Last Night (Five Months Ago)

I looked at a trash can strewn and crooked and swore it was art. Saw shadows fanning light and searched for the source. Thought how can this be? and how are we here? and I’m glad everything just is. I kept these things to myself until I realized, in steady sobriety, that this was reality, that this was the nighttime, that this was the glittering town spread beneath our legs, strands of hair spinning free, stories up above the ground, city sprawled beneath the bumper.

July 2017

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November 3rd, 2018 | Journal

I’ve been reading a lot in the past few days. Well, not a lot, but more than usual. I went through two historical graphic novels in two days and finished each one feeling shooketh. The first was about the Salem Witch Trials; it was an apology letter written by one of the accusers. Her parents had been after the victims’ property, and she and friends enjoyed the attention/power. So they writhed and accused and sent 24 people to their deaths during the Salem Witch Trials.

Another book I (just) finished was Persepolis. I’m beginning to lose track of the graphic novels set firmly in the 80’s and 90’s, all featuring revolutionary/Communist themes. There’s always Marx, always Lenin, occasionally Mao, always a grandmother or uncle who lived through it all; horrors of humanity and tragedy, tragedy, juxtaposed against cartoons. Cartoons! It makes for a wonderful memoir and good storytelling, because if these serious stories were set in thick books, they’d be less accessible.

I haven’t featured it much on here, but I’ve started a Project 365 for the year. Started it on a whim two weeks ago–we’ll see how long it lasts. Fingers crossed I’ll get through the year. I’m hoping that iPhone apps will make the organization process a lot easier. I stumbled upon an old binder of my 2013 Project 365, where I wrote long rambly blog entries next to the daily photos. Entries like those were reminders of an objectively happy time, even if I was subjectively mired in dissatisfaction. I miss aspects here and there, but only some. The photos were lovely, though. But now I’m too lazy to use my DSLR and edit my images as I used to. These iPhone apps slap on filters and descriptions in milliseconds.

I used to write those entries on Tumblr, which housed at least eight blogs. It got deleted last year. In 2016, I migrated to WordPress, you, here, and made a pseudo-portfolio, but then felt embarrassed when people I knew read anything. It is so strange how it’s easier to feel the eyeballs of a stranger on art/writing than a known person. I do not write here the way I wrote on Tumblr, which was messy, casual, slipshod, daily. Microblogging nuggets of thought, utterly mundane.

Should I post my Project 365 entries on here? Or are they too personal, and would that be spreading myself too thin? Or would it not hurt to also post them? Hm.

Weekend Roadtrip: Day 1 | Photo Diary

 

 

After a few heavyish days of work, I welcomed our Halloween weekend roadtrip with open arms.

We exited the city. Urban sights. Buildings, lanky; cars, cranky.

Traffic was awful on the way out. Extended the trip by an hour and a half. Slow eighteen-wheelers formed blocks on the 2 highway roads. The occasional snaking did little, if anything, and we found ourselves behind the same squarish white vehicle humming along at 75 mph. After an hour, we exited onto winding country roads dotted with ‘cow orchards.’

 

A horse, I pointed. Those are cows, he said.

Indie alternative playlist, light and happy. The sun beat down on the right side of the car, which I happened to be sitting on. I’d decided to wear a long sleeve sweater: this was a mistake. But eventually I propped up the window cover, and slung it over a hook.

We stopped for kolaches. I changed into a floral tank in the car. We ordered danish ‘kolaches’ with jelly-filled centers and the typical pigs-in-a-blanket. I got a mid-sized one as big as my face and munched on that as we returned to driving.

Shot with NOMO INS W.

In time, the sun set. Violently pretty, I wrote on IG Stories. We cruised along a wider highway, making our way down the road. Red-pink, orange-yellow, white-blue sky. Sky line silhouettes. We exited onto a long road of tolls.

Falling darkness. Falling parts out of the angry aggressive truck beside us.

Toll flash. Toll flash. Toll flash. Toll flash.

“Nine tolls so far.”

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Around 8:30, we stopped by a nearby BBQ hut dimly lit by the side of the road. A fake horse stood in front. We circled around the farm-like place, unable to find the entrance. Plumes of BBQ-esque smoke hung in the lot. We found the entrance. Inside were wooden seats; above, the decorative remains of a bony animal.

We reached our destination. To wrap the night up, we finished the BBQ and watched a few episodes of Haunting of Hill House, snuggled beneath the throw.

Art Hub

I don’t feel much in the summer, not as much as I do in the winter. There’s something about the onslaught of cold—the onslaught of nostalgia, the wave of emotion, of icy blustery wintry reflection.

It’s barely Halloween and I’m ready for Christmas. We’ll have lights, I’ve decided. Rainbow lights. A tree, spindly and green. A tree, plastic evergreen, our first in years.

Cold and rain joined forces today. Yesterday was another story. It was hot and muggy and I greeted an old friend SC with a head glazed in sweat. MT had invited me to an arts festival that reminded me of small alternative spaces in Austin, New York, Philadelphia.

It brimmed with people, people with colored hair dyed bright angry neon. People with nose rings, with tattoos, with large dark eyes under heavy-rimmed glasses. Artwork lined the tables. You are so talented, I tell an artist after skimming through her comic book. Doodles. Paintings. Prints. Bags. Comics. Film. I feel guilty looking at their art and not buying it.

It made think of Philly’s first Fridays, where all galleries opened their doors and artists lined the summery streets, their work on display. And New York, but more likely every day of the week. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, basked in it, until I was surrounded by it again.

Reflections

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Now you can say you’ve had Vietnamese butter barbecue.

Seafood sizzles on the family-style butter doused griddle. Hot pockets of grease bubble onto my wrist as I turn the onions. My best friend gingerly puts the salmon on its side, browning slowly, as I stab a squid into the griddle. Ssssss.

We sit in silence. I contemplate the comfort of home, a home, of my best friend’s home, where I feel free to be myself and accepted for who I am. Her parents’ eyes still bug out each time they peer over and I’m there, in the backseat, unannounced for the 10th time, spacing out. They gasp.

Over the cash register we order our three cups of gelati, Italian ice combined with vanilla ice cream. The sun sets behind us as we stand by the parlor, eating quietly, plastic spoons scraping against blue paper cups. How do you reconcile a disliking of people with the desire to help them? By cognitively differentiating between patient and stranger. So are you still having a spat? Yes, but it’s not personal.

disposable film 35mm photography

This might be the last best friend sleepover in a while. The fact that I’m done is slowly sinking in–emphasis on slowly. It’s coming in bits and pieces, waves and wrinkles, unraveling, unraveling.

Months ago, the ‘future’ seemed muggy and incoherent. I could barely see past the next five, ten, fifteen years. Now, the ‘future’ has solidified into something uncomfortably rigid, and if I really wanted to, really wanted to, maybe I could look past the next thirty or forty years. Life will life, but the least I can do is plan.

May 2018

Cali

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Slow swaying palm trees–rugged rocks ashore– cliches washed up on the dense fog of memory–

I’m skipping around humming the outdated song by Katy Perry, California Girls, which we’d blast and sing to at 13. Ah–many moments of fleeting teenagedom, of drive-through Sonic runs and post-pool walks to the movie theatre, were to the soundtrack of Katy Perry. It was freedom when freedom was at arm’s length.

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San Diego DSLR 032

That I’m revisiting my photos from California and humming a song about it is likely no coincidence. The current revisited album is called ‘filmed up and shit,’ because I’m doing the Photoshop version of Hujifilm and fake-filming it because I’m so in love with the aesthetic (but can’t go back to retake pictures).

We’d gone to San Diego, shouldered by mountains, snaked through by tortuous roads. Precarious, precarious. I’d been alarmed by the sheer flatness of Houston, then the rockyish heights of San Diego. This is La Jolla beach, pronounced la ho-ya, not la-jo-lla. And this is the seaside. 

I’d brought Steinbeck because that was the book I was nursing at the time. The book was about the West, I think, a trip West to California. The timing was apt.

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After days basking in a weather too cool for swimming and too warm for sweating, we took the continental train–Amtrak?– to Los Angeles. Hollywood, or, in Bojack’s world, Hollywoo. Disneyland. Warner Bros. The set of Friends. The set of Ellen. The set of Harry Potter. More Harry Potter. Beige walls and show sign plaques and red lights “do not enter, show in progress.”

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In a few months, I’ll be going back to Cali, this time a lot less grumpy than the first time around (hopefully). Even though I’ve just begun to relish staying put, a part of me itches to move, travel, sightsee. Mostly to photograph, honestly. Until then, I’ll simply continue to photographically revisit these cities– and memories!