Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Negligence! No, paranoia.

Somehow, I felt like I hadn't blogged in a long time. But I only missed a day. Which is good; my new mission for my life is to calm down. Impossible, you'd think, I'd think, for me! But after evaluating my health and well-being in Wyoming, where my biggest scheduling stress was when and where I would walk (the road? or the hills?), and comparing it to my state of being everywhere else, I realize that overscheduling is not doing me any favors. It exhausts me and makes casualities of everyone else around me. In the obsessive quest to create really long TO DO lists and then cross everything off the list in record time, I've sacrificed a whole lot of the good life.

This is the view from the grave of my very good friend who died of leukemia in 2003. I had never visited it before, and my trip to Cali was spurred by the sudden desire to visit. It was pretty uneventful on the outside, except that the weather shifted suddenly and was rainy, windy, and cloudy, to the shock of my Californian host. But big things shifted inside, and I realized that

1. dead people's bodies don't go anywhere if they're buried in the ground
2. your life goes on even if someone you really love is buried in the ground
3. I don't have to live in California! [This is huge, for anyone who knows of my long-standing desire to live there.]
4. if I don't have to live in California, then I can be HERE, NOW! Hey, what a concept! I can just be happy with where I am now and not freak out about not being somewhere else!

and so on. I am happily shedding all the useless things, people, ideas, and dreams that I have been holding onto for a loooong time. I don't want anything that doesn't serve me anymore. What I do want: to read this, prep a really good class for Oberlin, and renew my commitment to a daily meditation and yoga practice. That's the short list. Wait, no more lists! Haha. Clearly, I'll need to recruit more help on this road.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Caving in

I'm back in New York and utterly overwhelmed. I am so confused by the flood of mail that was waiting for me (all these slides and I don't know where they're all from). I've logged all my receipts but can't reconcile my bank statements b/c the site is being overhauled. I'm unpacked and have piles like, "take to next residency," "hide for a while," "take to Oberlin in two weeks as teaching samples," and so on. I am really tired of flying, but leave in two weeks to teach a book workshop and give a lecture at my favorite alma mater, Oberlin College. On one of those propeller jets, too.

I'm going to put that out of my mind for now as I stare at the piles. This is an image from Chela's studio, and even though it was Thursday, it feels like forever ago now that I'm back home. It's so tricky, this time, b/c I feel all the things I've learned and the subtle shifts that have happened from all the traveling. But that time goes up in smoke so quickly! But for now, I'm back in the same place, but at a different point in the spiral. I'm thankful for everything, mostly the over-the-top amazing friends that I have, like Anju, who saved my ass in a major logistical glitch at the end of my trip.

I have black ink all over my hands (it exploded in my blender; no surprise. I should have just left the ink in Wyoming) and realize I didn't avoid re-entry by going to California; I just delayed it! Tomorrow will be a huge work day, but how excited am I about tonight: sleeping in my own bed after five weeks! Yeeehaw!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not quite over, but over

I'm totally thrown off by Joana leaving a day early (tomorrow) and everyone else being all packed up (or so it seems). I've tried to pack my studio bag, and had a hard time figuring out why it was so easy for me to shove the blender in the bag on the way here. It was really hard this time. This is the comic I drew today to leave for future residents.

Chris, Joana, Marianne, and I all took a great hike up to the highest peak that is closest to the property. The view was stunning. And hilarious, b/c a herd of cows was grazing in our front "lawn" (like vast expanses of grassland). On our way to town today, we saw real cowboys!!! At least four of them, and at least two herding dogs, and one guy was even swinging a lasso in the air! What they were doing was very sad, separating the calves from their mothers. But then again, the bumper sticker I saw in town before I pigged out on an amazing Mexican lunch was also depressing: "vote Republican." Ew.

Back to packing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Show and tell

Today we had open studios, and visited each of the six studios to hear about work and see what we've done in our almost month here. It was great to see everyone's spaces and progress, and share my own things. Jami sent a beautiful package today, which made me happy, and then I ate three lunches and passed out in my studio. After a walk with Joana, I overate at dinner and now am trying to sort myself out in the studio. What to leave? What to mail? What to donate back to the thrift store? Should I pack now? Later? The yoga mat is in the washing machine!

These are tags from Marianne's studio. I love her little notes, and her paintings.

Monday, October 08, 2007

This is it

This is our last week! It passed too quickly. These are the vend ready pieces I made this weekend for Art-o-mat.

Snow in the far mountains melted today since it warmed up. I took an hour-long walk at high noon with Chris, and then an almost two-hour hike up to 1,000 Acres with Joana close to sundown. I tried running up a hill and then almost fell over trying to catch my breath.

I'll miss crunching around everywhere. And seeing pregnant cows, deers with white tails that look like huge waving flags, and rabbits.

But it's not over yet! This is one of my gazillion sample books. I'm paper sample book queen. I like doing the small ones that look like books but have no pages. I'm just trying to stay happy my last week, not beat up on myself for how much/little work I've done, and get my business into order as best I can before flying off to California (Ellen says we can go to Santa Cruz when I get there! Wohoo!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

One degree of separation

Wow. I've just returned from "Jentel Presents," a monthly event in Sheridan, where Jentel showcases its current resident artists. Before we started, the executive director came up to me (I was in my customary position at the food table) and asked, "Aimee, do you like surprises?" I turned and seventh grade English teacher and his wife!!! I almost fell over. During my talk, I felt like I was going through puberty all over again. It was completely surreal. I haven't seen him in probably 15 years. They both look wonderful, like they haven't aged. She saw my name in the local paper, and emailed Jentel and asked if there would be a piano for me to play - her daughter took piano lessons from our teacher. The office decided to keep it a secret.

Afterwards, we all went out to dinner, and I was able to catch up more. I was so touched b/c he said I was a really good writer, and that I should put my writing on my website as well as my artwork (the prime example being the sestina I had in my slide show). He was impressed with everything I've been up to, and said my work was really unique. I told him that the Pulp Function show (where my brick wall is) is traveling eventually to Casper, WY! He grew up in Wyoming, and ended up east for grad school, and then landed in my hometown. She grew up in Sheridan, and they spend summer months here now that they are both retired from teaching.

I remember his classroom, how Farewell to Manzanar was bound, his handwriting, and learning grammar. This last thing is something I've been thinking about for years, since grad school. When I found out that most Americans don't learn or value grammar, I felt grateful that I didn't miss out.

Imagine being at the Pony in north central Wyoming, having a beer and bacon cheeseburger, flanked by a middle school teacher and his wife!! At the end of dinner, we talked about the talks in North Korea, and about how my great uncle Kim Dae-jung, the past South Korean president, was committed to reunification. Then I gifted them with the paper sample book I had brought to the presentation, and watched them drive away in their car with New York plates.

That makes up for all the cattail I lost by inadvertently unplugging my sink vat and having it all pour out on the floor. I also came back to the news that my artwork has been accepted for Art-o-mat! Yay.