Much has been brewing these past few months, and my frivolous concern for homemaking has made me blind to it. This past Saturday, The Branch Gallery had its opening reception, welcoming the knitting community to its fresh appearance. While there are many things I would have done differently, I am so glad we were able to host the ladies that have been loyal to the store. I am grateful to be part of this new journey with them.

I've been doing heavy and recycled thinking on my identity as of late. What I want in my career, my life. New goals to reach in the coming months—a new year is almost upon us, after all. And since fall has finally reached southern California, I might as well settle in.

Of The

And after two weeks of complete sprint, I find myself staring and waiting more often than naught.  An internal image of being caught between heaven and hell, and my horoscope explicitly tells me how this is all a choice (like the stars know anything, anyway). Like my worries are decided lightyears away.

All this time feels the same. Two days feels like four weeks feels like a few hours from now, and it is all I can do to stop twitching, let alone fall back into psychosis. This wind that keeps pelting me with debris from a leftover thunderstorm doesn't help.

This cycle of manic high, anxiety-induced movement to absolute withdrawal is unfair. I constantly feel a pull of deja vu, this vibrating of two selves colliding against each other. Is this the critic-artist I keep blaming my identity on? Is this the left and right hemisphere of my brain? Is this just me, fighting to stay present, when everything else begs to stand perfectly still?

State of Grace

And like this, the first spring storm opens me. I was torn from complacency. The sorrow nearly suffocating me, and I strangled paper for release. I drenched it, scratched it, savage in form and it responded. I left it on a white wall, blinked, and took it down; graphite smudges the only remnant. It sits like a dog at my feet.

Or a child. And like that, I moved my chin up and parallel to the ground. I talk unashamedly, no apologies in sight. I am here, on this strong earth, so let the flood come. A month ago I taunted the universe, calling insults and begging to hit me harder the next time. Sometimes being human goes to my head and I forget the universe always answers. 

Yet I am here, surviving. A colleague asked me why the "point of no return" is my favorite idea to iterate in my work. My heavy lids only let me sigh at the time.

I know now that the changing event, the pivotal point of any story, is always the time one learns and grows. It is my first love, this passion for learning. I know only life from it.


I have an intensive overview calendar I draw out every three weeks on white cardstock. This, along with with scraps of paper I use to write down class assignments and a notepad on my desk for regurgitating errands to complete. A printed calendar with important deadlines written in bold, black Sharpie hangs on my wall. A dry-erase calendar sits unmarked in the kitchen next to the sink, a rectangle for me to stare at while I wait for water to boil. Smaller sheets of dot-graph paper hold the impending dates for my senior seminar class; this I keep tacked to my studio wall and hardly glance at. I have a palm-sized black Moleskine for general thoughts and a suite of three Field Notes journals that organize my personal meetings, my finances and grocery list. A small John Deere flipbook denotes the immediate errands I must run on a particular day, and post-its litter my purse, my desk-drawer, my research books... Not to mention the obsessive calendaring I impose on Google Calendar. The alarm settings to remind oneself is an incredible feature.

It is all I can do to keep breathing. A studio visit with a professor revealed I must "keep my heart Chakra open," keep my posture from closing all my energy inside. And so I took the last two rolls of white butcher paper I had and cut sections out that were as large as me. I wrestled with them, using my entire body to fold and tuck and strangle and kick and tear. And then I tacked them onto a wall and decided it was An Exodus.

"Wildest Dreams"

I have recently acquired Taylor Swift's entire discography, quite a treat to kick off this semester's research. Upon listening to 1989 on repeat for the last week, one of Swift's songs is reminiscent of Timberlake's "Blue Ocean Floor." Not that this is a diagnosed "syndrome"; rather, this might be the keyhole to align a similar story arc in contemporary pop music albums (those on "this side" of the millennium).

I've also begun Roger Fouts' Next of Kin. This book has quite honestly rearranged many doubts I've held onto about my coming graduation and what "happens after." Fouts' testimony and journey through not only academia, but his research and love for his chimpanzee family is inspiring. I am hoping one day I can tell him how much I admire his perseverance.

And like this break, my waxing lust for writing will soon break way into a waning love when spring semester arrives.

And who are you to stay?

Three days I spent in compressed existential crisis while I wrote and wrote about myself for an application. I filled my time with fret and scripture when I wasn't working through Sula and my statements. I have a chronic issue ignoring my emotional awareness of an event. 

I am beginning this week with Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen. Again, I have completed the intro only, but it is leagues beyond Second Book Syndrome that Sula held (this is not to discredit Sula; it is an educational book in its own right). Blue Plate Special was promised to me by a short-lived friendship many semesters ago. He told me about an NPR interview, and that she reminded him of me. I listened to Christensen's interview about the book and confirmed his speculation. He responded with a Cheshire cat-grinning comment about how he enjoys knowing his "friends" so well (a year and a half later, and he's forgotten my own autobiography. I am going to blame the drugs that stole his weight.).

My last semester in Kansas City is rising. Soon, my plans will be known and I can finally unfold. Unfortunately this school does not have cinder block walls with lines for my fingers to trace and imagine my world bursting around me.


Interlude over, it is time for real work and forged bedtimes and knowing loneliness. This time, the last I will survive apart. More than a sprint—an entire field ready for imposition.

Again, the break has filled with social engagements and "catching up," dotted with work opportunities and the quiet nostalgia that finds dinnertime. I am using the sketchbooks I started fall semester, hoping the work I developed then can move from auto to Full Attention Manual. Click, my thoughts re-equipped to drive the break. 

I cannot stop trembling and this caffeine high I've picked up doesn't seem to be helping.


Apologies for the absence; school ended and I made a quick escape Northwest.

My transcript has sent, the fellowship application has probably arrived, and I have collected one (unnecessary) letter of recommendation. Yet to complete my purpose statement and artist statement, but there are still enough days for that. 

I am inclined to take flight when an experience ends, an immediate reaction. A break, a pause and I spend time making Lists Of to ignore the mist that curls my hair. A sign on the highway told me to "Be here now," and for the first time I have found alignment with the phrase: this, too, shall pass.


Final critique over; final research paper turned in; yet for Thanksgiving. I have been asleep since Mercury went into retrograde, finally waking to Taylor Swifts' "Blank Space" this morning. 

Funny how one professor can move me from a complete sprint to sitting in two months. I began the semester telling myself I am taller than I think. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I have a choice. I am no longer pushed on, my reaction as the chess move; instead, I am on the fold imminent. I know I can lead while in motion and not wait for an invitation.


Midterms and flying colors and she wants, no more. A certain generosity when I need to wait. I felt uphill, I only knew perpendicular trails this past week. The end of workload means more workflow.

Inescapable, this haunt about "after." After a bachelor's degree, after growing and living in a place so strong, after being torn apart and folded back together. The same noise that begs at an inevitable ending. I am just as scared as I was seven years ago.