The interaction of the components in a collage are a psychic play that is deeply personal to the artist, even if they’re unaware of it.
I was in Santa Barbara for Spring Break when I heard the news.
Rough year, being a special needs assistant with a very strong-willed and off task child. What they don’t tell you when you first sign up for the job is that it’s on you to make everything work. The child, teacher, your boss, and the parent all must be happy in order for you to be happy. Those are the balls I had to juggle and many were dropped in the process.
So for spring break I run far away and don’t invite anyone to come with me.
The sunset was visible behind the crowd of palm trees as I walked back from Santa Barbara Coffee Roasting where I spent three hours staring at a wall, comatose from endless sand and sun. There has to be a way that all of these people confuse relaxation with depression, a fine line I was playing with myself. I get a call from my aunt Laura, and I take a deep breathe before answering. Having been a midwife in Nicaragua during the contra wars, sometimes she talked as if she was trying to run away from landmines.
To many, Persephone is a scandalous love story about a young girl taken from her mother by an evil, dark god. Others might view it as a twisted coming of age tale, with some not-so-subtle-allusions between “womanhood,” fertility, and the bright red colors of pomegranate that Persephone eats. A more promising and philosophically poignant meaning lies underneath the tale. What makes Persephone’s tale so tragic is its necessity: the allure of death, and death itself, is inextricable in the continuation of life, rendering us all paradoxes in disguise. We live and thrive in our dissonances and conflicts, our beauty conceived by melancholy.
I have always been personally fascinated with Miami. Ever since I watched all seasons of Dexter and read all three books, I investigated the cultural climate of the area, reading news articles and blogs, trying to ascertain what could produce such a violent but gripping drama. What I found were stories of trailer park revenge, of people using priceless art to smuggle drugs in their motels, of a man running into the middle of a freeway, naked, covered in peanut butter. And, more recently, a man receiving a court-ordered ban from ordering pizza ever again.
But then I discovered a strain of American history I hadn’t fully explored before, evoked in the show with the beautiful string music of the Buena Vista Social Club playing as Dexter roamed through Miami on his midnight hunt. With just a few Google searches, I found a large community of Cuban-American exiles, who came to Miami to escape the Cuban Revolution.
I am drawn to new journals and notebooks to the point of an obsessive and compulsive craving.
In the bookstore, Walgreens, and paper goods store, I walk directly to the shelves of Moleskins, Paperblanks, stenopads, Deuts187s and Piccadillys. A journal for me is not a just a utility to write. Before the writing even happens, a journal is loaded with meaning.
The binding and the covers claim a stake on what might become of its pages. Paperblanks’ cover images are restored century or even millennia old designs, whose aesthetic is orderly, geometrical, symmetrical, and intricate—foreign to the modern reductionist journal, one with a white cover and a tiny but rebellious black square plastered in the center. The Paperblanks images, which range from equinoxes, silk work from Lyons, the book of Solomon, to Paris Noir, imbues each journal with a sense of historical continuity and connection.
In a Marxist group retreat I attended in Berkeley, California, one man, a city college professor in U.S. History, sat us down at a picnic table to divulge his thoughts on mysticism. (In retrospect, I might have called this “mansplaining.”)
He shared that, when he was on the train to get there, a pigeon flew straight into one of the windows of his train car. This was, unfortunately, its last moment of life. Everyone on the train gasped, and the women sitting directly in front of him started discussing what this could mean. Could God be trying to communicate something to them? Could it be their “spirit animal” committing suicide to send them a message of impending doom?