Thursday, January 29, 2009

And then the snow came crashing down the mountain

I'm there. Standing at the edge of a pending avalanche, waiting to see if I get lucky and find an air pocket or if I'm just going to drown under the weight of 1000's of pounds of snow and try again in a new form when Spring comes.

I read a study the other day that said that people who are out of their 20's focus on the Now more often than the Future and that they are happier for it.

I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree but I know that I am clinging to Now with my fingernails. I am not happier. But, my Now is collapsing as I speak so I release myself from guilt and regret about not seeing the proverbial sunny side.

For all my desires and daydreaming, I demand stability in some form or another. Right now, I just have vertigo.

I write this and I'm fighting myself-things seem very trivial when you put them in print form-I don't know why I put these things in public spaces but I have always been this way. Give me a stage and I will tell you more details than are necessary.

The number one thing Americans are obsessed with is money and while it's really easy to ignore when you have it, the absence of it can drive people into tail spins. I'm also there. I have run out of creative ways to dodge the oncoming train. Just hit me and get it over with. I have spent the past four days blanketing Kansas City in job applications. All to places that are "accepting applications" which is corporate bullshit for "We're not hiring".

I've got a funeral that I'm supposed to attend next week (found this out on Tuesday)...this not only translates to the standard set of emotions and processing that comes with funerals and the passing of someone that has been part of your life for a very long time...but also with the overarching question of "how am I going to afford to get there?" And....not even as simple as that!

If I could turn into a singular cell instead of many and commit cytokinesis I would.

The weekend of the funeral is also the weekend I"m supposed to take a family member to get gum surgery, teach the second week of a brand new after school program with my job, and sell jewelry at First Fridays which would enable me to pay my bills for the month of February.

Oh, and there's a job fair that I was told I should attend if I was serious about being hired by a particular retail store. All on that same day.

Additionally-the part time job that I thought I was hired for...the one I technically AM hired for has committed the most heinous acts of unprofessional business management I've seen to date. I'm trying to get approved for an apartment and I need a letter from them stating how many hours I will work and what wage I'll be making...I called. She put me on hold for-count them-9 minutes, never came back, never called me back and is now away at a conference until SATURDAY. What morons am I trying to work for exactly?

I thought I had found the perfect solution to my want of a part time job the other day. Too bad I'm not fluent in Corporate and instead just make an ass out of myself. I don't know why I bothered.

All of this is swirling around the core of me-the one that knows that the power of intention really does work and that if I don't get my head out of my ass I will be running from The Nothing (sans Luck Dragon) for the rest of my 20's at least and that I really do just need to take a deep breath and wait because something will surface.

I won't say I've hit bottom because I haven't. Things can always get worse. I have been at the bottom and this is not what it feels like but right now, the snow is falling heavily and I am afraid that if I breathe too hard everything will disintegrate and there will be no resolution.

I know the sun has to be out there somewhere.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fun was had (c:

So, I did the dinner party thing on Saturday. I think overall it was a success. I managed to feed 9 people instead of 12 but it was still a lot of fun and work and I loved it. I learned how to skin and cut up a whole chicken (twice!), I got to play with garam masala which I had never bought before and I successfully oven roasted chicken without making it all dried out and stuff. I was pretty happy.

We ended up renting a movie called Saawaraya or something. It was really pretty but we were all fairly engaged in talking and hanging out so it turned into Bollywood Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style hehe. We were providing our own dialogue. It was fun. A few of us actually watched the movie and really enjoyed it. I've got it for another week so I'm going to sit down and watch it for real one of these afternoons.

We all sat on the floor and though some of us ate with bread we did end up keeping the forks. I delegated several tasks out to some of my friends-I had one bring a salad, one bring some rice, another brought mango lassi and another friend brought dessert and various wine and stuff to drink.

I made Tandoori chicken (though I thought it was more orange...I'm thinking my spice proportions got a bit off when I started multiplying by 3...) but it was really yummy...

Indian spiced eggplant which wasn't quite as crispy as I wanted but it tasted good

Grilled veggies over saffron rice (I cheated and bought the packaged stuff...)

and, finally, Spinach and Chickpeas.

I went out apartment hunting again on Saturday and found a place that I think I can turn into an alright space for me. It's big, has an area that is supposed to be for a dining room but that I am going to turn into my artist studio corner, a patio (can we say outdoor dining room? Summer here I come...), a decent sized living room and a really big bedroom which is exciting.

The bathroom is really cool too-there's a seperate vanity space and a decent sized, well organized bathroom bathroom with a tub and shower combo. So w00t. Now I"m just waiting to see if I get approved. I'm not making a ton of money right now but I think I'll just pass the requirements. And, I'm looking for a part time morning gig...I'm thinking I can always go wait tables somewhere for a bit until I find something a bit more satisfying. My problem is I'm bad at quitting.

That all being said...I don't have a ton of stuff left to report. I'm coasting creatively again for the moment. I cleaned my room and I'm sort of basking in the open floor space before I dig it all out again and work on some paintings. Though I do have some ideas.

I'm actually considering...gasp...working with more kids. I know. I thought I'd never utter that sentence but if I'm really honest about it, I like playing. And playing usually equates to working with kids. Ah well.

I started teaching the Secret Agent Lab kits today for Mad Science. Totally fun stuff. We got to do burn tests with fibers and learn about hydrophobic fabrics and all that nifty stuff.

Good times.

I'm off to go finish my hunt for functional yet fun furniture (throw in another fancy?)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

With Eyes on the Horizon

I think even the hardest cynic would have to smile today. Except maybe Rush Limbaugh.

I know my inner cynic took one look at the millions of people in the crowds today, turned a tentative ear towards the perfectly executed and direct speech Barack Obama delivered and decided that today would be a great day to go take a hike in the cold.

I'm hoping it stays gone. There is a really beautiful thing about these sort of suspended moments, where "reality" has absolutely no authority.

There are lots of ways people define reality-to anyone out there whose reality consists of naysaying and countering the swell of energy and hope pulsing through the veining of streets and boulevards across America today with criticisms and fear-let them have it. I will take no part.

I have to admit that I was definitely teary eyed this morning watching the whole thing unfold--it's not just about history being written from this day forward. It's not about the electric power created when potential energy turns into kinetic energy on a scale larger than I can imagine-it's about the synergy of all those things.

I read the other day a particular point of philosophical theory that talked about the debilitation of fear and judgement. I have to admit, there has been a lot of that woven throughout my recent past and through the pasts of people's lives whom I know and deeply care about. But there is always tomorrow.

That's the thread I want to follow. That's what I'm taking from this, just before we all exhale.

There is always tomorrow.

Let's see what we can do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dinner Party Insanity

So maybe it's the excessive amounts of Food Network I seem to like to watch. Or maybe it's one too many years spent wishing I would have entertained more often.

Maybe it's because I have too much free time.

Whatever the reason, I've now had more dinner parties than I've ever had in my life...which totals 1....however, there is one in the works. It should be interesting if nothing else.

I love to cook and I've decided to try making Indian food. I'm excited. The only small problem I can think of is that there are going to be 12 people including myself and my roommate...we have a table that seats 6 if everyone really likes each other. I'm going to have to hunt down a card table and some folding chairs I think.

I never realized how daunting making dinner for 12 people can seem. It doesn't sound like a big deal-and it probably won't turn out to be as difficult as I'm conjuring in my head-but wow. I'm looking at recipes for stuff trying to figure out the best way to do things.

It's less that I'm worried about having enough food and more that I'm worried about having enough food that everyone will like. It's easy to say find three or four side dishes and make them-that's great-unless people really like one and not the other three hehe. So I'm going to aim for somewhere in the middle.

I'm making a basic main course that everyone should like and then I'm making two sidedishes that are interesting and fun and one bigger side dish that is more basic. And lots of rice and stuff.

That should, in theory, work. (c:

I've got it on the brain tonight especially-the dinner party is on Saturday and I'm going to have to tackle shopping on a budget for the stuff on like Tuesday.

There's a lot of prep that goes into Indian food too that I never quite thought of. Lots of rubs and mixes and sauces and delicate handling of hot peppers. It should be a really fun night-there is going to be a wide range of people there and we're going to rent a Bollywood movie and I'm telling people to dress up if they have brightly colored stuff. (c:

I'm going to have to be organized if I'm going to pull this off-which should be interesting since a lot of the stuff can't really be done overnight without getting weird in the fridge.

I dunno-this is all sort of random-

I've got other stuff going on too, this just seems to be where I'm fixating energy at the moment.

I'm also trying to figure out if I'm going to move into my own space or if I'm going to stick around the place I'm at right now for 6 months or so and look at moving out then. It's a tight balance of finances at the moment either way so it's just a matter of looking at the pros and cons and going from there.

There are some good deals that are close by-I'm going to be doing the obligatory drive by and stop in and take a look around on Tuesday I think (unless they're open tomorrow, which would be nice) so I can see exactly what I can get for the money I have available to spend. I'm basing it off of the worst case scenario so I can make sure that I can pay my bills if things turn south.

There's this one apartment that sounds great-there are few concerns-the main one being where it's located because of the weird tax and property tax nonsense that happens when you live on one side of the state line and work on the other, and the fact that it's not in an amazing neighborhood-but still decent. I'm going to give them a call and see if they even have any openings. The place down the street from my apartment right now is probably not as cool or nice of a place as the one in MO but it does leave me hassle free as far as the taxes and all that stuff. And it's closer to my job. If I could just smash the two places together it'd be alright.

The one in MO would definitely give me some space to set up my art studio though. And it's right in the arts district--there are also some really rowdy bars nearby though which can translate to getting broken car windows and stupidity at 2am.

I know that wherever I end up going I'm going to have to find some very functional and fun, multi purpose pieces of furniture so I can continue to entertain and have people around and stuff.


Enough of the noise banging around my brain case. Things usually work out the less I think about them so I'm going to go on gut instinct and see what it brings me.

The pics scattered throughout the post are some of the new work I've got hanging right now at Black Dog.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Watching paint dry

Some of the best time to run off and do some yoga...drop a random blog post. Etc. I'm sitting in the midst of about three pieces of work all of which are drying. Slowly. (c:

It's days like these when I really wish I had my studio-but it does give my bedroom a nice vibe. Makes it hard to sleep though when you've got all your work around you, waiting to be finished.

The latest news: I'm going to be hanging some of this work (as soon as it's done. ahem.) at Black Dog Coffee Shop near my house, good stuff. It will be nice to get the work out in the open again. I haven't had a show in a bit and I'm really looking forward to it. This particular month is going to be a collective showing of four different artists including me but then I get my own solo showing in July. I have plenty of time to prepare for that at least. I'm excited about the possibilities.

I began reading a series called The Hinges of History written by Thomas Cahill. I really love his writing voice, it's not just conversational, but really passionate. And he's a non-fiction writer so I'm learning stuff. I just started "How the Irish Saved Civilization" which is both funny and packed quite to the brim with interesting perspectives and information.

I have been craving historical and philosophical books lately. I don't know what brought it about but it seems to be going hand in hand with my drive to really create. I've been on a roll the past few days. It's a little bittersweet-I tend to feel somewhat like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon-you enjoy the ride of productivity and the feeling of being connected and all that and yet sometimes I feel like I can feel the end coming. Not that it's really a bad thing-if i were always pushed to the fullest degree creatively I'd probably explode. There has to be time to collect and gather your thoughts and get into the mindset. It's a process all by itself just to get to the phase where creativity becomes possible.

There are other books in the Hinges of History series-to get back to what I was originally talking about-one of which I read in college and really loved. It's called "Sailing the Wine Dark Sea" and it's about the history of the Greeks. I've always had a really strong passion for that particular culture-partly because our culture has glorified their past and their accomplishments and partly because they really were just that cool.

I would like to work my way through all of the books in the series-though I'm going to be contending with own my distraction level-a friend just lent me the book "The Fabric of Time" which is all about physics and String Theory-which I quite blissfully know nothing about and am excited to learn. I was the kid in school they said wasn't allowed to take physics because I was bad in math-too bad they never figured out that there's a huge difference between applied mathematics and regular old stupid math. (c: I'm getting my chance now though and I'm looking forward to it. I'm hoping the writing is well done and not so overly technical that I can't see the light of day.

I'm on the hunt for another part time job. I got hired supposedly at this shop but I haven't gotten a start date yet and frankly I need the money so whatever. I'm moving on. They can do as they please. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm going job hunting early on and then in to work and then off to teach and then I don't know what. Probably back here to harass my poor canvases some more. I've got one that's done, one that's looking really cool and two that are crying for help. I may have just overworked this one to death but there are tricks around having way too much paint on the canvas. Hello brush cleaner. It's brutal but it works.

I saw a beautiful and interesting movie the other day called A Christmas Tale. But it was in French. Great film. There was a specific quote that they were reading that has been poking in the back of my skull. The friend I went to see the movie with looked it up online after much digging-it seems appropriate given the conversations on Tim's blog, the train track that I am currently on and the general hum of esoteric ennui that has been hanging around some specific friends and acquaintances of mine lately:

We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge—and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves—how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves? It has rightly been said: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" [Matthew 6:21]; our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are constantly making for them, being by nature winged creatures and honey-gatherers of the spirit; there is one thing alone we really care about from the heart—"bringing something home." Whatever else there is in life, so-called "experiences"—which of us has sufficient earnestness for them? Or sufficient time? Present experience has, I am afraid, always found us "absent-minded": we cannot give our hearts to it—not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied and immersed in himself into whose ear the bell has just boomed with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and asks himself: "what really was that which just struck?" so we sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and disconcerted, "what really was that which we have just experienced?" and moreover: "who are we really?" and, afterward as aforesaid, count the twelve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being—and alas! miscount them.—So we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law "Each is furthest from himself" applies to all eternity—we are not "men of knowledge" with respect to ourselves.

It's long but I liked it overall. I don't know where it came from yet-that's the next bit of the search. It was from a German text-I noticed that when they panned the camera towards the book he was reading from-so assuming the movie was telling the truth I should be able to look it up and get an author. I read Plato again for the first time in a long time-actually tucked in between the pages of Irish History, Cahill's book discusses the fall of Rome and how it was relavant in shaping the history of what would become "Unholy Ireland" as he words it. He mentions Plato in that whole mess of history-discussing what would be lost with the coming of the Dark/Middle Ages. I'll be posting more of the book later on as I get farther in-his wording deserves to be shared.

That's all for now it seems. I need to think about getting prepared for tomorrow and cleaning up some of this mess. I'm doing good to have space for my laptop and me on the floor right now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The thinking wheel is turning

and for once I'm poised and in the position to write about it. Perhaps this one will go a bit smoother than the previous posts. I was distracted.

Alright-so where to begin.

I just scampered off to read the newest post on Tim's site from Chris regarding creativity and it got me all fired up. And it got my brain turning.

Years ago I had this inherent fear that I was faking being a creative person. I still have a hard time writing that about myself.

I was convinced that I had just fallen victim to all the romanticism tied up with being an artiste and that I lacked any real drive, ability or-specifically-need to create. I may have mentioned this but it merits mentioning again.

The first time the thought crept into my mind was right before college. I dismissed it. The second time was after college.

I remember simply stopping. I didn't paint, write, much of anything that could be considered creative. I went and got an office job. I quit buying cool art supplies. I deemed it a waste of my money since the first three years of my college had been such a "failure" and I figured that after ending on a strong note I had gotten it out of my system.

This was not the truth. It almost made me go off the deep end. I found myself finding the strangest and most roundabout ways to "make" stuff. So I finally caved in to myself and my own rediscovered need of making and doing and started pushing for shows around the area.

I'm still not living off of my art but it helps scrape past the rent every month.

Here's what prompted this whole deal though-in Chris's post on Tim's site he discussed finding your medium, acknowledging the small ways in which people are creative in their day to day lives (myself included) and making it a habit.

All of those things are fantastic and hold a lot of truth. But, given the length of my comment on Tim's site, I can't seem to wrap my brain around the idea of my found medium.

I pitch myself as a fiber and textiles artist. I remember distinctly being drawn to the fiber dept at my school because it seemed the most versatile. I mean, really, what isn't a fiber or a textile? Canvas. Textile. Reeds and twigs. Organic fibers. Silk. Obviously a textile and a fiber. It's almost totally open. I didn't take full advantage of this while I was in college mainly because my head was up my arse but that's besides the point. I figured it out afterwards-I chose the one department that could feed my passion for doing a bunch of things at the same time.

So, where does this lead me? To a house full of random art supplies, multiple unfinished projects and a burning desire to just figure it all out. I don't know that I would trade liking and being interested by a bunch of different things but at the same time I wouldn't mind being able to find the beginning to my "life's work" as it were. I don't know-the answer I usually get is "I need time." Well-time be damned. I keep feeling like the answer is already right in front of my face.

I tend to stick to three main things right now: silk paintings, regular painting (though I'm quickly realizing that this is going to move to the hobby pile unless I get much, much better), and jewelry. I can't say that I"m really pushing any envelopes in any of the fields but that's always been my issue. I am not someone who sits down and says "let me figure out every single thing I can do with these tools" before I move on. I usually accomplish something, deem it as neat or a waste of time and move on until the bug strikes me to come back and try again or rework something or whatever.

So, do I go against my sporadic nature and focus my energies, even at the risk of getting bored or do I keep pushing in several directions all at once and just wait for something to fall out of the sky that is a coherent artistic direction or thought?

I don't know the answer. Maybe there isn't really one.

To wax on the borderline of sounding conceited-I've always sort of felt like the kid that was good at testing in school when it comes to art and making stuff. There are definitely areas where I am totally worthless (woodworking, sculpture in general...) but overall I never really had to bust my ass at something to get a passable result. Therefore, I think I never really learned what it's like to have to work all the way through an artistic process to get a really stellar result. Like I said, I"ll do something, it'll be "alright" and I"ll move on, my brain considering it done. Even though I know in my gut and everyone else knows, in their guts and their brains that the work I produced wasn't or shouldn't be the end. I guess I am good at getting a good start at something and then wandering off to do something else.

Perhaps part of it stems from an overall fear of success and commitment. I have a big issue with the idea of being good at something. It tends to have some nasty levels of expectations. I'm working on it. I also have a big issue with the idea of defining myself as one way or the other. I"m finally to the point where I can label myself as "creative" without totally fearing that the walls are going to cave in around me and the negative comments will start telling me that I'm full of it and pretentious and don't deserve to be parading around calling myself an artist.

It's sort of a weird position to be in when you think about it. I definitely am drawn to creating and I want to succeed at it and live my life supporting myself in those ways and yet I'm terrified of admitting it. Hm.

Go figure.

All this may add up to wee hour babbling but it's been on my mind for a while. I do things because I like to do them and I think it's fun and interesting, not because I feel what I'm guessing is a deep, personal connection to the art and craft. Perhaps it's in there somewhere and I just haven't had my radar turned up enough to notice it creeping along the edges. There has to be some reason I keep coming back to certain things, even if it is in a roundabout way.

So, my throw out question is: How many different and random creative pathways have you been down before figuring out what really resonated within you? Or have you really found that yet? Do you think it changes as people get older or is it something that doesn't really pay much attention to time?

In case you were all wondering...

This is what I do for a living...


You may have to scroll down a bit and select Mad Science September 2008. I'm the one who's talking about sound. (c:

Good times.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Good morning 2009

Well, evening more appropriately but whatever.

So I haven't seemed to be able to get near my blog in a few months. I don't know why. Energy has been focused into other areas and writing just didn't seem to be in the works. Things come in cycles with me a lot of the time, though I haven't been on any specific creative kick lately-just sort of doing things here and there.

I hate all the talk about the potential of doing this that and the other when it comes to the New Years Resolutions that everyone talks about...they tend to just lead to disappointment because the goals set are unrealistic.

However, I have learned a great deal about myself over the past 2008 sprawl that we just finished and there are things that I want to carry with me into 2009 and things that I'd like to leave where they lie.

For starters-I now know that travel is essential to my life. I knew that before but I really know it now.

I also know that I like knowing how much money I make each month instead of trying to play a guessing game each pay period. I'm working on rectifying that now but as things go, I'm honing my hypothesis skills. Bleh.

I know that I need to get back to working on my energy focusing skills. There was a time when I could actually meditate without feeling like a stuttering record. Breathe 1.2.3....I need to do my laundry....4...breathe 1.2....and I should really be working on my jewelry stuff...3...where was I?...oh yeah...4...

I need to work on bringing that back to center. I am going to start from scratch and build the environment and pretend like I don't know anything. Probably not too far from the truth. (c:

I also learned in 09 that if I can stick with something through the initial stage of frustration over not knowing where to start or what to do that I can actually accomplish something. So we'll see where that takes me. I'm referring specifically to my guitar learning skills and my writing abilities. I'm still working on my story and while it hasn't taken any amazing leaps, neither have I. I've been toying with it. I'm working on it off and on and I'm ok with that. It's a cool process. Now I just have to keep it up.

I'm also trying to follow through with my risk taking. I've always been all about the adrenaline and all about the random acts of fun and craziness-but it never really went much farther than the basic stuff for adrenaline rushes and all that....for example: I went Skydiving but I couldn't summon the guts to go do a real audition for a play.

So...the other day I was sitting at this coffeeshop that I'm at now and voila, a local short film was holding I walked in, asked if I could try and did it. We'll see where that goes.

I'm excited about the opportunities that I had and took in 08 and I'm stoked about what 09 will bring.

I think i'm more excited, however, about the prospect of getting my own space. I love roommates and my friends and stuff but I need to challenge myself to build a home. Ideally I'll own my space...even if it's a little townhome or duplex or something in a moderate neighborhood. I think that would be really cool. Mainly because then I could leave all my stuff there, go travel and come back and it would still be there. (c:

I'd also like to turn off my inner cynic. I don't think I'm negative generally but I know that there is a lack of balance in my brain between seeing things as very good or total crap.

More later....