Feb 21, 2015

reverie and residue.


i was feeling all GUNG-HO industrious and shit, pulled out the boxes from the back of the closet, fully intending to throw away whatever was inside in order to make way for a new life, in order to lighten my load and get myself in a new york state of mind.  i pulled back the cardboard covers and found a huge artwork i'd made for my mother-  a deadbed/rosebed i made in the weeks after her death; a huge collection of crocheted roses in varying sizes and shades of red, displayed on a piece of dark red felt on the floor which was cut to the exact dimensions of the bed she died in, a bed which i layed down next to her in and crocheted red roses and lay them on her thin chest the last day she was alive.

there's no fucking way i can get rid of something like that!  there's just no way!  it's impossible!  i texted my sister in a panic because there's also really no way to bring my entire art collection to the east coast (at least not initially) and asked her if she had any space at all in the back of a closet in her house where i could store some art for a time.  sweetheart that she is, she said yes immediately and told me not to get stressed out about this stuff; "i'll make room for whatever you want to keep, sweet sister" she wrote.  i breathed a deep sigh of relief but still this strange anxiety.  it takes a lot out of me to go through these boxes, these memories, these secrets, the evidence of a life...  of lives.

i went through the red suitcase that houses tons of saved photographs and postcards.  there were some old scraps of paper with messy notes to self scrawled across them that i easily tossed in to the recycle bin, and a few books given to me by a long-forgotten acquaintance that i never got around to reading due to sheer lack of interest which are now sitting on the sidewalk in front of my house. then, i came across my 23 page poem-thing/manuscript that i haven't worked on since i left my last relationship.  i shoved it into this suitcase and then the suitcase was shoved into a tiny storage unit where it sat silently for close to a year.  i couldn't bare to read it once i brought it home.  i sifted through the pages tonight, skipping the intensely sad parts, but thinking that i really should go back to it, dive in, see if i can finish the thing...

going through all this...  it's an entire life!  it's who i've been and where i've come from.  it's the residue and evidence of my growth, of my Becoming.  it's the maps i've used.  it's the maps i made for myself with words and images and the sweet postcards that came to me from friends. how do i get rid of these things?  and should i even be trying to do such a thing???  they are not trinkets and baubles, they are meaningful objects.  objects which contain the spirit of a Past, a Family, a Mother, a Daughter, and the puzzle of love and loss. it's a diary.

and then there's THAT.  my diary!  it's humongous!  i've been keeping a daily diary for more than 6 years. i don't even dream of parting with these volumes of scribbles and rants.  not for a second.  but they definitely pose a bit of a predicament for someone who was hoping to move by airplane with two bags of luggage.  hahaha!  that's certainly beginning to seem a bit unrealistic. i'm feeling a bit like Anais Nin right now wondering what the fuck to do with a diary that needs a suitcase all to itself.  :)  i'm glad i still have almost 6 weeks to figure it out but that's not really much time at all.  6 weeks is nothing.


and i'm not even complaining.  not at all.  i'm looking forward to this change so much!   i am exhilarated!  i'm ecstatic!  i've been wanting to do this for so long and i am overjoyed that the day when i can hop on a plane with a one-way ticket to new york in my hand is almost here.  and the fact that brian and i are doing this together makes it even better.  i'm so glad that i'm doing this with my best-friend.  now, if i could only find a way to shrink all these things down and make them miniature-sized!   i truly do want to make room for a new life, a new world.


Feb 17, 2015

i look to the right...


you fall asleep with your glasses on.

i turn off the movie you suggested.

i make a little film of myself dancing in the mirror:

black dress, swaying hips.

i send the film to jose because it's not out of the ordinary for him to be awake this late.

he sends me a film in return: 

girls dancing in short skirts and my art on his walls.

i should send him more.  what do i need all this art for? 

sometimes i wonder about who i am
vs.  what i was taught...

i think about that a lot lately.

maybe it has something to do with the time of year?  the slant of the sun?`  the yellow cast catches my eye- the way it drips from the leaves, the way it oozes through the blinds.  i think of home...  days when i'd come home from school to find my mother standing in the kitchen, days when i'd drag my body home so begrudgingly...  always feeling at odds, always feeling the pull toward something else, always unable to just get along...

i look at myself in the mirror and i can see that i'm older but i don't feel as old as i am.  really, i feel like i've just begun.  maybe i'm just a late bloomer?  i was simply getting ready all this time.  i was simply gathering wool.  i was only learning the vocabulary i'd need. 


i walked down shattuck ave in the late afternoon and it felt so much like the late afternoons i spent in my hometown.  i'll never hate oakland the way i hated redlands.  i could never hate oakland at all, it's just that i've been here too long.  i lust too hard after other sunrises.  i lust too hard after other winds echoing across other avenues.  i've drempt too hard for too long of far off places.  the residency sealed it.  i belong elsewhere.  i've known it for quite some time.  it feels good to have finally made the decision to click the BUY NOW button on a plane ticket and choose a new adventure.  i need to walk down streets i'm inspired by again.  i need to welcome the next phase.

i tried to throw away old art supplies today and couldn't do it.

there's so much to get rid of.

 i cleaned the toilet instead.

i want to give myself the gift of a fresh start but it is horrendously painful to part with certain things.  i'm leaving the contents of my bookcase until last.  it'll break my heart to have to part with certain books.  today, i looked at my copy of the collected novels of Jean Rhys and thought of Kate- those old days of writing back and forth to one another through email and the comment boxes of our blogs.  i read all of Jean Rhys' novels during the 8 days i had to wait before i could board my plane to tennessee to go watch my mother die.  then kate mailed me a copy of Roland Barthes' "Mourning Diary" after i returned home to california after the funeral.

i shouldn't have become so distant after all that (with everybody) but i honestly couldn't help it. 

i couldn't help it.

sometimes i still can't
but i'm glad to not need such a deep silence now. 


brian is curled up under my white quilt.

i love him and i'm glad he is here. 

tonight while we walked home from the bar, i looked at him and said, "hey, brian elder, you're my best friend!"

he looked at me and said, "oh yeah?  you're my best friend!"

i'm happy as fuck.  :)


Feb 16, 2015

upon deciding to move to new york...


...and creating a life that feels right for me.

the tickets are bought.  New York, here i come.  :)


Feb 5, 2015

and suddenly, your memory...


when he shaved your head in the kitchen, i could only watch the first pass of the clippers, mama.

afterward, you stood and walked to the bathroom...

i've told this story before...

you came out wearing dramatic, dark eye shadow and smiling.

you sat down next to me on the couch and i knew i should mimic you.

i was smiling too.

i said, "mama, you look like annie lennox!"

i wanted to cry so bad.

in my head, she sang, "some things are better left unsaid, but they still turn me inside-out..."

like us smiling, mama, instead of crying

instead of yelling

because we both knew, right then, that you were dying

and i was putting on a brave face

just like you, mama.

just like you.

i get so mad at you sometimes for taking off and dying the way you did.

your little girl and i still need you.  us, and your boy too.

the men you chose have added up to nothing. neither one has been a father.  neither has been an umbrella.  neither has even been a friend.

i put on annie lennox and think of your big lips, mama.  i think of you smiling.

i wish you were here tonight to push my hair back from my forehead and tell me it's okay to feel afraid.

i'm getting ready to make some really big changes, some really big decisions.  i wish i could talk to you about them.  i wish i could hold your hand.

i wish you were here...

because maybe i wouldn't feel 14 years old at 34.  maybe i'd feel a bit more solid in this world and in this body.  maybe i wouldn't feel so thrown by glances and sighs...

i don't want to be as insecure as i am.

i don't want to be as insecure as you were.

i don't want to give up as easily as you did.

i want to love me more than you ever did, mama.

and that's the plain truth.

i want to love me more than you ever could and i want to love you as a woman, not as my mother.

i want to love you like i love me.

if you were here, i'd hug you so hard and we'd laugh so hard and i wouldn't be awake at midnight listening to annie lennox and writing things like this.

Feb 1, 2015

a little piece of my heart


i spent the day drawing and making valentines.  i've missed making them the passed few years.  life, and the resulting emotions, got in the way.  i'd always remember at the last minute and then opt to go out drinking instead.  i was enjoying a different sort of reverie too much to way to stay home and make valentines.  i was, in several ways, anti-love for a couple years.  i just needed a break, i guess.  i needed to learn how to take care of myself unburdened by the expectation to take care of others.  i needed to be on my own.  i needed to focus on feeling my instincts again, my own pleasures again, my own needs again.  but i got so much joy out of making valentines.  i thought of it as a fun way to say thank you to friends and art lovers for being so supportive of me and my practice.  it gave me an excuse (as a painter thinking she needed an excuse) to delve back in to printmaking.  i remember the day one of my painting professors walked in to the clean room in the print lab and there i was signing and numbering an edition.  he saw me and said, "what are you doing in here, angela?  my painters paint" .  i smiled and shrugged.  he smiled and winked.  i've never been the kind of artist who does just one thing.  i don't expect i ever will be, nor do i want to be.  i love working in all these different modes.  i love that the biggest part of my visual practice is writing.  my diary is my world in that regard.  it is responsible for almost everything i do and make.  it is the biggest, bravest, best tool i have in creating the life and art i want for myself.  part of that life is making valentines.  i think it's wonderful to have a day where one is allowed to say I LOVE YOU over and over again.  i think it's great to have a day where one is free to show their appreciation for having wonderful people in their life.  it's not simply a day for chocolate and roses.  that's only one way of seeing valentine's day.  a pretty limited, prescribed way.  i prefer to personalize the occasion and harness it to let the people in my life know i value their care and friendship.  it also gives me an excuse to give away art, one of my favorite things. :)  so if you want to get in on the fun and exchange valentines with me, send me your address!  angelasimione at gmail dot com

destroy me this way



Jan 29, 2015

"new year, new you"


sharing sweaters, counting days; 

i go through my closet and pull dresses i haven't worn in years from their faithful hangers.  i fold the garments and stack them politely in a bag meant for the consignment store, in a bag meant for the Goodwill.  i retrieve unworn shoes from the back of the closet and wipe away the dust.  i sneeze over and over again like a cartoon.  i save the tshirts that maybe brian will want to wear.

there's something so endearing about looking up and seeing your lover wearing your clothes.  i'm lucky to have spent so many years dressing in the armor of the Tom Boy - baggy shirts and over-sized hoodies - that i've got plenty for him to choose from.  i get warm and sentimental when he pulls on my red and grey striped sweater i've owned since i was 15, the same sentimental warmth that finds me when i focus on the fact that we share the same tooth brush.  there's really no reason to have two. 

i've gotta say, 2014 was a good year.  i fell in love over and over again. 

i fell in love with a man who has ended up being my best friend.  it's a pretty wonderful feeling.  throughout the night, we turn to each other in our sleep and let our hands run softly down the curve of each others' back, knee cap, or eyebrow.  it's no small event to me.  it's no small event in my life to feel this safe on a regular basis.  this safe, this appreciated, this understood.  i feel lucky everyday.  and bewildered. 

i fell in love with art again (again and always), particularly drawing.  such a beautiful, wonderful return; a piece of myself waking up after a long, agitated slumber.  i return, hot and heavy, to those black lines and shadows, spilled ink and graphite stuck below my cuticles.  i'm surprised i went so long without seriously drawing but, then again, it makes sense.  crochet is such a comfort.  not just the things that i learned how to craft, but the act itself.  a rhythm.  a ritual.  a cradle being rocked. 

so much of the last 3 years has been about repair.  so many of my actions and decisions and whims have been an attempt to heal.  i can see that now.  and as i move in to this new year, i largely feel that that Healing has been had. 

for as strange as this might sound, it is a little scary.

what will my voice be like now?

i pull a pale blue button-down from its hanger.  i go on sorting and considering, attempting to make room for a new beginning.  i look at each article of clothing and, rather than ask myself if i want it, i ask myself "do i want this to follow me in to a new life?"  i think of Sartre, of his eloquent proposition that there is always "a virgin future waiting to be forged" and know that i am standing at that edge, that place where one sees the mountain in front of them and knows that they will climb it, the first step having already been taken.

i thin my possessions.  i pull an unfinished drawing from my portfolio and grab my pencil.  i turn on my computer, log in to this space and start hitting the keys, not because i have anything in particular to say, i simply have the urge to speak.  i'm learning that this urge is something to revere.  this urge is something to give in to.  it is how my future will be forged.  it has always been forged this way.  it is how i will come to know how to use my new voice.  it is how i will come to know this new "me".  it is how i become less and less afraid.


Jan 17, 2015

it isn't vanity


a deeply held belief i adopted during childhood:

i am singular and will go through life that way.

i am trying to uproot it and it is very difficult.

scary as fuck.

the only place i feel entirely safe is within myself.

but that is a nebulous world.

mutable and full of anxious longing.

i take pictures of myself to prove that i exist.

not to prove it to you, to prove it to ME.

these shapes and angles and senses.

i take pictures of myself so that i can look and see and believe that i am

here, real,

walking and breathing along with the rest of you.

an attempt, maybe, to unhinge this belief in my own singularity;

to disrupt my distrust and make a window

in to (or out of) my own nebulous world.