Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On Somerset Maugham, Health, Collaboration and Baudrillard

It has been a rough spell for me physically.  Last week as you know, I lost my hearing and then my voice.  Today while both of those realities were drawing to a close, as I reached to finish making my bed I put my back out.  This is not the first time that I have put my back out, but I must admit that as I look at the situation it is one of the funniest times that I have ever put my back out.  It just seems that I am not supposed to be completely healthy right now.  I am supposed to be paying attention.  I just don't know to what I am supposed to be paying attention.  All in all, I don't find myself that upset about the back.  I am grateful that I can hear and speak.  Every situation bears a positive connotation, I guess.  I'm going to try to dwell on that side for a bit and see where it gets me.  If nothing else these health issues have kept me operating at a slower rate, which in all reality is better for my production and my sanity.

About a week ago I received a letter from a very good friend who is putting what I believe is his first book together.  There were some beautiful moments in it, but I admit, I must read it again before I can give him any further information in response.  It is a great feeling to get these glimpses of people's thought processes in the mail.  It is a quieter life, one that moves slower, and at a pace that allows time to think before answering.  I've had difficulty in this world I think, because I do like to think before responding.  The internet, with its constant stream of information, begins to make the mind mirror the body in a long distance race.  After racing 26 miles, even marathon runners stop for a second or two.  I have to remember this.  Along with his manuscript, my friend also sent an accompanying letter in which he suggested I read Somerset Maugham and so, yesterday, I checked The Moon and Sixpence out from the library.

Within the first chapter I have already fallen in love with Maugham's language and pacing.  "The prime minister out of office is seen, too often, to have been but a pompous rhetorician, and the general without an army is but the tame hero of a market town."  Also, more pointedly in these days where I find myself working three jobs; "...recommended men for their soul's good to do each two things they disliked: it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed."  I find this older writing to be more beneficial to my process as an artist.  I appreciate a little poetry to my every day life, rather than recognizing the everyday as its own simple poetry.  The romantic build up is what I live for and probably the point wherein I lost my way in the Post-Post-Modernist realm of graduate school.

As a result most of my projects as of late have been a rejection of the online world, new media, and social media.  I do use all of these things, but am realizing that I need solid every day things to feel fit and healthy.  Staring at Youtube videos all day sounds like a torturous stay with Beatrice to me.  Also, I realize how many amazing resources there are on the internet, but I have little desire to sit and take them in.  It crushes my soul.  Since I have purchased this lap top that I write upon right now, I have slowly become more and more addicted to staring into the void.  I have been attempting to avoid this a bit.  I have been attempting to be more serious when I write this blog.  I have been attempting to be more "real" in this "virtual existence."  Baudrillard, eat your heart out.  

The mail projects seem to be a good point to draw this line in the sand.  Writing on a sheet of paper requires taking your hand and your brain into consideration.  Typos in this day are allowed, however, if handwriting is too sloppy there is no sense in sending mail.  I like mail.  I like receiving mail, and so I have made more mail to send.  This life is reciprocal after all.

This drawing is a double throwback.  The arrows are all signals in guiding trains, where the top drawing is of a train whistle.  I found notes in an old sketchbook of the code that train conductors used with train whistles to communicate back and forth with stations and other trains.  I think maybe that these codes were good for our brains to wrap around.  
I have also been very much into exploring my daily life as a cook and deli worker.  I have always tried to keep my art life and my cooking life separate.  It hasn't made me happy.  I think that if I start to accept my daily life as I cook and explore what those negative feelings are when I am working there in a more positive way that I will actually be able to move beyond that feeling and maybe push my art to that next level.  I think that it is too difficult to traverse the course of negativity at a 9-5 to joy in your passion after it is done.  I've explored other options, but I think that the answer is actually in making that daily life the same as the art life.  Wish me luck.


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