Monday, November 17, 2008
I didn't go the the memorial service. I went to the Kunstmuseum instead. We saw Ego Documents. Do egos die if you don't take care of them, I wonder?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
And children? Babies? There is a service at the Heiliggeist Church in Bern for all people like me who have lost a child they haven't even met yet. I cannot decide if it would be a good thing to go or not.
If I ever get pregnant again, I will buy my prenatel vitamins one pill at a time, and I won't tell anybody but my gynecologist that I'm pregnant until I'm in labor.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
And the rest of it? I'm no closer to believing I am a writer, or an artist. Why is this so hard? I do things I think are pretty good, but somehow they don't count. What does it take to get over this and just DO. (Forget the Nike commercial; in real life there are loads of people out there, including ourselves, waiting to heckle us like Waldorf and Stettler when we fail.) Yes, I will keep doing it anyway. But why so erratic? I feel like a giant factory machine, responsible for three different jobs. Quick! Fill this bin! It's important! Hurry hurry hurry! Oh, now that one is nearly empty! Quick quick quick! Throw three kids into this, and I wind up jacking all trades, mastering none... I need a cheerleading section. How sad is that. *sigh*
So, here's a tidbit I wrote as an exercise for the class. Creepy creepy:
He dipped his hands into the lake. It was undisturbed and pure- this far north there was little pollution. And it was ice cold, which was good. Ice also had a purity about it. The lake was still obsidian smooth, this early. He made out a sliver of paleness further along the shore; a night heron, standing like a statue, unseen by it's prey. He understood the night herons. His fingers were stiff and red when he took them out of the lake. He fumbled with the oarlocks. As cold as the water was, the lake was clearly warmer than the air; the mist over it was suspended, unable to rise any further. There were depths to the lake never touched by ice or sun. Nearly bottomless. Bottomless enough.
He rowed the boat out. The bottom of the boat was full, with the fishing rod on top, between his feet. Perhaps he would even fish. He heard a splash and looked to see the heron, long bill in the air like a church spire, swallowing it's prey. Good for you. He pushed his brown hair out of his eyes and smiled at the heron before rowing on.
Anyway, just for the record, I'm back to being pissed. Really, really, angry. My kids are still angry. A week or so ago my youngest daughter asked if God killed the baby. What do you say? Then she asked (not kidding here, she really said this) "Is it your fault the baby died?" She's little. She really just wanted to know. She had no idea how much that question hurt. I just said "No, these things just happen sometimes." Well, I can hardly be surprised that she's not satisfied with this answer if I'm not.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So where have I been for the past month? Well the kids started school, and I started portrait drawing and an online writing class at Gotham, and on Thursday I start Italian.
Portrait drawing is hard. But The teacher is good. He actually thinks up exercises that will target specific skills and make us get better at drawing. This sounds obvious. It isn't. It is scary how many drawing classes are the same every day and do not move forwards. Every day you go in and draw, but they so clearly don't even expect you to improve. How depressing. Right, so if I draw anything more attractive than vomit, I'll post it. Hasn't happend yet, in spite of teacher's efforts.
Writing. I'm a little disappointed with the class. Once, I actually got a decent bit of feedback from my teacher, and she said 'I'm writing this because I'm stuck in a plane, don't expect this all the time.' Argh. I calculate I've paid about $43 per lesson. No way am I getting 43 dollars worth of feedback. Her participation in the discussions is pathetic. I would love to know how much time per week she is putting into the class. Also, tech support is nonexistant. I inquired twice about formatting, inquired also of the teacher. Never got an answer.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Now, the vacuum. This process is made more difficult by the fact that I am writing in a vacuum. I am not sure if there are any other writers in this area (writing in english, that is), but if there are, I can't find them. I have been rather frustrated and disappointed with on-line critique groups.
I think I'll buy myself a new wardrobe and pretend I'm Kim Possible. I always wanted to be fictional.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
To be fair, the kids have been great. But I cannot seem to concentrate with them around. There is always the chance I will be interupted, and my brain knows that, and the interesting bits refuse to open their doors. On the other hand, I think if I keep waiting for the perfect moment, it's not going to happen.
So. I am spending my summer energy trying to teach the children many things I do not know, or have forgotten. Long division, playing harmonica, French, juggling, etc... How perverse is that?
My friend is away on holiday with her children. I miss her all the time, but I really miss her when she is gone for several weeks. She listens to me, and I need that. Without it I really start to doubt myself, and my worth. Can I write at all? should I just give it up? drawing, painting? Does it make any difference if I do these things or not? If I am the only one to whom it matters, am I worth the effort? I so need a well-placed kick in the pants.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
So why did I title this entry research? I've been thinking about two things, lately. One is, how to find these gatherings more interesting, since I'm basically an asocial git. What I mean is, I really have trouble dealling with large numbers of people at once, especially since the split second processing lag caused by my non-native-speakerness means that by the time I've thought of something to say, someone else has *just* started saying it. So. How do I improve my attitude toward these, shall we say, intrusions into my writing time? Consider them research and observe. There are a wide variety of interesting people - children and adults- present at these things. How do they stand? How do they talk? About what? Actually, around here, villiage gossip being what it is, what they *don't* talk about can be just as interesting.
The other thing is my ongoing fascination with just how long it takes me to get to know my characters. I research so much about them- know so much more than is ever written, read up on aspects of them that I later decide are not really part of who they are and are cut entirely. And even taking all this into consideration, I am still awed by the amount of time it takes- a year sometimes, or more- from the first tentative inspirational flash inside my head until that character has become three dimentional enough for me to write the story, to know what I will cut, add, what that character will do. How they will react. Who they really are. And there is simply no hurrying the process. I wonder if it takes everyone else this long.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Which just can't be bad...
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Kids? My periods seem to have stopped. If this is only temporary, or if it's permanent, I don't know. I keep telling myself that the end of fertility is not the end of womanhood, but at the moment I just don't believe it. I feel like an ugly, dried-up old hag. And I'm only 40! I also got my second rejection this week. Yay me! I'm officially a rejec- I mean writer ;o) So... do I pull out my manuscripts again and take commas out and put them back? Or look again for a critique group? Or ditch that and try to scratch together enough pictures for show? Or go to the Dr and have my FSH level checked?
I haven't got the energy to do any of that...
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Then we made prints on the inside of tetra paks! Not my best artistic effort, and they don't stand up to many prints, but it was fun. (And cheap!)
Then, last monday, we prepared plates for etching. Beveling, degreasing, warming, covering with asphalt, smoking, then the tranfer of the sketch using white oil pastel (you can see the traces of the white lines on the copper plate) and *then* exposing the copper, by scraping the asphalt coating with a sharpish tool.... *whew* can't wait to see what it looks like printed...
Monday, May 19, 2008
Now, I am on the phone and in the garden arranging a gazillion appointments for estimates to have the eaves painted/balcony railing replaced/wintergarden built/windows replaced. And tonite I have my class (which makes me really glad that Thirdling is not throwing up any more. at least I don't have to worry about her tonight. )
But what I really want to know is, when will I get my period? It's a week overdue. I used to be so regular. I know I am not pregnant; I know why it is late- it's because I am getting old. But when will it come? Am I still fertile? Do I want another baby? Does other half want another baby? I am feeling lost and tired today. It's all wearing me out.
We are going to do soft-ground etching tonight, so I am off to find a subject.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
So, here is my first attempt. This was mostly an excercise to learn how to use the press; it is not an intaglio print. I made it by inking the plate with gold ink, the star was torn paper, place over the plate. I also used thread, and scraped a few marks and letters in, though the word 'shine' did not comeout very readable.
This is my first intaglio. Made my scratching marks into the copper plate, inking, and printing. Check out the anatomically incorrect frog...
Friday, May 9, 2008
But this baby thing. Lately there have been so many cases. People throw their babies out windows, hit them, hurt them, leave them to starve, put them in freezers. I cannot understand this. These people got their babies and I didn't. My youngest daughter's kindergarten teacher just had a baby. She brought it in to the class for everyone to meet. I was thinking it's no big deal, I'll go and wish her well, because I *do* wish her well. But I couldn't do it. I clipped, raked, cleaned, and when I couldn't stand it any more, I went in and looked at the photographs of my dead baby and asked the question I have tried so hard to stop asking myself. Why was I not allowed to keep him? Why?
I feel like Toad. The whole world is covered with babies but not one of them is mine. I will never find my button and neither will any of my Frogs, but at least I have plenty of Frogs. *sigh.*
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Everybody else is getting dewrinkled/defatted and I don't want to be left out and be the only one not dewrinkled/defatted because no one will love me.
Don't get this. If peer pressure is not considered an adequate excuse to do all the unhealthy outrageous things teenagers do, why is mom setting such a bad example? What does this tell our girls? If you are wrinkled, fat, tits too small nose too big you must change it before daddy ditches you for a younger woman? (This isn't giving dad much credit, but that's another topic...)
The last thing this planet needs is more brainwashing of very young children that mommy needs to fit the mold.
Why are people all buying this? (The idea not the book- I really hope he doesn't have many takers; there won't be much marketing, I hope, since it's self published.) Maybe we need a campaign. Just say NO to tummy tucks and boobjobs! Any takers?
All RIGHT, All right, yes, it was me...
So. I come home from my two weeks of holiday, and in the huge pile of mail is the letter I was expecting;
Dear would-be student,
your printmaking course has been canceled due to lack of interest blah blah blah.....
I received an identical letter last fall. I was struggling then, too, to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing, what I wanted to be doing. I asked myself, 'why did fate allow this course to be cancelled?' Then I found out I was pregnant and thought, 'oh, that's why.' And then I wasn't pregnant anymore. So the course is cancelled a second time, and I'm not surprised or upset, and don't care why, and then the phone rings. It's the teacher of the course. There has been a mistake, she's been talking to the school faculty, the course will take place, blah blah blah.
Now. Why did this woman have to sound like an over-drugged sing-songy left-behind space hippie on the phone? I could almost see the rainbows and peace symbols and smell the pot. I was so unconvinced, I nearly told the woman I couldn't make it; I was busy every Monday night for the rest of my life, sorry. Why couldn't there have been an instant rapport? A sudden indefinable feeling of trust? The conviction that I would have something exciting and edifying to look forward too on Monday nights? I really could have used that.
So who's steering this, anyway. What is the meaning of life? I am trying so hard, I want to do something good, so SOMEBODY, please, give me sign! In the mean time:
Me: Waiter, bring me a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, please.
Waiter: Yes. Something to drink?
Me: That is a drink. Does the bartender know how to make it?
Waiter: ummm... with sandwiches.
Me: No, I don't want any sandwiches. Does the bartender know how to make a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster or not?
Waiter: Ahh! About five minutes.
Me: Forget it. Just bring me a slice of lemon and a large gold brick.
Chorus of patrons: He's from Barcelona!
(lively jig ensues to the tune of the Blackadder them)
Me: Hang on, is this that improbability drive thing again? (I duck a bowl of petunias as it flies through where my head used to be.)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
O'Loony's used to be such a great place... The best possible location overlooking the beach at Lahinch. It has been revamped to reflect the times- the 'pub' look, which I found so comfortable is gone. Fair enough; the Irish are updating themselves, and they have that right. But I used to be able to get a decent bowl of soup there, served to me by someone who at least acted like they cared...
This year, the interior is beige, bordering on puce (which is already enough to induce vomiting, really) and the staff aloof. I'm not sure if the waiter didn't speak any English or just thought he was too cool to waste words. He never asked what we wanted- just stood there with his pad and pen, looking expectant. He never even asked if the food was ok. I'd have told him, if he'd asked... On the menu it said 'mushroom soup.' I suspect it was a mixture of mashed potato, sea water and a bit of ground turf for colour. I returned the bowl with most of the soup still in it, and he still didn't ask...
Farther north, in Ballyvaughan at the famous Monks Pub, the food was considerably better. The staff was mostly American. This is a good way for Americans to see Europe at the moment, the dollar being what it is. I will therefore try to forgive the girls for not knowing that Stag is a cider, and for thinking I was asking for a glass of water when I asked if they had MiWadi. They were friendly and helpful, if not smiling.
Now. Back to Lahinch, to The Cornerstone. The Food here still ranks miles above what's left of O'Loony's. The problem was the ditsy blond Polish waitress. I made the mistake of asking for two pints of Stag again. She didn't bat an eyelash, and I thought 'yay, I'm finally going to get my Stag.' She brought us two pints of? Smithwicks! The woman running the bar was actually Irish, so I asked her what the deal was, as we had ordered Stag. She said 'oh, she (the polish girl) thought you said stout.' I guess that was the best she could come up with; we knew it was rubbish, she knew it was rubbish, we knew she knew an ale from a stout and she must have known we knew she knew it (still with me here?); but she was embarrassed and trying to train the worst waitress on the planet.
Then we tried to order food. The conversation went like this:
Us: How large is a portion of chips?
Us: No, how big?
Her: ... umm.... with sandwiches.
Us: No, how BIG? (indicating concept of 'size' with hands)
Her: Oh! (big smile) about five minutes!
I am not kidding here. We ordered a sandwich, and she asked 'how much. a portion?' And we thought sandwiches were counted in sandwiches. Shows what we know...
In the end, we ate the soup and sandwiches, drank the beer, and waited waited waited for the chips, the onion rings and the scone. Ten minutes and a chat with the manager later, we finally had the chips, the onion rings and the scones, she even threw in an extra basket of chips to make up for the delay, and the food was great. But she will have to ditch that waitress. A group of Germans came in as we left.
German guy, loud and clear, after some consultation with his pals: two Guinness and a coke please.
Her: (repeating) two Guinness and a coke. (writes on her notepad) Now, how many Guinness?
By the time we left the restaurant, we knew their order by heart, but she still didn't.
There were others; Spanish, Americans, more Poles, a German. Now, I have two things to say:
1) None of these foreigners, the Americans, the Spanish, the Polish seemed to be enjoying themselves at all.
2) If you want lunch in Lahinch, go to Kenny's Bar.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The downside of this is that I look like a human pincusion. Do you see this rose? Looks innocent, doesn't it? Well, don't let it fool you; it's a viscious, blogwriter eatting monster! It's also incredibly beautiful and fragrant... But. It gets BIG. Like, coming over the balcony and into the bedroom big. Like, no one's been on the westernmost 3 meters of balcony since last summer big. Like, we need to do something about it big.
But what? It's willowy, covered with barbed hooks and completely tangled. Troopers that we are, we clipped and snipped and suffered till it was free of the balcony railings, then pushed it into a nearby tree. It flopped back onto the balcony. More pushing, more lacerations, but it flops back again. Hmmmm.
Well, we're nothing if not inventive. Picture my man up a tree, a lot of string, and a metal weight. Picture us tieing the weight to the string, and throwing it at the tree. I said inventive, not coordinated. Also, a broom was involved.
Hey: the rose is off the balcony :)
I'll post a picture when it's in bloom.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Being pregnant is my lazy way of producing? I shudder to think that, but it has occurred to me:
"Draw? No, haven't had time for that! I'm busy being pregnant!"
Could I draw and be pregnant at the same time? Of course. And paint, and write.... But I haven't written or drawn anything for a year now, and that is why this question keeps popping up.
Did I get pregnant so I could produce without risk? OK, there are risks, but different risks. My artistic self-confidence has plummeted. But this has happened before; long gaps in my drawing, painting, writing, and at the end of each gap, the question- can I still do it? Can I still produce things that meet my own standards? Each time, it is terrifying- which amazes me! Why? Because every single time, after every scary, desolate hiatus the answer is YES. I always do produce again, every time, and yet during every new dry spell I think 'Will this one be different? Will this be the one that creeps in to settle permanently?'
So now I have the question. (Which on top of everything else, makes me feel a fool- in retrospect it seems so obvious.) Did I 'accidentally' get pregnant (never mind my hyperfertility- we'll discuss that another time) as an excuse not to test my ability to produce art? There is only one possible way to answer that question to my own satisfaction. I must start drawing, now. We have decided that we will discuss babies again in September. I must produce a piece I love before that, in order to know my own motives. It's the only fair solution- to have a baby in spite of my art, not as a substitute for it. Don't misunderstand me; I would have loved that little boy- I do love him, with all my heart. I miss him every day. Especially at Easter, I suppose, when the entire northern hemisphere is pregnant.
Is unpregnant a word? It is now. I feel so unpregnant.
Here are some eggs, dyed the Swiss way, in all their glory:
Friday, March 21, 2008
I quit grad school to travel. I went to Ireland. I had never been anywhere, and Ireland had always been on the top of my list. At the same time, a lunatic Swiss man, to whom I am now married, also quit his job and traveled to Ireland. Throw in two German students (one with incredibly smelly socks. He had brought only his grandfather's old doctor's bag as luggage. There was no room for actual clothes in the bag; only the big fat textbook, which I never saw him open. He was supposed to be studying for his med school exam the following week. The other one was studying psychology. He watched us intently and took a lot of notes.), some burnt toast, a bicycle and an abandoned chicken wing in the bottom of an oven all did their magic to push us closer and closer together. Ok, there was a large pile of Swiss chocolate involved, too.
So there we were, together against all odds, working for small change in Ireland. The job was seasonal, though, and come October, we had no income, and no way to get back to Switzerland either. We were considering *gasp* borrowing money from his mom! So what to do, what to do? Hmmmm. Win the Lotto. No, I'm not kidding. We didn't win the jackpot, but we did win what was the largest fiver in history at that point- 1,304 Irish Pounds. Enough to get back to Switzerland.
And what are the odds of exactly the right sperm and exactly the right egg being released to make a certain child? Out of three hundred million sperm per ejaculation? And 400,000 eggs fighting for release? And we have the three most perfect girls. And then there's poor Douglas, dead at 49. What were the chances of that? Just before the sperm whale and the bowl of petunias hit the ground, the bowl thinks "oh, no. Not again."
And there it is. I must accept the long odds, just like the bowl of petunias, whether in my favour or not. I know Douglas Adams was an atheist; but I am going to indulge in the fantasy that my wishy-washy watered-down vaguely christian upbringing prompts. I am going to picture my little boy in heaven, making Douglas Adams laugh, and vice versa.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So there I was, for my regular check-up, my gynecologist with his magic Doppler wand in hand, and he's saying the words "There's no heartbeat. I can't find a heartbeat." He ditched the Doppler, and switched on the ultrasound. "Sometimes they hide," He said. Baby wasn't hiding; he was just floating, dead.
I'm 40, I thought. It must be a trisomy problem. At my age, surely there was a trisomy problem that the tests didn't detect. I went later the same day with my husband for a second ultrasound just to make absolutely sure. Still no heartbeat. And I would have to bear the child; it was too late, the baby was too big for a d&c. I still wonder how I would have felt about a d&c, if it had been allowed. It just didn't seem right, after having seen the heart beat on the previous ultrasound, having felt movement...
And; we might never have discovered what the problem was. I was really not prepared to give birth to a perfect, dead baby. He (our first boy- such a teeny weeny weeny!) was perfect. But the silly little boy had the cord wrapped around his neck and tied in a knot. Too many somersaults. My gynecologist is not an ancient man, but he has been in practice for 15+ years, I would guess. He said "I've never seen the likes of this." He said it several times.
Now I am left with a question. What is the point of getting pregnant accidentally (my children are 11, 8 and 6, and we thought we were done), getting used to the idea, having all the tests come out very positive, telling the girls, being so happy, looking so much forward to the baby, only to have him born dead as the result of a freak accident? Since this is my first post no one out there knows me at all, so I'll tell you a problem I have; I am always trying to figure out what it is I'm supposed to be learning.
What is God (He, She or It) trying to tell me? How hard would it have been to let down a ghostly, all-powerful finger and unloop that cord? Why did that baby have to be conceived at all, only to die? Does God exist at all? I think there must be a lot of people asking these sorts of questions. I guess there always have been, and always will be.