Wanderlust

4.jpg

It’s 1 in the morning. I feel an inexplicably wild desire to photograph the world. The closest I can get to explaining it is via a tiny purple monster inside of me that’s smashing all the imaginary cameras in my heart, bellowing on about viajar, como yo quiero tomar los fotos en un otro lugar.

That sort of thing.

Creative obsessions are kind of awesome but torturous. It is both tiring and invigorating to pour every ounce of your all into furthering this abstraction/concept/thing and not being able to contemplate or do anything aside from it. Then you’re onto the next. Or not. Sometimes you have creative lulls where you just want to punch your way out of the creative rut.

I’ll paint something Ophelia-esque. She’ll be surrounded in a bed of roses that look no different from the rest; they’ll be beautiful, but meaningless.

Color of Puce

I used to have a photoblog on Tumblr; ’twas a personal space where I’d upchuck photos, from selfies to texts to conversational screenshots. I feel pings of nostalgia as I revisit them. For a moment I forgot why I shut the blog down, stopped posting, ultimately privated it. Then I stumbled upon a brief explanation on why I wanted to start over, this time on WordPress:

June 2016

I’ve been traitorously blogging on a WordPress (coolpeppermint.wordpress.com) as of late i.e trying to rewrite my memory and put things to words again since I’m not as afraid to do so anymore. I spent the past year and a half mildly terrified of the 26 lettered alphabet and what sorts of public verbal atrocities I’d commit with it. But after some time I was like, you know, fuck it. Fuck it, I’ll write, I’ll paint, I’ll hide, I’ll draw, fuck it.

So, well, fuck it.

In some ways I feel like this photoblog has outlived its initial use (scared of words; photos seemed opaque enough) Even as a “photographer” or “artist”, images never felt enough, and while visuals are lovely they will never suffice. And there’s a lot of residue here: I made this in the midst of some severe soul-searching-crashing-self-annihilation bullshit. I also just want to write in a clean space.

tumblr_nu64d89nvm1u5zmspo2_1280

So there you have it, and now I’m here.

I might photographically migrate over here when I get back into photography. Photos remind me of how much I love my life, even when I feel like I don’t. They capture moments, phrases, emotions, temperatures, memories, fragments–there’s something so exceedingly personal about photographs, a kind of visual intimacy.

Sketchbook

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Found some digital copies of my 2013-2014 sketchbook for art class the other day; we’d be assigned to research different artists who’d inspired us, then creatively combine findings, thoughts, and critiques on their works.I’d write about Warhol, Otero, and Picasso, jumping from one art form to another–one week I’d cover satirical pop art, then self-portrait photography, then Cubist paintings:

Projects // Ideas

Inspired by The Journal of Disposable Thoughts, as well as alum who railed on about the importance of having passion projects…Some personal projects and ideas I’ve been toying around with:

1. A video project I’ve been meaning to do since June or July. I’d like to compile the video footage I took of life and strangers in China. Was inspired by WANDER IN VIETNAM, which I found on Vimeo last summer:

2. 100 Strangers Project. Haven’t updated in eons–I still talk to strangers and keep note of their stories, but I never get around to posting them. I’ve also felt averse to photography for the past few months and so that probably has something to do with it. When I have time, though, I’ll update the project…And, ideally, reach 60 strangers by the end of the year.

3. Last spring I thought of painting a series relating to It; this summer I thought about compiling a space where I could throw up everything about It. Like, oh, a digital timeline, the shortest one  you could imagine. Just a chronology of songs and art and quotes and notes-

But I only painted a rose and stopped there. The whole thing seemed, uh, unhealthy. And indulgent. But I guess that’s one excuse you can make for art and shitty feelings. Latter fuels the former….(Reminds me of a piece in Brain Pickings on artist Marina Abramovic’s Turning Trauma Into Power.)

How could I complete it? Well, I could paint Ophelia. And, oh, what else? Nail-biting-brainstorming. Most likely I’ll focus on filling up two more canvases and then just have a 3-piece series on the topic of It, which I’ll have to also give a better name later.

4. This, uh, photography project idea I’m contemplating doing. Won’t divulge details, it’s a little unnerving, and I wouldn’t know how to explain it to people who don’t understand (?) Still. There’s an odd allure to it. And there’s something inside of me that really wants to do this. Guess it amplifies/draws into question the relationship between the photographer, the camera, the subject… the nature of observing and capturing ‘moments’, huh.

5. Something to do with music, something to do with instruments. I could learn a piano duet piece to play with my friend. Usually he watches piano videos to learn songs, and I’ll play them by ear. But I think it’d be fun to learn new songs and to practice sheet-reading, something I haven’t done in months… and I miss the flow of making music. God, you know that moment when consuming music isn’t enough–you just have to produce it, too? Otherwise you might explode? It’s been a while since I’ve felt that towards any one song. But I can’t sit around waiting for musical muses. I’ll find one.

6. Sketch and paint the people in my life. Give people in my life said sketches. Last week I gave VS a painting of The Little Prince; on Friday, I gave my TA a comic-ified version of a poem. All summer I kept wondering: what do I do with my art, what do I do with my art? Well, I could give it to other people (…If they wanted it)

Day 18: Warning

[708 days ago I trekked] onwards, onwards, [towards] the lit-up skyline [and] water’s reflected orbs [towards] the lost-and-confusion-inducing water that, every so often, would ripple with fish

[and they] leapt like the one catfish back home, the massive, lonely catfish that hung out with the turtles–

warning! you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re so, so wrong 

[30 Day Writing Challenge

The Egg, by Andy Weir

A short story I read seven years ago that’s stuck with me since.


You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

Skeletal Dust

31

On the first day I said it was like opening a closet with monsters inside. Dancing skeletal monsters with joints that’d jingle and brush against each other when you dusted them. And I was here to do just that: dust the shit off of these monsters.

“Are you tired?”

Just unresponsive.

“What’re you thinking about?”

You. Then I hoped to God you were lying. Because as I lied there I was counting skeletons instead, ghostly remnants and coats of dust that’d jump out and say “BOO”, then run away crying.


My throat itched Wednesday so I wouldn’t be there Friday, I said. Were we too close? you asked. You asked me this repeatedly. Like the game “are you nervous” we’d play at age twelve with fingers itching up plaid skirts asking repeatedly: are you nervous, are you nervous?

Were we too close?

Consciously, no. Subconsciously, maybe yes. Maybe you were hanging out with the skeletons without me and maybe you understood them better than I did myself and maybe I was afraid of that.


You can come up with a million exit strategies and still take none. So in the beautiful weather I felt like shit. In 3, 2, 1…had moseyed our way into discomfort. In the end we laughed it off with bloodshot eyes and I walked away knowing I’d done it again, done it again, done it again.