, no medicine, no tampons, 400 of us. I worked myself ragged taking care of old people, we had to get out and check on the trailer. How is it? Did it survive? No, it was under 28 feet of water. Me and Dalton been trying to clean up as best we can, but there's four feet of muck on the floor, even shrimp and Mississippi carp in it (crying) and even mold's started to grow, it's totally wrecked. We're coming down Wednesday or Thursday. No, baby, save your money, everything's totally destroyed down here. The Gulf Coast is totally destroyed. There's Guardsman with rifles and bullet-proof vests, there's a 7pm curfew, we had to sneak in the back roads to get to the trailer, Winn Dixie's open again, but there's two hour lines for food and water, another two hour line to get gas from the Guardsman. It's bad. So bad. (crying) They so desperate everywhere, New Orleans is hell. I know I know we're coming down. Call everybody you can and tell them I'm OK and where I'm at. I will I will Baby I got to go these people are leaving now. Wait give me directions to where you're at! They're leaving, I got to go, I love you I love you too...
And then it was over, leaving more questions than answers swirling around my head. But the urgent question, the one that I was dreading, is answered, and relief is not a big enough word for this feeling. Now I'm not faced with searching the Gulf Coast for them, I know they're OK, and I can focus on getting to them, and helping them, and rebuilding. Rebuilding my whole family. My aunt lost her house. My cousin lost her apartment. Everything in it, their whole lives. And my mom. The meager little trailer I bought her, the one she called Eden, it's under four feet of mud from the Pearl River, the river I used to swim in as a child, the mud I used to squeeze between my toes. Rebuilding is going to be tough, but so are my people.

So many of you have reached out to me, to distract me, asking how you can help me and my family. Know that I'm touched by every email you've sent, every thought you've had for us, every prayer you've offered. The picture is coming into focus for me now, what needs to be done. In most cases my family only has the clothes on their backs. They didn't have much more than that before this. I'm the sole lucky one. I got out years ago, and I've been struggling to lift them up with me on the way. Everything that's mine is theirs, and I'm going down to make sure they don't drown on now dry land.

If you want to help them with me, I welcome you with open arms. I'll be the man on the ground. I'll be setting up some ways for people to help out soon. I'm going to be releasing a big open edition of prints, the proceeds from which will go to my family's rebuilding. Some dear sweet friends have been gathering up works of art, musical instruments, things they've created, and will be auctioning those off soon. I'll post this information as soon as it's set up, in the next couple of days.

It's looking grim down there, but all hope is not lost, as long as we've got family and friends. And you're all family and friends.

1 comment:

clayton cubitt said...

Thank you for choosing to share your life with us.

Your mother sounds like an amazing woman and I’m so moved to hear that she and your little brother are doing well.

A huge hug from L.A.!!!!!

posted by: one_cool_angel on 9/6/2005 10:24:46 PM


Congrats on your clear skies, mate. Puts a big damn smile on my face.



posted by: liquidmorpheme on 9/6/2005 8:47:06 PM



Grateful your family is alright.
Let us know when your auction starts.


posted by: e_private on 9/6/2005 7:19:42 PM


Great stuff man, so glad to hear it.

posted by: captain_querc on 9/6/2005 7:13:00 PM


so happy your mom's alright. literally these past few entries of yours have made me cry.

posted by: just_maibe on 9/6/2005 6:00:30 PM


Man I'm glad to hear this news. I never thought I would be so worried about a person’s family that I have never met. I echo the sentiment of the others here that you really created a personal connection to this mess for me and it looks like a lot of others. This is the best news I’ve heard in a week, and I’ll start saving my pennies for some relief-auction-artwork.

posted by: potterrauzon on 9/6/2005 5:28:06 PM


Thank god/godess/the gods whatever you believe pray to ...Ive got tears in my eyes .. and give thanks with you and will try to help when it gets set up good luck and more prayers

posted by: zenartist on 9/6/2005 4:55:00 PM


I've been waiting for this post for what seems like forever. I'm so happy for you.

posted by: bubblebobbled on 9/6/2005 1:58:00 PM


I'm so happy for you! I, like the others below, have been checking the blog multiple times daily, waiting for the news, anxious and for the first time in a while, praying. And it is such a testament to the connection you have forged with your readers, as an artist and as a person, that we are many of us crying with relief with you.

I'm back home for a month now after being on the road for a year, and my house is full of things that I can send wherever, to whoever, needs it. I'll be checking back happily every day now to see how I can help. And I'm going to keep on praying for you and your family while you all rebuild.


posted by: kimaxs on 9/6/2005 1:34:44 PM


Joy is never as sweet for one who has not suffered sorrow.

Your joy is ours. Thanks. Now on to helping'll take years.

posted by: rareiser on 9/6/2005 1:19:15 PM


that's fantastic news! I'll definitely help out any way I can. I'll be headed to Picayune soon to help members of my family rebuild... if you need supplies trucked in let me know, and i'm sure we can get stuff (except gas--- this town is near ly dry.)

posted by: oh_theshocker on 9/6/2005 12:09:01 PM


Siege Siege Siege!!!!!!

Oh man, I'm so happy for you. Bet your mom's voice was about the sweetest thing in creation and imagination...

Had logged in to wish you luck & godspeed on your search... now I add to that godbless and much fortitude. Rebuild. Re-forge. Tell us how to help....

posted by: darko on 9/6/2005 11:36:55 AM


Great news Siege. Glad to hear it. Been waching the news unfold, keeping you and your family in the back of my mind. Glad to discover it turned out okay. Sucks for the house, but it's just a house. Houses can be replaced. People cannot.

Glad to know your people made it through that terror. :)


posted by: littlebill1138 on 9/6/2005 11:00:34 AM


great news indeed Siege... great news!

posted by: vonbek1 on 9/6/2005 8:21:01 AM


This is probably the best news i heard these weeks...
as some other people, i was here in Denmark, checking the page several times every day, hoping for the best.
love to u all.

posted by: kippel on 9/6/2005 5:47:37 AM


Yeah! Back with mummy and little brother again. The best possible result. Ever. For god's sake tell them never to go missing again, i couldn't stand the strain.
You've made me feel twisted wondering what's happened to them. Of course it's nothing like you (and countless others) have been going through but thanks (i think) for making me worry so much about 2 perfect strangers.

posted by: the_number on 9/6/2005 4:01:52 AM


Fucking aye, man! I've been checking back on this page 2-3 times a day. I've got a close-knit group of friends who have been keeping up on your ordeal and we're going to get pissed tonight at the bars in your honor. Let us know what we can do to help. You're a rockstar, and we're all sending our love to your family.


posted by: otherguy83 on 9/6/2005 3:07:10 AM


I am so happy you have found your mother and brother. You were the face I chose to put on this incomprehensible horror.

I want to help.

Because... Once, I was told by doctors, that against all odds, my mother was coming home.

Because... Once, I was told that my father would never come home again.

Put your family back together.

Tell us what you need.

posted by: nikpaige on 9/6/2005 2:49:08 AM


oh jesus. . . . good stuff, man.

posted by: drsoma765a on 9/6/2005 2:35:30 AM


Siege--Over the last year plus, I've considered you a twisted, but sane and challenging brother of mine. A brother that I've never had, biologically or spiritually speaking. Last week, when you posted what you were going through, i started to grasp the insanity of what was going on down there and my gut churned from Monday on. I am overjoyed for the discovery of your ma and brother. But really what I want to thank you for is the stoic, yet generous way that you allowed us all into your suffering and at the same time rendered an entree humain into that which we could not possibly comprehend as priveledged amerikkans and (4 my part) northerners.

I wish you and all of your people god speed, and may all of us be hoisting a Dixie at the Rose of Erin, listening to the Melvins on the juke, with Natalie behind the bar, sooner than never.

Your yank brother,

posted by: willemvon on 9/6/2005 2:19:13 AM


I am so so so very glad for this news! We could all use good news right now! All the very best to you and your family, you are all so kick AZZ! XOXO

posted by: vivazoya on 9/6/2005 1:29:49 AM


oh i am so relieved for you with you, have checked back here every day and held my breath and couldn't even write anything to reassure you, cause what can you say? more than happy to join your one-man relief effort. point us the way.
and, by the way, your blogging of the last week has meant more and said more than most of the sorry excuse for news coverage on offer from many media outlets.

posted by: suzukisu on 9/6/2005 12:21:17 AM


There I go again, crying for you.

I'm so fucking glad they've reappeared.

I sat with my mom in the hospital every day after her heart stopped. The world started turning again when she came to undamaged.

I'm glad you have her back.

posted by: gumdropmolly on 9/6/2005 12:02:17 AM



Yaaaay!! I'm so relieved to hear about your mum and brother. I don't know anyone in the South, so you've been my only human connection to this overwhelming catastrophe. It's come to feel like finding your family is the barometer of whether or not we all can heal from this. I'd wanted to write earlier, but I couldn't find words. Do let us know what we can do to help.

posted by: tantala on 9/5/2005 11:41:23 PM


Dear Seige,

On 9/11 I couldn't reach my mother or father for hours. Both worked in downtown NYC near the trade center. People told me my mom had gone to her old job in tower two ( she hadn't and she was ok, she had been standing on line to donate blood). Those were some tough hours with such tremendous relief when I finally got their call. I can't hardly imagine what it would have been like if it were days. I am glad to hear that your family is well. That is what is important. Possession can be replaced, lives can't.

posted by: lescrime on 9/5/2005 10:43:17 PM


Rightfuckingon! Let us know how to help.

posted by: shortyellowskirt on 9/5/2005 10:41:10 PM


Thank GOD. I've been worried, so thank f'ing God. Sounds like a total shit show down there. Your mom's the tuff stuff.

xox m

posted by: girlbrainiac on 9/5/2005 10:27:17 PM


OH Thank Goodness! I can only imagin the relief you feel... My sister was in Puket when the Tsunami hit and I was sick with worry, but the reliev I felt after that first phonecall was undescribable...
I'm the first in line for a print...

posted by: oracle347 on 9/5/2005 10:25:34 PM


oh thank God. hallelujah- i have been having nightmares over the destruction of my south, and your mom and brother have been one face of you can sleep and make plans to help...

i am so so happy for you and your enormous heart.


posted by: bookgirl82 on 9/5/2005 10:21:18 PM


Jesus-H-Christ! Siege, from one Survivorqueen to the next, (and I'm a momma of four) I am so glad to hear good news about yours!!! This is awesome and so much better than trying to imagine a letter of condolence/sympathy.

Beautiful!--Angie in Ohio.

posted by: survivorqueen on 9/5/2005 9:52:52 PM