Caught in Gramma’s Notions

April 27, 2010

A name arrived this morning for my piece at SEAF: Caught in Gramma’s Notions.

This is the piece that started out as a “wall treatment” and which has evolved to be an “installation.” And yes, I am excited about that.

This has been the convergence of several threads, including friendships and smaller projects in the past. It’s definitely been a case of “my reputation precedes me,” because even though my Festival boss doesn’t know me or my work, I’ve been set loose on the project and told to apply my own aesthetic. This freedom is simultaneously thrilling and frightening.

But as you may have already read, my Mondo Beyondo exercise commanded that I say, “Yes,” and do some flying, some breaking down of my barriers, and I’ve taken on this project.

So this is how it’s going.

web.button wall seaf

In the meantime, I am also pursuing a home, in part because my apartment rent now equals what a mortgage payment would be. My brother has been coaching me via long-distance telephone calls and the occasional email. He has decided that I ought to buy The Yellow House that I’ve seen. I am, however, a mega-ton less confident than he, about my ability to rehab this decrepit house. I am nervous about the scope of the work and feeling like if I buy this house, I will do nothing else but work on it for the next several years.

So, my brother sends me an email, looking for the current status of the deal, and I reply, “I am doubting myself.”

He sends a prodding email in return. Now mind you, none of my siblings can spell (and I am thrilled that in spite of this they do send me emails). So my brother sends this email with the perfect typo.

carry on you don’t need to drought your self we need to stop the bleeding before you run out of blood

Something in the way he said “drought” rather than “doubt” really struck me. Perhaps it was the visual of it. Probably more so it is the sense of causing my own drought . . . my own lack . . . my own parched landscape.

And it wasn’t anything that will directly contribute to acquiring The Yellow House, but the other morning I was driving along somewhere, and realized that my (ex) husband didn’t leave me so much as he quit our marriage. Now I don’t know to what extent that is true, but it is a way that I can frame what happened. It is not, all about me.

Nevertheless, I’ve had self-doubt lately, about so many things.

My dear friend, Elke Siller Macartney, is in the midst of creating a series of books and she sends me snippets now and again. Usually they arrive at just-the-right-time. Yesterday she sent a bit that included these words

but the mind takes over and begins to spin a tale of doubt, of assumptions, interpreting through a gauzy veil . . .

I read that and went off to work on my project for SEAF. In the early part of the day a friend sent an email about my efforts, which made me smile and fortified my confidence

and I am sure it will be amazing (cuz that is just how you roll)

Much later in the evening, I call my sister to see what she knows about the history of fish-eye buttons. My sister is the kind of button collector who owns the Big Book of Buttons, a $350.00 tome, so I thought she might know something about the origins of this thing that is the inspiration for my new art installation.

She did not. However, in the course of our conversation by brother piped up from somewhere in her living room and said, “Buy the house.” I told my sister I thought I’d need another $60,000.00 to buy The Yellow House, money for which I had no known source. And she offered to lend it to me. Just like that.

Isn’t it intriguing how we can doubt ourselves so severely, and meanwhile all around us the world sees us so differently.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

eileen April 27, 2010 at 10:20 am

thanks for thinking, feeling and sharing you! I second the don’t draught yourself! E

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