today, i bought myself flowers. big, red daisies. i don't know their actual name. i cut their stems and put them in a mason jar. i put the mason jar on the dresser by the bed. i listen to patti smith. i twist thin, soft, black yarn around my crochet hook and sink into a revery about how life once was. not all my reveries are sad but i allow myself even those that are - the freedom to mourn, the freedom to be upset, the freedom to feel lonely and singular. the light was beautiful today and the food i'd bought for myself tasted good. i walked in the sun, bought myself a new notebook, let my deep scars shine inside of me. i tried to listen to them. today, they want to cry. sometimes, the old aches wake up. sometimes, the best thing to do is to let them... to give them their due, to allow for a reckoning, to give them their say. and so i twist yarn around a hook and listen to car alarms, listen to my laundry tumbling in the dryer, listen to patti smith. i pour myself a glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling and salivate all over a tiny hunk of Saint Auger blue cheese. i allow myself these pleasures, these luxuries, so distant incongruous to the life i once lived. i allow myself this moment. i allow myself to be silent, to stop the performance of so many things, to free myself from the cage of constant smiling. i lay on my bed in front of the small electric fan and twirl my hair. today, i am grateful for it all, everything that has happened even though my spirit lowers its feathers to hide its diamonds. despite the anvil of memory, today was new. and tomorrow so shall be.
he is almost an instinct of mine. in my alcohol-fueled lethargy, i began to quiz myself over the relevance of art... what it means, what my art means and whether or not it even matters. this is an aggravating little game artists play with themselves, it seems, but in the moment it really hurts. it hurts to ask yourself, "is art meaningless?" it's so close to asking whether or not life is meaningless.
and maybe it is. maybe life is meaningless. maybe art's role is to provide the meaning we're all searching for? or at least an avenue to it. i don't know. i just suddenly found myself wondering this evening whether or not i'm defeated... whether or not i still contain the requisite amount of FIGHT. despite recent encouragements, i suddenly felt worn out.
i got out of bed and went to my book case. i needed another artist. i needed a mentor. i needed someone to tell me that everything is okay and to pull my shoulders back and fuck what the rest of the world thinks. my eyes flowed across my collection of art books. so many volumes of kiki smith's work, louise bourgeois, keith haring, andy warhol. i paused at francesca woodman. i paused again at terrence koh. then i came across a book i forgot i had. a book i hadn't even read yet. i pulled it from the shelf. david wojnarowicz's 7 MILES A SECOND.
the moment i start reading his work i come face to face with the truth that art is a way of life. i don't need to torture myself with the question of whether or not my work "matters". what does that even mean? i don't need to make myself cry about the accomplishments i've not yet made. art is a path. or better yet, art is a language. it is how i speak.
i read his texts and i want to cry. not only because of the sadness his work so often describes but because of his fearlessness in telling his story, his bravery in regard to confronting the twists of the heart and mind. his love of humanity was so unapologetic, so humbling... and so i want to cry when i am confronted with his work: i am humbled. i realize, in the face of david wojnarowicz's work, to ask, "does my art matter?" is a waste of time and effort. just do the work. just speak. and even if it's just to speak about something as aggravating as my struggles with my own artistic temperament, that's alright. i silence myself too quickly sometimes. i mean, we all need to complain to each other every now and then. it does us good to know we're not total freaks in this regard. we all fear our work is total crap... that how we are choosing to spend our lives is an act of futility. david's work reminds me that this is absolutely not the case. the point is to care enough about the brevity of life to use what time you have to connect the way you want to connect with other human beings. the point is to breathe as deeply as you can breathe, so deeply it hurts and then to tell the truth about yourself... the truth that hurts. the truth that nags and won't stop tossing and turning until you finally acknowledge it exists and needs a space in which to be seen, to be dealt with, to be wrestled with and contended with.
untitled (i want to hold your face in my hands)
filet crochet curtain
angela simione, 2014
i need a much taller window. :)
the full text reads: i want to hold your face in my hands but you go on backing away away away. the text is from a poem i wrote over a year ago that will probably never see the light of day, save for this excerpt. and i like that... the secrecy of it... which is very much what this work is about. i like the idea of hanging my secrets in the window, allowing the light of day to use the twists and turns of my private thoughts (and the hook that has given them shape) to make shadows sigh and heave on the adjacent wall. i like the tease of it.
this piece taught me a lot. it's still teaching me. not merely about the method of production and where i failed and where i succeeded in using it, but also how i want to use light and shadow as materials themselves... transparency... absence and presence. in this regard, this method is very much like drawing. the emptiness of the page is just as important as the mark. it's poetry. the things that aren't said add weight to what is.
it's hung up in the window of my bed and i stare at it for a little while every day. i finished it over a week ago and i'm still so bowled over by it. it's a new "first step".
i need a different set of rules (or maybe no rules at all) when it comes to this place, when it comes to words on a page, when it comes to reaching out to other human beings through these electronic waves.
i've had this little sandbox of mine for so long, this blog. the last few months it's become increasingly hard to write here and i'm not sure why. i want to write here. i miss having a daily love affair with my blog and want to rekindle my fervor. walking home from the grocery store this evening, i agonized over why it's been so hard for me to come here, to type out the words... and i think it's because i'm judging the whole enterprise by what this blog has been and not allowing for what it could be. i'm not allowing for change and so it's become stagnant.
maybe i needed a break for awhile too. maybe i needed to step away from the out-pour. maybe i needed a bit of privacy. everyone needs to curl up under the covers some times and just hide from life. i'm no different. perhaps that's all i've really been doing by not writing here: claiming a space of silence for myself, allowing myself a deep, abiding privacy and quietude.
some explorations are necessarily made under lock and key, away from the eyes and ears of the world, in total darkness, in total silence, under the sheets, without words, without record, without apology. i've largely enjoyed my silence. still, it isn't me to not write. it is such a huge part of who i am and how i live. there is the diary, yes, and there always will be but the writing i do there is entirely different from what lands in public spaces. a different impulse is responsible for bringing me to this electric square of light and a different urge is satisfied when i type. a different demon is exorcised when i publish my thoughts here.
i need to just let this space evolve. evolve or die. the strictures must be chopped away and i need to hold on to the fact that this place was always intended to be a place where i could say whatever i wanted, without fear and without judgement. it's always been meant to be a play-space. it's unhelpful for me to judge my life and self and writing NOW by what i wrote BEFORE. i need to let go of the writer i used to be and nurture the writer i am now. i'm not who i once was. the temperature of my entire world has changed and, when i look back, certain days feel like total fictions.
how do i set myself free from what my own practice has been? how do i stop holding up current projects to the expectations set down by previous accomplishments? how do i write without thinking at all about what i've written before? how do i begin again? how do i start anew? because that's exactly what needs to happen.