Friday, August 31, 2007

What to do in Chicago this Sunday

I'm exhausted from making twelve books and not napping enough, so I'm listening to a really hilarious podcast that interviews Andrea, my papermaking teacher. And plugging my friend Eric's band:

METAGAMI has landed ... Celebrate the release of our new CD out on Lens Records with a Labor Day BBQ. Join us for free food and drinks between 7 and 9, and stick around for three of the best bands around! Free admission, free giveaways, free food and drinks, and more!

Avagami is teaming up with Ania Greiner and Liz Winfield of the interdisciplinary performance group 3 card molly, who have created a performance to occur in reaction to our set of songs. It involves gorilla suits. If you have ever seen one of Liz and Ania's performances, or even if you haven't, you will not want to miss this singular event.

FREE SHOW: Sunday September 2nd

2210 W Chicago Ave

Complimentary food & drinks from 7-9pm

more info:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gili makes amazing mixes

"Worn Me Down" is on repeat and I've just snapped out of a dangerous "researching the past" foray. Though it did force me to see how different my life is now, and how thankful I am for it. Today has been strange but mostly private so my most exciting report is that I met a white cat who licks a lot - socks, arms, tops of heads, but not mine. It took Greg visiting NYC for me to finally get some good quality time with him as we tried our best not to look childless in the playground. I figured he has kids, so that counts for something (I always get sad when adults aren't allowed into playgrounds. The water park looked really fun. I especially liked the girls who stuck the crowns of their heads into shallow puddles of water). I confessed my desire to teach to him and he was supportive. For some reason, I expect everyone to laugh at me whenever I say, "I want to teach."

My arms are sore from bookbinding. I made three books today and am shooting for two more by the end of the night. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be sore from the hour of yoga I did today after being embarrassed by my "punching holes really gave my biceps a workout" state of body.

Two items related to housing needs:

1. A good friend is returning to the country this weekend and needs a sublet in NYC for her and her incredibly well-behaved dog.

2. Two friends in the Bay who will be performing at Counterpulse Theatre in three months are seeking housing for two collaborators. Ekiwah, a poet from Mexico who is in a wheelchair, will need an accessible place for Nov 23-Dec 2. He will have an assistant helping him mornings and evenings. Their videographer, Marcos Duran, is looking for a permanent place in the Bay.

If you have any leads, or need more details, let me know and I'll pass it on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chugging along

I continued yesterday's logic when faced with 100+ sheets of 18 x 24" abaca paper that I made for a performance two years ago. I had been saving it in case I someday would get the chance to restage it with 100 pianos. I'm not joking. Now, I realize that will never happen and I don't even want it to happen. So I stayed up late erasing lots of pencil instructions on how to play the piano, halving sheets, and figuring out how many books I could get out of the paper. The entire batch needs to be rehydrated, with OxiClean, but I don't have the facilities. I made two books today and will continue on tonight. Later, I'll tackle the bricks (I was thinking of trying joomchi art with those. Maybe I should save those for Wyoming and not even allow myself to touch them before I leave in two weeks).

I had a great talk w/Andrea and declined Banff's residency offer. She put it really well: I might as well do a self-directed residency in NYC where I know all my money is going to support my art rather than Banff's hot tub. We talked about plans for the future, how her summer has been, and Fulbright stuff. It was so good to hear her voice. The whole transition from student to colleague takes time and careful handling, but it's great to be on that path. I have crazy amounts of work to do before I leave, which is probably why my I Ching reading last night read, "The Abysmal (Water): Flow like pure water through difficult situations," and my horoscope warned me to stop digging holes for myself (which, after Nebraska, makes me want to howl with laughter).

Need a computer or a trip to Romania?

Markus and a Romanian artist are hosting LIFE, an international autumn camp in Romania to live cooperatively and sustainably from Sept 7 - Oct 7. Apply if you can do last-minute things in Europe!

Does anyone need a 12" G4 PowerBook 867? It's a little tank, and cheap, with the previous generation airport extreme (802.11g with modem), a case, and an extra power supply. My web designer, Raphael, is looking to unload it onto any needy parties. Let me know if you're interested or contact him directly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


These were some of the things that I wanted back: my bound books, bricks, paper costume, and violin music. Even so, I spent the whole day asking do I really need it? do I really want it? when will I use this again?? My jaw is sore from stress, my head aching from dehydration, and my back tired from rearranging and storing everything. As I rewired a picture frame, I thought about how much I love being an artist. Or, just being good with my hands.

One of the hard parts was figuring out my violin music. I went through old things like copies of first violin parts from symphony orchestra when I was 14. When Cindy and I stayed with Yoonshin this weekend, we talked about being really good at something early in life, and then giving it up later. They both were incredibly talented pianists, but like most accomplished musicians, had fraught relationships with the instrument / music / teachers. They don't play anymore, and people ask them all the time if they miss it. Yoonshin doesn't, and says so. Cindy used to feel badly about not missing it, but now is okay with that. [Why do people love asking that question anyway?]

I forget that sometimes skills can be like people: they come into your life, you cultivate them, and then you part ways. And no one is a bad person if they make that decision. Yoonshin wouldn't be the artist she is now, nor Cindy the editor she is now, if the piano stayed. I forget that you have to move things aside to make space for other things. I stopped playing sports when I was 14 to make room for more violin study. I stopped going to music camp to reconnect to my family in Korea. I skipped t'ai chi class to take jazz lessons. I had to ditch someone so that I could keep up on thesis production.

Today, I considered each of my violin books and their categories: etude, concerto I studied, concerto I always wanted to study, "must have" scale method, chamber music, for teaching, etc. I finally decided it was time to give up the things I feel like I "should" own, the orchestral music (I'm not an orchestral musician anymore and certainly am not taking auditions), and duplicate copies. I still can't let go of the fact that I likely will not touch these books again, and that I will also likely not teach violin again (but I still kept all of my method books for small children).

It's so hard to see that the relationship has to be reconfigured for my life now. I was never amazing at violin; I just loved to play and perform. But I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to appear hardcore, and that is where all those books come from. I still love to play and perform. I just don't need the books anymore. Which is why there is a big pile ready to be donated to the local school music department.

Monday, August 27, 2007

51 hours in Chicago

Give or take. All my stuff is strewn out on the living room floor in NY now, and I still don't believe that I have nothing left in Chicago. Well, Jay has my bed and blue violin and at this point, they're basically his. So that is that! I just called Tam tonight to say that her moving away from Chicago feels like how it must feel when parents move away from someplace they've lived forever. It's unreal. I barely slept last night so I'm hurting, but everyone is back safely. I will sleep early tonight for the first time since...I have NO IDEA.

[I drew this in Korea in the 80s. Can't figure out yet if I feel like the people at the top or the person at the end of the rope.]

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Here I am in a sea of bags

Aloha from Chicago. I am barely able to operate this computer from exhaustion, but I was able to pack up in just two rounds of around two hours each. Every brick is in a bag, believe it or not. I love that I'm bringing all my crushed bricks, but lots of other things are being left behind. Cindy has been great to have for moral support as she watches me pack (I'm a solo packer and just need someone close to talk me down), and we did a photo shoot for Terttu on the way back from Yoonshin's place where we stayed last night. I got to see Elizabeth yesterday, and bumped into Jenny in the street, and saw someone else but didn't say hi at the bus stop. Today was catching up w/Tam, finishing the pack, and more endless eating out.

I see eight bags along the wall, Tam is on the phone w/her grandmother, and Cindy is looking thru Ikea catalogs. We'll do a thrift shop drop off in a bit, and then reunion dinner w/anyone who cares to come. Big love is the theme of this trip.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Ohhh-kay. Still no resolution on my decisions. The good news: I think that ATA allows three bags under the plane per passenger! Wohooo! Very good news for the Chicago move (oh, Chicago people who want to see "No End in Sight" before meeting one of its editors on Sunday night, it's playing at Pipers Alley and other places outside of the city).

But I'm still torn about the Canada residency, so I'm wondering: what do you think? My list is below. The I Ching said "obstruction" and "modesty."

PROS: Banff is gorgeous
Five weeks of late autumn/early winter making paper in a fully-equipped paper studio
Another residency on the heels of Wyoming
Avoiding Thanksgiving

CONS: Banff is hella pricey and the Canadian dollar is almost overtaking the US$. With costs of travel and mandatory insurance, the entire pricetag would hover over $2,000.
I would feel guilty the entire time spending every last penny on a residency, after swearing to myself early this year that I would no longer go to programs where I have to pay.
Don't I have to start temping b/c my loans come due again in November??
Missing Thanksgiving

More big decisions

I'm writing while on the train, after a long day out. Highlights: making it through the day w/o dropping my new computer (though I got schooled about lugging it around while it sleeps: that's a big no no), having a long luxurious afternoon w/post-surgery Gili (seeing her, you'd think that having surgery = going to a day spa), finally meeting her parents (thanks to her dad for checking my neck's blocked lymph node), and seeing an action flick w/Barbara (can you believe I saw "The Bourne Ultimatum," period, not just in the theatre??). Rafff asked if I'd take firearm-shooting classes with him and Joe gave me good press kit advice.

Tomorrow I have a phone appointment w/the on-campus Fulbright advisor in Chicago, and prepare for a weekend in Chicago. I've been in denial about this trip for a while, but it's finally upon me. Time to pick empty luggage and weigh in.

Here is the I'm back home update: crap. I just found out I got another residency for the fall, in Canada. It's great for papermaking. The big catch: huge, huge price tag. Yikes. I have a LOT of quick decisions to make.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mounting crises

I drove in Mexico. A small, white automatic with sensitive brakes. I am a complete idiot when it comes to the metric system, so I had no idea what 60 or 80 kph meant or felt like, so lots of people passed me while I wondered what the speed limit was. There were lots of speed bumps in Maravatio. [segue] The new website for the residency is up and public! Check it out. [segue] Announcing my sister's new cut of my farm performance (soooo much better than the last one. I love having a pro editor in the family)! [segue] I got great edits back from a Fulbrighter in China, and set up an appt to talk to a Fulbright person at my alma mater. And I'm making some headway on a new artist statement, research for which lead me to Beili's new site, which is crazy gorgeous. She did it herself! Amazing.

Okay, that's the end of the good news. This morning we got the call that my sister's father-in-law just had a stroke in Macedonia. Then I talked to a friend whose sister was just in a bus accident. I am really tired of the big drama, so can the rocks in the sky please align themselves so the drama eases for just a moment?? My Chicago dentist was kind enough to send me an enormous email about being calm and explaining the possible things going on in my mouth and possible routes of recourse. I couldn't handle all the bad things so I took a break to watch "Zoolander," which rocked my afternoon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Miracles and problems

I spent my early morning (like 6am early) being really upset about my still painful root-canaled tooth, and then slept in, only to have my sister call with the news that she had a horrible dream about me being dead. Lovely. I called the dentist and made an appt for the afternoon, and then figured I'd get nothing done in the two hours I had left...but then a package arrived. I had no idea what it was, but apparently dad had ordered a new thingy - not an enclosure - for my old hard drive, and IT WORKED!!! MY HD MOUNTED!!!! It was like the dead coming back to life. I immediately pulled all my data off and then spent the two hours reconciling my files. HALLELUJAH!!

That was the good news. Then I got soaked getting to the dentist, who took an x-ray, and then said, "You have problems." The roots are not healing and the entire tooth might have to be pulled. Another option: remove the crown, open up the tooth, yank out a bunch of root (I don't understand this part since the root is gone, right?), fill it up, and make a new crown. Abnormally, I have four roots on a tooth that usually has two, and one is so close to the next tooth that there's no bone in between (not understanding what that means, either). All I know is that the x-rays didn't make any sense to me and that my dentist classified my pain as "discomfort." It's always great when people who are not inside your body decide to tell you what hurts and what is just you being a sissy.

He said there's nothing I can do except wait (I suppose until the x-rays show clearly that a mutant ninja is battling my mouth with nunchucks, in full-color HD animation). So I left and promptly ate a bag of organic gummy bears.

Image: Mexican lilies (RECOVERED from the HD!!! No, I will not stop talking about the wonderful and miraculous fact that my HD is alive and well!!)
Song on repeat: Janet Jackson's "Together Again"
Friend in bigger crisis: Gili
Residency that acts like a sweet, wooing lover: Jentel (they sent another package with a map of the area and a note saying, "Think about bringing an alarm clock." + smiley face!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

"I want to lie around and watch movies and eat."

Gi came over today after lots of Fulbright essay editing, bearing a Feist CD and a letter from 3/12/07 that she had sent to me at Tam's in Chicago, but I had given her the wrong address. It took this long for it to get sent back to her. That is a quote from her letter up there, and it's exactly how I feel right now. So, I may skip my daily nap and instead indulge in "Bubble." Then I promise I will get cracking on my press kit and the two shows I'm in coming up next month.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I didn't know to fight for something imperfect.

That was the last line of a sestina I wrote about how I, a lifelong perfectionist, thought it was not worth learning Korean well because I could not speak it perfectly from the start (I made this decision when I was about 10 years old). I was rifling through some files in my "Language" folder and was shocked to read what I had written just a few months ago. I didn't remember writing it, yet it was familiar, but it didn't sound like my voice. WHAT was I talking about in my "Eureka walls me and you.rtf" file?? I mean, I know what I was talking about, but how did I articulate it so well? Who was that?

This is one page of my police report book. I thought it was appropriate after watching Bill Moyers Journal tonight, an interview with Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Mike Tidwell. I was impressed by her impeccable verbal articulation; I have not witnessed such skillful delivery since Melissa Potter's tour of Dieu Donne Papermill five years ago, nary a "like," "you know," or "um," to be heard! Incredible! [OMG! I just noticed that these women are all named Melissa!! What does this mean??]

There were a few things she said that really struck me:
The planet goes on. The planet decides we're a plague that's warming it up too fast. It wipes us out. But the planet goes on. So, even a fight against global warming is a belief that human beings matter. It's a kind of essential belief that there's something inside of human beings worth saving. Because if we're really just corrupt and bad and evil, then heat it up. Let it wipe us out.

How dare I give up? I feel like we just have too much privilege to be the ones who give up...Who are we to give up? We're telling the people of Baghdad, Grip it up. Pull it together. Do better. Stop sectarian violence. How dare we, as Americans, with everything, we would want to give up.
That first sentiment hit deeply for me, because my attitude for a very long time has been: we should voluntarily die out as a species, and the sooner the better. When I told Markus this, he disagreed and asked if I would consider humans worth saving if there was just one good person among a million bad ones. It's so funny to hear someone who has spent his whole life outside of the US ask me this, especially since I went to Oberlin when its motto was, “Think one person can change the world? So do we." And then the second statement comes into play: as a conscious human being today, I have too much privilege to just give up. It's okay to fight for an imperfect existence, for imperfect creatures, for imperfect dreams.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm listening to Elizabeth

I holed up in a glass cage today in the library overlooking the river and got three hours of good work done. Pumpkin cookies, sliced peaches, laundry, and eventually a red nylon bag. The weather is gorgeous. Ching-In taught me last night about the Woe Jar: whenever you start to beat yourself up, put yourself down, etc., you have to put a dollar in the Woe Jar.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Old relationships also make me tired

This morning, I read about Libras to understand why I am so adept at making new friends, and losing them. Or just making them mad. All I learned is that my sun sign is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac. I probably surmised that all along, but it's today's official factoid. I spent a good portion of the morning feeling bad about inadvertently hurting a friend's feelings and had to work really hard to not beat myself up for having a big mouth with no filter. After almost losing my right arm to tedious Korean transcription, and deciding NOT to enter a couple of shows, I ran errands and then gave into the DVD player for the first time since I've been back in the country. I'm not sure why, but I felt happy after watching "Closer" and am now backing up my entire new hard drive. Good times.

I got the most hilarious note from Brian about our Botanic Garden visit: "Apparently her [his fiancee Sara's] co-workers who passed us assumed that you were a visiting dignitary* of some sort and wondered what the big meeting was all about." Hahaaaa!! I had also freaked out when I was greeted by a "RICE PAPER PLANT" tag in the tropical greenhouse. After all of my papermaking taboo inculcations, I was nearly screaming, "there is no such thing as rice paper!!! You don't make paper out of rice!!!"** and demanded to know more about the tag. Sara asked the guy who picked the text, and he didn't have an answer, but hopefully will get back to her soon.

*15-year plan: become a real visiting dignitary

**A misnomer applied to Asian papers. Rice-pith "paper" is cut from the inner pith of the Fatsiapapyrifera plant. Brought to England and New England by 19th-c. sailors, it so closely resembled real paper that it was erroneously called "rice paper." Rice straw paper exists, and paper made from rice, which is not very strong and doesn't look like typical paper.

***Note to Alex (b/c I forgot to include it in the envelope): guapa in Spanish = handsome.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New relationships make me tired

I've had this tiny 4-megapixel Canon for almost four years now, and I still barely know how to use it (I just started bracketing with it yesterday!). The new version is now a fourth of the price I paid. But as fancy as new cameras are, this is as much as I can handle right now. And when will I ever get a video camera to document my performances? I've been putting that off for over a year because it exhausts me just thinking about how much time and energy it takes to figure out a new gadget that then becomes completely essential to your process. I told my web designer yesterday that all this new computer stuff makes me want to just run naked into the nearest jungle, leaving all worldly possessions behind. Though that would probably last about an hour, and then I'd come back, whining about bug bites.

Today steamrolled me, after being trapped on a train that was trapped on a rail between two other trains (the one ahead was disabled and the tow took forever). I was late to therapy, where I spouted all of Melissa's advice to me from my first year of grad school to last night, to display my wisdom by association. I'm trying to be aware of how I shut down when people say nice things to me, and am figuring out how to be present and accept the nice things. I got some instant practice today when I met Lystra at NYFA after lunch w/an old symphony colleague and a DVD drop w/my web designer. She said, "Aimee, you are very smart and you can do anything you put your mind to. You've done so much already!" Now, normally this kind of talk turns me off immediately and if you were to check my mind state, it would be in Alaska, scolding me for not saving the tundra from oil drilling. Today, I practiced sitting and hearing her, while shushing the mean voices. It's pretty amazing!

I realized today that even though I complain about how disappointing grad school was, I actually came out with some incredible tools and a few excellent teachers. A lot of my friends went in and out of grad school without close mentors. But I found someone I really clicked with from day one, who is still supportive now, when she doesn't have to be. When I was applying to schools, Shawn asked who the faculty were, and scolded me for not researching them more b/c he said that people go to grad school specifically to study with certain teachers. I said, screw that, I'm sure I'll be fine.

Whoa, was I lucky! My advisor got me, got me through all the administrative and academic tangles, and got me to stay in school to finish the program. Somehow, she survived three years of my crankiness. And she never laid a hand on me! HAHAAA. That is all a roundabout way of saying, Thanks, Melissa (which I say about 100 times a year).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More disasters, more gratitude

I just found out that my friend in Chicago was in a car accident, but is okay. See?? The planets and stars are going wild! Down on earth, that manifests in me staying up until 3am last night setting up the new MacBook. I'm still recovering from two days in the city, though it was lovely to celebrate Kiwon's big birthday on Monday night, ON the actual date.

I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the first time yesterday to meet Brian and his fiancee Sara, which was sooooooo perfect and nice. Except for lots of sun and mosquito exposure. And I thought MEXICO was bad! I wish I wasn't so sun sensitive. Funny, because every summer I say I won't go out at all, and each year I get more and more sun. I can't win; the sun is a much bigger, closer star than the ones out there encouraging all the car accidents and cross-country moves. I got to overwhelm Sara and her interns about papermaking from plants. In the greenhouses, I was practically drooling all over the tropical plants b/c there are SO MANY good papermaking plants there. Why there isn't a papermaking operation on site there, I have no idea. Or maybe there is, but they don't want me to find out in case I come and harvest the wrong part of the plant or drop their computers.

This sight was one of the last ones as we walked out to leave, and I about fell over. Ever since I found out too late in Mexico that there were cattails nearby, they've been haunting me. I've seen them in the thousands or more alongside the upstate New York highways, and even in landscaped spots next to condo signs in Jersey. It's like they're making it clear to me that we are going to have a papermaking relationship very soon.

After a long afternoon of laying in the grass and running away from squealing groups of children with Brian, I rode to LES for a pizza dinner (complete w/breaking music in the adjacent playground area). My web designer coached me re: life with a new MacBook. I feel so well cared for on all fronts, and just got surprises in the mail an hour ago: a check for contributions made to me for the Mexico residency! I was so touched, and it took me out of my work frenzy to remember again what is really important, and what is really at stake in my work. Which makes it easier to do the work. You know who you are: THANK YOU.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Confessions of a serial procrastinator

I have now gone through old family scans, made minor changes to three different drafts, cleaned out as much of my inbox as possible, listened twice to Dvorak's "American" string quartet, and pushed a lot of paper around. My hard drive won't mount and I've made assumptions about how my MacBook will arrive today b/c it's sitting in Queens, even though it's slated to arrive on Wednesday. I'm waiting to hear from friends to see if I can stay w/them in California in October. I am on Mozart now and was four in this nursery school portrait. I looked up my in-depth horoscope today to figure out if there IS some kind of crazy planetary motion going on to explain my dead computer, Jay's bashed car on Foster, Tam's move cross country, Rachel's move cross country, and Gili's apt flood. I spend every night talking to Ching-In and we fight over who is more of an overachiever. I am getting very nervous about my ability to pull off this application in time for my personal deadline: September 14. ONE MONTH???!?! Okay, okay, I'll start writing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More than a woman

I should be listening to that Aaliyah song instead of Moby right now. But I just grabbed any CD off the shelf (none of which I own) to celebrate: I DID IT!!! I got the hard drive out of the iBook! It took about 2.5 hours. I did it on the floor (to minimize any possible dropping accidents), which made following directions off of a desktop above me kind of hard, but at least I got some major hip opening action. It was much more satisfying than putting together IKEA furniture. The whole time I was thinking about how conditioned I am to think that I can't do things like this b/c I am a woman and that somehow makes me stupid. I hate that, and I'd be an engineer if I had any inclination, but I don't. I tried to cheat for a while, thinking, "well, do I really have to disconnect the keyboard and track pad cables?" and for a long while, "can't I just do this without removing the top cover?" But in the end, I was able to cheat a little bit b/c two screws wouldn't budge (my speculation is that they melted, but we'll never know b/c I ably stripped them - this is my specialty. I did that the first day I bought this iBook and the boys at the Genius Bar made fun of me for messing up immediately. This reminds me that I still don't know where that screwdriver set is in Chicago).

Doing this also made me realize that the people who do this as professionals are only human, too. I found at least two missing screws from previous repairs, and all the tape that holds things together was broken. But at the same time, I think it was easier to take apart b/c the machine had been through disassembly before and repair people leave tracks! Which were helpful. I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do now w/this thing all gaping open (part of the issue when you cheat: nothing lays flat anymore. hahaa!) but want to wait until after my trip to Chicago. I'm pretty sure my old HD is hanging out in Tam's apt and I'll test it - maybe it's okay and I can just stick it back in and reverse this process.

I am happy. I was reminded last night as I read Jane Smiley's Moo of the "may you live an interesting life" curse.

Oh, one more thing: my friend Clover is looking for people in Chicago who are presently making art about green, the environment, and sustainability. Speak up if you fit that bill or know people who do!

Friday, August 10, 2007


**This is one of the crazy subway trains that is almost entirely plastered in a hotel ad. I thought it was funny that they were trying to emulate a jungle in there. Installing that must require lots of custom bone folders.** I just had a whirlwind of a stress morning, all self-induced. I realized last night that another option for getting my stuff from Chicago was just to fly with empty bags and return with full bags. I also remembered I had enough miles to get a free companion ticket. Of course, when I checked this a.m., they had JUST expired yesterday. I called and begged to reinstate them, and I got someone nice enough to do that, without me having to resort to my hysterical story. So, in two weeks, I am off to Chicago for a weekend, sister in tow (she's batting high - this is the second time in a week that she has stepped up BIG TIME for me. Gratitude abounds).

Now I can get back to the regular madness of my life. Need to book a ticket to Wyoming, send a million things out to all parts of the world, continue on the Korea goal. Yesterday was amazing. I spent an hour or more with six people! My therapist, my sister, Gili, Shawn, Megan, and Ayanna. I feel badly b/c I was in a lull when I had tea with Megan, since it was my usual nap time, but she was crazy polite and then even shared two of her zines w/me! So I'm preparing something for her. Ayanna was AMAZING, this artist who knows Elizabeth from a project in Mexico. Super smart, thoughtful, articulate, and hardworking. Ching-In keeps teasing me about being "the supreme overachiever" but I think Ayanna gets a lot more done than I do.

She and Elizabeth are also part of a photo blog project: Eyes Everywhere.

I am feeling good after two eggs and cheese, shrimp, and kimchee. It's grey, rainy, and cool (wohoo!!). Mystic is on. I feel ready to tackle the rest of the day now that this Chicago logistic is tamed for the moment.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just when you think the dust has settled

I can't handle not being able to resize my photos on this PC so I took this from Elizabeth's blog. I took the picture, so that's why I pulled it off the blog. I was going to post one of Markus', but he took them, so I'll leave you to browse them: he finally posted his Mexi photos on his website. The third one is my favorite. Yes, all the animals were that skinny.

Tam is relocating from Chicago to the west. I will leave out details until she makes them public, but the ones that concern me are ones I've been avoiding for a year. She has been storing the bulk of the all the art I made in Chicago over three years, all my slides, all my violin and grad school books, kitchen stuff, a music stand, bags of bricks, and a paper costume. I'm sure there's more. It's enough to fit into a car but maybe too much to ship? Well, it's not all boxed properly to ship, so I have to make a trip to Chicago before she leaves in a couple months.

AAAAAHHH!!! I know. Why didn't I just deal w/moving when I actually moved away from Chicago? I had lots of excuses, the biggest being that I didn't know where I'd settle after residencies, so I might as well keep stuff in the midwest in case I decide to move even further west. My mind works in curious ways. Ching-In told me last night that the universe speaks in strange ways: now I know why I didn't buy my Wyoming tickets in May. It wasn't just b/c I have no ticket-buying savvy. Now it seems like 1. flying roundtrip from NY to WY is not an option and 2. flying NY to WY to CA may not be an option b/c I will have to sink my remaining savings into moving. Yikes.

Shawn told me today to trash everything. I said, it's my art. He said, tell Tam to sell it all at bargain basement prices. Hahaaa. Now I get to deal w/yet another joy of being an artist: where do you store all this crap? On top of that, the show in Boston will only travel a chunk of my wall, and wants to SHIP THE REST back to me in January. Are you kidding??? I need to find a new home for that next year, too. If you know anyone who wants a paper brick wall, let me know, as I figure out again how to traverse portions of this country w/lots of stuff in tow.

In the meantime, I want to say that I am crazy grateful to Tam for storing my things for this long, and even going through it when I had panic attacks of "crap, I need a transcript!" or "can you look up my AGI for 2005?" or "I need this book sent to a show that opens next week!!" She is the model of a perfect friend to an artist: she buys art, she displays it in her home, she supports artists, she lets them stack boxes behind her hot water heater and in her coat closet and in her pantry and and and (crap, I JUST remembered that my stereo is in her kitchen cabinets) . . . so, even though I'm freaking out now, I'm still grateful that she gave me the chance to put off my responsibilities and opened her home to me.

Oh, and news on drama that I hope is coming to a close: I ordered a new MacBook last night.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Major resistance

AAAHHH!!! I feel like I truly canNOT write this heinous personal statement. The Statement of Proposed Study or Research was bad enough, but the personal statement is killing me. It's driven me to potato chips, doritos, rice and fish, strawberries, corn on the cob, and staring at "citrus medley" cans and apple cinnamon rice cakes and ramen in the pantry. I am grossed out by how much I have to write about myself: how often, how many different ways, how many different word counts, etc. The block is severe. I'm sure it's all related to how much I want this and how scary it would be to not get it. Or, to get it.

Elizabeth sent me some HILarious photos from Mexico at my request. Most are embarrassing (the ENTIRE two weeks was a bad hair day. I'm not sure how I was able to make friends w/such frightful hair), but this one I really wanted Pauly to see. I have no idea where my left leg is, but Markus is in the green shirt, and Gustavo and Gaelyn are standing. They always woke up super early. I was always cold in the mornings. Those were the good old days, when I didn't have a computer on me, but it was alive and completely safe from my dropping ways.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

History and its aftermath

I'm slowly getting the hang of this iBook-less life. This was one of the last things it said to me upstate. I still need to pry the HD from its clutches and try to retrieve data, but I'm pretty much of the "it's gone" mindset. Otherwise, I can't move on properly. I was trying not to anthropomorphize it so much after being around Kiwon and my sister, but then Gili came to the rescue and assured me that it's okay to feel great loss and that it is a big deal. She reminded me that we live in an age where our computers are an enormous part of our lives, especially as artists and writers. I wonder if there is specific therapy targeted at those who have severe computer dependency. I have no qualms about being part of a test group if it's needed.

I'm hoping this whirlwind weekend has jarred me out of the usual routine of being buried in my iBook, though it's hard working on the home PC. I will order a new computer very soon; just waiting until Tuesday's Apple announcements. In the meantime, I got up early today and bound two new limp vellums made entirely of handmade paper (my fingers are sore from pulling the straps through the covers), read more of Zadie Smith's On Beauty (Melissa gave me a big reading list), and took a loooong walk on the aqueduct. Amazing, right? All the options open to you when there is no electronic life to speak of. Though I have to get into the swing of things tomorrow: I'm running out of time to write with enough time to get readers eyes' for my Fulbright app, and also running out of time to book my flight to Wyoming (and decide on subsequent flight to California). But for tonight, some more reading.

Friday, August 03, 2007

While I'm attending to my life

News on the friend front!

1. My web designer's new iphone.
2. Elizabeth's talk piece, where she talks to various people in different languages (like, she speaks Spanish to me and I speak Korean to her). We had to have at least three takes b/c the video camera was being cranky but finally got a cut.
3. Elizabeth's kisses: to bring peace and end war. She of course had to do my lipstick for me (this is a handmade paper chain I made and gave to Berta; the other went to Carlos), and my pen was running out of ink on my kiss.
4. Elizabeth's land art piece from our last full day in Mexico. I did all the photography as she poured cornmeal onto the grass, still morning dewy.
5. Elizabeth's seedings ritual that I also did stills for (the last four at the bottom are mine. I am amazed at how easy it is to take decent pics when you have a REALLY nice camera. Mostly, I'm just happy that my photography skills are okay enough to be able to help out other artists).

My updates:

I went to Tekserve today and pretty much the iBook is fried. I now need to find someone who will be able to take apart my computer and get the hard drive out b/c I want the last two weeks of data on it. Otherwise, I'm finally back in NY after lots of Kiwon driving and me yakking and hopefully all the overeating and drinking is done for now. I'm in my grieving stage but still hoping that I can get the data (I had a really great new artist statement I wrote up last week and want it back! Along w/all my Mexi photos!).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Imminent death

OH, no. It did NOT just go there. I told Kiwon today that my relationship w/my iBook is the reason why I don't need a relationship w/a real person. She said that not all relationships have to be so chock full of drama. Well, the drama has hit again, just when I was getting used to being all happy and calm w/the computer. It pretty much died today after multiple crashes. I'm praying that by the time I hit NY on Friday, that I can put it into target disk mode and save all the stuff from post-Mexico before it's too late. Thank goodness everything pre-Mexico is backed up.

I dealt with my despair by doing incredibly destructive (ecologically speaking) things: getting into the jacuzzi tub for a bath, getting into the rental car and just driving (thanks to Gili, I was able to listen to Erasure really loudly), stopping at a bookstore to buy postcards and The Four Agreements (b/c I miss Ellen), and taking naps in the air-conditioned b&b room. Yes, I feel guilty. The car is incredibly fuel INefficient. That was a LOT of water b/c it's a double jacuzzi. And so on...but I gave back by spending time editing text for Oiyakaha. Sigh. I'm in denial and drinking every night and thankful for Kiwon's computer. We drive back tomorrow. Send your prayers, but I'm not sure how many lives an iBook has. I think I've expended them all.

p.s. - BEFORE the crash, I was looking at the OKAYBOOK sites, an annual publication that two artists from the Korean diaspora started: Overseas Korean Artists Yearbook. Thanks to Pauly for getting me in!

Sedentary life

I'm a little ashamed of how little activity I've been engaged in lately. No more elevation excuses for being winded. Having late, lavish dinners with wine and dessert, and then waking up early to have enormous breakfasts don't help with the sluggish feeling. So I took a break today after finishing a very long written evaluation of the Mexico residency, and hopped into the jacuzzi. We switched rooms. Neither Kiwon nor I have used the tub yet, though.

I would have tonight but my hair is too short now to get away with sleeping on wet. I'm not alone, so I can't wake up with my hair standing straight up and out. I got a bunch of work out of the way, ostensibly to make room for tomorrow's Big Goal of writing serious stuff. Translation: I procrastinated heavily today. Good times. I also researched greywater systems and composting toilets. Earlier on the book arts listserv, they were talking about glue in the septic system, so I had been studying septic systems b/c I never really understood them.

I still feel guilty every time I flush the toilet here. It's really challenging to travel and also try to be ecologically sound. I hate seeing piles of overflowing paper towels in the wastebasket, and all the extra packaging, and all the cleaning they do for ONE night of using towels and linens. How do you live with a conscience, consistently, when you are in society? I'll put that aside until I get solid writing done. Then I'll reward myself w/more reading on the balcony.