Today I contend with the feeling that I’m paddling around in circles with little or no results.

One thing about my job that is both a plus and a minus is the fact that I do so many different kinds of things during the day. Today I have had to: consult over graphic design for announcements, assemble powerpoint presentations for trustees, write up marketing strategies for admissions, devise curriculum, evaluate applications, contact potential faculty, meet with fellow program heads on strategy for my department. None of which is actually teaching. I think one of the results of this is that I have a difficult time deciding what to do next (prioritizing), but also switching between many different ways of doing things. Each of these tasks requires me to think it through differently.

This is exciting, certainly, as I’m a person with varied interests. But it’s debilitating at those times when I feel that each of these projects is somehow stuck, or when the smaller things require the kind attention that keeps me from taking a longer look. It’s a situation of my own devising, though it’s hard to take any comfort in that.


I’m feeling down these past couple of days: cut off, out of it. And physically a bit wrong. The causes are multiple, but a big one is the fact that Monday was the anniversary of Phil’s death. Along with a couple of other dates in the year, it’s become a spot where I have to watch for my emotions to go into a nose dive. I’ve also been on a extended period of eating poorly and not moving as much as I’d like. Finding out what my tax debt for the past year is was not much of a help either.

Paradoxically, my solution in part to the eating issue is to cancel my weekly deliveries from Urban Organics. This is the second time I’ve used their service and both times I went itno it with the idea that I would cook at home more, and eat healthier. But the result has been the opposite: a box of vegetables arrives, and while there is stuff in there that I like, there’s stuff that I don’t like as well, If I don’t eat it right away it starts to spoil, and then I feel guilty about buying stuff from the market. Which means that I eat out more and still have the sneaking suspicion that I could purchase the same amount of food myself for less. So no more deliveries, and I go back to shopping more regularly.

The other kooky thing I’m doing to cheer myself up Is to remind myself of the groovy people I have been lucky enough to make contact with this past year, including the fellow mischief-maker above. It’s now been three times that I’ve had fun with him, and we have the fourth on the schedule. So creepy as I may feel, there are folks out there willing to knock some sense into me. And I’m grateful for that.

It is oh so difficult to not turn on the TV right now. Sunday morning, sunlight streaming in and I’m in bed, chilled. Winter has arrived. Actually went through my voice mail just now and listened to my messages and returned calls. Some were 27 days old, unreturned. I think I read some where that a hallmark of the addict was that feeling of extraordinary accomplishment for doing the simplest, most routine things. Spent a while going through my files yesterday. They sit in about ten boxes in my living room., with various other papers and odds and ends strewn around the floor. Any horizontal surface is pretty much obscured. While going through them, I find myself facing previous incarnations: there have been times when I hired assistants and all they were doing was watching after the filing. Other times I’ve been a careless demented pack rat. I have old pay stubs, copies of essays I was assigned in grad school twenty years ago, scripts from performances, designs for neon sculptures that were never executed and manuscripts from when I was the porn reviewer for the Bay Area Reporter. Most difficult are the folders marked “needs attention”. Here’s a lesson I should take from all of this: I will never attend to something I put in such a folder.
Also problematic are other artists’ slides and videos. One way or another I’ve ended up with quite a few of these. Sometimes I’ve asked for them for a curatorial project, other times people have sent them unsolicited. I can’t bear to throw them out, but in many cases a lot of time has passed, and they are not doing anyone any good in a box in my living room. Again , this is stuff that seems to bring with it the weight of obligation. I suppose the graceful solution would be to start a repatriation program, contact the most recent address I have for the person and work on sending everything back.
If only one aspect of my environment was like this it would be ok, but every room has its version of this. How did things get to this state? I feel in service to my stuff, rather than the other way around.
I’m grateful that I’ve had three relatively clear days together, as that seems to be the only way I can make any headway with this process.

…therapy, and before tonight’s “Slidefest” an event which I had to curate this week because I had kept putting it off. Thank goodness I know some very patient artists who consented to come and present work tonight. Otherwise things would be looking pretty pathetic. In the 45 minutes of downtime, I’ve knocked out a drawing of a sinister stuffed rabbit for a benefit action that someone approached me about yesterday. They’re supposed to come pick it up any minute. I truly have to stop saying yes to everything because I can feel myself becoming more and more stressed out. The back twinges, acid reflux, and little bouts of binge spending like the one I just went on at the Strand and where I purchased:

A Taschen Book on Velasquez
Another Taschen book (icons series) on Indian Street Graphics
Waiting for Food #3, an R.Crumb placemat drawing collection
Drawing in England from Hilliard to Hogarth
The Acme Novelty Date Book, a collection of Chris Ware’s notebook sketches
America’s First Dynasty – The Adamses 1735-1918

Then I went by Barnes and Noble on Union Square, because I had a real hankering for The Education of Henry Adams, and also my friend Carl Frano might be working there. He was, and on the way out I saw that Amphigorey Also had been marked down to $10 so of course I had to pick that up too.

Meanwhile I sit at home and come to tears over the boxes of books in my apartment and how I can’t get way from them.

Well I have a long history of self medicating through shopping, and the ostensible justification for this particular binge was that I had just deposited a wholly unexpected check from my NY gallery. All of these images feed the work in some way, or would if I gave myself the time to do it. Sitting with the pencils in hand to make this benefit drawing felt very, very good. and it’s always reassuring to see that “I’ve still got it” hand/eye wise. But sometimes it’s thin broth.

Much of therapy was spent talking about the trip to SF and I found myself trying to articulate what I’m feeling about LJ right now, its odd mixes of intimacy and self presentation, especially when the mix includes real world contact.

Boyfriend: only exes at this point – god bless ’em
Chore you hate: was trained to hate the very concept of “chore” by my family (not intentionally) to my current regret
Dad’s name: Nayland
Essential make-up item: gloom
Favorite actress: Mink Stole
Gold or silver: aluminum, rubber, cotton duck
Hometown: NYC
Instruments you play: once played recorder with Sun Ra’s Arkestra
Job title: chair
Kids: Nothing but, it seems some days
Living arrangements: Five room apartment in Brooklyn, crammed with 43 years worth of crap
Mom’s Name: Joan
Number of people you’ve slept with: low hundreds I guess
Overnight hospital stays: tonsils, appendix
Phobia: deadlines and disapproval
Quote you like: “From the depths of hell I summon thee – Me Zombie Flygirls!” The leprechaun, from Leprechaun 4 – in the ‘hood
Rude habit you have: not returning phone calls
Siblings: sister, who rocks, by the way.
Time you wake up: 6:50 am.
Unique habit: the longer i live the more i notice that my supposed singularities are ubiquitous.
Vegetable you refuse to eat: down on zucchini these days – overrated
Worst habit: self destruction – see just about all responses above
X-rays you’ve had: the usual, yet the implant remains undetected
Yummy food you make: soup
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius- what else? (stolen from robert510)

Past the burnout of the past couple of days. Overslept this morning, but that left me in a much better mood than previously. Obviously I needed it. There are still many things to take care of on the rapidly-approaching horizon, but at least my conciousness doesn’t seem as sporadic as yesterday. One thing I forgot to mention about the trip to the Tang was the presence of one quite beautiful man who was a friend of one of the Tang education coordinators and who stuck around after the whole thing. We were introduced and I made some fumbling joke. He was around my height and seemed to be a pacific islander, with long salt and pepper hair and a pointed goatee. He teaches at the university in Schenectady. I’m remembering an open smile and the dry warmth of his handshake, but off course his name flew out of my head the moment it was told me. My particular curse – I can remember the jingles from every commecial I heard at age 4 but never anyone’s name.
All of this is to say I was a bit smitten. Rare indeed.
This is another of those “I’m at work and I don’t wanna be” LJ posts. There’s lots of other things I need to finish, pieces that need making, rooms that need cleaning, people that need contacting. But the fact is I almost get more of that stuff done here. And now once again I’m frightened by the messages on my phone, so much so that I won’t pick them up. An absurtity, which has gotten me into bad situations with those around me and hurt people I haven’t wanted to hurt. Time after time I’ve tried to talk through these scenarios with my therapist, yet I lapse into the same behavior. Last week for the first time he suggested medication, which left me both shocked (usually not his route at all) and a little thrilled (is my dowdy, garden variety neurosis blooming into a glamourous anxiety disorder?).
I am reading W.G.Seybold’s book “The Rings of Saturn”. It is stunning: the overall structure is a solitary walking tour through the east of England, but each chapter mimicks the sensation of walking; spare insiscive descriptions of the landscape give way to chains of association that become historical and autobigraphical essays. The erudition is never forced, and exists in conjuction with sensitive observations of people and places. This is the kind of book I wish I could write, and indeed it’s given me some ideas for my endlessly projected, endlessly delayed Jack Smith/Ray Johnson/Cockettes/et al book. When I type those words I feel that everything I’m doing right now is wrong, and that there’s a much more important task calling me