Monday, November 30, 2009



Pilgrims 2.0: International Adoption

The 1st Thanksgiving (slightly paraphrased)
The prudes, fearing what would become Europe's freedom in intellectual and sexual expression, fled to America on a boat. Turns out New England is cold and difficult to farm. The Native Americans save their asses by showing them what they are doing wrong. A successful harvest is accomplished in 1621 and food is consumed by all. This act of kindness is later rewarded by the American government taking their land. Ignoring that, we decide to celebrate the Pilgrims not freezing and dying out by copious amounts of deliciousness each November.

The Classic Thanksgiving
The Norman Rockwell painting materializes as the turkey is carved at the head of the table while mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are put into circulation. Pumpkin pie is, of course, requisite. Everyone of elementary school age and many past make headdresses or stiff black hats out of construction paper. Grace is a formality as most have cheated. Heads are bowed and everyone tries to pretend not to be already chewing. If it's been planned appropriately, there are leftovers for two to three weeks.

The International College Student's Thanksgiving
Around sixty kids pile into the art studios building in Central Florence. Each table is covered in fall leaves and liters of red wine. Loud music blasts on the speakers and everyone enters the glass doors with theme music, creating our own personal red carpet for the evening. In addition to the standard thanksgiving foods there are things like tacos and eggrolls. After dinner, we head up to the rooftops of Florence for a spectacular view of the Duomo. Sitting on the ledge, Chianti in hand, we delve into wine-induced existentialism, whether or not some of us have art history presentations at nine the next morning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

the 100 Promises project

I promise to say yes. I promise to press against back doors and wood floors. I promise to never improve my spelling. I promise to look at patches of ice differently. I promise to keep nostalgia in its place. I promise to picnic more. I promise to never change my answer to the "what do you want to be when you grow up?" question. I promise to pay attention to reflections and textures. I promise to have an obsession. I promise to say the things I'm thinking. I promise to get there. I promise to be there. I promise to know while I'm there that there's not a more perfect place to be. I promise to always be fascinated with [ ]. I promise to wish on flying stars, rather than wait for shooting ones. I promise to be careful with absolutes. I promise to make pro-con lists for difficult situations. I promise to preoccupy myself with my phone during awkward situations. I promise to never speak ill of something I have no first-hand experience of. I promise to get closer. I promise to forever remember the installation likening the formation of galaxies to the formation of spiders' webs. I promise to take sides. I promise to read tea leaves. I promise to give pencils their fair chance. I promise to get up to see the sunrise when I say I will. I promise to look for the adventure. I promise to pretend. I promise to build forts. I promise to deconstruct walls. I promise to keep all love letters. I promise to know the correct time to hold on. I promise to know the correct time to let go. I promise to not always have something to say. I promise to let smells form memories. I promise to let myself fall with less nerves. I promise to trust absinth over frosted flakes. I promise to be curious. I promise to collect. I promise to discard. I promise to stay awake for good reason. I promise to nap unnecessarily. I promise to decide. I promise to find a way to tell you. I promise to listen to the same songs over and over again, then never listen to them again. I promise to be abstract. I promise to get overworked less often by correspondence. I promise to put less faith in the things that will never fulfill basic expectations. I promise to like things for no reason. I promise to catch up. I promise to have the most eclectic collection in my basket when I go grocery shopping. I promise to act by instinct. I promise to never become the person who "smooths hair with automatic hand". I promise to hate Hemingway. I promise to love Duane Michals. I promise to paint with water balloons and darts. I promise to keep going. I promise to play. I promise to pray. I promise to create. I promise to sin. I promise to hope. I promise to think there's something beautiful about a door frame. I promise to let it pour. I promise to see things out of the corner of my eye. I promise to pull myself together. I promise to pull myself apart. I promise to confuse plans and fantasies. I promise to be secretly seven. I promise to watch popcorn pop in the microwave. I promise to find exceptions to every rule. I promise to leave post-it notes. I promise to climb onto rooftops. I promise to spin. I promise to wear impractical shoes. I promise to like impractical people. I promise to hate raisins. I promise to let stones teach me to fly. I promise to practice. I promise to improvise. I promise to remember the good. I promise to forget the bad. I promise to always have someone in mind. I promise to believe in virtues. I promise to indulge in vices. I promise to doubt less. I promise to hesitate less. I promise to love the game. I promise to make connections. I promise to hold close moments where hearts skip beats or breath is lost. I promise to tie ribbons. I promise to remember my promises, to you and myself. I promise to rhyme. I promise to like things that shimmer. I promise to pick the city. I promise to look for life's speakeasies. I promise to get chills. I promise to not settle. I promise to be honest. I promise to laugh. I promise to figure it out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

daily life is full time make-believe

[ __________ ]

Today you opened my closet and I asked if you were looking for skeletons. You said yes, quite seriously, closing the doors. First the right. Then the left. I usually close the left first. You say you can tell I like abstract art by the way I arrange my hair brushes on the dresser. I tell you you're an impressionist, too easily charmed by lilacs' shadows. In perfect fashion, this is what I know: your worst habits, your most redeeming qualities, where your fear of commitment stems from, and how you like your eggs. Your worst habits have never mattered because your redeeming qualities matter more, and tomorrow the eggs will matter, and tomorrow we will have breakfast for dinner, cracking each satisfactorily on the edge of the counter. The yolks of yours will break, but so will mine, and they are to be scrambled anyway.

Chianti and take-out Chinese followed us onto the roof as we waited for the predicted streaks of light. I say I miss the part of life when everyone gave out valentines. I try to say how there are certain experiences that, once lived, can never be recreated, but solely reinvented. I say I've had wonderful reinventions of those valentines, but part of me will always miss the construction paper and chaos and the fairness that came from making sure everyone was loved. You tell me life isn't fair and love certainly isn't either. I tell you it's worse than you think, for life is random. It's quiet until you finally say that you miss the Tooth Fairy. She taught you it was okay to sell your body for money.

You ask what star gazing reminds me of. I surprise myself and actually tell you the story of how my friends and I had stood under a star carpet at midnight in the woods. We had each written on slips of paper the thing that troubled us the most at the time. Our biggest worry. Our biggest fear. In complete silence, we dropped the papers into a pre-dug hole, filling it completely with dirt. You ask me what I'm afraid of. I tell you spiders, june bugs, clowns, the feeling of being followed, the threat of liquids exploding every time I put them in a suitcase, being unhappy, being unsatisfied, potentially wrong choices, global warming in theory, ventriloquist dummies, computer viruses, jolly ranchers, and it being too late. Same question. You tell me you are afraid of being afraid to sin.

You say/ I say
[ there is one thing thing you need to know about me: I have no intention of telling the truth ]

Mutual agreement. We leave it at that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

when in Rome

To visualize any of Michelangelo's designs, we must seek to capture not a determinate solution, but the spirit and goals of a process.

History of Art class takes a weekend jaunt to Rome:

Catching sun in the Vatican gardens. Admire Mike's dome.

View of the colonnade from the top of St. Peter's dome. The climb to the top is five hundred and some stairs, though there is an elevator that takes you about half way. The easier half. The harder half is a series of extremely narrow, winding staircases, slanting and tilting at odd angles. The ceilings and walls are cut strangely, at diagonals. It's enough to turn any person claustrophobic. The trick is to think about it as the world's best club house - especially for the winding metal staircase where you hold onto a knotted rope for support.

Worth the view once up there. Vatican City at sunset.

Our private two hour after-hours tour of the Sistine Chapel. We practically skipped through the halls upon halls of the Vatican museum, what forms the usual line for the chapel. We were lightheaded as we got closer, so excited with anticipation. 20 people + complete silence + professor who happens to be a premier art historian on the history of Michelangelo with serious connections = the most incredible encounter with a masterpiece imaginable.

Old couch. Old drapes. Old wallpaper. New light. New folds. Newly forming dust. Daily challenge: find the relevant specific to one's own life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

you remind me of home

And the time those feelings took away - whether it be months, years, or millenniums - melts into honey, entrapping you in bliss.

It's wet outside and I remember those days I sketched flowers in June.

Life always becomes more silly and less simple.