There are many things I have not written about in a while. Let me take this opportunity to recap a bit. It is the anniversary of the death of my father, which always makes me reflect and reassess.
My mother: People often ask “how is your mom?”. It’s a tricky question. Essentially she is okay. She is losing more and more of who she is, which is to say, her memory. She is unable to follow the plot of any television show, but she has the television on all day long. She has been reading Blue Nights, by Joan Didion, for around two years, as this is the book she was reading when she really started exhibiting signs of dementia. She knows her immediate family, and a few other people who have remained close to her. Her caregiver situation is more stable. A person I call Saint Gloria, because to me, she is a saint, moved in with my mother, to see her through this disease, or whatever it is. Gloria gave up her life to give us peace of mind.
My mother smokes all day. She defies science. She is 85. I visit her at least once a month. It is never easy though some visits are better than others.
I miss who she was.
Art: I had a solo show last year. It was a nice experience. It was out of the way, in Newport at St. George’s H.S., the school where there is now a scandal. I showed 64 pieces, including embroidery, drawings, and paintings. It was a sort of retrospective. I felt so happy to be among the roster of artists who have exhibited there.
After that show ended I started a new series call Manuscripts. They began as drawings of random shapes and calligraphic marks on a page surrounded by gold, but after something happened to me, which for now must remain SECRET, the Manuscripts became illustrations of the event.
I like them. I found them helpful, cathartic, and also a productive way to deal with something that remains very painful. I would like to make them into a small book, but as I was turned down for a couple of grants and because I don’t earn much money and because much of that money goes to actual living expenses I am not sure how to go about making my book. I am looking into it.
I am still doing embroidery and still working on my Stitching Mona installation.
I am behind in all skills: computer, book binding, writing, photography. It is difficult to be much of a player in the art world. Last year I gave up my idea of an art ‘career’. It did not change the way I work. I just made me feel less of a failure. But I still apply for things. I still have a tiny bit of hope.
The theme of the past year was loss. Loss of my mother, even though she is alive. Loss of the relationship I had with an art dealer. Loss of the dream of a show at my long time gallery in Boston. Loss of friends who died much too young. I lost two objects so meaningful to me that I can’t yet believe I will not see them again. I want to think they will reappear.
The biggest loss is the loss of a huge chunk of my self esteem and sense of who I am because of the SECRET.
The good news: I have the best friends, who include my husband and my son. I have Alice the dog. I have met great people through social media. I am buoyed by beautiful writing in the books I read, in the shows I watch. I am awed by a neverending pool of talent which produces inspiring, intelligent and sometimes beautiful works of art.
Between 2015 and now I feel I have aged. I feel fragile. My resolution was to do a push up each day (and more as I can do more) and so far I have stuck to it. I want to rise up and find my inner strength. I want to be better than ever, better than the best Oprah makeover. I want to fight for reasonable gun laws and help people who need help. I want to be a great friend.
The nation is on the cusp of another insane election cycle. There is big trouble in the world. Many people are suffering, as always, and my chunk of this universe is but a blip. That is not a comfort to me. It is a fact. I am going to vote. I’ll continue to work at being an artist. I am going to do my push ups and I am going to be a great friend.