Unexpected Gift

After seeing my laborious, painstaking film scanning set up, my boyfriend surprised me with a fancy Epson film photo scanner today. I told him not to, said I was perfectly fine with my setup, bragged about it a few times to convince him (mostly me) that it wasn’t an incredibly tedious process . Then I came home to the package in my home, massive and grey and labeled Epson. Oh my god, Epson–that Epson. The Epson. Epson is known for its scanners.

So now I am scanning my film. I spend class time scrolling through film, contemplate film, shoot film, look up film accounts before bedtime. It’s still photography–I can’t escape my love for it–but another type, per se. It’s like an obsessive streak I run headfirst into year after year. I plan to shoot film just to document life, for the love of it, the embedded nostalgia, so this Epson will be put to good (and long, ideally) use. I already have my chemicals and camera and film. And now I have a scanner, thanks to my kind and thoughtful beau.

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Crunchy

It feels good to have talked to my best friend

I know I’m really awful at texting and calling and checking in as much as I should

But it’s just really good to finally make that round and circle back to the ones I care about

It was nice to hear her voice

(And my laughs were hearty)

We spent five minutes on my description of crunchy old men

“I’m just so upset right now. Crunchy old men. Like. Their bones are crunchy? Or they would be crunchy?”

Some stressors were aired–

And I said my part (don’t want to do something? Don’t, haha!)

Just kind of ad libbing

(Personally I don’t like spending my time doing things I don’t want to do or being someone I’m not)

And let others reject you–don’t reject yourself first

(This is a big one in life, I think. I know I’m young, and the stakes weren’t all that high, though maybe they were. That is one nugget phrase that I would emphasize: don’t reject yourself first! Let others reject you.)

Anyways–

We gave an overview of the highlights, the lowlights

Of moodier days, moodier weeks

Of brighter people, heartwarming moments

Of cloudier times, knottier moments

I brought up how, right after we met each other, she left me eight missed phone calls and I avoided them all

We resolved to check in more regularly–once every three weeks

She joked that I would disappear and crumple under social obligation (“this isn’t supposed to be that”)

And yes, I have a tendency to hide, to burrow and burrow

“What’s the point of a best friend if they’re only there when you’re happy?”

That is true. And a recent study highlighted how we tend to go to close friends when we’re sad, and strangers when we’re happy.

We have always been comfortable and crazy, and I’m glad to have that person in my life–my best friend

Tiny Catharsis

after I left, I realized that, well, in this life, we may make money, we may be successful, but who the hell cares if we’re not with the people we love? that’s what matters in this life—the people we love. we’ll die like everyone else, maybe leave behind a scrapbook or a few digital albums, maybe end up on Reddit’s oldschoolcool if we’re lucky, but that’s it: we’ll be dust. but if we’re by the people we love, it makes our time existing a lot more bearable.

7/7/19, 9:56 AM

writing in my journal feels like wringing out some soggy towel of thoughts and airing my brain out in the sun.

Tonight

This is us, scream shouting 2000s hip hop into the 55 mph summer wind. Kanye, POWER. Pop, lock, and drop it. Yeah! Usher. Lose Control. Snoop Dogg. Soulja Boy.

This is me, remembering some obscure Kanye and Missy Elliot lyrics, swooshing my belly around in the passenger seat.

This is you, bewildered but hitting all the notes, reaching the much needed baritone.

This is me, tipsy on life again (and again).

This is you, parking ever so slightly behind the other driver’s open window so they don’t see our flailing arms, our bellowing songs.

This is me, this evening’s hip hop DJ, tasting the first minute of every song until the hype has subsided.

This is us. And this is summer. (Finally.)

Cocoa Butter Kisses

Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, new on Spotify, croons over the speakers. Cigarettes on cigarettes, my mama think I stank. And then a cloud of nostalgia envelops us both, summer hues of youth and stupidity. Me–I’m thinking of faces, cocoons, mixing purple, muggy sunsets, and cool friends (you were my cool friend). Him–probably a pop rocks memory type deal of bursting moments, but I don’t ask. It’s comforting to hear him sing to Chance. Their voices fill the car. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard Cocoa Butter Kisses, since it’s felt like anything.

Pause, Rewind

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“I wish I could pause time and moments like this without having to think about what’s next.”

Pause. The sun set. We were quiet. It felt like the moment when my friends and I were in Central Park, New York. We’d found a pond with ducks and turtles facing a castle in in the distance. So we sat on the rocks, quiet and contemplative, swimming in our own thoughts.

A blanket of peace descended upon us; I asked them what they were thinking. My friend said moments like this were rare. And maybe we wanted to achieve material success in life so we could buy intangible moments like this. Maybe we strived to make money, lots of it, so maybe we could buy peace, calm and happiness. But wait–no–that didn’t sound right.

Art Display

My art exhibit is up! And it’s the first public display I’ve ever done.

I remember my first “collection” display. It was a school one. We spent saturday and sunday mornings framing our pieces. At the show, on some school night, students and parents filed in, casual dress. I remember how I had staggered my pieces and how I ended up dissatisfied but how it was too late to change it. My works were okay, but the display didn’t look as good as I had hoped. I think a few people commented, but mostly people oohed and aahed at students on the other side of the room.

I didn’t really like the old ‘contemporary’ stuff I used to do. There were lots of bloody noses and whited out eyes, strange doodles and abstractions. I’d float around in photographic pieces. I embraced mental illnesses in my personal project. I loved psychology so much that I was blind to the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I’d look up various ailments, then attempt to embody them. That was in my larger work, the paintings and photographs.

I think the experimental part of my sketchbooks, angry and loud and messy, was still better than my more recent doodles. My art has gone downhill in the past few years. It’s mostly because I haven’t practiced art as much. Even so, I think I’ve been able to find steady footing in a more traditional, fine art style. I didn’t do landscape paintings much when I was younger; now I do. My portraits weren’t very hyperrealistic then; now, more are.

These works are more mainstream, probably frowned upon by contemporary art purveyors. But I’ll say it now and I’ll say it loud: contemporary art sucks. Yes, artist, you can paint large purple squares. We all can. This child can. This child is! But your artist’s name alone commands millions, so let’s just waste space, literal gallery space, on big yellow triangles. If you can’t tell, I am disgruntled at our current culture’s embracing of bad art. I don’t know how there is such a large disconnect between common-sensical taste and the scribble-loving highbrow gatekeepers of art culture.

I just saw the netflix film velvet buzzsaw. It got bad reviews from critics, probably because it was a huge satire on the critic industry. The laughed-at tropes were spot on. Spoiler alert! I mean, from the tormented emotional mentally unstable artist to the critic’s overly-big-words to the trash-as-art scene, it was too apt. A comedy and horror all rolled into one. Less fear and more suppressed giggles.

But ah, yes, back to the art. The real art, the real exhibit. This morning. A handful of people chatted with me about the art, their own lives and experiences. Do you teach? No. Are you selling? Er, yes. Is this your job? No. And then a woman and I sat down and talked about art and writing, and she showed me her photos.

I kind of miss having conversations with strangers in regards to random art-related things. I miss it a lot, actually. I’ve struck up so many conversations with strangers while holding a sketchbook or camera alone. It’s interesting how those tools of expression will spark up a comment, a friendly smile, a fullblown conversation. I’ve made friends by simply bringing sketchbooks to coffeeshops. There’s so much to learn from other people. I mean, it’s odd, but maybe not, that we don’t normally go around talking to random strangers. I enjoy it–maybe I will start to draw more in real life. Maybe I will meet people, and maybe I will not.

In the past 10 hours, somebody has left a voicemail. Another has left a comment on my wordpress saying the blog ads looked unprofessional. Well, sir, I’m a mere hobbyist who made the site two weeks before the display. My site isn’t really to sell–it’s just an online display. Ah, ads aside–it just makes me happy that my art is no longer sputtering dust in the closet (!!!)