Archive for May, 2010

weight and waiting

May 27, 2010

I spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for my son’s music lessons to end, waiting in lines at the grocery store, waiting for the mail (bills and usually rejections). Hours pass and the time is not marked. I read a lot, I sometimes write. I am usually alone when waiting or with other people not much interested in chatting, which is fine. But it does feel like a tremendous waste of time.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment, with my endocrinolgist. I like this man, a Dr.Corrigan. But every time I see him the time lapse from beginning to end is around three hours. My time with him is perhaps five minutes, never more than ten. There is always a nurse who takes my blood pressure and weighs me (123 pounds with shoes), and then a chat with a young intern or resident or new doctor. So far the young assistants, or whatever they are, are always a man (boy) and always very sweet. They ask me questions, remark on the latest blood test. One asked me what kind of art I did and I told him it would be a waste of time to explain it to him since it was unlikely he would ever see me again, or ever look at my artwork. I wasn’t mean, just stating a fact. I asked that same young man (poor thing) what he thought of the new health plan and he told me he had no opinion, which of course, is a flat out lie.

Today my wait to see Dr.Corrigan was longer than usual. He wants me to see an eye specialist and I argued with him about it, because I like my eye doctor and I don’t believe a specialist would tell me any more than my regular guy. It would be another appointment, another long wait, another brief time spent with someone. I’m only 52 and already I feel like I spend too much time making doctor’s appointments. At any rate, he argued right back and I told him that I didn’t want to add another doctor to my list, to spend another three hours waiting around for someone to tell me that yes, I have Graves disease and they will monitor me and see you in six months. And Dr. Corrigan said “Is your life so important that you aren’t willing to make an appointment to take care of yourself?”. Well, that was a weighty question.

I would have to say that my life isn’t at all important. It’s probably among the least important lives being lived. I tried to explain to the young assistant doctor that it’s because my life is so unimportant that I don’t want to spend more time doing nothing to progress. He smiled and nodded but I know he didn’t get it. I don’t know if I get it. All I know is that even if my life has no heft or weight whatsoever, it’s still my life and I would rather be doing something with it than waiting in an office without so much as a magazine (though I always bring enough reading material to see me through six years on an island).

But, I came home and put on a pot of coffee and made an appointment with the eye specialist.

faith

May 20, 2010

I am starting the day with a knot in my stomach. I am feeling a little lost and very insecure on all fronts. I am not sure how to resolve this.

I just looked on the web at the work of an artist I had not heard of, but who my curator friend raved about. She was right to rave. This artist, Cobi Moules, can really draw AND paint. And to top it off, he is transgender. I could never compete with that.

I’m not fishing here. I know I have some talent, but when you look at the work of certain people you know that they have more. That’s all there is to it. And would I like to have been a man before I was a woman? No, really not. Life has been hard for me internally without any help from not feeling right about what sex I was supposed to be. But it would be nice to have a more interesting story.

I am reading Liar’s Club, which I do not love. But she has an interesting story too. My story is so hum drum it’s almost unbelievable. How can anyone grow up with no real high or low? True my mother is a force and not always benign. True, I was raised in Manhattan which gives me a certain panache. But when you look back at the whole picture it’s all the sort of stuff that’s common to most people. No real skeletons. No secret mafia connections, nazi’s, or even Republican’s. I think I may have had a great uncle who was involved with the Jewish mafia. But that was before my time.

My talent is exactly like my life. It’s there, it’s sometimes interesting, but it’s internal and not especially unique.  I am meeting friends for lunch tomorrow and I feel I have nothing to offer. I guess I can talk about my son.

money

May 13, 2010

The other night I was talking to my husband about a friend, and a job she’s taking that will decrease her income by about twenty grand a year. But she’s doing it for reasons other than financial gain. The lower amount is about $50,000.00 a year and my husband said he wished I made $50,000.00 a year. So do I. Or thirty or twenty for that matter.

Not making a living is the thing that embarrasses me the most about my life. I went wrong at so many points where I could have had a job. I can’t even truthfully say that it was to make art. I know artists who earn a living. They mostly have to. I’ve gotten by on odd jobs and family money, a windfall here and there. It was never important to my mother that I earn a living, nor that I know how to cook, and in fact she thought both things would only get in my way somehow. What sort of parent would think that? I know that I am smart and I suppose even now I could figure out a way to earn 20k if I had to, but I don’t have to, so I don’t. I keep thinking that if I could just sell drawings more consistently it would solve the problem, but how to do that? Especially in this recession climate.

I’m going to start a new drawing series today. I’m not sure of the point. But, it’s not even about the point anymore. It’s about having to do what I have to do. Sometimes I take solace when I read about people who are famous but never earned a dime. Or people who earned a lot but were horrible people (Bernie Madoff comes to mind). At least I don’t harm anyone. But still, I wish I could show myself and my husband that I could be an earner.

Here is part of the problem. This is an honest breakdown of my day. In the part of the day before I have to pick up Noah from school, I slept till a little past nine, I did e-mail, I went to get a blood test (for thyroid issues), drove to get gas for my car, then to get tampax and milk at the drugstore, then had lunch. At about 1:00 I sat down to draw. I had to stop at 2:15, to get Noah. In the time after I had him, I checked e-mail, I drove him to his voice lesson and waited for it to be over, I went with him to the supermarket to get a bunch of groceries. When we came home I unpacked the groceries, I put in a load of wash and I checked e-mail. Then I made dinner for Noah and me, read a bit of the times, and as soon as I am done writing here, will go and draw for maybe another hour and a half. And that’s more art than I usually do. Tomorrow will be worse. I am dropping Andy at the airport, then taking two drawings to be photographed. I pick Noah up at the usual time, and am going out for dinner with a friend. It’s ridiculous.

drawing

May 10, 2010

Today I finished a drawing I have worked on for at least a few months. It was large (for me) and had the usual earmarks of my drawings,which is to say, many thousands of tiny lines. I feel such a sense of accomplishment, but the only people who have seen it are my husband and my curator/friend, Judith. Judith liked it, I think, but she wasn’t jumping up and down or anything. It’s so strange to work on something for a long time, and think it’s got some merit. But then it sits there, looking at you and before long the Doubts start coming at you.

The more time I have to look at it the more time it gives me to question it’s excellence, or lack thereof. I wonder if it’s only mediocre and if it’s even remotely original. And I wonder if it will ever find it’s way out of my studio and on to a wall, of a gallery or at least a buyer.

Anyways, it’s done. So, onto the next project.

Mother’s Day

May 9, 2010

What a load of crap is mother’s day.

At any rate, I had been worried that if I started this blog I had to keep it up every single day. But now that I realize pretty much nobody reads it I feel I can be a bit of a slacker.

Today I’ve been up for almost three hours. I could have done so many things. Gone for a jog, cleaned part of the house, worked on my drawing. What I have been doing mostly, is reading and writing on the computer. Kind of wasteful, but very enjoyable, if only I didn’t always feel guilty. .

Soon though I am going to get to it and most likely, as soon as I have sat down with my cup of joe and put pen to paper, Noah will awaken and need breakfast. But, maybe not.

guilt

May 4, 2010

I feel guilty about everything.

Maybe guilt isn’t exactly the right word. What ever word fits for feeling like no matter which thing you choose to do, you have chosen the wrong thing.

I usually go to my gym today. But I didn’t. I did clean a vestibule floor which has smelled like cat pee for an embarrassingly long time. I did a very thorough job. I took out the mat and washed it, I took all the things out of the closet that had been on the floor. I found a white box which held a beuaitufl wooden hook we bought years ago. The white box was soaked in cat pee. I threw away the box and took out the hook, which is fine.I vacuumed the dust and then went at the floor, wearing my yellow rubber gloves of course, and went at it. I washed the main part of the floor outside the closet too, and it worked! No bad smell anymore. I put back some stuff and put other things in a bag for Salvation Army.

While I did that I could have been drawing. But if I had chosen to draw that particular chore would have been moved to another day, probably another week or even another month. I did end up getting some time to draw, but I spent more time on the floor. And I didn’t work out at all (unless you count washing the floor, which I don’t).

I do have some drawing time now, so I’ll get to it. The point is that there are many things waiting like the floor. I have calls to make and other things to wash. I have home projects to start (ripping the gross wallpaper off the walls of vestibule). But how am I to be a serious artist if I allow myself to spend more time cleaning and doing chores that in the end mean nothing to anyone but me?

Of course I also feel guilty for not cooking more, for not being a more involved citizen, for not writing letters to the president and teachers and city council people. For not being on the school board. For not having a real paid job. Oh, the list goes on and on. Does Julie Mehrtu think about these things? I doubt it, and she got five million dollars or so for a mural she made for disgusting Goldman Sachs. I bet she isn’t tortured by guilt. She got a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant. I don’t really think she is any sort of genius, except for being an artist who was paid five mil for something she created (with the help of a lot of assistants). If she doesn’t feel guilty, why should I? Though maybe she does feel guilty. I don’t actually know her. But she was asked about it in an interview for the New Yorker and she said she didn’t feel badly. She said she thought or hoped everything would work out in the end. What does that even mean??