winter break

"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.

"Sula" interim review

Every break, I make it a point to buy another book in Toni Morrison's long discography. This time, I gathered Sula from the same secondhand bookstore I found Tar Baby last spring. Sula is Morrison's second book, and while I have read nothing in the order of publication, I believe the universe is organizing such encounters. 

Her foreword, written in the book's most recent republication, has helped tremendously with my artist statement. I am knowing that though Sula is not Morrison's strongest book, and will not be my favorite, it is the book she took chances with. She knew she had nothing to lose, and no real hope to truly gain, and this freed her. This gives Sula the ability to act as a prologue to her later work; not only does the reader meet characters Morrison organizes in later work (albeit, not the exact same characters), but can see specific themes manifesting. Morrison mentions this work as an aesthetic piece, rather than the political writing her "contemporaries" were doing. And though Sula is not the peak of, the absolute essence of what Morrison writes, her "classic" work, it is the imminent of.

This second book—anybody's second book, really—is the most important. Where does one truly go after their first? First novel, first idea, first project? On to the second. Once second is down, third and fourth and fifth come, et cetera. The artist can find her "classic" work, and the work that moves beyond that. It is up to that second to solidify a track, a reason to keep making. The second, an ungraceful grip on the reason for making her art.


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.

Winter Break Imposition

Using Christmas cards to detox from the semester, self-imposed deadline instead of appeasing dialogue. 

Track for continuation of detox and output of work include: at least one drawing/organized collage due every Saturday, an explanation of how to thread a loom, reading The Economist every week (as a coffee muse), catching up on lost reading, start and finish Breaking Bad, "researching" the radio/Beyonce's new album. All this is held accountable by others; it is easier to construct when people are relying on you.