The earth sang to her, gave her missives in her bones. It cried to her, “You are more than this! You are stronger than this! You are a wild queen meant for the rivers and glens, flocks and packs!” Day after day she fought this song coursing through her. Every day she played threnodies for her own soul to drown out the song of the earth, to convince her bones that her civilized existence, while the death of her soul, was the right thing. The overpowering thing.
Her existence continued like this for years: the earth sung to her melodies of wild love and exuberant pain and for years she drowned it out as best she could.
One morning she woke to silence. Her patient lover, the earth, was no longer singing. The quiet rocked her, a void as cold as space but claustrophobic like a gathering of demeaning peers. She listened, laying still in her bed. She turned to her side and pressed her ear into her pillow, hoping the tune was quiet, muffled beneath her bed, but she heard nothing.
She crawled from her bed, to the floor, and pressed her ear to the scratchy grey carpet. Now she rested only feet from the dirt, from the soil, from the lifeblood that clotted beneath her home. Still she could hear nothing. She wept. Quietly at first, because she didn’t realize she was sad. She didn’t know how great her missing was.
As she lay there weeping the minutes ticked by. Slowly. Slowly. Slowly. But as her weeping grew to the mourning cries of widows and children of war she knew, in the back of her mind, her time was running out.
The safe world was striking up a call: pull yourself from the floor, deny that vibrant, animalistic pulse beating in your heart, for you are my child now. She slowed her tears. She took deep breaths of the air conditioned air and dug her nails into the synthetic carpet scratching her skin.
She slowly, slowly pulled herself to her knees, then to her feet. She shuffled to her closet and dressed. She pulled herself, step by step, to her bathroom and plastered her face with makeup, the war paint she donned to protect her from her own insecurities.
She was a sleeping body drawn by unnamed forces to the door. Her hand knew without her consciousness to grab her purse and keys, to lock the door behind her. She sat in her car, key in the ignition, but stopped. The soft call of domesticity increased its pitch, increased its volume, increased its demand. “Drive. Drive. Drive. Drive, my dear.” It commanded. It pleaded. It cajoled.
She clutched the key, her hand growing angry at being clenched so tightly. Her arm began to tremble and the tremble infected her shoulder, her lips, her heart.
She turned the key and backed the car into the street. She began her commute. The city song eased, sure it had won.
She entered the crowded highway, contested with others bound to the urban mother’s milk. She saw in the fume-filled highway her brethren in their own paths, in their own cars. They sat, angry, sad, empty. She saw the exit leading away from the city. Away from what she knew. Away from what she had built herself into. She flipped the sun visor down and met her own gaze, black mascara tears running down her cheeks.
She considered stopping. She thought how quickly she could end it all in a hot car on the highway. She knew the paramedics wouldn’t be able to reach her for half an hour after a call was placed. How long before her highway-bound brethren noticed her slumped in her seat?
As the cars inched she felt herself grow nearer surrender. When the traffic slowed to a stop, she told herself she would do it.
As the cars’ brake lights flared in front of her she knew. Her car slowed with the rest, now in line with an exit leading away from her goal. She put the car in park and cut the air. She began to sweat. She grew restless and angry. As the heat grew around her, an entity of its own, she heard it: the earth singing to her again. Her hope hadn’t died. Her fate wasn’t sealed.
I submitted a small drawing for a contest hosted by Dick Blick. Check it out and vote for my piece here: bit.ly/2cstWDc!
I did a small drawing for one of my classes. Read the accompanying explanation below.
This piece of art is rendered in ink and graphite and is primarily a visual representation of Titania and Nick Bottom. The piece was made small to make it an intimate piece: the viewer must draw near to see what it is. Ink is a thoughtful medium: it must be placed on the vellum deliberately and with care because it leaves a permanent mark. This was an intentional choice because the nuance and detail that can be achieved in the lines is expressive and a befitting the nature of the ideas explored in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ink is also a fitting medium because mistakes made are permanent and, while they can be made to feel an intentional part of the composition, they exist forever in the piece as a poor choice or a slip of the hand.
Oberon’s hand is represented as a sneaking shadow, encroaching on Titania’s neck. His hand a visual representation of the forces exerted on certain characters to control others: Oberon over Titania, Theseus over Hyppolyta, Puck over the young lovers and Nick Bottom.
In Titania’s eyes, the deceitful flower rests. The petals growing out through her lids distort her vision and trick her into loving the simple ass in front of her. In her hair twigs and leaves grow, a simple crown for the queen of the wood. Her head is illuminated by a halo as a depiction of her righteous duty to raise the child of her mortal friend and prevent Oberon from taking the boy and training him for combat. The halo is also representative of her innocence: she wants to be at ease with Oberon and dislikes the world being awry when they are at odds. Her desire for respect inspired trickery and manipulation in her husband and his cohort.
Bottom is drawn as placid, sitting idly at the bottom of the frame. What his gaze is occupied with is left to the viewer to determine: perhaps he’s gazing upon Titania’s body, perhaps upon some food. He is surrounded by flowers, which, peaceful and light, are devoid of humanity and function as a representation of his adoption by Titania and her entourage following the abandonment he suffers as a result of his friends’ fear of his transformed self.
It’s been a while since I’ve sat and penned a note for the faceless internet. I don’t think many follow my sporadically-updated blog, so I don’t think I’ve bruised anyone’s feelings by not updating frequently.
I have an inkling I’ll experience a resurgence in my desire to write, in my love of drawing, in my inclinations to share what I experience and the ways in which I handle it.
Here is a rather large piece (relative to the average size of the work I typically produce) that is currently in progress:
And the sketch upon which it is loosely based:
So far, I’m a bit more enamored with the sketch than the large brush and ink piece. A lot can change over the time it takes to finish a piece, especially since I’ve been working a bit slowly of late.
When in the small steps backwards to catch my balance I see the world yawning open and bright before me, I know the stresses of the day-in-day-out are naught but distractions. I know each pain births a greater appreciation for each joy, and even in the pain there is a beauty because it is vivid and alive.
If things feel like a game, they likely are, and I might be taking it all too seriously.
In spite of what light my moody writings may cast, life has been incredibly good for me; many changes are afoot and they all seem to be quite good. Some very exciting developments for me on a lot of fronts are coming to fruition.
11 more faces brings my February face total to 37! I planned on finishing out the page, but that will have to wait until after I’ve had a jog and a glass of wine. Happy Monday, all!
So, I want to get a bachelor’s in drawing.
Art has always existed in me. I’m not sure from where it sprang: looking at it from a genetic perspective, none of my family has displayed an artistic predisposition. Even upon looking at it from an environmental viewpoint it can be noted that there wasn’t much to encourage me to do art in my home, but I did it nonetheless.
I began with what I could grasp: crayons on walls. I think a lot of people start there. Somewhere in the rampant scribblings of childhood, my interest changed from destruction to observation and creation. As a young child I began to use art to express my experience as a person.
My family, though they don’t “get” art and don’t do it themselves, was very encouraging. Once they became aware of my love of creating, they did their best to offer an environment where that passion was nutured. They provided me, early on, with paper and pencils, encouraged me to take as many art classes as I desired, and, as my skill level grew, provided nicer media with which I could create.
Upon completing high school, I was under incredible pressure to choose a school and a “viable” career path. Not wanting to abandon art, I decided to do graphic design, enrolled in and was accepted into the design program at UNT. As a 17 year old, I was wholly unprepared for such a competitive program and for the social climate pervasive in and around UNT. I ended up dropping out, even though I was meeting with some success in (progressing through) the design core.
I took a break and lived with a friend for a while in a small house in Denton. It was an ill-kept house, and a January storm sent the sopping ceiling down on all of my possessions. The accumlated mold and rat carcasses made the house unliveable, and I ended up moving in with my parents. At that time I decided to pursue an associate’s degree in visual communication at Brookhaven. I adored my professors, classmates and the school. My experience there was an idyllic one and I graduated without issue.
I decided to attempt to find a job and work to save money before returning for my bachelor’s degree. I applied wherever I could, but could not land a design position. I found a barista position with Starbucks, and thus began my long tenure there. I made attempts to find design jobs during my time slinging coffee, but didn’t meet with any luck. I had a go at doing freelance design work, but found it wasn’t what I enjoyed.
In the midst of my years spent working for Starbucks, my mother lost her battle with cancer. For a decade she fought it, and, even as she grew small and weak, we had hope until the very end that one of the treatments would work. Hers was the first loss I ever experienced, and my grief was a maelstrom. For years afterward I lived in a sort of attempted “normal,” but never felt myself. I attended therapy, which helped, but grief cannot be assauged by anything but time and good company.
Shortly before my mother’s passing, I met a young man and began a relationship with him. We spoke of my returning to school, but it was put aside to make room for other things. He wasn’t a bad man, but we were a terrible match, and it took my emergence from my grief to realize it. In late 2015 I left him, and have been on the warpath to acheiving my goals. Where I once waffled over choosing a degree which might assist me in landing a “normal” career, I have grown a determination and passion to instead invest my time and money in doing what I love. I love drawing. I love drawing more than I love painting or graphic design. I love it a whole lot more than the idea of spending my time learning to be an accountant, executive, or anything of that nature. Part of my recent determination to live as I want is in no small part influenced by the position I’ve recently held: the past year I have worked as a graphic designer creating funeral programs. Editing obituaries every day certainly helps keep things in perspective: life is brief, do what you love, do what you want and do it while you have the chance to. I want to draw.