Reality Sandwiches is a book of poetry by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, in which he uses “startling verbal juxapositions to suggest new ideas and connections.”
As a teenager, I was awoken from working class school doldrums, and feasted on this:

On Burroughs’ Work
“A naked lunch is natural to us,
we eat reality sandwiches.
But allegories are so much lettuce.
Don’t hide the madness.”

At 17, my beatnik boyfriend –brilliant, heart-broken by the world–introduced me and my brother to a counter-culture world full of art, music, Beat poetry, oppression & struggle, vulnerability & mercy, and a path to “be happy in the meantime.”

I’ve been providing psychotherapy in Bellingham since 1994. I’m a synthesizer and interpreter of therapy methods. I  believe that all good therapy is an art, not a technique, and that as I am able to deeply attune to myself and my clients, relational healing takes place. You can read more on that at my psychology blog: Laurel Holmes Therapy Toolkit

I love my family, my 19 yo son (who just moved out), my husband, parents, and brothers. My interests constantly shift and flow in my life and my artworks. Pure Vata. Philosophy is a hobby. Nutrition is a hobby. Art is a hobby. I go intensely into one interest, get as much as I can, then lift off into the next inspiration.  These days, I am absorbed in mixed media, painting portraits, showing my process through photos.  I’m also reaching for great health, despite IBS (under guidance of Mark Hyman), and dancing Zumba. I’m a cult follower of both Tim Ferriss and Mr. Money Mustache. I can be seen regularly hanging with my Ladies Aid Society (LAS) girlfriends, who have big plans for coming to the aid of our town Bellingham.

Follow me on Instagram: 4Laureleaf



67 thoughts on “About

  1. Me too! Just kidding, I do play a little. I’ll tell you what I did. I bought a $200 mandolin on sale. I took 4 of the 8 strings off, so that it would be easier on my fingers learning to play. I asked a musician friend to teach me 5 chords. I strummed those chords until I could play about a 100 songs. Most Old Timey music is a 3-chord workout! Then I went to YouTube and learned to fingerpick a few songs. Excellent tutorials by several new Old Timey musicians. Probably more info than you want, but its right there waiting, surprisingly easy. ~LH

  2. aloha Lauel. as soons as i saw your blog title i connected to the Allen Ginsberg book and wondered. now i see you do too. amazing words. of course mixed media is way fun too. fun on. aloha.

      1. i am eclectic in my reading. as well as a slow reader. i’m somewhat limited now to books I find. mostly through library bookstores at the moment. fortunately i’ve found some gems (imo). those i can read over and over and gain and still there is more to discover. do you have books you’d recommend?

        1. Oh I just remember my old favorite poem books from that period of my life: Kaddish, REality Sandwiches, anything by Lawrenece Ferlinghetti like Coney Island of the Mind, and then of course Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, or Desolation Angels….or Gary Snyder “The Old Ways”~ went through a Gary Snyder phase again about a year ago. His focus on “place” as a great creator of meaning and grounding was so helpful.

          1. yes. i see. yes i’ve read some of these writers. Kerouac and Snyder. i got into Ken Kesey and then Richard Braughtigan, Tom Wolfe, Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut and one of my favored art books—Grapefruit by Yoko Ono as well. some how i seem to have missed Lawrenece Ferlinghetti altho i recognize the name and the book company City Lights. i’m like that tho. very random. thank you for the names. fun. aloha.

  3. Just stopping by to thank you for my first Like on Shift Key Poetry having just decided this week to branch out from my old Shift Key blog to have a place for poetry only. Laurel, your site is amazing; much to look at, good stuff.

  4. Laurel, glad you liked Tubularsock’s “Women’s Vote 2016”. Because Tubularsock is a front runner in the 2016 Presidential election he promises to save the world only after he wins. You are in good company with Ginsberg.

    Thank for the like …….

  5. Hello…

    Thanks for checking out realityspace! I am honored that you appreciate my art.

    Your portraits are so outstanding… you are truly gifted. I am following your wonderful blog now… my interests are art, creative writing, psychology, art therapy… on and on.

    Take care,


  6. Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for liking my post. Bit shy, so I will leave it at that, and promise to come back and explore your blog. Looks like you’re bursting with creativity. Very cool. Peace….

  7. Hi Laurel, Patricia here. I see we have some similar interests- creating art as an emotional process, parenting, loving nature. I too work with art and people; in my case teaching children and adults. Creating art is highly therapeutic and calming. My student and my art teach me all the time. I like your blog! Happy day to you.

  8. Hi Laurel! Thank you for visiting my blog and the sweet words you left. I so appreciate it. I am delighting in the artworks in your blog. They are very inspiring.

  9. Hi Laurel, thanks for stopping by my blog. I like yours, your paintings are striking, ove their loose quality. I can see we have similar interests. I have a 17 year old about to go off to school and will have more time to explore blogging. I’ll look forward your posts!

  10. I love the way you use hands in your paintings. I’ve found them to be as expressive as faces in some instances. I use art to express joy and pain as you do. Sadly I just finished painting a portrait of a 31 year old who recently died. This was the hardest piece I’ve ever been asked to do. I was told that it brought the young man’s parents joy.

    1. Thanks for writing Barb…yes Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Gyuasamin are big inspirations to me in their characterizing of emotions through hands and knobby joints. Painting that picture sounds painful…I’m not sure I could do it. They’ll cherish it. ❤️🔺

  11. I am a great fan of Egon Schiele and Andrew Wyeth. They both captured such passion and heartache in their paintings.

    My daughter was diagnosed with melanoma a week before her 30th birthday, the most terrifying moment of her and my life. She is cancer free now, but I imagined losing her more than I care to admit. That’s why I had to paint the 31 yr old. Life is ever so fleeting! My husband and I dropped everything and moved to KY to help our daughter and grandchildren. We have had so many glorious moments with our family thanks to that move 🙂

    Thanks for responding!

  12. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and liking my post. I’m so glad to discover your blog – you are a very gifted artist and writer. Looking forward to more!

  13. Your art is incredible! I would love to dance with it. A few months ago I performed at an art opening at a local museum and it was a thrilling experience. It was such an amazing process to almost feel the images of the art moving through my body. If you ever happen to be showing in the NY area, let me know 😉 Also, thanks for stopping by my new baby blog!

  14. I can’t find a way to comment on your other posts. I’m probably missing something obvious. Anyway, I want to tell you that your work is really good. It reminds me a bit of Modigliani (hope I spelled that right!)

  15. I am simply loving your blog! Thanks for like like on my super-empowering-yet-mundane post about painting my front door. Isn’t it amazing how great it feels to conquer your anxiety a little at a time by completing (and doing a great job in the end on) tasks you didn’t know how to do? I hope you keep posting the pics of your pieces as they develop- I’ve rarely seen the evolutionary process of art, thanks for sharing it!

  16. Hey There, Thank you for liking my wordpress page, I really like what you say here, the poems, the art following and your picture. I thank many people for liking a page, but I rarely choose to follow them. I am you. I think you are on to something….It’s a hungry world, and the meal you are offering is tasty.

  17. I’m here at your house to thank you for visiting my house. Like what I see (and read) here. For so long I was pretty much “old school” but am exploring new worlds now and it’s been some adventurous fun. Thanks again, Laurel.

  18. Wow, Laurel…thanks for stopping by Art and Tulips! I love your work and am sorry I didn’t know you when I lived on Whidbey Island (small world department)…I am both a writer (poet/fiction) and fledgling artist. An old friend once passed on the Reality Sandwiches line to me, but added “go easy on the mayonnaise.” Fun to see the title of your site. All best,
    Molly in San Diego

  19. Billy Collins, for sure. And the wonderful Kathleen Flenniken who was Washington’s poet laureate a couple of years ago. Tell her Molly sent you. Naomi Shihab Nye and Bill Stafford are up there. Will add more to the site…Great to “chat!”

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