I was thinking about artistic influences over the last three or four days…I remember being influenced by the psychedelic rock posters of the 60s and 70s (Mouse and Kelley for starters, some Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, ), but that was probably in college. I also remember being fascinated with Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Mary Cassatt (not quite the same as the others), and Frida Kahlo…but I think that was all more college, except for Cassatt. I remember searching for female artists…and being given Cassatt and O’Keeffe, and not a whole lot else. I also credit Dr. Suess and Richard Scarry. Seriously. I do.
And years of life-drawing classes…those were definitely a big part of my being able to draw what I draw. But what is it about my brain that makes it obsess over making art and drawing and putting together pieces that can be shown, and the brain of one of my artist friends who is content with decorating her house? We both have art degrees, but I couldn’t give a lesser shit about that stuff; the art holds me together like glue. Everything else leaves, but the art stays with me. It’s always there, sometimes lurking under the surface. It always pays attention, it never acts up, it doesn’t leave me in the lurch, doesn’t hang me out to dry, doesn’t have a midlife crisis and make me wish I lived on another planet, where humans have brains in their heads. It doesn’t make me wish I could go to sleep and wake up somewhere where everything made sense again.
It’s just mine, the art is. All fucking mine. I try to explain where my brain goes when I create. I don’t even feel like myself at the moment unless I am creating. Seriously, ironing fabric makes me feel more like Kathy than any other thing I do all day, every day. And even that is just a shadow of whomever I used to be.
I tried to do grades this evening, but either my computer or the interface between my system and the county’s grading program are just not happy with each other…I had this problem last time…it takes forever to update. I’ll have to finish at school tomorrow. There are only so many hours in the day. But grading and inputting numbers is just plain old depressing, even when you see that one kid, that one you’ve been working on for like 3 months, her grade finally pops up…she’s finally made up like 30% of her grade and she will be passing this trimester. Cry a little, happy tears, and then realize you have another 5 who are completely blowing everything off and up.
Confessions of a middle-school teacher: it’s hard to care about every kid all the time. Sometimes you have to cut your losses on some and focus your attention and energy on the kid you know will actually change their behaviors with your attention. Some kids, they’re never going to change anything…you’ve given them a 12-week window and they’re still not getting there. So I stop caring about that kid? Do I stop harassing him every day for work? Do I stop getting on his case? Of course not…I’m just not expecting much out of him.
Anyway. I graded until I started to cry. That’s sad, really, but at least I stopped there. Then I started ironing fabrics again…
Honestly, I didn’t get far. I’m tired and my head hurts and I’m in that depresso mode that doesn’t work well. It gets frustrated easily. I finished all the fleshy bits…but then I needed to make decisions about hair color, and my brain, well, it just full on creaked to a halt. Fuck. Dammit. Obviously I need to sleep on it (the problem, not my brain). I feel like I’m constantly trying to modify my mood with breathing and rethinking and exercise and reading and drawing…like I can’t just exist here on the planet…I have to work my butt off in order to exist. It’s kind of exhausting. And even more depressing.
On the way to work yesterday, I was thinking about the morning mood, which is often particularly shitty, and I thought, “Goddammit, I forgot my sketchbook. I’m tired, I’m cranky, and I don’t want to deal with grading or students or whining about a test tomorrow. I just want to take a nap and then finish my book.” Good mood to start the week.
I did finish my book, Going Bovine by Libby Bray,
About a teenager who gets mad cow disease and tries to fight it in a variety of amusing ways. It’s a good story. That said, I need to stop reading sad stuff when I’m going to be at the gym. Most of the book wasn’t sad, by the way. I will definitely read some more of her stuff.
Boychild sent me these…
He was doing an Ophelia project that required help from his sister…
It’s amazing how creative they can be. Downed eucalyptus branches from the storm, old dead roses from Christmas that I still haven’t thrown out (they made it outside), and a sign about Hamlet that is now strangely in my bathroom. I don’t think the dog was supposed to be part of it. I think he got rid of the sign for the final…it was too fucking obvious.
Speaking of not being part of it, Babygirl insists on sitting on the back of my neck tonight.
I’m getting a nasty crick, but she’s in a mood.
I understand that…I’m in a mood. I really did want all the fabric ironed tonight and it’s not. Fuck. Oh well. Progress is slow, but at least it’s progress. That’s the closest I get to hope these days. Oh good, you did 39 more minutes on this project. That’s 39 minutes closer to the next project. Maybe that’s the one that will make a difference, that will kick your brain out of quicksand and into happy mode, into satisfaction, into something approximating Kathy-normal, not to say real normal, but where I don’t feel completely WRONG. Because that’s how it feels now, like my skin doesn’t fit, like the eyeballs are in the wrong place, like everything feels wrong, fits wrong, sounds wrong. It’s just fucking wrong.
I go find my sketchbook and put it back in my work bag. Maybe it will save me.