Huntress of the Lens


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I hear a lot of words coming out of my mouth lately that I would resist from others. "Ok, so here's the plan:" or "Well I think what needs to happen is:" or "I'm pregnant." (which I only use when I think someone's not really listening to me. I hate it when I have a plan and I know what needs to happen and I think no one's listening.)

My usual specialties are doing everything in my own way, with no team involved. When, in fourth grade, our assignment was to make paper-mache tribal masks mine was a circus clown with orange string hair and a big red ball nose. Bless my teacher, she hung it in that vast palette of brown for open-house and even gave me an A on it. My California mission made from sugar cubes turned out to be a factory with an assembly line and machinery that turned one brand of cereal into another. Same teacher; she gave me an A on that too.

I have an eight to ten minute extra-credit presentation for my Art History class due on the eighteenth, and since I'm not at all concerned with the grade I'm having some fun ideas about that. I just want to score a little higher than Michael, art history is a competition after all. This class is part of my pile of unrelated college credits, collected over the years because I want to know whatever that particular teacher has to offer.

Basically I see it as eight to ten minutes to use Keynote to do a presentation that will make the class, and hopefully the teacher, laugh until they forget that I offered little substance but much entertainment. Plus I'll get to use the little slide-advance clicker with the red laser dot for pointing out details. This thrills me, and I am terrified I will imitate my teacher as well as make my presentation. I have this kind of girl-crush on this teacher that isn't romantic in nature, I just want to be her. I would be well-served to learn how to make a Keynote presentation, pronto.

I am not a leader, and am avidly, militantly not a follower. I just do what I do and hope for your approval. This strategy has worked fairly well for me over the years; let's blame it on never having siblings to force me to learn my place in a hierarchy. I've never belonged to any clubs that didn't eventually tell me I should probably not return to the next meeting. (4H and Bluebirds come to mind.) The worst threat Dottie could come up with was "I'll send you to Catholic school and they'll make you dress like everyone else." The theology was never a threat, I can float right above any organized system if I choose. It was the threat of sameness. I would detail my plans to have not only myself but her completely excommunicated from that church of hers. She either didn't want to call my bluff or didn't want to spend the money. My bet is on the latter of those two options.

Here I am, this Singular, this Unique (I'm using those as nouns, rules just weren't made for me!) flying through the night skies in the best disguise: Artist. I'm a left-handed, only-child artist with a spotted eye, but you don't even have to know these particular details to roll your
eyes and expect what you get. I establish my "Through the Looking Glass" persona in little ways fairly often, and as I said this has been
successful working strategy for some time now. Lewis Carroll was also an Aquarian, this is an unrelated fact, but I include it because I love it. Let's finish off the paragraph with Jules Verne, was also a fellow Water-Bearer. Sorry Andrew.

Here I am, sailing and flailing through the Universe, being harmlessly eccentric and having as much fun as I can manage. I am known for both keeping my word, and not making many firm commitments. In this way I create the illusion that I can be relied upon, without doing much that I can't believe was my idea in the first place.
Having children was a large, never-ending commitment, but to be fair I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I had them. I wanted babies, toddlers, cute fifth-graders in first-amendment T shirts. I had no idea the process might include fully grown adults who still want a sandwich and some juice. My basic parenting philosophy can be summed up in a few simple statements, I'll give you two: "I didn't raise you to be sheep." and "If you're not bleeding, on fire or the police are en-route don't call me at work." I don't think I've been the best parent, but currently no one is bleeding or on fire.

Recently though, reality has been rudely tapping my shoulder and interfering with my comfort zone. I am in charge of a whole lot of grownup things, and it's my job to manage them. How dare that insolent reality? I own and run a business, and people work there. This has been true for seventeen years, why am I just noticing this now? I have very dear loved ones who are not well, and I am in a position to be a care-taker. Never having put much effort into becoming responsible or nurturing I find that all of a sudden
I feel way over my head.

Things I used to do, like grocery shopping or laundry seem like gargantuan tasks. This is because I have become very spoiled in the last few years and lost touch with these normal human skills. I seriously can't remember the last time I cooked dinner. "I have art to make, theories to craft and books to read!" That may be well and good, but there is clean laundry to fold and I haven't done it yet. My personal deficiencies are starting to be seen under that single spotlight usually reserved for monologues or touching final ballads in theater productions. Who let me be in charge of anything? How did this come to pass?

So I hear myself saying "Ok, so here's the plan:" and "Here's what I think needs to happen:" and sometimes "I'm pregnant." Most of the time these plans are for other people, and as
soon as they begin the tasks I assign them I can get back up to the studio and make some more things. It's not actually working out that way. It looks as if I will actually have to do some of these very important things, side by side with the people I would prefer to direct. Epic Fail. Whoever let me be in charge of anything important made a faulty decision, yet here we are with words I abhor from others coming out of my very own mouth.

I just heard the trash collector come by my house, and I had no idea it was garbage day, or whether or not my own cans of refuse are lined up on the street like dirty soldiers.

See what I mean?

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The fish can fly, the dogs and cats dance together and all the flowers are edible.