emergence

Hullo.
It’s been a while hasn’t it? How are you- are you and your loved ones well?

While I’ve decided to stop apologizing here for anything I write (or in this case, don’t write), I do feel a need to explain where I’ve been these past few months.

Guys, winter was hard, like really hard. I don’t mean in a super serious, family-illness or major depression sort of way, but in a grinding, grueling, let’s-just-get-through-this, cold sort of way. Normally I can take winter in stride- drink lots of chai, snuggle into big sweaters, hibernate and dream- but this winter really threw me off my game. Between feeling a bit over extended at my (still new-ish) job*, and still trying to settle into our new house, all endeavors beyond functioning as a normal human in society fell by the wayside. With approximately 175 polar vortices barreling through Ohio every few days running (or even walking) outside became impossible, eliminating the last barrier that stood between me and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So that’s where I’ve been- surviving. Working, living, struggling to maintain relationships with people outside my house whom I love, and feeling totally incapable of handling anything beyond that, especially creative pursuits. The last things made in my studio were Galentines. I’ve mentally written several posts, some funny, some not, some helpful some not- all of which seemed locked away in my brain, totally inaccessible to my fingers every time I sat at my desk. A mean little voice started to whisper ‘phony…” and “fail…”whenever I though about writing or making, and rather than squash it like a tick, I listened and worried. I don’t mean to alarm or melodramatize here- there were people who had WAY worse times of it this winter- there were good things that happened this winter, and I never felt truly lacking or upset. Even at my lowest I think I’d use words like “stressed” or ‘tired’ before I’d say I was depressed or even sad. But, it can be a bit unsettling to find an uninspired, listless and tired person who can handle nothing beyond the Netflix cue where once there was a bundle of energy, ideas and projects to tackle. And that feeling, the feeling of not knowing exactly who I was, was what really got to me.

All of which is do say, it’s getting better.** No, I haven’t suddenly reached Nirvana through all my hours of youtube-yoga, and no, my house isn’t any cleaner/more organized/even unpacked all the way. Even as I write this, I’m acutely aware of how slow and dear the words are coming – like an i.v. drip from my fingers. But they are coming. And even though I still feel a bit uninspired, and fragile in my assertion of myself as ARTIST (and more fragile still, as writer), I also know that this fragility is only as permanent  as frost. I can’t really do anything to make it stop, but I can make some small changes and cultivate small joys in the other areas of my life and know that eventually This Too Shall Pass. There’s a cool mist where once there were frigid hellish gales. I’ve traded my heavy black winter coat for my favorite blue-green jacket. There are green things poking through the mud. My garden isn’t mine, yet, but I did manage to replace one of the raised beds and tuck in a few seedlings this weekend. And for the next hour, I’m going to be in my studio. Doing what? Hell, I have no idea- the ‘what’ will come later. For now, it’s just enough to be ‘doing”.

 

 

* which, by the way, is still wonderful- the overextension is temporary, not personal,  and largely on me as I still struggle to find balance and define what’s ‘enough.’
**it almost always does. until it doesn’t, at which point it’s a good idea to ask for help.

 

 

Enter the housfrau

Enter the housfrau

“Cat, it’s been a bit- everything okay?”
Oh, yeah, y’know, I’ve just been so busy. Being a mutherfuckin adult, and all.
Cause guess what, dewds and ladydewds-
We totally bought a house.

A house! We bought it! And then we moved! And then we went on vacation!*
Having only been here 1 day and a handful of evenings, it still feels like we’re squatters.

Buying a house was simultaneously the most exciting, terrifying, horrible and wonderful experience. Setting aside the payment schedule that ties one to the bank in the manner of indentured servitude, there’s also the crippling weight of responsibility. While before I blithely accepted everything from black mold to asbestos to demonic-centipedes in the basement with a ‘not my problem!’ I now find myself obsessively monitoring cracks and creaks and tapping on walls for reasons that are as mysterious as they are Utterly Important. Neuroses aside, thought, there’s something about looking out a window and knowing, should the mood strike me, we could build a crow’s nest off the roof, or keep chickens, or PAINT ALL THE WALLS HERRINGBONE and no one can say a goddam thing about it. Makes one feel downright pioneering.

like this guy.

like this guy.

Like a lot of 20something double-x-chromasomed humans, I’ve read, subscribed and unsubscribed (and then secretly resubscribed) to an embarrassing number of ‘life-style blogs.’ And, like a lot of my fellow blog readers I’ve found myself feeling less-than positive about them.  Not that there’s anything inherently insidious about ‘life-style porn- hell, if you want to spend three days making, styling and photographing vegan cupcakes on vintage plates because you seek to put more beauty in the world, I say go for it (and also, send me the link because I will eat that shit up). It’s when those pictures are used (whether externally or internally) to make a woman feel like there is something she should be doing or she’s not a good enough woman that the whole thing just…bums me out.

So, in an attempt at candid honesty and the lofty pursuit of TRUTH, I present a glimpse at our new (yet unnamed?**) house which is no less curated*** but definitely unedited and, for the most part, uncleaned.

The view from the front door. Obviously unpacking books and Tardis lights are number 1 priority.

The view from the front door. Obviously unpacking books and Tardis lights are number 1 priority.

That's the front door you just came through on this imaginary journey!

That’s the front door you just came through on this imaginary journey!

the dining (?) room. Not seen here: the mound of stuff on the floor behind the pile of boxes.

the dining (?) room. Not seen here: the mound of stuff on the floor behind the pile of boxes.

The Kitchen- Beav's mom spent last monday, while we moved, unpacking and settling our kitchen. Friends, this is the most lovely thing you can do for someone who's recently moved and who likes to cook.

The Kitchen- Beav’s mom spent last Monday, while we moved, unpacking and settling our kitchen. Friends, this is the  loveliest thing you can do for someone who’s recently moved and who likes to cook.

The kitchen's also the first room in which we've started to decorate. We've decided to stick with our previous, tasteful theme of 'Awkward Nudity"

The kitchen’s also the first room in which we’ve started to decorate. We’ve decided to stick with our previous, tasteful theme of ‘Awkward Nudity”

This RUMPUS room. Look at all that light! What is this, a futuristic space rumpus room?

This RUMPUS room. Look at all that light! What is this, a futuristic space rumpus room?

Our backyard. There's a yard! And no one's dog can poop in it unless we let them. #thingsthatbecomeluxurieswhenyouliveinapartments.

Our backyard. There’s a yard! And no one’s dog can poop in it unless we let them. #weirdluxuries.

house_first week8

New house = new studio! With three windows!! (trust me, the third’s on the left)

The chair from which I write this now (instead of dealing with the surrounding detritus.) And what's that door- a closet? A studio closet?! Yeah it is.

The chair from which I write this now (instead of dealing with the surrounding detritus.) And what’s that door- a closet? A studio closet?! Yeah it is.

Stay tuned for exciting house updates (spackling! Fixing toilets! Filing paperwork!) and how-tos (ex: How to start a garden, How to Make Cheap-ass Curtains, How to Make Sure Your House Isn’t Haunted, etc)

*not advisable, but as the trip was family-organized and pre-planned long before the house and to a place with temperatures hot enough to make 2pm mojitos downright rational, we allowed ourselves to be 'talked into it'.
**Suggestions? 
***Sorry, folks, no pics of bedrooms or bathrooms. In part because some strange (Puritan? British?New England?) part of my ancestral DNA feels this is 'not done,' and in part because as of right now they are purely functional, and empty (boring) spaces.

Super Massive Website Update (and other changes around here)

Super Massive Website Update (and other changes around here)
Cosmika performance

click the image to find out more about these sensual spacebabez.

Website updated! Website updated! Curious about what I was doing the later half of 2013? Go check it out. If there’s one lesson I can take away from 2013 it’s to either document as I go or to save up 20 episodes of This American Life for the two times a year I do update everything. (On a related note- any recommendations for a good, streaming radio program one could listen to while doing such tedius tasks as website updating, dishes doing or rug making? I’ve just about exhausted the TAL and RadioLab archives.)

You also may have noticed, if you’ve been here before, that things have changed around here as well- In an effort to simplify and clean everything up a bit, I went ahead and deleted the pages that were serving as a makeshift portfolio in years past. Looking for art? Click on the links above or go to www.catlynch.com- that’s where it’s all going to live from now on.

I’ve also changed up the header and tagline to be a bit more intentionally generic. After the few weeks of private and public existential crises, I’ve decided 2014 will be a year of experimentation here- instead of trying to figure out what this strange nook of internet is for RightNow, I’m going to give myself permission to not give a shit about what I give a shit about this year. My only goal is to write, and to write often. Both online and off, for the past six months I’ve felt the ever suffocating weight of writer’s block- in large part because the longer I wait to write anything, the more loaded and precious it feels like the next thing has to be. So forget that- good writing, bad writing, relevant and global, inward and navel gazing- nonfiction, fiction, a grey area between the two- funny writing, sad writing, absolutely vanilla writing-  reviews, how to’s and interviews- writing I’m proud of and total crapola.

And now, the semi-regular New Year’s nod to Miss O’Hara.

ONWARD!

Hello old friend [existential crises], hello.

Hello old friend [existential crises], hello.

Hey!
Hi- did you miss me?

I missed you.

It’s been a full couple of months- Not ‘crazy busy’ or even ‘crazy’ or ‘busy’, just full. Full of studio nights, full of cooking and takeout, full of work- work that was dull and work that was thrilling, full of thinking, full of doing, full of the beautiful give and take needed to exist as a human in a world with other humans.

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 5.09.18 PM

full of cats.

I won’t lie to you- there were times when I was too busy to write, but more often than not the silence was intentional. It wasn’t personal, I just needed time to put my brain in order and figure out just what it is I’m doing here. When I first started this blog I had the idea that it would serve as a portfolio of sorts. It’s meandered since then, focusing on everything from the intensely personal to attempts at being objective and universally relevant- the only real constant being my compulsion to Keep Writing Things Here. A couple of times I’ve attempted to refocus on the art, but then, last year I found a website host whose price and interface fill my heart with cupcakes. Now I have a shiny professsssional website* where I can show my work, without any references to my social sweating, but which requires time and upkeep to make it relevant. And then, of course, there comes the question of redundancy- If I’m writing about my work over there, do I really need to write about it at length over here ? How much CATLYNCH does the internet really need? And if it’s redundant, then can I stop feeling guilty about tangential and self-indulgent posts here? But I still feel this commitment/compulsion to keep writing, and what do I write about if not this thing [art], around which I’ve built so much of my identity? What is the sound of one hand clapping?!
This, I think, is really why sitting down to write here has been an exercise in cognitive dissonance and why this year in particular it’s floundered. Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 5.35.09 PM

So it’s time for a change. I’m not sure in what direction, but a change is a-comin.
But first, thank-you – whether this is your first visit or the 306th post to come to your inbox, thank-you for being here, for reading, for caring, for giving this small corner of the internet a reason to exist. Speaking of which,

what do you want to see here?

Seriously, what keeps you coming back? What would you find interesting or relevant?

Writing and pictures about plants and growing things? Food? Stories of social awkwardness? Professional musings about education, imagination and emergent curricula? Socio-political soapboxing through the lens of feminism? Or maybe you prefer to get something out of this page- how-to’s, recipes, crafts, TASTY KNOWLEDGE? Truly, let me know what gets you jazzed- the only thing not up for negotiation is cats.

There will always be cats.

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 6.08.23 PM

 

 

 

*MASSIVE update there, coming soon

The Elephant in the Room/Blog.

The Elephant in the Room/Blog.

Right before my impromptu summer-blog break I posted a few cryptic sentences about Employment Opportunities and Life Changes with the promise that I’d come clean once the dust settled. A few months (!) and several posts later I realized I never made good on this promise.

Cat, we come here for art and pictures of your cats- beyond that we don’t care.’

Totally cool. Feel free to skip to the bottom of the page for just that.
But I’ve been thinking a lot in the about why I still blog- I’ve set aside my initial aspirations for internet fame and book deals*, my friends/family are kept updated by calls and texts rather than checking here, and yet I still find myself updating this thing- why?

Two, totally selfish reasons- clarity and accountability.
Having a place where I have to put thought down into words- and those words into actual sentences- helps me take ideas and abstract concepts that are swirling in my brain in a nebulous cloud and funnel them into coherency. This is excellent, low-risk practice for when I have to do that to Real People of Import or write Artist Statements (since most galleries/grants won’t except photocopies of sketches and incoherent doodles. Rude.) And writing such thoughts here, rather than in my sketchbook makes me feel committed to an idea/project. Even if no one reads it but me, having it floating around in the public sphere shames me into Doing as much as Thinking.

So, whether you care or not, here’s what’s been going on in the world of Gainful Employ:

A few months ago I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime, now-or-never job as a teaching artist at the Columbus Museum of Art. Taking it, however, meant leaving the best job I’d ever had at Open Door Art Studio. Leaving Open Door, and the beautiful people who work and create there was possibly the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It had nothing to do with Open Door and everything to do with me- it was a dream job but it wasn’t my dream. There were many tears, more hugs and even more encouragement from all my ODAS friends that enabled me to move forward. I say all that to clarify that when I talk about loving my job at CMA, it is not because I didn‘t love my job at Open Door. (SO MANY FEELINGZ.)

There was more planned but really, I think that’s enough navel-gazing for one day. You deserve some cats;

The Beast Dreams of Elysium

The Beast Dreams of Elysium

Summer is for Lovers.

Summer is for Lovers.

Hey lady, can't you see I'm trying to nap here?

Newt in Repose

coming soon to an arts fest near you...

coming soon to an arts fest near you…

*mostly.