Friday, July 13, 2007
It’s all about my show. That’s all I have written about for the past few weeks because I have lived and breathed nothing but my show. This is what happens to us when one deadline or impending event looms huge and renders all other things secondary blurs. Like weddings or house-hunting or thesis deadlines or babies about to arrive, the impending thing becomes who we are for a bit. And now my show is up and the reception looms but since that only requires being there I am capable of new thoughts.
At this side of the deadline I look back at the entire journey from there to here and it seems rather haphazard, even reckless. I’d say reckless is the fitting word. I arrived in this valley 5 years ago this coming October 1st, having come unglued from all things stable and structured. I couldn’t have foreseen that for months my life would revolve around a vacuum cleaner (pictured), that I would slave over, fiberglassing and bondo-ing and gluing, and that I would name, “Jesania Yo” (working title), after graffiti (yellow arrow) on a wall in an alley that would become my second studio for a very content and frenzied time. I couldn’t have foreseen my ironing board or washing machine or fridge sculptures. I had no idea I would create a series of work with a feminist bent, mocking domestic roles, or that in doing so, the process of creating the work would mimic the very work that my work was mocking.
5 years ago I had the *real* job I was told I must have. I lived in Boston and took the subway to work after dropping my dog off at Dog Day Afternoons Country Day Prep where he spent the day playing frisbee with his pals while I swam with the sharks. I spent a lot of my free time on my art but my job and the commute sapped so much time and life from me that I felt trapped, stymied, thwarted, folded, spindled and mutilated.
The plan was to save enough money to pay off my uninsured broken leg accident and subsequent surgeries (why do accidents only happen when you are at a new job and your health insurance coverage starts in 3 days?), and enough money to take some time off and thus make time for my art. But at some point I realized that was never going to happen. I lived up to my paycheck and beyond, I had developed tastes for sushi and pedicures and my dog was at a snooty day care that called itself a Country Day Prep and for which priviledge he had to go for an interview and show papers and vaccination histories. Having realized I was never going to see that day and worrying that I’d become a bitter old lady bitching endlessly about the things I should have done, I cut all of my lifelines. I gave up my job and my apartment and got on the road, armed with a shitload of debt and optimism.
But I had no plan, just the reckless attitude that I would always land on my feet. I tried to make a plan; I moved to Colorado. But when I got there I realized that this was not a valid plan so my dog and I started driving randomly around the country. We went to St. Loius where I had a mini-meltdown which resulted in the desk clerk giving us a fancy suite in a hotel overlooking the stadium where there were fireworks for some sporting event; we went to Nashville to spend a few days with my friend Diane who is a singer-songwriter there and where my dog Jamoka pissed off Stella Parton, Dolly’s sister, and where we saw the famous, “Nun Bun”, every morning when we went to the Bongo Cafe for coffee; we visited a friend in Mount Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of Andy Griffith; and we arrived an accidental day early at the home of friends in Maryland and walked in to find that they had another guest, my ex-boyfriend (oops). What a strange trip it was. After 6 weeks of random rambling we ended up here for yet another visit but fate took over and this became home.
But what’s the point of all this? Well, the point is that I am still standing, albeit precariously, and if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing because for the first time in my life I am free.
Freedom has its own budget and is often scary, requiring a certain resourcefullness and a lot of sacrifice but it also means that little things like the rare shopping trip to the Salvation Army is as joyous a trip as a fabulous vacation to Australia and New Zealand once was. Well, almost. But maybe now I get that famous Janis Joplin (written by Kris Kristofferson) line, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”. and that epiphany alone was worth the serendipitous trip that started with letting go of my hold on the side of the cliff that is life and trusting fate to take the steering wheel. For as we well know, the view from the passenger seat is the best, as long as you trust the driver and I put my trust in fate.
Ed. Note- Having exhausted all of her resources on her art, Mo now works as a housekeeper at the Super 8 motel in Pittsburgh where she writes this blog on a stolen blackberry between room-cleanings.