Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Helps- a Bit

My world has been upended, how can I make sense of it?
The day after the most disastrous election in the history of our country, I had to load my car and drive in the rain down to NYC to hang my the exhibit of my work that I had been dedicating all of my creative energies to for the past year. I did all this with half-a-heart. But I got it done.

The next day, I returned to the city for the opening. A few friends showed up who said kind things about the work. I was pretty hollowed out with exhaustion and shock. We went to supper at a very noisy restaurant- inside I was screaming for quiet and surcease, outside I was putting one foot in front of the other. I spent the night with friends in Riverdale and then the next day took the bus back home to Kingston after a walk to Wave Hill and a much-needed reminder that nature and friendship abide and heal. And tea, lots of cups of tea.

I went back to work at the nursery to help close it up for the season. Closing up despite weather that implied that there was no need for this effort- the seasons had been suspended. Each of us would stop our tasks and try to talk through our disbelief and sadness with our friends, then coming to no conclusions, we went back to our labors. I would come home and collapse, sleep came fitfully and never seemed to help.

The nursery was finally put to bed. I woke up the next day with no schedule and sort of drifted for a few days. Read a lot, saw a movie (Arrival- highly recommended,) napped, puttered, petted my cat, drank lots of tea.

In the past, after big events, my creative well had run dry for a while- sometimes for a distressingly long while. I was expecting the pattern to hold and to have no drive or desire to go back into my workroom for a bit. But then I got an idea. This would be the second time I have been so smacked by my muse and I know better than to ignore it. I had signed up for a holiday market and been planning to have copies of the book and some pieces of original art from it and that would be that. But this idea hit me between the eyes and I have been making small pieces with a singlemindedness that surprises me. I am finding the process to be an anodyne and respite. They will go with me to the market, and then, I hope, to new homes.

I am using postage stamps from a "small" box lot I won in an auction several years ago. An 18" -on all sides- box filled with stamps for 5$. One day, I was bored so I started sorting them by color, filling small plastic bags with stamps. (That task is not anywhere near complete, but I did fill many bags.) These sat on the shelf for another year or 2. Then suddenly my muse came and dope-slapped me, directing my attention to these colored bits of printed paper. "Do something with these!" was the command- so that is what I am doing.

The series is "Mail-Order Brides" They will go for $100 each- there is a history attached to that amount that I will retell next time. Nine done so far, I have 19 days to go.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Up in the Air

Today has been a study in handling disappointment, nothing major but just enough to gnaw away at some of the confidence I need approaching the installation and opening of my solo exhibit at HERE Arts Center in NYC in 8 days.
I know I don't handle endings well and even though we still have a lot of work to do putting the nursery to bed for the year, today was our last official open day. From now until the end of November, the days will get shorter and quieter and grimmer- an object lesson in entropy. So I am a bit down about that. Then I got the notice that I did not get a residency I had applied for. It was a long shot- a very prestigious residency, and I am not a high-flier in the art scene.
And then there is my deep, abiding anxiety about the upcoming election, the building I rent in is on the market (reliving the foreclosure of 8 years ago...), I feel that there is little solid beneath my feet.
Then I remind myself of the solidity I have found in these years- the astounding knowledge that I have friends; my successful Kickstarter campaign and subsequent publication of my book: "The Word Project: Odd & Obscure Words- Illustrated; my month as AIR at Grand Canyon National Park; the growth of my work- including representation in 3 galleries, the upcoming show at HERE; the possibility- just a possibility as yet- that I may be able to rent a cottage in the countryside with quiet, dark skies at night, room to work, and room for a garden. I am blessed.
The only curse appears to be my own fears. And fears are not facts.

"Tempest VIII," bricolage, MMXVI, ©PMLaw