The Fifty Minute Hour, or Thanks for the Clock, Kasa

I just wrote this piece that is mostly not about Kasa’s clock, but maybe all of it kind of is. She brought the clock to my studio when she was seeing some clients there and left it there and forgot to ask for it back.

The 50 Minute hour. That’s what they used to call it. Now most people do 45 minute therapy sessions. When I started private practice, I did hour long sessions; in art therapy often you take time picking out art materials and settling into the rhythm of the session. At some point I switched to 50 minute sessions, where I am now. 45 or 50 minute sessions, time still works like the Twilight Zone, where it gets stretched out like taffy. You can fit a lot of intense stuff into just 15 minutes.

There are many jobs that involve watching the clock. I can speak for mine that it is a strange aspect of the job. On the surface, any therapist will tell you that the built in boundaries of psychotherapy are an important part of the experience, the earthy reality stuff like price, session times and frequency, even the office itself. I had a client years ago who started with specific requests, it has to be every two weeks, and you have to not judge my alternative approach to romantic relationships. I had someone with a strong reaction to the studio space, saying it felt like a garage full of old paintbrushes and if we could meet in a clean space with comfortable chairs, he’d rather work with me there. He had to accept getting his therapy in a dirty garage. This was before the options of Facetime/video sessions were an option.

When I started private practice, I didn’t think too much about the clocks and placement of them until a client told me she needed to see the clock and be the one who announced the end of a session. When you’ve had a traumatic loss as she had, having control of the time is important. I brought in a second clock and placed it where she could see it. It was back when I still used a digital alarm clock with a loud radio alarm to wake me up. When I worked at a day treatment program and was doing an art group, a client pointed out that in all watch ads, the time is set as 10:10. It makes sense. If it was the visual opposite, 8:20, the hands would look like a sad face. Working at that program, I appreciated the stretching of time and the Twilight Zone of serious chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia, where time is in quicksand. One of my clients spent the whole day in a chair in the big group room. Another one had no complaints sitting in a dentist waiting room for 3 hours not even reading magazines.

Recently my clients and I noticed in the second room of my studio that the clock was not working. It’s an analog on the wall above shelves, meant to be placed for clients to see. I found a new one at Ikea this weekend, that even has Roman numerals. I also had a cool sun ray clock with actual pointy gold rays radiating from it that also stopped working recently.

I have a very small silver clock with the bells on top that I “inherited” from a friend. When she died in 2013, I realized I had her clock. It was so silly and obvious that time had run out for her and I better be enjoying as many minutes as possible myself. It had a loud ticking that one of my clients requested I put it in a drawer. It eventually stopped working, but I have it out on my desk with my stuffed “studio bunny”, a reminder of the well know rabbit with an anxiety disorder where he keeps looking at his pocket watch and freaking out. A little stuffed animal that I had lying around. Years ago a patient brought in her dachshund and the bunny was a great chew toy distraction for him while the client was working on a huge piece on the floor. He got pastel all over the bunny’s white body, and she then really was broken in as a true art studio bunny. As an art therapist I can get away with having a lot of stuffed animals in my office.

My Dad has been into clocks, watches and their workings since childhood. As a kid, really wanted his dad’s clock and got it, nothing fancy and had it a long time. My grandfather knew how to fix clocks. When I was growing up there were antique clocks all over the house that went off on the hour and my dad would take one of those old clock keys and wind them. They are still there. Last I counted there were at least ten antique clocks in their apartment. One’s entirely covered in gold, and has a cupid figure with a bow standing next to the square of the clock part on a pedestal. He has gold wings and is holding fruit over a bowl of fruit on top of the clock. Another one has marble columns and the pendulum is a gold sun. In the library there is a clock with a rooster on top. My favorite is a clock in the dining room, It’s a harp but symmetrical with a gold sun at the top and the clock part is the body of the guitar shaped harp. A few years ago, my Dad gave me his gold Omega watch and a pocket watch. He was giving his watches to his kids, not waiting for death. He used to wear suits with vests where the pocket watch would go, complete with bowtie and hangkerchief. I took the Omega to the guy below my studio who fixes shoes and watches; it’s a shoe repair, barber and make your own nailpolish shop all in one. It turned out the watch did not need a battery and is the kind you actually wind. Growing up I loved watches and my Dad would bring Seiko watches from Japan. I went through a phase as an adult where I stopped wearing watches and just wore watch rings. I collected a whole bunch of different watch rings and found it easy to look at the time without clients realizing because you see your hands more easily than having to move your wrist to check the time. At some point I went back to watches and started collecting watches again. I have a very large square one with a silver band that was the first fancy one that I got. It has Roman numerals on it.

In my own therapy which is five minutes less than the 50 minutes my clients get, I look at the time often. This is the first time I have a therapist like the white rabbit except he is not anxious about arriving late. When he is late, I set my timer to get my exact 45 minutes. One time I was on the way into the subway and he texted that he had to cancel as he wasn’t going to get to his office on time. As some other therapists, I tend to enjoy hearing about other therapists messing up as it makes me feel better about my own mess ups.

Time is also weird for me as an artist. People ask, how long did it take to make that drawing/painting. I now write the date on the back of my work as soon as I start it or restart it to know what date I did it, and I set 15 minute timers for drawing, but I never know exactly how long anything takes to make.

Art Homicide: Is it Common?

We rolled it to the point where it was a 7 foot paper taco and carried it down the street home like that. It was too thick from collage to roll up completely. Once home we put it on top of the wood bed posts on the frame around the posts. Every time I lay on the bed I could see the underside of my masterpiece slowly crumbling from the weight in the middle that wasn’t supported.

Having it there along with another big round mandala piece was not a great idea psychologically. If we had stashed it somewhere it may never have met its gruesome end and the other piece wouldn’t have been collateral damage.

Most people don’t get angry at their apartments to the point of feeling like destroying stuff, but I never was” most people”. One day or week I got so frustrated with the chaotic state of my house, that the feeling kept building more like a fire when it catches on to something and the next minute the whole building burns down. As I couldn’t burn down the building, I decided it was time to destroy the mandala. I’d been eyeing it for weeks wondering how and if I wanted to fix it as it was getting damaged.

Suddenly it was clear how to solve the problem. This huge piece used to hang in my old studio on one wall and took up all the wall space. It was up there so many years I remember looking at it and thinking, “What will I do if someone buys it or if I have to move it? Maybe it will be here until I die.” It felt that permanent. Fast forward to me ripping the whole thing apart and destroying it. I don’t remember it well even though it was probably only 4 years ago. After that, I took on the piece that was my height in diameter, like a lion after a kill who finds an extra dead animal baby and eats it just because it’s there.

Do I regret doing it? Do I miss the piece that I still consider one of the best or at least most ambitious things I have ever made? I don’t know because I had forgotten about it until I recently destroyed something else that I liked. I guess if I could have it back I would and it might be in my studio now or  I would have sold it and been happy it had a place. It did serve a purpose in its short life of being on that studio wall because my clidnts faced that wall when they sat in the chair across from me. I remember one client seeing a person in a wheelchair in the middle of it. It was a completely abstract collage. I can probably find a photo of it to post with this. So when it was alive on the wall, it was serving a purpose and beign seen by lots of people. Back then the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour still existed, so for those few days in April annually, I had crowds of people come through my studio and see it as well as the smaller piece.

I know a lot of big deal artists have destroyed their work, but in a very calculated way, not in a sudden fit and not something they thought was one of their best work. Part of the delight I took in murdering my big mandala was that it was really one of my greatest achievements, so it was a really crazy meaningful kill.

I have destroyed many peices before and since which I will write about in another post…

The Mid Life Crisis, Continued. Movies

There have been great movies made about people having a mid life crisis. Too many are about men experiencing one: “American Beauty”, “Lost in Translation”, “Manhattan”, etc.

Are there any good movies about women or other gender identified people having a good old fashioned mid life crisis? Woody Allen made one, “Another Woman”, (1988). It’s a great def fpiction of a woman going through all the aspects of a mid life crisis. There’s the idea of having a sudden break of time, where you’re not doing everything as usual, in this case a sabbatical, then the way things can suddenly appear different and give you a different view of yourself, noticing other people’s perceptions of you not matching your own, the typical suddenly looking at a long marriage and seeing it and yourself and your partner differently. Noticing someone else and it having a big effect on your own self identity and concept of who you are. Big changes happening as a result, some that you don’t engage in as a choice. I found the movie very compelling even when I wasn’t viewing it as a mid life crisis movie.

I can’t really think of or find many movies about women having a mid life crisis. The Huffington Post dug up movies that will make you feel better about your mid life crisis, with women as the protagonist, “Enough Said”, “It’s Complicated”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, “Kramer vs. Kramer”. I draw the line at that one. Just because Meryl Streep is in the movie does not mean it’s a genuine mid life crisis movie. Yes, it has a lot of the ingredients, and she is the character that’s going through a crisis of identity, but she is just too young to make it convincing to me. It feels like she is questioning her life and choices, but it doesn’t have the elements of urgency having to do with a sense of the life span. It’s more like, she’s still young and wants to rewrite her story, but it isn’t that she wakes up and looks back on a long life with many choices and all the other complicated elements of a mid life crisis.

This is movie land, so all the movies you could dig up on this topic are full of the usual drama. There has to be a lot of extreme stuff going on on the outside to portray the big conflicts of mid life that go on inside the character.

In real life, it isn’t always about affairs, divorce, affairs, losing one’s mind, affairs, falling in love with someone really young to gain back one’s youth.

The title “In Search of Lost Time” sums it up well. I haven’t read the book, so it’s the title that appeals to me.

To be continued…

The New Mid Life Crisis

What is a mid life crisis? Everyone thinks of some middle aged guy with a receding hairline in a red Porsche having an affair with a 20 year old when they here the phrase.

Well, we’ve come a long way baby, since those backwards days. Now your gender doesn’t matter, it’s age that does. It doesn’t have to be about feeling physically past your prime either.

Maybe being 40-45 used to be when people had this “syndrome”. Now it could happen to you in your late 30’s, early to late 40’s or 50’s. Whatever feels mid life to you.

You don’t have to leave your spouse or disappear or find a new identity. You don’t have to spend tons of money on something stupid that is supposed to represent your last threads of holding on to your youth.

What is a mid life crisis? My definition is, you reach an age in your life, where you start looking back on your life, and wondering, sometimes regretting, sometimes wishing, sometimes scared to death. Usually it sinks in that you have less days ahead of you than behind you (I just heard that one, and it shook me). Even if you think you may live to 100, you have an equal number of days ahead of you than behind you, or you feel the weight of whatever many years are behind you and the time ahead of you looms as time you don’t want to waste, time you want to do something that makes you feel alive.

If you’re even thinking in terms of days you’ve spent that are over and days you have got left, you’re probably in the land of the Mid Life Crisis.

So it starts or is defined by a sense of urgency, thinking about your life as limited, ta a thinking about your death and what you did, could have done, could be doing, could do, might miss forever if you don’t do it now.

The actions that go with this self conception, the “red Porsche”, can take many forms. It may seem mild to some, getting a tattoo, changing your hair, going on a trip, taking trapeze or tango lessons, sky diving or bigger things, moving, spending a lot of money on something, whether a house, a car, a swimming pool, a horse, or picking some collection of books to read you never were interested in before. Its could be crazier, starting a drug habit, doing stuff that you always thought were “against the rules”…

There are other types of actions that are not so “bucket list” like things. Changing careers, suddenly realizing you want to run a bed and breakfast instead of working in a big city. Taking up some creative activity nobody thought you were interested in.

What do you think of when you think of Mid Life Crisis? What have you done or seen others do? To be continued…

Day 2 of Writing Class: List

These are the choices:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish
  • Things You’re Good At

I wrote a whole draft of a list of Things I’ve Learned, but I decided to do something different with the same topic.

Things I’ve Learned about My “Writer” Identity:

  1. I’ve been hiding in the writer “closet” for years, at least 30 years.
  2. I was struggling with this beast back in 1985 in my writer’s journal for an English Creative Writing class in high school.
  3. It’s always been, “What do I write about?”, “What do I have to say that people will want to read?”, having this urge to write but not having anything to write or write about, least of all fiction.
  4. I try in every way possible to destroy my thinking of myself as a writer or at least place obstacles in my pat. I left the 1985 writers journal on a subway two weeks ago. I was terribly upset and angry at myself. I had lost a big clue to who I was, not as a teenager, but as a budding writer back in 1985. When I first discovered that journal in the spring, I felt like I had been given a time capsule to this person that had been me, at least, what she wrote and how she thought about writing. I found it at this point where I had started writing a lot more again, so it seemed so just right that it fell into my lap.
  5. Did I lose that journal to tell myself that I can’t write or to make things hard for me, did I lose that writer in me, or that key into my mind as a 17 year old, or, did I lose that journal because I don’t need it and have already incorporated that writer inside me and need to focus on what I am writing now or my writing process? the Maybe both are true. The reason I was carelessly carrying around this old green covered Meade notebook was that I brought it to my therapy session that morning to show my therapist. This is a new therapist I am working with after several years hiatus from therapy. One main focus of my therapy is my struggle to be ok with being a writer and with my writing. It seemed even more of a message from the universe that the last event with that journal was for that very purpose. I texted my therapist about it right after I lost it. I seemed to need for him to know that he was the last person to see it and hear it.
  6. The more I write, the more I delete my writing and sometimes edit it but no longer just look at a first draft as finished. I used to write posts for this blog and fling them out there. Now even for the blog, I write many drafts I never post.
  7. I started writing something new in the spring that was a new kind of writing and a new sort of genre I tried out, some kind of  personal narrative. I did not know until then how much my work as an art therapist from the past especially was going into my writing. The other thing I discovered was writing and my daughter, writing about being her mother and writing with her. I already considered her a good writer back when she got excited by writing in second grade.
  8. The whole writing issue, beast or monster is intricately connected with my  GraphicNovel, started in 2000, which is a sort of memoir of the mind. This graphic novel has been torturing me for the past 16 years, most of which have been “writers block” years. It was started with the goal of publishing it; that goal has always been there despite my success in squashing it.
  9. My writing and my art have been coexisting with my Graphic Novel illness. I only realized it with writing recently when I saw that the more I write the more likely I am to get back to the graphic novel, and that whatever I’m writing somehow seems to be an act of avoiding working on the graphic novel, but sometimes seems to get me back to it. The art coexisting has been going on since the beginning. This last project involving cartoons, Bathroom Art Only, is the first series of work where my art directly connected to the graphic novel and sort of spilled into it and the art work threw me back into it after a long block. Then the door closed a few months until my writing flung me back at it. At other times, my art has seemed to focus on being as different and far away from the graphic novel as possible, as if it is trying to keep me away from it.
  10. The graphic novel has become a strange realization of my personal “Pictures and Words” struggle. More on that another time. End of list!

 

David Bowie, Thank You

“Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)”:

This morning I woke up to the news of David Bowie’s death. A heavy loss for his family and for the world. For me personally, it is more than sad. I feel like a brilliant light has been blown out, too soon. I can’t describe everything I am grateful for that David Bowie inspired for me. I want to write and post this today to honor him, so I will try to keep it short and organized…

David Bowie was/is one of the most important creative Public Figures in my life and my life as an artist. Before I had an idea of becoming anything, much less a visual artist, I loved Bowie. I first discovered and embraced everything I found about him while in first years of high school. It would not be crazy to say that he and Katherine Hepburn, another big love of mine, also a gender non comforming rebel, helped me enormously on an emotional level to survive a turbulent, confusing, sometimes lonely, amazing and crazy time of life. During the adolescent years when we are going through crazy transformations and trying to figure out who  the hell we are, these two icons in similar and different ways spoke to me and inspired me, not to make art, but to dare, to stay on earth, to discover and adventure, to embrace my uniqueness and weirdness.

As there was no internet in the 80’s, I had these two shining examples of people who said yes to T. S. Eliot’s question: “DO I dare disturb the universe?” On my senior high school yearbook page, I had that quote and Bowie’s: “We can be heroes, just for one day.”

I could continue about how David Bowie got me through some rocky times of confusion and contortion, but I wanted to say more just through his words, as I loved his way with words, whether lyrics or just things he said that came from him, in interviews, casually. I’m assembling a few from today, in memories, and including some things I just found today that speak to me and my history:

“He took it all too far, but boy could he play guitar.” -from Ziggy Stardust

 “I GLIT from one thing to another a lot…It’s like “flit”, the 70’s version.” I found this gem from his  Dick Cavett interview that speaks to the parts of me that are interested in any random thing and quickly bored and moving to something else shiny and new.

“Being an artist of any kind …a social dysfunction… An extraordinary thing to want to do… “-said to Charlie Rose in answer to some kind of question about creativity and craziness

:He’ll think about paint and he’ll think about glue,
What a jolly boring thing to do.” (and the whole song, Andy Warhol) One of my favorite of his songs. This goes through my head all the time, and sums up a lot of my days spent enjoying things like new scissors, glue, a new kind of paint, brush pens, any discovery of a magic art supply.

This is just a taste of the biggest part of his message for me, about being true to who you are, and accepting yourself and really celebrating your uniqueness.

My favorite Bowie song in high school was “Rock and Roll Suicide”, the last of the Ziggy Stardust album/concert footage. It’s not about suicide really; what spoke to me was the verses about not being alone. Growing up is often a lonely scary process for many of us…

Oh no love! you’re not alone
You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if i could only
Make you care
Oh no love! you’re not alone
No matter what or who you’ve been
No matter when or where you’ve seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain
You’re not alone

The last verse of that song is what I will end with. I have in my mind the image of Bowie as Ziggy Stardust leaning down and holding the hands of the outstretched audience. A beautiful image of connection. Ziggy Stardust at least for me was a complex person/persona and felt like a friend, not an aloof outer space creature actually:

Just turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone (wonderful)
Let’s turn on and be not alone (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)
Oh gimme your hands.

Thank you, David Bowie, for all your gifts to us, from the bottom of my heart…

What does not kill you makes you stronger? True or False

Did this one in way fewer sentences:

I have a bigger problem with this one as Nietzche said it, so for a long time I thought it was great; now I prefer, “Finishing requires a heart of steel.” from Delacroix, which could be applied to the first one, that what does not kill you does NOT make you stronger; what does not kill you, you obviously survive, and sometimes it requires a heart of steel, whatever that is, to keep on surviving. Well no actually. What does not kill you does not shape who you are; what does not kill you does not kill you, meaning you survived and now are faced with PTSD and healing from it, as being almost killed, whether emotionally or physically or mentally or all of them, is a traumatic event. Because it was what it was and you now are still you but what it was almost killed you which is what it is and so, how do you go on anyway, feeling weaker in body, mind and spirit…

Writing 101 Assignments: Serially Lost, Serially Found: Lost and Found in Neverland

I physically lost a blog post a week ago because it was in my journal! It was already a post about losing and finding, so I will start with typing out that post. This is part of the second “series” of posts. The first series for the class that inspired me was the series for Loss. This is a series about the “lost and found” we all have in our hearts, as well as losing important items in the physical world…

Lost and Found in Neverland

I lost my Hello Kitty hat
on a cold day in October 2013.
That hat was a happy pill.
A gift to everyone on the streets or subway
Who saw it and smiled.
The white knit hat with cat ears
and pearlescent sequined glasses
(did you know Hello Kitty is nearsighted.)
Even the neon orange whiskers
were on that hat.
And an orange bow.

I must have left it on a crosstown bus.
Hello Kitty is good for crossing over,
transitions, goodbyes.
I didn’t want to say goodbye to that happy hat.
I felt like a Mad Hatter in it.
The night sky was on
when I realized i lost the hat.
I was so torn apart
and frustrated with myself
I may have even cried.

I felt like a happy child with it on my head.
For under 20$ I got a hat with magic powers,
transformer powers.
I felt great waves of longing for it to come
back to me.

Suddenly a lightbulb split my hatless unhappy head open wide.
Yes I missed that hat, but I knew I could hunt it down on Ebay
If I wanted to replace it with another one.
But my friend who died the month before was gone
forever.
And not coming back.
There is no Ebay for lost beloved friends.
She is somewhere in a Neverland, stuck in the Lost and Found box.
Not the Neverland of Peter Pan.
The Neverland of dead people
who left too soon
and did what we never wanted them to do
to get there.

I got that Happy Hat back, or at least
one that looked exactly the same
and it still had the magic powers
to stop people on the street
and bring a smile to a grey day.

My friend is gone in that Neverland.
I wanted her to never go there,
But she did anyway.
we all have that choice.

That lost and found bin is in your heart,
the permanent place the love for K.
will always be found.

Serially Lost: How many beautiful pens by Retro 51 will I lose?

  Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
Limited Batch 2003
Full-Time Flavor 2004-2012

“From the moment that this oatmeal went
There’s been no end to fans’ lament.
If you’d “sowed more oats” before the reap
We wouldn’t have buried it quite so deep.”

This is all in the context of my misplacing things a lot, and, it seems to be very particular things. The Retro 51 pens are the most crazy. I discovered this pen many years ago when another pen enthusiastmily in my fa gave me a couple of them on different occasions. At some point, I got excited about them. At that point I had an old red marbleized one, a cork pen and matching cork pencil, and a very pretty bubblegum pink one. Then I found a leopard print one and started to get obsessed with these pens. the design is simple, retro and beautiful, and they keep coming up with cool patterns and textures for them. The first one I lost was the bubblegum pink one. I got that one when my gifted gave me a shiny red one. I didn’t like the red color and already had a red one, so I went to the Fountain Pen Hospital, cool pen store down the street from me and exchanged it for this great pink one. I remember losing that one mostly because I remember frantically looking on the internet for a replacement one as I loved the color so much, and it had become my favorite pen. I snagged one probably on Ebay and payed around 28$ to replace it. I had my head on with that one, as I at some point decided to leave it in my studio and use it there. It is in my studio and with the leopard print one it stays there, the only place these pens are safe from being lost.

I now cannot find a photo of it, but here is a photo of the cork ones, which I never lost, mostly because I forgot about it for a few years and only recently got it out with it’s pencil partner when looking for several other ones in a frantic attempt to find a few of them: This pen now resides in my studio, and the pencil is precariously traveling with me in my bag, in great danger of getting lost! This is an old set, and they are of course out of stock, so I luckily have a rare set that I have yet to lose

http://www.monstermarketplace.com/pens-and-leather-executive-gifts/retro-1951-tornado-deluxe-vino-pen-and-pencil-set

Coninuint my saga of my growing relationship with Retro 51 pens, a few years ago, I found a really cool Limited Edition “Bloom” pen, which I gave as a gift to my Retro 51 family member; I liked it so much, I ordered one for myself. I think I lost that one twice; I have memories of frantic searches and snagging a replacement, but get this: I lost the replacement one. I can’t even remember when or how I lost it, but I was so annoyed with myself; I had to give up. By then I had expert skills at trolling the internet and knew all the pen stores and pen blog sites,so I gave up. Recently I found the Retro 51 blog and commented on a post. The guy from the company actually gave me a phone number to call, so I called them, still a year or so later desperate to find this beautiful red pen with flowers on it. A person from the company actually called me back and did a search for me to no avail. I then confess that about two weeks ago, I texted the family member I gave it to and described it, asking her if she wanted to trade it for a different one. Rightly so, she said she likes it and wants to keep it. I’m the fool who gave it to her and then gave myself two copies of it! Here’s a photo of this pen that feels like The Pen in my life; the one that got away…
There are only 500 of these that exist, so I am very jealous of the 498 ones out there and the two that I lost:

Continuing my ridiculous saga of this pen obsession, which you can understand more when you look at their website: this company has something cool going on with their retro look. Limited Editions have become a big thing in the past few years. I’ve actually gotten obsessed with the concept of the “limited” edition. Ben and Jerry has Limited Edition Ice cream flavors. I still remember one of them that I got obsessive about finding and figuring out which places still carried that flavor. Ben and Jeryy actually have a “graveyard” filled with their Limited Edition flavors, what a great idea to have a “graveyard” for objects that are purposefully “ended”, as a way to torture the consumer and make the obsessive collector happy they have something special! This week Target had a crazy crash on their website due to the new designer they are collaborating with,; it was similar to the 2011 fall Missoni for Target, which was very limited. I confess to loving Missoni, and I scored on that one as I was very crazy, went online the moment it came out, and even as late as a year ago, found a pair of gloves from them under the 20$ or so they charged just by looking on Ebay. I was happyy to read about this craze from a distance, and to not have had any interest in running to Target or their website for this round of Crazy Designer Collaboration. Here’s the Ben and Jerry graveyard: the little poem at the top is about the flavor I obsessed about for a few years of its existence! They not only have the graveyard with tombstones of ice cream flavors, they have a separate link to the most missed flavors. They have a great flair for feeling the enjoyment of the Limited Edition: There is something almost sexual about this whole idea of tasting something, or having something, that then becomes extinct and gets taken away, that only a select few get to keep!
http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/flavor-graveyard

Retro 51 have a series of Limited Edition pens. Since the “Bloom” pen incident, I have bought a few more of these pens, mostly in the past six months or so. The next one I remember getting was the Pinball one, called a “Popper” pen, this one is “Flipper”. I think the Popper series is one of Limited Editions. So this one is still hanging out on Amazon and in other stores. There are 750 of them, of which I have now bought two.
http://www.amazon.com/Retro-51-Flipper-Tornado-Rollerball/dp/B00M18XETI
I got this one a while ago, very excited as Pinball itself is a very vintage retro game that I loved playing in college. I manage to keep this one for a while, during which I discovered another “Popper” called “Splat” Snapper. It immediately seduced me as it is a comic book graphics design. There are 750 of them out there. I resisted buying one, as I felt guilty about my recent purchase of the Flipper, so I decided to ask one of my relatives to give it to me for a holiday present, which ended up being a late birthday present that i just recently scored. This cool pen which you actually push down to open instead of rotating the top, I have managed to take with me on my spring vacation and kept in two different bags without losing it. Since losing the Flipper one right after my vacation, I put this one in my studio. IT’s there right now, and I think I need to leave it there until I learn how to hold on to these pend hns.

These limited edition pens are their Pop series and have a history which they explain on their blog, if you’re actually crazy like me to want to know about this idea of torturing people with a 500 or so limit!
The Tornado POP Series
Right before getting the Splat gift pen I had suddenly realized I lost another pen recently purchased. This one is from another Retro 51 collection named “Vintage Metalsmith”. I bought the “Roosevelt” when I was obsession about trying to get the Bloom Popper and failing; it was meant as kind of a replacement pen, some device I invented to feel less guilty about spending so much time and money on these pens and losing them constantly. I’m not sure how long I had the Roosevelt, as I actually lost it but did not even notice I lost it until a while later by which time I had no ideaa where it was. I had taken it on my week off in December I think but it disappeared at some point. Meanwhile I found out about the “monochromatic” ones. As an artist, this appealed to me that the pen is dipped in color and the whole thing is that color. OF course I got the bubblegum pink one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_vintage.html
By the time I had my spring break upstate a few weeks ago, I had spent a frystrating time looking for the Roosevelt and the flower one and getting those last two. So I brought a bunch of pens and art supplies on my trip, including the Pow, the Flipper and the monochromatic pink one, as well as my newly dug up cork pencil; I knew I was tempting the Fates. Could I hold on to that many Retro 51s and carefully use them?

The answer was no. I got home and as usual, had “forgotten” about “checking” that I had them all until some time last week when I realized I had lost my Flipper pinball pen. I was so enraged at myself that I shared my loss with a patient who has a lot of so-called “anger management” issues; the share was about me being annoyed at myself and super frustrated and feeling angry right before seeing this patient, who I’m sure was amused to see me so pissed off because he commented on it.

I then in secret proceeded to find one of the 750 online that I think cost a few dollars less than the first one I got. I received it in the mail this monday at my studio and it has not left my studio.

I am happyy to report that i have refrained from getting the following other Retro 51 pens that tempt me. The bamboo one: that was hard; I almost bought one but managed to stop myself!
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_bamboo.html
The “stealth which is kind of monochromatic black one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_deluxe.html

And I now almost lost this whole post, which I better save or I will go nuts!

writing this post caused me to really look at their whole website, and I discovered just now that they have started making tiny little pens, so cute. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will just check how much they cost…
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_elitebpandpc.html

Worst of all, going to the blog post on their website about the Limited Edition Popper series, I saw the very first ones, so pretty and floral, and now I’m thinking, where the heck could you find one of those?

Luckily the pen industry seems to have no graveyard, no place to get second hand pens. Ebay sells Retro 51 pens, but only the ones that are recently out. No pen collector seems to want to part with their old Retro 51s.

So anyway, now I am trying to hold on to the lovely pens I have, the pink, the leopard print, the cork pair, the old red one I left in my house, and the special Flipper and Splat. I am attempting to keep the monochromatic pink one in my bag with the cork pencil. Who knows how long I can hold on to them, but I like to draw and write in my just found journal with these writing implements, so I will carry only one or two on me, and keep the rest safe. I will attempt to avoid purchasing any more for at least six months. Let’s see if that lasts…

Serially Lost from Day 4: Post 2, National Poetry Month: Loss: Master The Art of Losing!

Trying to find poems about loss that are funny…

Found a great one!
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Here is another:
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Another one:
Compendium of Lost Objects
Nicole Cooley

Not the butterfly wing, the semiprecious stones,
the shard of mirror,

not the cabinet of curiosities built with secret drawers
to reveal and conceal its contents,

but the batture, the rope swing, the rusted barge
sunk at the water’s edge

or the park’s Live Oaks you walked through
with the forbidden man

or the pink-shuttered house on the streetcar line
where you were married

or the green shock of land off I-10, road leading
you away from home.

Not any of this
but a cot at the Superdome sunk in a dumpster

and lace valances from a Lakeview kitchen where water
rose six feet high inside

and a refrigerator wrapped in duct tape lying
in the dirt of a once-yard

and a Blue Roof and a house marked 0 and a

kitchen clock stopped at the time the hurricane hit.

Because, look, none of this fits
in a dark wood cabinet for safekeeping.

This is an installation
for dismantling
—never seen again.

This one by Numi Who is a different twist on loss and everyday objects; she says an apology for leaving abandoning the pencil!
Oh Pencil

Oh pencil,
whereforartthouhavebeentheeelsewhile
while I was away, neglecting you,
leaving you forlorn in the dark recesses of a forgotten drawer?

I have been remiss, a wayward ram
that had strayed from the womb of the flock
and was fleeced – and now,
here I return to you, and ask for your forgiveness –
will you forgive me, Pencil?

I have had my fling or two, or three, or four
and I have realized the error of my ways –
and I have found that it is you I need –
your gentle caresses, your smooth yellow skin
unmatched in firm suppleness,
unreserved in sensual touch,
giving without taking, obeying without demand…

If you will not have me back, I will understand –
and know – my head will never again rise,
my heart will never again soar,
and my mind will forever be shrouded in gloomy overcast –

and yet I would wish you such brightness,
and a perpetually sharp point,
in the grip of a large, thick hand
attached to an even thicker narrowly-focused mind
with a walnut-sized heart
as cold as an arctic floe –
for you know as well as I
that is how dismal and distant
your next best choice will be…

It is true I became enthralled with the gel pen –
its wonderfully tactile fluidness;
and with the highlighter –
able to swash instant rainbows across a page;
and the permanent marker –
indelibly recording my every intention…

but only you, Pencil,
can carry me back in time,
back to my very childhood
when the smell of No. 2 Yellows filled the air,
an air already scented with the soft mounds of pencil shavings
and trails eraser crumblings that belied our trysts,
strewn across the nightly waxed classroom tiled floors
upon which our rendezvous’ were made
and the dreams of ‘us’ lay waiting
for mutual steps and racing hearts…

Let me hold you once again,
that is all I ask,
and if the universe does not return us to our beginnings,
then cast me into oblivion –
for I would not wish to exist without thee
wherehaps I would have sharedeth
a long and loving life of literary essences with you.