Strata


This must have been from my cubist phase.

This must have been from my cubist phase.

At last, progress. I suppose that it helped that the goals that I set for myself today were things like: “pack everything on the surface of my desk” and “clear the bookshelves” so that the progress is visible and quantifiable for a change. I have a ridiculous number of boxes of books: it doesn’t feel like that many when they are sitting quietly on a shelf, but they sure add up when you have to lift them up box by box. It doesn’t help that books weigh so much: I have to restrict myself to moderate size boxes lest I pack more books than I can  lift into a single container. As it is, there is one box that was definitely of a lift-with-your-legs-orelse weight. I labeled it “heavy”.

At a certain point, packing becomes an excavation turning up parts of life that were buried in the shifting sands of daily routine and forgotten about. I found myself going through a box of old magazine clippings that might’ve gone back as far as my undergrad days based on some of the ephemera tucked in with it. Looking back at some of my old artwork makes me want to do artwork again. You know, when I have time. About half the time my reaction is a delighted: “Oh! I remember this!” and the other half of the time my reaction is a mortified: “Oh. I remember this.” What a strange creature I was in my youth. I hope I never have to explain myself.

Artwork and journals are especially tricky this way. Some of the work feels so pretentious as I worked my way through various phases and fantasies. Eurgh. Is it really as pretentious as I think it is? Or does it make me uncomfortable because it is too honest? Have I ever really been honest in my artwork? Have I ever gone to the deepest places? I’m not sure that I have. It would be easy to cull out the embarrassing bits, but it seems dishonest to do so.

And then there are the photos: myself and yet not myself. In some ways it is nice to look at an old photo and feel like I don’t look that different now than I did then, but on the other hand there are some pretty unflattering photos in my history that I’d like to think I’ve outgrown  and I’m not sure that I have. Ah well. Once we make the move I can bury them all again and give myself enough time to allow nostalgia to outweigh embarrassment.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 9, 2016.

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