Thursday, October 24, 2013

The art of listing, or, falling in love with the ephemeral

This week, I saw Janelle Monae so close I could have touched her.  In fact, my friend did touch her, as she crowd-surfed. I watched her get the entire audience to sit or kneel on the floor for at least 10 minutes. ON THE BEER SOAKED CONCRETE FLOOR. (Ew.)
The entire time, all I could think about was how if I were on stage, I could never get the audience to do the same for me.  Her stage presence and theatrics were matched to the greatness of Freddie Mercury, James Brown, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and Prince (who was rumored to attend the show, but we never saw him).

Moments like this make me fall in love with Minneapolis, over and over.

I've seen a lot of music in Dallas.  I've seen music in Seattle.  I've seen music in New York.  You might think you see the same show in Dallas as you would have in Minneapolis, but it's not true.  Like all performances, these experiences are strictly ephemeral.  The terrible iPhone photos and likely video recording will never, ever capture what happened at Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, and the show can never be done again. Nowhere else will you experience an entire room of hearts skipping a beat when a Prince song begins to play and the lights go dark. Obviously, that must mean that Prince will perform as the un-named "guest artist" to The Electric Lady.  Nowhere else will you experience the collective disappointment and simultaneous excitement to see that the "guest artist" is Strange Names, not Prince.

This month has been full of ephemeral experiences that are indescribable to those not witness. KT Tunstall playing 7 Nation Army in a room that only seats 300. The Blow creating performance art on "the void" to an audience of just over 70.  And the joy of attending all of these for free.

Some of my favorite moments are much more intimate, like talking about the greatness of breakfast cereal for at least half an hour.  This followed by an argument: which is better, beer or cereal? No drugs involved. Just a healthy love of sugar, carbohydrates, and milk.

I like to focus on these experiences. I need to remind myself that when it comes to big decisions like the one I made 2 months ago, there is no such thing as the wrong choice, just a different one. I have to remember that no matter the choice, I would still be struggling in similar ways.

I choose to laugh at the absurdity of being hired on the spot, promoted in three days, and fired a week and a half later for a job I hated. If I don't laugh at that, I'll cry at the hopelessness I feel for that being the only interview I've had in 2 months.  In all honesty, sometimes I do both.

I find it comforting that the experience of "the twenties" is a collectively experienced heap of awfulness filled with uncertainty and awkward turtles. At least we're not alone, right?  I also find it terrifying that every decision you make in your twenties affects how you live your thirties. It's like choosing I-80 or I-90 to the west. Once you're on I-90, you can't just hop on I-80 for fun. You're on I-90 for a LONG TIME. Either way, you'll have an adventure filled with some cool sightseeing, but one includes the badlands, and the other has glacier national park.

With all of this time to myself, I not only come up with weird metaphors about the terrifying future, think about cereal a lot, and watch glorious 90's TV.  I also make lists. Listing is an art, one that I've perfected.

Some are productive, like this one:

Call Intermedia and Forecast Public Art
Hang up paintings
Apply for MCTC, Second Harvest Heartland, MCCA

Some....much less productive:

KT Tunstall
The Blow
John Hodgeman
Surly Darkness- Boom!
Janelle Monae!!!
Eau Claire
Halloween. Duh.

Nobody needs a list like that, but I did it anyway.

Some things that I write down look like lists, but are actually my grandma's "recipes"

Notte Kakke (nut cake):
Crushed Almonds
Flour (1 kg)
White Sugar
Brown Sugar
3-4 eggs
A little milk
Oven at 350

That might as well be a grocery list.

Speaking of.....

Stew meat
root veggies

Lists like the ones above are ephemeral.  They are for the moment.  They will make very little sense years down the road (as painfully experienced by my grandma's "recipes").

Other lists I make are less temporary.  While the moment you write the word passes by, the experience of the full list continues.  What I write is less like a list and more like poetry, begging me to speak them out loud. Writing these lists and reading these lists help me decide whether to take I-80 or I-90, or if I should head east instead of west, or just fuck it and fly to Iceland.

Places I want to go before I die
South Africa

The list continues from here, but I'm stopping short.

What should I do with my life?

Things that matter to me
Seeing the world
making a difference
Cooking and Food
New adventures

Things that don't matter to me
Being a mother
Eating perfect
Online dating
Mad Men and Breaking Bad (sorry.)
Owning stuff

I've written lists like this my entire life.  Old journals were often filled with lists and weird abstract poetry more than they were ramblings of my day-to-day. The consistency of some things and the disappearing of others help me understand what really matters in my core. Art has always mattered. Travel has its own category. Whatever career thing is on my list focuses on making a difference.  Material objects are never on my lists, except for food.  I seem to be obsessed with the experience in the moment, but also have a real concern for those experiences in the future.
By the standards on my lists, I'm living my life pretty well.  Despite being entirely broke and unemployed, my lists remind me that I'm still on the right track to happiness in my thirties.  At a really tough mid-twenties, that's really all I can ask for.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Haikus: Moving North

There is far too much to write from the 15 hour drive (yeah, I hauled ass in that truck), to write everything in detail.  Instead, I've expressed it all in haikus. Some are reflective, some...less so. 

Face is stained in salt
Glasses smudged and soaked
Pull over. 

Focus on being in a truck
Passing another truck
Feel like a badass. 

Deliberately defy orders
Check Facebook and text while driving.

Pick-up truck with monster wheels and 
Fake steer horns on the top.
Temporarily pleased to leave. 

Last stop for Braums
In Norman, OK
My ice cream drips fast.

Saw a tumbleweed blown by the wind
Sweeping down the plains.
All I think about is Broadway.

“I will not get lost in Witchita.”
I promise myself.
Take a wrong turn.

Silos are farm phalluses.
Like country skyscrapers.
Too much lonely silence.

Kansas City in
Kansas City.
Music appropriateness.

Posted sign:
“$10,000 fine for hitting construction worker”
Kansas City road rage.

Longest stretch.
Missouri Missouri

Visible difference between
Missouri and Iowa.
Farms? Democrats? Perspective.

Osceola, Iowa:
We meet once again.
I am a creature of habit.

Blue state,
Blue heart.
I got the blues.

Still can’t get musicals out of my head.
Looking for Avenue Q in Chicago,
Worrying about RENT.

Moving In, First Day
Narrow corners on a three-floor staircase.
Full size box spring won’t fit.
Demoted to mattress on the floor

No closet.
Amazon delivers.

Dinner at fancy eatery.
Truffle fries.
Late night snack at bowling alley.

Rock and roll bingo.
Trivia AND bingo, all in one.
New tradition.

No closet, blank walls, no box spring.
Adjusting abruptly to city life.
Feels like home more than ever.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beginnings and Ends

It's my last night in the Chateau LLV as one of the L's. There's an echo in my room, the walls are blank, and all that remains is my mattress (on which I am currently residing) and a trashbag in the corner. My truck is carefully packed for the journey north. These are the markers of the borderlines of old and new.

This has been, without a doubt, one of the most wild months this past year; it has not, however, been the hardest.

This time last year, I considered it an achievement if I could make it off the couch to drive to Wendy's and get food.  "Yes. I fed myself today.  That's 10 points for me."  Since those days I've finished a thesis, officially graduated with my master's, taught for a year at TWU, moved again, worked at scarborough faire for a hot minute, and finally figured out the real reason I can't accept compliments very well. Hell of a year.

This past year was a year about boundaries.  It was a year about reviewing and renewing my individual identity. It was a year about finishing projects and finding new directions. It was liminal.

I've decided to close the chapter on the liminality blog because I'm no longer in liminality.  Rather, I am taking back the agency I had lost, and intentionally throwing myself into the liminoid. Last year, my state of identity was more liminal: finished with coursework but still in thesis land, out of a relationship and negotiating that identity, unemployed, very depressed. Not optional. Little agency.

This month, I sold my car, packed a truck, and took some risks resulting in (temporary) unemployment that will (hopefully) eventually end up better in the end.  Intentional. Full of agency.

905 liminality street, was about negotiating a liminal identity- for an entire year.

This blog, this year, will be about adventure in the liminoid.


Everything must always come to an end. Otherwise, nothing would ever get started. - The Doctor