Sometimes, you eat the bar

Full confession, I am not that good at this blog thing.  I have spent the last few weeks watching the World Cup, cheering for the (barely) first place Reds, bemoaning the single dumbest all-star decision in quite some time and reading a real blog.  Michael Davies and Roger Bennett make blogging look easy.  Maybe it is if you’re British.  I enjoy saying “cheers” instead of “thanks”, calling people “tasty” and rating things as “pants”, but none of this qualifies me as anything more than a poseur.  Dear reader, I beg for your mercy.

My failings at blogging have me scared too.  I am not that great of a writer.  My entries are rife with typos and half-assed insights.  What did I do to compensate for these shortcomings?  I went and enrolled in a phd program that will require me to frequently string several sentences together in a meaningful way.  Most sane grad students (oxymoron?) regard twenty page papers as a proverbial walk in the park.  I see them as a guillotine.  8o0 words in these entries is an eternity, especially when trying to write something that is only 99.5% self-indulgent.  2000 words brings me near tears.

It also doesn’t help when I have spent the summer so far reading real writers.  If I could do ANYTHING half as well as David Foster Wallace’s essay/review on language usage, I would throw a parade.  Chuck Klosterman uses pop culture deconstruction to make philosophy relatable to the average reader and made me reconsider positions on Waco I had since my youth.  Don Delillo wrote one of the single greatest beginnings to a book I have ever read and I’m not even 150 pages through that tome yet.  You might say “Well, you’re not a writer” and you would be right.  I consider myself an artist.  I know that craft well.  And with all that knowledge, I wish I could create this:

or this (trust me, its unreal in person):

or any of these:

but I can’t.

I have this thing that happens to me now when I run races.  My training has been rigorous and unwavering since 2004.  Because of this training, I am much faster than the average, 3-mile-a-day runner. I am also significantly slower than the best runners in your town.  As a result, I end up running a lot of races with just a few other people, suspended in space between the casual fitness enthusiasts and the hard core.  I imagine some of my anonymous running partners are like me.  They get compliments and awe from their family and friends.  While its nice to get these compliments, what I constantly think inside my head is “if you only knew”.   If I ran my absolute best mile now, under perfect conditions, I might, might be able to break six minutes.  There are people in your town that run sub-sixes for 10-K’s…not a person…people, as in plural.  I am not one of them and I, without a doubt, know it.

The end result is feeling humbled and awed a lot.  I guess this is a good thing, but sometimes it is an ass kicker.  I wonder why I spend all this time (in spite of what I said at the beginning of this post, I really have made a lot of art so far this summer) on something that mathematically would look like this:

most of the world who don’t call themselves artists < me < almost everyone at a major university/gallery/museum (with the exception of you, K.B., you are a poor educator and your art is the worst…ok, not really, BUT, you are not a nice person)

I don’t have an answer to that one yet.  I only know I feel sick-to-my-stomach bad if I don’t make any art for a while.  What drives that engine?  Is my legacy to my child to be one of middling artist? Will I be the world’s worst phd student? Is anyone hiring a professional appreciator?  And you know what the sad thing about the three previous paragraphs is, I know enough to say Haruki Murakami said it better.

This kind of thinking will get me nowhere, so let’s focus on the task at hand.  What happened these last two weeks?

Two weeks ago, after our doctor’s appointment I hopped in the car and drove to Cincinnati.  The purpose of the trip was 4-fold.

1. Drop art work off at the Covington Artisans Enterprise Center for a three person show in August.

2. Find a place to live in Columbus.

3.  Meet with my advisor (and find a minute to sneak into the Wexner Center to see the Mark Bradford show).

4.  Celebrate Shane’s upcoming wedding in October with the world’s earliest bachelor party.

How did it go?

1. Ok.  The two people I am showing with seem nice, but I have no idea what their work looks like.  The director of the show seems really nice.  We have a title for the show which is my second least favorite title ever after “Palette of spirituality.”  The space is a really nice.  I wish I could do an installation there.  I also wish the show wasn’t opening 4 days after Shannon is due.  We should, however, be able to make the first Friday opening in September and I will be talking about my work there the week after that.  Good times for all.

2. Good. I had to look at an enormous amount of shit to find a halfway decent place.  To quote Mike Birbiglia quoting Elie Wiesel “Human beings are animals.”  The bathrooms in these places were insane.  Here’s a tip for the renters of Columbus: You have people coming over, try wiping up the field of pubes all over your floor.  In the end I was able to secure a really nice space from a landlord that is extremely friendly.   They even offered to help us move in!  Our new address will be 2571 Summit Street.  Two miles from campus, one mile from the grocery store, 6 blocks from a grocery co-op, two blocks from a park,  and three precious blocks from a UDF.  It will take a lot of walking and bike riding to balance out the caloric intake from all those malts.

3. Good again. As nice as the Mark Bradford show is, I am even more excited to be on a campus that has a contemporary art space who, on the side, hosts concerts by Califone, Godspeed you black emperor and Matmos.  My advisor is really nice and encouraging.  We have similar backgrounds.  She also gave me this exchange when trying to pick classes.

Dr. W:  What else are you thinking about taking?

Me: I was thinking about this class, ARTED 801.

Dr. W: Why?

Me: Well I didn’t see a lot offered and I guess I need to take it.

Dr. W: Are you interested in curriculum development?

Me: Not really.

Dr. W: Then don’t take it. Find something that’s worth your time and effort and get whatever you can out of it.

I ended up with a class in a complete different department, comparative studies.  She seems like a good advisor.

4.  The party was fine, but this is going to bring up a point that needs to be addressed in greater detail.  Specifically, it will detail my shortcoming as a family member and friend, but since I have been sitting on this post for a week plus, I will save it for next time…along with a video of the baby’s heart beating.  If I can get my act together.  Kid, don’t measure how much your parents love you by the amount of words they write.  Unless of course you want to end up in therapy, which you probably will anyway.




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6 responses to “Sometimes, you eat the bar

  1. Brother

    May I point out that you are also 0.7 miles from Columbus Crew Stadium. Halfway decent professional soccer? Count me in.

  2. that Billy.

    Need a full proof strategy regarding pumping out top level papers at or above the 20 page mark? I’m your guy.

  3. that Billy

    @ Monica, BOTH.

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