A list:
Things I took for granted at Smith that would be sooo appreciated now

1. Online e-mail directory with pictures (I wish there was one for the tristate area.)
2. Housekeeper (Robin, I miss you)
3. Being able to get anywhere in 15 mins– work, school, gym, food, bed
4. Access to any article/book/periodical. I actually called about getting my subscription to JSTOR extended, but Smith has cut me off.

…Any others?

Things I don’t miss

1. Moodle

Advertisements

I just reread Fun Home by Alison Bechdel– in honor of National Coming Out Day or something.

Wow, that video is amazing. I wonder if I could find a dress like that on Etsy– search ‘white sequin gown’?

Fun Home is a graphic memoir that parallels Bechdel coming out story with the suicide of her closeted gay father. But, the strength of the book is that it isn’t really that simple. It’s complicated to feel now connected to your gay father with your shared identity, while simultaneously never more distant because he’s been lying your whole life. How do you revise your history to fit in this glaring omission? Your father is gay; you’re a lesbian. In spite of? In relation to? In conjugation with? Fun Home is an attempt to define within redefinition, to seek truths in mountains of untruths.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this revisionist history recently–reforming your self identity through self-reflection; the inherent complications of that. Say, you learn something about your parents, grandparents– they’re gay, drug-abusers, died in the Holocaust– this changes things. Now your life is seen through a different lens, right? You have to go back and revise your personal history, search for clues and  new significance in these omissions.

Fun Home reminds me a lot of Maus actually, sans of course, the Holocaust. Maus is, after all, really a memoir about Art Spiegelman’s complicated relationship with his father.

But, really– how do you write your own history? How do you identify the moments of historical personal significance– the turning points in your own life? The climax? The rising and falling action? For Alison Bechdel it was coming out to her parents and her father’s suicide a few months later. For Art Spiegelman is was learning that his father destroyed his mother’s diaries that she kept during the Holocaust and therefore any hope of learning her story. This are pivotal moments. Identified and illustrated.

But what’s been left out? Is this account really honest? It’s been arranged to follow plot arcs and answer questions– how TRUE could it be?

In answer, other self-archivists have a more democratic method of narrative. The Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn, an upcoming film, based on the true story of Jessie Singer Sylvester who meticulously recorded the daily activities of her elderly life in Brooklyn without any narrative arc.  “Rested a while. Got an apple. Had supper. Washed the dishes. Then to bed.”

That Polaroid chronicle I posted on here earlier. One Polaroid every day for 18 years– no labels or captions. Just one. We’re left to define a narrative.

A curator at the Toledo Museum had taken meticulous notes in spiral notebooks for thirty plus years about every museum/show he’d every been to. Every work of art of interest. He was going to have an intern develop a search database for this catalog next summer.

Maybe I’ll buy a journal.

Or this dress…

 

Ok, I didn’t see it yet, so I’m not really going to give my two cents on the “movie of our generation.” But for what it’s worth, I think Clueless is the movie of our generation.

But, seriously now– do I have to edit my Facebook now that I’m applying to jobs? 

I added my mom as a friend the other day, so I figure if I’m okay with my mom seeing it, I’m okay with employers seeing it. Although, I’ll admit I’m confident that my mom has no idea how to negotiate past the first page of pictures. 

Should I untag all the pictures with Solo cups and beer cans? Wearing themed underwear sets outside?

I feel like it would take way too long.

My schedule  right now is completely unsustainable. Freelancing is exhausting. My commute is exhausting. I wake up at 6am and get home at 8pm– exhausted. Today is my day off so I read in bed until 11am and am leisurely drinking iced coffee.

The last warm days of fall.

I think it’s midterms at Smith? Speaking of an unsustainable lifestyle.

I think exam periods at Smith were the most insane times of my life. Filling my 24oz Nalgene with coffee twice a day. Computer labs– the tangible feeling of stress when you walk into the periodical room. Midnight breakfast. Trips to diners and Dunkin’ Donuts. House rationed portions of M&Ms and those cheese/peanut butter sandwiches. The snack cart at the Campus Center past 2am. A junk food free-for-all. 

Now I’m sipping coffee on my day off. 

Mountain Day– a favorite holiday of any Smithie is unfortunately, not a national holiday.

Life after Smith means no Mountain Day. But still, we celebrate.

I came downstairs ringing a bell, proclaiming “MOUNTAIN DAY MOUNTAIN DAY!” Maybe doing a little celebratory jig. Next year I’ll make mimosas.

Last year on Mountain Day my house went to Sylvester’s and I had a few mimosas and a Pete’s Wicked Omelet. After some midday naps, Jackie, Margaret and I drove to Mt. Holyoke at around 6pm. Jackie took the above photo, we communed with nature a bit and then tried to drive back down the mountain. The gate, however, was locked. We had to call the police to let us out.

This year on Mountain Day I got an internship, wrote a cover letter, and bought new shoes.

Everyone watches Mad Men, right? 

I’ll admit, I’m a little obsessed. I would buy anything Don Draper tried to sell me. Although I missed last night’s episode and I can’t find it ANYWHERE.

Below is a still from last week’s episode, The Beautiful Girls. You know the story– ad agency in the 60’s. Infidelity, dishonesty, booze, and high-waisted A-lines.

Joan, red-haired sex bomb on the left, is the office’s executive secretary, whose character has recently had to deal with the misogynistic come-ons from the office’s newest male freelancer. Peggy, in the middle, is the character that I have the toughest time with. She’s kind of annoying– ambitious and a lil’ foolhardy, but I think that’s kind of the point. Peggy started off as a secretary and then rose through the ranks to become a copy-writer. She struggles to find her place in the male-dominated workplace. On the right is the show’s newest female lead, Dr. Faye. Right now she’s Don Draper’s love interest and has admittedly chosen a career over a family-life. A decision she is proud of. 

My sister and mother won’t watch the show because they can’t stand to see the female characters being treated so poorly. I admit, that’s part of the draw for me– I can’t look away.

On a related note. The other day I was watching my dear friend Allie ’09, get ready for work. She works at a bank, a corporate extravaganza. PUMPS and business button-downs. As I watched her put on make-up, pearls, and her “commuting footwear,” she talked about being a woman in this male-dominated workplace.

I wear heels because I don’t want them to think I’m small.

I wear my hair up because I don’t want to play with it at my desk.

When I go to a meeting, I bring a big notebook, coffee, tons of shit– you want to spread yourself out on the table–command your space. Do not shrink back and write on some dainty notepad in your lap.

Allie is an ambitious, powerful lady. One day, she’ll go on speaking tours and command audiences of young women and proclaim, “I am the new feminism!” And part of what makes Allie so smart is that she realizes in order to get to that point, in order to be the type of success she wants to be, she knows she has to play the game. And for the time being that means tailored business suits and ledger pads– a modern mad man.

Last night I went to an art opening at my town’s local museum.

I realized within the first hour that I was ill prepared for the networking saga that was underway. Ill prepared in that I did not come with BUSINESS CARDS. Or even, dare I say, a pen.

Now I have decisions to make– what do I put on my business card? Do I have a title? What color should it be? Should I go for the simple, understated black and white? Maybe a border. Or a nice graphic on the back.

This is an art that I know nothing about.

NPR\’s Revealing, Reveling In Einstein\’s Relativity

I’ve started a job freelancing as a production and styling assistant at a photo studio in SoHo. Today concludes my first full work week.

I have to be at the train station in NJ at 6:50. I’ll get into Penn Station around 7am, take the CE downtown, and I’ll get to work by 8:10.

I just got to work. I have 10 minutes before everyone else gets here.

I spend over 3 hours every day in transit. I don’t know how people do it for years, day after day. Our family friend, before she retired, used to drive 2 hours to work every day. At least on the train I can sleep. Do the crossword. Stare aimlessly for an hour at the passing Meadowlands. You kind of go into a daze.

Today I was listening to that NPR broadcast on the train. About how time is not a constant. It can slow, or something like that.

I feel like time goes slower on the train.

Part of being home is an obligation to my mother to begin cleaning and clearing. Making boxes labeled “give away.” But I am not committed to this place so I find myself struggling between the desire to nest and the compulsion to pack, head toward the next location. So for now I’m mostly just packing.

Anyway, as part of these process you end up finding some real gems.

I found my CD collection.

When I told my friend Philippe this last night, in between some Monday night football, he said, “You found your CD collection? That sentence is so 2010.”

I am just far enough away from it to feel nostalgic about it.

I’ve always been a painter, I guess. Someone who painted. An artist, maybe. Like, if I had gotten into Cooper Union, I would have gone. And I wonder where I’d be now? What dreams I’d be pursuing?

But artist is not really a label I feel comfortable with anymore. I haven’t really painted in months.

Somewhere along the way I sat in an Art History class. And well, that’s a different story. All through college I continued to take studio classes, but it more often than not took a back seat to my more “academic”pursuits. This isn’t my point, and I wouldn’t say I regret any of that.

On the train into NYC today, on my way to a job interview, I was talking to my friend Jake about continuing to create art outside of the school environment. We agreed, it’s easy to be creative at school. When you’ll be graded; when you have to present to a room of your peers. Whether it’s the competition, the praise, or the environment– it’s easier. Jake and I were talking about that, dressed in business causal headed to our respective interviews.

Jake’s a photographer. And was venting on the way to his job interview about how this prospective job was never what he imagined himself doing. How it’ll just take time away from his photography.

We all gotta eat, I guess.

My brother is currently going back to school for his MFA in photography and his work has never been better. He’s able to support himself, pay the rent as a digital tech. working freelance. But this balance that he’s created, one that Jake maybe envies, is only temporary. At some point, my brother will have to choose.

I’m wondering if I already choose. And if I wanted to, could I take that back? Go to art school.

Is that what separates the artists? Holding off on that evitable move toward the consistent paycheck… I don’t know, but I admire people who maintain the balance.

Tangent:

Why is there an Auntie Anne’s in Penn Station– who would ever wanna eat an iced pretzel underground?