The Way Within


“You know how sometimes you feel lost and alone, and so you pray to be shown the way…That way usually leads you within, and toward your Self.”

-Gordon Hays, 2016

You can also see my artwork on Facebook at the Gordon Hays Artwork page.



Just Published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015!

I am very excited to announce that my artwork and poetic narrative were just published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015. Below, is the poetic narrative “Rainbow Cup” written in 2014 that I saved for this moment to share with you all. I am so honored to see these words reflected back to me in print!


“Rainbow Cup”

Gordon Hays, 2014

Nothing can grow from falsehood. It must begin with the seed of Truth.

Story shapers and deceivers know this alike.

The beginning. It starts with me.

People say I have an attitude, among other things.

I say, I speak my mind.

I say, I claim my voice.

I alone have walked through the fires of my life.

I alone exist with the charred remains of my personal triumphs, and the wasteland of my failures, flaws and missed opportunities.

I draw from the deep well of a varied past. Covert and cruel, beautiful and heartbreaking. The enduring spectrum of the modern queer.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Thick with the spoiled slick of hate and rejection; dredged with tears and brutality.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Spilling over with jubilant celebration; the flood of creative liberation.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Longing for a mulled sweetness, warmed by desire. A never sated want of un-ending thirst.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Poured from a history of silence and enduring strength. Poured from shadows of the past into an illuminated future.

Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

The Good Life with Gordon




The Luxury of Dreaming

Yesterday, after an insightful phone conversation with my aunt, I was lost in thought about the luxury of dreaming. We were discussing the hardships of the people who came before us in our family, paving the way for our experience in this lifetime. I posed the question to her-Why is it that we come from a line of people who placed importance on order, working hard, and living modestly? And yet, there exists a drive within myself to reach beyond that way of life, exploring the things I am passionate about and daring to dream. My aunt said something very profound to me that I had not pieced together before now. Imagining the hardships of my family’s past, dreaming wasn’t available to them. Striving to survive doesn’t leave room for the luxury of pursuing your dreams. Thinking on my family’s narrative, I am reminded of where I have come from, and where I desire to go.

In my lifetime, I have the luxury of pursuing my dreams, and for that I am grateful. Recently, I shared a piece of poetic narrative with fellow blogger ‘Seeing the Whisper.’ I was so honored to see my own words reflected back to me through that experience, and I wanted to share that piece here. I wrote the words listed below just before leaving my hometown and moving to a place I had never been. I continue to pioneer into the wild unknown, blessed with the luxury of dreaming.

Dear Life

“Dear Reader, do you remember your passion? I’m not writing of desire, although it has its’ place. I’m writing of your passion. At the very core of you, the call you can’t resist, but daily hide under a veil of responsibility. Your passion-what you dream of in spare moments…the ‘if only.’ You only have one shot at this lifetime. One chance, now, to do the thing you are meant to do. Will you let it slip by? Inside of me a fire burns to create. Any way I can find to create from nothing, and bring into being something. For so long, I denied this creating its’ place in my life. I decided during one of the hardest times of my life, as tears leaked down my face-I will sink my teeth into my dream, and I will not let go. I will hold on. I will follow my heart, my dream against every obstacle, against every opinion. I just want the chance to lay my handprint on our timeline. Write my initials in history like wet concrete.” -Gordon Hays, 2009

Image: “Dear Life” by Gordon Hays, 2010

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

The Good Life with Gordon

Discover Marina Abramovic

“The artist has to be a warrior. Has to have this determination, and has to have the stamina to conquer not just new territory but also to conquer himself and his weaknesses.”
–Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present

I remember the first time I was introduced to Marina Abramovic’s work. A reenactment of her piece, The House with the Ocean View was featured on the popular television series Sex and the City. In that particular episode, Carrie and Charlotte visit a gallery to see the performance. Challenging the message of the performance, Carrie states, “If you put a phone up on that platform, it’s just a typical Friday night, waiting for some guy to call” (Season Six: Episode 12). While presented as a joke, there is a measure of truth in Carrie’s analysis. And, perhaps that was Abramovic’s intent all along. When Abramovic’s work is deconstructed, the message becomes very simple. Abramovic emphasizes the everyday struggle to be present in our lives. Slowing down, taking time to reflect, and looking inward are often themes in the narrative of Abramovic’s work.

Marina Abramovic
This WordPress post today is part of an assignment for my Fine Arts class. Abramovic is featured in our text book, and it was during this class I discovered Abramovic’s documentary film The Artist is Present, which documents her retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010. For this installation, Abramovic created a performance piece that allowed museum visitors to come and sit in front of her individually. Abramovic remained in the gallery from the time it opened until it closed every day of the exhibition, seated, as audience members came to sit before her. Performance art is defined by an aspect of audience participation. And in this piece, Abramovic acted as a mirror to those people who sat opposite her. For some, the experience was deeply emotional, for others a brief exchange. But, through it all Abramovic made herself present and available. This was Abramovic’s purpose. To connect the audience with themselves, acting as a symbolic bridge, Abramovic incorporated audience participation in an effort to encourage viewers to slow down, and engage in connection. While not every attendee sat with Abramovic, approximately 850,000 people visited the gallery during Abramovic’s installation. The impact of Abramovic’s work is evident in her mass following that includes pop culture icons like Lady Gaga and Jay Z. I encourage you to discover Marina Abramovic’s work, and experience this powerful artist.

Work Cited

Akers, Matthew. The Artist is Present. Perf. Marina Abramovic. HBO Documentary Films, 2012. DVD.
King, Michael Patrick. Sex and the City Season Six: Episode 12. Perf. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Dixon. HBO Video, 2004. DVD.

Creative Wipeout

As artists, writers and creatives—how do we cradle ourselves, nurturing the inner self, in the aftermath of intense creative work? Last week was filled with assignments and deadlines. There was no time to pause, consider, or nurture myself between projects. The bonus to intense creativity is the way it forces out the best work from within. There is no time for holding back in the face of such creative demand.

After sitting through a writing workshop yesterday, where my short story was the focus of feedback, suggestion and editorial scrutiny, I felt drained of energy. I held the space, and didn’t allow myself to feel hurt by the commentary, but rather viewed the feedback through an academic lens. If commentary from my fellow classmates resonated as authentic I made notations on my paper. If the feedback missed the mark, I allowed it to go in one ear and out the other. I was grateful that two people in the workshop really got the energy, tone and theme of my work, and that alone was gratifying.

But saying this doesn’t change that every ounce of energy was put into creating, and I didn’t leave room for nurturing the creator. This morning I came up with the analogy of “creative wipeout.” While creating, I was immersed in the deep waters of creation, riding along the ebb and flow. In the end I felt washed up, thrown on the sand in a crash of creative wipeout.

There may be no way to avoid the crash that occurs after the creative process. But, it is important to note that the letdown is a part of the process, and we can catch ourselves before we fall. Taking time to cradle myself after long periods of creative output has helped me recover with renewed energy for further creation. Nurturing, or cradling the inner self, is open to interpretation. Yesterday, for me it meant lying in bed drinking my favorite beer, and watching a comedy show that makes me laugh out loud. Sometimes it means immersing in quiet, drawing a hot bath or enjoying yoga. However you define what it means to nurture yourself, make it a part of your creative process. Knowing that creative wipeout is likely to happen also means you can plan ways to cushion the fall.
Gordon Hays
Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

The Good Life with Gordon

What advice would you give to your younger self?

What advice would you give to your younger self?

This question arose while watching an interview this morning. I immediately got tears in my eyes, and I will tell you why. My answer is perhaps a two-parter or three-parter. I would tell that young boy to hold on, and always listen to himself above all others. I would tell him that there is a light within him that no one can take, no one else can offer, and must be shared.
He was a sensitive, creative, loving boy. And, it was beaten out of him daily through ridicule, laughter and a continued sense of strangeness and lack of belonging. He was different, acting on intuition and a spark of creative fire that begged to be lit.
Yesterday, I had a beautiful and supportive creative workshop experience with my friend and fellow writer, Te’ Werner ( She is currently developing her thoughts on having a “creative edge.” Te’ stated, “We are not original, but each of us is original in our approach. The commonality is that we are all called, and our individuality exists in how we answer that call.”
I shared a story with Te’ that as a young boy I tied for the lead in my second grade play. My classmate and I would divide the productions, one of us taking the afternoon show, and the other taking the evening show. But, I never heard anything else from my teacher. Somehow, I was relegated to a small part among the extras. I never spoke up, and I didn’t tell my parents. The night of the show, I borrowed my Dad’s suit jacket, rolling up the too big sleeves, and walked to school. I went into the auditorium where the parents and friends of my classmates had gathered. I sat on the steps leading up to the stage with the other extras, and watched my classmate play the lead. At the end of his solo the crowd clapped and cheered, rising for a standing ovation. I never told anyone, ashamed and embarrassed that my chance came and went.
I have carried that moment into my personal work, striving to push beyond second place. Standing for myself, and claiming my power. I would tell that boy to hold on, because you will listen to the urging, and answer the call. Your standing ovation is coming.
I love you, Gordon.

Gordon Hays
Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

The Good Life with Gordon

Passion Knows No Bounds.

Today on The Good Life with Gordon, we will be discussing ‘Listening to Your Inner Voice.’ In preparing for today’s show, I am enjoying a quiet morning at home. Sitting at my desk, sipping on my coffee I keep glancing at a piece of artwork I created that hangs in my view. It features a poetic narrative that I wrote some time ago while waiting for my car’s oil change. (Isn’t it interesting when inspiration strikes?) The short poem describes how I feel about pursuing your passion, following your calling even when it seems daunting. Listening to your inner voice is difficult and uncomfortable when the world around us encourages doing what has already been done. But, where would we be without the trailblazers who have paved the way? If you are being urged, guided, towards something that calls to you in the distance–keep going. Time is the only hurdle towards reaching your intention. Listen to your inner voice, and answer the call.

“Passion knows no bounds;
ever striving.
Giving with every wave,
even the shore is seduced.”
-Gordon Hays, 2011

Gordon Hays
Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

The Good Life with Gordon