Friday, December 28, 2012

So many good things about bad things

It has been an amazing few months in essay. All of these transported me to a questioning place, guided me through an emotional minefield or somehow blew me a kiss. Please leave your recent favorite essays in the comments.

Nina Simone's Gun by Saeed Jones at LAMBDA Literary
"She went into the garage. When her husband, Andy, came home a few hours later, he found her sitting on the floor with a mess of tools spread out in front of her. Nina Simone was trying to build a hand-made gun."

What Music? by Brian Allen Carr at The Rumpus
"He had been out drinking with strangers—at least, that’s what the detective told us. The last words we know he said were, “Good night, new friends."

New Romance: A Practicum for the Living by Nadine Friedman at The Hairpin
"And because subconsciously I didn't want to love anyone, ever, I asked my new boyfriend to come, presenting it somewhat like a day trip to an upstate winery."

Go, Go, Go, Go, Go: Theo Ellsworth's The Understanding Monster by Martyn Pedler at Bookslut. "Time is the only thing that'll help? Then why are clocks ticking and suns setting and seasons changing with an almost sarcastic speed and everything feels worse and worse?"

The Uneasy Relationship Between Mental Illness and Comedy by Jaime Lutz at Splitsider
"Plenty of vulnerable people are drawn to, say, Scientology; why wouldn’t some of them instead be drawn to the equally expensive cult that is the Upright Citizens Brigade?"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It is no secret that I love Eleanor Davis. When I discovered that she'd be making a mini of her pieces for the most recent Giant Robot Post-It show I felt the gimme-gimmes overtake me.

I rarely allow myself to submit to such clammy passions, but it seemed a win-win situation. Sure the black of the stapled spine is already creasing away and there are a few unexpected blank pages, but considering that a pencil drawing of baby by Davis was included--like a best and most unexpected autograph--this $5 treat is all-ok with me.

Davis' usual botanical flourishes are a lush and almost furtive presence in these small, black and white drawings. It is almost as if the branches, leaves, flowers and berries want to distract the viewer from the things that the human figures are doing to one another, or sometimes the things that they refuse to do.

Some drawings are subtly heartbreaking >>>
Some are so sweet that you let out a breathe that you didn't know that you were holding in >>>
One of the things that draws me again and again to Davis' work is the way pain and hope are entwined in even her simplest images. You can feel the struggle to find answers to why we should persist. She often focuses on sex, love and the body and, unsurprisingly, all of those themes are present in 31 DRAWINGS THAT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH BEING IN LOVE AND NOT BEING IN LOVE. Sometimes, especially in her sketchbook work, anger or disgust with, well, human beings, comes through first, but instead of feeling like a reminder of horrors, there is an interrogation of relationships that challenges and inspires me.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Checked my P.O. this week and found stuff in there from October. Then I had to wait in line for 20 minutes to find out that that they had sent some of my mail back. I spent so much time in that post office that I forgot how much I love mail. That place has an evil power!

If you've been checking the sidebar at all you can see that I've been pouring books down my gullet like a starving sea bird. Almost all have been good, all have have fantastic elements. Reading still has that dislocating power for me--a fact that I become more grateful for as the tragedies pile up. Short stories work well for the subway, novels for the train and while in my parents' house, and comics for all the times in between.

What have been your security blanket books?
Felt a strong connection to the Norwegian people after hearing this from Julia Gr√łnnevet's recent essay in n+1, "Letters from Oslo:"
"Almost everyone owns a washing machine, but no one owns a dryer! Instead everyone dries their clothes on flimsy drying racks, and this takes so long that these racks are out on display all the time, even though they are constructed so that you can fold them away. it mystifies me why Norwegians, who tend to arrange their lives for maximum convenience, treat laundry as though it were a passing issue. It looks terrible..."

The essay is actually about a mass-murderer, and it is very disturbing. A reminder that life and laundry persist even as monsters exist.