Birth of a Season

Sometimes it’s terrifying to think about your own mortality. Sometimes it’s really soothing and motivating to know that one day everything that torments you will be gone. “Coming to terms” with your mortality, as they say, is a complex process and most of the time we don’t like to think about it. But death is connected with us on so many levels. We can feel death, we can see death, we incite it and participate in death everyday. We can think about death rationally or spiritually, or both. We can be employed in the business of death or be passionate in the venture of circumventing it. Death is all around us. Death knows us intimately. Our most loyal companion.

Keats writes about the vision of Autumn below, but he could as easily be speaking of death:

“Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.”

  – Keats,  “To Autumn”

The death of Summer, if experienced like all other deaths, should be woeful and somber, don’t you think? A time to reflect on the joys Summer has brought us. A time to grit our teeth in the face of the harsh conditions to come. Like all deaths, we should endevour to wait for an escape that only time can provide…

…instead, we gleefully join hands and celebrate Autumn. Stand in awe of the beauty and take refuge in the peace we feel while outside. Drink warm teas and gimmicky coffees. Pick bright red apples and bright orange pumpkins. Adorn death with color and greet it with sweets. Find joy in the death of summer. We celebrate a death so giving.

So cheers to Autumn, “close bosom- friend of the maturing sun,” for reminding us of our mortality in such a glorious way.

Banksy’s DISMAL LAND: A Bemusement Park for All

Image: @dismaland_park
Image: @dismaland_park

Genius, moron, pretentious, vandal, tool, sell out.

Say what you will about Banksy, I find his art and his style interesting. He uses his “image” (dare I say brand) to shed light on global and cultural issues. Many of which I must admit, those of us who have been paying attention, already know of, advocate for, or have been affected by.

But so what… so what if he’s being “fake edgy,” “doing satire wrong,” “post-apocalyptic girm Disney has been done to death (ha!)” or “he’s not critiquing the fairy tale genre correctly” (whatever that means).  So what. Stop being so irritated. Calm down. Art is art. He has a few good puns and a strange sense of humor.  I’m all for letting the kid share his vision.

I mean hey, if you really want, we can grab some coffee and start to discuss whether a white, male, 20-somethings’ (theoretically, I mean we assume he is the aforementioned, no one has ever seen him) quirky, cheeky, satiric works actually make a difference towards the issues he is presenting. Or are they are just stroking his ego, becoming the very things he stood against… Hype, over publicized, overly expensive pieces that masquerade as social commentary. Band-aids to the issues. Marketable products. Art that is more talked about than the issues being presenting. Art, just like news segments or telethons, that lets us sigh for a moment, shake our heads and say, “what a shame that’s happening in ___ country. Someone should do something.” And then flip the channel.

Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard the arguments. (Heck, I’ve used those arguments.) Yea, we could have that discussion. I mean if you really want to, we can and coffee’s on you. But first, how about we enjoy what he and 50+ artists hailing from all over the world have created. IF anything, you have to give the kid props for bringing together such great artists and giving them a global platform to showcase their work.

For those of us not fortunate enough to hop on a plane to England for this 5 week “post modem” art exhibition, you can find some of the content below. I welcome the discussions to follow.

Image: Dismaland.co.uk

Dismal Land – a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.

Are you looking for an alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out? Or just somewhere a lot cheaper? Then this is the place for you. Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus…”

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Wait and See

I’ve never been a believer of forcing something on paper. I think it needs to come from a place of humor, reason, or intense irrational thought, otherwise the reader can feel the tension between the words and the empty spaces.

To be honest, I’m not a big believer in editing either. Of course a writer needs to go back and fix typos and maybe a little bit of the syntax if they’re up for it, but I never see the need for proofreading or second drafts or having a third party edit posts or even planning out posts far in advance. The current of spontaneity and the lazy girl in me won’t let me. Blogging, in its true form, should just be a release of the energy flowing through your body. If you have to think about it for more than for a second, it’s not blogging. It is “creative writing.”

I asked this guy I knew once, how to best deal with a situation in which you need to make a decision. A decision that involves a relationship between one or more humans. A decision equitable to “drama.”

“What do I do? When do I respond when there is drama that personally involves me?”

He said, “I just wait. I let things happen. Sometimes things, or problems, just solve themselves. Wait and see. Then respond.”

I do not know why, but at the time (and still today) that seemed like a really profound answer. Something I didn’t even consider as a choice before he said it.


So I’m on the LAM. I’m on the ultimate, wait and see and then respond journey. I’m a fugitive firstly from myself, then from corporate America, from a capitalist nation that force feeds you capitalist ideas of how to behave/think/feel, from relationships, and finally from my passions.

But wait, how can you be a fugitive from your relationships? From your passions?

Shh. Shhhhh. It’s deep.

And most importantly, it means something to me. It means that I am escaping. I’m disappearing…and I like it. It has been two years since my last blog post and I regret that it has been so long. But isn’t that what happens to most bloggers. They fervently write about life, diy’s, cool places they have been, travel adventures etc. and then life starts getting hectic and the blog is discarded much like a hoodie from high school that just sits in your closet as a sentimental keepsake (not like a used tissue which I assume you would discard promptly and completely with get sense of urgency).

My go-to places when I’m on the LAM are the internet and my journal. I write. I cannot help it. I have to write. I write in my journal, I write on social media, I write on tumblr, and I write on my blog (that’s you!). I’m coming back to this blog again because I can and because it’s my escape and because I need a place to wait and see. So I guess this also means I like discarded hoodie if we’re wanting to extend the metaphor. Yea, why not. These hoodies are soft. Used. Torn in the right places. The color has worn through. The catchy senior year slogan can’t stir up the same rah-rah spirit as before. What’s not to like? High school hoodies…the fugitives of the twenty-something’s closet.

(This is my way of saying, I’m online again. More posts to follow. More art/culture antics. More pseudo-intellectual musings. More comedic rantings. Huzzah!)

D x

“Throwback Thursday” won’t Make You Immortal

Right, well I recently had an experience with a social media app…it decided it wanted to gather up all the “Facebook friends” I had and announce my arrival in this new social media domain. Now, I barely use Facebook anymore except to keep in touch with international friends who I can’t text or write that easily to. Therefore, my Facebook is full of friends I’ve had since high school…and I use the term friends very loosely. I mean, people who I knew only slightly, who I saw walking the halls. No one that I would call for help or share any woes with. So now because this app thinks I’m lonely and should Invite my Friends…it has let all these people who I knew add me….fantastic. I have strangers following me… So this got me thinking about burning bridges.

For the most part, I don’t mind burning bridges and most of the time, I don’t mind turning around to watch them burn. I think it’s nice leaving someplace, someone, for good. A kind of “all or nothing philosophy.” Why should I tag you along for the ride just because we grew up in the same hometown, went to the same school for 6 years? Why should we keep in touch just because we have class together for two years? That does not confine us to a shared lifetime. There has to be something more for us to stay in touch. Something more real. I keep the memories of places and people alive who ment something more to me than just sharing a moment in time or space. 

There is a special feeling you experience when you know you will never be in the same place again. I call it narcissistic elation, or, if you like,  a personification of yolo. These times are quite possibly the most dangerous for me in terms of where I allow my personality to go. They are unpredictable times, probably really foolish times. It is easy to lose a sense of following social conventions and the ties that bind you to a certain set of norms. At least for me, I think some of my most “Why the hell did I do that?” or “Why didn’t I do that earlier?” times are before I’m leaving one place for another place or one person for another.  

I think all of this ties into our fascination in our own mortality which then gives way to us searching for fascination in everything and subsequently missing the fascination in everything. I mean, carpe diem or yolo or live fast, die young rhetoric never actually happens. Or at least the people who are “carpe dieming” are usually the last ones to say “Carpe Diem, man~~!” Quite possibly because they don’t have to, they are being it and doing it so saying it won’t make any difference to the events happening around them. Morality then makes preservation as important as experience. It makes us hold on to things we could have let go long ago. Old friends. Old places. Old touches. Old tastes. We try not  to burn any bridges, because what if something fascinating is happening back in our past. Back in the things we have left behind? God forbid we don’t get a chance preserve that as well.

Moving on should not be such a big deal. It’s healthy. It’s human. You need to move forward. Refresh. Please, turn into something new.

Reliving all your old experiences isn’t going to get you anywhere. It isn’t going to give you immortality. It isn’t going to make life suddenly more fascinating. It won’t make you a better person. Burn whichever bridges you want. If anything, it’ll remind you why you kept the ones you have.

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

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Hagia Sophia, Turkey

My spirit is too weak–mortality
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagin’d pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship, tells me I must die
Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky.
Yet ’tis a gentle luxury to weep
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,
Fresh for the opening of the morning’s eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time–with a billowy main–
A sun–a shadow of a magnitude.

John Keats

IMG_1745.B
Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Water & Roots

I had the great opportunity to visit Watkins Glen National Park in New York. This place is absolutely breathtaking and quite a workout if you’re not prepared for the trails! What impressed me the most was the devastating and seductive powers water possesses. If it could not find its way, it made its way. And I really like that…If you can’t find a way, make a way. It’s equally inspirational and Machiavellian.

Things a Twenty Two Year Old Misses Saying

I’ll see you after school.

Let’s meet up in the cafeteria to make those posters.

I don’t want to get in trouble. Sorry, I can’t make it.

My mom won’t let me.

What are you having for lunch? Wanna trade?

I was sick that day so what did we go over?

I forgot my smock.

They’re giving out free t shirts at the quad.

What are we having for dinner?

I’m really busy today, I have a paper due tomorrow.

What period do you have lunch?

Let’s stop by that lecture before our next class.

The Nanny provides words of wisdom.
The Nanny provides words of wisdom.

Pressure

Pressure

“Someone once told me the definition of hell:
The last day you have on Earth.
The person you became will meet
the person you could have become.”

I would choose the path less traveled if I was sure it led to a destination. Can your destination be the ever winding and interlacing less traveled paths you have chosen? Chosen in hopes of a destination you never knew you were looking for? Am I supposed to be searching for something when I have lost nothing? Vocation or captivity? The older you get, the more you understand the pressure has been misplaced. I choose the path less traveled to be part of the cure.

Night at the Museum

Tiger Strikes Asteroid dude doing his art thing.

The Art Museum had this fantastic event/talk on Wednesday night. Tiger Strikes Asteroid was welcomed into the museum’s halls. TSA have an artist-run and artist-curated exhibition space in which they put on modern and contemporary art pieces. A couple of days ago, they setup a variety of performance art pieces along side and/or in conjunction with certain selected pieces already on exhibit in the museum. I only had time to visit two of their pieces as I was there for a lecture on contemporary art that started a little after 8.

Anyway, so I let my friend choose which piece she wanted to go see first and she went for the “Operation” one. In this stop, one of the artists from TSA invited viewers to participate in a game of Operation in front of The Agnew Clinic portrait. This portrait was commissioned as a tribute to surgeon David Hayes Agnew from U. Penn. There is some more history and interesting details about the style of the work here.  I must admit, I always find old hospital pictures and portraits slightly on the creepy side and very haunting. I feel if I stare at them too long, I’ll actually see someone move. Which would honestly be cool … and creepy.

This is Agnew Portrait. Can you count how many people are asleep?

The artist participating in this piece was taking a dark humor approach to playing a game of operation in front of the partial mastectomy depicted in this portrait. Clearly, it was a fun activity for some people and for others the dark humor paid sense. Although, I never got a chance to play, it was a unique experience observing giggling and buzzer noises in front a slightly morbid portrait. It would have been cooler to have a chance to sit and ask the TSA artist what he was trying to go for with this piece. (Those boys took forever so I just snapped a pic and moved on.) From what I knew about the piece, it has a lot to do with the detail in the faces of those in the audience. It would have been cool if there was another member of TSA snapping pics of us as we watched the operation game take place….but perhaps that is too literal for the TSA 🙂 I am grateful for being introduced to them though, I will make it a mission to visit their gallery (and I suggest you do the same if you’re near New York of Philly)!

The talk about contemporary art at the museum that I was itching to get to was also a tad underwhelming, I am very sorry to say. Mostly because it was very simple, I don’t know why I expected a bit more to think about it than “what did you feel before seeing the piece,” and, “what do you feel after seeing it.” The group was made up of awesome people though and I really enjoyed hearing what other’s thought/felt about the works we were observing…I just really wanted to talk to someone about whether they thought contemporary art was beautiful (because I think it’s sublime, and yes, there is a difference, and no, they do not need to be mutually exclusive.)

Well, the best part has to be at the end. There were a few long picnic tables set up with brown paper and crayons. People just came along and drew whatever their hearts wanted. Being able to draw and just relax on a cool Wednesday night after work was priceless. OF COURSE there had to be that one guy who trumped everyone else’s drawing with his immense talent. His work is presented below.

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Make Plans so Life has the Illusion of Meaning and Forward Momentum

“If you live alone and don’t make any plans. You wake up…and it just gets darker.”

Before I start, I must say: I love Simon Amstell more than I could ever express. Now..to the post…

I thoroughly enjoy living alone, yes…but I have not decided whether I like being alone yet. It’s quite unsettling now that all my friends are not a moments away because we have all graduated and gone our separate ways. There are only so many times in a week I can speak with my toaster before I realize I am really going insane. I guess this is what it feels like to pick up and move to another town. Augustana romanticized being a stranger and starting over far too much. “I think I’ll get a lover and fly him out to Spain”….please, at this point I’ll settle for an acquaintance I can drag with me to an art gallery.

It is even stranger now that everyone is literally a stranger. I feel like I have been condemned to go through the world side-by-side people whose names I will never know, places will no longer be familiar unless there is a willful attempt to familiarize the place. The air is the same, my skin is the same, the bird chirping outside my window are more or less the same but these elements are piecing together a different puzzle than they used to. A puzzle I’m not so sure I want. A puzzle that has more missing pieces than completed components. A puzzle I did not choose to start, but I will have finish.

Before I loose myself by staring far too long into the abyss, I should remind myself that I can easily fix this by making new friends and making plans.

Right.

So.

What do I do….

Can I just scream “who wants to be friends with me” at the train station?

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