Bring it on. This is the year where I stop wondering what could be and instead create what is and what can be.
As one of my good friends wrote, “For most people, birthday’s are, or at least should be, meaningless. An excuse to get drunk, do something stupid, fuck a nobody. Not the case for you. You survived a lot of shit this year and I can tell it dented and twisted the shit out of you. Normal types send bad years to the archives at the first possible excuse. Don’t be tempted; keep that nasty shit close to you, remember it, and use it.
I have genuinely enjoyed our reintroduction and am all the better for having you in my life. Cheers to progress and bring on the pain. This year is ours.”
This year isn’t just for me, but for you, too. Everything will be better, because I (and you) will make it so. We are better for the trials and tribulations we have faced — because we have lived, and we know we are alive. And better to know we are alive than to live in some sort of half-life, half-sleep. It is worth it.
“A writer asked me why I “didn’t just draw Obama from my imagination.” My response was that I needed to make my image look like Obama, who is not an imaginary character. I know few people who could capture a convincing likeness of close friends or even their own family members from their imagination or memory. I use my own family members as models, taking my own photos of them to illustrate from - VIVI LA REVOLUCION and COMMANDA. Were Obama a member of my family I would have employed this technique.”—
Shepard Fairey, on how artists need reference points to create new and meaningful work.
This matter-of-fact “Seriously, guys? Common sense?” passage in Fairey’s explanation of his ongoing legal battle against The Associated Press over rights to a news photo of Obama is quite Seinfeldian and hilarious. I can hear him saying this aloud.
“Art and design will rise in importance during this century as we try to make sense of all the possibilities that digital technology now affords.”—John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, on how design humanizes technology for HuffPo
The economic collapse has ushered in what a lot of my friends from childhood have affectionately dubbed “our second adolescence.” We’re back in high school, only we don’t have that very tangible goal of college as an escape route. Friends are back home in southern California, from faraway places (Chicago, for example), trying to remember that this is temporary. I am trying to think of it as subletting someone else’s life for awhile. These are atypical times we’re living in, and even though it feels like we’re netting a negative number in terms of our life scores/credit scores at the moment, perhaps this is just a reminder from the Universe that we really are indomitable and more resilient than the rest.
Everything we have accomplished, we have earned. Honestly and with grit and determination, even though others told us we were crazy and different and we knew we wanted something more than what our hometowns had to offer. We would not be the same people without the environment in which we grew up, home to the oldest existing and operating McDonald’s, a town where I’d strategically map out how to run/walk four miles home from high school drumline and band practice before it got too dark due to sketchy neighborhoods, where you were a success if you graduated and got yourself to college — any sort of college, let alone a four-year university where you lived on campus. Where the schools didn’t have enough money for classroom and take-home sets of books, so we’d lug them in backpacks and carried them and asked teachers to let us stow them somewhere because our school didn’t allow lockers (it was a liability).
A lot of us lost our homes when parents decided to move, or lost houses due to foreclosure, or families collapsed due to pressure and drama and this buzzing confusion we call Life. But being bitter about what we lost isn’t going to get us closer to what we want or need.
We’re still looking for our homes. We’ll get there.
“I wonder if future me will trick himself into thinking there’s something better; if present me is ignorant to a higher joy that comes from another activity; or if I truly know, today, what I will do for the rest of my life.”—Jake Lodwick
“I feel most calm when comparing prices and cost per unit ounce at the supermarket. There’s something vaguely reassuring about the way the shiny Technicolor packages are displayed, the sheen of the clean floors, and how entrees and ice cream look in the frozen food aisle.”—
This is my first memory: A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky wood floor A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply too short For me to sit in and read So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided To the left side the card catalogue On the right newspapers draped over what looked like a quilt rack Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian The anticipation in my heart All those books—another world—just waiting At my fingertips.
There is a pristine snack deep-fryer in the cabinet above the never-used stove. My mother hates cooking. I wonder what sort of random Christmas gift exchange resulted in this good fortune.
Since I am operating primarily out of my trunk, I can totally take this portable snack deep-fryer and take out those food trucks that are proliferating the LA landscape. Deep-fried twinkies, corndogs, taquitos, potstickers, marshmallows covered in batter, bacon…anything can be deep-fried and turned into delicious.
You could theoretically deep-fry a tennis shoe and sprinkle some bacon on it. I imagine that would be at least edible.