Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Teeny Weenies

When I was a child- back when the arrival of the Sunday edition of the Youngstown Vindicator was a big deal- the first part of that thick bundle (you can tell how long ago that was- newspapers were thick bundles) that I went to was the funny pages. The first part of the funny pages I went to was the "Teeny-Weenies." I have written about them before but to recap- the TW's were a race of minuscule people who lived in our world but in the corners and hidden beneath violet leaves. Each week was the story of some TW travail or holiday depicted in a single, large, beautifully-drawn panel. One week the TW's may be doing battle with towering rats who threatened their grain stores, another week it would be a TW outing on boats made from milkweed husks. The TWs were from all races and cultures.
Also each week there would be a single TW that I could cut out of the paper, paste onto a piece of shirt cardboard and trim. The art came with the flanges that could be bent back so the figure could stand on its own. I had a collection of them that I could use to enact my own TW scenarios.

That collection was long ago discarded but I have been drawing again on that inspiration for a series of small pieces. I have conflated them with my "heart-box" motif and my love of the natural world. I use the same basic template, which is a constraint that I enjoy working within.
Where they greatly differ, however, is in their basic demeanor. The original Teeny-Weenies were, as appropriate to the times, sort of can-do, go-getting, optimistic types- no obstacle could stand in their way for long, soon to be overcome with the united efforts of the population. My Teeny-Weenies, are more reserved and cautious, often looking askance at the viewer, sometimes not engaging the viewer at all. Whether they reflect the times or just my own reserve is something to ponder.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not Yet

Sorry, I'm not nesting yet. I am in the midst of preparing for an open studio so that also means cleaning the parts of my apartment that cannot be blocked off from view. I look around in dismay at the pretty much total lack of nesting even after 2 years of living here.
I moved from a place that I had invested much time and energy into making a nest for myself- colorful, quirky, cozy and warm. Okay- and stuffed to the rafters with charming stuff. But I was not able to financially sustain it, I lost the house, the garden, the studio and about 95% of my belongings. So, now I am in an apartment in an urban setting with a few shabby rooms and a workroom and a bunch of boxes of books still packed- no bookshelves; a few boxes of decorative items that I managed to bring with me- still packed; and a few sticks of furniture. I did a bit of painting when I first moved in and tried to set it up in a comfortable manner but then I ran out of steam. I have been puzzled by my lack of desire to fix the place up.
I was speaking with a wonderful and insightful friend last evening and she said something that illuminated my anhedonia for me. I had mentioned that I had done almost nothing to improve the apartment since I moved in and she had last seen it. She said she wasn't surprised. Well, I was surprised by her response. She explained that she had two other friends who had also lost everything in the past few years- through house fires- and neither of them showed any desire to nest again either.
My desire to acquire anything beyond necessities for the apartment is low to non-existent, my desire to even browse is low. I used to be an agreeable browser- I could browse flea-markets or shops with no impulse or compulsion to buy, just filling my eyes with visual candy was enough, thank you. I used to love to read shelter magazines- especially UK Country Living. Not now. I picked up a copy recently to see if that would spark something- decorating porn to revive a dormant home-libido. Nah, nada, zip, zero, zilch.
Now I recognize that my thought process is: why buy things or invest in a place that may be gone in the wink of an eye? Why potentially put myself through all that again? I have moved on but only enough to get just out of sight of the past. I have stopped and am stuck around the corner from the disaster, unable though to keep walking forward. But my life is not all stagnation and resignation. I have moved forward in other, less material aspects of my life- and for that I am very grateful.
So, perhaps there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon; perhaps that will be enough to get me to move my feet a few inches away from this stuck corner; perhaps I will start to dream again- perhaps of a garden, perhaps of a kitchen...