I seem to be writing a graphic novel. It’s a weird little love story. I kind of don’t want to be writing it, and yet I can’t seem to stop. It feels like chewing my way out of a cocoon. My jaw hurts and my teeth are getting worn down. Why not just stay inside? It was pretty comfortable in here for a long time. But I can’t stop. Something wants out.
Here is part of a sketchy little cartoon that I made a few weeks ago, while I was storyboarding:
Nick Cave said:
…the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within in their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted. These songs deny us our humanness and our God-given right to be sad…
Good grief, I’m sad. And I notice that I don’t want to be sad, and large parts of me aren’t sad. Maybe it’s more like I have a Big Sad in me. And I try to paint over it with “at least” and “look at everything I learned,” but it’s still there.
Please don’t let me fuck this up by making it a Hate Story disguised as a love story. I want it to be something trustworthy.
My brain often finds Bayo Akomolafe‘s written words inscrutable, but interesting things happen in my body when I listen to him. “Yes,” says the body. “There’s no clarity in here. There may never be clarity. Maybe it doesn’t matter.” The brain struggles to remember what he said. “Shh,” says the body.
What does any of that have to do with the story I’m trying to tell?
Shh. There’s no clarity. It doesn’t matter.
This makes me kind of want to visit Zurich before the end of the month.
I’m almost finished with bad signal. I’ve been rolling the IV stand around the studio and studying her from different angles while I read and practice yoga and goof around. Here’s an angle that I found particularly pleasing this morning:
Sometimes I love looking at her on her own, but all of my newer work is uncomfortable for me to see next to the old work made with Serena (who is a department store mannequin). Even padded, Serena is tiny compared to me. The hardest part of the work, these days, is hanging it up in the front room when it’s finished.
This afternoon I came home and found this juxtaposition of the average American female mannequin vs. the average American flesh-and-blood female body in my newsfeed:
It’s from a photoshoot for Cosmopolitan Latina by Victoria Janashvili. The model’s name is Denise Bidot.
And then Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminded me:
“Seventy-five percent confident will do nicely. Seventy-five percent is a goodly amount. Remember, we say that a flower is blooming whether it is in half, three-quarters, or full bloom.”
Good enough, then. Thank you, everyone who helps me stay at seventy-five percent.
A while ago, I found an Instagram feed full of photographs of people in outrageous costumes holding taxidermied animals. Like this one:
When I don’t feel like doing my daily drawing, I bribe myself by using one of those photos as a model to draw from.
More recently, one of my artist friends has been playing with Yupo paper (which is not paper at all, but smooth plastic). Another has been doing blind contour drawing, where you don’t look at the paper or lift your pen while you draw.
All of that, plus my ongoing carpal tunnel issues, has resulted in my doing things like this:
I’m not particularly attached to these drawings, but it delights me to make them. There’s something magic about the process. It’s like being six years old again, but with less fear and loneliness.
I dream about someday facilitating collaborative art playgroups for grownups and sharing the fun I’ve been having with other people.