On Art and Love

I received a number of maxims on love growing up, but none of them were concerned with its role in the life of an artist. I blame no one for this; “Love is blind” has a simple enough ring to it, but “Love may or may not contribute to what will already be your struggling experience as a creative” is something I’d err on letting my mentees discover on their own. That being said, I do suppose I could coin my own maxim. But that would require me to actually know this truth, and as of yet I admit that I still have no clue.

At large, my dilemma is this: does art (in my case, writing) flourish best in stable, monogamous love, or is it doomed to thrive in singledom? At the moment, my experiences lead me in favor of believing writing is best as a single sport. However, having been subject to both conditions this year, I am willing to make the case for strength in relationships and explore the artistic endgame of both.

During the time of my first stable, monogamous relationship, I wasn’t thoughtful of its artistic sway (or lack thereof). If anything, I was more critical of my work, but in a removed way— how I could I conform to the lens of my partner’s tastes (Did they think i was weird? Any good?). In a love-laced life, I was comfortable, and in comfort I found myself taking a de facto break from most creative expression.

When my relationship abruptly ended, the world seemed to be throwing me into a creative tizzy. I was passionately engaged in thinking about the state of exiled love. In the English language, there are more words to describe negative emotions than happy ones; in my own notebook, there were far more entries chronicling the pain I felt without a lover than the comfort I felt with one. Distance is a poetic lens for love, and in it I couldn’t help but chronicle the existence of a vivid love that had been muddied in present time.

Beyond longing, the experiences I was being drawn into as a single girl seemed to be better creative fodder than, say, repeated nights of watching Netflix and scrolling through Buzzfeed in the same squeaky, dorm room twin bed. There was, for example, the spontaneous week where I dated a boy who sang Bob Dylan to me while I lay under his sheets, his bedroom in Charles Village an artistic, cozy recess. In moments with him, I felt like I could turn minutes into richly interesting pages of prose.

There is something to be said for what my words can accomplish with a familiar and intimate partner. One night stands bring their own curious details, but they do not reveal traits learned through months spent together. I think there is a beauty in articulating the map of a well-known lover’s body, or writing about the anticipatory sensations of simply living with someone whose mind you’ve come to know so well.

I write about missing my lover; I write about coming to love the people I’m getting to know. I capture loves once had, and stretches where love isn’t had at all. I don’t know where my writing is headed, or how my experiences will shape my creative career. But my experiences with people are happening, and for now, these will suffice my mind, and eventually, my words.

love: an excerpt

It hurts to think of you vividly and in full, so I picture you in cute ambiguities these days. When I picture your face very clearly, I crumple a little. Your soft, freckle-kissed, stubbly face, once a warm and sweet presence, takes a concrete mold when you see me. Your eyes hold too much pain— pain that exists from me— and I can feel their milky anger beating my soul. So I fixate on your nose. Your nose is cute and round, littered with sunny freckles that exist year-round. It reminds me of your puppy-like qualities, which I would remark to you constantly, my tone loving, while I kissed this very nose (sometimes softly, sometimes with a bite).

on display (working draft)

I framed my

giraffe legs today:

gold-toned beams,

rich blue skirt.

 

I want the sprinkles of your eyes;

I’m ice cream, love,

I made it right.

 

Sculpted calves like

honey on rye

and my words in my mouth

stuck like

thick honey pie.

 

My honey pie,

my whipped delight

I taste too much

and you’re done with mine.

iktc mixtape #1: what happens on february 14th?

 

xx and xoxo ❤

Teenage Heart by Team Spirit

Oops!…I Did It Again by Britney Spears

Clumsy by Fergie

Electric Love by Borns

Naomi by Neutral Milk Hotel

Feel So Close- Nero Remix by Calvin Harris, Nero

Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne

I Only Want You by Eagles of Death Metal

Easy to Love – Live at Spotify House by Ivan & Alyosha

Girl Is On My Mind by The Black Keys

 

Coffee is Better Than Mira-Li

snooptopus-2016_08_04-22_28_34-utc

Mira-Li, the bold-faced Asian girl with puffer-fish lips, just sat down at a table with her green tea latte. She has a very wide, box-like face, coupled with a delicate nose and winged eyeliner. For some reason, she reminds me of, like, a really strong female octopus. Like, if there were bold feminist sea creatures— that would be Mira-Li.  Anyways, Mira-Li is a shitshow— more particularly, her love-life is a shitshow. Today she’s meeting Ben, the boy she’s been “seeing” for the past month. I’ll get you up to speed:

  • Ben is a total fuckboy, but he’s pretending to be an emotionally sensitive dude. Classic.

 

  • Mira-Li is confused because Ben isn’t committing to anything, but suavely takes any opportunity to compliment her and casually string her along.
    • (Tbh, Mira-Li is a lot to handle, so you can’t exactly blame Ben)

 

  • The two already met here last week to “define the relationship”, during which they agreed to “keep things casual” (it was a sight to see, Mira-Li blushing and sipping awkwardly on her coffee the whole time). Yet Ben’s continued flirtiness and the fact that he’s such an emotional tease has left Mira bewildered, and thus, we come to this— another session of DTR (defining the relationship— duh!) that Ben, for some reason, has agreed to (maybe he thinks he’ll get laid?? Silly boy…Mira-Li would do that anyways.)

 

Enough, though, of filling you in. This is my time to watch!!

She chose a green tea latte because she thought she’d try the sweetness coupled with the smooth rush of caffeine to keep her slightly sane. However, Mira-Li is kind of dumb because caffeine just like, totally fucks you up more when you’re nervous. Today, she has on a new violet-toned purple lipstick (is immaculately applied lipstick just an innate Asian skill, or am I just innately racist?) that rubs off in a round half-moon stain on her cup. It’s beautiful, but in a feminine kind of way; I honestly don’t see Ben appreciating the messy delicacy and symbolism of this sweet little lipstick stain and her mouth’s beautiful purple hues.

Of all my places to fawn over the odd, often pathetic, and sometimes liberating details of people’s lives, this angsty Brooklyn coffee shop is my favorite. For starters, this setting is absurd; what was once a normal building, an old 7/11, has been ridiculously engineered to look like a trendily decrepit warehouse. Even more hilarious, though, is reading the thoughts of the old men here— they sit quietly, drinking their black coffees and espresso shots while judging the young, “over-the-top” hipsters who don’t wear bras and shave their heads. The funny thing is, they’re just hella attracted to overt sexuality of millennial women, but too cranky to admit it. Their loss. But between the lot of strange regulars I watch, there’s something about Mira that I’m enamored with most. Honestly, it might just be the fucking sea creature connection— I’ve always admired those things, and in a weird, vaguely cannibalistic way, I kind of have a hankering for some good, L.A sushi right now.

Mira-Li just put her phone face down on the table after obsessively checking it— Ben must be here. Fuck, poor Li-Li— he looks so cute today, in a pair of rolled up khakis and an H&M Men’s tropical print shirt, his white-boy dusty brown hair gelled to an attractively tousled state. That fucker— he knows he looks attractive when he shows up like this. Sigh. Mira’s going to lose it a bit.

Ben sits down to face Mira-Li with a smile. Rather than being nervous, like she is, he’s aloof and slightly uncomfortable. He came in with his own travel thermos filled with coffee (he knew he’d be the later one to show up, and was too suave to stand in line), and flirtingly leans in for a sip of Mira’s latte. She giggles, pushing it over in his direction (Ben glances quickly at the lipstick. He thinks it’s gross). Behind her giggly facade, Mira-Li is a puddle of adrenaline, trying to conceal her physical shakiness with a bubbly mindset.

After both settle into the the now-shared table space, lightly sprinkling the air between them with notably uncomfortable flirting and small talk, it’s time to address what’s actually bringing these two dysfunctional lovers here— cue sly popcorn munch and coffee sip. I bet you $10 Ben goes first— for someone who’s minimally invested in this relationship, he’s oddly assertive when it comes to taking the lead in emotional conversations. Overcompensation, maybe? Considering some of the guys she’s been with before, Mira-Li might agree with that.

“So…where to start? I know you mentioned in your text that you were still confused, and that you felt like I was still, like, really into you. Honestly, I’m still feeling the whole keeping it casual thing—

Sorry, guys. I’ll let Ben finish his speech for you all to hear, but I just want to say HOW FUCKING DUMB THE WORD “CASUAL” IS WHEN HAVING THIS TYPE OF CONVERSATION. I mean, dude, I get it, I do— you want to keep getting blowjobs from Mira-Li, but taking her out to coffee every week and listening to her talk about her hopes of a Ph.D and traveling to Singapore aren’t what you’d like to deal with right now. Fair. But what’s not fair is using the blanket escape of “casual”. Your rolled up khaki pants are casual. Me throwing out half a roll of uneaten sushi is casual. But when it comes to relationships, casual doesn’t actually describe anything. If you wanna fuck, say you want to fuck. Just don’t leave things as ambiguous as your tight hipster khakis.

Ok, anyways, Ben:

“ — I’m still feeling the whole keeping it casual thing, and I’m sorry if I led you on in any way. I mean, we can talk about it more, because I don’t want you to be confused, but I’m definitely not looking for anything serious right now.” Ben finishes what is, by his standards, an emotionally weighty speech with a subtle, satisfied heave, as if he just came and is rolling over in bed without bothering to see if poor fucking Mira-Li had an orgasm, too.

Mira-Li, who is poorly attempting to mask her existential dismay at what Ben has just said, has a few options right now.

OPTION 1: Besides being a cinematic work of art, I cherish the movie Madagascar for one of its final quotes, provided by a group of penguins who are fucking around:  “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.” Mira-Li, who is not at all having what Ben just said, could choose to take the smile-and-wave option right now. She could go through the smiling, enlightened motions of “Yes, of course, now that you used the phrase “casual” I totally get it!”, and pretend that Ben’s vagueness reaches any logical emotional solution.

OPTION 2: In Option 1, Mira-Li takes on a professional, composed demeanor. But in Option 2, Mira-Li shows Ben who Mira-Li is. We’re talking a lowkey psychotic outburst, here; waterworks, emotional manipulation that aims to make Ben feel guilty, and a couple of high-pitched shrieks about how Mira-Li has no idea what she’s doing with her life, and Ben just doesn’t help that. Will it scare Ben away? Oh, one hundred fucking percent. Honestly, though, that might just be the move at this point.

OPTION 3: This idea is all mine, and I have to say, I’m pretty proud of it. I present to you: Spicy Mira-Li™. In this scenario, Mira channels the fiery inner tiger that I know exists in her (have you seen this girl take a kick-boxing class? Ok, you probably haven’t, but maybe find a way to. Fucking insane). I picture her violet lips articulately cussing out Ben, channeling her caffeinated/adrenaline-fueled energy into an angry, passionate whirlwind against him. In a super ideal scenario, the two leave the coffee shop, have amazing break-up sex, and then Mira-Li powerfully kicks him out of her apartment, never to engage with him again. (Just let me dream!)

Anyone want to place bets? Normally, I’d be all over that, but I’m just not feeling it this time. Please, though— continue my people-based gambling addiction for me.

Oh shit… oh shit! Ok, so Mira-Li just disappointedly sighed, pushed her half-empty latte cup towards him, and has let out a breath that clearly indicates she has some shit to say. Cue another popcorn munch and coffee sip.

“Listen, Ben…” she turns to stare out the front of the coffee shop, gently sighing again with a look of a sad yet strangely content defeat. “I just…I’m actually realizing right now how I think I feel about this, so bear with me while I try to word this.” Her lips curve in a round, chubby little smile, the violet lipstick still immaculately intact. “I know exactly what you want, and I just can’t accept that it’s not what I want.” With a calm sincerity, she continues. “You’re a really nice guy,” —- I call bullshit on this, but go on, Mira-Li— “but I’m trying to turn this relationship into something that will fill the void of the amazing relationship that I want in my life. I’ve been lying to myself. Honestly, Ben, I don’t think it’s a great idea if we see each other in any capacity anymore, except for perhaps the occasional coffee, if you want to remain strictly friends. I hope you’re ok with this.”

Ben is clearly a bit shocked by Mira-Li’s sudden appearance of clarity and emotional soundness. “Um…yeah. Yeah!” (He feigns a light peppiness with that last yeah). “Yeah, I mean, I’d be sad to see all our stuff go,” (You can just say FUCKING, Ben) “but as long as it’s what’s best for you, I’m ok with that and want to see it happen. Honestly, I wasn’t that seriously into this anyways, so I think it’s OK if we see other people.” Mhmm, Ben, sure.

That display of confidence from Mira-Li was actually something beautiful. Clarity? Empowerment? Being a straight up female savage?!

I like this violet-lipstick wearing, green tea latte-drinking Mira-Li.

 

aviophobia

plane

man, it’s beautiful,

when you can linger above the sky,

Xanax-fluffed and soulful

And see the world without thinking

you’ll die.

 

A golden lake drinks Baltimore,

ten thousand feet high.

an immaculate soup

of rainbow diffusion,

great vaporous spores

spilling rays from heaven

 

the plane shakes,

and sunset hugs us while we cruise.

life’s not too bad when you think,

“fuck, this is great,”

and have something to lose

introducing: frat parties vs. the world

Three weeks into my $250,000 education, I present to you my latest endeavor in the art of language: comparing frat parties to mundane shit.

Do I have more important things to be doing? Objectively, yes. Do I even enjoy going to frat parties? That’s debatable. But even the shittiest and least committed of writers are willing to make sacrifices every once in a while.

Stay tuned for detailed creative analyses that double as my justification for going out. Coming up soon: frat parties versus your dog. Woof.

xx