Thursday, February 26, 2009

scanner collages

lazy art projects?  bases for works to come? captured memories. I have a wooden box made by my grandfather for a shoeshine box. i've had it probably since high school when the things i collected from the house, from my parents' past were allowed to stay with me. These included this wooden box, a small round 'drum' table and chair that were part of my parents' wedding "suite." Grandpa's desk, a toy box made for J., but claimed by me. And then the furniture they bought for me that would be mine to keep, sell, discard, lose in the game of growing up and out. 
this is a sample of some of the smaller flotsam from the 50s and 60s. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Voluptuosity of Illness

...or maybe it's the syrup of poppies prescribed by a doctor with a quick pen and the understanding that winter colds must not be allowed to reach the chest.
because once down in that coal-burning furnace, they take on a new life of their own
all private and fun, smelling of the 19th century and never coming up for air.
Take your crusty nose and hardened mascara
your throat engorged by Italian ice and the irritants of good manners,
"A little better, yes."
the best way to get anyone off the phone is to hock up a lung.
that'll teach them to leave the soup and just effing go.
thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Journal Page - All Mothers Should Do This

My mother has, throughout almost every second of my life, known how to press my buttons. Some of the worst decisions I've made have been seconded by her or in reaction to her. It's been, overall, a pretty unrewarding relationship, emotionally speaking. Yet it wasn't always that way. When I was a very little girl, we were a cute team.

That said, in the last two years, since David's death and her two-day ordeal on the bedroom floor and subsequent move to assisted living, her more pleasant, less narcissistic traits, her good points, if you will, have begun to emerge popping up in unexpected spots, like crocuses on an interstate highway. No less real for being pretty much invisible.

While she was cleaning out the house (still for sale, any takers?), my sister found a box of my oldest books, my Chatty Cathy doll, Thumbalina, the majorette uniform I wore in the St. Fidelius marching band --- and an obscure blue dress that just happened to be my favorite. dress. ever.

Thanks, Mom.

I Want to Live Here Episode 53

The French onion soup, a Peasant specialty I would enjoy for years to come, was too hot to eat at first. I nibbled at the assortment of bread and rolls the young waiter, Barry (he introduced himself) placed carefully next to Abigail’s envelope. “Save room for dessert,” he said, beetling off to fetch me another glass of wine. “Michael’s treat.”
I was entwined in a never-ending thread of cheese when yet another male shadow cast itself opposite. My “Hi, Kevin,” was muffled and my chin, I’m sure, was greasy but I was still happy to see him. I nodded to the chair Michael had left and grinned foolishly. I didn’t care how gay he was, I had a big crush on Abigail’s husband.
“So, you’ve got something?” he said.
“Michael said you’ve got an envelope with some items Abigail left with a neighbor? I don’t understand but it’s nice of you to take the trouble.”
I turned around for Michael but he was nowhere in sight.
“He may be right,” I said, pushing the soup bowl away. Kevin picked it up.
“Finished?” he asked. I nodded.
“It’s good but a little goes a long way. And you have to save room for the apple walnut pie.”
“Will you have some, too?”
He nodded toward Barry who stepped quickly up to take the bowl away and remove the bread, crumb the table and replenish my water. “Coffee for both?” he asked.
“And the pie,” said Kevin. “But give us a few minutes.”
What’s important: The truth of Ken and Abigail. My job. Judith’s career. Despite everything. Kevin’s grief. Would I be contributing to it if I showed him the picture of his wife with the man who might have been a factor in her death? (I don’t know what I believe about Ken anymore.) Who, if anyone, do these items, which link Ken right back to Abigail, belong to? Ken? Susan? Michael seems to think they belong to Kevin, but do they?
“What do you think?” I asked, removing the menu, the post card, the book of matches and the note. I held out the photograph to him. “Ken told me he’d had nothing to do with Abigail. Hardly knew her.”
He released a long breath. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Tell me what to do.”
“Did you really come here to give this to me?”
“No. I took a long walk down Peachtree Street and fetched up here. It’s the only place outside Arborgate I know. I didn’t know what I’d find but I didn’t want to be in the apartment when I opened it. It was a secret and there aren’t any secrets left there.”
“Don’t you believe it.” He handed the photo back to me. “I don’t think you have a choice here, Nora.”
“Detective Boeker?”
He nodded. “Do you know how to get to the precinct?”
“I’m not even sure where it is, or where he is. His card’s in my desk at the office.”
“We’ll figure that out. Come on.”
“No dessert?” cried Barry, arriving with two cups of coffee.
“Keep it warm, we’ll be back.”

I Want to Live Here Episode 52

“Oh, just some old souvenirs,” I said.
“How’d you like Nantucket?”
“These aren’t mine,” I said. “They belonged to Abigail.”
“Where’d you get them?”
“Yeah. That's kind of interesting. Evidently, she gave them to her neighbor, who passed them on to me...and left town this morning.”
“Can I see?”
But when I shared the little stash with him, he grew quiet and then suspicious. He studied the photograph carefully.
“So that was her, huh? She’s a bit of a light-weight to be causing you and Judith so much trouble.” He snorted. “Not to mention Kevin.”
“I was just wondering how much trouble she meant to be. They look so happy here. I don’t understand.”
“Don’t understand what? Stolen moments? When was this taken, do you think? Last year? Last summer?”
He flipped to the menu. “August 14. Huh.”
“Kevin’s birthday.”
“Well, they were separated, weren’t they? I mean, Ken may have been cheating on his wife, but Abigail was at least technically in the clear.”
“You think so? Well, you’re not married, that’s obvious.” He made it sound like a personal problem.
“Neither are you…anymore.”
“That’s not the point. You think because you’re single, you can’t commit adultery?”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I think. I’m not saying married men make good boyfriends or that I’d want to date one. Especially now.” I pointed to the ephemera. “That’s not good enough.”
“It must have felt romantic to her. The secrecy, I mean.”
“How can you say that? Did you like keeping secrets from Judith. Yours are a lot more significant than poor Abigail’s. She was probably hiding this photo from Ken. No one else would care.”
“Kevin would. He was her husband.”
“Well, that’s just bullshit. You can’t have an ex-wife, or even an estranged, soon-to-be ex-wife and object to her love life. Especially if-“
“Especially if you’re gay?”
“Kind of.”
We sulked together over this until I apologized, though I’m not sure why I did and he ignored it.
“Judith and I will always be married. We’ll always have been married. We’re parents together. We’re tied by him and by…” He waved his hand, as if searching for the right words to describe his lingering loyalty to the woman he flat out dumped. “…affection. And history. We’re friends.”
“Really? Then why not stay married?”
He stood up, abruptly. “Because we don’t have to.”

I Want to Live Here Episode 51

I was not so enthralled with the envelope and what secrets it would reveal that I couldn’t enjoy the novelty of returning, familiar, to a place in a neighborhood I dimly but absolutely recognized as my own. It was, in a way, like being given a gift from a list I’d created years ago, lifetimes ago. So I used a little of the time after the waiter, a boy my age, to soak it in: the white cloth, the dusty window and the slanting winter light filtering through, conjuring up my idea of the cosmopolitan life. It was a moment I would always remember probably in the way girls remember their first times. Solitary and comfortable in it, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Moving the place setting, I spread the contents of Abigail’s envelope onto the table top:
A gold swizzle stick from the Boston Park Plaza taped to postcard from same. Scribbled note read: May 5, 7pm, call room first, can’t wait, K.
A menu from The Chanticleer, in Nantucket
A book of matches from The Anchor Inn, Historic Nantucket
A snapshot, not as clear as a pining mistress would want, of a smiling couple: Abigail and Ken, at an outside table, laughing and toasting the photographer whose shadow did not intrude. I remembered the framed photo in Abigail’s living room, on the end table next to the couch, of her and a girl friend, and a long shadow of a man named Ken Eberhard.
A shadow fell across my table. Looking up, I smiled at Judith’s husband, Michael.
“Did you want some soup?” he asked, sitting opposite, preparing to join me.
“Huh?” I emerged from my reverie as if from a coma. “French onion,” he said, motioning for the waiter. “Yards of Jarlsberg.”
“Ok. Sure.”
“What’s all this?” he asked, his hand going straight for the menu. “Hey, I’ve been here. I’d steal the chowder recipe if I thought I could make it with catfish.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12 Playing with the Glove

Think I'll play with this glove for awhile.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February 11 Wednesday Show 'n Tell I am...

a clinging vine. got this idea when i realized i've been holding on to unsatisfactory dining room furniture. Vintage chairs so brittle only skinniest friends can sit on them. One's been broken for two years or more. Tried to tie it up in wood glue this morning only to realize I should just get it fixed and then sell the damn things to some other impulse buyer. Or bring them to the Salivating Army.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Want to Live Here Episode 50

You’re thinking I steamed the envelope open, aren’t you? Wrong. I made a pot of tea and let it steep to an inky brown while I showered off the accumulated scum and dander of a two-day blues binge. Numbed by too many voices, I’d escaped to sleep and silence. I think today is Wednesday, December 29, but I’m not entirely sure. If Stephen hadn’t left me with hard evidence of his appearance in my living room, I think I’d have dreamed seeing him again and his kiss goodbye. It may have been the elixir I needed to get moving again. One thing was for sure, however Abigail had met her fate, whoever she had loved, I had a life to figure out.
Rinsing my hair, enjoying the squeak of cleanliness as the shampoo drained under my feet, I knew I’d been wrong about many things in the last week and that my behavior had indeed exposed me as little more than a troublemaking post-adolescent. I’d blundered around as if I were invisible to the grownups whose lives mattered to them, while I was little more than the feather from my own wing, not even the adventurous bird flown from her suburban cage. When I left New York, I’d placed myself in the wind oh so willing to flutter and fly. But it had been currents holding me aloft, not the power of real flight. Well, if I couldn’t fly I could at least walk. In any event, I needed exercise and a change of scene. Stuffing the envelope into a large shoulder bag and dressing for the crisp afternoon air, I stalked my way up Biscayne Drive and headed south on Peachtree Road.

Arborgate lies just south of Buckhead proper and north of Brookwood where the remains of a lovely railroad station (Embark here for the Southern Crescent), a high-rise apartment building whose sign kept track of Atlanta’s growing population (in millions) and a decaying grand hotel are the significant landmarks.
Not many people walked on Peachtree in those days, at least not in late December, no matter how inviting the sunny cold. At 16th Street, I stopped to examine the facade of a Carnegie library branch and, next door, the Memorial Arts Center. After that, the neighborhood turned sour with unfulfilled promises. Colony Square, a turn-of-the-century mansion with a placard reading “Atlanta Women’s Club,” Matthew’s Super Market, a gas station and the kinds of facades I’d been raised to scurry by, eyes in front. I passed them all feeling better and better. But also hungry.
I hurried through what Kevin had told me was “the Strip.” Vestiges of the Atlanta hippie scene when The Allman Brothers played in Piedmont Park and copies of The Great Speckled Bird replaced broken windows in drafty but large apartments had been overlaid by an uneven layer of grunge. It was the kind of neighborhood that always seemed rained on.

The Bird had printed its last issue two months ago, which left me with Creative Loafing to read. I picked up a copy at the site of the Fox Theater and tucked it in my bag. I needed an apartment and a job. The little weekly would be my guide. At The Pleasant Peasant, I stopped, checked myself in the plate glass window and entered. Minutes later I was using a clean knife to slice into Abigail’s secret stash.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Visit Honeymoon Island

If you come to Delightful Dunedin, you must visit its best-kept secret: Honey Moon Island

Welcome to Gorgeous

Sure is fun when the temperatures rise in 20-degree increments.
Bottom 40s on Thursday, mid-60s yesterday for an afternoon tooling through Target with the Irish Knuckle and today's 10-mile walk was spectacular in shorts and a tee-shirt.
Breezes cool, sun warm---quite a cocktail for the mouth breathers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 4 Wednesday Helplessly Hoping

Today's theme via Misty Mawn is to create a page inspired by a song.
I figured I would illustrate or be set off by whatever song locked itself into my head. And often that's the one you wake up to.
Not so here. Rather, in a this morning early early morning yoga class, after dogging to Krishna Das, our intrepid and musical instructor slipped in a sweet little version of Helplessly Hoping by Crosby, Stills and Nash. As if I wasn't smiling enough in my little savasana.

Sweet and lyrically silly as it is, the song evokes sad memories for me. If I were a better illustrator, I'd have another in the picture, standing on the other side of the screen. And their fingertips would be touching.
But I'm not. Thanks God for words.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 3, 2009 Freeeeee Bird!

Over a thick and gloopy page of gesso, I played with easy but rubbery water-based oil sticks. Yikes, what a contradiction. still, a nice departure from beloved Pitt pens.
Hey, Jane. Thanks for the spare bird! I've sent it out with pages to dry.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February 2, 2009 Incantation for Spring

Down south, February is the teasing month. Oh, it's still Winter and we might get some snow (ha ha ha)and be embarrassed by all the highway footage on national TV, but it's pretty unlikely and the forsythia and the star magnolia know this.

February 1, 2009 Daily Art Journal...One more time

or more.
It's easier to create a page on the weekends so I kept going. Also, this one is going to Random Arts in Saluda, NC.
I heard this phrase blurted out in a nearby cube several months ago and laughed myself sick. Must have been the context. It's one of those crispy quips that crack me up even when I don't know why. Like Ethiopian jokes in the 1980s.

Since then I've wanted to use it on a journal page. I'm also real fond of the cage image, especially copied onto a transparency. So when Jane, from Random Arts, sent me the Sweet Tweeter ephemera for the next invitational, I put the two together. The black bird is from Jane.
The blue cat appeared in a dream many many years ago and has been a kind of walk-on ever since.