On October 25, 2018, I went on a journey up a steep trail in the Santa Monica mountains. I went up to let go of a lot of stuff and didn’t really expect to find anything in return.

I had a lot to say goodbye to and took something symbolic to represent each one. I would stop along the Backbone Trail, take out my cat’s collar, thank her for a life well lived, and toss it over the side. A little rubber giraffe represented “Mini D”, the most amazing child that I had the fortune of fostering for a year. A coin represented my mother as it was one of the items left to me after her passing, and it ended a long story of money habits that needed to be let go as well. “Thank you for everything,” I would say each time, “I’ll take it from here.”

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to “Stuart”. My voices didn’t like the sound of it, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t tremendously attached to “Stu” but I knew that the name-shift would signify a new chapter in my life and instantly define where other people are placed on my timeline.

I took out a heart shaped pencil sharpener, poked my finger and put a drop of blood onto it. “Thank you for everything… I’ll take it from here.” 

As I moved farther up the trail as “Stu” I came across the final hill. “Well Mr. Rosen,” I asked, “what’s it gonna be? You going to stop short, like you often do, or take the hill?”

I took the hill. 

It was the most amazing 360 degree view I had ever seen, and so worth the final push. The photo of the hill has been my phone screen ever since. Reminding me daily to “take the hill.”

I came back down to sit under a tree for lunch and to fulfill my promise to return to my drawing.

I took out my pad of paper and my pencil. I noticed the point was dull beyond use.

Then I paused.

“Well, if I only had a PENCIL SHARPENER!!”

(The irony was now lost on me like the sharpener)

So I made a choice. “Take out a pen…” I told myself. “If you have a pen and a piece of paper, you have art.”

“What do I draw?” Anything.

“But what if I make a mistake?” You work with it, just like you do with everything else.

Welcome to Life.

Welcome back to Art.


If you’re so moved to support my journey, please consider donating to my GoFundMe, which is fulfilling my dream of exhibiting my art in London, now scheduled for April 2023.



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