Dec 29, 2010


The holidays are mostly over, I just turned 37, my apartment is complete enough to ignore all ensuing tasks for several weeks if necessary and it's time to make paper. I have two batches of pulp waiting for me at home. I made them a week ago and have been stymied by my desire to make book pages that go together. All my practice at making pages that don't necessarily make sense and somehow I have fallen into my old habits. Well, it would be nice to finally make a whole book. The photo above is a collection of sketches I made after I made the pulp, thinking I wanted to use the Before Coffee poem that I just painted. I felt like there was some promising illustrations brewing there but I couldn't figure out how to be spontaneous with the actually making of pages if I had illustrations all planned out.

Yesterday I went for a long walk in the forest which reminded me of how I most like to live and make art. So today when I sat down to work I went with my first impulse: tracing paper, pencil, and writing about the moments from the walk that were still fresh in my mind. Next impulse: type it up and edit out the fluff. Then it was time to get ready for work but I feel a book beginning to form within me. And I feel like all I have to do is keep following my next impulses. We'll see how it goes.

Birthdays are always a really good time to take stock of ones progress in life and get really uptight or depressed. I had a brief moment yesterday when I thought something was terribly wrong for the fact that I am not redecorating a home I've owned for many years and watching children I reared graduate from college. Then I went into something like Tortilla Flat consciousness. It's a story by John Steinbeck and I read it so long ago I can't tell you anything meaningful about the plot or the characters. But it was the first time my mind opened to the fact that ambitions and success, and not even health or intelligence are what make us happy. Being with life as it is in the moment is the real joy. Of course, in the novel the characters used a destructive amount of alcohol to achieve their bliss, but it left a lasting impression on me that has not translated into such abuses. Instead it just promotes this intense endearment in me toward all my past failures, poor decisions, and lack of worldly ambitions. Then I can appreciate my life as it is without needing to pretend like it is some act of transcendence that I should live so simply.

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