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

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the first and the last

RecoveryIt took me awhile to get the ordering of this straight.

But I think it begins here.

It's been awhile since I've had a month so intense, with so much happening that's for real, that is not just about me but about events, and oil spills, and operations, and my best friend being ill... that I've not even known how to begin processing the information.

Let's start with: my best friend has been diagnosed multiple times with Borderline Personality Disorder, but she has not accepted this diagnosis and still seeks what she calls a 'medical' reason that will explain her pain and the shattering of her life. From what I can see, each and every one of her symptoms can be linked with this disease, and I see BPD as indeed 'medical', and have been researching and doing my best to shuttle her towards acceptance of the psychological domain. But she will not yet go there, and keeps seeking the 'medical' help of 'medical' specialists, and we have well nigh fallen apart around the definition of medical, and the incredible trust issue that surrounds her belief that she is experiencing a rare, undiagnosed problem [heart condition, ciliac disease, tumor, cancer, virus, infection, etc... the list goes unparalleled]. The trust issue being that if I don't accept the diagnosis of the day, I'm against her. If I don't listen for hours about her medical conditions, I'm against her. If I suggest other options, I'm against her. If I don't agree, I'm not listening, not believing, not on her side. I'm just another one... of those. Of course, I can't believe, or state I believe, anything other than I what I do.

I'm glad I've started reading about BPD, but the whole experience is still like my best friend has disappeared, and this bitchy, abusive, self-centered, circular-logic person has come into my life. I've gone through the angry stages, the I-can-save-her stages, the Her-Dramatic-Gfiend-Is-at-Fault stages, the I-Hate-Her-Family stages, the I-dream-of-her-every-night-in-fear stages, and others. I've backed away, I've tried contacting her family (what horrible parents that exist in this world!), I've tried listening to her as she falls asleep, wakes, falls asleep, cusses out others, falls asleep, wake and begs for me to still be there, falls asleep. I've questioned my own intentions, left right and center. I've contacted her girlfriend, and been lied to by her girlfriend ("Oh no, I'm not planning on visiting her soon") and then heard her girlfriend tell me why she had to file police reports against her for violence (I don't doubt that there was violence, but there is no 'sorry for your plight' in my heart after having advised her to wait until N is more stable, and then watch as N's small iota of built-stability disappears, and I'm supposed to pick up the mess, I guess).

I never thought this possible. And I don't know what to do. In the meantime, I'm reading about what to do, thinking about whether I can do something, really practically and not just via phone, and living my beautiful life that somehow seems more beautiful and yet more wrong for the fact that my best friend is suffering something beyond her control.

Control. I keep thinking about that. N has historically been so high-functioning, so winnerly of everyone's intellectual and friendship admiration. She's taken care of herself since high school, gotten herself ABD, paid her bills, had relationships, gone through counseling. She's held the friendship of people who I thought were my friends, and who weren't (yeah, dealing with jealousy issues in the midst). And it's like a tumbling tower... all the more to fall for having been built up. One of the survivors I've spoken with says this is normal... everything holds together until it falls incredibly and irretrievably apart, bit by bit, unstoppable, right in front of the survivor's eyes. Until nothing is left to hold onto or contain.

Makes me wonder how much I've wrangled into position. Makes me want to run out and get counseling just to make sure. Makes me scared for everyone sensitive I've ever known.

I've been trying to build up appropriate walls, not accept the 5am calls. Call when I am ready, in the garden, solid, secure in myself, secure in patience and love. I've had a conversation with DP, who I thought I'd never have to interact with again in my life (hoped, maybe) [felt like sometimes people are inextricably tied to your life, no matter what you do... Though it wasn't bad, it was hard in that it raked up so much emotional past, and made me wonder why I was so easy to discard and betray, whereas N was not. So much anger and jealousy around the fact that my own best friend was deemed good enough in the eyes of those I loved, whereas I was not. Hard to deal with at the same time as trying to be there, reach out to everyone, and speak to someone who I always admired and who stood by N but not me, ultimately. Sometimes I can't believe the circles generated.] Fortunately, it seems like N and I have always had the right boundaries, and so they somehow hold out. We're not lovers, nor in love with each other. We're 'just' best friends, and we owe each other nothing, but nonetheless love each other, and understand each other somehow deep down beneath whatever's happening, so... so far, no irreconcilable fights. Just fights that end with "Sorry, love you." Not that this solves anything.

Anyhow. I've been having a hard time accepting my other friends' commendations about response... hard to explain, but it doesn't seem right making it about me doing right. Not about me. On the other hand, I've gotten way better about accepting these friends' support and love and doing positive things. Just don't want to talk about how 'awesome' I am because it somehow make me feel heavier and more sad and really sad. I just need my friend to be better, like I'd need my baby sister to be better if she was suffering. Just like that. It ain't right.

garden so far

Garden 2010
Okay, now, I didn't meant to leave on that note. Rather, I wanted to demonstrate through the sheer proliferation of other images (down below) that life is otherwise going very nicely for me at the moment (but I got too tired last night and fell into a mini-catatonic state, cursing and moaning inwardly that I didn't get to clarify the rest, so here goes). It is indeed beginning to feel mostly like the Year of J, and I imagine it will feel that way even more in 19 days when the quarter is officially over and my Summer of Not Working can begin!

I should clarify "not working." By that I mean three glorious friggin months of not teaching! And then next year, I'm going to have a chance to teach creative writing (Winter Quarter), and so I have plenty of lead time to prepare, but I'm getting off track because the point is... NOT TEACHING! Hallelujah and praise the lords! It's not that I dislike teaching, but that teaching is so intense and requires so much of my brain - planning, commenting, grading, reading, etc - that's there's little left over afterwards to do anything more creative than mix a mojito with lemonade rather than tonic water.

So, I actually do plan on working. And I think it's going to be very very hard. The force is not with me, my creative juices are unflowing, my writing callouses have withered and fallen off, my brain is the size of a protozoa and makes motions by vaguely flagellating its few remaining neurons, which are all carefully placed as to ensure my brain circulates the brainpan in rapid little circles that are attacked and bitten off in spastic spurts and paralytic gasps. So, yes... it will be hard work picking myself back up, dusting up on my Darwin and Euclid and Dostoevsky (all that jazz), getting going again. And yet I shall...

... I've even got a 'commission' to do artwork for my mother's clinic, whatever a 'commission' might mean.

Anyhow! To the point of these photos (down below, up above). I have been putting the garden back into order slowly...

Garden 2010
This is the new gate that I've been building here and there, though I am actually rather startled by how long it takes to assemble a bunch of sticks and tie them together, but apparently it's not a no-brainer. However, the gate is now finished (I couldn't upload the newer photos because my uploaderer broke). I like my little gate, and I imagine when the sunflowers and sweetpeas I'm planting next to it are growing over the fence, it's going to look quite smashing. I also have this tentative Idea in the back of my head of making a little arbor to go over the top of it, but we'll see (I concocted that little Idea pre-gate-making, back in the innocent, naive days).

Garden 2010

Garden 2010
These are all the babies that are quietly tucked away in the greenhouse, not yet coerced by the lack of surcease in hail and hard rain into the wilds of the Open Air. I planted my pumpkins, Kentucky pole beans, and cabbage outside perhaps a tad prematurely: the poor little buggers are taking a beating and looking rather torn and tattered. Their "spare" brethren inside are looking decidedly smug and told-you-so-ish. Right now I've got sweet peas, gourds, squash, cucumbers, sunflowers and a few other things waiting here (the tomatoes are my mother's). The peppers I think I'll put in big pots and leave inside the greenhouse. They didn't do so stunningly last year, but I figured I'd give them a second shot.

Garden 2010

Garden 2010
The garlic was my only winter crop this year, although I think I'm going to try chard this year and see how long it keeps going. I belatedly realized that I gave the garlic my bean/pea plot, but then solved the issue by planting in rows and hoping it all works out well. I do love peas and beans ever so much!

Garden 2010
The potatoes are my big new crop... planted in the place where the corn didn't do so well last year. I never realized how amazing potatoes are! They are already about 6" taller than in this photo (which was taken 5/23). They grow so bloody fast, it's amazing. I'm pleased I planted them, even if my father smirked and said "Why'd you plant those when you can go down and buy 'em for a buck at even the organic markets?" Spoil sport. I told him that trying to explain to a non-gardener was a ridiculous and wall-crumbling endeavor. But yooooouuuu guys get it, right?

Garden 2010
All different kinds of salad... mmmmmm. I'm going to try to eat mostly only greenery for dinner this summer, if do-able.

Yep, definitely a place where I feel calm and happy and productive. All mine too, which is lovely. I'm such a selfish pig about my garden (I mean, making it... I love sharing the goods, just not the endeavor, which is so quiet and peaceful. Even Herald parks it outside the gate and doesn't dare touch so much as a toe on the other side. Not to mention the folks as they sip their gin.)

Garden 2010

Old Studio Ending

This biggest news right now is that I finally decided to look for a new studio, and no sooner than I decided to do so, I found a new spot. So I'm swapping my current studio for the new one beginning Tuesday (June 1st) and finalizing on June 15th.

Yep yep, I guess I finally just had too much of this place (I'm in the old studio now), and none of the "too much" was facilitating my already lagging creative juices. The fact that the landlord dude booked children's plays every day of the weekend (including Friday) for the whole summer, not excluding art walk days, did me in. When I talked to his assistant about it, apparently in the year that she's been here, never has David so much as informed her that it was possible someone would be doing an artwork, because she was like "Oooooh, we have children here! We can't have strange people wandering into the space!" Apparently while he was telling me that art walk was "great! fine! perfect!" he was neglecting to even think of it as possible. That coupled with the incredible junk that gathers in the corridors no matter how many times I either 1) complain, or 2) pitch it into a corner, well, it did me in.

Whala! Out with the bad.

And in with the good! Gulp, I hope.

The place I'm moving to is in the Jinx Art Space, a collective of studios that I've been going to see since it opened up over a year ago. I've thought about getting a studio space there before, but there have been a couple of deterrents: one being that most of the studios are down in the basement, which has no windows, and the second being that it sometimes seems like a young crowd of kids rather than persistent and dedicated artists. So, not much difference from the children's production company downstairs, now that I think of it.

However, I changed my mind on the second part; I think many of the artists are young, but some of them are older (or serious), and the woman who runs the place is my age, dedicated, savvy, and dead serious about the whole shebang. Someone I'd put a lot of trust in, truthfully, and it will be nice to not have to worry about advertising and getting people through (a pile of crap into my studio... bummer I just shelled out for two banners though). As to the first part, a studio opened in the upstairs space. Friggin' awesome too, as it was really the only studio space I've totally admired enviously since the place opened. Its two windows and private door means that it is pricier though, so I'm going to share the studio with a new friend I've made in the past couple of months, JW the 2nd.

JW2 is primarily an oil painter and a mask maker, although she does cool mosaic stuff too. I don't like all of her work, but I like quite a bit of it, especially some of the sculpture/mask stuff she does. She too went to art school, but for undergrad, so she's pretty serious about her stuff, and I think I can share a space with her. She's been very cool about saying "Yeah, let's use your furniture from your old studio" as I've been trying to be very cool by saying "You get half of all the storage and table space if you let me bring them." This is some relief to me as I really don't want to get rid of (store) my work table and snazzy supply-holder. Anyhow, I have a feeling that if all goes well, JW2 and I will actually have some basis for collaborations - I like her brainpan and think she likes mine.

I have cautious worries about how well we'll actually work apart in the same space. I tend to like things fairly quiet around me, although I do fine with music. But when I'm concentrating, I despise people talking to me, and JW2 tends to be a bit of a talker. And she can be LOUD too... BIG laugh, BIG voice. Guess I should invest in ear plugs anyways as they often come in handy.

But despite cautious worries, I also feel pretty confident that it's going to work well... JW2's super, super thrilled to finally be getting a studio (sharing it makes it quite affordable and will save me money from my current space, and make just having a studio possible for her), and I think this will go far in establishing and keeping the peace and goodwill between us. And if it doesn't, I guess I can always sit on her.

I will, nonetheless, miss the old studio:

Studio End

Studio End

Studio End

Studio End

retreat to the isles

i think i could live here...

my lovely gramps

La y Yo