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.

May 19, 2011

tomorrow night we get the keys

i stumble across collections of words, phrases, and fall in to them like a tar pit, screaming THAT'S WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY! and loving the feeling of being stuck (so crazily, inexplicably comfortably stuck!) in someone else's writing.

i have been thinking about (fearing) homelessness for months as we searched and searched fruitlessly for new digs, always coming up empty handed, making phone calls that were never returned, making appointments that the other person always forgot, running face first in to rules that i could not wrap around my life, could not endure the strangulation, could not abide by just to end up being stuck in place i wasn't all that happy about being anyway. we began planning to put all our boxed possessions in storage and living in cars, surfing couches, buying a gym membership just to be able to take showers. i'm serious. and i thought of Genet and i thought i have no real home anyway and i thought no, wait, my real home is my notebook, my real home is this Blackland, these images i create.

these thoughts have been present and potent. they originated when my mom leaned in to death and the threat of homelessness surfaced the moment i returned home from her funeral. too much at once. and it has been too-much-at-once for months now. it was so impossibly hard to find a new apartment in santa rosa that i really did start thinking maybe God doesn't want me to live in the north bay? the fates really have seemed pretty opposed to the idea. and so we start looking in our beloved east bay again, in good ol' Oakland, and the very first place we submit an application to becomes ours. we pick up the keys tomorrow evening. we will load our boxes of books in to the truck tonight.

the reception at Project One last night was beautiful and felt like a homecoming, like a longing satisfied, like a return. art on the walls, my Worry Roses for my mom installed, friends all around, happy to hear that we are moving back after three long years out here in the countryside. three years... it doesn't seem real. it doesn't seem possible that it's been that long. a long, strange dream... not a Home.

and i needed the connection. i needed the tall white walls and people milling around with wine glasses in their hand. i needed the air, the space, the breath of these things.

i'm reading Just Kids by patti smith right now and it's the most perfect thing i could be reading. my friends freya and doug read it, one right after the other, a week or so ago and lent it to me the second they finished reading it. it's the perfect follow-up to volume 2 of anais nin's diary and the perfect preface to our move back to oakland. my fear about homelessness lifted instantly and i thought well, patti smith slept on a stoop in new york... i could sleep in my car in san francisco. what's the big deal? and then of course, the very next day, we get an apartment. God approved. hahaha!

the week i didn't write here i was dealing with all these things and a long-time friend of the family who has known me since i was about 7 years old or so that we lost track of a few years back tracked me down on facebook. still thinking of us as family, still thinking of my mother as her best friend, still thinking of my mother as her sister, she sent me an excited message asking about my mom and how to get a hold of her, she called me mija just like always, and then in her happy hunt for connection she stumbled across my blog. she read, here, about my mother's death. her best friend, her sister. and another message was sent. she left her phone number and i called her the second i got in the door from work. hearing her stunned horror was painful. hearing her voice, a voice i've heard all my life since i was just a little girl, felt like Home. she looked at my work online and felt proud of me.

and a few days ago i read this post at repat blues' blog.

"There is no such thing as home. Home becomes art, the creation of art. Turning to art, working the wound. Stew's play. Passing Strange. I've always been passing strange. I'd rather be bad at this (writing, acting, fucking) than good at X (Selling air conditioners. Public relations. Saying Good Morning. Making eye contact)."

these are the words that i am happily stuck in. all of it. each word, a bell ringing. a knock on the head reminding me of what i must do. i got out of class yesterday (my last day of instruction before two rounds of finals next week) and immediately got in the truck and got on the freeway and went to san francisco. i left this life behind and picked up another 70 miles away in a beautiful room in a beautiful city. i hugged friends and i met strangers and i had champagne.

freya brought me roses and her children painted me a little picture of a rainbow which will go on the refrigerator in our new kitchen tomorrow evening. i turned in my almost-two-week notice at my retail gig and will be back on a crazy, meandering job-hunt in no time. i think of Genet and patti smith and repat blues and my friends. i think of the struggle and i think it's so completely fucking worth it when i think of what an artist's life is. if it ever comes down to it, the roof of a car is still a roof and i can totally live there because my Home is in my notebook and the graphite on the page, the paintings on the wall, and the words that women write.


Jane Lancaster said...

yesterday in class I did a piece about my sister and someone said, 'we're so lucky to be artists' ... I love your Sylvia portrait.

I know those shocked phone conversations too...


angela simione said...

absolutely lucky! one of my painting teachers used to always tell us, "to be a painter is a privilege". i've always held on to that statement. it will always be true. we are so lucky, indeed.

thank you, sweet jane. :)

(those shocked conversations are so hard... )