05/04/11

CHEAP ADVICE: CANDY

Brush properly. Always floss. No matter what time it is when you go to bed and what the hell you were up to before you do. You might find you have overindulged in BB-Bats, Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Bit-O-Honeys. Ask for Novacaine. Give up taffy for life. Stop thinking about how the skulls in the natural history museum still have all their teeth. Tell your children about the brushing and the flossing. Then try not to be fearful yet envious of the joyous oblivion with which they sink their perfect little teeth into all that candy.

21/02/11

CHEAP ADVICE: SLEEP

There is no way around it: convenience food is nothing but convenient. There is no book, drug or experience that will change your personality. There is no pair of jeans that will ever really fit. There is no fun reason to visit your relatives. There is no way to remove tomato sauce from a white shirt, so just throw it away. There is nothing good about winter. There is no justice, just luck. There is nothing you can buy that will make those bags under your eyes go away: Only sleep will help.

19/02/11

ME, AGAIN

Yes, loyal reader, I’m back. Where was I? Shopping the internet for maternity wear. Changing diapers. Washing itty-bitty things with snaps. Which has left my hands very dry. Might also be due to ten years of printmaking without gloves and a lot of cooking. Bought something at the drugstore called a hand mask. Things are improving. As long as you ignore the things that are deteriorating. And don’t ask too many questions. Or just the little ones. Should I paint my nails? There are eight shades in the refrigerator to choose from. None of them seem quite right.

31/05/10

PRIDE AND SHAME

A friend mentioned that no images of me show up when I am googled. This left me feeling equal parts of pride and shame. Is there no record of the me who enjoyed various lines of overextended credit? The me who told overzealous art lovers not to touch the Francis Bacon? The me who drove the 1981 Honda Prelude? The me who did step aerobics? In the interest of filling this essential void, I offer a selection of my outdated ID cards.

08/01/10

COLLECTIONS OF NOTHING

Give me your broken, your useless, your rusty refuse yearning to be saved… I lost a new cashmere sweater before Christmas, which was kind of annoying, but if the wire thingy with the two red plastic discs were to disappear it would be a real tragedy. Where did it come from and when did it mutate from junk to talisman? William Davies King answers my questions in his book Collections of Nothing, which intersperses a poignant chronicle of lonely childhood to midlife crisis with lists such as Here are all the varieties of tuna fish for which I have labels. Wise man. And I thought I was the only one collecting the patterns on the insides of envelopes.stuff

04/01/10

(HAPPY) NEW YEAR

My approach to the coming year is to wait and see…

might_not_be_fatal

08/12/09

KEYS TO THE PAST

Whose keys are these anyway? Are they yours? Were you a Latchkey Kid? Did you hang them around your neck on a shoelace? Key to Success? Key to the City? Key to Your Heart? Etc., etc.

Family lore has it that my first full sentence was Where are the goddamn keys? Now they’re in every drawer like lint in my pockets. I’m guessing that one of them might open the padlock on the door to a windowless, nine square foot space at Your Personal Vault; a place my mother and I call The Family Estate. If you found the right key, you would find things that have been broken and then glued back together and are too ugly for anyone to want but can not be thrown away because of their official status as Family Heirloom. You might also discover a big black portfolio filled with drawings of fruit and baskets rendered painstakingly in colored pencil on bristol board. Or the electric pencil sharpener that was so essential to this neurotic activity. There are also some very overdue books from the Detroit Public Library, Main Branch. Also, clothes that no one wants to wear but thinks that someone else will one day want to wear. Which they won’t, unless they really like shoulder pads. Again.

keys

09/11/09

NOT SURE YET

This summer at a farewell picknic in the park with R’s Kindergarten the kids ran wild while the grown-ups hovered by the food in various clusters. Men with hands in pockets talked about old punk bands. Women with folded arms whispered about schools and doctors. The quiet ones just sat next to each other in the dark under a tree. A soccer game started, chairs for goal-posts. Fathers peeled off layers, sweating and shouting as they tried to pass the ball to 4 year-olds who were running in the wrong direction. As usual, I couldn’t really make the commitment to join any one of these groups and spent the afternoon milling around between them. Finally I took off my shoes and did cartwheels on the grass, where I found another ice cream stick for the collection. Best thing that happened all day.
Lately, I’ve been started picking things up on my runs. I used to feel a jolt of recognition at seeing some sidewalk specimen and then run heartlessly over it. But one day the pull was too great and I turned back to retrieve a rusty paper clip. Now, as well as aerobic exercize and meditational zone, running has the added dimension of scavenger hunt. Finally I know what those silly little spandex pockets are for. But I sense a new collection starting: Things I Collect and find later in the Washing Machine in an Altered State. (Not to be confused with the already existant Kleenexes Washed in Pockets).
Which brings me to lint. After hanging the laundry on a rack and folding it into crispy rectangles all summer long, I will soon make the seasonal switch. It’s fine to air-dry when it only takes half a day (as part of the good German I’ve become, I now actually prefer the crispy rectangles over fluffy bundles, just as I do duvets to tucked-in sheets and room-temperature to freezing cold drinks), but when it takes a week for the towels to dry, I stop caring about the environment and start using the dryer. Which is where the lint comes in. My need to collect lint (as with all the other collections) crept up on me until it could no longer be ignored. I would empty out the catch and think: this is too special to throw away. But then I would throw it away. Until I stoped throwing it away and started putting it in a jar. Which is almost full. Personality Disorder? Wierd hobby? Lack of other creative outlets? Not sure yet.

This summer at a farewell picknic with R’s Kindergarten the kids ran wild while the grown-ups hovered by the food in various clusters. Men with hands in pockets talked about old punk bands. Women with folded arms whispered about schools and doctors. The quiet ones just sat next to each other in the dark under a tree. A soccer game started, chairs for goal-posts. Fathers peeled off layers, sweating and shouting as they tried to pass the ball to 4 year-olds who were running in the wrong direction. As usual, I couldn’t really make the commitment to join any one of these groups and spent the afternoon milling around between them. Finally I took off my shoes and did cartwheels on the grass, where I found another popsicle stick for the collection. Best thing that happened all day.

Lately, I’ve been picking things up on my runs. I used to feel a jolt of recognition at seeing some sidewalk specimen. And then just run heartlessly over it. But one day the pull was too great and I turned back to retrieve a rusty paper clip. Now, as well as exercize and meditation, running has the added dimension of scavenger hunt. Finally I know what those silly little spandex pockets are for. (I sense a new collection starting: Things I find in the Washing Machine in an Altered State, not to be confused with the existing collection, Kleenexes Washed in Pockets.)

Which brings me to lint. After hanging the laundry on a rack and folding it into crispy rectangles all summer long, I will soon make the seasonal switch. It’s fine to air-dry when it only takes half a day (as part of the good German I’ve become, I now actually prefer the crispy rectangles to fluffy bundles, duvets to tucked-in sheets and room-temperature to freezing cold drinks), but when it takes a week for the towels to dry, I stop caring about the environment and start using the dryer. My need to collect lint – as with all the other stuff – crept up on me until it could no longer be ignored. I would empty out the catch and think: this is too special to throw away. But then I would throw it away. Until I stoped throwing it away and started putting it in a jar. Which is almost full. Pathological behavior? Wierd hobby? Creative outlet?

jar_o_lint

16/10/09

ALTER EGO

On a gray morning, there’s beauty right at my feet when I step out into the street. A bundle of rusty wire: nearly come undone, somewhat damaged, past its prime, still useful, if not exactly as originally intended. I can identify.

rusty_wire

13/10/09

JUST DO IT

I have given myself a deadline: make new stuff for your portfolio by the end of august, or else. Instead of working on something new, though, I busy myself with sorting through old stuff, making tea, finally dealing with that mess of cords under my desk. Which remindes me of the time I went to a life coach, a nice blond lady with frosty lipstick and two beige cordoroy armchairs. This was when I was convinced the road to happiness would be to do something completely different with my life: get a phd in mathematics, open a restaurant, apprentice to a cobler. So do it, said the coach lady.
Well, it’s not that simple, I told her. There’s this problem. That thing I would have to do first. Which would result in me having to change this other thing. And then not be able to do that one over there. She smiled benevolently, leaned over her stockinged knees and turned her clipboard around so I could see. Then she clicked her ball point pen to attention and proceeded to draw straight lines from one point to the next, all the while looking me straight in the eye. As the lines became a triangle and then a box and then an increasingly knoted tangle of nothing, she said slowly, all the while still drawing lines, this is what your thought process looks like. Good for a suite of patterns, at least. Nice for pschyiatrist’s rugs.

I have given myself a deadline: make appointments for portfolio visits by the end of October, or else. But instead I busy myself with looking through old magazines, making tea, tackling the mess of cords under my desk. I’m good at dealing with details and avoiding the important stuff. For a while I went to a coach, a nice blond lady with frosty lipstick and two beige corduroy armchairs. This was when I was convinced the road to happiness would be to do something completely different with my life: get a Ph.D. in mathematics, open a restaurant, apprentice to a cobbler… So do it, said the coach lady.

Well, wait a minute, it’s not that simple, I told her. There’s this problem. That thing I would have to do first. Which would result in me having to change this other thing. And then not be able to do that one over there. She smiled benevolently, leaned over her stockinged knees and turned her clipboard around so I could see. Then she clicked her ballpoint pen to attention and proceeded to draw straight lines from one point to the next. As the lines became a triangle and then a box and then an increasingly knoted tangle of nothing, she told me, This is what your thought process looks like.


gewölle