Scramble

feb 3

Five unpublished drafts later, here I am. 1:18 PM. On the cusp of one phase of life, toppling headfirst in the next. Still mentally wrapping my head around the past month, the past week, the past year. Jostling, jostling. The nerve of productivity. The confusion of comfort.

Work training in a few, this time in a different ‘arena’ than the one I’d previously been dabbling in. I think I’ll be juggling my focuses this next year or so. Most likely. I won’t be focusing on this nearly as much. There’s another focus. A broader one. One that’s weirdly intimidating but also weirdly not.

My brain’s a little fried. Sluggish. Maybe it’s the warmth. Or people’s slow walking pace. Or going from one mentality to the next. Or switching goals rapid-fire. I’ve been feeling extraordinarily sensitive to pressure–even in the most minute amounts. Maybe it had something to do with the past week. The past year, on the whole, was laid-back. I’m not so sure about this next one. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not going to burst a vessel for anything.

None of this probably makes any sense. I’m struggling to put together coherent thoughts into coherent sentences, but the former is lacking, and now, too, is the latter. (I wonder if I use too many commas.)

I’ve also been falling behind on my daily art project. I’m making compensatory pieces, semi-cheating, but oh well. I don’t know how else to catch up at the moment. I usually post pieces from a week prior, but my entire schedule was overturned the past week. It was all this past week! And suddenly I’m scrambling to put the pieces together.

Contemplating getting back into film photography. It’s a lot less daunting than DSLR digital photography. Maybe I’ll do it to regain a sense of aesthetics, something like that. In the meantime, I’ll finish up my daily art posts, get all caught up, and perhaps go back to posting daily. That seemed to keep me on track. But I’ll decide on that later.

Off to work training. Wish me luck on unscrambling my head.

Advertisements

Illest

14498380100_40625becb8_o

Chugging away, chugging through this cold.

For five days I spend a good portion of time letting this virus wreak tiny havoc. I contemplate the existential purpose of a virus. It is neither living nor dead. Yet it infects and infiltrates the living; it tries to destroy the organism. It’s senseless. It’s sci-fi! The virus has endured and evolved over centuries, spreading from organism to organism, goading the white blood cells to arm themselves and fight (until they can’t). Where is the virus from, and why–aside from hurting the living–does it exist?

I’ve been recovering from this cold among some smattering of good news. Things are looking up, aren’t they? Finishing one segment of life, skirting towards the next. But things are moving so quickly. Just as I’m stepping from one bubble, I’m quickly entering another similar one, thin tissues in hand. I’d begun to find the city so overwhelming at the tail-end of my stay. But I know that I need a certain amount of stimulation to not feel endlessly bored.

I feel like my brain’s still processing everything–everything that’s passed, everything to come.

Heart

2016-01-30_1454197656.jpg

SO you take it upon yourself to judge the content of someone’s heart without ever having the chance to rip open a chest to peer inside. Instead you look at the way their arms flail or their facial expression, the way they extend a hand or recoil in fear. On a bench or through a friend of a friend, you decide on which adjectives you’ll use to describe this heart.

You decide that:

the heart is open, the heart is cold, the heart is kind, the heart is distant, the heart is hardened, the heart is shut-off, the heart is readable, the heart is murky, the heart is big. The heart is stony. The heart is a million things except for what it simply is: a heart.

It never occurs to you that: maybe we’re all just wasting our time trying to superimpose these value judgments on an organ. But that doesn’t stop us.

Newly Minted Ivy League Grads

Minted, as if we’re coins. As if the past fours years we’ve been scrubbed and shone to symbolic-degree perfection. Crisp round edges, raised metallic designs. We made it. We did it. We crossed the stage in cold and rain, click-clacking our way to the rest of our lives.

And just like that…I’ve just graduated from an Ivy League university.

This was my dream school; seven years ago, I stepped on the campus and fell in love. When you ask people when or how they fell in love, they’ll try to pinpoint an exact moment, a phrase, a time. The truth is, we don’t always know exactly when and how we went about falling in love: it just happened.

And there’s something very, very surreal about realizing that god, not only did I make it here, I’ve made it out as well. I crossed the stage, beaming and shivering. I watched our charismatic president, “with the authority invested in me–“, confer our degrees. I moved the tassel with friends I made first semester freshman year, from the right side to the left.

I know I’ll miss it all–the professors, the classes, the city, the campus, the (hopefully) life-long friends I’ve made. But I’m not ready to be gung-ho full-blown sentimental yet, not ready for it all to sink in. It’s hard to separate them from one another–gratitude, joy, relief, sadness, exhaustion, determination, bittersweetness. In the sink of swirling emotions, I’ve yanked up the plug, to let it all sit until I’m ready to drain and feel everything to its utmost.

City

The city is tired, the city is alive. The city is moving, the city lies still. A stop motion. A slow motion. When the light turns green I cross anyway, counting down the milliseconds, swiveling my sight in circles.

The city, from far away, sparkles and sprinkles and glitters and glows. Juxtapositions sit at every street corner. The homeless slump by the chatty elite, carry cardboard signs by their fine wine glasses. Angry bright lights glare. Still cold lampposts hang. I play the streets by ear, following the crowd, hoping to god that I’m moving southeast, not north.

The city overwhelms. Screams, honks, turns right because it’s right on red. Showers rain like a garden hose lite, like a childhood treat on summery southern days. Spinning and laughing in a one-piece, now cold and shuddering in jorts, jean shorts.

The city is zha. A mess. Tight cold fear plus high strung steps. I quicken my pace as the alleyways add up and it’s no longer hipster city. I hear there are Cambodian gangs by sixth and that it ain’t pretty up North but in the South it’s just fine. Just fine. Except at home, I whisper–like it’s a curse word and I’m a clean-mouthed spiritual believer–this would be the ghetto.

The city houses nail salon after nail salon. Our nail salon’s next to the gas station. Open doors. First breeze of summer wafts in. A woman with acrylic stuck in her nail drifts in, “you can remove this?” You don’t want new nails? A new coat? “Nah, just get rid of this.” Five minutes later she leaves muttering under her breath because she doesn’t want to soak them-she wants to rip them off.

The city is gritty, the city is loud, the city is terrifying, the city is striking, the city is cold. I skip down the steps to the train, slot in my coins, smile at the receiver who seems unusually patient and friendly. I pace my way back and forth as I wait stonily for the trolley.

The city is a million breaths at once, all breathing, breathing, breathing. And I’m afraid–once in love, but now just afraid.

Reflections

edd4af17-1c60-4f4c-a838-77766f6d890d

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. I chirp hello.

Over the cash register we order our three cups of gelati, Italian ice combined with vanilla ice cream. It’s a dessert-y paradise. Sweet, light pineapple ice combined with rich and creamy vanilla bean. 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 with undergraduate is slowly sinking in–emphasis on slowly. It’s coming in bits and pieces, waves and wrinkles, unraveling, unraveling. All I’ve been able to think about, day and night, is this path forward, the one beyond undergraduate life. I wake up thinking about it, think about it during the day, go to bed thinking about it, sleep while thinking about it. Repeat. I think of how fiercely I admire those in this field, then dream of mentors.

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.

Yesterday, I took my final test; today, I turned in my final essay (which really wasn’t a final essay, just some bullshit revised version of something I’d written months ago). I don’t want to say I coasted the past few years, but I did–I cruised along at one of the nation’s top uni’s, did well academically, interned each summer, managed my relationships, went on trips and vacations, and was, overall, fairly healthy and happy. I walked in, relatively lost and confused, ready to leave and never turn back. I’ll return, this time with dogged determination, goals, a handful of good people in my life, and renewed appreciation for what I’d taken for granted.

So there’s no use in looking back and lamenting what other routes I could have taken. I took the one I did, and it’s led me to where I am now. All I can do is look ahead, and barrel on forwards.

Pursuit of Handlettering | Daily Art

Swoops, dips, presses: calligraphy’s a precarious dance between ink and brush control. Recently, I’ve been toying with watercolor calligraphy, handlettering with paint instead of ink. The past week of Daily Art pieces was spent experimenting with styles, sizes and fonts.

april 23 and 24

4.22| Daily Art

With a stiffer, thinner brush and concentrated watercolors, I’ve been able to produce cleaner and brighter texts:

april-22.jpg

4.23 & 4.24| Daily Art

It’s had a recent resurgence in popularity over the past year, littering blogs and IG. Inspired by style, curious about the form, I got a calligraphy pen last summer, black tip marker from the local crafts store with the inspirational quote notebooks and books on minute physics.

So I took a stab–metaphorically and literally–at handlettering. The letters turned out a bit  uneven. And it was hard to get clean edges, at least on white paper. Part of it had to do with my wobbly hand, but the marker itself also wasn’t terribly ink-y, so it’d lose ink halfway. (I’d also use the marker to sketch cartoon-esque portraits)

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 10.18.17 AM

 

 

4.25 & 4.26 | Daily Art

I tried using watercolor brushes for both the handlettering and designs, but the text ended up looking bubbly instead of sharp, childish instead of sophisticated. This, in part, had to do with the actual brushes I was using–the brush hair wasn’t stiff enough, so it didn’t hold the paint well enough to create the crisp edges I was going for.

calligraphy

In contrast, I’ve been using a thinner, finer brush as of late, which makes a pretty huge difference. Personally, I prefer the more recent brush (first two sketches) versus the earlier ones.

april 29

4.27 & 4.28 | Daily Art

I’d like to practice more, and I was thinking of handlettering blog names on WordPress. If you’d like for me to paint your blog name/url, feel free to either contact me or comment below, with the name of your blog and your favorite color. 🙂