Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Forget the well-tempered clavier--It's the well-dressed cello

Nick in a tree at UNCA

Howard has lost his sunglasses

Recently, I liberated Howard, my World Fantasy Award, from the box in which he has been "living." His rather bulbous eyes (H.P.Lovecraft as envisioned by Gahan Wilson) are quite sensitive after being ensconced in cardboard lo these many years. He hid on a shelf behind some artwork & tried out my sunglasses, but they seem to have fallen off. Poor Howard.

I have to admit that the main reason I am writing this is to blog 4 times in a month, which I haven't done for a while. Doing everything but blogging, I guess. Just today, I spiced up one window's covering, dressed my cello up as if she were a woman with a kudzu basked head & an aluminum armature neck, & played some poker at Buffalo Wild Wings against crazy persons who called themselves Pink, Blue & Max & would go all in on crazy low level hands. Consequently, I ended up with almost $30K virtual dollars. Also walked to the post office, visited with my friend Elizabeth, did the usual morning work with Derrick & continued the re-org of my art supplies & ideas.

Nick is back in Pittsburgh. We had a very rainy drive down to the Greenville airport & I hung out at a Wendy's for about half an hour after I dropped him off, to let the traffic subside a bit. We had a truly splendid time. He introduced Derrick & I to a cool 3-person card game called 99.

Blog alternative:
219. Dress up a window, even temporarily. A colored bottle, some tissue paper, a figurine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The crisper drawer is flirting with me again...

Thanksgiving Dinner
Nick & I
water, kipper snacks, clementines, granola bars, peanut butter & bananas
in a historic Greenville cemetery

We do know how to live it up right! Spontaneous picnicking in a cemetery. In some ways, it reminded me of Paris, because the Parisians love their cemeteries & will go there to walk at lunchtime.

Right now he is coding at the kitchen table, working on his iPad app for Skritter. (You too will be able to learn to write Chinese, as if your finger is made of flame, should you so choose.) Derrick just got home & got all jazzed about the Simply Orange with Mango juice in the fridge. I am drinking tea & talking to you. (By the time you read this, I may be done, but the faint smoky scent of lapsang souchong lingers.)

I have come up with (yet another) brilliant idea. I don't know if it's ever happened to you (Okay, I know. It has.) that fruity & vegetably goodness has turned to sad, smelly slime in the crisper drawer. Sometimes I don't think to open the crisper drawer. So--I wrote a note.

Dear Laurel,
Please open me.
The Crisper Drawer

So far it has worked very well. The idea is only a few days implemented, but I think it is going to be a much more robust idea than the duct tape zipper pull replacement idea. I kept forgetting about it & starting to unzip my pants & then a few zipper teeth would bite into the duct tape & I had to wrest the tape from the zipper's little mouth &--well, I'll either get a new zipper put in or the pants will go bye-bye.

There are so many things I am appreciating on this day: Quiet historic cemeteries in which to eat a (semi) traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Crisper drawers with still edible produce. Sticky notes. Ideas. The way an external trigger (Nick coming for Thanksgiving) can spur projects to greater completion. My own mind & heart. My own body & soul.

Blog alternative:
218. Write a note from your crisper drawer. Or your hiking shoes. Or your art supplies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pterodactyl Diphthongs & other dread beasts

I chose a photo of words because--aside from the lovely message--I am celebrating words. The last time I participated in a spelling bee was when I was in the 8th grade. (Nigh onto 40 years ago, come spring.) There's a bar in Asheville called Olive or Twist (very cute, don't you think?) that has just begun having spelling bees. $3 entry fee; winner takes all. I made $45! (If you don't count the slice of red velvet cake & the very generous tip. If you count that, I made $35.)

Anyway, it's kinda sorta late here--the bell is striking 11; wee willie winkie is having conniption fits--so I shall make this a baby post.

Blog alternative:
217. Spell a hard word out loud. If you're hanging around with others, have someone else give you a word to spell.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Where has all the duct tape gone?" & other songs

& baby makes 3

I have a confession. Right now, my pants are being held together by duct tape. Seriously. They're hand-me-down jeans (thanks, Mom) that fit me as if they were made for me. The only problem, aside from the little ice cream cone logo (who wants an ice cream cone on her ass?) is that the zipper has an unfortunate habit of unzipping. For a while I just zipped them up all the time. Then I started only wearing them with long shirts--still zipping them up all the time, because even a girl doesn't like walking around with her fly open--but today the little zipper pull fell off. Trust me, it's no fun to zip & rezip without even a zipper pull!

That's when the light bulb went on. One tiny little piece of duct tape--easily removable when one does want to unzip--& ones fly problems are solved!

Aside from my miraculous invention, I have recently re-organized my room to include my drafting table--yay! I can paint again! (Oh, oh. The exclamation mark police will be on my case again. That's four already. The parentheses police have given up on me completely. They just send me a monthly citation & I pay up (gladly!) & go on my merry parenthetical way. Good thing the ampersand is not a major misdemeanor.) (Did you know the ampersand used to be the 27th letter of the alphabet & got its name because primer kids reciting their abc's ended with "w, x, y, z, and, per se, and." By then, they were sick of reciting & ready for recess, so that got mushed all together in something that sounded like "ampersand." I just love

Yesterday I wrote a villanelle. It's been a while since I poured my creativity into the rich constraints of form. I was inspired by a friend who is writing a sonnet crown (10 linked sonnets. 10! Yikes!) Now, I am not a sonneteer (one for all & all for one) so I had be the crafty villanelless. Bwaa haaa haaa haaa.

I also completed a survey for the McKnight Foundation. In 2003 I won a McKnight Fellowship for children's fiction. I had a really good time with the survey, so I will share a couple of the questions & my answers with you.

What are you most excited about in your work as an artist?

I'm excited by the fact that my work reflects my growth as a person, that I'm relaxed & easy about creation, expecting & receiving it naturally. I'm excited about the many different aspects that seem to be getting together in the toybox after I've fallen asleep or been working on something else, & creating their own offspring (photography & poetry, philosophy & equations, art mixed in with everything, collage as a business plan & lecture notes).

What conditions support your best work?

Plenty of silence. Getting out into nature, preferably walking. Having my supplies at the ready. I just set up my drafting table in the corner of my bedroom & have a firm rule: It is not to be used for storage. Only art supplies & active art projects. A combination of interacting with other creative individuals & solitude. Always having paper & writing implements with me--an idea can land at any moment, ready for its close-up. Touching into my inner self at least once a day. Having a variety of projects & modes of expression (art, writing, sculpture, collage, photography) going on at once, so if I'm not inspired in one venue, there's another juicy one jumping up & down, saying, "Pick me! Pick me!"

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Start out. Start small, start big, start in the middle, but start. Be excited with where you are. (You may groan over it later, but give yourself the gift of loving your work, even if you know it can be better. It will get better if you keep going.) Don't over-emphasize the value of dollars. Ignore that factor if you can. Minimize it if you can't ignore it completely. A joyful experience can keep you going forever, &--if you're not having fun--no amount of dollars will be worth it. Work in little bits. Have a dedicated space--even if it's a card table in the corner of your bedroom--where you can leave your materials out & ready in case you create 10 minutes of creation time. Do NOT allow that lovely horizontal surface to be "a useful place to put things on." Only art supplies & active art shall be allowed. Keep it inviting. If you have to get out your stuff & spread it on the dining room table & then put it away for kids' homework or a meal, you will not "art" nearly as much. Celebrate little steps--sending a story out or finishing a chapter or putting gesso on a canvas--& not just big ones, like selling a novel, getting a solo gallery show, or winning a McKnight.

Blog alternative:
216. Fill out a short survey. You can use these 3 questions if you'd like, or make up your own.