Monday, March 25, 2013

This time I'm off into the wild blue yonder...

We're leaving New York. Strangely, knowing that has helped me enjoy the craziness of this place more for the past couple of weeks.

I'm still figuring many things out. I feel like I have lost a lot in this place and in the past eight months. But, other things have been gained and some of what was lost is hopefully recoverable, reparable, renewable. In any case, I've learned a lot about gilt and guilt and how to live with both. So many of the lessons of New York are hard. I learn to push and to speak loudly when I'd rather be quiet. I learn to harden and walk away.

This place isn't the person I want to be. It doesn't offer the life I want to cultivate.

So I am glad to be moving to a small place full of green and snow and apples. We'll see what will become there. I don't have to become the next big thing by fifteen minutes from now.

I guess the best thing though is that this year has given me one really *good* lesson. I give myself permission. To write. To say no. To say yes. To email strangers on business. To ask what you really mean. To believe the impossible on a daily basis. To have opinions that aren't agreement. Bending like a reed is not the only way to be. I think this notion and its acceptance will help a lot of things in any place.

Gratitude smoothes out the grit and I am suffused with springtime anticipation of this next adventure. One that I hope won't just be a jarring interlude but a life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I am the tiny witness

Last night I tuned out as candidates argued. I felt guilty but not engaged. On the walk home, I got wound back into the vividness of life when I learned that a dear friend of mine brought new life into this world. (Congratulations and Wow and more than I can say.)

This morning I was by turns delayed, confused, side tracked, and trapped underground on my way to work. I never even made it in time to teach my first class. Hundreds of us were interrupted this morning because of an "incident" on a particular subway line. Whispers of speculation accompanied the groans of protest all along the city. When I found my way to my quiet office, I found out what happened. A man jumped in front of a 1 train in the dark morning today. He died.

Then I taught my class and went home. But as I go about my Tuesday afternoon, I am acutely aware that things are going on that are bigger than my own concerns. Humbled, awed, and overwhelmed is the only way I can go through this life.  Perspective makes me know that I am small, but I am grateful.

How are you?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Into the labyrinth

I've not posted in far too long. Many things have happened. I'll bullet point the recap and try to remember if anyone is reading.

-I got the degree. Whoa. Ph.D.

Turns out there is an upshot to this one. My mood has been generally much better since finishing. I hadn't known how heavy it was to carry this multi-year process all the time. I also think about more things now and feel like I can change directions in my life. It is more freedom than I've ever had as an adult (fake adult really).

-Moving to NYC

I barely know what to say about this one since it still a relatively unknown phenomenon. The move happens in 6 days. I'm stoked as all get out for about 50 dozen reasons.

-Spiritual renewal and inspiration

This began on my last day of official work for the summer though it had been germinating before then. My bursts of energy towards spirituality happen periodically and most often during summers. Each time I progress a little further, but this time I'm not getting derailed by fear or anxiety. This is a huge step.

That's the background. We'll see what happens next. As for the inside of my mind right now, it is a bit too busy and a bit too naked for public consumption right now. Check back soon. I have a feeling stuff is happening.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What oughta be famous won't be

There are so many patterns that I see that I do not feel like I can ever say. What you think of as pricelessly unique has a near clone in three other states (in the US or of matter, take your pick).

I don't even know why this makes me angry tonight. It does though.

There are so many people chasing down a life: a good life, or an interesting one, or even just one that they think has a reasonable chance of some paltry amount of self-expression or stretching past the age of 60.

For every room full of beautiful people (or smart ones) there are a lot more flaming wrecks or quiet desperations than landings that stick.

I don't see much logic in it. It isn't that the most talent wins or that the character sheet with the most dots on it gets to be happy.

I hope there isn't a reason you haven't called.

Some sketches.

Taste, competence, and a brain that hits like brass knuckles, wrapped up with a glorious face and lovely figure. Struggling and hitting her potential against a brick wall with not enough talking and too much listening. I see how much more she does with less than certain household names (in our small circles). I see the same lips and cheeks and challenge, but only one of them has an eccentric empire. The only thing that I can see that my friend lacks, in this particular instance, is vanity (which has significantly derailed the lives of boatloads of other acquaintances). How is that the key?

Another soul. He rebuilding himself because he doesn't actually want to die of bad choices at the guttering end of youth. Still, he knows his business from ant to ant farm to the factory that builds ant farms and the strange little man who thought it all up. I know a newcomer to the same world who fell into it sideways (smelling like a bad diner and tragedy) whose reputation has a certain hot air balloon quality. This house of cards has money (or maybe it is debt) and trust and chances that the skillful not-quite-anti-hero will never have. He has dried beans.

I don't know. The woman I know with the best luck in terms of resources: social skills, code switching, raw IQ, amazing will power, and make-a-sucker-walk-off-a-sheer-cliff good looks, is miserable. All. of. the. time. Stalled and treading water in a field that is probably collapsing with terrible taste in men. So many people have significantly terrible taste in men.

Eh. I probably shouldn't be writing any of these things. People might recognize themselves or be sad that they don't. I know plenty of floundering individuals that keep their cross-hairs aimed at their own two left feet. Yeah. I think it.

Anyhow. Uncertainty has shaken me up this week, but so has inertia. I have opinions about it all, but mostly I won't tell.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On some days I am still five years old, but, at least now, I have better coordination.

So, I live for Saturday mornings. At least when life is good, I do. Today felt like a bit of a challenge because I wanted an adventure but had some real limitations to work around.

1. I am broke. Yesterday my health savings account did not have enough funds to pay for a routine maintenance visit. I had to say an unexpected goodbye to $140. Today is not the day for random Halloween shopping.

2. It is still hot here. I kept hoping that since the daily highs are no longer above ninety degrees Farenheit that it will actually be pleasant to be outside more of the day. When I attempted stepping out in the eight-eight degree day, it felt Very Bad ™: not a good time to take a random photography ramble.

3. Solo adventuring is harder. My dearest love has to write a book. The deadlines are looming. This has a recurring limitation since the book's inception. The thing about a book project is that the author has to research, write, and edit every single page. I am learning a lot about entertaining myself (and I thought I was good before).

After failing to enjoy even thirty seconds of the great outdoors I returned home to my craft closet. Fall is a good time for crafting and I usually want to do about forty more craft projects a month than I have time to do. A quick rummage revealed two things. 1. My craft closet is a total disastermess. 2. Ooh, I have lots of cool stuff to play with!

What inspired me first was a random rescue from my hometown. When my dad bought a ramshackle house next door to his (for a price that is so low I would probably be assassinated by the cheapness Black Ops team for revealing it on the Internets) it was not entirely devoid of random junk. I found kinda neat looking beat up and very dirty old box. When I picked it up, I had the idea that I would send it to my artist friend up [] in Pennsylvania so she could cannibalize it into a shadow box or who knows what. I am probably a bad friend for not yet sending it, but when it is still being squished between needle felting supplies and a box of my grandma's vintage wrapping papers, it is time to be re-rescued and finally crafted.

The box looked grim. At once point it had been a lovely stationary or jewelry box made of heavy cardboard but covered in a thin embossed leather-like paper in darkened mint and gold. Many types and colors of dirt, dust, and crust were clinging to it. I saw one scraped area and one set of small punctures right on top of the liftable lid. I had to see what would come off through a few rounds of gentle cleaning with some canned air, one wet cloth and one dry cloth.

Here's where it stands at this point. A lot cleaner, but still with some tricky repair issues.

I'm stopping temporarily at this point. After doing a bit of research on how people have fixed and re-lined various jewelry boxes in the past, it becomes clear that I have too many jobs and too many options to plunge ahead with no plan. Here's what I have to decide.

1. How do I fix the loosening of the paper on the back of the box? This paper layer holds the lid on and is currently tucked in too beautifully at the bottom to simply cut and re-affix entirely. I need to glue what is loose without taking apart to much of what isn't broken.

2. How much of the lid damage do I want to hide? I can either simply add on a new beautiful complete layer to the top and hide the punctures and abrasions but also the pretty patina of color and embossing, or I can go for a more collage look.

3. What will be the new destiny of this box? What purpose? What aesthetic?

Time for lunch and thinking and work. The next installment will hopefully answer some of these questions.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

for the artists, freaks, workaholics, poets, academics, bums or dreamers

So, I've had a few really interesting conversations lately that spark some questions in my mind. I'm curious about what is happening with all of the smart, artistic, awesome people I know in terms of their careers. But that's not enough, I also want to know what's happening with my field, my generation, and all sorts of people that are living right now.

I have some thoughts as well as questions, but I don't want to put my ideas in your head right before asking you some questions.

Since I want to know some pretty personal stuff without having to attach names to answers, I made a survey.

Here's the link:

Maybe I'm not the only person who wants to know.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I enjoyed an art fair in Minneapolis. Here are a few pictures by Jay Long whose art pleased me greatly at this above average art fair.

This art fair had a booth selling deep fried cheese curd. Obviously, I ate the deliciousness. No regrets. None.

I offended an artist accidentally when I mentioned that I thought his style of art would lend itself well to the creation of a tarot deck. Ah well. Learning. Sometimes I forget that many things that are pleasant, dear, or interesting to me can be a bit scary or offputting to folks.

Outdoor celebrations of art and looking and being delight me. Seeing people's dogs, tattoos, children, facial expressions, and choices good and bad take my brain to a good place.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

really using the second person

A warning: True is tinsel and lies that bad men say. Similarly, true is also the base of a tree as it holds or the breeze of the perfect day (in a car in England racing through old roads near Glastonbury, holding a blue stone).

I am about to quote someone else's words. The writer uses true as he means it. Perhaps not as you or I do. As with reality, artist, normal, rebel, magic, and other kaleidescopic ideas.

Rebellion is not a single act, or a pose, a phase that you go through where you listen to slightly louder music and dress in colors that clash slightly more than normal. Rebellion is a path. It demands that you question everything-how you've been educated, the social structures around you, the government, the media, gender relations, what's expected of you by others, what you've expected of yourself, how you spend your time, what you consume, where you've been, and most of all, where you're going. For me, rebellion that is content only with political radicalism is missing a large part of the picture. Any true radicalism has to extend itself to the way that reality itself is constructed. Rebellion has to take itself all the way to the scheme of manifestation itself, to the writing on the walls of eternity. Anything else is missing the forest for the trees.

A true rebel has to be an artist, somebody who can not only point out the weak points and contradictions in the system, but can also propose something better, and then guard its passage into manifestation That, to me, means magic. -- Christian Sedman

Caught in a massive thunderstorm in a sculpture park. A house lifted by art and strings. Warm wooden spheres in a boat. Melted car. Also, the shelter of good food from the warm rains and a boat upside down to the ceiling.

For me, this is a reminder. I want to be and do, rather than whine. None of it (the expectations) matters. All of it (the possibilities) matters.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I do not want to be the scarecrow/Cassandra (I'd rather start a book club)

I do have opinions. I'm only sharing some of them, but who knows if I share the right ones with the right people. Which hard things get said? Which easy ones?

When I am reaching out to untie a string, I do not strive.

My town is shaped like a chain of figure eights. They overlap predictably/constantly. Hipster. Tattoo. Drunk mess. Interesting haircut. False revelation. Fucking. Occasionally listenable soundtrack. This is not my life, but I see it all the time.

My life: Teach. Judge. Give up on humanity. Grade. Escape. Bad wrists. Good talks. Judge. Hope. Write. Withold. Procrastinate. Cuddle. Sleep.

It is hard to begin something new (with my whole being) after so many false starts. Changing my life is hard because I know it is mine, and that is weighty.


I want to grow and be more. Learn to still and relax more fully. Share with new people. Put tiny paper futures and possibilities out in the world (that ignored them last year). Create new and different possibilities that are more empowered. Most of all I want to finish and defend. I want my life to be more mine once the degree has been earned; it feels wrong to do any sort of change at all that could delay or endanger those magical three letters (that I do not actually believe are magic).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My last grandparent passed away this year at the start of summer. Staying in and sifting through her room (and other rooms) showed her freshly to me. I learned such incomplete things, but funny vibrant interesting things that she had not been able to share herself for many many years. Her mental deterioration in old age took so many years away from the person she was. I still want to know her (and so many of my family that are far away, unreachable, or no longer living). Here are a few of the bright spots of her life that make me curious and happy.