there are particular bits of wisdom i always run to. lately i have snuggled down in to the quilts other women have made. i burrow down deep with my thoughts and projects and books. it is there that i mend my heart.
i've been crocheting like crazy. 2 new sweaters have been completed but i want to keep them all to myself for a little while longer. i want to keep my images off the internet for a bit and just see where i end up. i've needed a bit of time away from the digital world. i've needed to recoil from its immediacy and curl in to myself instead. the world of flesh and touch and words spoken aloud. i've needed the privacy of my own bed and notebook and to keep my words and images for myself. a cocoon. i'm still drawing skulls, still faithfully following these impulses. i wake with so many images and ideas swirling around inside my sleepy brain. i make tea and sit down to write.
i have the day off from work today but it is the first day of a new semester and i will be counted at roll call later this evening. a new day. a new week. a new class. a new semester. and i love the way it times my life. not too short, not too long, and always building toward something better. and so i can be languid this morning. i can be easy and slow. soon, a run around the lake but i've spent the morning writing and reading and before i do anything else i wanted to transcribe something here. one of those bits of wisdom i cling to. a mother's warm hand:
What has kept me going and still keeps me going is the knowledge that being an artist is a privilege. And the second thing- which is a consequence of the first - is that one must not ask too much. Well, what do I mean by that? Simply that the pursuit of happiness is fine - we all want to believe in it - but most of the time it is just that, a pursuit. Now the privilege of being an artist consists of three things. First, to have something of your own to say. And then - and this is a fight to the finish - to be able to communicate that to people. At best a school can help you with the second part, but it is obviously up to you what you are going to say, what spark you have, what subject. Now what does this all have to do with making a living?I do not know. When you start to define being an artist in those terms - as a profession like any other profession - you place yourself on a downward spiral. You begin to think: "How am I going to survive?" "I hate my job." "I am a prisoner of the people who depend on me, of people's expectations for my success." "I know that there is loads of money out there but the system is so crooked none of it is going to come my way." "I know there are hundreds of galleries in New York and I have a right to be in one of them - or I'm not in the one I want to be in." The important thing about all these statements is that they are all true - or could be true. But the mistake is to confuse art with a "right" at all. One has no birthright to be an artist. One is lucky to be one and that is all. So why have I mentioned these pessimistic things? Well, in fact, it is to say - as I have said - that things really are not so bad all the same. You are privileged to be what you are, and you have your whole life - fifty years - to figure out how it will be. But if this seems to general, all I can say is that after fifty years as an artist it is my privilege to say it just the same. That is all.
-Remarks prepared for art students at Rutgers University, Louise Bourgeios
this statement, paired with the poverty anais nin lived in during her 30s and 40s (which i am currently reading all about - the horror of it and how absolutely defeated one can feel at times) is a great comfort to me, a great and steady encouragement to continue. i have enough money for supplies. i have enough money for books and food. i have enough money for paper. i'm not sleeping on the street and i will not go hungry. i am learning and making my way through the world and it is a privilege in deed to be able to write and make art all along the way. if there is any time when i feel the value of pain it is when it has been transmuted in to a piece of art. it keeps my feet moving. one foot in front of the other. always forward. to be reminded that i am privileged to be what i am is a humbling thing. i am a lucky girl.
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.
my artist website is here.