In The Fall

I have some great news.  After a little more than a year of having my first full-time 9-5 job, I quit.  I am glad to have had that experience and to realize how wonderful it was to not have ever done that before.  By leaving work, I am also temporarily leaving my PhD program, this is good news. I have been in desperate need of a break, to read more, to write more, and to finish this damn book. I am excited for this time.  I’ve already started reading more books of transcendentalism, self-reliance and coming-of-age stories—as I develop into a new phase of life.

I had not written as much this year, afraid to share about that which has taken up most of my time and any repercussions that might come from sharing.  My time being occupied also limited my exercise and training.  I still want to go to age-group worlds.  Now, I get to focus on that as well.  I get to focus on me and the things that give the foundation of me.

This reminds me of a short video, Lonnie sent me, that on occasion I watch to remind myself what is NOT the point of life.

In The Fall from Steve Cutts on Vimeo.

A short hand-drawn animation created in Adobe Flash and After Effects about one mans reflection on his life. Music by Guided by Voices.

http://www.facebook.com/SteveCuttsArt
http://twitter.com/#!/Steve_Cutts
www.stevecutts.com

SOL CON

I usually don’t like to write about work.  Strange thing though as work and passions are intertwining.

Federico, Elena, Lalo

The Revolution is Coming

I got to meet Lalo Alcaraz one of my favorite pochos (I haven’t forgotten you Gustavo, Al, Daniel and Laura Luna P).  I got to help organize the first ever African-American Latino Comix Expo, SOL CON (here is a cool article about the why of SOL CON in the Washington Post), and as part of it Lalo Alcaraz was one of our 50 artists.  It was amazing, and I am not sure I even started to appreciate it until it ended.  I knew I was a fan girl (a term I learned this weekend) for Lalo but it was amazing to watch grown men drool over Jaime Hernandez.   Grown men, organizers of other comix expos just stared at poor Jaime.  I overheard a man, published multiple times himself and recognized in the field say “I just got to carry Jaime’s box. It wasn’t heavy or anything but I got to carry it.”    I desperately didn’t want to be that dorky so I actually avoided Lalo…although my concussion also had me out of many of the events. Truth is only comic book I’ve ever bought was Love and Rockets by Jaime Hernandez and his brothers Gilberto and Mario.  I bought it for two reasons the name ‘Hernandez’ and the inside seemed to be Mexican-American.  As a Xicana growing-up in Ohio I craved anything Mexican-American, anything that was like me.

That is what the artists offered this weekend to so many, and to each other, art and writing about things we could relate to—it was cathartic for many.  David Walker (by the way I feel like there are tons of people who are jealous I got to talk to this guy when he is totally awesome and down to earth and I had no clue who he is–still don’t I think) said it this way “I can say ‘it smelled like a hot comb going through hair’ and my audience will immediately know that smell.”  We crave understanding, belonging and seeing our self and that is what this weekend provided for me.  As well as an appreciation for comix that I hadn’t had before.  I am excited to read more, to ask for more comix zines from my friends. I am very appreciative for all that was shared with me this weekend. I am appreciative of the inspiration from people like Tim Fielder, and Raul Gonzalez III and watching them motivate high school students and providing legitimacy in the black brown nerd…not that I needed it but that I crave having it confirmed.  I like to say, you might be preaching to the choir but sometimes we like to know we aren’t singing a solo. I am appreciative that I got to organize this and work with John Jennings, Ricardo Padilla and my boss Federico Aldama…because of them I only know Black and Latino Comix.

SOL CON 2015

SOL CON 2015

For my health I skipped the after parties which still makes me sad. Also, because I was so busy during the event I missed out on a lot (including going by the bank to get cash) I missed out on Tim Fielder’s Matty’s Rocket (black super heroes ¡yes! ) I wanted to buy a couple and for a way under-priced $5, Mr. Fielder was doing drawings of fans.
I missed out on having a conversation with Raul Gonzalez III and thanking him for making exciting Xicano characters.  These are all things I have to look forward to next year.

Music for you

A taste of four artists you should know.  With these artists this is just a tiny sample of their work and their ranges are wide so go find some of their old and new stuff and enjoy discovering them for yourself.
A video from each:

Jarina De Marco

At the age of five got kicked out of D.R.
Revolution from the start
Baby girl pack your dolls
Next stop Montreal
Parlez vous Français
Oui monsieur I do….mix race, pretty face, we embody all the nations


Maya Jupiter
It will take about 5 seconds before you realize she is brilliant

Aloe Blacc (video created by Alex Rivera)

Stromae
I was torn which video clip to put here.  His song Formidable is one of my favorites and I love the sound he produces with his “R”s  (yes the letter R).  However in the video I chose,
he  has a beautiful way of playing with identity including within gender roles, and breaking cultural standards of normativity and so that is what I am going to roll with.

contemporary writers

I was walking with David (how nice it is to say that, to be physically not just virtually near him) and discussing the contemporary writers we know.  A sensitive lot, the whole bunch of them.  Of course we love them, but they must be approached with more care.  Then I asked David mi Osito about a shared experience we had with an author,  “Don’t you think he romanticized the experience a lot?   I’m not saying it isn’t real, just a romanticized view-point.”   David, in the insight and calm I’ve come to expect from him, replied, “That is what an author is supposed to do, to romanticize a situation so that we want  to feel it too”.

I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my head and thought about it as I was just a few pages into Elena Poniatoska‘s Todo México book that I am currently reading.  When writing about the architect Luis Barragán she says:

Tras de los anteojos su mirada es tranquila, e paz consigo misma, una hermosa mirada de hombre logrado, cruza sus grandes manos, una contra la otra en una actitud de rezo; aguarda, es un hombre que sabe esperar; entre los dos el tiempo se detiene como se detiene también en estos altos y espesos muros blancos que nos rodean y dan una sensación de fortaleza interior, la misma que emana de Luis Barragán.

How romanticized is that? I mean I’m glad she does it.  But my analysis of the situation would’ve been more like “Dude crossed his arms, fiddled with his hands, I got bored with waiting. Who did the Luis Barragán think he was?”  I guess that is one of many reasons I am not a writer but am glad they exist.

I wonder when I’m walking down the street (and I’ve done a lot of the last few days) what it is that I miss, that others would see. What has affected my views and allows others to have a different perspective?  I enjoy seeing the world, but there is something magical about viewing it as an artist, or a musician or a chemist.   I want in on all the views I don’t have.  Thank goodness for authors, artists, musicians, and scientists who offer the world with moment of insight.

inspired

I have a friend, who I internet stalked before I actually met him.  You see, he is a photographer, an amazing photographer, and as I began to look for photographs he had taken I discovered he was a bit of an icon in the local photography community.  Photographers here in Columbus collect photos of  KLJ Francis, stealthily taking awesome pictures.  It was while I volunteered helping artists at Via Colori that I first saw KLJ Francis “in real life” .  Overwhelmed with excitement I took a picture of him and posted it to the group’s somewhat stalker-ish page.   Months later, I would spot KLJ Francis again, while I volunteered at yet another arts festival, Independents’ Day.  I walked up to KLJ and squealed “I don’t know you but I have a picture you!”.  Oddly enough, I didn’t frighten him. He nodded and calmly replied “Okay” as if that was how all people greeted him.

KLJ Francis and Elenamary

KLJ Francis and Elenamary ComFest 2011

We became friends and I admire him the way I admire many of my artistic friends.  They see the world in a way I am incapable of, and strongly envy.   They see beauty in ways I cannot, they see color in ways I have cannot imagine, they see points and angles in ways I cannot comprehend.   I told KLJ Francis that I wished I was artistic like him.  He told me that I am artistic in my own right, in that I have this blog.  It was a huge compliment and one I don’t believe.   Nonetheless, he inspired me to view my writing and others differently and I have him to thank for that.

In a much related noted it seems to be that I have now taken on the task of organizing a reading with other Latina bloggeras of the Midwest that have inspired me.   I am looking forward to planning an evening in Chicago, this coming April, where we Latina writers share a piece or two of our writings.  An evening, where I will be intellectually stimulated and granted a view into their world; where I might enjoy their perspective even if it is only for one night.

Sartre and my lack of French

Imagine if you will that you are standing in front of a giant painting.  A painting that extends from wall  to wall, ceiling to floor, of a large decadent baroque auditorium.  However, the painting is obscured by a large heavy wool blanket, and only a slight corner of the painting is exposed.  The corner exposed is only visible because you are using all your strength to lift the cumbersome blanket and are contorting your own body in such a way that you can’t even get a straight on view of the corner you are exposing.  That exposed corner, despite your awkward position, is so amazingly beautiful, so astounding that you are brought to tears and wonder how you ever existed before this, not knowing such magnificence.   That it leads you to suffer from Stendhal syndrome.  Not to be too melodramatic, but this is how I am feeling reading  Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings.

I hate reading translations, as they make me feel inadequate.   I remember reading Herman Hesse’s Strange News from Another Planet (oddly enough sometimes translated as Strange News From Another Star) and I was brought to tears.  While sobbing alone in the library, I thought to myself if it is this beautiful in the translation what was it like in the original?  I promised myself I would read more Hesse but not until I could read it in the original German.  As such I’ve never read him again.    This is also one of those things that adduce why I must never date a monolingual.  How to explain to them there are ideas, expressions, feelings one can never fully explain in from one language to another.  It is something that can’t be explained or taught, it is something a monolingual must come to learn, as they come to learn the ethos of a language.

Here I find myself reading Sartre in translation and thinking WTF am I doing only looking at the corner of this painting?  It has taken me a lot of strength to continue reading it.  I don’t like only getting part of the story.  Reading the introduction was dejecting enough:

“…it is Kantian because it shares with the German idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)…The Danish Protestant theologian Søren Kierkegaard (1813-59) and the German atheistic nihilist Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)are considered the initiators of existentialism.  Profound dilemmas of human existence are explored in the works of Russian novelist Fydor Dostoievski (1821-81).”

So many great thinkers and I can never read them, hear their own voice, since I will most likely never learn German, Danish, Russian or French well enough to do so.  It reminds of a quote I read in the book In Other Words: A Language Lover’s Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World

Vladimir Nabokov also came up against a great amount of criticism, particularly over his controversial translation of the Russian soul epic by Aleksandr Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823). In reply to those who question his literal, rather than poetic translation of the great work, he is reputed to have said, ‘It’s impossible to convey the original, so learn Russian!’

Here I am wanting to read, comprehend, to fully grok and yet at the same time I do it knowing I will never be able to do so.  Now any suggestions on how to motivate myself to nonetheless keep on keeping on?