For her birthday, Amanda Palmer asked if folks who loved her things might share them and more importantly talk about them a little.
It’s hard, for me a bit, to talk about what music of Amanda’s I like. Because I didn’t find her through her music. I found her through Neil Gaiman and then twitter, I think, although I’m not actually sure I wasn’t quite on twitter yet when he first posted about Who Killed Amanda Palmer. (I just looked it up. That was released late 2008, and I believe I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, so it very well happened simultaneously or very near to.)
This song though, that I’ve embedded above, makes me hurt in a cathartic way. Because I do sort of think about my first marriage, listening to it. We didn’t grow apart in the bed, particularly. Or at least, the increasing size and quality of the bed wasn’t as obvious of a symbol as it is in the song. But we did grow apart. And it was, in large part, due to not talking to each other and realizing the ways we were growing and somehow integrating those things. I’m not sure we could have. We became very different, over the years. But… sometimes I wonder if we couldn’t still have been friends. Perhaps not? In any case, this is a good song to listen to when you’re having a pensive moment about a former relationship.
I also bought, and really loved The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. It’s interesting to me, to learn what people think and are going through that helps them grow. And learn. And trust. I wish we could trust people more. A lot of the time, it actually is okay. Sometimes, it’s very much not okay. And it’s always a learning experience. This book was wonderful for that. And it just made me feel closer. In a lot of ways, that’s what I love about both Amanda, and Neil, and why it was and is wonderful that they’ve come together as a couple and have a new human between them. They truly encourage community around them. People who love them are open to helping each other, just because of the commonality of the artists they love. It’s the same, and yet different, from so many other fan groups out there. And a pretty amazing thing.
So thank you Amanda, and Happy Birthday!
Creating the things. I like to create things. Sadly, sometimes I create half-finished or un-finished things, more than complete things.
I even have a t-shirt that reads Weapons of Mass Creation (I wore it yesterday in fact) that shows things like a fountain pen, paint brush, pencil, crochet hook and knitting needles.
Sometimes, figuring out and focusing on the way that I want to create/make art/make things in the moment I’m feeling like making a thing is more challenging than I’d like. Is it necessary to focus on just 1 or 2? To improve my skill level, I’d have to say yes. I’m not going to magically be able to draw technically well without practice. Or to paint well without practice. Or to have consistently good cookies or pie or dinner without practice. To just enjoy whatever I’m making though – maybe/maybe not? Sometimes, just the act of crocheting or writing can be satisfying.
Sketching / Writing / Crochet / Baking / Cooking
I enjoy fiddling about with all those things.
I’ve managed about half the words for a successful NaNoWriMo (and am planning on participating again next month). I’ve participated in the Camp NaNoWriMo’s and … well, not necessarily succeeded but have definitely increased word count, which is a sort of success, because of the Camp’s relaxed rules.
I sketch as the mood strikes me. In fact, on my drive home this morning from my sister’s house, I decided that instead of buying a birthday card and wrapping supplies for my godson’s birthday gift (already purchased), I’d use comics and draw him a thematically appropriate card. I got him a tackle box for fishing. He’s just getting into it, and really excited. So I googled an image of a trout, and found a rainbow trout that looked simple enough for me to recreate in colored pencil. It came out pretty darn well. Sometimes, that happens. Sometimes it does. I want desperately to draw and no topic comes to mind.
I haven’t crocheted in a while. I should. We’re getting to the right season for it again. So maybe, soon.
And of course I cook several times a week, even if I’m not always baking. Luckily, cooking and baking are basically just chemistry with instructions; once you have a basic idea for how things interact with each other, you’re set. There’s a baking school starting up north that I’d really love to attend. I hope it does well. I’d like it to succeed so that I can try to attend some semester in the future.
But the thing is, they’re all hobbies. They aren’t things I do to earn a living. I like dabbling here and there. But I do sort of wish I could improve more quickly. (And I haven’t even addressed things like musical instruments or coding, which I haven’t truly touched in years.) But again, without focusing…
So, am I thinking too hard about focusing? Is it just finding something to whine about?
Is the fact that I’m writing about it to explore the idea just an expression of the easiest to explore or is it a sign I should focus on writing?
Any or all answers are probably true.
I wonder how people think of me? Do they think of me as an artist or consumer? Depending on which, what kind of artist/consumer?
Some of this triggered by Patreon. Some is just standard existential questions that wander through my brain in passing. Maybe my brain just can’t stand a quiet moment and feels compelled to mutter at me in the brief ones I have. Anyone else have those moments?
I have a Facebook account. A lot of people do, anymore. It hung on better than MySpace and continues to adapt and suck in other websites and spin them and twist them into its own useful web. If I allowed it to, I could cross-post this blog there. Sometimes, I rather hate Facebook. Somehow, the newsfeed has shifted over the years to become a graffiti wall on a college campus. People post funny comics, neat flyers about music and art shows coming up, and diatribes about whatever they like. And sometimes they yell at each other. It’s both anonymous, because you aren’t actually face to face, and not. I keep threatening to back off and just use it as a way of keeping up with distant relatives and then something will happen and I get sucked back in. Sometimes, there are funny things there, you see. Sometimes there are things that make me think.
And sometimes there are the rabbit holes. Someone posted a picture of a newspaper clipping, unattributed, with the in-set quote: “People need art in their houses. They don’t need Bed Bath and Beyond dentist-office art. They need weird stuff.” Ezra Croft, art show producer And I thought, well, who is Ezra Croft? What art show? And of course, I liked the photo that was shared by my friend, because really, I agree. Although I do have some Bed Bath and Beyond dentist-office stuff, because sometimes that’s just weird and cool too.
In our home, we have photographs. Yes, family photographs, but also photographs my dad took and had blown up of the sun setting through the field and trees, and a street lamp in the fog through one of the bois d’arc trees. They’re a matched pair, and I have the vertical set. Another sister has the horizontal set. He couldn’t decide which print he liked better you see. I display them both because he took them, and because I like them.
We have prints. Upstairs in the guest room I have prints of winged cats and butterfly winged dragons. I have beautiful anthropomorphic ladies my talented friend created. I have a small print on the nightstand of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet. I have a print by Ursula Vernon that came with her book Digger that I helped support with Kickstarter. Downstairs I have prints of Neil Gaiman quotes, gifts, illustrated by David Mack and Chris Riddell. I have a painting of a silo, hay barn and a small house that my father created years ago. I have metallic and a wooden Kokopelli figures, piping back to back around a corner from each other. I have wind chimes that only sing when the cats tap their pendants, because they’re inside and never feel the breeze. I have a blown glass dragon, a painted paper rhino and a panther, and a piece of Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass. On the stairwell a piece of set from a play hangs on the wall, and in the bathroom a self-portrait of my father as a clown. In my mother’s glass secretary cabinet there are small knick-knacks of a wide variety; from an onyx Madonna to an Under Milkwood miniature to a small weyr of dragons. And rocks. There are of course rocks and sea shells scattered about the house. And I haven’t even gotten to the things with words on that hang in the house, be they in English or languages I don’t read. Scrolls found and kept because they were lovely.
For me, it’s all unique art, but I’m not sure any of it is weird, you see. Because it all means something to me. If you ask me why I have it, invariably the answer is because it was beautiful, and I wanted it. Or some pieces, simply because “my parents had it in their home, and I loved them… and it.” Like the portrait of my parents kissing under a bridge in Pittsburgh, near Three Rivers, framed perfectly, that my uncle took and someone had blown up and framed. Or the prayer that was framed, that was found in a church, that was given to my mother, and the words are lovely, even if I no longer feel particularly Catholic.
I was thinking about these, and others not mentioned, when I stumbled back over the quote and tracked it down. It was in the San Francisco Chronicle, an article written just the 28th of July, about Ezra Croft, who had an art show dedicated to Bill Murray, the comedian. Mostly, it appears to be homages to the actor. The fun thing is, the quote from Mr. Croft? When asked where his day job is? It’s Bed Bath and Beyond. What I took away from the article was that what he really wanted was art to be about connection. Well, he wanted the city’s connection and quirkiness to be back. And maybe, just a little bit, when we see a Peanuts cartoon strip with Lucy’s Psychiatry Booth reimagined as Cthulu’s Psychological Trauma Booth, or other random things on Facebook, some of that connection occurs and keeps some of us there longer.
Then again, for me, art has always been about connection. So perhaps, my art is and always has been just a little bit weird, by those standards.
I’m very okay with that. I like the comfort that weirdness brings.