The Things Going On In My Life

My time with the Scrabble app is coming to a close. It was fun while it lasted, but honestly, I just can’t keep up! For a while there, I was on the app for hours every day, playing twenty games at once. I’ve whittled my games down to four, and two of them are almost over. I’m relieved! I love Scrabble, and I’m very good at it, but playing online with strangers is just exhausting. If it wasn’t Scrabble, I’d be convinced my opponents were bots. How do they play the game literally nonstop, all day? What does the rest of their lives look like? It’s a bind moggle (not sure I’ve ever typed a Spoonerism, ha!).

Anyway, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I sure do miss playing Scrabble with real humans. Sigh. One day.

Well, I’ve had my second infusion since I posted last. This round was easy peasy. Barely had any nausea at all, thanks to taking my medication before I started feeling sick, and “staying ahead” of it by continuously taking it thereafter. I’m experiencing lots of hot flashes, due to the ovarian suppression. Other chemo side effects–– I’ve got severe dry mouth (which I’m treating with Biotene products), and pins and needles in my hands and forearms. No biggie! Adam has drier skin than I do, and I’m not even applying lotion! Maybe I should, but my skin feels nice and m-m-m-m-ois…t (sorry). Well, except for my scalp I guess. My hair is now about three millimeters long, and it’s really falling out now. There are large patches of emptiness all over my head. One weird thing that’s happening up there, is that–– it seems–– my facial peach fuzz hair is all falling out, which has left my forehead super slick, so oil is flowing down into my eyes! Yes! I have to wash my face a couple of times a day now, just to keep my eyes from stinging like crazy.

You’re welcome for all that!

I just finished my Through the Looking Glass print and dropped it off at Public Space One! In case you haven’t heard, it’s a print that I did for the show “Osmotic Radiance,” which will be up at FilmScene (hanging in the west side windows, facing the street) this coming weekend and next week. The prompt for the show was obviously “Osmotic Radiance,” and I used it to come up with my concept. The print is taken from Sir John Tenniel’s original illustration.

It’s an 8×10″ linoleum relief print. The print setup for it was maddening, because the black block wasn’t perfectly flat, so the press kept grabbing the paper and blanket and wrinkling it up. But I eventually got one good-enough print. I framed it in a Neilson Bainbridge metal frame kit, and put UV protecting glass in it, since it’s going to be in the sun for a week. When I dropped it off at PS1, John Engelbrecht was there and asked if I wanted to real-quick be a part of an audio piece of a bunch of the PS1 Art Auction artists talking about their work–– at the same time. So I said yes (no one’s going to hear me distinctly), and immediately got mic fright, but kept talking anyway! I was surprised at what I said, actually! I guess I hadn’t really thought about my piece very in-depth before, because it all just flowed out then. Let me see if I can recreate it:

This piece was inspired by the theme of the event “Osmotic Radiance.” When I allowed those words to bounce around in my mind, I thought of Alice, going into the looking glass, or going into the tiny garden, where everything looks radiant, interesting, and different. I thought about myself then–– how I wish there was a looking glass I could climb through. And then I realized that art is my looking glass! Every day, especially days when I’m not feeling creatively inclined, I get a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach (literally). It reminds me of hunger (which I often treat it as), but it’s not. It’s the pull to climb inside the looking glass–– to give up the known and embrace the unpredictable.

That Alice is actually me. I’m a grown-up, but I still need Wonderland. I need the Upside-down, Topsy-turvy, Escher world where things don’t make sense, or–– if they do–– it takes a different kind of logic to understand them. I think I’ve too closely associated drinking (coffee and alcohol) and smoking with this feeling. As a young adult (I’m not a young adult anymore!), I would feel this feeling, and assume that it was “my wild oats,” that needed release. So I would act dangerously and chonk down on my vices. But I never (ever) felt so alive as when I was drawing. That was what really satiated. Anyway, I think I’ve gone on long enough about this. Let’s on to another subject, shall we?

I just finished The Sociopath Next Door, which took me way too long, because I actually wanted to read it, and it was really boring. Well, not exactly boring, just incredibly long-winded. There was so much damn fluff in it! Basically, the author posits that there are exactly, precisely two types of people in the world–– sociopaths and the rest of us. Sociopaths are conscienceless, and the rest of us are doing the best we can. She would say that sociopaths’ only aim in life is to “win,” and 10 times out of 10 that means using other people. Therefore, it is up to us, who have a conscience, to be aware of sociopathy and reject it at every turn and from every angle. From the very beginning of the book, I was like, “How does she know all this?” and also, “This premise is wrong.” But I kept reading, because boy she’s done a lot of research and cites a lot of studies.

The reason I wondered, “How does she know all this?” is because she’s a psychotherapist writing based on her personal experience with people who have been clinically diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. However she’s also writing about the general population, where studies have shown that 1% of humans on earth are sociopathic, but also where her experience is completely subjective. What she does is lay out the characteristics of a sociopath, and then spots them in the wild, assuming that they’re just as dangerous as the ones who end up in hospitals and prisons. I’m not an incredibly smart person, but I just can’t see how her angle here is anything but subjective (in a bad way). I think she should’ve just stuck with talking about the captive sociopaths, and left the “Next Door” element to future studies.

My theory, and I’m sure it’s shared by others, is that sociopathy is a spectrum, like everything else in the known universe. I think she’s right that evolution has developed in us a conscience, and I think we’re all just somewhere in the middle of that development. Some people have a stronger conscience than others, the same as some have fewer wisdom teeth than others. We’re just working on it slowly. And the ones with weaker consciences are pitiable, because their kind is dying. I’ll betcha sociopathy was an asset back in our hunter-gatherer days.

What else? Well, I now have three thousand hats! That’s something. They’re mostly gifts from you folks, actually. I bought two (and made one). I didn’t end up going with the trapper style, although I may change my mind and get one at some point. I thought I wanted a statement hat, but then I realized that trapper hats aren’t really my digs, so I bought a beret! But not one of the confusing ones where you have to constantly be adjusting it in order for it to look chic. No, I got one with a headband! It’s 100% wool, very well-made, thick, warm, etc. Bright red. I love it. The other hat I got is 100% cashmere, and was quite expensive (for me)! But I wear it most of the time now–– even to bed, it’s so simple and soft.

I also bought some tattoo transfer paper, so hopefully my transfers to linoleum will go better now. I had been using the Chartpak method, but it is a true hassle. Anyway.

Last night I was doing a little knitting and listening to the latest “This American Life,” and found out I have an eating disorder! I had no idea! If you haven’t listened to it, I strongly recommend. The host talks to several women about her own eating disorder, but one specifically stood out to me. This woman also had no idea she had an eating disorder–– she just thought she was a horrible person, lol. The eating disorder she talks about is basically binging and purging, without the purging. So just binging. Apparently it’s the most common eating disorder in the US. Makes sense. But anyway, yeah. I totally have that, no question about it. And I just always thought I was a person with no self control. Which, I’ll bet the less PC culture out there would say is absolutely right. But whatever, I’m only interested in thinking/talking about it if it’ll help me get skinny (I wish I was jk). Anyway, I’m not sure I’m ready to dive into this subject just yet. I think I want to read the host’s book first. It’s called Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton. Stay tuned or read it with me!

In other news, Adam is probably going to be applying for a job at YALE in their conservation department. I assume it’s a competitive position, but just thinking about it made me a bit excited. Apparently New Haven, Connecticut isn’t a super expensive place to live, huh! And it’s really close to Philadelphia and New York and Boston, etc. It would be an interesting switch, for sure! Very close to the beach! Anyway, it’s all very much not on the front burner at the moment, since Adam’s working on his thesis show right now.

Maybe I should talk about Adam some, how about that? You guys can’t be only interested in me. Let me tell you what he’s been up to lately. So his show is in three weeks, and his thesis is diving into the elements of bookmaking and conservation. He’s giving an old copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde an artist binding, but he’s also giving it a new lease on life, with his conservation treatment. He’s been really interested in creating his own book boards for the project, so that’s an element of it too. Basically, the show is going to be a huge smattering of everything that goes into making a book, but also conserving a book. It’s a pretty big undertaking, he’s been working on it all day, every day for months.

Something that’s been simmering over the past four years with Adam is this question of “Which career path to take?” I’m not going to go down rabbit trails with him, like I did with my own brain storming for career ideas a few posts ago, but I will tell you that his choices are more narrow than mine. And pay a lot better. He’s either going to focus on conservation, or on fine binding and letterpress printing. If we had our druthers, we would just go into business together and have a little studio/storefront. And this may happen. But the better paying, easier route would be for him to go into conservation somewhere. If that were to happen, we could likely buy a house in the next five years. Which is all I really want right now. But of course, I want to foster our passions first. It’s such a hard life!!!

I guess the other major thing going on is Art Office! We’re getting back in the saddle! I’m not sure what my project will be this time around–– it may just be my oracle cards again, but I have to say I’m getting kind of tired of them. Who cares, I need to finish them . . . Anyway, the structure of Art Office has yet again been tweaked. I’ve discovered a way to make the virtual experience much more like the physical experience would be, and that is by giving everyone a key! And by “key,” I mean login credentials to Art Office’s Zoom account. This basically means that “employees” may come to work whenever they want–– they don’t need me to be there to let them in. We’ll still have designated hours where everyone comes to work at the same time, but now our artists can get the buzz of working around others anytime they want it! I’m very excited about this.

And speaking of, if you’re a reader of my blog and curious about Art Office, would you let me know? I’m looking for people to read some copy I’ve written for the program, to get your opinions and perspectives on it. Thanks in advance!

Welp, it’s time for some lunch, and then time for Emily and my spa day. Finally. I have been needing spa day hard. Tootle-oo!

1 thought on “The Things Going On In My Life”

  1. Carla, I want to talk about sociopaths with you someday! I think your analysis If this book sounds spot on. My husband has always felt I’m a sociopath… but I’m a kindhearted one.

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