Thursday, November 29, 2007

a neglected room

My studio. A room of my own. This is how it looks right now. I haven’t been active in it for some time. Things have piled up, stuff that doesn’t belong in there has been thrown in for lack of a better place. My work lies half started, half finished in piles on the tables and stacked against walls. It is a mess, and it is not being used. We live in a small three-bedroom cookie-cutter track house; our bedroom, Offspring's bedroom, and my studio. Offspring's toys spread all over the family room. The desktop computer (and accompanying paraphernalia) is wedged into the dining room/living room area between the table and a bookshelf. And there is just so much STUFF, how did we get so much stuff? Other families in this suburb have an extra room specifically for the “play room” or the “study/computer room.” In these homes everything seems to fit so nice. Us, we have a failed artist clinging to a fading dream by holding a whole room hostage to her hopes. And I haven’t been in it for months except to toss more stuff on the piles of junk. Recently I have been thinking of clearing it all out, tossing a lot of it, burning even more, keeping only what can fit into a medium sized box stashed somewhere on a shelf in the garage and turning the room into the “play room” or “study” or some other functional family space… but I haven’t brought myself to do it. Not yet. Partly because that would require a lot of work, and right now it is easier to leave everything the way it is. And also, I keep thinking ‘I AM going to get back in there!'
Any day now.

wearing the apron

(I love the self-portrait challenge...)

This is a compulsion that goes beyond just keeping my clothes clean. I cannot cook or clean without putting on this apron. I can’t do it. If I try I get all tense and agitated. This is also the apron I use in my studio. That was it’s first purpose, to wear it when painting and doing other messy things (hot wax, clay, epoxy, resin, and charcoal just to name a few of those other messy things.) My mom made this apron for me, made it to my specifications with lots of pockets so when I am working on a project there are lots of places to put brushes, pencils, erasers, scissors, matches etc… But currently, this apron is used almost exclusively for housework. Making dinner, cleaning the bathrooms, even just tidying up, I obsessively put it on (I’m wearing it right now to write this post. Weird). Haven’t used it to make any art in a while. So I’ll be doing dishes in the kitchen and a friend will come over: “Oh, are you painting right now?” “Nope, doing dishes.” Ouch. I mean, I the dishes do need to be done… but I really wish I was feeling inspired in the studio instead. Maybe this why I wear this apron, trying to hold on, to remind myself with the paint that is smeared on it… Or maybe I am just weird.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the book of G

I am down to the last two pages in my journal. I want to make it last till December. Then it would cover a whole year. This particular journal I got as a gift from a friend several years ago but it took me forever to actually get up the courage to make a mark on it. It is one of those handcrafted works of art with fragile looking pages and elegant sliding wood clasps on the front. And I wear out journals like I wear out my favorite pair of jeans; way before I get to the last page I am needing to repair the binding and reinforce some of the pages.

In an entry on the first page of this ephemeral book I wrote “I pray the elegant beauty of these pages does not daunt my ability and stymie my need” (yes, sometimes I write all stuffy like that.) It didn’t. This book has gotten me through one of the most trying years of my life. These delicate pages (mulberry, perhaps?) have born an enormous weight and held strong.

Yes, I have had to reinforce the binding. There are smudges and food stains and tape now on these pages (along with my ugly chicken-scratch handwriting, poor spelling and bad grammar)… And I love this book all the better for it. Gives it character. Only two pages left. I have already purchased what will be my next journal, a sturdy plain book with sensible white pages (blank, no lines) like the kind I have previously used. It too will be a good one for me. But… these last two handcrafted pages that are remaining… what possible things can I write on them to bring to closure this book? That probably sounds silly but it’s how my weird little mind works. Two more pages, two more days till December… And how awkward is that, to start a new journal one month BEFORE New Years?!? But there is no way those two pages will last me out for a whole month. On a literary whim tomorrow they may not last until December…
And that would be okay too.