these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.

thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.

my artist website is here.

Oct 5, 2009

thank you...

at times my faith has wavered. at times my trust has slid away from me and i get get angry. i feel lost. i feel alone...

my faith in art, as a daily practice and way of living, has saved me over and over again. and even in those moments when my faith has become low and weak, art has persisted. art itself. and has carried me back to a place of humility and trust. i know that as long as i paint and write and breathe everything will be okay. i'll end up exactly where i am meant to be. i've always known this. and i credit my faith in this way of being to art. to the work. to practice. and lately, the odd mix of maids and elsie and poems has renewed me in such wonderful ways. i feel brave again... brave enough to trust that, so long as my brush and pen are moving, life is good, and will be good, in spite of the hardships that come along.

the maid portraits have taught me patience. they teach me that lesson over and over again. and how to hear a whisper... to value a whisper. and these lessons, i suppose, are what has made me able to work on elsie's portraits. she's a funny one... and i don't know if this work will matter to others, if people will even care about a little girl that was killed a hundred years ago. there's one person to whom i know it matters (aside from myself) and that one other person gives me endless, endless strength. her belief in the importance of this project helps me sustain my own. this is what friendship is. and i am thankful. truly, massively thankful.

yesterday, we discussed elsie and how important it is that she be brought out from behind her current status of 'side-note' to someone else's history... that she be given a place of her own to stand... that she be honored, somehow, in even the smallest of ways, and respected.

it is hard work. learning how to be respectful of anothers' history is a delicate thing. but it is important, and so worthwhile, to at least make the attempt. i can see that a lot of the work i've done in the past year or so has led to this place, has made me capable of this attempt... it has at least increased my stamina and made me feel strong enough to heft this, to wrestle with it, to let it call on me for whatever it needs. and the fact i have a friend to speak with about her, about this work, who understands that i can't physically shoulder the weight of her portraits every day and must wait for her call, is a great comfort. it reminds me that this is a life's work and that i am allowed to take time carefully and proceed with at least a fraction of grace.

so, dear friend... thank you. :)


Radish King said...

You are so amazing.

ps that painting up top is brilliant oh god and floating.

angela simione said...

thank you. :)

Bluejay Young said...

You have no idea what I am feeling right now looking at these evocations. I am the editor who created the Elsie Paroubek article on Wikipedia. I did all the newspaper research I could and I'll do more if I can ever get my hands on the Chicago Daily News archives.

I did it because I wanted her, as you said, to have her own story told. She wasn't just Henry's muse, she was Elishka, Frank and Karolina's drahé dítě. If I still lived in Chicago and had anything to do with the Czech community there I'd be trying to write a book about her. Bless you.

angela simione said...

OH MY GOD, I'M TOTALLY STUNNED! i love it that this post found you 3 years after it was originally written and that my sentiments have fouched you. it is simply amazing! i don't even know what to say! i am always happy to meet another person who sees elsie as the jewel she is and wants to let her shine in her own right. BLESS YOU for all your gracious and admirable undertakings on her behalf. thank you for sending up a flare. :)


Radish King said...

Thank you from me, too. I'm writing about her too and use Angela's amazing art to sustain my work.
Rebecca Loudon

Bluejay Young said...

Will you do more pictures inspired by her? Does she still come to you? I return here again and again to see.

When I was working on the Darger article, long before I started the Elsie one, I couldn't find a copy of the photograph anywhere online. I checked and they said it was out of copyright so I took a screen shot from In the Realms of the Unreal and uploaded that, a few days before Christmas 2006. It was my Christmas gift to Henry.

Now she's everywhere.

Rebecca, I would love to see your writings about her.

Radish King said...

Bluejay, you can find poems at Everyday Genius and Peep Show poetry under my name and in the most recent print issues of 1111 and South Dakota Review. Also forthcoming in the 6th aniversary issue of Diode (February.) Good luck!

Bluejay Young said...

Thank you, Rebecca! I did find some of your fascinating poems there. I will be in touch with Angela through email.