Current: I drew three pictures yesterday, the pine cone and small buds are two of them. The other two pictures didn’t scan right. However, I proved my point to myself. Made up the missed drawings of Monday and Tuesday.
I am really kind of in love with sepia-tone charcoal. I find it so satisfying to go into the art supply store and buy only a pencil or two. I know what I’m doing now and what is required. I used to go into art supply stores and buy a lot of miscellany – not sure what would be the correct tool, the right medium. I am also really kind of in love with this pine cone picture.


(December 16th)

I haven’t drawn since Sunday. A two day lapse.

Here’s what I did instead:

Play Banjo (see earlier email)
…a lot…

Crochet with no results. Small blue squares. A tiny blue hat. Not like baby-size tiny. But, like chicken size tiny. A really small, very blue hat.

Olive gave me the yarn for an early Christmas present. (Which she later tried to take back, arguing in her five year old way, full of sass, about the necessity of bedtime.)
It’s a beautiful blue. Like fall sky blue. Not quite the same, but close.
I didn’t give it back.

Made a giant “candy” prop at work.
Hot glue, biodegradeable packing peanuts and watered down tempera paint (all smells that are not entirely unappealing when in isolation) smell absolutely hideous when combined. It was better after I added the super stale marshmallows, which hardly even looked fluffy anymore. And better yet when I doused said marshmallows with food coloring in various dilute states and drizzled hot glue and sprinkles over the top.

Embroidered (with yarn of various gauge) stems and flowers onto my old wool slipper shoes. They are still not entirely great, but I mended the holes and covered the old sporadic stitching that had begun to look quite dreary. Apathetic even. I’ve no problems with casual dress, but apathetic apparel is sort of a problem with me. I’ve certainly had my phases of style during which I crafted an “I don’t give a damn.” sort of fashion. But, clearly I did give a damn. I just wanted people to assume that, while I cared about my alternately drab and outlandish attire, I certainly didn’t care what they thought of it.

While I was driving from South Georgia to Huntsville, AL. Backroads mostly. No real, direct route – why would there be?
For some reason, everyone in my adolescent circle of true friends and assorted acquaintances spent some time in that northeasternly corner of our home state’s neighbor. One person left to live his father. As we graduated and dropped-out, leaving Camden County Highschool with a defiant shrug and the blessings of our bewildered parents. At least, they seemed to think, we had the gumption to want to go somewhere. Even if it didn’t make sense. Even if it was Alabama.

What was I talking about? Driving. My old, old friend Harry with me in the 1983 Chevrolet 1 ton that I drove into the ground in a single summer of driving. That summer I travelled, ultimately, from Portland, Oregon to Miami, Florida (where I saw Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks, I’m not kidding, play in a space that used to be a Middle Eastern bakery around the corner from my dying maternal grandmother’s old house, spanish tile roof, curved alcove to enter. SW 24th Terrace. Or something like that.

She was still alive then. She died two years later. I didn’t see her on that trip. I was 20. Over a decade – almost 14 years! – ago. I was stupid and only wanted to drive, smoke cheap cigarettes, watch my friend play music.

I still haven’t told the story, have I?

We stopped in Waycross to use the McDonald’s bathroom. I noticed a well-dressed old lady coming toward the door as we were about to go in. Her spectator pumps and well-set whitw hair reminded me of my great-grandmother, who always thought I was beautiful. And I smiled my truest smile, held the door for her just as I would for my own grandmother…
She thanked me, paused, said: “You two are just about the worst lookin’ things I’ve ever seen.”
She said it matter-of-factly, as if she was stunned into simple statement.
I didn’t feel mad. Only surprised. And proud that I looked awful and ashamed because my great-grandmother probably would have said the same thing.

So, I fixed my shoes. Cleaned the animals’ cages an extra time, folded the laundry and swept the children’s rooms.
My life might not be beautiful, but at least I’m trying.

And, really, isn’t trying a nice thing to do?

It seems to me that people don’t try enough these days. To be their best selves, all things considered.

it’s almost 1:30am.
I fell asleep at 8:30, not unusual by the way. Early to bed, etc. etc.

I like to be warm and quiet. I enjoy seeing old friends and new formulations of old places in my dreams.
I don’t watch enough t.v. – too easily entertained. I don’t believe in “bored.”

I made 4 dozen attempts at a homemade cheez-it. This year: too greasy, but with good flavor. Last year: even consistency and mouth-feel, but bland. Perhaps next year I’ll find the balance.
What I really want are the cheese straws made in the kitchens of my childhood. But, I just can’t figure them out. So, I use the ingredients to make my own approximation.

I find metaphor in so much. Late night baking cannot escape my allegoric tendencies.

I almost wrote “allegorical” – which reminds me of the welcome sign outside of my hometown:

“Welcome to Historical St. Mary’s”

Yes, historical.

Everything wants to be something, be from somewhere. We’re all so silly. How cliche that I’m nostalgic during the holidays. How sad that I can’t even feel wistful without thinking about how my old homesickness might be perceived by critics.

Ha.

Goodnight.

Dec 17 (1 day ago)
For some reason, I am thinking about economies. I over-drew my checking account…not by much, but by enough. Stupid grocery store. Selling me more than I could afford.
Despite the comfort of buying a lot of bright food that you get to wheel around (!) while pleasantly innocuous music plays in the background. (Note: Ingles has recently added to its playlist a Neko Case song containing the words: “I’m a man eater. So why do you seem so surprised when I eat you?” It’s really a bit peculiar, this choice of song, heard now in two different Ingles. It is, on one hand about eating. But, then again, not so much. It kinda creeps me out, thinking about the marketing that went into constructing playlists for large grocery store chains. Poor Neko Case. I’m sure that creeping out tired shoppers in the massive and gleaming aisles of Ingles in WNC is not what she intended at all. Then again, if making the everyday seem sort of like a dream is a measure of artistic success (and to some, like me, it is) then perhaps she feels a raging sense of success. If she even knows. How strange it must be to write songs that then become the property of anyone with the technology to mediate the music.

So, economies. There are big ones, and small ones. The relationship between these large and descendingly small economies changes in symbiosis between strata. The lynchpins of large economies do much to influence culture – in advertising, company mission and the politics of CEOs, to grant/gift support for non-profit causes. If there is a balance in the stakes held by all parties, then there is adequate representation at all levels.
However, limited dominance is allowed to establish itself through corporations becoming the sole suppliers and providers of the infinite array of consumables that we imagine we need. The less diverse the stakeholders, the less egalitarian the representation. When corporations also control the media of representation, the potential for corporatization of culture is almost infinite. And a corporate-owned culture is a powerless culture.

Culture comes from people, not profit-driven propaganda.

The point of all this is that I am making more for myself and trying to not buy into what I see as a destructive and soulless bludgeoning of the American heart. Now, even Christmas seems like a chore. Sometimes.

Not shopping has brought a bit of joy into this holiday season.

This economy is a dangerous thing, in ways that have nothing to do with money. In fact, what those ways concern is our ability, as we mature into consumers, to enjoy things that are free.

BEST SURPRISE EMAIL EVER

Wow, Faith, I think about you every day.
I have used strategy and made various attempts to find you, find out about what you are doing…and thank god, today, I found your blog and have almost read the whole thing. I love reading it, I REALLY like your drawings, I like what you are doing.
I am not going to wait and write you after it’s all voyeuristic and been read by me, mostly because I am afraid of reading something that will indicate and affirm my fear that you do not want to hear from me. My reasons for fearing this are because I asked Amanda earlier this summer if she was in touch with you, and she was pretty vague but she did tell me that you have two children and that you are living in NC. One of my friends was dating Jed for a while and he made a comment to me that I have not been able to shake from my conscience. He characterized our (you and me) friendship and it’s, uh, closing, with the phrase “you really fucked her over”.
If you feel it is true, I would be comforted to be considered for a response from you. I have photos of you (despite you hating having them taken), lists we made in our apartments, and a lot of unfinished letters to you, (in the event that I were to get my hands on your address…) and a lot of fond memories. I have never met another person like you, as complex and as interesting as you…I could go on and on.
I have your old email address, written in your handwriting, and it either doesn’t exist anymore or my earlier attempts to write to you were not effective.
I sincerely apologize for alienating and losing you as a friend. I must admit, I can’t remember the detail-details of our last encounter. I remember when you bought your house on 7th, just up from my mom’s. I remember you letting me staying there. I think you were waiting for your boyfriend from Georgia to come and move in. I can’t recall his name, but he had been living with you in Athens when I came to visit you.
It all seems like a lifetime ago.
I would be so happy to hear more about your life and to tell you about mine, should you want to know…
I miss you dearly and think of you all the time. We planned to someday be old and dignified together.
I still plan to. Redundantly.

On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 8:01 PM, wrote:
Beautiful, dripping night. Solid, thick snow on the ground. Everything is as bright as the songs say.

Thank you old friends.

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