It’s too hot to do anything but make stuff with my summer flower drawings. I think I am going to go and stand in the rain now.
So last night I wrote a grand total of 305 Frankie words. Tonight I was going to do the same — maybe I still will (unleash myself on an unsuspecting world 305 words at a time… look out) — but then I got caught up colouring in my houndstooth universe [figure A] and listening to old old Radiohead and drinking wine (if you look very closely you can see one or two watery sav patches… entirely deliberate and added purely for the sake of authenticity, of course… sort of like newly ancient tea stains).
The other half of this back-of-last-year’s-diary map is all decked out in polkadots (my polkadot planet — too twee?). Part two isn’t pictured here because a) my pen ran out, and b) such fripperies as these actually take a fucking long time — it takes more than just an evening of ad-breaks to fashion a houndstooth universe, in case you’re wondering.
(Really my pen running out is the main reason for me being here right now. Once I get started on my globe-crosshatching quest it’s quite hard to stop. It’s extremely peaceful, even if my inner calm does come as a direct result of me systematically wiping out entire villages — whole countries — with an ink pen.)
Speaking of peaceful, today I realised something quite important. I don’t really want to use my head any more. My head and I have reached a bit of a stalemate (supposing for a minute that I can be detached from my head… but let’s not get so granular about it). At the moment my head hurts a lot. It’s not like a headache; it’s more like dragging a tired old mule to a trough of brackish water and wondering why it keeps on saying nuh-uh with its legs locked rigid and its hooves clinging for dear life in the dirt.
I’m putting it down to end-of-year-itis. But if 2011 rolls around and nothing’s changed, I’m thinking maybe I’ll work in a map shop or sell slightly modified atlases door-to-door.
Sleep FTW. Three-day weekend FTW. I woke up at 9pm tonight and made this out of old stuff and a bit of Photoshoppery. It felt awesome. I drank wine and put music on. That felt awesome too. It felt a bit like the good old me back again.
A few notes for my own personal operating manual, as witnessed in the last couple of weeks. (Not that I will learn from or pay any heed to these notes, of course… that would make far too much sense.) >>>>>>>>
1. I need pottering time, big time. If I don’t get it, I start making up nonsensical lyrics to songs. Like the fonts song I started making up today to the tune of Kokomo (a sure sign I’m spending too much time in Microsoft Word), which so far goes: Tahoma, Verdana, Gothic and Lucida…
2. I can do late nights or early starts. But not both at once. Actually – who am I kidding – early starts and me are pretty average and probably not to be advised under (m)any circumstances.
3. I like agreeing to stuff. And helping. And then I get to about 2 in the morning, the bones in my neck locked rigid, and I’m staring, possum-like, matchstick-eyed, at piles of A3 scribbles and a junkyard of an inbox and going ohfuckohfuckohfuck.
4. The internet has absolutely screwed my attention span. But the internet is part of my job (and I love the internet!), sooo… sayonara attention span… I never liked you much, anyway.
The other thing I noted today – which doesn’t really fit in my life manual but seemed noteworthy all the same – is how much of a giant crush I have on Hugh Laurie. It’s quite weird, really. It’s probably on a par with the crush I used to have on Richard Greico once upon a time.
I also spent a bit of today writing about dog shit and what to do with it. It was one of those what the hell am I doing moments. But Sylvie and I cracked up about it (she is being just the most playful little sprite at the moment… totally out of character) and put it down to being character forming.
(Seriously, though, you can ask me anything about what to do with dog shit in public spaces and I can tell you.)
Tomorrow I get to see Caroline, who I haven’t seen in ages. She’s getting married. I was just now thinking about us years ago, traipsing around Melbourne buying every secondhand sex manual we could get our hands on, along with old 70s recipe books (for their pictures of gelatinous puddings, mostly). We knew exactly what we were after back then. We were singleminded and utterly resolute in purpose.
I was also thinking of my Melbourne poem, which probably makes reference to the Kama Sutra and Angel’s Delight. But the poem is purely a paper-based artifact, and it is currently living in the Sweetman archives, so maybe some other time.
Oh, and some other things. We just bought a house and little old katyink is one year and one week old. They grow up so fast. Over and out.
Another thing I found the other day in the papery region of our house: some of the comic cards I used to make. Hopefully you can read the captions from here.
All right, all right. I love you kid.
Television… That and a booster shot of HOPE. Everything’s going to be fine.
Something tells me you would’ve taken off without me.
That was graceful… honey? Are you all right?
I felt your pain through our psychic rapport and —
I have kept these quite a long time. They’re a combination of card, cut-up comics, Duraseal and Scandinavian textile design, transported in cardboard boxes all the way from Stockholm and kept all this time.
I’m listening to the new National album, just back from Regina Spektor. My hair is so straight and sleek and unboofy I’m struggling to recognise it as my own (picture Marge Simpson morphing into Jessica Simpson and trying to logically explain to herself the physical transformation, not to mention account for the sudden lack of follicular volume…).
I mentioned the kumara thing last time. Here’s what I meant:
I had today off. I don’t want to go to bed, because as soon as I do, my day off is no longer. Like I imagined the whole thing. I didn’t, though. I really didn’t. As pointless as it all might have been (magazines and Maltesers in bed), I wouldn’t change a thing.
I elected not to go out tonight. Or today (apart from errands, which are hardly social). I got up this morning and cooked extremely. It was a bit strange and out of character. It wasn’t extreme that I was cooking. I love cooking. It was extreme that I got up on a Saturday morning to cook four things at once.
Midway through my culinary mania I even took a photo of the intricate purple heart of a spliced kumara. I won’t show it here though because it looks sort of hematoma-ish, like something from a petrie dish that can’t but render you goosebumpy (and make you consider the bloody watery fleshiness of your own mortal bones).
Tonight, in our quest for the magazine-ready unlived-in home, I tackled the office area. I may just talk about this tomorrow. It’s a disaster area. In the course of my initially industrious excavations this evening I found things that made me cringe – nay – cry out with inward humiliation. But still I couldn’t relegate them to the gone forever heap.
I found all kinds of stuff, and then I found what remained of my stamp and ink collection. It’s just one stamp, and it says: REFUSED. I don’t know where I got it, but it’s always been my favourite (until LP and Mr America gave me my very own stamp, saying: from the library of…).
[As an aside, I have been promised Indian printing stamps if I am very good. I’ll show you what I mean once I have been very good and obtained them as my reward. They are really beautiful, pretty much too beautiful and ornamental to use. But rest assured I will sully and butcher them with ink and generally make a mess with them, however beautiful they may be. I don’t labour under the katyink *brand* by accident, you know.]
Weary from box-lugging and nostalgic distractions, I sat down at the desk, listening to crackly jazz, and proceeded to muck around with my REFUSED stamp. I was only taking a few minutes out to rest my packing-fatigued (bloody, watery, fleshy) bones. But then I got carried away (as you can see from image A), and then the night got away on me.
As I was doodling (I considered calling this post my giant doodle, but then thought better of it), I came up with what I think might be a winner of a plan. WRAPPING PAPER FOR THE JINXED AND JILTED. The anti-Hallmark stationery.
Imagine it… you want to return some scratched emo CDs to a former lover. How better to do it than to wrap them up in REFUSED wrapping paper?
Next I will work on the other wrapping paper designs, including:
I’m sorry I didn’t love you enough
It’s not you (but you could have done better)
Take a good hard look at yourself
When I said I was sorry I only said it because we were in public and you were crying
Okay so most if not all of these will end up on the cutting room floor (along with most of the contents of our frickin house and about half a million $4-a-pop super-fortified boxes), but I think I might be onto something here.
As I idly scribbled, I called on Simon to provide me with symbols of rejection. He said the fingers.
Which put me in mind of these sweet things by Paul Maysek, which take pride of place on our newly-arranged mantel-piece.
I am over packing. I think borderline offensive wrapping paper might be where it’s at for me from now on.
Imagine this photo is all one perspex panel. It is, but I couldn’t get it into the one frame because it’s jammed in the stairwell. (Directly under our Damien Hirst, but that’s tomorrow’s post, entitled I buy things off the internet in the dead of night & don’t know what the hell they are).
So, Igloo Diner.
The downsizing is not going so well. Mainly because I discover things and get sidetracked. Then I try to re-find things and I can’t, because they’re stuck in piles of much-loved junk. Then I either
b) feel claustrophobic
c) feel defeated
d) feel tired
e) find something shinier to play with
or f) a combination of any or all of a – e
I think what I like about going to resorts and hotels and stuff is that there’s none of your stuff cluttering them up. But I couldn’t live like that.
I worked out tonight that I don’t have copies of most of the things I ever wrote. It doesn’t actually matter much. Some things I can find stuck in old notebooks (which I happen to chance upon when I’m supposed to be packing things up), or framed unevenly in perspex, as above.
Late night at the Igloo Diner does hold a special place in my heart though. I think it was the first poem I ever read aloud in front of a crowd. (And probably also one of the last, ha.) I made it with scissors and glue and My First Laptop (the one I blew up), late at night, Hawkesbury Ave, St Albans, Christchurch. Pretty much exactly eleven and a half years ago. October ’98.
So, as a gesture to the echo of my 21 year-old self (although I am still making stuff with scissors and glue, so not too much has changed since then), and in the interests of preserving a thing or two, I am going to type it out now, from a musty old journal, and here it will live. In perpetuity. Or at least until WordPress crumbles into a busted shell of gone no address pages, or until I get bored and forget about it. (Just kidding, but only kind of). Here goes.
Late night at the Igloo Diner
I paid my money, I want to see what happens (late night at the Igloo Diner) I. we are regulars here here's a laminated menu & a tired handshake a milkshake maybe vanilla & gingham & elvis your eyes are red under neon & goldfish swim against your silhouette in forgetmenot blue water you almost speak but the jukebox sadsong voiceover says everything you ever wanted to although you never did get round to saying it it is hard to be so lyrical to string up your karaoke heart like fairylights when all the lovesongs have been written already in the next booth along from us the boy & girl are going steady & burntout through weird halo smoke rings you eye up their sitcom sentiment the drive-in move cuteness of it all it's just about your idea of utopia looking into blue eyes across a formica surface forever in bluejeans/sweet sixteen in a carpark in the back of the car caught up in buttons & bra-clasps & first love fixed beneath a panorama of stars with the country & western from the radio playing so sad & slow as the streetlights slip silver over virgin skin we are regulars here all we want is to be regular like them walking home from the diner through the fairground making it to third base behind the sideshow tents while the wooden clowns revolve openmouthed & painted with loneliness each refuge fails us; each danger becomes a haven (late night at the Igloo Diner) II. 3am cushioned in red vinyl like an outsized vulva on a cocacola rollercoaster I play easy to get & footsie with you under the table because it's better than nothing because it's almost as good as watching the way the skin on your bottomless coffee is luminous as an oil spill on a wet road all the while Marilyn in monochrome & two dimensions leans down at us with cleavage & melancholy from her BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS & in the bathroom the girl who just walked in with her sugar daddy sums herself up puckered lipped & adorable in a compact mirror & soon the gunman will come in with rubbermask/carrybag & say everybody be cool this is a robbery we will get down on the floor our lives will flash before our eyes & at the end of the trauma we will be better people for it & until then we will watch carlights go by filterinng yellow through a dirty wall of windows sitting pretty in the interim just you & me boy just like it was in the matinee movies in the good old days black & white cleancut heroes with chiselled jawlines just you & me & five bucks it's different now like waiting at a llaundromat for the cycle to finish although it is set at infinity & the gunmen in floral print shirts down come & we can't look each other in the eye no more & all we've got is small change for the slot machines & you spend the evening looking at the tits of Nancy the waitress although I'm too busy wondering whether or not it's Nancy Drew to care whether it's my tits or hers & wondering how it could be that my girl wonder with miracle torchlight & corkscrew curls ended up foresaking adventure to work the graveyard shift in a frilly apron at the Igloo Diner although I guess we're all hanging out for a touch of drama even here but there are only so many times you can shoot up in a cubicle or tap your notsolucky last cigarette to some kind of screwy drumbeat mantra on the side of your golden softpack while tallying up the colours of passing cars too scared to go home only so many times you can order more fries with ketchup all the while looking up at James Dean driving cooly down a suave highway to death watching Elvis all the while thinking of how he got so fat & too fucken depressed to even get out of bed & now I can't help but get to thinking how in eighth grade you said I was Shirley Temple I don't know why exactly & how I wasn't like all the other girls that was a long time ago & now I am just like all the other girls you burn the formica with your lighter you say I love you but I just don't like you dreaming of the great escape the remarkable getaway you will never make not in these trampled bluesuede shoes & as we get up to leave in our shirtsleeves Nancy stops us at the door to say you'll catch your deaths & you say talking all the while to her breasts thank you for your concern Nancy but I reckon we already have
We are scaling down. Winter cleaning, or whatever you call it. Planning to ship out. So tonight I got out my old suitcases full of paper and spread them out on the kitchen table, in semi-random arrangements, like so (exhibits a, b and c).
I was tidying up. Out came all my old ripped up National Geographics and dismembered scraps of OHP-printed poetry. Now I am in bed with the [more doting] cat on my feet and my headphones on and all of downstairs is an abandoned disaster zone. I achieved nothing this evening but these photos and a whole heap of mess.
In between times we watched A Complete History of my Sexual Failures and I believe I also coined the expression knee-deep in needy, but not about anything in particular. Just because it sounded funny.
Things like —-
thrusts concrete fingers skyward
The Man Who Made Time Stand Still
and, perhaps best of all —
It fired bullets through lightbulbs, pieces of chalk, soap bubbles, radishes, and bananas, as well as innumerable apples. Live subjects – shot only with a camera – include hummingbirds, bats, dolphins, dancers, cheerleaders and acrobats.
The thing is, by the time I arrive at these captions they are just fortune cookie-sized strips, orphaned, captioning nothing. I can only guess at the thing they’re supposed to be giving explanation to.
It’s kinda true to say that tonight I had the world spread out on my kitchen table. City fires. Nighttime rollercoasters. Mud huts. Skyscrapers, illuminated from within. Timber wolves running through snow. Neon signs and wild dogs. Aerial cities, purple with dusk. Ice floes. Lichen. Winter trees. Coral reefs.
Friday is maybe the best night of all nights. Just maybe. Empty carboard boxes are daunting, but – for now – an untouched weekend beckons.
I have just started work on two new screens – one of which is my parents’ long overdue Christmas present.
I’m at the collation and printing stage, pulling together all kinds of stuff, scanning it, cropping it, digitising old photos, sticking them all onto contact sheets so I can print them all off on A4 and (in theory) save time.
It’s kinda surreal, seeing bits and bobs from your family history quickly bunged onto a piece of paper, in random order. It’s cool digging through old stuff. Like the telegrams from Mum and Dad’s wedding and the letters we wrote when we were little. It’s a privilege, I guess. The older I get the more I can see how family history can become addictive.
Went to see Liquid Stone this evening in the Documentary Edge Festival, about Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. That thing is far too epic and out of this world for this bear of little brain to get her head around. Sometimes I wish I were good at maths. Who knew you could make elaborate curves out of millions of straight lines, intricately manipulated?
Anyway, I’m not going to be here long. I need to keep cutting things out, and I also have plans to paint my nails. But I thought I would share a poem by Brian Turner – one of my old favourites – which I just found when I was delving into things and making a mess. (NB ‘du’ = ‘dusk’)
Woke up in my own bed again this morning, smiling. It was not the blissful blacked out sleep-of-the-dead I had in the hotel room bed over the weekend, waking like a stunned mullet amidst skyscrapers, remembering almost nothing at all.
I think autumn is coming. Everything feels different, but it’s not just the weather. It must be the season for merciless mouse slaughter. We ate cheerios for dinner.
Whatever you have in front of you is what you make it. Funny how we grow into the cliches. They are comfortable and true. But give me an aphorism over an aneurysm any day.
Laughter is good, and so is the kind of love that gets bigger and bigger as time goes on.
Today I wondered if it was normal for grown ups to have the impulse to just up and run away, just like we did back then (whether or not we acted on the urge). And you know what, I think it is completely normal.
I have a place I think about running away to, and I take my buddy with me. It’s like the desert island thing. I have a picture of it in my head. It is a real place. But for some reason I can’t get there. All the barriers are mental, in all senses of the word.
Anyway, this wasn’t what I was going to write about. In my absence the blog traffic spiked dramatically and it didn’t even have anything to do with mentions of s*x as I had naively anticipated. In my absence the cats got on with their sadistic business and the bills kept coming in the mail.
I made the thing above partly in the Auckland Koru lounge yesterday (the words came from a magazine there, and I happened to have pens on me) and partly the other night when I took a photo of a light in the Town Hall. And tonight I muddled them all together into this. Bungling Photoshop/wrangling with borrowed words is the perfect Monday night distraction. And now I might go right ahead and watch some TV.