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Monthly Archives: May 2013

I am the drying meadow; you the unspoken apology; he is the fluctuating distance between mother and son; she is the first gesture that creates a quiet that is full enough to make the baby sleep.

My genes, my love, are rubber bands and rope; make yourself a structure you can live inside.

– Aimee Bender

 

I read all of Willful Creatures on one of my flights last week, the whole book in less than 2 hours, gulping it down at first to distract myself from being suspended above the clouds, and then because I couldn’t stop. I decided at some point that I had to finish before we landed, because interrupting my reading for unloading was just unacceptable.

I’m still in the midst of packing, and because of some uncontrollable factors, I’m moving myself and the cat to a friend’s house for a week (or more), and then moving us both again to the new apartment. I’m also teaching every morning, and if my days continue the way they’ve been going, I’m not going to read or write much until the end of June, which is disappointing. This isn’t really how I envisioned spending this time. I thought I was going to read and write most days, and figure out what I want to work on thesis-wise, get a solid start. These days are feeling mostly wispy.

I do have a strawberry shortcake in my refrigerator, though. So that’s okay.

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Cats work that way. They don’t trip over their love.

I have a cold, and for some reason my sternum hurts. When I stand too quickly, it feels like I am trying to open up my ribcage, crack the two sides against each other like the stiff walls of a fortune cookie. I am waiting to go home, tomorrow, to the last few days before I start teaching again, and the last few days in my pink house. I am waiting for energy to return, so that I can write and stop feeling inadequate about not writing. I am waiting for late-night pho.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am thinking about the benefits of full disclosure. More specifically, I spent a good portion of my day wandering through galleries at the Hirshhorn and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (holy shit! Nam June Paik!). I am a lover of art, a lover of the experience of art, but I am kidding myself if I tell you I am not a lover of museum labels. Sure, I like knowing the name of the artist and the name of the work, but I’m really talking about the curator’s comments, the carefully constructed narrative that directs your experience:

Installed as a series, these works do not appear uniform as one might expect; instead, their differences are highlighted and thus together they create a visual cadence. Importantly, Jones’s paintings also perform an active role in shaping the sound in the gallery, thereby introducing a new function for painting. The final precise spacing between the panels is ultimately guided by both their acoustic and visual effects, with neither taking precedence over the other. [from “Directions,” accompanying Jennie C. Jones’s installed works, “Higher Resonance,” at the Hirshhorn]

Am I getting it? There are directions, and there is the idea of following. The stubborn in me wants to follow no one, and refuses to lead. The stubborn in me wants to make a pure experience, and believes in this possibility, but the stubborn in me hangs out with the rest of my body, watching as I gravitate toward labels, allowing an outside voice into my experience. But I know, in a small part of myself, that that voice knows something I don’t, that that voice has lived with the experience of this art longer than I have, that that voice does not discount my own voice or my own experience. The frame does not intrude on the experience, but is a part of the experience itself.

Stubborn is letting go. Stubborn has been preventing me from moving forward with this Paul Thek project–which, I am realizing, has more to do with me, personally, than I thought. I fear the “I” in my writing, the overbearing Voice of Knowledge, but nowadays Stubborn seems more like the overbearing Voice of Knowledge than I, quietly thinking, do. If I am going to curate, I, too, can be the body in the tomb, speaking, pointing, looking directly into the eyes of the reader. I think, in fact, I have to be.

[“palimpsest,” Ann Hamilton, Hirschhorn]

Last night I had the same dream twice. First, I was an observer, watching survivors wander around a post-apocalyptic landscape. Then the dream repeated, but this time I was part of the group, drifting through broken buildings and asking ourselves what do we do next, how can time move forward, what happened here. It was like the reverse of watching the news lately. Last night I sat by my airport terminal waiting to board, and because I was in the very sparkling new section of the airport, there were about 7 TVs in my line of sight and every one of them was broadcasting from Oklahoma. It was hard to sit there and watch, and hard to look away. The strange thing about tornado damage is that no matter where it is or what got destroyed, it always looks familiar.

I dreamed last night that I returned to dance class in my college dance studio, showed up to surprise my favorite dance teacher. He turned around and immediately examined my feet, grinned and explained that they had changed for the better, yes, they were more the right shape and constitution, that he was glad to see my feet so strong. This was the whole dream.

After the race, there was a crawfish boil, and then boyfriend and I ate lunch and Dippin Dots and I got an new orchid. I beat my old 5K time by about 3 minutes, and I think I could have been running faster. Sprinted to the finish and boyfriend took a really unsharable picture of me looking like I was going to vomit. I think these magic new shoes are working.
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