n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Friday, November 16, 2007

beyond the stress

bezI think it goes without saying that I don't deal well with stress. But I've been trying to develop healthier strategies, and this week I think I did okay.

1) Chocolate Abuelita.

2) I hung out with one of the SAIC teachers on Tuesday - it's funny because I've never had a class with her, but have hung out in group settings with her from time to time, and this Sept she brought her two little daughters (hilarious, sharp girls indeed) to Salmonfest 2007, which was grand as it gave lh the opportunity to bounce them around on his back, running through the corridors while making horse noises.

So, I bumped into her at school, and she gave me her card, said, hey let's hangout on Monday or Tuesday, and hey, but if I didn't get over the phone-phobia and give her a yodel. We ended up going to the Chicago Cultural Center to check out a friend's exhibit, which was really quite smart. The exhibition was part performance art, and part public project: basically, Ishel (I think that's how her name is spelled) took headlines from the news over the past 50 or more years - just the headlines and the date - and put them on blank paper, handed them out to passing viewers, and asked them to write whatever news story they wanted. Then, these stories were taken into the next room and read by a "Newscaster" on a live television showing.

It was actually quite difficult - some people seem to have a zing for that, coming up with stories on the moment and handing them over. But not myself. Mine was silly, but that's okay, because the whole process definitely made one pause to consider how the "real" news is getting its stories, and who the people behind the newscasters are. Good stuff.

I also really enjoyed two other exhibits - one called "Reading Responses" or something like that: a darkened room like the top of a library, with people sitting at desks, reading. Only they were reading images and diagrams that were projected through a hole in the desk up to a mirror housed in the reading light, and back down onto the blank surfaces of the books. Everyone who walked in immediately hushed, and you could see how much the audience wanted to sit down, take over for the reading performers. Instead, we were forced to over-the-shoulder read, and then read the readers, and read ourself reading the readers, and so forth. The projected images were also really hypnotic.

The other exhibit was a Crochet project - of reefs and tidepools. Incredibly beautiful and precise. I wanted to roll around in the tidepools. I wanted to bring them home and make them my comforter. (I'd never get out of bed. I'd become an anenome when not a starfish.)

After the museum, we went out and scarfed down some food, had a beer, and chatted/gossiped about getting jobs as teacher/writers, and also the process of dating. Two of the most stressful experiences, really. But it calmed me down to talk to this teacher (to hear that straight women have it just as hard as queers, and be reminded that job-getting never ends and nobody likes it). So. I had a really nice time. Hoo-rah for teachers who make students' lives prettier.

3) Hanging with the L-man. He always tells me how lovely I am, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. He is, in fact, warm and fuzzy. Like a fuzzy bear. Like a warm fuzzy bear who still has claws but doesn't use them on you, instead hugs you and tells you how lovely you are, in gruffly fuzzy growls.

4) And, as as good worker on Wednesday who sent out three applications and set up a "dossier" (Even though the word sounds like a French fish, and who wants to set up something that you have to put in quotation marks whenever you say it, just because it's such an embarrassing French fish?), I treated myself by going to the Jasper Johns exhibit at the Art Institute with a good friend, lw.

And despite all the hype, I have to say Jasper Johns is worth it. His stuff is incredible. I didn't realize how much it deals with text! My favorites were a piece called Diver, one called Voice, and a third that was series of alphabet grids, some cast in aluminum with smidgeons of paint overtop. This is Diver:

Jasper Johns 'Diver'
So melancholy, his works. And just about as OCD as I've ever seen. And it's been a bajillion years since I've gone to a museum with a friend, and twice in one week - I realized with lw how much I really enjoy the comments from another viewpoint when looking at art. We often saw totally different things, and had different favorites and reasons for favorites. It was a well-spent hour, I have to say, and lw is brilliant, you know. Simply BRILLIANT-with-sparkles.

5) I got to talk to Nat on skype-phone. We sent each other pictures and book reads and poster-images, and talked about music, writing, life, pho, etc, and it made me happy. I sipped my chocolate abuelita while chatting with her. Mmmmm.

So, yah. Those are 5 coping methods I can get behind.
I wandered the JJ exhibit with a ladyfriend. The silence was funny. I liked the one where he bought the encaustic. That one shut everyone up.
Did I say bought? I meant bit. What the hell.
oh yeah, lw laughed for about five minutes when she saw the bitten encaustic piece. she wondered how it tasted, whereas i wondered about the roots of the word: "painted with wax colors fixed with heat, or with any process in which colors are burned in. [Origin: 1650–60; L encausticus; Gk enkaustikós for burning in]."

which intriguingly is closer to what i pegged as the least likely root-relation [direct relation to 'caustic' (kaustikós), rather than 'encased' (en-chasse)].

so, now, I wonder how the burning tasted.
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