Hugo Crosthwaite has a multimedia show called CARAVAN up with Mimi Smith at LDJ LA! And when I say multimedia, I mean pencil drawings on board, acrylic and oil on canvas, ceramics and wood, video… it’s black and white- and color! Such color. From an artist entrenched in black and white aesthetics. You have to see it in person.
(And, yes, I helped.)
If you are in L.A. you can come over and see the work from Jan 14 – March 4, 2023. Both of the the installations are tops!
In an odd way I am kind of creatively charged up these days and looking forward to new things.
I don’t know where this positive energy is coming from, but I will take it!
I feel more recovered than this time last year. I think I just have a sinus infection this time. Not Covid+. That’s a step up.
So, I didn’t write about attending the Portrait of a Nation Gala in November 2022. That was a thing I did amid everything else I have been dealing with and-
I’ve been grappling with how to express myself about that event. The whole thing was unbelievably difficult to get through for me.
People kept using the word surreal.
Surreal I have done. Surreal is my bread and butter. This was- It was a full-on crisis. I could barely regulate my emotions. I felt so much. A lot of it was rage. What place does rage have at a celebration?
Where could I safely put that?
How I could ignore the feeling that everyone in that room- everyone in that moment had better prospects than me? With more solid support systems in place.
I can’t even live in my own country as an artist. Oh, I can wither and die in my own country as an artist- I have been killing myself for years. But what about thriving? No, no thriving. Just coming to the point of death in one form or another. And ‘complaining’ about it like this. In word form. Which “no one” reads.
But people will endlessly listen to Trent Reznor whine about how stupid and needy and fucked up he’s been. He built a whole career on that negativity. Go figure.
How were we to answer the press when they asked what we were wearing?
An Etsy shop in Thailand?
Some little local in Rosarito that sells ranch wear?
(My one and only comment to the press was, “no labels.”)
How could I forget the dollar amount I am worth in this capitalist society when I see Jeff Bezos literally across the room from me politely applauding an animation portrait that I helped bring into existence.
A whole room full of wealth giving empty praise at my name appearing on the screen. If you like what I did then why am I not supported enough to live in my own country?
For. Fuck. Sake.
Why do I go back to shivering in drafty rooms knowing that I might be physically ill for the rest of my life, knowing that the money is going to run out sooner than later, knowing I am too mentally fucked up to get help in some obvious and neurotypical way?
I can’t believe that I stood up (not even that straight) in there in the presence of ‘my betters’ and they- they just sort of didn’t even know what I was.
Such an easily dismissed ‘pretty’ face- The wifey even…
Most of them didn’t know I was the one that put all the color into the video portrait. I did the layering effects. I turned some of the images into sound effects. I included the rooster crowing for its ancient symbolism connecting to the afterlife… I made that portrait too.
That was why I was there.
I did the work… but I was not seen accurately.
The others could not see through their own limelight glare maybe?
Maybe they thought we were all equally in the same limelight?
Heh. No. We were not.
I was lucky I could steal one sparkle particle from those glittering people without incoherently vomiting up all of my emotions on them.
I could not shake the overwhelming disparities.
After years of illness, I did not even have enough strength to feel any kind of perverse orgullosity (I just invented a Spanglish word for the hell of it.) in being the pathetic, uneducated, white street trash among them. I am just that after all: trash that fell onto the pavement of Brooklyn one day and picked up even more cooties from those filthy sidewalks.
I had had people telling me that I deserved to be there… do I? Really?
I don’t believe you.
Make me believe you.
Show me work commissions.
Show me sales.
Show me the money.
This is the Capitalist way.
How to talk about living on the streets and in hovels to people who have long distanced themselves from those circumstances?- if they were ever in them at all. I couldn’t just causally bring up brucellosis + covid + bartonella in a conversation. I couldn’t talk about how mental health issues have been such a huge obstacle in my life that continue to hobble my every step.
When does any of that go over well at a cocktail party?
I didn’t have a pitch ready. Why should I have a pitch ready?
That night wasn’t about me after all. It’s hardly ever about me… and that is the fucking problem because then I am ‘out of nowhere’ having some ‘desperate fit’ to put my self at the center of attention. Because hey, a few of my needs aren’t being met yet. Shouldn’t they be met?
I don’t want all my posts to be bitch sessions. This is not who I am all the time. There’s just been a couple more really mentally corrosive years thrown onto the pile for me.
This year smells like change though.
I hope the rabbit is lucky.
I hope all this water isn’t here to just downed me.
It’s the time of year to do it, but looking back is so, so difficult for me.
I don’t want to reread my blog entries or my e-journal. It hurts me to see how my life has gone. My life is just going away from me…
Along with my e-journaling, I keep a physical day planner. An object in the real world I use to prove to / remind myself that I do things during the course of a day and that I am not just this lump that is taking up space- except I am this lump that is taking up space-
So anyway, I have this day planner i can flip through; if I can endure it:
very early in the year I was already wondering why I bothered keeping an account when every day is so much the same small potatoes as every day
my eyes skitter over the dubious penmanship that improves or degrades depending on how I am doing physically and emotionally
FML repeats on many pages
I recorded numerous nights when I did not sleep well enough to function
I listed the many days when I took antibiotics
I listed when I had bowel movements (IBS makes you more interested in your own actual shit than you normally want to be)
runes are written on some pages
there are blank days when I was away traveling
there are times when I wrote on the wrong page though the date is clearly marked with a large number and in three different languages
I put stickers on some pages- even on the cover- because I do try to have fun and be whimsical
I find pages marked by full-spread scribbles that start to cut through the paper with the intensity of my frustration and rage at my trapped situation, these hopeless states I keep dipping into
And looking through my e-journal entries are just as painfully horrible.
There were so many more effluviant moments than not. The sour stink comes off the screen. I feel re-coated by it, like I will never be rid of it.
Who would want to revisit such things?
If I want to publish anything, I have to review whatever material I have. It can’t be all unworthy. Or is it?
I made it a point to write something everyday, as I have done for several years running now.
The specific goal I set for myself at the beginning of this year was to keep all my daily e-writing in one place. I did not separate my junk writing, records of the days events and poetry. This would force me to look back and really examine the spectrum of things that I’ve passed through during the year in order to glean out any poetic scraps from the seemingly gratuitous self pity and definite rabid overuse of the word ‘fuck,’ refine and compile those scraps, and hopefully emerge with a cohesive chapbook- or heck, even a book!
More often than I would like, the time I need to concentrate on doing this little project has been elusive. I mean, I couldn’t even make time each day to write. And it’s proved too much to try edits / rewrites every three days or so. That pops up on my to-do list and is thrown to the back burner so fast.
A needy cat, house chores, minor catastrophes, depression, pain, anxiety, interest in so many diverse things, other people’s projects… all throw me into this fracture of not knowing how to prioritize me-time; especially when I am the least important person I know. (No one has fully convinced otherwise yet.)
Most of the time I have felt like a hooligan’s playground for bacteria- and yeah, there was that time when I hosted cancer…
When does a playground ever reflect on it’s own state of being turned into a playground? This one is making an effort. I don’t know if it will be meaningful or helpful to anyone else, but I feel the need to- I need something to show for my years of life as a creative person. These lines on my face must have some worth? -these hairs on my chin? (If so called men can boast facial hair as is sign of wisdom then why can’t I?)
I will review my year. I will mourn the hell out of that person brought to the point of vivid suicidal ideation. I will forge poetry out of this hellscape year. I will get that published some how. I will move forward wondering if I will become that end-seeking person again. Or if I can regain some of the sparks that I used to have.
If you don’t hear me talking about a book of some kind, then ask me where I’m at with it.
As much as I have tenacity, small things hold me up and turn me shy. I do sweat the small stuff. Because that is where the devil lives. In the little things. In the details. In bacterial infection.