the way you need to be loved

the way you need to be loved

Aug 16, 2014

memory lane can be the road to the Present

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spent the whole day behind the hook and am now enjoying an over-poured glass of Auslese.  this is the very definition of a wonderful day off.

and i've needed it.  the passed week or so has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.  a huge box arrived unexpectedly containing my mother's collection of family photos, more than 3 1/2 years after her death.  i opened the box only to be sure of what it was and then closed it again.  i wasn't in the mood for that type of upheaval and i wasn't prepared to slice open a cardboard box and be greeted by my mother's face and the dresses she saved that my sister and i wore as little girls in an Olen Mill's portrait so soooooo many years ago.  kelly must've been 4 or 5.  that would have made me 7 or 8.

a few days later, i reached back inside the box and pulled the dresses out.  i remember hating them as a little girl but, now, they look like art pieces.  something possibly akin to the Kiki Smith piece, Sisters, or the twins in The Shining.  ha!



i gazed at them in between rounds of digging through the 7 portfolios that are stored in my bedroom closet.  it was a strange walk down memory lane.  it's amazing what an accurate barometer of emotion art is.  looking at my work from just a few years ago, i relived the pain and confusion and longing i was entrenched in during those days.  and the sheer MASS of my personal collection is astounding! i've thrown away SO MUCH each time i've moved and i still have such an enormous stockpile of work! it was heartrending to go through it all but there were also moments when i smiled.  and smiled wide like a goofy child, at that.  in the middle of a portfolio that largely houses work i did during the last year i lived in Calistoga, i came across a self-portrait i drew when i was 21 years old.  it was made during one of the happiest times in my life DESPITE the fact that i had yet to leave my hated home town.




it was drawn during the time Jose and i lived together in my very first apartment.  we were inseparable and i loved being with him.  we smoked way too many cigarettes and drank blended frappaccinos way too often and squeezed our bellies  and called ourselves fat just like two silly teenagers would.  :)  thinking back on all that makes me so happy.  we listened to Bikini Kill and dreamed of New York together.  what's really special is that sometimes we still do.  it's not at all irregular for Jose and i to refer to each other as Rebel Girl more than 10 years later.  :)



all this made somehow brought me to the realization that for the last several years i needed a deep round of PLAY.  it's no secret that life is hard and it's no secret that my life has been hard.  looking at my own work, my own hand smearing charcoal and graphite, the words i'd scrawl sometimes in the margins or on the back of the paper...  i realized that in the span of 3 short years i lost all three parental figures and the person i considered to be the closest member of my immediate family, my partner for 7 years.  with the exception of my siblings, my entire immediate family basically collapsed.   and all the emotion of those days was right there.  right in my hands, in the black and white smears and screams of my drawings.

it was hard to leave the house that day.  i wanted to hide in bed.  i wanted to be dirty and dumb and lounge around in dingy pajamas.  i wanted to not give a fuck about anything and just spend the day drinking.  i wanted to raise a middle finger to the world and cry my eyes out.  sometimes i hear my voice inside my own head and it sounds so small.  so painfully small. so heartbreaking.  i think of my mother and i think of my father and i think of my siblings and what their pain must be and i whisper inside myself, "this isn't fair"...

but looking at the artwork i made during such a tumultuous era allowed me to see that i have, in fact, healed from a great many pains and that i long to return to a certain type of seriousness again, a particular breed of deep introspection and artistic investigation.  basically, it made me want to draw again.  :)

we'll see.  i sure enjoyed laying in bed all day with my crochet hook and black yarn today, that's for sure.



i'm confident the Future is an interesting place.  

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Aug 10, 2014

all in

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i re-opened my etsy shop today.  it's something i've been wanting to do for quite sometime now and getting into the residency helped me pull the trigger on that this morning.  i'll be putting more and more things up for sale in the coming week, it was just important to open it today.  i simply needed to make the commitment to it.  and it's about more than just needing to raise funds for travel and supplies, it's about having an artistic presence in the world in as many forms and places as i feel able to and interested in.  it's about giving the art a chance to find its rightful home.  it's about taking my role as an artist a bit more seriously each day.

i've been watching my bosses lately, paying attention to how they move, the expressions on their faces, the way they carry themselves, how they speak and, most importantly, how much time they dedicate to their profession every day.  i started watching all this because 2 of them recently had birthdays and they were both in the restaurant on those days.  i'd remarked to our Sommelier "working on your birthday?  that sucks!" and her matter of fact retort was, "that's what this job takes."  her assertion stayed with me the rest of the evening and has followed me around in the weeks since, popping in to my brain almost daily, and is now slapping my in the face with a very simple truism: those who work daily toward their goals, undaunted and with total stubborn persistence, achieve them. those the road through this world is a bit more unclear for artists, it is nevertheless true that making a 7 day a week commitment to ANYTHING will eventually lead to success.  and i'm not even sure what i mean when i use the word "success" in relation to art as i largely already consider myself to be successfully living s an artist-  i wake up every day with enough time to luxuriate in the landscape of my diary before getting dressed for work.  i tend to work a 4-day work week and therefore have 3 days off every week to dedicate toward my own artist aims, whether it be holing up in bed and geeking out on a project of spending an entire day flipping through the monographs of artists i adore. i successfully incorporate art into my daily life.  but i'd rather be plugging 12 to 14 hours a day in to my practice than do anything else.  if i can look at my bosses and take a hint from them, what i'm seeing is the glaring reality to pursue what i want with as much steam and muscle as i've got because, as the lady said, "that's what this job takes." 

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Aug 1, 2014

reflection

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today i submitted another residency proposal and requested the paperwork to defer my student loan (again).  i'm trying to find ways to parlay the one residency offer i've received in to other opportunities.  it's amazing what one little nod of encouragement can do.  suddenly, it's not such a chore to send off a proposal.  suddenly, my dreams feel serious again and i feel the need to run toward a new future with every ounce of sweat and love i've got. 

still, it's scary.  but it's also exhillerating, and i think maybe the time has come to let myself be a bit shaken up again.  i'm very comfortable in my daily life.  i don't get as much art made or as much writing done as i'd like, but i'm not unhappy.  i like my job.  i like the people i work with.  i have fun everyday.  but when i think about waiting tables for the next 3 years rather than traveling, or rather than going to grad school, or rather than moving to new york and just committing to making it work...  i feel deflated.  i think somewhere along the line, maybe around the start of the year, i decided to coast.  and maybe i needed that.  maybe i needed a bit of ease and a lot of fun.  maybe i needed a break from all the big worries, all the pressure i generally feel to make each second MEAN SOMETHING.  it gets to be too much after awhile.  a person needs to spend a bit of time in shallow waters every now and then. 

over the course of the last few days, i return again and again to something my father used to say to me: "follow your first dreams first."  he's right.  that's exactly what a person should do.  that's exactly what an artist needs to do.  i know that i'll be waiting tables for the next few years but the question is really about where and what for?  what dreams are being financed?  what opportunities does being a waiter allow me to take advantage of?  which opportuniies am i chasing and creating for myself along the way?  and am i inspired by the life that surrounds me?

more and more, i've come to the knowledge that for the last several years i've been living a half-in, half-out kind of life, not fully committed to anything (other than art), ready to leave things and people behind at a moments notice if need be.  thankfully, i haven't needed to do such a thing but i'm more troubled/compelled by the fact that i was ready to.  i don't want to be that way.  for a time, it was necessary to be non-committal.  i needed it for my own protection while i healed from past hurts...  but i'm not planted here.  i love oakland yet i resist putting down real roots.  my mind and heart both pull hard toward a different city and the only thing that's keeping me in oakland at this point is fear of the unknown.  i'm selling myself short.  i'm keeping my dreams on the back-burner and the longer i keep them there, the easier it becomes to simply leave them there.  and doing this means i'm not truly committed to my dreams. i'm not taking myself seriously.  i seem to have fallen prey to the delusion that there will always be time for certain things later.  i know for a fact that's not true and it surprises me that i can even think this way. 

doris lessing said, "whatever you're meant to do, do it now.  the conditions are always impossible."

i'm trying to hold on to this, let it challenge and steel me and make me brave.  one day i'm going to die and i want to use my time on this planet as beautifully and effectively as i can.  i don't want to be a person who shies away from risk.  i know from my own past experiences that it is on the other side of risk where real happiness is found.  and not just happiness, but self-respect and self-knowledge.  i know that the adventure is always worth it.  i've got to let my steam build.  it's an artist's life i want, and it's an artist's life i'm built for.

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Jul 31, 2014

shift and circle

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i was offered a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.  i'm kinda shitting my pants about it.

funny how getting what you want can be a totally terrifying thing.  the passed few days have been one torrent of emotion and deep introspection after the next: self-questioning, self-doubt, second-guessing followed by fanatical rounds of elation and sheer joy at the mere thought of spending a month doing nothing but making art and hanging out with other artists. i haven't had that type of engaging, daily discourse since i was in art school.  it's been 6 years since i graduated and i miss it.  i miss it so much!  i miss being around others who think deeply and lovingly and critically about art.  i miss being around people who have centered their lives around creativity and artistic inquiry.  i miss being a big ol' art nerd, waking to scribble and draw and read and nothing else.  though that's largely how i spend my days off, it's just not the same as having 4 weeks to do nothing but those things.  and there is simply no substitute for artistic community and comradery.  there's absolutely nothing like being around other artists.  the way we speak to each other is unlike anything else.  being understood, finally, is such a poignant thing... an aphrodisiac in the deepest sense.

and so the questions pour in...



the time has come for a re-evaluation.

what am i made of?
what do i want?
what do i need?
how brave am i?



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Jul 13, 2014

slow afternoon

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playing with my camera and posing with my newest banner.  feels like shadowboxing.  strange and pleasing games of pretend.

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Jul 12, 2014

brooding

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honest to god, i look at my old art and i don't even know who created it.

i look at the work and i remember so clearly each stroke of the brush, the temper of the day, the way the light fell across the oil and lit up the green pollen that fell from the Evergreens above and endeared itself to the liquin on my canvas...  i remember how annoying it was.  J coming home from work covered in grease and kissing me on the forehead, looking approvingly at the progress i'd made since he'd last seen the canvas while our dog cowered with excitement at his feet, waiting to be scratched on the head and told "good girl!'.   i was waiting for the same phrase...

because it was me who spread that black across sheets of white.  it was me who went running down highway 128 each morning with a rotweiller at my side, cigarette in hand and a cup of coffee waiting at the finish line each morning.  it was me who blogged every day and slid my paint around and tried to read philosophy but got too caught up in dreaming about far away places instead.  i did those things.  i have the memories; no matter how hard i try to block them out.

it's been so easy to look away.

i don't want to remember the Past.  i like to think of it in huge swatches of time.  eras, rather than specifics.  i don't let myself think about how broken my heart actually is...  how sensitive i am...  how easily hurt, how easily turned off...  how easy it is for me to give up.

all it takes is one harsh word.

maybe that's unfair but that's the way it is.  i just can't stomach it anymore.  i've had too much of the yelling and the fighting and the name calling.  i just can't do it anymore.  and i'm okay if that makes me a freak.  i walk along listening to pop music with tears in my eyes and thinking of my mother's hand on my cheek.  i walk along thinking of a child i'll never bare running up and grabbing my pinky and saying "mama!"  i walk along and thing of the close family warmth that other people know and trust.  and i am separate.  i am individual.  and that's okay.

maybe after all that's happened i'm incapable of actually having the type of life other people seem to hold so dear?  i think of my dead mother and i can hear her screaming at me, "just be yourself!  do whatever makes you happy, little girl!"

and i do.  i try to.  i'm happiest when i can wrangle a plane ticket and some time off, alone with my diary, ink flowing and no clock to punch.  it's just that the lines get crossed so easily when it comes to other people.  my heart is so full of hope that it pains me to endure anything less that what we are capable of.  perhaps i am a perfectionist after all.  and, let me tell you,



it is hell.

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Jun 23, 2014

2am

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DEATHMARCH POETRY
58th street, oakland CA
June 23rd, 2014
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