Writing

About my mother…

People’s hands are something I’ve always been drawn to. I study their shape and condition. I watch how they move while someone speaks, how they’re used during the most mundane tasks, and how they appear at rest. To me, hands speak a different language than eyes, but can say just as much.

I find my mother’s hands particularly fascinating; they’re the set that created this fixation of mine. I’m one of those people who holds an entire world in my head, revealing feelings and thoughts only when I run out of room to keep them. I get this from her. She can be reserved and silent. Her hands, though, are loud. They shout and howl, but are most imposing when still.

The skin that covers them is heavy, like a quilt. Draped across the back and tucked in around her fingers. There are lines of varying depths etched into the surface and a few cracks that are tender and weak. Rough, calloused palms, often facing outward to ask for distance. Rarely do we get a glimpse of her open hand, palm up. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, only shown when she’s willing to give a part of herself and never shown to request something for herself. She always struggles to receive a kindness, not sure we mean it, not sure she can believe it.

These hardened features on my mother’s hands speak of strength gained through involuntary reactions, not sought out for cultivation. Built by, not for. Still, her strength is magnificent in its efficiency, but saddening that it won’t always allow her to exist unguarded.

Her hands are small and very delicate. Though the skin appears like stone, they float when they move, gliding from one thing to the next. Her handwriting is tiny, each curve created with perfection and so light it’s as if she doesn’t want to hurt the paper or maybe feels her words lack importance.

With this resilience of my mother, always functioning in the safest way, I want there to be an aspect of her that evolves. I want her to learn how to open her hand, reveal her palm, exist for a moment in vulnerability, and accept the kindnesses given to her. I want her to understand how incredibly worthy she is and that love for her is unconditional. I want her to know that this beautiful machine she is and lives in can still run well if she loosens her white-knuckle grip on the controls. I want her to know she’ll be okay.

These are my mother’s hands and these are a few of the things they say about her.

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Art

34 Going On 12

(an immature 12)

One post since 2014. This makes two.

I would say I feel like a failure for not keeping up with this or that, but that’s not entirely┬áright. I’ve been keeping up with other things — taking care of myself and my surroundings. Simply, unwrecking my world.

I moved and that has improved my surroundings. The lull that I’ve entered is delicious. It’s much needed and will allow me to carry on the next time shit gets wrecked. Wouldn’t have it any other way, though. All good is just as bad as all bad, yeah? A different kind of bad, anyway. Like a Michael Jackson kind of bad.

While searching for new digs, one criterion was having a dedicated room for doing art. I’m still unpacking, but my brushes and paints are out. I found scraps of canvas that I cut a while back and have started a painting.

Confession: I have been notoriously careless when it comes to painting (or doing any kind of art). My needs (what I thought) were to simply get out whatever is in my head. I get the image out, but it’s a bastardized version of what I wanted to do. My impatience let the shoddiness slide just so I could move on to whatever was next. And if nothing was next, then I did nothing. Since coming to this shameful realization this year, I have kicked my impatience in the teeth and now it’s in a semi-conscious state and unable to speak.

This painting is taking much longer than normal. It’s not even a quarter of the way done. This is driving me mad, but I need it to drive me mad. It’s good for me! Plus, the more time I take on it, the more I’m spotting these horrendous mistakes that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen/cared about if I was rushing. Intention is good. Discipline and all that.

Now that I’ve embarrassed myself by sharing all that, let me share what I’ve done so far:

wip jul 17 2014

Art

If you would just stop touching it…

“You” being “me” and “it” being my blog (and me…depending). I turned 32 the other day (July 2nd) and I still haven’t learned that things will be less irritating if I leave them alone. This goes along the lines of “things become complicated when you forget about their simple, individual parts” or “…the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it”.

As I wrote in my last post from June-freaking-13th (nearly a month ago!), I created a self-hosted WP blog at a subdirectory at ItDoesArt.com and was trying to decide if I was going to keep this one and that one, or ditch this one, blah blah blah. Overcomplicated. Just…overcomplicated. I like this blog. I like you guys/gals that subscribe to it, and comment and what not. That other one was far too much of a pain in the ass for what I wanted it to be. Which was (get ready) a BLOG. It was slow. Posting to it was a nightmare. Really, there wasn’t any major benefit considering… I get why people do the whole self-hosted thing and it makes total sense for them. For me…not so much.

So, like most things I repeatedly attempt/redo/reorganize/overthink, I’m simply going to use this lovely one and nothing more. The rest is unnecessary. My site is still accessible from this blog, just as this blog is still accessible from my site. It’s just much faster and less complicated.

As I’ve been writing this, fireworks are being set off outside and it’s really pulling my attention away. I’m going to go hunt them down (I’m not sure which direction they’re in and the trees block most views) and admire them. Happy 4th.

Art

The idea of 365 days…

Obviously NOT my idea… I don’t know how many days I would have shoved into one year if I was in charge of that project, but I wasn’t. Maybe 5? Be really REALLY old and still look totally kick-ass? Yes, thank you.

Moving on to more sensible things, the idea of doing something everyday of the year – 365 days – intrigues me and makes me slightly ill. I’m not talking about showering or sleeping or eating the food. I mean doing what I have seen so many others accomplish – make a blog post every.single.day. Yikes.

I admire those that can do it. I even admire those that try. I like the idea of doing it, but, as I am with many things, the fear of failing is so, so great. So I haven’t even attempted. I think I might, though. I would like to try.

Aside from my fear and the many ways it manifests itself (and there are many), my other problem with not always accomplishing things is my horrible memory. If I connect a day of the week with a topic, then I think my chances of actually succeeding at posting something every day are a bit better than if I just tried to wing it.

This is why I like Illustration Friday. It’s on a Friday! So on Fridays, I get to have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to illustrate (even though, as you know, I don’t always actually do that…). Since I’m slightly more determined than not to give this a go, I have Friday checked off. Now I just need Monday – Thursday and then Saturday and Sunday.

I’ve noticed that people that post every day of the year sometimes don’t even write anything. They just slap a picture up on their blog…I like that idea! I don’t like it, though, if it doesn’t make sense. I suppose that would be okay, though, yeah? Nonsense is sometimes the best sense. Certainly can be the most fun!

Tonight I am going to figure out themes/topics for the rest of the days of the week and I’m making tomorrow (Saturday 24th of March) my start day. I might not make it to 365 days, but I am going to try to do one whole week! *weak laugh * HA! My air just sputtered out of my balloon, but that’s okay because I can use my airless balloon as a slingshot. Yes.

Tell me if you have ideas for the other days of the week! Like…Macabre Monday (that actually appeals to me now that I typed it out…) or something easy to remember!

Art, Life

I am lame…

There is a very good, and lame, reason why I haven’t posted anything in nearly a month (that makes me want to faint). I’ve been depressed. Not the manic-mix where I am depressed but getting a variety of things (some questionable) done, but the kind where it is difficult to breathe.

However, as the wise man who was once a newt said: “I got better” (written in my most-bestest peasant English accent)

I am feeling better. Unfortunately I have nothing…not one damn thing…to show for my absence. It would be great if I had painted something awful on that giant blank canvas hanging on my wall, but the only thing I did to it was scooch it up the wall because my arm kept hitting it when I sat on my sofa-thing. Progress!

I’m looking forward to this coming Illustration Friday’s word. I have no idea what last week’s was and while I still have 2 days to scratch something out, I think I might just wait until the end of this week.

So…yeah. Sorry for my lameness and what makes me feel even more sorry is that there have been views and yet I haven’t produced entries. So…thanks for still viewing in my absence. I do appreciate it ­čÖé

Off to find some steam so I can pick it up! (could you imagine trying to pick up steam? Literally, I mean. Like hoarding handfuls of steam and quickly shoving it in your pockets… I like the image in my head…someone draw a person shoving steam in their pockets and link me to it!)

Blog, Life

A thank you post…

Those that know me know that I can get really mushy sometimes and the level of mush depends on the circumstances and how I’m feeling. People that aren’t familiar with me either think that I’m being “sweet” or that I’m being disingenuous (those that think this tend to be the most cynical about everything) or a sort of sycophant. When it comes time for me to offer a thank you, I tend to get nervous because of the very reasons I mentioned.

There is this feeling inside my torso that I get when I’m really, really grateful for something (this happens a lot). If I don’t acknowledge it, the feeling builds and that’s where the level of mushiness really comes into play. If I let it build too much, I become this sobbing blob of fat that blubbers about how wonderful this or that is (this really happens) and it actually becomes physically painful…like I want to explode and allow rainbows and glitter to shoot out of my disintegrating viscera…or something equally exciting. Rather than that awesomeness happening, I just cry REALLY hard for a few minutes, and then I’m over it and can get on with making horrific drawings or ridiculous cartoons.

SO, now that all of you are aware of these truly embarrassing things about me (things I don’t share, mind you) I want to say:

THANK YOU FOR READING!

I think it’s terrific that people read this blog (for whatever reason) and like it enough to “Like” it and even follow! I’m grateful for that. So, thank you!

I also think it’s neat that the people who Like/follow the blog are so similar to one another – we all seem to share the same sense of humor/writing style/interest in art/etc… So, of course, if you spot a fellow Liker on a post, click on them and see what their deal is if you don’t already do that! It’s almost like watching a video on YouTube and then continually clicking on the suggested videos until you end up in an unknown land that may or may not traumatize you. Almost.

Life, Writing

Prepare for a long post…

I’m seriously, you guys.

I’ve noticed how lax I’ve been in updating my blog. I’m not sure what the deal is, but I’m looking into remedying it. I write out a list of possible posts and then don’t get to them or, I see them, but don’t remember what I was going to say. I figured that today I would write about a recurring issue I have that sort of ties into my work: My name. Yes, my name is an issue.

I have gone through more casual name changes than I want to admit. I’ve changed for a variety of reasons: paranoia, boredom, spelling problems, anger/spite, and simply not feeling right about my name.

I have only gone through 1 legal name change: I was adopted. I went through several years of one easy-to-spell surname and then it changed to a rather fantastic, albeit hard to spell/pronounce, surname. Like old songs or movies, names can be triggers to past memories, good or bad. My last name made me think of bad things, so I wanted to change it. My first name did the same, so I wanted to get rid of that too. And then it started.

In high school, I toyed with the spelling of my first name. I was usually called “Jenni”, so I continually changed the spelling of that until one day my Federal Government teacher pronounced my newly spelled “Jenee” as “Juh-NEE”. I knew I had a problem.

Early adulthood I signed my work with a symbol that I still use once in a while. I refused to sign my name because I still couldn’t accept it.

Then, as mentioned in the Explanation section of my blog, I went through several years of being ridiculously crazy and became obsessed with changing my name. I continually changed my online usernames or created new ones because I was scared that I would be found. Now when I see those names they seem so foreign – I don’t even recognize some of them.

Last year I created a whole new name: Morgan Dreag. I love the name Morgan. I think the letter “M” is beautiful, I have a massive connection to the sea, and I think Morgan sounds like such a strong name. I needed some strength. And “Dreag”…well, I kept that part. I like writing it. I believe it’s Old English for “apparition” and since I had spent most of my life feeling like I was a ghost, I thought it was suitable.

I used Morgan for a while. I look like a Morgan, so it seemed pretty natural. The family and friends I chose to tell about the name assured me that they wouldn’t say anything because they understood my fear of being found (it’s not a completely irrational fear…just mostly). Unfortunately, someone did mention it to another person and that name lost its power for me. The illusion of strength and protection was gone. The name hunt resumed…

Trying to find a name that not only fit me, but also matched my work was becoming a hassle. Here I had the documents ready to start the legal change – I just needed a name to put on them! I tried various names on, typed them out in different fonts, wrote them out by hand, entered them on forms, signed quick drawings with them; all to see how they looked and felt when doing that. Still, nothing.

I went back to look at my real name. My surname is relatively unique, so I don’t have the problem of being lost in a list, but it also makes me easy to find for those that know the name. During my name-hunt, I went through countless name meaning sites and books, typing and looking up each name that popped in my head. Of course I repeatedly researched “Jennifer”. In doing this I found that “Jennifer” also has connections to water and apparitions. For reals. Once again I already had something I wanted, I just needed to go the l o n g way to figure that out (can you tell that this happens a LOT?).

I’m sure that eventually I will, once more, become bored with my name or if I become mentally unwell again, I will feel the need to change everything, but I have a feeling by posting all these things that I’ve rarely said out loud, it will allow me to be okay with keeping what I got.

There is also the possibility of hitting the “Publish” button and eventually seeing a shadowy figure standing outside my window…