January 29th, 2006

Walking home from the video store I like to peek into peoples houses, (I confess to being a bit of a voyeur, which may not surprise you). I love seeing how other people are living, what they are doing, what their houses look like inside, what kind of artwork they have on their walls. It’s not a creepy spying thing, but more of a curiosty that spurs me. A few doors down a couple sits at a large dining room table under bright lighting, they look to be conversing. I wonder what they are talking about. A bit further in a student house the tv is on, it appears to be a football game which does not surprise me, they are always watching sports and barbequing in the side yard. Down from that is the house with the red walls. Artist’s live there. At least I assume they are artists of some kind because there are huge paintings everywhere, and they seem to love color. I contemplate trying to meet them at some point.
Sometimes I make up stories about the people that live in these houses. In one there lives an old woman who drinks coffee. She waved at us once and I wonder if she is lonely. Maybe her husband passed away recently and her children all live far away, coming to visit only at Christmas. She spends her time in the garden out back, pruning a rare breed of English tea rose. On the cool nights she remembers being a child of seven running outside in a nightgown trying to catch fireflies.
All of this is neither here nor there. Just the various, idiosyncratic ramblings of a curious mind.

January 26th, 2006

write write she says. care not for the contents, just put some words out. she being the voice in my head. (I wanted to delete that last sentence because it makes me sound like a crazy person). Crazy I am. Ma I yzarc. delete i do not.
the clouds move over the sun. my husband practices piano in another room. scales with a metronome. the repetition is making me a little nuttier than usual, the constant clicking. all for a good cause it is, and I can easily put on my headphones. I have been working too long today. I can feel it in my body, in my eyes. Though there was a picnic lunch in a nearby park. We watched a lone brown Canada goose get reprimanded by some large white geese. He skulked away, and we laughed watching him try to sneak back, non-chalantly pretending to eat grass all the while inching over to the water. I found myself experiencing remorse for my fellow countryman. Countrygoose.
I want to write something interesting here but all of my thoughts are currently being poured into a book project. To be honest it is the simplest of things that hold my attention these days, my artwork regressing into a ridiculously basic place. I read somewhere recently that the way forward is to go backward. so backward I go. og I drawkcab os.
holding my attention
1. hole reinforcement stickers
2. pencils (standard hb with an eraser)
3. colored tabs you can write on to mark pages
4. dingleberries (a large seed pod, named by Jeff)
5. Eva Hess
6. nothing and everything
7. thin kraft moleskine journals.
8. tape
not holding my attention
1. the filmmaker Tarkovsky (can someone please explain to me the film “Nostalghia”)

January 5th, 2006
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wake. tea and toast while reading truman capote. I notice the sun is out today, after so many weeks of rain. the sky is a strange shade of pink, and the sun makes interesting shapes on my floor. I make a plan to feel it on on my face. a few hours of work, doing things I have been avoiding, just jump right in and face it head on. this is how i work, avoid, avoid, then whaaaaaa, do everything at once.
california is a world of opposites to me. (it’s like that superman episode about bizarro world, a mirror image in which things are reversed.) everything turns from brown to green in the winter. dormant things come to life. you can pick things off trees and eat them. I have been gleaning oranges and lemons from an empty house on our street. instead of snow there is lots and lots of rain. the produce is always good. the world becomes filled with new colors, blooms and sunsets.
I get on my bike and ride downtown. on my favourite street, the one with the crooked house, i have an ‘aha’ moment. it is january. i have never seen a january like this before. warm and playful and green. seeds crunch under my tires and I start to laugh. i feel grateful that I have had an opportunity to experience something new, something different than the last thirty four years. instead of comparing it to what is normal. instead of focusing on why it is different, i start to celebrate the differences. It is sunny and warm in January, how wonderful!
I head to the junk shop to look for collage materials and fabric for a new bag, (to make with my ‘new’ vintage sewing machine I got for x-mas), but there is nothing that speaks to me. I have a hankering for coloured tweed these days. Flipping through heavy stacks I find several interesting album covers to use for collages. I notice the place smells wet, fermented, as if there are mushrooms growing in the corners. In the children’s section I kneel down to look at the books and am delighted to find and old copy of “veronica” by Roger Duvoisin. When I stand up I realize I have been kneeling on a damp towel and my right knee is soaked and smells like a rotten mushroom.
The man at the counter gives me a discount because I have left the records behind, it is only the sleeves that interest me. (I take this as fair payment for the mushroom knee situation). I pay him $2.43 and place the ‘covers’ into my big red bag. Veronica’s smiling eyes peek out of the top of the bag. there is a green smell outside that I cannot identify, I stand for a moment trying to take it in.
on to “chocolat” for cappuccino and a croissant. I feel very french eating it. I only need a worn copy of Rimbaud to complete the picture. I eavesdrop on a table of young friends talking about funerals. “What would you want for your funeral?” they ask in an animated way. Their answers are amusing, naive in a refreshing way, (as if they don’t believe it could ever happen to them).
on to the co-op for some groceries. some tahini. a huge dark red apple, of a variety I’ve never seen before. a woman asks me, pointing, “what kind of potatoes are those”, and I shrug saying, “I have no idea”. there are so many varieties of everything here, it is hard to keep track. the catch of afternoon is a fragrant loaf bread with toasted sunflower seeds on the top.
it becomes immediately apparent as I set off on my bike that I have once again bought too many heavy things, and my front wheel waddles and sways with the momentum of the overfilled wicker basket. turns become a matter of control, not letting the handlebars pull you off track. bumps in the road seem more treacherous than before, avoidance of them important. Because it takes longer to pick up speed I have to focus while crossing the busier roads (of which there are only two on my ride home). the habit of singing christmas carols as I ride has apparently not left with the season.
I skirt around the abandoned christmas trees left out in the street to be picked up by the garbage collectors. they look sad and dejected having outgrown their former usefulness.
I look forward to a cup of peppermint tea with the apple.

January 2nd, 2006
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