The Suit of Swords

The Suit of Swords :

A potentially prickly and cold suit-

all sharp blades and sad faces and high gusts of wind

You will find no soft comforts or ‘There, there”s here,

but neither will you find untruths.

Just as the ready knives can cut through wood (or bone),

they can just as easily cut through lies to clear the way for Truth, Knowledge and,

eventually,

(if you are brave and face the swords,

which are really all in your head anyway)

Wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

What I found in the silence:

  • That I want to be better at writing
  • That I want to be better at coherently explaining my process/intent behind my work
  • That these things happen through practice
  • That I am not adult enough to practice either without the element of shame and accountability that come with a public forum such as here.

 

To these ends, I added some weekly writing time into my morning-studio mix. My rules* are simple: Publish something– once a Wednesday, every Wednesday, preferably with a few sentences of actual writing (by me) involved. Picture-only posts should be used only as a last resort. Following the Elizabeth Gilbert Principal of Creative Work, the something doesn’t have to be great, or even that prolific, what matters most is that I show up and keep showing up until I’ve tricked my habit-driven plodder of a brain into thinking that this is what we’re supposed to be doing. (My art practice really is like a big obsessive compulsive slow-moving beast of burden)

This past month has been full of internet outages (both frustrating and refreshing and entirely what I needed), ill-timed Wednesday morning meetings and intentional self-imposed-rule breaking as I get deeper and deeper into making for Remnants. But that’s the point of self-imposed rules, right? Looking to get back into the habit of stringing together scraps of English on a regular basis as the project continues to coalesce, and I turn my attention towards a) writing a statement and b) figuring out how I will answer when a loved one looks at the piece and says, “So….?”

In the meantime, let’s get excited about blue skies and the return of the sun:

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*because I have to make rules, even if they exist solely to be broken. It’s worth noting too, that these are totally personal and arbitrary. Feel free to steal for your own purposes or disregard entirely

Herstories and How-tos: Claude Cahun

So not only did I not stop blogging for good, I double not-stopped by volunteering* to write a monthly bit over on CAW (Creative Arts of Women)‘s blog. The column is called ‘Herstories and How-to’s’ (I really lobbied for Corpses and Crafts, but ultimately decided it might be off-putting.)

This month you can learn more about my current dead-lady obsession Claude Cahun, as well as three easy ways to fight The Man!

a picture of Cahun with a levitating cat that I desperately tried to work into the post.

 

 

*Isn’t that funny? They offer a monthly space with lots of eyes to practice writing and I get to call it ‘volunteering’. This is almost as good as the gig over at Ohio House Rabbit Rescue, where one ‘volunteers’ by cuddling bunnies. Living the philanthropic lifestyle really can be so trying.**

**But f’real, you can actually go volunteer to cuddle rabbits for an hour I’M SO THERE.

Grow Write Guild #29: Wildness

Grow Write Guild #29: Wildness

It was a singular curiosity- there, three inches behind her navel,  was a  small, unusual gland. Though unconnected to any other part of her otherwise normal endocrine system, it was deemed benign from the get-go and so generally ignored. As she grew older, however, she began to notice an annual rhythm – So long as the ground was frozen, this gland rested between the rest of her organs, small, solid and exciting as a dried kidney bean, stirring only with a howling wind, or a silent road, or the hint of a minor chord. When the days lengthened and nights grew warm as skin, the heretofore globular organ would begin to pull and retract, like gum between a thumb and forefinger, until it reached the back of her throat, painlessly pulling though guts and lungs, thin and delicate and strong as a spider’s web. At the sight of the untamed and untranslatable, giant weeds and threatening disarray,  the thread sounded a clear note, as though plucked- inaudible to anyone else and absolutely unignorable. Her head ringing with its barbaric YAWP, she found herself championing beautiful messes- hacking down orderly shrubberies, letting her garden’s edges melt and ooze into the bugle weed and ground ivy, cultivating edible weeds and reveling in wildness.

 

 

Grow Write Guild Prompt #29: Write about wildness.

A modest proposal.

 

For generations, History, and her champions the Historians have been concerned primarily with truth- namely, with the task of finding the one Truth behind the events of Civilization and in doing so, dispel any lingering Untruths. We the members of the North American Pseudohistorical Society believe such endeavors to be, not only dull and tedious, but erroneous in thought. We believe most concretely that no such One Truth exists, but rather, that there exist multiple Truths, each no more valid a truth than the next.

Our mission, instead, is to find and celebrate multiple truths, and even untruths, if the story’s better. As humans, we live and breathe outside of the Text, and so, as pseudohistorians, aim for our work to live and breathe in a variety of media and methods. We strive to rigorously study, trusting the words of our hero, Herodotus; “Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.’

 

To this end, we have undertaken several small-scale endeavors. At times, these endeavors seek to mine deeply a narrow focus, as with our temporary institution, the Northam Park Natural Art and History Museum (Which, it is worth noting, we were able to expand last summer with a new, permanent collection wing, along with several workshop sessions with the distinguished Will Foster. The later of which resulted in a fine collection of speleographic paragenetic studies of the area’s flora, fauna and hand washing stations.) Other times, we may sacrifice depth to cast our probational nets wide, as we did this past fall with the Center for Lacunal Inquiry. During this time, we shifted our focus from one particular place to nonplaces, exploring the various lacunae throughout the Columbus Museum of Art. Other past enterprises have included a wide range of subjects, including the surveyor cum prophet, P.T. Simmondinger, the ancient Earthworks of Newark Ohio, and the growing field of numerological historiography.

 

Having grown exponentially over the past year, we, the North American Pseudohistorical Society, respectfully propose a new study, bigger in scope and influence that previously attempted. Over the next year, we hope to explore the infinities of the finite, the terminal, in short, the ENDs that (cease to) exist around us. This proposed study and resulting exhibition would lean heavily, as always, on the help of volunteer research assistants, and drawfrom several sources with varying degrees of reliability, including public record, personal journals, historical websites and pure conjecture.

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.