Day 48: Shit Day

Ifyou’re my client or were my client and for some ridiculous reason have found this blog, don’t read it. Don’t read this post or any others. It will not help your therapy and I would get a fake name to do this but I’ve done that before and believe it or not, it is exhausting to have a separate identity for the purposes of protecting me and the clients from them knowing too much about me. I am not the type of therapist who can let clients know too much about me, mostly for myself and preserving the identity of capable therapist.

A pseudonym is not just a name you publish stuff  for me anyway. I had to stop having one of those fake identities because it started making me kind of crazy, for real. I can’t do that again because I’m a person who is constantly on the line between reality and The Twilight Zone. Most of my clients have a much better grip on reality than I do. One of the points of being a therapist for me, besides curbing my own self involvement issue and narcisism, and getting me through a day by having a purpose, is to be able to have another identity as the Therapist, whom clients “project” on. Usually that means I’m a very put together adult person who knows a lot about my job and mental health etc. and can helpt them with their therapy goals or their illness/disorders/challenges/brain disease, etc. if they have more serious things.

My therapist is a prime example. I know so much about him. I know what medication he used to take. I know he has ADD or had it. I know about his personal life. I know about his job with the NYPD that he started either on 9/11/01 or the day after, totally by chance, the FDNY suddenly needing social workers and him getting hired. I know he’s divorced and about his two children and some other things. None of my clients know that much about me. He and I are completely different as therapists for good reasons. The kind of therapist I need is not one like myself. I need an opposite kind. Basically I am a “mess” and was quite a “baby” in my family for a long time and have real serious things I can’t directly say here. I attract the type of clients who have trauma and other history and usually are pretty put together and very independent and their therapy needs are nothing like mine.

I just realized maybe the 13 minute limit I made was not because I needed to write for at least 13 minutes daily but now because I need to write for only 13 minutes daily. My ADHD is obviously terrible for any coherent writing. It does help a shitty day to write something.

Dear John Letters

My therapist’s name is John. It’s funny that Dear John letters are breakup letters. He has been my therapist since 9/11 or 9/12 2016. I wrote this email today at 2pm. My therapy session was this morning at 10:45. I used to write a lot of emails between therapy sessions. Some weekends I bombarded him with 5 plus crazy emails.

The last email was in February. Then I found this one in January, the day before my birthday:

I am staying home from work
I couldn’t leave to go to the office felt too weak
After a phone session with a client in a lot of relationship pain which caused me to think, I decided I should just be kind at least 80 % of the time at home
Act as though the world is ending soon and that’s the top priority
If I just focus on that one thing and fuck the mess and plans for future and al the rest at least it should be easy
It’s easier to try to be kind than fix any of these problems I complain about and all the stuff I say I want to change about myself since I’m so mentally exhausted as well as physical
Isn’t that the point all the spiritual practices talk about?

Most of these emails were written in moments of torment and despair or in very excited inspired moods. What I found weird was how I said I wanted to act as though the world was ending and focus on kindness. I was having one of those night before birthday pity parties. Little did I know the pandemic was coming to test us all in terms of our humanity and daily compassion.

So today I wrote

Dear John,

I know I had this idea a long time ago and then forgot about it but I could give my writing the structure that I’m writing you letters. It would be about the therapeutic relationship and being a therapist. It may be another manic thing but I’m going to try it out with my daily writing. Not sure I want to go backwards and rewrite them or just start it now like reality- it’s taken me 47 days to figure out my writing project that I’m doing right now… Natasha

That’s the first email I’ve sent him since Covid began. Over the past 6 weeks I’ve had moments I would have written but couldn’t summon the energy or didn’t want to bother him.

The story of our therapy starts with 9/11 and now we are in Covid. I was following you from office to office at the beginning and felt like the girl in the famous painting, Cristina’s World. She’s in the grass crawling towards a house.

Now I’m in my bunker and you’re at home with the sun coming through the window and two dogs and two cats.

Last session I couldn’t stop crying. I’ve been crying a lot for no reason. Maybe it’s the lack of movement, fresh air and sun. And no dog. I haven’t wanted a dog this bad in a long time.

We talked about writing and I told you about more about my daily writing. You don’t write but you wrote a Haiku about baking bread for some publication. It inspired me to send my poem to a Quaranzine call for submissions.

I made up this story about a person living alone in Covid 19 and she has been inside so long she taped up her windows. Today I had a moment of thinking what if outside wasn’t real anymore and was mire like a Zoom video background. The alone part of me that is what often talks to you in therapy is the crazy one.

I need to go to bed. The later it is the badder and more crazy making this situation is.

Day 47: 2nd Post: Breakthrough

Writing and making art for me is about trust, trusting the process and letting it unfold. Knowing when to cover something up and do something completely new on top of it or work on something else, usually working on several things at the same time. I’m a “poly” artist; I dont’ get too attached to any one piece or any one series of works and feel best when generating a lot of different things at once and dividing my attention as I go, like having a bunch of babies but they’re more like eggs that hatch in their own time and sometimes the egg is full of black goo.

There’s been a resurgence of people doing “The Artist’s Way” of late. Dare I say, a lot of millenials are into it. It’s a great tool in many ways and different for each person. I usually advise that you focus on the “morning pages” and more the morning pages concept- write every day for a certain amount of time or fill up a certain amount of pages and don’t worry about the writing just write whatever; write bad writing, Just write every day even 13 minutes. It’s kind of like sitting on an egg or bunch of eggs. After a while something emerges, or little things emerge and you move on from there. The other concept was the weekly “Artist’s Date” that I thought was a great exercise for self-esteem especially for people who tend to focus on others and what they want. You could go to the park, take yourself out to lunch, etc. My favorite was go to the Soho Art Store and get an expensive Sennelier ink. Obviously those artist dates are not for Covid.

I have reached my big moment in my “13 minutes pandemic writing daily” where I figure out what to do to write more than just make writing, or at least to have some form or shape to work with. ADHD is worse for writing than for painting and other visual art because you have to use words and you have to make sense and you have to have something to write about, whereas with art you can start ripping up paper and then  take a tiny canvas or big one and do whatever and then do a drawing in your journal and end up ripping up your journal 2 weeks later. It can get tricky when you get stuck and hate everything youve ever done when you’re usually very multiplicituous and not used to long pauses.

My aim in all this writing I’ve been doing  a few years now, maybe a little after I started therapy again with a new therapist. At some point the goal was to work on my identity as a writer.

So I’m doing a third post today. I like odd numbers. It’s day 47 and I like the number 3, but 7 is my favorite number.

Day 47: Tuesday 4/28

I woke up at 4 in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. It’s so cliche to say that I wasted time getting sucked into social media but I actually saw some important stuff on Facebook including a doctor’s suicide due to over working with Covid patients and having the disease herself. Dr. Lorna Breen, age 49. I just saw a story about a young guy who is a cleaner at the hospital. You could be on the internet for an hour and find 50 stories of Covid heroes. But there’s also the suicide of someone felled by Covid. She didn’t have any history of mental illness. Probably with this pandemic the super workers with no mental health history are most at risk for suicide. Not to say that others are not. It’s like Brooke Shield’s book about her post partem mental illness. She got blindsided because she’d never experienced mental illness, while people who have are at greater risk in a lot of situations, they suffer in a different way with a well known and familiar enemy who’s always lurking around the corner.

Anyway I posted before about not being able to read any without getting bored and now I’m reading (audiobook) “You”, which, while well written, somehow still feels trashy. I’ve seen both Seasons of the show based on the book. And read the ebook of the second part of the series. It wouldn’t be the same if written by a guy but somehow it’s more twisted reading first person narrative of a serial killer in love with love. The audio book is weirder also. They should have had a gender less type voice read the book, or the author herself.

During this Covid I can’t tell if I’m wasting time or waiting time or “spanning time”. There’s a memorable scene from Buffalo 66 of the two in a photo booth and he keeps talking in fantasy about them “spanning time” as a married couple. They’re not. “These photos are us in love spanning time.” That’s the scene that stuck the most besides when he asks her for hot chocolate at the motel. I can’t remember who goes out to get it.

At the time I thought “spanning time” was very romantic as a concept. Also photo booths look and feel like time travel machines.

Life at one point for me was divided between pre 9/11/01 and post 9/11/01, but more life happened and there’s pre kid and post kid and then pre Khakasa’s death and post her death. Now there will be before and after Covid so we’re spanning time between the two which explains why people joke about not knowing what day it is.

Last memory of a photo booth is probably the last time I went to the movies. I think it was Little Women. I didn’t use the photo booth but they have one in the games area.

I actually like going out to the movies much more than sitting at home watching them. It’s fun having the whole experience and the huge screen and having to leave your house to go and whom you go with. Now I can miss it and wonder the next time I go to the Cinema near me will the seating be 50 percent less and mandatory distance between seats. Or will you have to take a test to get into the theater. What’s it like to sit for 2 hours with a mask on?

At the moment I’ll continue spanning time.

Day 46: Monday 4/27

It’s another Monday. I just spent almost 13 minutes revising yesterday’s post, mostly fixing spelling.

I just realized I got my day count wrong by 1 higher so I fixed it. I’m counting again to ensure today is really day 47.

I did get extremely bored of almost everything last week except some art making. I’m still doing my conic strip and I’m a little less bored probably thanks to 12.5 extra Lamyctal…

The comic strip is sometimes extremely easy to do and often not. It’s hard to have something to say/draw every day. Often it’s better if I mostly do the drawings.

I should be looking at other comic strips and reading graphic novels again. Last week I had an ADHD moment when I felt sure I could whip up the proposal for the Altered Book book but then it was gone. Now I know when I get those moments that it feels real in the moment but will disappear.

Thinking back to what I was writing about yesterday I was reminded of hiding being similar to pretending to be asleep. I don’t know why I liked pretending to be asleep. It turns out lots of kids like it. I just googled it and it quickly degenerated to articles on kids sleep problems.

When you’re asleep you’re kind of hiding from yourself. As a kid I’d pretend to be asleep when my parents came back from somewhere and came in the room to kiss us goodnight. I think they knew I was pretending. Sometimes I’d fake wake up.

I’m hiding out in the bedroom right now but hiding out is not hiding from others.

Being a therapist involves a lot of hiding. I used to think it was hard not to tell clients something about myself in terms of my personal life because I’d want to but have to not say anything. It turns out knowing something about your therapist is not that weird unless it’s too much. I’ve been hiding in quarantine in a weird way. I tell clients about going on the fire escape at 7pm and banging on my drum. I even sent someone a quick clip of it, for a good reason, but I manage to let them know I’m working in a confined closet space and hardly go outside but not if I live alone or with others or with whom I live. Of course it occurs to me if I’m working in a closet it means I’m in a place where I have to get away from other people.

There are some clients I’m extremely careful that they know nothing about me but that particular person heard a lot of noise the other day and complained about the fan noise in the last session so I am not sure what to do to have a silent session: go sit on the fire escape?

Day 45: Hide and Seek

There’s a quote from Winicott about how its’ a wonderful thing to hide and a terible thing to not be found. I think he meant to not be looked for. I am really good at hiding. I think as a kid I liked hiding in hide and seek, finding a special place behind a curtain in a game where you’re supposed to be very quiet. It probably felt very calming, as the other game where you hide with the person who finds you and do it until one person was left was fun but kind of crowded and not the same fun as the secretive feeling of hiding.

Hiding from what people want or expect you to do. I spent a lot of time in childhood hiding, hiding from myself and others, hiding in plain sight, putting on other people’s traits and personalities to hide from my own, which never worked. There were certain places in my house I loved hiding. One was the closet in my room I shared with her sister. I imagine it having more space than it probably did. I think I went in there and crunched up into a ball and chilled out. It was dark and quiet. One time about ten years ago or more I was in a workshop about meditation and Jung at the Jungian center and at the end the workshop leader got us to go far back and then find a safe space and that dark closet was my safe space. Completely dark and completely silent.

The beach is the cliche of safe spaces. The big reveal is a lot of pro like the beach but feel very unsafe there .I’d love to live near a beach; I’d like to live near one right now especially. How great it would be to go to the beach at night and sit on a towel and listen to the tide and ocean with nobody around, and to walk on the sand in the day, maybe in a place with hardly any people, picking up rocks and shells, seeing the sun. Having a porch looking out over the beach. Spending quarantine in the sun, seeing the stars and moon and hearing the ocean. Not really quarantine when it sounds like a vacation…

If I were in a novel I would be the dark character confined to dark spaces. Here I am sitting in my dark small closet office on a Sunday. It’s 2:33pm.

I was hiding a lot growing up. I spent early school hiding the fact that we had no TV and pretending we did. I would go to sleep overs and wait for the kid to fall sleep, so I could hide under the covers and suck my two left fingers to get to sleep. For some reason nobody outside my family ever caught me sucking my fingers. At least I as unique. Not going to suck my thumb and be like everyone else. I was born sucking those 2 fingers, so born a weirdo.

I even hid grades from people if I knew they got a much worse grade. Someone wrote a whole book based on a girl hiding her grades by getting bad ones.

He says it’s terrible to not be found. I think he means it is terrible to not be looked for, but maybe he’s right that if you are looked for and not found, people did not look long enough and care enough. That is true for some things. At college I was socially anxious at parties but liked going to them and definitely used extra help to get through them, so to speak. I often at some point would notice that I was alone, stranded at a party, my friends off somewhere, vulnerable to being seen and also to being ignored. I would want to be ignored but wish I could figure out how to get back in. Sometimes I would, with more substances, other many times I would sneak out without saying anything to anybody, of course wanting people to notice I had left; it was called an “Irish goodbye”, which I had never heard of then, and of course by now people think it’s offensive as Irish people never even used the term. You can’t “ghost” a party in the early 90s the way people now get “ghosted”. It means the person you were dating or friends with just disappears like a ghost with no explanation. I guess it’s a form of hiding, in this case, where the hider is not interested in being found and doesn’t think of themselves as hiding, just leaving like a ghost, so that isn’t really a hiding quality, just a person wanting to get out quickly.

I don’t know if the motivation for an “Irish Goodbye” used to be to get away from a party you’re sick of where you don’t want to say goodbye to the hosts and others; probably that is what it is. The social anxiety with the attention seeking quality goodbye is different. I’d leave a party, slip out, conscious of just not being noticed, then of not being noticed when I left. I would feel relief from the pressure to be normal “social” at the party and feel lonely and want to be found. I don’t remember what I did after that. I think I went back to my room to be alone. I might have gone down to the basement where the laudry room was and played pinball. Sometimes lone people hung out and played pinball late at night, stoned of course.

I still hide. It is second nature for me to forget to tell people where I’m going or where I am in the house these days. The same closet I complain about as a kind of cramped torture on weekdays becomes a little space to hide in that’s relatively quiet and shuts out the world in the home and the larger outside world, A place for writing.


Day 44: 4/25/20

Writing immediately after yoga and art class, Saturday morning:

I take a yoga art class from Liza Toft every Saturday. I’ve talked about her here before. Its nice to only have around 5 students. I guess you could call us students or student seekers. We’re all seeking something.

For me, the biggest challenge in yoga is not the actual asanas/poses or the Zoom class. Yoga for me is about the challenge of speech and action, with speech being an action. Thoughts are not in our control most of the time. With yoga, we can work on speech and making conscious choices, just like the DBT class I took for 36 weeks teaches.

On these quarantine Saturdays, it’s the beginning of the class that’s chaotic and could use the Yoga of Speech and Action. I had time to relax when I woke up. Then right before class, we decided I’d do the class in my kid’s room, but she was sleeping. Then I woke her up and she was annoyed. I got into angry mode about not having a place for yoga in the house. I rushed towards the kitchen and started setting it up there, while my partner was trying to help while remarking that I was having a “Tantrum” which I sometimes have; I’m working on it.

Then I went into the place near our closet in the bedroom, and he was telling me I had no room and not to hit the mirror, then he again told me to go to her room. So I went back to her room.

If you imagine the scene it’s actually funny-me picking up my yoga mat, my water, my computer, my coffee and I had a block and glasses case I couldn’t cary and scurrying to a place, laying out the mat and computer quickly, then rushing to another place while spewing negative energy.

This went on during the class, the beggining part that is important , when Liza lays out the concepts of the whole class. We’re on mute, but I could hear Liza calmly talking in my headphones about something profound I can’t now remember. (I don’t remember the words usually anyway, ADHD). I finally got situated in my kid’s room with my computer on her little fridge for her face stuff with the mat out. Liza was still talking about Ayengar’s daughter’s wisdom about something to do with faith and. acceptance or something else. Another student was taking notes which was a Smart Idea; I might do next time.

The first minutes, I just sat on the pillow and listened. Luckily you can turn your screen anyway you want so you might not show your head. Nobody cares, as they’re obvioulsly in their own head having their own experience and process.

I cried on and off during this time of works of wisdom, some of it was reaction to whatever she was saying. Obviously releasing pent up emotions from the whole week. What I also do at the beginning of class is text “people” in my house who have been “assaulted” metaphorically by my ngativity and anger. This time it only took one text to get a calming forgiving answer in just one word. I got my reasurance so I could focus on the class.

What I noticed about how powerful yoga is, is that while in Emotion and Rational Mind, I was in turmoil and didn’t believe anything would feel different; the normal thing the people in my DBT class would relate to, an emotion feeling like it’s going to be there forever, there is always a transition, as though she provides a rope bridge between two craggy places, and I end up feeling ok at some point on the bridge and do end up at the other side of the bridge.

I think we are on the focus on Fire and some air, the chakra system. Last week was earth which I was late for.  At the end we make art about our experience. I had also taken an anxiety pill during the class at the beginning so that probably helped. .

Of course the hatha yoga portion matters too and is very important but I think transitions are interesting and challenging. (From what I understand people think Hatha yoga is a kind of yoga, but I read Hatha Yoga just means any physical type of yoga, as opposed to the other more esoteric branches.

It felt good to be reaching my arms out a lot and doing a lot of standing grounding poses. I’m sure they contributed to the restoration of sanity and calmness.There’s one I hated that I finally understood and now find it interesting, so I will not put it in my own yoga class instead of avoiding it. It’s the one where you’re in warrior 2 stance but you stretch your back arm over your head.

Liza does some kind of magic with the yoga; most of it is alighment with some good metaphors and wisdom that is actually wise. The alighment part makes sense because she explains why you are putting your body in these positions and what it cause inside and outside; that is the main link between the physical and connection to the unconscious, to the emotional body and to the spiritual or creative body.

In DBT we call the minds Emotion Mind, Rational mind, and Wise Mind. By the end I was in Wise Mind. I could tell because I was aware of taking my time to put my yoga stuff aside and come to my tiny office to make art. Usually, I would rush to do something and do it in my altered book and feel impatient and wanting to do more art and have more time. This time I took out a big peice of paper and calmly started a collage painting. I had an image of drawing a tree person while in the corpse pose. I’ve drawn tree persons before. Now it seems very metaphorical, like a lot of my old drawings with mushrooms and people in jars. A cry for trees which “have no tongue”- which right now is consoling rather than the Lorax feeling.

I was calmer and slower about the art, and not as attached to “finishing” it and having time to finish.

There’s a Marsha Linehan story where she said she was at the monastery doing the usual thing: cleaning a floor with a toothbrush and really cleaning thoroughly and doing what seemed like Meditation in Action. The bell rang for some other thing (transition) and she became aware of how attached she was to continuing to clean the floor and “finish” it. By stopping and moving to the next action, she learned to let go of this clinging to things, whether they are actions or actual things or people or whatever. It’s why I encourage clients to use timers for tasks and do it myself. For example this is not 13 minutes of writing, my usual limit. Since it’s Saturday I’m letting myself go over my time.

I even used crushed dry cilantro and some eggshell in my art.

Then the transition to the end of class, which is people sharing their art and experience if they want.  It’s a familiar challenge and involves acceptance and letting go of clinging to a lot of things. Liza mentioned Freedom at the beginning of class and I remember thinking while in tears, I will never be free. So the end of the class for me was a form of experiencing freedom through one of the “Seven Laws of Spirituality”, the path of least effort. When you get on that path, you are in freedom. The last two classes, I’ve felt quiet and halfway focused on what other people were saying, which is completely unlike me This time I tried to focus more and listen to the other people. I didn’t feel like talking about mine. I thought I was on mute and so I texted a zoom chat thing asking if we could share art and experiece later. I also realized texting the chat thing where Liza reads out my words was really helpful for me as I don’t like talking and getting into ADHD mode. I don’t want to rile myself up when I’ve finally had a great moment in a week full of personal suffering and mental challenges.

I also while noticing slowing down noticed old behavior where I would want to talk and want ot hear everyone and see their art and this time I just let it be. Someone left because it went overtime. I noticed it going overtime, and some of me likes things to be in the time alloted because it also helps feel less chaotic/ADHD overwhelmed to have a schedule etc.

Then I noticed Wise Mind saying, Oh well. This is a Zoom class and it took a while to start and get everyone here so it’s natural it went overtime and I’m not in a rush so I don’t mind. I also had compassion for Liza, as I know from experince doing these small Zoom classes is difficult.

I will post my picture. I was thinking of finishing it but I understand the concept of leaving it alone and making it just be about htis Saturday’s experience, another kind of acceptance I’m not used to.

Now I would want to look at the picture over the week and notice things. I used to churn out art like I was in the toothpaste factory or whatever it was my dad worked in at one point. There’s one in the Series of Unfortuante Events, a gum factory.

In closing, I will say that Liza’s yoga class on Saturday morning is magical. If it can transform me from angry, frustrated, childish, annoyed, impulsively reactive and not nice– to feeling calm compassionate and accepting of myself and my situation, that is very powerful, and extra necessary in this quarantine..

DAY 43: Friday, 4/24/20

Warning: Depressing stuff. Don’t read if you don’t want to read negative stuff. I’ve given up on my idea 44 days ago to focus on the positive since the news is always mostly negative.

DO NOT READ This is mostly for me. It’s like in A Series of Unfortunate Events he starts with, “Dear Reader, I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale of three very unlucky children……There is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy,”

Unfortunately I don’t write beautiful sad novels that are brilliant and all about reading and have lots of books and libraries in them as well as villains and lots of murdered guardians and refer to everything from Dante to Anna Karenina.

I don’t have much interest in much of anything. I’m trapped in my home and it’s not pleasant. I don’t have a balcony, outdoor space, yard. I am not near any safe outside places. I don’t have a dog to walk 4 times a day.

I knew I was pretty unhappy yesterday when I started yearning for a dog and realizing there are people out there who have dogs to be with  besides humans. One of my siblings has 3 dogs. The other has one standard poodle. I don’t know what happened. I do. My dog finally died in June 2009 and I was so relieved I didn’t want to deal with taking care of a little joyful furry being already fated to die about ten to 12 years later. I missed the window of opportunity and now I have no dog. My own therapist has two dogs and two cats. If you have a dog, you are forced to go outside and walk around the block around 4 times a day. If not, you don’t get that and you don’t get the special comfort that dogs are.

Today I didn’t even have much work. I had my own therapy and then 4 people and one more at 6pm.

I lost interest in books. I start reading and can’t get beyond a few pages. I start watching a movie and get sick of it in 20 minutes. I’ve been watching Six Feet Under but I’m not that excited to watch it either. Watching the new Twilight Zone with my kid was fun but the season’s over. We’re done with Schittz Creek.

The one thing I’ve found to do is make art. I don’t make my usual art. It’s all odd and not my kind of thing and nobody would put it in a gallery. THe materials I use are not the ones I want, but I did a lot of art today starting with a drawing and then the end of this insufferable collage wierd painting of hands and two bars of soap. I drew a person inside the soap. I’ve done a bunch of stuff in my huge altered book and took apart my 2020 vision board. It was on a canvas board I’d been thinking about using since making this big one. It was fun to take it apart and use some of it in the altered book and recycle some ripping it up using mod lodge on the canvas and then painting over it in ugly mixtures of green and pink and black. Lots of art, mostly in the book. Painting over things, drawing people stuck in bottles.

Have a good weekend. I’m not unlucky like the children in that book whose parents are dead from a fire. I’m not sick or dead. I haven’t killed anyone by getting the virus. I have nothing much to complain about and everything to complain about because I am a complainer. I can’t go a day without complaining about something…


Day 42: April 23, 2020

Today I discovered that if I stand up in my current office and reach my arms out in both directions, I cant’ keep my hands straight so the length and width are just shorter than that. I heard there is some ratio between your height and  arms in both directions or maybe it’s the legs.

My 12 year old joined some optional creative writing thing, so I asked her what the prompt was and she said it was something related to Harold and the Purple Crayon.

I think I once wrote a further story about it or saw some kid’s story already published about the other crayons in the crayon box.

I had not seen or heard of this book until about ten years ago reading it to her. It was published in 1955, but I didn’t know about it. We didn’t have wehre the Wild Things Are or the Moon one, one of my favorites, where the king has to get his daughter the moon on a chain and all the wise people don’t have a clue.

I don’t remember little kid books besides the Little Engine That Could and some version fo Hansel and Gretel which I loved because it was a fairy tale about kids and no princes and queens and marriage involved.

THe next thing I remember was Snoopys and Peanuts and reading whatever my sister read, like all the Nancy Drew books. She had the Hardy Boys but I didn’t like them. At some point I read all her Agatha CHristie books and all her PG Woodhouse books.

THe purple crayon period of childhood was somewhere around the little engine that could and hansel and gretel. I remember liking having people read to me so much that I didn’t start learning to read until 1st grade, with I guess some intro to letters going on in Kindergarten.

I think Harold uses the purple crayon to draw things and then they appear. I just saw the last episode of Jordan Peelel’s Twilight zone, which begins with a writer writing something and suddenly it’s happening. THat part is a reference to a lesser known old Twilight Zone, one of my favorites, where this playwright writes about someone and they appear in his living room. FOr a while he emotinally cheats on his wife with a character he maeks up. Then she comes home and sees them through the window. She can’t find the woman and the thing goes from there, with him trying to explain how he can write about someone print it and then if he wants them to go away he crumples the paper and throws it in the fire.

THis finale of Peele’s Twilight zone is interesting as it is most obviously referencing the one where the libriarian breaks hsi glasses after the nuclear holocaust, another great one. The writer of the finale appears and you see Peele and the set and Peele’s intro cards turning into something about the writer…

Day 41: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

It’s 5:48 and the last client I had today was at 3:15! This is why I’m working more hours than ever not because of extra clients.

Anyway despite feeling meh about my writing, I am proud of myself for posting writing 42 days in a row.

I am excited about my Covid 19 altered book which I have also been working on for around 40 days. Besides a few drawings and one canvas board and a painting barely started, it is the main art I am making. Usually in my studio I have a lot of work going on at the same time. In fact I really miss my oil paints as I had started using them as well as making big mixed media paitntings using oils and sewing on paper.

The altered book as usual has been a fascinating process. Usually I guide my clients to rip out pages and mess up the book at the beginning. I started the book just finding “Guas”/Hexagrams randomly and working on the pages with pen and some ink. I found a lot of them had wording in them that was perfectly fitting for Coronavirus Survival in NYC. Really uncann y. For example: “Eliminating means to separate; Encountering is to meet. After seaparation people lmeet again; after meeting again, people separate. That is human life.” From Number 44, Gou: Encountering.

There are many others. I started making blackout poems. At first I used the book directly for remote sessions. I picked a random Hexagram and sometimes share it with the client and then make art on those pages. I even attempted to put post its so I could go back to the page the next session and keep that page for that client.

As it is with altered books, so much for planning and trying something out. At some point that broke down and I just started working wherever whatever whenever.

I also started doing a thing where you rip up paper, like a page from a magazine and make a pile on the page and then use glue and Mod Podge to collage it onto the page. I also opened an Alice in Wonderland Coloring Book I saved from the Victoria Beckham Target collection that I had left blank and started using pages from it in the book. I even found a book of Curt Cobain’s diaries lying around and ripped stuff out of there, thinking it may be my next altered book.

Finally only a little while ago, I ripped out a whole bunch of pages from the book as it was getting really thick. I found a perfect division in the book, the Upper Canon and the Lower Canon. Then I decided to make the spine bigger which is a kind of surgery you do to an altered book, cutting the back cover off and using something, usually cardboard to make the spine much larger to accomodate all the 3D work in the book. This time I used Duck Tape in a weird way to make it all one book. It is easier to show what I did with photos than explain it.

Another big part of this process unique to Covid is that the book is made with the limited materials I have at home. I have a ton of great Duck tape at my studio with all kinds of colors and designs whereas at home I have a few rolls that aren’t that great and that I get bored with using, but it’s quite interesting to make an altered book knowing materials you have that you have no access to and being forced like all the other artists to make do with what you have at home, unless your studio is at home…