on: greatness/smallness

It may go without saying that anxiety - or, more concretely, the simple act of worrying - is embedded deeply in our culture. I've been thinking a lot about that lately.

Having been thrust into the vast ocean of this gigantic, enterprising metropolis I find it too easy to get caught up in this cult of individual progress and blind, yearning ambition. I feel lucky that I didn't come to New York looking for anything in particular; most people I know here have been let down by dreams of the city they've harbored in the most romantic corners of their imaginations since childhood. The mythology of New York is deep and enduring. This is not the sixties. It's not dirty anymore. The avant-guard, if it exists (and most angrily, bitterly claim it doesn't), has become so inacessable it's a monolithic institution in itself. There isn't much space; physically, artistically, economically, to build something from scratch. And i'm convinced the small, beautiful things that exist can only be found by accident.

Yes, New York is constantly inspiring me to step up my game: with so many humans endeavoring to do so many ambitious things, how could it not? But sometimes it looks more like a gigantic, flailing mass trying to run to the top of something it doesn't understand. Every day I hear my peers reflecting on what they see as the truly valuable artistic practice of living in New York: the arts of self-promotion, networking, and marketing.

We're driving ourselves crazy trying to place ourselves. I understand the sentiment; it's so easy to feel lost in this ocean. Moving to a city whose purpose and identity relies on the sheer, mind-boggling scale of it is to invite existential crisis. But when we come out the other side of our initial plights of identity, I hope it's not to internalize the kinds of structures that caused our anxiety in the first place.

I love New York, but I don't want my life here to be characterized by a quest of selfishness, vanity, and anxiety. I love the accidental conversations I have in public spaces that seem even more precious because of their rarity. I love voueristically engaging in the stuffy chelsea arts scene, and drinking their free wine. I love being packed in every direction by people who probably feel the same way I do, they've just perfected their poker faces. I love dancing in bigger spaces than i've ever seen, and being afraid of the shrink-wrapped model types I pass on 6th ave. I love meeting friends just trying to Make, instead of Making It. I love that people move here and have their egos combusted. And I love that last weekend I saw DJ Rupture play in a basement, and got to talk to him about the article he wrote for my professor's literary magazine.

But I still think that capitalism, individualism, and the anxiety they create stifle true and valuable artistic endeavors. Instead of feeling anxious about our smallness, we should embrace it. Instead of pushing each other aside and tirelessly cultivating new ways to impress those we admire, we should be building alliances with each other. I refuse to join the race to make something gigantic of myself. So little are we directly confronted with the reality of our personal insignificance. It's not something to be fought brutally against, but an opportunity to get down on some small-scale appreciation.

...and all this, when i set aside the afternoon to write internship applications.


on: buildings

Me: I want to learn carpentry and build into the space and make, like, a big fort out of it.
Paul: ...So you don't want to live in a loft in Brooklyn. You want to live in Fort Thunder.



on: the first comic.

So I'm totally writing this comic book. Think zombies, junky apartments,used kicks, and Walter Benjamin.

Just a first draft. bam!


on: bubble tea.

“Oh, yes, that’s so Weetzie Bat,”We’d howl to each other, and dive up from the subway station onto bright Bostonian cobblestones, holding hands with stolen makeup and comic books riding high on our shoulders.We could still feel with a blush of pride the startled gaze of the lip-pierced boy on the T as he slid away through plexiglass, wondered aloud if he’d read our love note yet as we rolled our hips carefully home- to Rachel's house, not mine. On the way there it was always a stop for floral-scented bubble tea at Emack’s; afterwards, a cigarette to cement the sticky flavor to the roofs of our mouths. We whooped and spit tapioca pearls at each others’ cheeks to forget the New English chill, and when we passed a particular fluorescent Japanese restaurant she’d always say, “Sushi’s a heavy protein buzz, mang.” Just like Duck.. ........


on: wanderlust

From a book: Perpetual Motion.
Paint, Japanese Paper, Pencil.

We used to bullshit so much late at night over porch-noise, talking circles around the ability of travel to illuminate the order of the universe. I didn't expect it to be that way. If you pay too much attention to things, they tend to dissapear. Besides, it would have been a classic mistake of mine to believe that driving to California would stroke my wanderlust the way I'd been aching for. It just doesnt happen that way anymore......

But it was harder to cling to my east-coast rational after days of driving towards the sun, sweating and imagining phantom cars full of kids like us making the same pilgramage, over and over again. I was 17 when everyone I knew started moving to California, and every year at least one more followed suit. Curious how a single state can inspire such reverence in our wiry, new-english souls, how the pull of the pacific inspired Kevin to leap on top of his yellowing, crackled kitchen counter at 2 a.m. in the middle of February to shout "Fuck it! I'm moving too!" in one single definitive beer-soaked swoop. I could never blame a single one of them, not even when they abandoned everyone they knew, left jobs that paid a decent living wage, not when they hoisted their lives onto their shoulders and left us for cramped rooms in apartments even more dilapitated and farther from the city, jobless and clueless and relying on the great mystery of california to deliver them safely into a new home.

Because even then, I understood too well the concept of escape, of the perpetual holy grail. And what could be more appealing to us, the ones who hide our faces for entire seasons fighting a losing battle against our cruel region, battling jealous winds and icy streetscapes in sneakers? Even our summers feel tainted somehow by cool evening breezes, a reminder of the transient nature of a good dusty game of kickball, the freedom to spend the night with a cold beer on a city roof still radiently heated by the sunken sun.


on: suburbia

When she was fifteen the streetlight proved something, somehow. Still too small, a vague agitation pulling at her chest near-constantly, she could huddle beneath cool suburban overhangs and trace the meaning of the streetlight's mystical morse-code flashes into a narrative the way her tongue folded ice into water that summer, over and over again. She had not yet forged her sense of beauty into something harder with edges and weight; that summer the signs were everywhere, impossible to ignore.. It only happened in the hours so late she'd be forced to creep through her own hallway, caressing bare feet across the few floor boards identified as silent through practice, bare legs splayed in awkward angles like the games she used to play crossing endless sand-boxes or baseball fields on scraps of plywood. Never touch the lava, the game whispered, pull your friends to safety like Indiana Jones. She couldn't have known at eight that instead of preparing her to save the world, the games would find their natural conclusion in sneaking across the house to the soft warning of her mother's snores with the deliciously clammy imprint of a single stolen cigarette sweating into her palm.

It would be so deep in night the only sounds were the mechanical hummings of kitchen appliances, the occasional shifting creak of the boiler downstairs. Once she was outside and the door had been silenced to a close the white noise amplified, refidgerators and television sets and coffee makers in every home rising to a collective murmur of static across the vast grid of her neighborhood.

She would never know why the streetlight strokes felt so personal, but they did, undeniably, and her private witness to the flickering yellow bulb never ceased to feel like a conversation with something important. Perhaps the headphones stretching their way across her dome were to blame, the sweeping sentimental chord progressions and whispering male vocals she only listened to after dark. Maybe it was the giddy headrush of the first twenty cigarettes thwarting her brain process already. The absurdity of the single streetlight could have stirred in her synapses an assosiation with the kinds of places where streetlights actually made sense, places where she imagined with her tentative world-view voices stronger than microwaves sang. But squinting across the slanted yard, past houses like glossy black and white promotional photographs, past the concrete bridge of her street, she would always rest her eyes on its singular elegant curve. And it would wink, spasm, burn out jerkily with the most subtle of percussionistic clicks, only that late, with only she and the too-quiet hum of the suburbs to witness it.

That summer too many white rabbits crossed her path. Once on the subway a man with crooked teeth and an even crookeder smile told her she would be very lucky as he slid through sliding doors, out into the windy cobblestones of Boston, lost forever but in poetic memory. She sucked ice violently until small, watery sores appeared on the roof of her mouth. These she worked at with her tongue, not content until they split across the wide geography behind her teeth. Later she would try to fashion these events into a long coffee-fueled time line, a real smoker now, a tentative high school graduate. She couldn't remember her first drink, skipped the date on which she breathlessly kissed her teenage-boy idol in the woods behind school. But the streetlight, she thought, was pretty important..


on: home.

digital photographs, acrylic paint, and found material on 17x11 wood plank