Welcome To My Bed

Endless Midnight Oil: Artistic Overdrive and The Dual-Wicked Candle



I had a conversation with a far-flung friend recently where we lamented being twenty-somethings.  A compelling conversation, I know, but just walk with me here for a minute.  After the "I hate my boring job" gripes and the "there's not enough time to make art" train of thought, we came back around to a happy place.  "Just sleep less," he said.  "You have a voice that needs to be heard."  I can't begin to explain how much I need our talk to end that way.

In the past few weeks, my writing here has been overwhelmingly negative.  I won't apologize for that so much as offer a bit of background.  When I go a long time without a serious outpouring of internal monologue, things can get a bit overwrought.  But, in service of being truthful, my life is fantastic right now.  My job may be a bit mind-numbing, but it gives me eight hours of auto-pilot where I can be chasing down ideas for the next poem, essay, or painting, so that when i get home after work, I am primed and ready to produce.  I have a cozy apartment where there is more than enough space for all of my projects.  I have a partner in crime whom I can bounce drafts off of at all hours.  My best friend lives a ten minute bus ride away.  I paint and write every evening until I fall into bed.  It is glorious to be so tired from so many good things.

I'm pretty sure the reason that I worked shitty customer service jobs for so long is the toll it would take on my body.  Even if I hated the workplace I was in, it was easy to feel like I'd actually accomplished something at the end of a shift because I could feel the strain in my body.  I would be sore from standing at a register, taking Christmas ornaments for eight hours.  My feet would ache due to the fact that I'd been running entrees non-stop through dinner service.  There were measurable, physical responses to how I'd spent my time in a given day.  While the exhaustion was intellectually satisfying, it was also defeating my ability to create.  How can a person come home from working a job that requires you to be on your feet and on the move, only to expend more physical and mental energy on what actually matters?  When I worked this more physically demanding jobs, I was terrible at staying awake an hour past arriving home for the night, and an hour is not nearly enough time to make real progress on a creative progress.

Trading my standing shifts for a cubicle and endlessly ringing phone has been a rocky transition.  I get restless staring at computer screen for eight straight hours.  But there are serious benefits to work that does not drain finite energy reserves.  I do not have to be creative at work.  I have to be personable and repetitive.  My time on the phone is essentially scripted.  I write emails on auto-pilot.  I know what is expected of me, and I accomplish my daily to-do lists.  It is a very simple existence.  Initially, this black and white environment had me thrashing around like a shark in the shallow.  I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Did they really think I was enjoying my work?  But art crept in around the edges of the day.  Writing on my luxurious hour-long lunches (having designated break time is still something I am giddy about); reading submissions for Side B in between answering email inqueries; writing to far-flung friends when the phones are silent.  I found so many small moments in my day where it was not only okay to do what I wanted to, but encouraged, that I still consistently feel like I'm getting away with something when I get up to take a stroll around the office.

Since changing workplaces (and moving to Somerville in general), I've had a lot more brain space to accomplish all the things I've planned out for years and never been able to find the structure in my day to facilitate.  I have a routine, and it is glorious.  I sleep less, and it doesn't affect my job performance; in fact, being tired enforces my auto-pilot at work.  The less I think about what is going on, the easier it is to lose myself in the repetition of my job, and then before I know it, it's five o'clock and I'm on my way back up the hill to my apartment.  I've put together a manuscript, painted a series to show publicly next month, built a soon-to-launch personal website, started writing non-fiction again.  Even though I spend more hours per day at my job, I feel like I have more time to do what I want.

There's an episode of Wilfred where (SPOILER ALERT) everyone's favorite Australian man in a dog suit loses his sense of smell, thus losing his sense of purpose.  At my minimum wage jobs, I had lost my sense of smell.  (I've not been unemployed since I was 14.)  I worked so much, and so consistently, alongside my actual life, that it became easiest to hide behind my exhaustion in lieu of making the strides towards things I actually wanted to achieve.  Sure, I finished college a semester early while working full time, but I also didn't try nearly as hard as I could have.  I may have muddled through last years tumultuous time in Providence, but I was angry and lonely all the time; I did very little writing and almost no painting, even though I had more free time than I knew what to do with.  I panicked when I started my current job because it was so unlike anything I've ever done for work before, but it really has been the best thing for me.  My nose is back.  I can sniff out opportunities to push myself a little further along like a motherfucker; I am surefooted, burning the midnight oil, experiencing more excitement and success than I knew I was allowed to.  The tedium is glorious for all the hours it affords me to do exactly what it is I love, and do it full force.

Lady With Smoke


First finished in the series for our boozy launch party.  There's another more than half-done sitting on my drafting table, waiting to be completed.  If I was my younger self, I would've stayed up half the night watching reruns of the Law & Order franchise and powering through two or three more in this style.  I'm very pleased with where this is headed and can't wait for there to be ten tiny canvases ready to be shown.

Orchids, intertextuality, and doctoral programs.

Everywhere, orchids.  In the mystery man's house when Donna takes over the Meal-on-Wheels program on Twin Peaks; in The Orchid Thief (obviously), driving people mad with covetous desire; in poems I read by accident.  Everywhere I turn, these strange plant aliens have popped up.  For two weeks, all that I consume has been nothing but orchids.

I like to think of texts (a term a define broadly as anything that can be read, where read means consumed and interpreted, so books, film, TV, songs, etc. are all texts in one way or another) as creatures that speaks to each other if you let them.  This probably stems from any critical work I've ever done: I don't believe in writing on a text by itself.  There always has to be another text to let it talk to.  Blame this on my college experience.  Hampshire doesn't just read books.  Hampshire reads books in context of other books.  Change the context, and the entire experience of a novel shifts.  Typical assignment: read your assigned novel of the week and come up with an essay topic, then look for articles supporting your thesis; if there are articles supporting your thesis, pick a new topic.  This is how you keep critical work from stemming only from the hybridization of two formerly held notions about a text.

I got into a conversation recently about graduate school.  (I have a lot of these higher education talks while half-daydreaming at my minimum wage barista job.  Call it wishful thinking.)  My conversation partner seemed to believe that holding an advanced degree meant you were some kind of brilliant, original thinker.  If only.  I've met plenty of people with advanced degrees who aren't worth the paper their diploma was printed on.  And here's why: a PhD program can't teach you to be an original thinker; it can only teach you to organize your thoughts in an academically acceptable scaffolding.  No one needs to be brilliant to be called, "Doctor".  They only need to be observant enough to find where critical lines about any given topic intersect, then point out those intersections and move the conversations about the given topic a slight stumble forward.  Simple and plain, most dissertations do little to advance their fields other than repackage information.

But the fact remains, I get dizzy when I imagine completing a doctoral program.  Something about being not only allowed, but required, to spend that amount of time rooting around in a library looking for unarticulated truths reminds me of Indiana Jones.  In a much more musty, sedentary way.  But the adventure is still there.  Conversation between two texts assists in interpretation of both.  Conversation between more than two texts creates an exciting web of interconnected ideas that helps sift out new things from my brain, and also helps mine for images I didn't know I had in me.  Textual excavation is also a process of self-discovery.  Regardless of the acceptable critical perspective on literature or any text, my own favored method of interpretation has always been emotional.  How does a piece of art make me feel?  It is that gut tug that makes any piece of art resonate past the year it's written in.

Back to orchids.  They grow in the most strange ways, latched onto the sides of trees and the edges of cliffs, roots dangling in the air.  They don't bloom for their first seven years of life.  They have odd, ugly faces, wear funny hats, die easily when removed from their misanthropic swamps.  How like artists.  We know little about how or why they grow the way they do, but the more strange and rare they are, the more eagerly they're pursued.

Today is.

Photobucket


Morning with a favorite. Still under the blankets. All I can think of are birds. Petah Coyne's dead, still birds. The giant hanging masses of ash. Chandeliers of dead things. Flowers made of wax. Sol LeWitt's math, all of his chalk and crayon on the walls. Grids of planning. Now, take away the grid. Peel back the mask. What do you see? What will be left when the lines that propped up your words are stripped away? Can you stand on your own?

I am digging through the manuscript of the first, the only, year I did 365. So many new poems will come of this. Mass MoCA is still stewing in my head. Even frozen feathers make me think of movement. I've seen dead birds in the gutter and expected them to dust off the grit and maggots, take flight like nothing was ever wrong.

Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash.

The new hair, in full-ish effect:

Photobucket


The newest painting, now that it's no longer shrouded in secrecy:

Photobucket


And my new favorite outrageous lady:

Photobucket


Spent the better part of last night listening to Nicki the Ninja. Pretty sure the only reason I ever disliked her is that her verse on "Bedrock" is the only underwhelming one she's ever spit, and that's the track I heard her on first. But we couldn't have her upstaging the boys again, could we?

Lil Kim needs to get her ass back to music-land (besides that brief moment on Luda's "Battle of the Sexes") and join this little lady in breaking up the boys club with some serious skills. I'm rather tired of there only being one or two female MC's in the mainstream at a time.

Vomiting rainbows.

Art is more important than brushing your teeth! I have spent the better part of my day off listening to estrogen-heavy hip hop and assembling the team chapbook, and man am I amped about both of those things. I got to arrange things in space, make use of my drafting table (and long-dormant drawing skills), and reread all of the team's wonderful poems. Happy, happy Friday!

And now, a quick sneak peak at the soon-to-be-printed book's cover (and one of my three new pairs of glasses):

Photobucket


Running over to Duplications in a few minutes to make this shit real. Promise I'll brush my teeth beforehand.

Who doesn't love it when My Little Pony goes bad ass? Exactly.

I always said, Chicken Little goes big or goes home.

+ Finished Jenna Jameson's autobiography laying in the Friday lawn sun. It was my first day off in two weeks, so I thought it would be best to spend it with a 600 page book called How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. I was not disappointed. In fact, it was probably one of the most enjoyable things I've read all semester.

+ Daddy's having surgery tomorrow. I wonder what a ribcage looks like completely cracked open. So many poems talk about ribcage this and that, but for me, it's a very hard part of the body to picture as separate from the body itself, even if I did paint it probably hundreds of times for my high school AP studio art concentration (anatomy, in case you were curious). In fact, here's an example right now of seventeen-year-old me as melodrama queen with a silkscreen:

Photobucket


Yes, that is a t-shirt. And yes, I do still have the screen. I've been strongly considering resurrecting it from my grandma's basement and mass-producing the shirts to just hand out at slams. But anyway. My dad's cracked chest. I am avoiding thinking about the risks, because this is his last hope. I filed out his living will with him on Tuesday instead of my usual weekly dose of poetry. There was all this language that made me really uncomfortable, like "in case of __________ circumstances, please allow me to die". I spent a lot of the time laughing to keep from getting overwhelmed and bursting into tears. My father wants his body to go to the hospital as research material after he dies, and when it's released back to us, he wants us to take a ferry across the Hudson and clandestinely dump his ashes over the side of the boat. Even though that's completely illegal, I am sure lots of people do it.

But that's a bridge we'll cross after all others have burned sufficiently. My daddy is not going to die from a little ol' crack in his chest, nor a swollen, blocked heart. He's already died seven times, and he doesn't like it, which is why he keeps coming back. Also, he clearly has unfinished business. Like being the first legless champion of Dancing With the Stars. Or finally finishing that book he claims he's been writing since last year.

+ The job search has started up again. But not to worry--I am still very much in love with table-waiting. I'm just trying to explore my options (and make more money). Yesterday afternoon, while Cass and I gave each other pep talks about our marketability on our now-decrepit living room couch, I applied for two new jobs. The first is a part time gig as a spa receptionist, which I am sure I'll at least get an interview for because I have so many years of experience in customer service. And the other is a second waiting job. However, this one is at a swankier restaurant, one where they train you to bartend! If I get this gig, I will finally have the skills I have desired for so long, and will be hurtling on into adulthood with the chops to support myself for the rest of my life. Not that waiting isn't a job that supports me. I just feel I'd like bartending even more. Fingers crossed. Then there is always the vague possibility of the night shift at a laundromat. A shift from 2-8 AM four times a week sounds almost heavenly. No one will bother me; I can read on the job; I can write on the job; I get to guard people's laundry. Sounds ideal for someone who can never sleep in the first place. Maybe I should email about that ad too...

+ Speaking of jobs, I have been tinkering with my five year plan. Though I have been doing what I said I wouldn't (looking at graduate programs), my real dream has remained consistent. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. Back then, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I'd never been on a plane. In fact, I did not fly anywhere until the summer before my senior year of high school. Making that trip to California, and the subsequent one several years later, planted a seed in my head about being an air hostess. I was reading all of the requirements for flight attendants on some website the other day, and most of it comes back to extensive experience in customer service and a drive to make people absolutely comfortable. Me, and also, me! When rewriting my resume for my most recent round of job applications, I realized that I have over five years of experience in customer service. People my age cannot often say that. I need to translate those skills into a semi-lucrative and enjoyable job--flying for a living seems the way to go. Especially cos you can do it PART TIME and still get free flights to anywhere your airline travels. Perfect job for a touring poet? I think yes. New possibility for the five year plan: move to a city with a flight training center (most of them are apparently in California), become a part time flight attendant, bartend for the rest of that time, make enough to live on, write poems, visit all of my far-flung friends with vouchers and a big fat smile on my well-traveled face. Yes. I can picture it in perfect focus.

+ I received communion for the first time since Christmas in the hospital on Tuesday. I'm not sure how I felt about it. Lately, I've felt compelled to pray, then stopped myself because I know that's not really what I believe. God brings such comfort to so many people I love, but for me, the comfort troubles more than it assures me. My own way of praying is to write, and that seems to helping more than anything else. A nun I trust (a comical image, to be sure, the mohawked rabble rouser conversing with a trusted nun) once told me that singing is twice praying. Is that why I've been singing so loud since all of this happened? Is that the only praying I am equipped to do? In that case, here is something I've been belting alone in the car recently.



Lollipop rock is comfort food.

+ Okay, back to hiding in my cave and waiting for the world to end (or work to start, whichever comes first).

Photobucket


Look up, the sky is falling.

Snow day.

1. This is how I feel about how close Christmas is:

Photobucket


So much to do, and I feel like none of it's getting done. I sometimes think I look like an elf, but I have roughly zero elf characteristics because Christmas is the holiday I worst at preparing for, and elves are bred for such purposes.

2. This is how I feel about being stuck inside for most of the day because PVD is non-functional:

Photobucket


Good thing I'm going out momentarily to fetch some soup for Meg and do some much needed catching up. I have missed that girl. It's been since August, for God's sake. C'mon snow, don't screw this one up for me.

3. Just found out that the artist I named and somewhat modeled one of my novel's characters after died this July, apparently from a drug overdose. I remember reading about him in New York magazine sometime recently after I had transferred to public high school. I was sitting in the library, avoiding my homework, and I picked up the issue without even thinking. The story really struck me though, and the guy became something of an impetus for me to write a piece of short fiction that ended up winning me an award and getting me into college. I know very little about this person other than what that article said, and I have never even seen any of his art. He was only 27. I haven't had time to work on the novel in a bit, but now I feel oddly compelled to jump back in after finding this out via Wikipedia as a result of a conversation with a friend about making art nests and possibly starting a treehouse artist collective called the Boredom Assassins. Today has been a weird day. Fingers crossed that it's gonna get wackier (in the best of ways).

Artistic endeavors.

Photobucket

Photobucket


Sophia had a bit of printmaking homework to attend to on Thursday, and in the interest of time (and for the excuse to go for a drive with all the windows down through the crisp fall air) I gave her a ride and hung out while she was prepping her copper plate. Instead of getting a lot of homework done, which I never quite manage when I go on such adventures, we talked a lot about boys and slam and other such Lady Poet topics of conversation. In all the pauses between topics, I got a little visually lost and made a mental note that I really need to start painting again before I drive myself crazy. Sophia and I have made plans to go draw at the Smith botanical gardens once it gets cold, but I'm not sure I can wait for such things. I've been doodling a lot, and it's terribly unsatisfying.

Lungcakes and midnight fingernails.

Photobucket


Today was generally uneventful (I wanted to go to the beach before work but was thwarted by my sleep schedule), except for the above-pictured accomplishments. Lung-shaped pancakes and freshly lacquered nails. A good morning, I'd say. Although I was pretty disappointed in the Sally Hansen nailpolish I bought. In spite of being doubly awesome (both black and glitter at the same time? hell yessss) in theory, the stuff was very goopy going on. We'll see if it lives up to the "no chip" claim on the label, which could redeem it in the end.

The Narrows, the Ron, the universe crammed in between my ears.

Point B, which is our weekly artist shindig at AS 220, was fabulous. I am still inspired by the afterglow days later. It was like being in a multi-medium cipher, and we all had so much fun. Afterwards, Meg and Eric came over and we went for walk down by Roger Williams Park in the dark and told stories for what felt like hours. The friends I am making here are all because of the arts, and they re all exactly the kinds of people I need to be spending time with to keep the wheels in my head turning at the frenetic pace I want them moving at.

Yesterday work was canceled because of the rain, something I found out when I had already driven halfway down to Narragansett, but thankfully I had brought clothes with me this time, so I pulled over on the side of Route 4 near South Kingstown and changed, then hung a U-turn and drove to East Greenwich to chill with DC at work. We had many good talks and I wrote endlessly in the back room until we ventured next door to get delicious Mexican food. I am becoming convinced that a burrito is all I really need when I'm thinking complicated thoughts. After finishing our extended lunch, I said goodbye and headed back to the city for some quality time at Blue State Coffee with Meg and a bunch of her friends. We spent a few hours doodling and talking about old TV shows.

When the caffeine party adjourned, Meg and I headed to my apartment in Cranston to grab directions to Dan's feature at the Narrows in Fall River. I made her what she claims is the best grilled cheese she's ever had. We sang to the cats. And then we sang some classic Alanis Morissette on I-195 East.

Photobucket


Fall River is a very interesting place, as you can see by the graffiti. And I am pretty much in love with the Narrows. DC's feature was fabulous, and there were some really great acts on the open mic. Meg and I were melting into puddles over it for most of the night. At the end of the list, there was a block of four female performers, which was so exciting. I love seeing women perform. I got kind of upset earlier in the night that all the slots had been filled by men, but the quartet of women made it worth it, especially because the night was rounded out by my new friend Kayla, the only performer who played piano. She has the sweetest voice, and it was a pleasure to hear her a second night in a row after the intimate performance at Point B on Tuesday.

To finish off the evening, DC, Meg, and I stopped at Nice Slice on Thayer Street for final sustenance and talked with one of the staff there for awhile. He suggested this delicious creation he had concocted - margherita pizza with broccoli and chicken. We urged him to get it put on the menu and to name it after himself because we had been calling it "the Ron" all night anyway. After considerable ruthless people watching, poetry reading, and group hugs, we put a cap on everything and all headed home. I have been having some of the best nights of my life here, and I do not hesitate to say it.

Today has not been planned yet, but Saturday is the Providence Arts Festival and a whole bunch of the Point B kids are going to get together for a picnic and chill session. And then Saturday night, DC is playing a radio show, which will be destination number two. I could not have picked a better Neverland to steer my course towards. No matter what, I am sure that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Also, "Jolene" by Ray LaMontagne has been popping up everywhere, and I thought I should share it with you because it is one of my new favorite songs. Follow the link to see him performing it live at Abbey Road.

Creation.

Photobucket


Last night at the Union Street venue in NoHo (aka, Kevin's basement), I spent a good couple hours painting, something I haven't done in a really long time. As you can see, I still have evidence of the escapades on my arm. It was the first time I painted anything since probably December? Yes, December. Some of you may recall the shark attack painting I made for James for Christmas, or the ghost/skeleton purple painting I resurrected from my high school portfolio and finally finished. Since those two endeavors I haven't picked up a paint brush. It felt good to get back into. The old and familiar typically does.

Speaking of Union Street, I have a feature this Thursday night, so if any of you are in the area and want to hear some poetry, please get in touch with me. Esme Vaandrager and Shira Erlichman are also featuring. So yeah, shit's gonna be crazy. Hopefully some minds will be blown.

Photobucket


In other news, tonight I am attending a Gossip Girl theme party. Now, it's confession time. I read at least three or four of the books under my chorus desk in high school (I was a soprano and Mr. Ajalat was constantly trying to coral the altos, which was excuse enough for me), but I have never watched the TV show. My little sister Chrissie is obsessed. Apparently my friend Peter is as well, hence this costume party. A friend of his is throwing it, and he is apparently dressing up as Chuck Bass. I had to do some Google image searches, but I think I've come up with a fairly solid Blair-type outfit, consisting mostly of clothing I was about to drop off at the consignment store. It has been years since I've worn a pleated skirt. I promise to provide pictures of all of this wackiness at some point in the near future.

Also, Maggie will be here!! Again!!!!

Inked-up skin.

Photobucket


And there you have it. "If we survive the teeth, we succumb to the waves." Virginia Woolf has finally made it under my skin, and apparently, I was a trooper about it. Hell yes. Everyone keeps verbally fiving me about it, which makes me feel really good, cos I did the final drawing this morning. I know, I know, procrastinating when it comes to makes permanent body-altering decisions is a poor choice, but I've had the thing in my head for months and just now got a paycheck that didn't need to go to groceries. And oh man, am I happy about that. Shout outs to Lucky's Tattoos and Piercings (the Amherst location). This is my second experience with them, and both were really wonderful.

Underground art movements.

Slam Collective is a fairly visible organization on campus, and we get people from all over the place at our open mics, including this gentleman

Photobucket


Kevin Devaney, who has recently started this terribly bohemian monthly meeting of minds known as "The First Thursday Reading" (until he can come up with a better name). Typically there's some kind of musical act, followed by two local poets, all things accompanied by decent helpings of alcohol and a great bit of whooping and hollering. And, as I stupidly forgot to mention, this isn't at any normal kind of venue - it all takes place on a stage made of wooden pallets in a basement. It's a great forum for new and developing voices in the valley, and though the featured artists don't get any kind of compensation, the audience is really into it and we all have a really fantastic time.

Last night Northampton band Salut Ananas played the opener, followed by my dear friend Sophia Holtz (member of the 2008 Hampshire County National Poetry Slam Team that competed in Madison, Wisconsin; possessor of one metric ton of awesomeness) and Kerry O'Keefe (Northampton area poet with some really amazing pieces; also, a former blues singer and fluent in French). I'm not sure I have any way to link to any of Sophia's work - sadly - but I did manage to Google up some of Kerry's from a couple years ago when she was one of the Northampton Drive By Poets, a piece called "Late Mass in August".

Next month my CUPSI teammate George Delgado is one of the featured poets, along with another Slam Collective member Adam Gottlieb. And the month after that, I'm featuring. With Shira Erlichman. Needless to say, I'm already freaking the fuck out about what to read, and how not to look like a complete tool next to someone who is currently on tour, has been on NPS teams, blah blah blah. Kevin drunkenly told me last night that my work has never not impressed him, but I couldn't tell if it was just the Jack Daniels talking. Next week there will be a slam/dance party, which should be raucous, but I have slam team practice and I don't think that Charlie would be very happy with me if I canceled again. Unless our slam practicing were to take place in front of the basement audience, in which case I think I found a loophole. Please excuse me while I go pen devious emails.

In closing, support your local art movements. Read things and make noise in basements, you will not regret it.

Good news!

Photobucket


A collage from about 8 billion journals ago - I think most of the added stuff was from a college brochure from Pratt Institute, all the way back when I was being inundated with such things the summer before my senior year. I thought it was apropos for this entry.

Since I got to school, I've been pretty heavily involved in Slam Collective. Last year I missed only one open mic that we had, on top of going to Cambridge almost weekly to read at the Cantab. On special Fridays I would even make the drive to Manchester, New Hampshire to read. So many hours spent in cars for this. And for about six months, even though I was going to readings and enjoying myself and writing more than I ever have in my life, I didn't want to slam. At the beginning of the year it wasn't an issue for me - I did it every chance I had and even did fairly well for someone so new to it. And then something changed for me and I decided to sit in the background for a bit. I think that background time has really paid off.

Last night we had the slam to decide the team we'll send to CUPSI at U Penn in March, and it is the first time I've slammed since god-knows-when. And I am happy and proud to say that I made the team. But even more flabbergasting (is that a word?) is that I won the slam. I haven't won a slam in over a year, and never one that mattered for more than bragging rights. And it felt so good to be back in action, performing better than I ever have. I credit all the acting I've been roped into by the guys over at Black 29 and their constituents for that.

So now I'm in for an even more rigorous schedule than I had planned on for the spring semester. Four classes, 12 hours of work study, movie shoots on the weekends, slam team rehearsals three times a week, a possible editor's position on a campus publication, the list just keeps piling up. But I can handle it, I hope. There's nothing I'm willing to cross off the list, so I'm pretty sure this is the way it's going to stay.

And just for the record, I cannot stop smiling.

Gentleman caller.

Photobucket


So there you have it, that's the painting I had been slaving away at for James' Christmas present. I can finally post it because we exchanged gifts the other day. He always loved the vintage pint glasses I managed to pull together, and the coffee mug, and the crocheted Totoro. I'll post pictures of that little guy later. He is either really cute, or really terrifying. And as for what I received, James customized a Game Cube for me so that it is the colors of a sunset, and with that he gave me Paper Mario (my favorite Mario game by far) and Harvest Moon, probably my favorite game of all time. Also, there was a DVD copy of the skulls, one of the best worst movies. I love it. I was/am so happy. I think we were both pretty creative in these dire economic times.

Anyway, since James has been here, I feel so much better about being home. He makes everything much more comfortable. We spent Sunday night with Maggie and Sherry playing pool and air hockey in their extensive basement, talking about Bob Dylan and Dead Heads, enjoying ourselves immensely. Everything always feels right at their house, but it felt even more right this time. He's the missing puzzle piece.

Last night we tried to watch I'm Not There with my dad, but everyone in my house seemed dead set on interrupting us at every turn. My sister Kaitlin kept wandering in and out of the room, each time with a new problem. And even though we teased her about it, she still didn't realize how annoying she was being. I love her, and everybody in my family, but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by them. I'm going to have to watch the movie again soon, just so that I can actually pay attention to it. But from what I did catch, it was beautiful.

Winter solstice.

Last night I finally got to see Maggie for the first time since I've been home, and we had such a good time, painting until nearly three o'clock in the morning and listening to the stranger stations on satellite radio. Our favorite was definitely 50's on 5. There was this ridiculous and amazing song about the Garden of Eden, and could you leave a beautiful woman there. I still hold to the belief that it was about resisting the temptation for pre-marital sex. We had a lot of laughs at the things that came on.

I got 75% done with a brand new painting last night, but I can't post it because it's a gift for someone and I'm pretty sure they read this. But I will show you after they've received it (and after it's completely done). I will, however, post a picture of a painting I'm working on for one of my sisters for Christmas. Gifts are making me kind of insane. I have to finish wrapping, then I have some drawings I want to do, and in addition to that, there are stocking stuffers I am putting together for my parents. So much to do! I never thought Christmas would be stressful, but apparently I am getting older, and things in general are just getting more worrisome. Anyway, here's that painting in progress.

Photobucket


Also, fashion inspiration for eternity -



Are those Yves booties? I have no idea, but they remind me of an Amy Ryan spread I saw recently. Lykke Li is too awesome.

And the wire approaches.

Photobucket


Ready to tear out my hair from the pressure of it, and I only have two final portfolios to do. They'll probably take about 1 day of work combined. Somehow, I am still worried. I baffle me.

I welded myself a coat rack last night, and I promise to post a picture later on, because I am proud that I finally used my skills for something practical after all of the strange intuitive art objects I have been churning out for the semester. My professor told me that I am welcome back anytime I want to do some work next semester, which I am very excited about. I thought I was going to have to leave behind my metal-working days, but apparently they are only beginning. Maybe soon I will figure out what to do with that trio of rusty garage door springs.

In other news, I feel like shit today and am trying to ignore that fact and get my things done. However, I have procrastinated on my reading for class today, and it doesn't look like it'll get done. So much for attempting. I need Christmas break quite badly, but I need Jan-Term even more, just so that I have a change. Class every day for two and a half weeks, 10 AM to 12, then 2:30 PM to 4. It will be a very full day, in addition to rehearsals and shooting for Evan's movie, but I am looking forward to it immensely. I really thrive off of being busy. That's why this semester has dragged; I was only taking two academic classes. I should have known better. I should have signed up for some other time-filler that would have given me further credit towards graduating early. I will make it happen. This is one of my only goals. I must stick to it.

Feels good to be lost.

Photobucket


Meet Junk Bunny, a creature I made out of wire I'm pretty sure is meant to be used for baling hay. I find that I am most productive in my sculpture class when I have no idea what to do with myself and therefore start fucking around without a purpose. Junk Bunny will be a Christmas present for my mother, because she loves rabbits, and also when I give her handmade gifts. He looks like pencil scribbles, and that makes me smile.

I nerded out a little too much tonight talking about the incarnations of Star Trek from my childhood, resolving to find downloadable versions as soon as I get my external hard drive. I miss TNG and Deep Space Nine. I miss simpler times really, when television made me happy without the currently prerequisite channel-surfing. I will never remember the digital cable set-up I have at home. If I go looking for some innocuous movie to fall asleep to, I invariably end up passing out to a Girls Gone Wild informercial simply because I have given up on locating a channel that has actual programming past midnight. So frustrating.

I pre-registered for spring classes today. Time has gotten better at sprinting. I have never been a runner. I try to enjoy the view too often. The finish line never coincides with my line of vision. This could be an incredible problem or the greatest relief.

Crunch.

Somehow, I narrowly manage to avoid hangovers. Always. This is luck I do not feel safe depending on.

I have to read two acts of King Lear, among other silly work that I want to get finished so that I can spend the better part of this week preparing for Friday. James and I are considering buying a bottle of absinthe for the occasion. Either it's a brilliant idea, or one that we should definitely rethink.

All I have left to do for my application to the creative writing program is printing out a writing sample. This is nerve wracking. I don't want to worry about things anymore.

I lost the Halloween ticket voucher...this is not good.

I am constructing a nebula. It is in its beginning stages. I am very very excited about it.

Photobucket