In 39 days, I will be heading to Vermont for a 2-week residency at VCFA. I'm really stoked to be entering into another MFA program because my work feels much different than what I was doing 5 years ago at CalArts. I'm still ripping those same old demons out of my chest, running them through the washing machine, and hang-drying them in my graveyard backyard, but the way that I'm working with the material feels different: more honest and intricate, less face value, shock-value, fluff. I am spending more time picking through the meats, seeking out the pits, and less time splashing paint on pages and calling it a day. My time spent studying psychology at CIIS had a major impact on my work--I am constantly braiding in Freudian and Jungian threads, paying close attention to cycles, archetypes, and all the super weirdo subconscious material that emerges--and I am really excited to have some alien eyes peering down at my pages, unravelling their little snarl-balls of mess.
Lately, I have been re-visiting and re-working a bunch of old stories from my CalArts thesis. It feels like carving a swan out of a giant cube of ice. Pickaxing and pickaxing this really hard, cold substance, but with delicacy and grace. Or whatever I can muster that might slightly resemble grace.
Last night I completed my final draft of my blood-drenched werewolf story that’s really just an extended metaphor for female hysteria/womanhood/relationships between mothers&daughters, but could be read simply as a horror-punx monster story, if the reader is so inclined. (See first page on blog: cuts&bits&ouches: Blood Moons; posted May 15.) When I was going back over my notes, the circled "no escape" made me lol, so I thought I'd share it with you. Existentialist, much?
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. I must admit that I only picked this book up because it was published by Tin House Books and has these really cool torn-edge pages that make my fingers happy, but I'm so glad that I gave it a chance! This book tells the story of a young girl who is kidnapped (not exactly the right word) by her survivalist father and taken on an arduous journey (part hero’s journey, part bildungsroman) into the woods to set up house in this old ramshackle shack that he actually believes will keep them safe. This novel is constantly toying with insanity, fear, and the choices that parents make in their child's best interest. Told from the perspective of the teenage narrator looking back on her “adventure,” this book does a phenomenal job of embodying the vibe of a scared, little girl trying her hardest to be brave, to make her papa proud. Peggy (a.k.a. Punzel) puts on a brave face and learns how to be a nature-girl, all the while immersing herself in memory and song, holding tightly to her dolly--the final scrap of her past, lost life.
The power of fairytale and myth are weaved throughout this narrative, along with the bare-bones details of simple survivalist existence: making nooses for squirrels to fall into, starting fires with nothing but flint, the blood and viscera of a just-skinned rabbit, sleeping bag dreaming, and powdered egg breakfasts. Each page holds a new surprise.
Because I am one of the founding members of the newly-formed DOOMBUDDIES (a total nerd-core Disneyland social club [now accepting applications!]) I've been working super hard to get my vest ready for 24-Hour Disneyland Day (May 22). After diligently ironing on my back-patches and obsessively placing and re-placing my pins, I am now yearning for more and more and more pins. Thankfully, Disneyland has an endless supply--as does eBay--but I need to be properly pinned in order to terrorize New Orleans Square to the best of my ability. Here’s my vest so far: