March 13th, 2001

red panda eating bamboo

Doing art

I've tended to have an attitude of "I have to do every part of the art
process entirely on my own or it's not Art, it's just a housewife doing
meaningless busywork." No classes, no books of design ideas, no
step-by-step how-to-articles, no kits, no....


That is stupid and arrogant, and I am going to stop it, I swear.

red panda eating bamboo

Taking the time for art

I always feel short of time. Learning the skills required for creating something beautiful with my hands is going to take time and it's going to be frustrating while my skill level is low. I've been working on the assumption that if I can get the same feeling of "Oh good, there's beauty in my life" by purchasing someone else's work instead, that takes less time and involves less frustration; why not take the shortcut?

The problem is that the shortcut's not working any more -- "beauty in my life" isn't enough any more, it has to be "taking the time to create" and "doing something hard, myself."

red panda eating bamboo

Message in a Bottle

My image of myself was once of being inside a tiny bottle floating in space.

But I eventually realized that not being able to breathe or hear or move was not the way I wanted to live.

I vowed to get out of the bottle and come back to Earth and be part of life again. The hardest part of the vow was saying out loud that I wanted it even though I knew that meant I would make mistakes and hurt others and be hurt.

I think lately I have managed to partially re-bottle myself, though. Or maybe I just received a bottle containing some more parts that I accidentally left up there.

red panda eating bamboo

What she wants

I don't have ideas. I have a notion of what's beautiful. She sleeps a lot, and when I am in the presence of something beautiful, she comes out and is full of wistfulness and admiration. She sometimes comes out on her own and sort of looks around and maybe finds some beauty and maybe not, and maybe looks around for some things she could play with, but most such things are hidden away in bags or boxes or on shelves or their secrets are locked away in books (which I actually do have), but anyway she is too shy to ask me to go get out all of those things for her and so she just sits there feeling wistful and then she gets up and goes back into her room and goes to sleep. Sometimes she gets up and plays while I'm sleeping and I have huge colorful dreams with byzantine plots and excruciatingly precise detail. Sometimes when I am listening to music she plays and makes patterns of colors in my head and thinks about sewing together little bits of differently colored cloth or shaping molten glass. The rare times she's been around when I have had making-stuff out she has enjoyed taking pretty bits of this and that and putting them together in ways that create bigger things but still let the bits be beautiful on their own. If she thinks about stories, they always start with a single image of a person doing something, and it's a big mystery: why are they doing that and how did they get there?
red panda eating bamboo

Perspective switching

Sometimes it's really unpleasant to not have a fixed allegiance to any particular interpretation or worldview. I suppose I wouldn't give up perspective switching but when it comes time to turn into something solid instead of being very wise and all-seeing jello, the process can be damned painful.
red panda eating bamboo

Staring the beautiful beast in the face

All the things I do have to do with somebody besides myself. When I do things just for me, I find myself sinking into depression and loneliness. That's part of what I am terrified by when I think about making beautiful things, because I imagine it to be a solitary activity for me, at least for some period of time. Maybe I need to re-imagine it as a connecting activity.
red panda eating bamboo

Zen and the Art of Making a Living...

...didn't intend for "making beautiful / frivolous things" to be excluded from people's lists of what there needs to be more of in the world. I excluded it. I do enjoy a lot what I have chosen to do, but there is some other stuff I need to choose to do. Another part of the knot is that the kinds of caretaking I do come easy to me, and there's a part of my soul that is longing for more of a challenge, but I'm also terrified of it.
red panda eating bamboo

a REAL job

I have a part of my brain that keeps asking me when I am going to get a real job. It asks less often now that I have volunteer work outside the house than it did when I was staying at home trying to write fiction. This is part of the whole idea that "making beautiful things doesn't count as a valid thing for Stef to be doing seriously" that I'm struggling with.

And then once I deal with that idea, I'll have to deal with the one that says "But you're not skilled enough. What you're making isn't really beautiful. Other folks started earlier and are ahead of you, so you might as well stop bothering and buy their stuff instead."

red panda eating bamboo

Notice to any white knights

I am not a helpless chained naked virgin who is going to be eaten by the dragon; I am a sexually mature feline-type-dragon who has chosen to live with the dragon. So trying to save me from the dragon is not the right move.
red panda eating bamboo

Not nice

Guess what, Stef isn't a kind and reasonable and gentle person all the time. Stef is starting to feel that acting like such a person all the time in public is doing her a lot more damage than interpreting for her curmudgeonly partner ever did.
red panda eating bamboo

Call to action (very rude)

Yeah, I guess {my current angst over not creating art} is a call. Kind of annoying that it feels like it's a call of the variety "Get over here or else you'll be Very Sorry." But I know, it is not given to us to understand that either. :-)
red panda eating bamboo

Thoughts about violence

I don't think it's OK to act physically violent out of anger or out of wanting someone else to "back down." I do think force is necessary / legitimate sometimes but generally not in the service of anger.

It bothers me a lot that a person might think it's OK to act violently toward another person as a result of words, however crass/thoughtless the words might be. If the person were trapped and unable to get away from the words, that would be another story, but using violence in response to words when one's options include if walking away or using words back? That is a form of escalation that bothers me.

red panda eating bamboo

Crush yourself lest you be crushed by others

I lived many years in which almost all poinging {getting visibly crushed out over someone} resulted in serious disappointment, and as a result I habitually put cold wet towels on my poing tendencies, especially those that involve people. So when I see other people poinging in what looks to be a carefree manner, I am envious.