at least angst is an effective muse

he is the drink
that i shouldn’t take
the fall from grace
the downward spiral
to hopelessness
& a crippling
lack of faith
he is the drink
i shouldn’t take
the step towards
no control
my soul crumpled
on the floor
forgotten panties
stained & unwanted
he is the drink that i should say
no!
to.  the drink i should
feel strong enough to
avoid.

…why am i not strong enough?

i say, “i feel this way.” next time we fight he mirrors my words back to me. some fucked up mind game. some
fucked up
mind
game.
does he even know he is playing?
i wonder.
is it a reflex? a survival technique? does he want to hurt me?

or is he just protecting himself?

journal

you’re overthinking it, em. i tell myself. what do you want?
what do you feel?

journal2

i don’t want to share my life with him.
he is a big parasitical turd.
i don’t want to share my life with him.
we go for a walk in the woods where i grew up.
where i wandered & where i found myself
the first time i was lost.
my church.
i go into these woods with him, and i feel like it is sacrilege.
he shouldn’t be in my church.
i shouldn’t let him near my soul.
my being.
it isn’t safe.
i don’t want to share my life with him.
is this a want? or a warning? an instinct?

journal3

maybe he’s right
maybe he isn’t the problem
maybe i am the problem
but that does not change the fact that i do not want to share my life with him.

 

online shopping for people

i don’t have a picture for today. i might draw after i post this, but no picture yet today. or yesterday or the day before.

i totally meant to do one yesterday. i was going to take an element from one of my random drawings and elaborate on it…or give it another–a different life of it’s own?

i even exercised and ate lunch and did without coffee (i am trying to take better care of myself) but then i was goofing off on facebook. (why why why?) and fb stalked a skateboard punk i had a fling with before i moved from kentucky to wisconsin in 2002. it wasn’t even a full-fledged fling. just messing around. he actually refused to have sex with me.
for some reason or another, i looked him up.
and he’s all married to a beautiful woman and expecting his first kid. they’re being all cuddly and posing by their pool in their beautiful backyard.

and i collapsed.

i felt like a fucking failure. what is wrong with me? have i fucked up my entire life?
i totally spiraled.

and then i went on okcupid.

i don’t really believe in internet dating–or, online shopping for people as i prefer to call it. i think you should meet in person and have all the sparks & fireworks…but desperate times, people. desperate times.

whenever i feel desperate enough to do this, i fill out my profile as honestly and openly as possible to scare off the guys looking for a woman who shaves her armpits and does the make-up & heels thing. it’s not me, babe. i let them know i’m just looking for conversation…but i still get the creepers saying, “hey pretty” and “you’re so sexy.”

really??

anyhoo. usually i delete my profile as soon as men start messaging me, but i stuck with it. it occurs to me that–if nothing else–it might be good for my art & writing. i do better with distractions. and, seriously, good stories here, y’all. good stories.

so i spent all last night answering profile questions and alienating the “hey pretty” men.

tonight i am actually going out of my house…to a party…with people.
what?
yes. i am.

but tomorrow is a new year & i will have new stories & new art.

bruised

when i was a little girl, i loved to draw and i loved to write. i won (or at least came in second) in different competitions for both of them. i was good. at some point, i decided i had to choose between the two. i don’t remember why i decided this…but it seemed like the thing to do.

i chose to be a writer.

effectively, i stopped drawing and put all my energy into writing. i wrote my first two books while i was in jr. high school. i wrote another in high school. i wrote another directly after high school. i would spend many hours a day writing. in notebooks. on typewriters. on napkins. on word processors (it was the 80’s & 90’s). i wanted nothing more than to be a writer.

i moved to iowa city directly after high school to attend the university of iowa and it’s famous writer’s workshop.
but life got in the way, and i decided, “who needs to go to school to be a writer? live life & write to be a writer!”
so i did that. while living life, aka working in a bar, a girl (colleen coover) told me i reminded her of a character in the graphic novel love & rockets. and that began my love affair with comic books.

maybe it was with my fourth book that i started thinking maybe i could turn it into a graphic novel. so i sought out the local iowa city comic guy (paul tobin) and asked his advice. like most men comic bookers, he was just excited to see a chick interested in comics. he was trying to break into writing serious stuff and turned it around so i was helping him. and he tried to get into my pants. it all ended up with our becoming good friends, but he never took my becoming a comic booker seriously–so i never did either.

(coincidentally, i eventually introduced colleen & paul and they later became a comic booking team and romantically involved…or vice versa)

(also, coincidentally, i later dated tim bradstreet–another comic artist–who also declined to take my aspirations seriously.)

anyhoo!

i focused on writing for many many years, ignoring my love of drawing.

but i love them both. words & images. i love them. you can do so much with either medium.

(sigh)

so one of the projects i am playing around with is taking all of my random stories & thoughts and putting them in a visual context. i know i have already talked about this…but not with such a fascinating backstory!

so this one is the start of a short story that i never finished. bruised. about a woman who has a seizure and comes loose in time…ish. like i said, i never finished it…so who knows what happened next.

but i had fun doing this. the first attempt went into the fireplace…but i am pretty happy with this one.

my dead brother

having someone in your life die changes you as much as, say, having a baby.
i would not be the artist i am today if i had not become a mother. i would be a different artist.
and i would not be the person i am today if my brother had not been killed eight years ago today. i would be a different person.

my big brother…sigh.
he introduced me to movies. that is one way i remember him. he took me to see raiders of the lost ark when it was in the theaters and i was all like, “this movie sounds stupid.”
and then i was all like, “that was the best movie ever!”
he took me to see the empire strikes back when it came out
and i remember as we walked back to the car after the movie, he said, “it’s leia. they are talking about leia.”
and i had no idea what he was talking about until return of the jedi.
he brought a copy of terminator home from college and as i watched it, he would say, “surely he’s dead now” every time they thought they had destroyed arnold schwarzenegger.
he introduced me to one of my most favorite movies ever blade runner.
and to another dytopian influence a boy and his dog.

self2

these two pictures were done for a drawing class where i was supposed to do two self-portraits that were meant to be hung together. the top one is from a photo of me as a baby with my brother mike.
the second one is a self-portrait of me in tribute to the polaroid taken of sarah connor  at the end of terminator.

his life and his death are both heavy influences in who i am today.
sometimes i don’t know how to feel about that.

here is a poem i wrote in a writer’s workshop about it:

heavy

when someone close to you
dies
it becomes part of your description
she has brown hair
a nice smile
and her brother is dead

birthdays are the hardest
his last one
i didn’t know
it was the last
his voice sad on the telephone
my pledge to keep in touch
this time

we live in a world
where I can obsessively search for
intimate details of his death
available in short video
burning plane
gray matter splattered on a playground
his last words, “oh, fuck.”

notorious IT guy for the other side
the forrest gump of stolen elections
everything reminds me
of him
the sound of a single engine  plane
sad songs on the radio
politics, christmastime, and charismatic men

i drink irish whiskey this time of year
but it was scotch at his wake
four years now
four years since the last election
four years since the plane crash
a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream
murder republican style

when someone close to you
dies
do you let it redefine you?
hello, I’m connell
a mama, a student, an artist
let me tell you
about my dead brother