I went to a monastery for my birthday this year, the place where they make the local jam I like. They come in these beautiful little jars. I’m 25 years old now, I like that age. I feel that age. I only started liking my birthdays when I got older, past school. They make sense to me when I could control myself.
I’m happy. Things are working out, things always work out. I don’t really have anything profound to say. What did I used to write in my journals on my birthdays? I wish I could find my journal when I turned 22. 23. It’s here somewhere. 24 was here in Providence, and I have the same journal this year I had then, and it doesn’t have an entry. I never kept good journals, though. I realized years ago that if I wanted to make stuff I couldn’t force myself to adhere to one book at a time, one thing at a time, cover-to-cover.
I went to a monastery, and mostly laid in the fields surrounding the abbey. It was a beautiful day, slightly warmer than the day before (me and N went to the beach that day). I ate chips and drew the clouds and cleared my mind. Cleared my mind without particularly trying, which is the only way that makes sense. Forcing your mind to clear is sort of horrific. The abbey was an hour and a half drive too, which was nice. I had a great time. I kind of wished I had brought a tent and I could have camped there a few days, not spoken out loud a few days, but there was a party for me that night, and C did a tarot reading for me like she did last year, so I had to go back. I should live in a cold brick building some day.
This drawing of the main stained glass window doesn’t fit the aesthetics of my drawings well but it has to go in. Something I liked about the abbey was that it wasn’t very open to visitors. It had two tiny entrances that were barred off from the rest of the complex. The building itself had kind signs that asked for absolute silence. The interior of the building rang out with every shuffle from my backpack. I love that. A huge, echoing building, so when you bump something, everyone knows about it. Clear and cold and empty.
This is the best part. The end of the year. I like being around K-12 schools in the spring, more than colleges. Spring means freedom.
I love my kids, a lot. I’m proud of them. The musical is this weekend, and they are so self-assured. The best part of being a teacher is when you aren’t needed anymore. I still come dedicatedly to all the performances, because my kids like to look over and see me there, an anchor. But they don’t need me. I sit and I laugh and I grin with all my teeth showing.
I love them, and I want to draw them, and capture these moments. And I remember I’m working on this big project, and every kid I want to draw already has a fictional character representing them. I’m happy to be working on this project that feels like a real translation of experience, or at least, my observation of their experience. They work so hard.
I went out with the other teachers last night. I made a promise to A. that I’ll be with him until graduation. That’s two more years. I hope I can fulfill that. I need to talk to a lot of people.
I love the parties and the dancing and the gossip, I love the focus on me and my creativity, but I’m glad I’m also a teacher. I’m glad I get to be here with these kids. I’m glad I’m not only an artist. This really is the best part.
I organized and participated in this reading last night. It was a really good time. I had good conversations with people about my work. I mostly read work that hasn’t been printed yet, like when bands play songs that they just wrote in front of an audience, to “test them out.” Everything I read will be printed in various anthologies sometime this year. I read a few pages from my larger work, the pages still didn’t have word balloons on them. It was exciting.
The show was less thunderous than the one I saw in NYC, but then again, this is Providence. This reading was fun and conversational. The audience laughed and talked with the artists while they read. There was an after-party at John and Andrew’s house and we drank the beer that didn’t sell. It was casual and fun. That’s why I like making art here, it’s casual and fun. But not to the detriment of quality.
I told a 2nd grade girl today that she should start a diary to work out her feelings. I hate that the strongest, most interesting personalities of kids, are the ones who need to be “talked to” a lot. Loud and wild and full of ideas. I told her we would make a diary together, and in the diary she should write all of the things that happened that day, and how she felt about them. Thinking about and analyzing lesson plans for kids is how my mind has been growing lately. It’s weird strategizing possibilities outside of art, when art was always the lens I saw the world. I like doing stuff for other people and seeing how they take it and grow, though. I guess that’s also why I like art in a lot of ways.
I’m bad at goodbyes. That usually means a person can’t say goodbye, and leaves unceremoniously without it, but in my case what I mean is letting go is difficult. When it’s time to leave I get immensely sad. I’ll be so happy, but when goodbyes come, I quickly sink into deep sadness. Sadness that this situation isn’t going on anymore, that it is now ending, that it has to end. I get anxious. I don’t want it to end. I feel so happy, so there, so in the moment, that when the moment comes to end, it’s heartbreak. But once it’s over, and I’m on the other side of the goodbye, it quickly becomes a bittersweet memory, and then I glide over into the new scenario, and I revel in its new happiness. I can’t transition. I can’t say goodbye. It can’t change. But the whole thing feels like the reaction I am destined for because I’m romantic. It seems appropriate to experience heartbreak at goodbyes, my romance with time. I’m in love with moments, and when they are over, I feel sadness for the clock, sadness that the moment will never happen again, in the same way that it had happened. The moment will be in the past forever on. So sad. Goodbyes are so sad. I’m surprised I fall so deeply in love.
The one transitionary period I’m good at is late at night, a little bit tipsy, with a clear sky. If the stars are above me it feels too sublime to be sad, moving from one moment to the next.
We text in the mornings now, which is nice because it feels like it isn’t scheduled. Things without schedules feel more real, but I know that’s not true.
I’ve been emailing and texting people I care about more. It makes me feel thoughtful and connected. I started a new job which also makes me feel thoughtful and connected. Liz asked me “What other kinds of things do you want to do in the future?” This is it, for now. I like teaching children and I like making art. It makes me feel part of multiple communities, and it makes me feel like a part of the future, however intangibly that can be measured. It leaves room for growth, room for input, room for my heart to keep expanding.
My new graphic novel is for kids and is about kids because that’s who I am thinking about right now. I walk into elementary schools, and I see this wonderful cross-section of humanity, and something inside me cleans up a little bit. “Children are our future” is sort of a egotistical way of looking at kids; it’s more like, “Let’s work hard so we don’t fuck it up for them.” They make me want to work hard for them. I wanted to draw a story kids could see themselves in, that I could see myself in.