Clear Board


Gettin artsy for a change

I didn’t write yesterday. For most of the day I was stricken with a headache that refused to budge from behind my eyes. Water and Advil didn’t help. Fresh air didn’t help. Napping didn’t help. I lay on the bed in the darkened room, holding very still and hoping that sleep would overtake me. It must have, briefly, because I woke up to the sound of water running in the walls- not the normal rumbling of water in pipes, but rather the steady trickling of water dripping.

It was coming from the bathroom.

At first, I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The shower seemed to be off. There wasn’t any obvious water running in our apartment, but the sound was very clear in the walls and the ceiling. The Curmudgeonly Lion went upstairs to knock on the neighbor’s door, but there was no response. At first we waited, hoping that the sound would go away, but when water began forming in droplets on the ceiling and seeping out from beneath the baseboards we went to fetch the apartment manager to go inside and see what was wrong. It was, apparently, a broken tank on a toilet. The water line was shut off and the dripping noise subsided. We mopped up the water. We went about our day.

I still had the headache, but now it was clear that I wasn’t going to get to sleep. Instead I went into the studio to “putter”: my term for any directionless form of  tidying, organizing, or sorting that has no specific aim except to find out what has accumulated in all the piles. I decided that it was time to clear my bulletin board: I hadn’t cleared it in several years- mostly due to the fact that I hadn’t spent more than a few hours in the studio over the course of the entire year.

Unlike other areas of my life which I tend to force into routines and lists and piles, I find that I use my bulletin boards as a way of accumulating small inspirations- drawings, quotes, cards, photographs, gum wrappers- anything that speaks to me. When I find myself at  a loss for ideas I will sometimes stare up at the boards to get a map of my mental topography.

So I wanted to clear the board, but I also wanted to preserve it, in a way. All the pieces were just going to be piled into a memento box anyway, why not get artsy with it? I recently discovered a substance called “Mod Podge” which acts both as a glue and as a sealer- in other words, you put it underneath a piece of paper to glue it down and then paint a layer over the top to create a clear veneer that pastes everything together. So I spent an afternoon Mod Podging my bulletin board into a sketchbook as a memento of the past few years. I can look back on it if I want, and I can also start anew for 2016. Have my cake and eat it too.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 3, 2016.

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