Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Journal snippets #2

5/28 (was a poem-filled day for me)

If good happens, good.
If bad happens,
even better.
What difference?
All distinction lies in perception alone.
How I long to feel indifferent, content,
and steady on my own two feet.
Remain still. Remain steady
and everything will become clear.
Of this I am convinced--
you will bask in the insignificance
of all things
and your mind will be
unbelievably liberated.


My life is a flash of colors,
all blended.
Some magnificently bright,
some very dull.
Some lingering longer than others.
Only when I concentrate fully,
mind focused on a
single point,
can I place it all
in a context
with some significance.

We mesh together
like well-worded poetry--
no one can tell
where one thing stops
and the other ends
they are amazed
by the whole
that we are.
Our message is what matters
to those who look on as we
nuzzle and chat
on these subway seats
beneath us--
a muted blue.

Look at my face
and you will see not a trace
of a care in the world.
Dig a little deeper
and you'll see the
bubbling magma.


There's poetry to be heard
in the way our feet
hit the pavement,
in the way a childhood friend resurfaces again
and looks away shyly,
groping for comments
on memories long gone.
How far we have come,
both of us now grown
and harboring obligations to the world;
maybe this is a sign for me to slow down
and enjoy my youth.


Trains leave this place every two minutes,
and where are we all going?
I watch as a man frantically chooses numbers
from a brightly-lit screen.

He bets eagerly
on a sense of security
that does not exist.

He doesn't know the odds of this game.
Those who understand the odds
do not play.



I turn the pages of my notebook to a new one--fresh start. Yes, today is a new day, and I know that having an uncertain future, with no plan or direction in mind, is a surefire way to run into excitement.

I await it with an open mind.


"Penn Station Observation"

All of these people in suits
rushing to and fro,
they have people to see
and so many places to go.
And here I am,
negotiating with my breakfast and
learning how not to spill coffee
on my white dress shirt.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Let me start off by saying that you did nothing wrong. It's me, it's all me.

Isn't it sad how I sit here, aching to revisit last night, pining to feel alive once again? I keep saying that I'm through with it, I'm done, I don't want to see you again. I want to sever all ties. But it's a lie; deep down, I know that this isn't true, and I'm cursing myself for getting involved in this whole thing in the first place.

And why? We had a fantastic time last night. It's all because I was expecting something else, something more--as I always do. And, time and time again, I end up feeling as disappointed and empty as I feel right now.

I'm sitting here, sketching halfheartedly. I can hardly force myself to bring anything to a finish. I'm restlessly jumping back and forth from one task to another while revisiting scenes from last night--my legs curled around you, your body against mine, your cold lips pressed against my chest as we hide from the wind.

My mind won't sit still. What more could I have done? I ask myself. I want to talk to you right now, more than anything. But I would have nothing to say to you. We usually let our bodies do the talking.

The other night I went through a drawer in my nightstand where I kept all of the love letters I've accumulated throughout the years and threw all of them in the garbage. Interspersed with the letters were some journal entries that I wrote in high school, and almost all of them were about girls. My life back then revolved around romantic relationships, much as it does right now.

As much as I like to think that I've matured emotionally since then, these journal entries spoke of the same exact feelings I'm experiencing right now--despondence, emptiness, and general despair--all because I felt ignored by someone I longed for. The fact that I haven't changed in terms of the way I view my interpersonal relationships saddens me deeply.

I have always been extremely susceptible to heartache. I'm beginning to think that I'm a sadist, because I pursue unsatisfying relationships like ours and push away those people who accept me completely.

I find solace in words when people can provide me none. And this is something that people can never fully do for me; at the end of it all, it's up to me to make peace with things. No one else, no matter how loving they are, can help me lead a fulfilling life.

It's a scary thing to resign to the fact that we all are, essentially, alone in all of this. But this is something I have to fully realize. Until then, there is no rest for me, and I will continue to suffer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Conversation with guru

"Fire. There's a fire burning inside of me," I say. "I guess you could call it a yearning,
a longing for something." 
I smirk a little.
"There are buildings in Europe that are thousands of years old,
structures in Egypt and Latin America
even older than that.
Civilization has run its course for thousands of years, 
and that's not even taking the rest of the universe into consideration," she says.
This woman sitting across the table from me,
she's peering.
Peering into me.
She sees it all
in the way the lights bounce off the lenses 
my pupils.
These lenses--so penetrable,
so open
to those who know how to peel away the layers.
And this woman,
she's doing it with magnificent precision.
She's seeing things in me that I wasn't even aware of,
accessing different levels of my psyche,
giving me advice
that I didn't know I needed.
"So tell me," I say. 
"Tell me more."
And now, 
she's telling me to let it go, my problems are made up.
It will all work out.
There are higher forces.
And you expect me not to grip the table
and scream in her face?
That's my gut reaction, baby, I'm expressive.
I'm dying here,
and I don't want to fizzle out. 
Roman candles and all that.
But we've been through this before.
I silence myself.
And she just sits there with the kindest eyes you'll ever see,
looking right at me,
through me,
and bouncing it all back.
"Oh, you think you are clever." She chuckles.
"And you are. But did you ever think of this…?"
No, no, I hadn't thought of that. Hadn't even considered it.
I soften, lower my gaze, let my shoulders sink
as I think.
"Quiet the mind," she says.
She smiles sweetly,
and closes her eyes.
I look up at her, feeling all my energy
surge back, electrifying my fingertips.
I twitch.
Is she crazy? Why am I here?
"How can I quiet a mind that's in a thousand places at once?" I ask,
"The world is falling apart
at our feet.
Blood covers the streets.
We're being murdered, our dreams betrayed,
every day,
people like you and me.
Life's beating us down incessantly.
Suffering! There's no rest.
Yet you sit here smiling
as if you have not a care in the world."
Her eyes remain closed.
Her smile widens.
After a period of silence, she responds.
"If you wish to be given everything,
give everything up."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Moby" unfinished

This is what I spent the afternoon working on:

This is far from the original image, it's far from beautiful, and it's far from finished. But I'm okay with all of that. I am trying to teach myself, and I see that I am learning.

I treated this as an experiment with blending and color. I like how the shading of the nose came out--it's my favorite part of this piece so far. I really, really enjoy painting. I got lost in the process today, and it felt so good.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An experiment with acrylic

I bought painting supplies a number of weeks ago, and I used them for the first time a few days ago with Kasia. Earlier in the day, I had a vision in my head that I wanted to convey with paint. I tried to do that tonight. Since I have no idea what I'm doing, I treated this as an experiment. It's far from amazing, but it's better than anything I have ever painted before.

In short, this means a lot to me.

Journal Snippets 5/22/13

Daily Reminders:

Remember to loosen up the tension. Remember to be like water. Remember to be unabashedly yourself. Remember to smile. At everything. Remember to make things. Return to your breath. Remember that when you allow yourself to feel grateful and happy, goodness abounds. Remember to slow down.

"If you want to be given everything, give everything up."
- Tao Te Ching, chapter 22

Every time I open up the Tao Te Ching, I open up myself. I always find the advice I need to hear in that moment.

"The Master does his job and then stops.
He understands that the universe is forever out of control [of his tiny, personal, conscious self]
and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn't try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn't need others' approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him."
- Tao Te Ching, chapter 30


Sitting with my notebook, writing, trying my darndest to convince myself to accept things right now--everything--no matter how uncertain and scary it all seems. Life is always uncertain. You can take this as something to be afraid of (Lordy, what do I do? I've lost control!) or you can choose to look at this as something exciting--opportunities abound! Things are wide open!

(A few hours later, I bought a copy of "Keith Haring's Journals." I spend way too much money on books, but I only bought it because I found the following passage on page nine to be particularly relevant to what I wrote above:

"People can, however, realize that they are constantly changing products of their changing environment, and changing situations, and time. They can live, at least, in harmony with the knowledge and coexist with it instead of working against it.")


Fulbright scholarship: this is my newest goal.


I should, and want to, remain open at all times. Open to receive and reflect. Sometimes I'm much too general. I've got to get to the bottom of things. What am I really talking about?

Well.. I'm talking about figuring out what my dream is. Committing to something. Should I commit to anything, though? I want to explore and learn about so many things. Only through continued exploration, exposure, and reflection, I think, can I find out what "it" is.

So, for now, the restless journey continues..


I am grateful for all of the old friends I bumped into today. At times like this, when I'm feeling incredibly lonely, these encounters serve as welcome reminders that I'm really not alone.


Sometimes, when I realize that I'm getting caught up in a stream of negative thoughts, I tell myself, "Don't worry about it, baby. It's all good."

This is probably weird, but it works for me.

Monday, May 20, 2013


No longer worried about the ongoing affair which I revisited, once again, this weekend. I won't allow myself to be worried about it any longer; it is not worth my time. I have finals, moving day, and, above all, my own interests to worry about.

Speaking about finals, I'm no longer worried about how well I am going to do on them. This is both a blessing and a curse--a blessing because I'm super relaxed right now, and a curse because I should not be relaxed at all. I still have a lot to work on.

PBS' Art21 is my favorite way to procrastinate. Yesterday, I watched this video about Jenny Holzer's work and I was quite amazed by it.

I've had an overwhelming desire to make something today, and I would allow myself to do so if I didn't have so much schoolwork to worry about. Thank goodness that all of this will come to an end on Wednesday.

Until then, I am a helplessly sleepless and reckless, frantic being.

Friday, May 17, 2013


The gentle contact between my shirt and the skin on my back.
They separate ever so slightly when I exhale.
The feeling of flesh against flesh
when I press my fingertips
into one another.
The slightly buzzing sound of silence interrupted only by
birds sending messages to one another,
a baby's wail,
and, of course, the occasional car.
The sound of the breeze
as it sweeps through the trees;
this restless energy
bustling inside of me.
I notice everything.
I notice it all.
And I am content
when I just watch.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


One thing I learned from experience today: Let it go. Always let it go. It will come back if it is meant to.

Inspired by a book

This morning, I wrote this in my notebook:

All forms of human communication
All forms of expression
I strive to master
But what do I want to say?

I got out of class early today (my last day of classes! Hooray!) and decided to go to the book store in Penn Station where I once found a book that I fell in love with, whose title I did not remember. I hoped and hoped and hoped some more that a copy would be there. I went straight to where I had found it last time, and there it was on the shelf, sitting there all lonely, waiting for me: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

On the train ride home, I read part of it. And I happened to find the answer to the question I had posed to myself earlier in the day.

I should say whatever I would like to say. I must steal ideas that inspire me and transform them into my very own.

On that note, here are some "makers" who inspire me. I have to ask myself, what about their work captivates me? What didn't they make? If they are dead, what would they be making today if they were still alive? If I could take several of these makers and assemble them into a team, with me as the leader, what would we create together?

The (non-exhaustive and ever-expansive) list:

Pipilotti Rist, goddess of glitch art:

Alex Grey:

Brian Eno:

Andrea Gibson:

Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half:

Do Ho Suh:

Frida Kahlo:

Jayson Musson:

Paul Klee:

David Foster Wallace
Shelley Jackson: My Body
Salvador Dali
Jiddu Krishnamurti 
Land of Talk
Apostle of Hustle
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Tom Wolfe
Hunter S. Thompson
Joan Didion
Dana Gingras (choreographer of "I Am A Chain Reaction")

In terms of visual art, I've noticed that I really like contrasting/complementary colors. Like, really, really like them. All of the visual art I've created lately has incorporated complementary colors to a certain degree. Often, it's the focal point of the work.

Also, all of the above examples involve visual representations of human beings (except for the Brian Eno album and maybe the Klee painting, although the subject has human-like features.) All of the pictures and things hanging up in my room right now, with one exception, feature a human being as the focal point of the piece.


This summer I want to focus more attention and effort on creative endeavors, and I want to actively start searching for things to "steal" and transform. I've created a morgue file on my computer that I would like to actually put to use. I also want to read more, and my lack of classwork will free up considerable amounts of time to do so.

When I engage with works that interest me, I become extremely motivated to create my own things.

I want to write things I would read.
I want to make music I would listen to.
I want to make art that would captivate me.

I get lost in time when I'm being creative. It's like all of my concerns melt away. A problem (which is actually not a problem at all) which has been nagging me all day is still nagging me, but right now it's less of a concern. Right now, nothing is more important than what I am doing. For a little while, I am not living in my head. I am living here.

There's something so beautiful about a well-balanced paragraph. Balanced in that there aren't too many long sentences, nor too many short ones. There's this happy middle-ground of sentence length that can be quite difficult to arrive at. But when you do, the effect is magical.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Did Something Courageous Today

I gave my number, completely unsolicited, to a stranger on the subway.

She sat down directly across from me and I ogled her cute self during furtive glances up from the work that lay on my lap. I hoped that magic would intervene and we would make meaningful eye contact or start talking somehow, but of course that didn't happen. I tried to surpress my feelings, as I usually do, and attempted to focus on my work.

And then a thought hit me out of nowhere. It was completely unprecedented, it was outrageous, and it was oh, so good.

I'm going to give her my number.
you full of shit.
Nope! Watch me.
I'll write it on a piece of paper and slip it to her before I slip out the doors. Teehee.
once again, you're full of shit.

I ignored the nagging little voice and went about pretending to read my book, but actually thinking of what kind of message I should write her. I'd never done something like this before, and I convinced myself that this would be more about proving the nagging voice wrong than it would be about getting a date out of it. For all I knew, she could be straight.

Two stops before mine, I noticed that she was putting her book away.

she's probably getting off at the same stop as you. what're you gonna do then, huh?

I'd considered this. And I was afraid it would happen. What if we ended up walking next to each other on the narrow platform after I'd given her the note? Or what if I got stuck next to her on one of the escalators behind a dumbfuck who didn't know that the right side was the one designated for standing, and the left side was the express lane? What if, what if, what if?

But I'd made my mind up. I was going to get my number to her, one way or another. Time to start taking action. I ripped a sheet out of my notebook and scrawled in red felt-tip pen something about her looking "fun" and then wrote my number and name.

Hands shaking, I folded it into a tiny square as the train slowed to a stop. I stuffed the note into my pocket and stood up. She left the train and I followed. One or two people got between us, but I stayed close enough without seeming like a creep. I still felt like a creep, though, because I actually was technically following her.

Thank goodness that this particular train station is home to four monstrously long escalators. Its oppressive layout was the only thing that saved my plan.

She climbed up the first two escalators. I did too. An opportunity to give it to her was going to open up very soon--I could feel it--and I was going to have to make a choice to actually do it, or back down like the chicken-shitted person I was feeling inside.

And then, right before the third escalator, I saw her slowly veer off to the side in order to stand on the right. And--could it be?--the left side was completely clear of other passengers. All lights were green, it seemed.

I then conducted a delivery that wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, though--it was still kind of awkward. I stood on the step next to her and tapped her lightly on the arm with my knuckles. All of this happened too quickly for me to actually think about it, thankfully, for I would have certainly stopped myself from doing it if I had allowed logical thought--aka the nagging voice--to intervene for even a fraction of a second to deprive me of my magical motivation.

She took out her earphones and looked at me expectantly. I opened my mouth and muttered a sound that was really soft and gestured my chin toward the note. I handed it to her and began climbing the escalator. She looked up at me and smiled sweetly. I smiled back.

I then proceeded to dart up the rest of the escalator and power-walk all the way to school, heart pounding, hands shaking. When I got to work, I was still all jittery and nervous.

But I also felt so giddy! I couldn't stop smiling for a while. I had proven my very self wrong.

Oh, you said that I wouldn't do it? That I'm full of shit? Ha!
yeah, but she hasn't texted you, has she? ha! ya creep.