this old guy who i don't even want to be my facebook friend keeps saying...
"it seems you have a strange obsession with death. you are waaaay too young for that."
I get really pissed when people say this to me, it’s annoying and it makes them small minded. This is my response:
yeah, that’s old news. I’ve been interested in death since middle school. and I don’t think it has to be labeled strange or obsession just because no one else talks about it or confronts it. I’m interested in the funeral process. I know a few funeral directors and they take their jobs very seriously. Someones got to do it. That’s one thing I strive for in my work is to find a way to make death more approachable, more beautiful and to break peoples initial response to it. It’s going to happen to everyone so we need to get over it. I am also interested in people, in their stories, and the art I’ve done has to do with memorializing peoples lives. I’ve had to deal with a lot of death in my life, being an artist how could you not have that become a part of things? I’m interested in loss, in the anti fairytale, in documentation as a proof of our existence when we are gone. Everyone else has things they are very interested in, even things you could call obsessions, mine happens to be death. And I wish people would stop labeling it strange.
My favorite thing to do when I am home is to stay up late and rummage. My bedroom is one big time capsule. I came across this book that I made about my ex. It’s actually made out of an old used book. Throughout it I made pockets out of the pages where I would tuck in a picture or a note or a torn fragment of a note. I hand wrote the story of our relationship within the typed words of the book. It is quite beautiful and a wonderful document of what was. Here are some excerpts from it. I’ll change his name to Dylan for his privacy.
"Who would have ever known that this moment would actually change my life forever. You would think it would be obvious. I mean how many times do you meet someone and the actual moment is caught by a photograph forever, even before you say "Hello". The only thing I knew to do was smile. I wondered if it was just a coincidence that a guy with a camera popped out of no where and I wondered what this boy wanted with me and why he was sitting next to me cause I knew who he was, it was the 1st day of Freshman year and he was the hot guy in my French class. I heard he was from California. Everything after the flash of the camera seems foggy. But he must have asked me my name and I must have said "Kate" and he must have told me his name was Dylan. When he left, I never remember him leaving, it was more like disappearing, all I could do was smile and look forward to French class every day. I remember being able to find him in the hallway because of his hair. One day after school I was leaving and he was leaving holding hands with a girl who had hair that looked like mine. She was older and beautiful. That was the first time he broke my heart."
"We started kissing. That’s when he officially became my addiction. I remember the first kiss being in his car outside of my house. He said I kissed too fast, that I rushed it, but I was nervous but from then on I tried to kiss longer. I guess he taught me how to really kiss. He taught me a lot of things. One of my favorite days with him was when he called me and said he was coming over. I said he couldn’t because my dad was home so we planned to meet in the park a block behind my house. It was beautiful outside, sunny and about 4:30. We swang on the swings and he sat on the grass and said "come here". So I sat down next to him really close. He kissed me. I kissed him back and we didn’t stop. But when we did we held hands as we walked to the street where his car was. My friend lived across the street and I could see her dad looking out the window but I kissed Dylan goodbye anyway. He got in his car and left. It’s one of those moments you want to last forever. And my dad thought I just went for a walk."
"Dylan and I stayed close through the rest of my Freshman year. We tried to hide what we had by addressing our letters "Dear, bro" or "Dear, sis". But I don’t think a brother would tie a mirror on his shoe to try to look up his sister’s skirt."
"He was the 1st guy I ever fell in love with. He was, in a way, my Jordan Catalano."
"Smoking a cigarette one day outside Naked Clay when I was working. It was morning and no one was in the store. I remember looking up and there was Dylan walking towards me. He didn’t even see me at first. He was going towards the sandwich store next to mine. And then we made eye contact for the first time in a year and a half. He came back into my life just as fast and unexpectedly as he had left."
I am supposed to make a painting incorporating both who I was as an artist (glitter pattern paintings) and who I am as an artist right now. All I know is that I want to get back to what I was before the glitter. I am moving both forwards and backwards simultaneously. That is the answer.
something to make me feel better when i end up alone and childless
Some of the most generous, compassionate, selfless people that I know are childless women, and that’s true of childless women throughout history. They serve a very important role in society as loving, responsible adult women who take all of that instinct for nourishing and all of that instinct for love and for giving that comes with being a woman and they spread it evenly across the community rather than focusing it all on their offspring.
Not having children makes you more available to others and childless women have always taken on the responsibility of caring for people who are not their biological necessity. They care for the homeless. They’ve been teachers, nuns, nurses, educators and dispensers of charity. It’s always been that way. And often times I see this occurring in large families. Again and again, it’s the childless aunties who end up caring for the elderly parents so it’s not just that they are looking after the children in the community, they are also looking after the elders in the community.