Thursday, January 30, 2003
Josephine Baker has returned to the Folies-Bergère as its leading lady. She is still excellent French star material. Her voice continues to be as sweet and reedy as a woodwind instrument. At the beginning of her long Paris career, she looked Harlem; then she graduated to Creole; she has now been transmuted into Tonkinese, or something Eastern, with pagoda headdresses, beneath which her oval face looks like temple sculpture. Her show consists principally of her changing her costumes, which are magnificent. The finale is exceptional. At the top of a high purple staircase, as a well-dressed Western Mary Queen of Scots, wearing a white train that stretches from the flies down to the footlights, she is beheaded, and from behind a veil (to hide her loss) she immediately sings Schubert's "Ave Maria" (written more than two hundred years later), in Latin. Then the whole theatre is turned into a French Gothic church by the appearance of phosphorescent stained-glass windows, which glow above the boxes and the balcony, while the stage is filled with phosphorescent stained-glass-window figures— a regular Folies-Bergère chorus from the clerestory of Chartres Cathedral. This Scottish finale is probably the most spectacular anachronism ever seen on a Paris stage. April 28, 1949
From the incredibly entertaining and informative Paris Journals by Janet Flanner
The research and writing is moving along very well, thank you very much. Another couple of thousand words, and I'll break the 20,000 word mark. When you stare at blank page number one, which is exactly what I was doing barely two weeks ago, the idea that I would have so much and more to write was worse than daunting. Now I can't wait to complete the manuscript, edit it, send it off to a few people who have promised to read and give me constructive criticism, and move on to my next writing idea. I can't believe I said that. I'm hooked. I better find a way for story-telling to pay my rent, or be doomed to leading a double and exhausting life.
Posted 5:53 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
"We will oppose any initiative that includes increasing direct taxpayer financing of political parties. Any public support for parties must be tied to voluntary donations from individuals — not to mathematical formulas based on previous election results," Mr. Harper [Alliance leader] said. "Campaign financing reform must be based on individuals' support for parties — not tax dollars from Canadians." - Globe & Mail
Harper is mistaken. No surprise there.
Non-partisan use of my tax dollars plus political donation caps in order to allow all parties a chance at equal access to the political process is a small price to pay for lady democracy.
Currently the ability for any party to fairly seek representation at the federal level is nonexistent. No one in this country can be stupid enough to believe that business doesn't buy politics. If the price is a small fraction of my tax dollars going to parties I have no respect for, like the Alliance, and yet this makes it possible for some underfunded party I respect to become a true contender on the federal front, then PLEASE pass this bill.
An email I sent to the Liberal Party.
Although the chances of a party getting my respect is nil. A person, perhaps. Right. Sigh. We're talking about those damn politicians.
Posted 3:12 PM
There are many good reasons the French (and the Germans) are loathe to see another war.
Europe, warring and warred-upon for six years, is bankrupt but neglects to say so. Its editions of paper money say so for it. In Budapest the pengo is unofficially quoted at twenty-four thousand to the dollar. French peasants refuse gold sovereigns and American eagles. Gold, as a tangible value, has been out of style for so long that nobody knows what it is worth any more, or cares. Today peasants want bushels of paper money. It is a sign of the times. Industries want more money with which to make goods, premiers of governments want more money with which to govern, children prattle about thousand-franc or thousand-lire or thousand-mark nots. The war, which has destroyed so much of everything, was also constructive, in a way. It established clearly the cold, and finally unhypocritical fact that the most important thing on earth to men today is money. - 1945 letter by Janet Flanner in Paris Journal 1944-1965
I can't help but think if the war were going to happen on American soil, there would be more resistance to the idea. When it's closer to home, it's less of an idea: it's about food rations, no electricity, cold water flats, death, destruction and scars no amount of plastic surgery could cover up. War in itself is the greatest weapon of mass destruction.
Posted 11:36 AM
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Wonderful idea!! 100 Poets Against the War
is a PDF chapbook you can download and print.
Posted 10:54 AM
The Penitentiary Panopticon or Inspection House, 1791
The not so new art of surveillance. Interesting article in today's New York Times
Posted 10:43 AM
Saturday, January 25, 2003
Listening to the coverage of the New Democratic Party's
(NDP - Canada's left-wing party) leadership race. A favourite (not mine), and an ordained minister, I've just learned, Bill Blaikie has now been introduced as a candidate. So far, a certain Quebec candidate, Pierre Ducasse restored my faith in politics. Eloquent, inclusive, clear and as far from condescending as the phrase "the workers" can be. Each time I hear that phrase in someone's speech, I cringe and bristle just a little bit more. It's a classist statement, a throwback to the Marxist era, and sectarianist, to say the least. He's a reason why I won't vote NDP. Now, if someone like Pierre Ducasse was elected? Whole new ball game.
Oh, Blaikie has AWh-ful French pronunciation. Without support from within Quebec, the NDP don't stand a chance. Effort, as I've learned, doesn't cut it in this province. You've got to sound like the real thing to gain any respect from the francophones. This is a simple fact of Canadian politics. Why do you think Jean Chretien has been Prime Minister for over ten years now?
There are many reasons I don't vote NDP, most specifically their lack of practical solutions for economic difficulties. They never go on record regarding economic issues and solutions. If you're "the worker", then economics is your bread and butter, not over-idealistic principles and pretty words, although if that's the way they're going to play it, then they need a fiery but pragmatic and focused leader who will ignite "the worker", "the environmentalist", "the feminist", "the immigrant", "the poor" and "the disaffected youth"--see how divisionist these labels sound?-- to drag his/her tired ass off the couch after a long day at work, perpetually exhausted by too little pay for too much work and the force of a government that licks big business butt (no, I also won't be voting for Paul Martin of the Liberals should he win that leadership race next year).
Give me a reason. And remove the favouritism on the union vote - unions should have equal voting weight as non-unionized individuals; plus, Buzz Hargrove won't prove to be such a pointless menace.
So far, Jo Comartin
stands on principle, and isn't afraid to speak out, but doesn't address economics; Bev Meslo
is a pure, practicing socialist-activist who is too personal (emphasis on feminist) in her speech, but well-versed on socialist history in Canada, yet did not mention the vital Quebec; Pierre Ducasse
is a breath of clean, clear, fresh air, as bracing and sustainable as air; Blaikie
sounds like a typical politician, unconvincing and uninspired, cliched to the extreme, borrowing from John Lennon's "Imagine" - should have borrowed Nike's "Just do it", which is a lot more active than his daydreaming approach; and the vote is still out as there is one more (I missed Lorne Nystrom
) candidate speech to come up: Jack Layton
, "the man who will mobilize the young but persuade their parents".
Now that I've heard Jack Layton speak, and I've skimmed through his web site, I hope either Layton or Ducasse (the underdog) wins. Then you'll find me voting NDP for the first time in my federal political life.
Now that I've had time to absorb Layton's speech, I've revised my opinion. The man is too glib, and is it really necessary to his campaign to poke fun at the BC premier Gordon Campbell for his D&D incident? A little respect or demonstration of respect towards others, or is "respect" a dirty word in politics now?
Posted 8:49 AM
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
From today's New York Times interview with Norman Mailer
"Sept. 11 was the `open sesame' to the path to world empire," he said. "It doesn't matter for Bush if things turn out well or badly in Iraq. If they turn out well, they can start to think of the next step. If they turn out badly, that's still good for him because of American patriotism. Who's going to be against George W. Bush when he's mourning the deaths of our boys? Either way he won't have to face the increasing problems here with the American economy and the scandals, with the breakdown in belief in two huge systems: corporate leadership and the priesthood."
Posted 1:19 PM
Sunday, January 19, 2003
From what I can gather, Marcel Dzama is the key behind a Winnipeg collective called The Royal Art Lodge
, a collective that happens to be gaining quite a bit of notoriety in major art centres such as New York.
Another Canadian art collective, a bit on the too slick side for me, is Toronto's Instant Coffee
If you're interested in art collectives, a good article in today's New York Times
Such Net-centric collectives are electronic descendants of earlier American groups that cohered and dissolved from the 1960's through the 1990's: PAD/D (Political Art Documentation and Distribution), Colab, Group Material, Guerrilla Girls, REPOhistory, Act Up and General Idea, which originated in Canada, to name but a few. The full history of this phenomenon has yet to be written, though a few art historians — Alan Moore, Gregory Sholette and Blake Stimson — have books in the works.
For all the rep Montreal has for art and artists and culture, why no mention, I wonder? Could the scene here just be a myth? Too local, perhaps? Doesn't translate beyond the hometown borders? I've met many local artists on both sides of the linguistic fence, and if it's not lack of ambition coupled with lethargy, it's too much ambition and a penchant for the commercial side of life.
Posted 4:03 PM
Saturday, January 18, 2003
Having changed color photography permanently, Haas turned his attention to the capture of movement. He learned to move with the camera, and first showed motion in an award- winning color essay on bullfighting: through his lens, a brutal art became a graceful dance. Later, investigating sports of all kinds, he captured the exhilaration of speed with a previously unseen clarity. He explained: "To express dynamic motion through a static moment became for me limited and unsatisfactory. The basic idea was to liberate myself from this old concept and arrive at an image in which the spectator could feel the beauty of a fourth dimension, which lies much more between moments than within a moment. In music one remembers never one tone, but a melody, a theme, a movement. In dance, never a moment, but again the beauty of a movement in time and space." - Ernst Haas
More interesting finds during my Saturday afternoon mental meandering.
to the UK's Richard Hamilton
to America's Gary Hill
Posted 6:28 PM
Friday, January 17, 2003
. (often. attrib
.) person using esp. organised violence against a government etc. (from my own copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Current English)
Maybe it's just a question of running out and buying millions of dictionaries and doing an air drop on the White House? I wonder what they'd call organized enlightenment of a government? Unpatriotic?
Perhaps these dictionaries might be misconstrued as dangerous weapons of mass destruction, the damage they would do if people just bloody well started using them. Hypocrisy, kaboom!!!, blown to smithereens!
"I hate titling things. I like it when things turn up in my head with titles attached. I never had to brood over a name for Stardust, because when it turned up, it was called Stardust. Coraline was called Coraline, and Anansi Boys, like it or not, is and always has been called Anansi Boys.
American Gods was a sort of placeholder name, as was Neverwhere, and in neither case did I come up with a better one.
The best title of anything of mine was probably Violent Cases, and that was Garry Kilworth at a Milford, pointing out that my original title for the story was crap, and that Violent Cases was there in the text ("Gangsters had tommy-guns, which they kept in violent cases...").
Currently reading, when I get a second, M. John Harrison's short story collection, THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN. Not only can he write like a demon, but he can title stories." (from writer Neil Gaiman's journal entry January 16, 2003)
Nice to see a paid and famous writer struggling over the same issues as this unpaid and unknown writer.
Lucky me, no work hours this week means lots of time to pwiffle around my studio as I try not to stress about a dwindling bank account and, instead, concentrate on my writing, the easier part being the pwiffling, although I'm happy to say the writing is coming along. My pre-sleep phase is now monopolised by the characters and the story which finds me waking to an intriguing plot point or character developments, sometimes even full-on dialogue. My waking moments are now spent half-mulling over the new developments, allowing them to simmer and stew in my brain, and if I'm still liking the idea by evening, I'll put it to the actual writing test. If the entire story gets written in my head while I'm asleep (a Woody Allen method, I've heard), I'll be damn lucky. The drawback, should you ask M, is I've become an utter flake, lost in my little fictional world. At least, I can control the temperature--no minus 20-something windchill days in my story!
Posted 8:40 AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Frida the film
is as subtle and layered as once, I suspect, was the woman herself. This is not an artist I know well. Diego Rivera's work I've seen; most memorable is the mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts
. Woman all over the world cry, but of course!
Fidelity, infidelity, marriage, loyalty, these are the major themes ...Art is simply the context within which the characters are defined.
As a child, I had a Cinderella image of relationships, that Disney'd happily-ever-after version. Perhaps because it is such a poweful image, pseudo-indoctrinated into us at a young age, the reality of relationships, and life, has never ceased to surprise me. A critic pessimistically questionned the positive attitude Kahlo had throughout all her suffering, all his infidelities. That critic is the reason it took me this long to sit and watch the film, visions of an unreal and absurd happy-go-lucky twit shrugging it all off. So far from the truth. Through the tequila swigging, tears, screams and independent defiance, there is a strong, spirited survivor who simply does what we're all intended to do: Live
The subject interests me as I'm trying to determine how my own characters may choose to react or act when faced with situations beyond their own control, especially actions in the name of "love". I don't believe in the fatalistic approach. Too much of present society seems to drown in the apathy that fatalism engenders. But I don't believe in beating your head against a wall you can't move. There is a grey zone of in/action that this film captures beautifully.
Posted 8:23 PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Researching American and French art and culture between 1940 and 1972 for my novel. The quantity of information is daunting but the experience is utterly enjoyable, and ultimately necessary, if this novel is to have any authenticity to it. Although the story takes place in the present, the key event takes place in the past. What I'm discovering in my research is that we tend to absorb culture without contextualizing it. We know the names, but we've lost a sense of the stories, the details, probably because there are just too many names--information overload. I read somewhere that film students today can't hope to watch everything they need to watch in order to gain a comprehensive perspective on film history, simply because there are so many films now, so history becomes distilled, and certain film makers or films become the representational icons that speak for others we may never hear from. The details get lost so easily now, as does the sense of history repeating.
If you'd like to enjoy some of the details, I highly recommend the Aspen site. Although all content is pre-1971, I'm amazed at how contemporary the issues and culture feel, even if the language sounds quaint or dated.
"Yet, the young cats are the spiritual children of the old cats, and if the old cats don't like what the young cats do they really can blame no one but themselves, and I sincerely believe this to be true. It's comparable to the careless, immoral parents of today who do anything they care to, then refer to their children as "juvenile delinquents" when they do the things their parents do. The father is supposed to guide the child, but some of the old cats cut up pretty wild. Okay, so the only places where they could play the music was in joints where whiskey was sold by the cup, but did the old cats have to try their best to drink it all up? If a man is alotted 70 years in the Bible before he draws his last breath, how come so many older cats used to drink themselves to death? Just what is the difference between an old cat who takes a drink wherever and whenever he can grab it and the young cat with a heroin habit? Everything's faster these days, and heroin's quicker than liquor. Both seem, to me, a crime. Perhaps the difference is one of time." (from Now wait a minute dad, those young cats ain't all bad)
Posted 5:57 PM
Minus too-cold-to-care-what-the-number-is. There was a snowflake accident at my window, the casualties, frozen at impact, creating a temporary stained glass effect, while I, warm and cozy in my studio, clicking here and there, listening to Aznavour and wondering whether this war with Irak will happen.
On the news last night, the reporter indicated that the Hamas
group in Palestine is warning that if Canada aligns itself with the U.S. on the Irak war question, we too can look to the wrath of suicide bombers. Great. Even better is that during the American Music Awards, only one, count one
person dared to speak out against war, calling for peace. I may not care for Sheryl Crow's music, but that lady had more guts than most of the zombie-high performers last night. Given an opportunity, these American "idols" should take a stand.
Food for thought:A brief essay by John Berger in Open Democracy
struck a chord with me. He speaks of our helplessness in face of governments making unilateral decisions under the guise of democracy yet without the actual approval of its citizens. This is supposed to be "democracy"? I don't believe I know what that word means anymore. As a writer, or perhaps as someone who specialized in discourse analysis, I'm all too aware of the change in or subtle bastardization of the meaning of our words. The problem is that it is so subtle. I don't even recall when the concept of democracy was substituted for this near-tyrannical reality.
More food for thought:
"Wars etc. part of dying political-economic structures"John Cage, Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), 1966
"Society's changing. Relevant information's hard to come by. Soon it'll be everywhere, unnoticed."
Posted 1:54 PM
Thursday, January 09, 2003
At the request of the playwright Samuel Beckett, Giacometti designed the set for the new production of «Waiting for Godot» at the Théâtre de l'Odéon. The set consisted of a single tree. (Source: Alberto Giacometti)
I cannot recall the last time I was this excited. All afternoon I researched for my novel. This Alberto Giacometti site is a real find considering my story revolves around the significance of a sculpture, and needing a model for a sculptor, I've decided to research one who seriously interests me; almost interests me enough to go back to school and work on an MA in Art History. The verdict on that future course of action is still out. For now, I'm thoroughly enjoying discovering what I need to know in my own way.
Finding names for my characters spurred today's research. I can't keep calling them by their roles. They need identities that give them purpose within the story. While thinking about their names and identities, I found myself also trying to imagine where they would live, or where they have to live in order to make the story and their personalities plausible. You can't have a socialite living in a dingy neighbourhood, or you can, but not for this story. The parameters of the story have been clearly established and now I'm trying to work within those parameters. If I let myself bleed too far past my self-imposed lines, the process will become byzantine-like, and frighteningly unmanageable. No point in making an already big job bigger than I can handle considering I've taken this long to finally commit to a novel-length project, knowing full well that I will be dedicating significant personal time to something that may never earn me a dime and will divert my attention from other projects. S'ok. The research is taking me through the dingy alleys and wealthy neighbourhoods of Paris, its culture, art and literature post-WWII, and into the hearts of people I've known and have yet to meet.
As for the parameters, they aren't as strict as you might imagine. The parameters define the kind of people and situations that interest me, that perplex and fascinate me, that make me question human behaviour and motivation. It's about love, art, fear, secrets, responsibility, perception ... The last time I discussed the story with M, he said it sounds Shakespearean. I had to laugh. I'm trying to keep it simple and yet the story keeps wanting to head into complicated and convoluted areas, and I almost know why this is happening; in logic circles, they'd say that my mind is throwing red herrings at me.
I know perfectly well that the real struggle, beyond this one of keeping the story manageable, is the actual writing. I question my language and style; very rarely the ideas. Not a day goes by that I don't find myself thinking about a new twist or turn or element or angle. Sometimes I wonder if I allow myself to drown in the endless abyss of possibilities so to avoid the moment when I will have to take it from "possible" to "is". For once, I've decided to trust my ability. Even when writing papers for my MA studies, I would fret and stress and spend more time researching and reading than I would writing so that when the moment came, that dreaded moment I would have to put my own words to paper, all the pent up research and brewing ideas spewed forth into a few furious evenings of writing. That my language may not evoke the great Pulitzer Prize winners is a silly fear. My language needs to evoke my ideas. In this modern award- and achievement-oriented culture, recognizing that you do something for your own pleasure and growth is probably the biggest challenge. Chaining yourself to the fickle will of the juries, the establishment, the media, well, that's a recipe for severe insecurity and probably voluntary commitment to a psychiatric ward.
It's funny. I know a few others struggling to be writers, who are already talking about the fact that now they've passed the ripe old age of 30 and have not produced the next Booker Prize, it's time to pack it in and go absolutely commercial, make those damn words pay for themselves, whereas I'm coming to the realization that the words pay just by being my own words. If nothing else, by the time I've completed this book, I'll have reacquainted myself with an old flame (la belle France), learned about an area of modern art that intrigues me, and perhaps gained some insight into why we choose the roads we walk.
Posted 3:03 PM
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
After a leisurely lunch and some quick errands, all the while wondering what to name one of my characters (the art researcher), I buckled down to the personal project at hand: a birthday present for my mother. Keeping in mind the impact Christmas presents had on my bank account, I decided to do a mix CD and design the cover myself. The worst part was picking the music. She likes Bette Midler and Celine Dion and Bryan Adams (*gag*), and for her, yes, I did include a couple of Dion tracks, and a Bette Midler one (with Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton to offset the pain of listening to just Bette). The rest, I'm happy to say is an interesting mix of upbeat music by Stina Nordenstam, India Arie, Badly Drawn Boy, the Beatles, Astrud Gilberto, Frank Sinatra, Juliette Greco, Sam Roberts, Sparklehorse, Stereolab, Aretha Franklin, The Monkees, the Beatles, the Temptations with the Supremes, CCR and Belle & Sebastian.
Yea, I was skeptical at mixing all this together, but in some weird and twisted way it works. It all depends on which songs you choose and what order you put them in. Once again, upbeat was the theme, and since my parents are divorced, nothing to set off that still too touchy emotional trigger. Do you even realize how many songs deal with depression, break-up, heartache, pain and suffering?? disguised by jangly guitars and happy vocals?? Perverse.
I've called it "I travelled so very far to find you". My mother's been halfway around this world, and then some. Sometimes I think she's lived a million lives, and felt more than any one person should be allowed to feel. She's come such a very long way just to find herself, and, I think, she's still looking, but after years of estrangement from her, I'm happy to say, at least, I've found her. After doing my own share of travelling. The rest is up to her. Hopefully, the music will help.
A personally satisfying quickie.
Posted 7:54 PM
Something you seriously begin to ponder once you delve into any creative activity, such as, in my case, writing and mixed media, is copyright law. At the back of my mind is, can I legally do that? Will some harassed lawyer hired by some wealthy artist try to make my life miserable if I do that? The story I'm currently researching is inspired by a real-life sculptor and I began to question the morality of taking elements of his life and building a fictitious world. I'm wondering what the limits are. I'll respect them, but only if they make sense.
See, I'm not a great believer in you can and you can't just because we
said so, and we happen to be the more powerful, more clever or more wealthy, whatever. That, in my mind, is an abuse of authority. I do respect property and ownership, although my having an MP3 available for your listening pleasure justifiably puts a question mark on what I just said. Why do I respect property and ownership, yet I share MP3s?
I know this entire free MP3 situation is killing the big music business; I feel for them, really, I do, every single time I share some music with someone else, I understand that business is taking it a hit. That they didn't take advantage of the incredible promotional possibilities early on in the game; that they didn't get hip with the technology and figure out a way to mitigate the damage, instead of relying on old school big business blue suit legal screaming tactics, well, that is now their very big problem. Poor decision-making and dinosaur thinking will get you every time. Still, their, shall I say, stupidities, don't give all of us a license to use for our own purposes a song that belongs to them?
If I paid for the original disc, I should be able to share with you the thrill the music gives me, and then, if I share it, because it is really not mine, I shouldn't take money for it. I'd say I'm not doing anything "wrong". Some might. Ah, the dilemma of copyright and property in the creative industries.
The only people really getting screwed, who have been getting screwed long before the Internet and free mp3s came to be, are the artists.
But they've never been protected in any real sense, these artists. They're getting wiser, I think, choosing to take control of their own career instead of entrusting it to some big exploititve business machine (think of all the Motown unknowns who contributed to the wealth of the music industry). And if they aren't getting wiser, they'll have to. We all do. Security has always been a myth. In one's career, one's life, one's homeland. The bubble has popped, and in my mind, this is a good thing. Seeing what the problem really is allows you to study it and perhaps change it or accept it, and move on.
Some artists have sites where you can pay them direct for their work. Some artists simply ask for contributions. Their work and their dedication will make them stars, and not the tried and true image-makers, publicity hounds and expert marketing teams. A lot of people who are only in the business for the money, will eventually get out when there is no money to be seen. Those who love what they do will adapt and perservere. I'm starting to think that we'll find the bar of quality rising, if it's given a chance. We'll just have to wait and see. It's been a long time coming, this change. Ever since you could photocopy or scan an image, or take a song off the radio.
Another argument for the sharing of art is the exposure and opportunities this gives to artists. I'm currently admiring the way the comix industry and artists have been taking advantage of the change and shifts allowed by the Internet. With little need for distribution and publishers, so many "bedroom artists" have put their work out there, are being seen and recognized, and, if a demand has been proven, are now collecting their work and publishing hard copies for sale. They'll make some money, and maybe even achieve fame and fortune. Without the advantages of easy distribution and promotion allowed by the Internet, they'd still be anonymously slaving away in their bedroom.
Having said all that, I firmly believe that there has to be a spirit of balance and there must be laws against outright theft (although some artists are incredibly flattered to be "admired that much" - it's all in how you perceive you will lose or gain), which brings me to a piece in today's New York Times that features the site http://illegal-art.org
. Did you know that in Canada, our copyright laws, specifically the idea of "Fair play" is even more restrictive than in the U.S.? At least in the U.S. they allow for parody!
As for writing and being inspired by real life characters, M tells me there's nothing to worry about. Inspiration is one thing, theft another. A room full of lawyers groan, "not again!"
Posted 9:40 AM
Monday, January 06, 2003
"Efficiency is a problem, a loss of complexity," he says. "Simple and efficient doesn't exist — that is naïveté in a certain way. Life is all about accidents, about error, about failure, the unresolved, about doubts, about something blurry. If something is efficient, it is autonomous — create a logo, defend your territory. It's no surprise that it is a capitalistic approach. Whereas we are more interested in something that is not autonomous, something more porous, that can spread or extend in another way, that can appear, dissolve and reappear somewhere else, like a topological system." (Pierre Huyghe in NYTimes 05-01-2003 article - you have to be a member to read this).
Another myth succintly destroyed. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a super machine robot spy. That's what a North American upbringing will do to you. Now that I'm an adult, I just want to move to the south of France where I can sip wine and sunsets, and play cache-cache
with the rest of this crazy world.
Posted 10:33 AM
Friday, January 03, 2003
A new year, a new look, yea, yea, how cliche. Not one to hide my utterly boring normalcy, I must, though, explain this change, so soon and quick after the last one. I could simply say that it's time to move away from the idea of passe.partout and headspace, which were more about finding a way out of the confusion that was my life. With the previous design, I did begin to move away but realized I was bringing a lot of the old baggage with me. spilt.ink is supposed to be a place where M and I can develop our creative ideas and share them with the rest of the world, and not a forum for simply babbling or bitching about the neighbours, or politics or the anglo/francophone divide in Montreal.
While all this is true, the honest to goodness truth is that I am a commitment-phobe. If a project is too large, I take forever beginning it and then completing it. If it's quick and easy, I spend hours tweaking and changing. I come up with ideas and before they even get a chance to reach any form of maturity, I discard them, leaving a trail of mental clutter not unlike Linus.
Some call this "perfectionism". *big belly-aching guffaw*
I know better. About a week ago, I played a little game where I wrote five different possible life directions on five different pieces of paper that I crumpled into tight little balls. Holding them, I vigourously shook them in my cupped hands and focused on the idea that I would pick one and promise to follow through, focusing my time and attention almost exclusively on it for the first third of this year. When the moment came to choose one, I hesitated. I felt this funny little fear grip my belly and I thought, this is pathetic! Has it really come to my inability to choose and commit to one single thing??
Ah, the sad, sad truth. Yes.
However, after reminding myself that this was a voluntary game and that no one else was aware of what I was trying to do and therefore could not hold me to the results, I did manage to choose one. Uncrumpling the paper, a certain familiar dread filled me. I looked at the result: art and art history. The next piece of paper was photography. The third design. Writing came in fourth, while I can no longer recall what the fifth idea was. As silly as the game might sound, it was revealing.
Fully aware of this personality-defining flaw, I have decided to dedicate 2003 to self-commitment. Of course I'm not talking about blind pig-headed commitment for the sake of preserving a budding ideology. No, no. After about 3 years of lots of thinking and avoiding, I am ready to move on. The first step is to keep this design for the next 12 months. *shock shock horrors all around* Although I'm already tempted to tweak it so that it is easier on the eyes ... especially since M keeps telling me the blue pops too much and creates a harsh colour situation. *sigh* I like the colours, damn it! I'll see what I can do. He is pushing for a black border. Boring, boring.
Another realization is that too much time in front of a computer will fry your eyeballs. In the last year, I spent much too much time playing with web designs and learning enough code so to survive this forever changing and upgrading world. Since my aim in life is not to comb through code and troubleshooting a web site (due to another flaw known as "abhorrence of detail"), I've decided I know enough to translate the basics of pure design to suit my needs. If I'm to use up any more of my time for web-related projects, it will be about Flash and Director and not about scripts and blips. Even then, time spent in front of this computer will be rationned in order to preserve these poor tired peeps. I did purchase an anti-glare screen and a pair of groovy spectacles to relieve my poor burnt-out eyes, but what really seems to put my life into perspective is less time in front of a monitor and more time watching the sky change colour and light. There is nothing more soothing than that of natural light spilling onto the paper on which I'm drawing or writing in a room where the absence of ceaseless electrical computer hum is obvious.
Suffice it to say you'll see more interesting content here this year, or at least, I will attempt to create more interesting content. Although writing came in fourth on my priority list, I cannot escape it, nor ignore it, so integral it is to who I am. Even this morning I woke to images and possibilities for the story I've been working on for two months. The characters are becoming clear while certain key points of the plot line are still a mystery, as is the point of view. All in good time, I've decided, or those crumpled pieces of paper have decided for me. That writing came in fourth only confirmed that the focus in my life can't be and shouldn't be just about writing. I put a lot of pressure on myself last year as I attempted to write stories and develop ideas for scripts and novels, fully buying those theories that if one is a writer, there can be but one master. Bullshit. The only master here is life, and life, my friends, is the real story.
Welcome to spilt.ink.
Posted 8:59 PM
Powered by Blogger