holding on & letting go
holding on & letting go
The start of March involved dodging snow storms, hurtling myself into the sky into luck and sunshine to the sound of cicadas in the backyard.
For a week, I vowed not to check my email, so I didn’t. I vowed not to touch any assignments, which I didn’t. I vowed not to work, which I didn’t. Which meant that I missed a couple o’ things… and wrote a 10 page paper the evening it was due… and was clueless for two days. It’s okay, though, having a break entirely free of responsibilities was worth it.
I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe it’s the end of March already. It’s…absurd. Time is absurd. Days are flying. Whiplash.
I feel simultaneously restless and tired. Like a bird that likes flapping her wings, but every time she flaps too far, she flaps right back.
And we’re all little birds, flying and flapping and flapping and flying.
Soon, many of these other little birds will be flapping their wings to God-knows-where. They’ll be too spread out for it to even matter.
I don’t see the point of flying somewhere strange, towards some foggy lull of a dream.
3.1.18 | Daily Art
Roses, sunflowers, peonies, tulips! The flowers are blooming (much to my allergies’ dismay). Smattering of blossoms, confetti of pollen, awakening from winter–
I really do love Spring, if it just weren’t for the sudden eruption of itchy eyes and runny noses. Otherwise, I welcome the sunshine and flowers and clean blue skies, breezy clichés of perfect picnic weather.
3.2, 3.3, and 3.4.18 | Daily Art
I was looking for some old posts earlier today and realized what a deluge of one-two-three sentence art posts I’ve been throwing up lately. Like, these tight-lipped, brief posts, which are so…sparse compared to before. I did initially start a blog to write….but it’s sort of evolved as an online outlet for whatever creative tornado hijacks over.
Has it been writer’s…block? Laziness? The need for a…break? Maybe a combination of all three.
3.5, 3.6, and 3.7.18 | Daily Art
In the sticky hot summers of childhood, we’d return from Friday trips to frozen tubed popsicles, sprawl out under the tree and tear at them.
We’d wear our light blue shirts and jean shorts and go all sorts of places. Like the pizza buffet with the globby cinnamon buns, or nickel-arcade with the Austin Powers game, or the mall, where we’d be chaperoned by older children paying to be there (which I always found ironic…)
Chocolate sundaes–like the one above–played a less nostalgic role in my life; I think I’d only just had my first a few years ago. (And then a few days ago) I welcomed the treat anyways.
3.8.18 | Daily Art
The view provokes a whole slew of memories. Piña coladas swimming in rum. Wild striped beach cats. Sand like velvet grains seeping through our toes, and our sleepy sleepy eyes, determined to watch the sun rise.
3.9.18 | Daily Art
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Grudges are remarkably resilient things.
As are resentment, bitterness, and all of anger’s cousins. They’re the little creatures you hold inside, the red rectangular ones (Inside Out, anyone?), who wreak havoc and throw shit at fans. They stew and stew and stew. They simmer. Time presses onwards, like hardening cement, spinning amalgamation of u g l i n e s s.
It’s better for them to be expressed than repressed, I think. Let it out!…or let it go. (With a great deal of patience, I imagine) And of course, that is easier said than done.
3.12.18 | Daily Art
New addition to the sketchbook family! An illustration of the lovely little sketchbook my boyfriend sent me. It’s a Traveler’s journal, handles a bit of water okay (as per Amazon comments).
3.14.18 | Daily Art
Jets of ink in water. Or swimming pigment. Or close-ups of microbes. Maybe a microscopic view. Or a macroscopic view. Maybe a scared baby octopus. Or an artist’s proteus mirabilis.
I’m curious. What do these look like to you?
3.15.18 | Daily Art
Popped by the newsroom on a quiet Friday afternoon. It’s changed a lot in the past few years. It’s brighter, now. Warmer. It used to be grey and cold and clique-y. Not anymore.
For a little while, I sat on one of the couches, wary of braving the cold again.
3.16.18 | Daily Art
Last weekend I saw some friends and visited a historic prison. Crumbling historic walls, home to a stew of unsettled souls.
3.17.18 | Daily Art
Today, I hung out with friends, and we watched an episode and a half of Altered Carbon. It’s a Netflix show about a dystopian futuristic society in which people, once deceased, come back to life in human “sleeves.” It’s pretty intense. We cooked steak and potatoes and asparagus, a tiny “tradition” we’ve kept up with for the past few years, and paired it with wine. Here’s to wine nights with good food and good company.
3.18.19 & 3.19.18 | Daily Art
Random doodles in experimental journalism, a class I’m taking on non-fiction writing. I’d write something honest about it, except I don’t…feel much like it. But basically, these are the people who happened to be in my midst today, and so I thought to sketch them out, as I often do when I’m bored.
3.20.18 | Daily Art
With eyes like butterflies.
3.21.18| Daily Art
God’s Plan – Drake
Instead of doing the work I was supposed to in the library, I watched videos of Drake’s Plan, instead. Absolutely adorable. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you do.
3.22 & 3.23| Daily Art
I’m like, hey, what’s up, hello?
3.25 and 3.26 | Daily Art
Vanity stumbles, sheer veneer. It’s hard to be authentic when you don’t know, exactly, what it means.
3.27.18 | Daily Art
3.28.18 | Daily Art
The streets of D.C are wider, quieter, flatter, cleaner. D.C isn’t as frantic as New York. Or as gritty as Philly. Or as schizophrenic as Austin. There’s something immaculate about D.C., instead, something steely and modern and calm.
From up here, I watch the slow scenes of the city unfold. Cars whizz by, colorful legos beneath our legs. Human beans cross the crosswalks, Beatles-style, almost in slo-mo. Lotion pink berries bloom in angry succession.
3.29.18 | Daily Art
There’s a distinct vibe to the D.C metro, clash of smells and sights and sounds. Smell of metros, musk. Row of escalators, steep. Metro-card, bendy and flappy. Gripped tightly in my palm, lest I accidentally drop it–it’s our way out, this card.
We’re encircled by large beige arches. I’m constantly reminded: we are in a giant tunnel.
3.30.18 | Daily Art
I’ve compiled all of my daily art entries from February, a month that fled by.
For the first few days of February, I spent it at my best friend’s place, where we cheered the Eagles at the Superbowl on.
Later, we went to a club, where there was free beer and loud music and familiar faces, where people aggressively pushed and shoved for free fries. And over the weekend, we went to her little cousin’s birthday party, where the girls–gangly and tall and awkward and weird and silly and uninhibited–crowded around, then lost, the hamster.
And during the Super Bowl, we prepared dinner from scratch: buffalo wild wings, garlic bread, mac & cheese (all from scratch, too). We stayed up until 2 in the morning talking about our lives, ourselves, our friendship, our relationships, The Bachelor.
In addition to all of that, I painted, read, ate, prepared food, talked on the phone, watched the Superbowl, and relaxed. All of this was done in PJs. It felt like a proper break, like the ones they issue in school every season, a designated time frame for rest.
Collecting your jar of hearts
2.1.18| Daily Art
Alone we traveled armed
With nothing but a shadow
We fled, far away
Hold your horses now (Sleep until the sun goes down)
Through the woods we ran
(Deep into the mountain sound)
– Of Monsters and Men
2.2.18| Daily Art
Halp, there are flowers sprouting from my scalp.
2.3.18| Daily Art
Only time and impish impatience. Scuttles around eyeing the hands of time—move faster. Sludge, drudge, space that warps—move faster. Built-in distractions, like tea, pasta, zombie—move faster. I egg on time, lament time, tickle time, ignore time—time, you tease, move faster.
2.4.18| Daily Art
Little Corgi pup, little Corgi ruff.
There’s just something about their big fluffy ears and low-hanging tummies and heart-shaped booties that make them so endearing, you know?
2.5.18| Daily Art
Wrote a news article about an organization discussing Greek organizations. The interesting part was that half the room was made up sorority girls who seemed like sorority girls, to be honest, and openly criticized fraternities but defended sororities. Not all that surprising–I just didn’t expect there to be such a Greek life representative turn-out. It made for a more balanced article, I think, or at least made it easier to give a balanced perspective.
2.7.18 & 2.8| Daily Art
Trope-like perfection, emanating an idea.
2.9.18 & 2.10| Daily Art
Sometimes the sight of lines and crowds of faces buried in their phones seems satirical, like some art piece critiquing the future’s “apparent lack of human connection,” etc. Eyes glued to screens, small rectangles in our hands, community of disconnect. Such Futuristic! Satirical! Commentary! Except it isn’t. It’s just reality, and it’s now, and it isn’t satire–it’s just me changing the song on Spotify and responding to my BFFFFFFL on Messenger and posting this onto Instagram.
2.11.18| Daily Art
The Love Issue: an illustration I did for a publication article on love unrequited.
2.12.18| Daily Art
Meme Kings, Political Duo
In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to photograph both Obama & Biden–political duo, meme kings, best friends, and the 44th Vice President and President of the US. 🙂
(Missin’ you both)
2.15 & 2.16.18 | Daily Art
Half circle with the line in-between, ON. I pressed on. Greeting Mac chords. Blank screensaver with nothing but a spinning globe. Command-R. Nothing. For the seventh time.
Earlier, at 1 in the morning, I’d reset my computer, erased all the data, unwittingly unlocked myself out of the Wifi. Then I couldn’t access anything on my computer. Couldn’t reboot, erase, or properly reset it.
It wasn’t all for naught. A few days without my laptop was…beneficial, I think. So much of my time gets sucked into the laptop, convenient and always-at-hand, that I seldom realize how much of it could be used for other activities (like reading or drawing).
In the end, I took it to the Mac store, where the Mac guy, Ian, fixed it in ten minutes. (Luckily, I’d already backed everything up!)
2.17.18 | Daily Art
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve devoured books. Found the nearest library in my neighborhood, stocked up on books, lugged them home, then read myself to near-blindness.
It’s a little different in a university setting.
“Cool, what class is this for?” the student-librarian asked.
“Oh, I was just bored.” I said, sheepish, “just being nerdy.”
And working towards my elusive goal of reading 100 Books.
2.18.18 | Daily Art
The sun peeked out from over the clouds and the sky dolled herself up, brushed herself blue, and the wind felt sing-songy, hummed us a lil’ tune. For a day, it was warm!–it was spring! I watched a squirrel build its tree nest.
2.19.18 | Daily Art
God Save Our Young Blood. Crooning duo, autotune melodies: this new song by Lana and BØRNS has been stuck in my head.
2.20.18 | Daily Art
I love being able to roam around the city by foot, by train, by bus, by plane.
2.21.18 | Daily Art
The background reminds me of one large watery bruise.
got bruises on my knees for you, got grass stains on my knees for you, got holes in my new jeans for you, got pink and black and blue
2.22.18 | Daily Art
Prickly in pink!
2.23.18 | Daily Art
Meow. Saturday night shenanigans. It’s only our third weekend out (third? maybe fourth), the three of us, but maybe we could make a habit out of this. Dinner, then drinks, and smattering of randomness in between.
We’re talking silly random shit over cards. I’m sipping my Taro boba (this Taro, I told them, gives me life).
“You remind me of a cat,” my friend said, “just the way you act sometimes.”
My other friend chimed in in agreement.
I looked up, then did the human equivalent of purring in pleasure. I can’t tell you how flattering it is to be compared to cats.
2.24.18 | Daily Art
Did you know that fish can become depressed? We often relegate fish to the bottom of the mood-humanity scale, chucking them as the in-between of insects and sentient creatures. But fish do have moods. And you can tell based on where, in a tank, they’re swimming.
Picture a half-mark line in a tank. If the fishies are swimming above the line, swerving in and out, and seeming active, they’re likely happy. But if they’re always hovering near the bottom of a tank, they might just be depressed.
2.25.18 | Daily Art
Front page illustration (my first!) for a magazine.
2.26.18 & 2.27.18 | Daily Art
Here: a roundup of all my daily art entries for the month! From cotton candy skies to landscape doodles to opinion pieces nobody asked for, this month’s pieces reflect this month’s day-to-day. I rejoined the news writing and photography team at the newspaper–I joined illustration (!) I tried wine & cheese, done properly, for the first time.
I spent the first three weeks of January bumbling around, meeting new people and seeing old friends, etc. Being social in the busy bee talkative-as-ever way. I had no qualms calling up complete strangers I’d added only five minutes prior on FB (which I momentarily activated just for this phone call, where I hunted down strangers) for an interview.
And I didn’t mind step-dancing around and laughing and joking with strangers. Or going to friends’ houses or making new friends at birthday dinners or chatting up on politics with more strangers at debates. Or, in other words, doing extraverted and chatty and exhaustive things.
I mean, the exhausting part caught up within a few weeks–the familiar intense urge to hide-out to come over me. So I retreated into my cozy introverty den, a warm shell carved out for occasions just like this. A space to recharge, recharge, recharge.
At eleven I was enamored by sunsets—wash of pinkish orange, streaks of yellow, fading violet in the sky. The byproduct of our pollution, I read somewhere. Happy-go-lucky as ever, I found the silver lining: look at how beautiful human destruction can be.
1.1.18 | Daily Art
Cotton candy skies. That’s what the Youtube tutorial was called, at least, but my clouds look less like cotton candy and more like chewed-up Skittles hovering above spilled berry juice.
1.2.18 | Daily Art
A sky full of stars….
1.3.18 | Daily Art
Chorizo empanadas. Broken bulbs. James Dean. Frayed posters. Home theatre. Vanilla milkshake. Bundt cakes. Tush shakes. Awkward Juans (ones).
1.4.18 | Daily Art
During the day we went to the mall, chowed down on the savory and sweet. At Paciugo, I mixed Coconut gelato with Fruity Tutti for a light, beachy taste, sweet and tangy. I kept imagining the store would one day market the stellar combination, serve it to vacation-going gelato aficionados.
Afterwards we meandered around, stopping by the fountain, a restaurant, a bohemian overpriced home-and-dress shop. The handmade soaps store, less crowded, seemed smaller.
In the afternoon we split a shaved ice milk tea. Initially, it tasted like cold sand that’d melt into your mouth and turn into watery milk ice cream. The owner plucked in an ice cream fish, a sweet pastry stuffed with vanilla ice cream. On the house, she chirped.
Afterwards, we ate dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, where we sat across a massive fake tree and by long tables of families and co-workers. I finished my meal off with a strawberry daiquiri, texted several belated thanks, and cozied up at home.
1.5.18 | Daily Art
1.6.18 | Daily Art
Everybody wants to be a cat!…cause a cat is a cat who knows where he’s at.
When I was four I memorized the lyrics to the song Cats and creeped around singing it at the top of my lungs.
1.7.18 | Daily Art
Home. A lot less metropolitan than this painting would lead you to think. Quieter, too. Sweet, occasionally suffocating, suburbia. To be honest, it wasn’t until I left home that I realized all the things to do and places to go there were. The neighborhoods, niche cafes, art, museums, pockets of entertainment.
1.8.18| Daily Art
Purpley non-depiction of my surroundings. It’d snowed the day before. By the time I returned, there were layers and lumps of unmelted snow outside, piles muddied with dirt.
1.9.18| Daily Art
Branching leaves, creeping tendrils, wash of blue ivy.
1.10.18| Daily Art
As I took this photo (reference) with its snaking telephone wires and pointed cathedral towers and cyan blue skies, I thought to myself: I am happy to be here.
1.11.18| Daily Art
Quick snapshots of the walkway.
1.12.18| Daily Art
At the art museum, which I’ve wanted to visit for years, we passed by a few Degas works, angry charcoal sketches of ballerina dancers, juxtaposed against the many Renoirs littering the place. Renoir’s style was pasty and smooth, countless pastelly depictions of all-American blue-eyed little girls in blouses by the sea. Degas, on the other hand, had a fervent, loose and expressive style. I found myself sailing back to the previous rooms to get a better look at Degas.
Other things I noticed about the artists in the collection: Picasso’s earlier works, from his 20’s, were smooth and realistic–it wasn’t until much later that his pieces devolved into abstractions and shapes, none of which impressed 5 year old me. Van Gogh’s style’s similar to Degas–raw and vivid.’ Matisse’s work, although done in oil, looked watered down, almost acrylic; many of Matisse’s figures had eyes that bugged out and lined eyebrows.
The night before,
SG dragged me out I’d gone to take a mini-lesson in Latin and Ballroom dancing. It was surprisingly fun, a lot of basic rhythm and stamping around in the right direction. So consider this charcoal painting of a dancer an attempt at conveying both the art museum (Degas!) and the dance event.
1.13.18| Daily Art
Warmer days, warmer days. I’m dreaming of warmer days.
On an unrelated note, it’s National Squirrel Appreciation Day! Feed a local squirrel.
1.14.18| Daily Art
It’s been about a year since I’ve done photojournalism, picked up an assignment at the newspaper. So it felt like relief/excitement/exhilaration (or all!) to photograph tonight’s candlelight vigil. I tag-teamed the assignment with JS, another Associate Photo Editor from way back in the day. Got to know the new editors a bit better, too, and when we pulled up Notes to write a caption, the last post had been mine–written in November 2015!
All of this is just one convoluted way of saying: it feels good to be photographing again, and to be at the newspaper.
1.15.18 | Daily Art
Belladonna–a poison women used to dot in their eyes to make their pupils look wider, so they’d appear more attractive.
1.16.18| Daily Art
First newspaper illustration!
Guess who’s illustrating at the newspaper? -raises fork- I’ve always wanted to draw for the newspaper but never got around to applying. An art project mention (from a friend, a past associate editor!) and design editor-meeting later, I’m finally illustrating for the paper!
1.17.18| Daily Art
1) perfectly golden brown
triple stacked grilled
2) water fountains that dispel water that isn’t
metallicy or tap watery but is
instead, properly filtered
and clear (not like the cosmetic brand, more like
the way water should be)
3) best friends who, 4 years prior, demanded
commitment–not a monday, wednesday
friendship, okay? but, like, Friendship
like 8 missed calls Friendship–and with whom you vibe with because
1.18.18| Daily Art
Rosé all day–
Wine, meats, toast and cheeses, set out neatly on a beige platter. Plate of strawberries and macarons on the side. Not from the upscale fine-dining restaurant downtown, but from CL’s apartment–that’s right, she set this up herself (!)
1.19.18| Daily Art
1.20.18| Daily Art
I’m usually not superstitious, but a handful of eerily accurate fortune cookies in 2014 convinced me the cookies were onto something.
But–and this was the caveat– they were only accurate when the lady with the short hair and ringing voice and glasses handed them to us.
In the years since, I’ve visited the restaurant a lot less, cracked fewer fortune cookies. I stopped by recently and the waiter threw in an extra one, the one at the bottom. Not the same lady as the one from 2014, so I don’t ascribe the same fortune-ess powers, but who knows?
Maybe a new voyage will fill my life with untold memories.
1.21.18| Daily Art
That’s just the wave…
1.24.18| Daily Art
I wrote an article on an event going on in this grand Hogwartsy room, with its arched walls and vaulted ceilings. I thought about sketching out the event, but the setting–decorative, grand, Harry Potterish–really made it, I think.
1.25.18| Daily Art
The idea of the city as bustling and alive and empty and slow stemmed from a 5th grade school teacher, Mr. David, who was was wiry and tall, with edges like a bendy metal ruler. He spoke dreamily about urban paradoxes and told us—wee 10 yr olds—not to fuck with ouji boards.
1.26.18| Daily Art
1.29.18| Daily Art
Every few months, I’ll get the itch to lop off some hair. Sometimes it’ll starts to feel a little long. Or heavy. Or unhealthy, splits-endy, riddled with brassy blonde forks. Or, as in the case of 2016, my hair dryer will simply break in the middle of February, coldest time of year, and I’ll be too lazy to buy a new one, so I’ll cut off my hair instead.
This time, though, it just spun too many times when I bunn’ed it over my head. The ends felt speckled and dry and fried, probably from all the hydrogen peroxide I doused it in over the summer. It just felt weird. Too long. Too light. Too dry. So I cut off four inches–a pretty moderate snip, if you know me.
Last time, I went overboard, chopped off a layer so short it hung parallel to my ear.
It feels short and clean and healthy right now. The ends are dark, the way they should be, and not forked or fried at the ends. I thinned out my hair as well but it feels the right amount of thick, enough to keep my scalp warm (I hope), but not so thick I feel like a tree.
Since I was already on the grooming train, I figured I’d do my eyebrows as well. So I threaded those bad boys. My skin above my brow’s burning a little now.
1.30.18| Daily Art
Fun fact: Canada Goose jackets are made from the fur of coyotes that’ve been killed and skinned. The coyotes often end up being “shot, stomped on, or bludgeoned to death.” Yet in our avid status seeking, we buy the bloodstained product in hordes.
This is what I’m trying to figure out: do people know what the jackets are made of? Or are we too blinded by elitism, conformity, and status-seeking to care?
1.31.18 | Daily Art
As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, I’ll be working on Daily Art (again) this 2018 in an effort to draw and paint more. It’ll be hard, though. Year-long projects are hard. I started back in 2017–linked here–for about two and a half months before the pieces started becoming sporadic and hasty, midnight scribbles I’d do just to fulfill the quota. This year, though, I’m going to try and make a habit out of it.
Like last year, I’ll aim to post a drawing a day, alongside the usual 2-3 posts per week.
Speaking of which, I’m never entirely sure how often I ought to blog. Sometimes I’ll want to write everyday, but then I won’t post it in fear of cluttering people’s feeds. Other times, I’ll go weeks or months without feeling inspired, and my blog’ll be largely untouched, aside from some old art or recycled prose. About half a year ago I decided on the 2-3 posts a week bare minimum, a buffer for times when I’m feeling lacklustery. (For those who blog–how often do you post/aim to post, and do you set schedules?)
Anyhow, I’ll start throwing up Daily Art posts this Sunday (January 7th, 2018). Here’s to hoping I don’t find too many excuses to quit the project before the end of the year, and that publicly posting the project will hold me accountable!
“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”
[Letter to Anne Clarke, July 3, 1964.]”