Wednesday, August 31, 2011

photo journal day 3

self-portrait 8/31

it was a really tough day...

L26--if they get more servers, they'd be ready for anything

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

jelly jar

It occurs to me that for a while now I've been considering a piece of art I have in my home, a handmade snowglobe. It looks like this. 

It's been on my mind only recently, although I consider it almost every day. I see it often during my yoga practice, and my view of it looks like this.

It's on a bookshelf, and so low that unless I'm inverted and facing that direction, I rarely see it. But the other day in downward dog, I considered it, and have thought about it at least once daily ever since.

You might not be able to tell from the photo, but inside the snowglobe (a Bonne Maman jelly jar) is a woman standing with her face pressed against the glass. At her back, on the other end of the world, are several people: an athlete with a basketball under one arm, a villager with a pitchfork, and a small, cape-wearing, breasted alien-looking creature. They are all pointing something at her--a finger, a ray gun, a yard implement--and she has her arms at her sides and is facing away. I turn the jelly jar horizontal, and on the red-and-white gingham lid is written, "Too Rich or Too Thin RSM '06."

Oh, that's right. That's who gave me that. Times were different then.

I consider this snowglobe now, and I can't help but put the artist inside that static, watery world and consider the scene as some narrative of a moment of her life experience. If I think back, I remember it as a gift she gave me early in our friendship. Strange now: if it is a kind of metaphor for her life experience, how vulnerable she must have been or felt to give it away, and to someone who knew her so shallowly as I did then. Was she making a hip artistic statement about the cruelty and judgment applied to women, our lives, our bodies, how others set us apart because they deem us unfit for membership in the community? Was she telling her own story of having been kicked out (or feeling that she'd been kicked out) of some community that she just wanted to be a part of? Perhaps both?

I know now that this kind of excommunication was a part of her life experience. I know now that she has been both that girl with her face pressed against the glass, and the villager brandishing the pitchfork. I wonder if she knows this about herself, that she has been both victim and abuser.

There is a part of me that is a little sickened and saddened by the life experience that prompts a piece like this. But what is that experience, if not as common as a crack in a sidewalk? We all have been the one shunned and distanced, and we all have known the false, corrupting power of being the shunner, the alien with the ray gun, Homie #1 with his crooked finger of derision pointed at another human's back. Even more sadly, perhaps we all are frozen in this same story, doomed to repeat the role of victim or abuser, over and over.

So how may we find a way to put our hands down, to march our heavy, stiff feet over to another, and touch them on the shoulder? What must we do, or know, in order to break into that more human part of ourselves? I don't know, really. I think it involves a lot of pain. Feeling a lot of horrible things. Acknowledging a lot of ugliness. Showing a lot of compassion.
Heaven help us all.

photo journal day 1

not an exhaustive list of photos taken today, but if I included them all, I think it'd get repetitive.

self-portrait 8/29/11

ask me about my journey...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My husband the creative genius; and a new project

Lately I've been thinking about the journal as a tool, and what it means to use one. I started journaling in 5th grade, and have been keeping a journal regularly since my sophomore year of college. But for that long, my journal has been a place of words, where I write what I'm thinking or feeling, what I hear, what I see, what I want, what I don't understand. Words are the first and last tool I use to express myself and make sense of the world around me. I figure this is part of what makes me a writer, words being the principal vehicle for my thoughts and ideas.
But what if you're not a writer? What if you know the world through photo, or through film, or even through construction--fabric, stone, or wood? Does your journal still look the same? Can you use words to encapsulate your thoughts or feelings or ideas?
How do you assign a journal to someone who's not a writer? I know that anyone with the capacity to read and write can keep a journal, regardless of their discipline, but what does a journal of different media look like? How do you require a filmmaker to write journal entries? Or a sculptor, or a painter?
I don't know. I was talking it over with my husband, and he had this great idea: what if I experiment with journals in different media, in order to understand what kind of a journal might serve artists of different types?
So I'm going to. Two weeks each, in photos, audio entries, film, visual images, sculptural elements, and see what I can come up with in terms of how a journal functions, and I'm going to try to record it all here. We'll see what happens, what I learn and can document.
I'm really interested in other suggestions, too. So if you wonder something, or want to point out something I haven't thought of, do it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer memories pt. 1

I'm not sure I even remember how to do this anymore... so instead of trying to write anything here today, I will commemorate a summer that was full. Full. Some of the struggle has already been named, so I will name some of the joy.

We recently spent a weekend downtown "stay-cationing", and went to Navy Pier. Had high hopes to ride the Ferris Wheel...

but alas, wind conditions prohibited. Sigh.

This was not a part of our weekend away, but was one of the best parts of my summer. What an amazing show.
 It was his idea to get out of town for a while, since I've been thinking and working so hard and he's been thinkging and working so hard, and we've both been digging into each other, often in a positive constructive way, but not always. We had a lot of fun, we laughed a lot, we made healthy choices, and we almost forgot we had responsibilities to anyone other than each other. Thank you, Favorite, for a wonderful chance to enjoy each other and to rest.