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May 26, 2007

I have a piece in the NurtureArt New '07 Show that is happening on June 4. I don't know why I'm posting about it here, afterall, it is a benefit art show (which means that they take any piece of work from any Tom, Dick, or Harry that is willing to donate it -- that's right if it sells, I get $0).

I also do not expect any of my friends to show up to see the exhibition because it is one night only AND it costs $75 to get in. All pieces are priced $150 and can be no bigger than 16" x 16".

So if you are rich enough to pay $75 to go to an art show (and eat all the h'ors d'oerves and drink all the wine you can -- that's my personal plan {donating artists get in free}) check it out:
June 4 from 7-9 pm. 
The CUE Art Foundation gallery is hosting, located at 511 W. 25th St., NYC.

May 25, 2007

I thought it would never get here, but finally, it hath arrived. I am now the proud owner of an original "Maakies" comic strip, hand drawn and inked by Tony Millionaire himself. Read my posting from April 15 to get the details on the weird and bumpy road that led up to this.

Anyway, when it arrived, I was beaming. The package had a Sharpie drawing of Drinky Crow on it, thanking me by name. Swoon! And inside, my very own strip. Of course, I still haven't got the strip in my home because I immediately took it to get framed, but I do have a smaller drawing of Drinky Crow that Mr. Millionaire was sweet enough to include for me, as well. That's what you see to the right.

I am one happy girl, let me tell you. Cloud nine ain't got nothing on me right now. Which leads me to tell you all that you should invest in some original art. Support your local starving artist, damn it!

May 19, 2007

First things first, I just came home from my second ten mile run ever. Somehow I managed to knock ten minutes off the time of my first ten mile run. I completed today's run in a admirable 92 minutes. I don't know, it was just one of those days when I felt unstoppable. I knocked off the first five miles in 45 minutes (as opposed to my average 48 minutes), and I knew then that I had to go for ten. It was much easier this time.

Meanwhile, last night I went out with friends to see a band. I had no real interest in the band, but I do have an interest in my friends so I went.

At the venue a gangly, blonde man, to whom I was about to be introduced, shouted out my name: Kelso Jacks!

We knew each other some six or seven years ago when I was working at a music journal. He was a music director for a college radio station in Kansas. Four months ago he decided to pack up life in the Midwest and try to make it as a musician in New York. Needless to say, he is also working as a bus boy at a pub (excuse me, he calls the job a "back waiter" but I asked what that meant and he said clearing plates and filling water, and I say that is a bus boy). I will admit this, it takes balls to move to the most expensive town in the country and try to make a life of it withut a 6-figure salary to help you out.

Anyway, when he moved here in February he contacted me via MySpace (he was not on my friends list). I though that odd. I hadn't thought of the kid in moons, and here he was announcing his life's plan to me. I chose not to respond. We talked about that last night. I told him that I just didn't know what to make of it.

Apparently, I made a profound impression on him. He said that I was entwined forever with his thoughts of New York City. According to him, I once let him crash on the floor of my apartment when he was visiting for a music convention. I don't recall this. I mean, I worked in the music industry and so did most of my friends (a few, poor souls, still do). We ALWAYS had people -- radio folk, label reps, musicians, tour managers, you name it -- crashing on our floors. We would pass them around depending on how many nights they needed to stay.

I'm sure he stayed with me. I don'te recall it, but he does and he loves me for it. He even asked me to be his manager last night, but I think he was only half serious. See, he revealed he had given up drinking three months before moving to New York, but that he fell off the wagon recently. So I think the beers he had went straight to his head. I laughed the idea of managing him off. At the end of the night, he gave me a seriously long hug. That was odd. Again, probably the beers.

But it reminded me of the recent run-in I had with a guy whom I had a fling with a decade or more ago, and how he said he thinks of me "often, and fondly". I simply don't get it. I don't see what I've done to earn such a legacy in the minds of these people. I'm grateful, though. I like to think, that even with all of my insanities and all the world's misery, that I am at the very least a decent person. A person who can be good.

May 12, 2007

"Love is not a victory march, it is a cold and broken hallelujah" -- Leonard Cohen

Nothing to really say about that. It's just a song lyric that has been stuck in my head for a while now.

May 8, 2007

I spent my weekend in Martinsville, Virginia. That was where the funeral I had to attend took place. It is a small town in a county where my husband's family dwelled for generation upon generation, way back to the early years of America. Then my husband's grandfather's children all moved north. My husband still has cousins by the dozens in Martinsville. Some of them showed up at the funeral home and church. Mind you, these people, these relatives, had never met the deceased or any of the northern kin. But they came out because they saw the obituary, and they knew it was one of their own. Family is a powerful thing to them.

It's funny that we went to Martinsville for a funeral, because, even though the sloganeers want you to believe it is a "city without limits", it is, in fact, a dying town. Years ago, its big industries were furniture and textiles. In fact, my husband's grandmother worked in a factory making thread. But, like many things, thread-making can be done more cheaply overseas, and so it goes.

Now it seems there is nothing that can be done to turn Martinsville around. Its Main St. is about eight square blocks, and the rest of Martinsville is sprawling strip malls. And those strip malls are half-vacant--just empty, soaped up windows where some failed business was forced to shutter up. There is plenty of parking, especially if you're in need of a shoddy goods from a Family Dollar discount stores or have a hankering for Mexican food (there are a great many Mexican restaurants). There also seemed to be more than the town's fair share of chiropracters.

Martinsville, at this point, is probably best known for its NASCAR speedway. The track has a smattering of ramshackle, condemned, tin-roofed houses all around its perimeter. It is a big, ugly, under-used eyesore surrounded by sad little once-homes and it does not do nearly enough to provide a livelihood for the people around it.

It was good to go to that dying town. Afterall, there are still landmarks from my husband's life there that I am happy to have seen. He spent a few summers there, and one high school year, as well. So I saw his grandparents' home, and the high school he attended for a year, and the boarded up remnants of the Food Lion grocery store where he worked as a teenager, and so on.

In the end, the trip was sad, but less because of a funeral of a man named Elbert Stone, and more for having to pay witness to the death throes of an American town.

MAY 1, 2007

Currently, I am reading You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe. Make sure you get that right, it is Thomas Wolfe, not Tom Wolfe. It is an 700+ page novel. I have just passed the 400 page point at this time (and I'm only 2 1/2 weeks in at that, so I'm moving at a pretty good clip and that make me feel accomplished).

Anyway, Thomas Wolfe is a deeply American writer. He died early (age 37--from tuberculosis of the brain), and he captured a very difficult time in this country's history -- the Great Depression. Just as Hunter S. Thompson wore his admiration for Horatio Alger on his sleeve, I am feeling the same sort of camaraderie with Wolfe.

This man wrote of the American experience. He captured the spirit and foolhardiness of what it means to be a citizen of this nation. There is a certain drive combined with ego that defines the American, and Wolfe understood that. These days, being an American is difficult. It is hard to live knowing that other people in the world have a negative opinion of you based simply on who is running your nation. And why shouldn't they? The people voted, after all.

In You Can't Go Home Again, there is an introduction to the third book called An End to the Beginning, and in a short two pages, Wolfe crafts the most wonderful metaphor by comparing a cicada with America as it moves into the Depression. I was struck. Those two pages are some of the finest writing I have ever read.

Like I said, I'm just now half way through the book's 700+ pages so I can't judge it as a whole. I do not think it is the best book I have ever read. It is bloated -- something I can tell the author agreed with based on his own words (the main character, after all, is a novelist with a propensity to write overly long pieces). The story doesn't follow a narrative that is necessarily neat and clean. It meanders, It is like a bunch of freestanding short stories tied together through one man. It is not neat and tight like To Kill A Mockingbird in which every word and every chapter propelled the same story and the same theme.

You Can't Go Home Again is not like that. It is several vignettes strung together. And that is fine, because they are poetic and impresssive. These stray chapters capture the unique struggle of what it is like to live up to the American ideal with the need to be human -- and yes, those two things are not the same.

In the chapter called The Locusts Have No King (a beautifully titled chapter, indeed), Thomas Wolfe wrote the following about the role of man on Earth in an mind-bogglingly controlled and non-religious, matter-of-fact approach:

"For there is one belief, one faith, that is man's glory, his triumph, his immortality--and that is his belief in life. Man loves life, and, loving life, hates death, and because of this he is great, he is glorious, he is beautiful, and his beauty is everlasting. He lives below the senseless stars and writes his meaning in them. He lives in fear, in toil, in agony, and in unending tumult, but if the blood foamed bubbling from his wounded lungs at every breath he drew, he would still love life more dearly than an end of breathing. Dying, his eyes burn beautifully, and the old hunger shines more fiercely in them--he has endured all the hard and purposeless suffering and still he wants to live.
So this is man--the worst and best of him--this frail and petty thing who lives his day and dies like all the other animals, and is forgottem. And yet, he is immortal, too, for both the good and evil that he does live after him. Why then, should any living man ally himself with death, and, in his greed and blindness, batton on his brother's blood?"

I love that. If Thomas Wolfe had written no other words in his entire life, I would adore those. It speaks of the animalistic part of man. Animals, afterall, do everything in order to live. Man gets confounded by emotion and supposedly larger purposes, but in the end it boils down to instinct. Most every living thing is compelled to live, no matter how dire it gets. Suicides are anomalies.

Thomas Wolfe may not have been entirely cohesive in his writing, but even in reading just half of a book by him, I know that this was a guy who had something to say.

 

 

My Desire to Leave Is Only Outdone by My Desire to Stay

This is the Painting In the Show, Now You Really Need Not Show Up.

 

 

 

 

Drinky Crow

Drinky Crow Knows My Name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map of Martinsville

Goodbye Smalltown America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe: Get to Know Him