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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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All over da map

I’ve been having the worst tension headaches.

I’ll be doing something when all of a sudden I notice that I’m squinting for no reason. The other thing that happens is that I remove and replace my glasses over and over again, thinking that the sharp pain above my ears is due to the arms of my glasses squeezing my temples.

I’m not a headache person so I’ve been popping aspirin like chiclets and worrying about brain tumors.

The pains are probably brought on by the current crop of stressors: no money, rent due, health insurance due, boredom with chosen career, futility of my existence, impending war with Iraq, elections on Tuesday, Terence’s lack of finances, my own lack of finances, errant gray hairs on my head that will soon require dye because am I that vain? Yes I am.

I’ve been thinking once again about grad school. Actually, I was thinking about it for Terence, since he’s always saying his skill set is obsolete and that in a few years he’s going to be a dinosaur. He spent most of yesterday researching universities, and found that only 1 teaches anything he’s remotely interested in. This is when he indulged his Inner Geek. He wants to go to MIT.

We were talking about the pros and cons of MIT, and I saw more pros than cons. He did too, but his fear of failure got the better of him. So of course I had to blather on about focusing on the goal and potential success, rather than focusing on the obstacles.

So then he turns to me and says, “Why don’t you go to grad school?”

Me: “Me?”

Him: “Yeah, you’re sounding more excited about the idea than me.”

Me: “What would I study? Surely not graphic design.”

Him: “You should go for fine art. For printmaking.”

Me: “Oh please. I don’t have the goods.”

Him: “Yes you do. You have a whole portfolio filled with prints and stuff. Over there.”

Me: “Those are from 9 years ago, and they’re not interconnected by any theme or anything! They’re amateurish!”

Him: “That’s why you go to grad school. To work that stuff out.”

Me: “That seems like a cop-out. Using grad school that way.”

Him: “That’s what grad school’s for. Anyway, there’s something blocking you, preventing you from making art. Don’t focus on the obstacles.”

Me: “Pffffft... you’re funny.”

And here’s where he delivered the clincher:

“You have the soul of an artist, and you need to work this shit out. Seriously.”

Ouch.

In a way, he’s right. My whole life, I’ve drawn and painted and made things and been crafty. After I graduated with my bs in graphic design, I continued to take classes in painting, printmaking, and even sewing. I’ve never actually stopped MAKING. I’ve always used the excuse that I’ve never had a proper space for creating art, and that I can’t very well make a mess in my apartment, so that’s why the Gamsol is still in the paper bag, that’s why the gesso is still in a box. But that’s a cop-out if I’ve ever heard one.

So I’ve decided that I’ve got to find out if being an artist is why I’m here, and the only way to find out is to DO. No more talking, no more rationalizing laziness, no more non-engagement. I’m going to try altering the current pattern of my life, and see if it yields different, or better, or more fulfilling results. In a way, become my own client.

Action item #1: I called about a studio space up the street from my apartment. I made an appointment to check it out tomorrow at 11 o’clock. It’s a converted garage behind an apartment building that, curiously, has a vacant 2 BR with hardwood floors. The landlord mentioned that he’d be willing to work out a deal for the apartment AND the studio space, so if they’re both cool, I might move.

A long lost friend called this morning and offered to hook me up with editorial work in New York if I was still interested in moving to Manhattan. Yes, I said, even as I jotted down the studio number.

Another reason for the tension headaches: inability to focus on one thing at a time!

12:16 p.m. - 2002-10-30

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