a summary

This is one of my favorite memes. It’s a look at the last year, through the first line of my first blog post of each month.

  1. the failed canary in the lightswitch
  2. a crow carrying pearls
  3. sometimes we have the same colour iris
  4. commitment/abandonment
  5. it's may day: make a joyful noise
  6. confluence
  7. artpost: something I could never do
  8. I'm going back
  9. a memoir
  10. heavy traffic
  11. at the late night double feature picture show
  12. this is it, the only life we have to live

Looking over my archives, it's clear that this is the year I've written the least. (Two unresponsive partners in a row destroyed my craft to the point where I wonder if I'll ever get it back.) Perhaps I'll find it's a matter of practice. Perhaps I should resolve to write every day, no matter the topic, and if all I have is unhappiness, regret, pain, and sorrow, than I should write anyway, damn my efforts to keep up the tone. I've lost love this year, and trust, and joy, and my partner, and my most intimate friendship. The people closest to me let me down the most, in every possible way. There is death everywhere. And struggle. My body is broken, my heart an open wound, and my life bleak in almost every direction. I have no work, no income, and no future. Losing my writing should at least be my last straw. My writing and my pictures. Once I stop creating, what is there that's left?

So what about your year? What did it look like?

What would you do if you only had minutes to live?

Filmography 2011, by Gen Ip

  • Films in order of appearance: http://filmography2011.tumblr.com/
  • The Making of Filmography 2010: An Interview with Vancouver artist Gen Ip.
  • Filmography 2010. (I cannot even begin to accurately unpack just how glad I am that she made another one this year. These make me so happy.)
  • meme: continuing the time machine

    Warren started a good New Year’s tradition last year, asking his readers to post a new photo of themselves along with a message to their future selves. I took part and promptly forgot about it, until he posted again this year, reminding everyone to “Go back and look. Drop a message back there to your past self, and let them know how things went.”.

    Looking back was a profoundly odd experience, both distant and intimate, and my post felt incredibly difficult to answer, as well as follow up. It is generally the difficult things, however, which are later the most worthwhile, so I took part again, and expect to keep doing so for as many years as I remember.

    This is my letter for this year, to the Jhayne of 2010:

    You just took this picture with the camera that Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s photographer gave you to use in lieu of your dead one. It’s been that kind of year. Hold onto the wonder of that, hold onto that progress and use it to the last possible drop.

    Unfortunately, when you took this picture you had to hold the lens on by hand because the bouncer who searched your bag last night dropped it onto cement and cracked the lens. It’s been that kind of year too.

    Other things have happened which have been just as unexpected in both directions. You broke off with That 1 Guy, but met David, and have been trying to make a life with him to some stable success.

    You traveled more this year than you have since you were a child, and for the first time you revisited every place you’ve called home: Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, L.A., and San Fransisco. (The friends you made in those places are important. Keep in touch. Send those packages you’ve been thinking about, it’s never too late.)

    This upcoming year, you’re going to start selling prints and get more serious about creating. You’ve been supporting David, and that’s been taking a lot out of you, but once he gets a job, insist on that time for yourself. Insist that you keep up the 365 with no slacking. I want you to write more as well, to stay up late and pound on the keys about something you care about, and see if you can’t post every day, too.

    That said, I want you outside more, too. You live in Vancouver, it’s got trees and things, you might as well go visit them once and awhile. I know you want to spend all your time working to pull yourself out of debt, but there are other priorities too, and you’ve well discovered that keeping up the network will net you enough travel to keep you from going completely crazy, so don’t worry about it so much. Find more interesting things to be concerned about. The more you go outside, the more you meet people, the more likely you are to fall in love. You miss being in love, I know, because I’m you and it aches inside like an essential part of your life has been scraped hollow.

    Also, go to New York. You know why. And get your driver’s licence. And your passport. There are people who have said they will pay for it. Stop feeling too indebted and bloody well take them up on it, or I’ll come over there and thrash you, see if I don’t.

    ps. learn to code, too, and get that website happening. a huge chunk of your life is on hold because you don’t know how to make what you need.

    why do you turn and shield your eyes?

    December 3oth, Nicole and I stayed up all night, painting my apartment. Plastering the walls, sanding, priming, coating the baseboards with chocolate coloured latex, re-lining my terribly beige bay windows with white. The plan was to spend all night painting and have dusty magenta up on the longest wall by dawn, but we didn’t quite make it. The crooked walls of my apartment require a lot of patience and an awake, steady hand. We started in the evening, light-checking while there was still the barest edge of sunset in the sky, and packed it in around five, thinking it was better to quit before the sun came back. We only took one break, around three in the morning, to deke out and fetch some food. (On-line, Alastair stayed up too, the dear creature, at his apartment, working the muppet-coat New Year’s card until the music looped properly and we had a working load screen.) There was a lot of laughter, a lot of talking about boys and travel. Plans we’d like to have, places we’d like to see. It was really nice, the best way I’ve ever wrapped up a year.

    I had reason to be extra glad how late we stayed up. December 30th here is December 31st in Australia, which means that Mike is five hours behind, but a day ahead. Long-distance, sure, but that’s why calling cards are made. “Happy New Year’s! We’re painting my apartment fuchsia!” It went straight to machine, and I was so tired I couldn’t have told you what message I left, but it made me happy to make the gesture, and that’s really all I need. I went to sleep around seven, smiling, the day already well begun.

    trying to remember the worth of birth control when all I can think of are his unfair hands

    Someone has rewritten the words to Gibert and Sullivan’s “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” as “I am the very model of a Singularitarian,” with lyrics celebrating the drive to transcend the flesh.

    I am the very model of a Singularitarian
    I’m combination Transhuman, Immortalist, Extropian,
    Aggressively I’m changing all my body’s biochemistry
    Because my body’s heritage is obsolete genetically,
    Replacing all the cells each month it’s here just temporarily
    The pattern of my brain and body’s where there’s continuity,
    I’ll try to improve these patterns with optimal biology,
    (“But how will I do that? I need to be smarter. Ah, yes…”)
    I’ll expand my mental faculties by merging with technology,
    Expand his mental faculties by merging with technology,
    Expand his mental faculties by merging with technology
    Expand his mental faculties by merging with technology.

    There’s an MP3 link too.

    Today was spent re-arranging the shop I work in, hauling large heavy awkward pieces of pale laminated wood around into hopefully better positions. We need a curtain now. A curtain, a ladder, some screws, and some paint. It’s nice to have carte blanche. I’ve been told that I’m to treat the store as my own, all my decisions will be supported. It’s interesting, like an experiment in culpability. How responsible am I? How capable?

    “I’ve listened to your music, seen the way you dress. I trust you.”

    I’ve had relationships based on less.

    Remember the water? It sprayed like insane rain, kamikaze airborne water trying to reclaim the shore from the sky and bring it back into the ocean. I was so glad you ran through it after me, it felt like a victory. Breakfast, then sitting on damp moss, so British Columbia, so everything about this place that’s sometimes nice. Secrets, so many secrets. I miss you. You’re around and then not, all at once. I remember kissing you, lying with my body pressed against yours on a volcanic outcropping of rock, all soft cliffs and too much ocean view. All those trees. I saw you watching me trip down the path like a child, I watched you smile. How much that meant to me, I’m not sure I can say. It had been so long since I’d felt like anyone wanted me, like I could make someone happy. Therapy for both of us, I suppose. A furtive thing we could call our own. An epoch passed as we climbed the earth.

    Evenings like this I wish you were here, free to sleep in my bed, be warm for me in the chill.

    My lovers last year, all of them left silver hair on my clothes. Spiderwebs that tied joy down, transmuting me into an alchemist of golden moments, but my last year was longer ago than that. I think of new years in terms of fall. Leaves and seasons changing, halting, freezing. Anything after Hallowe’en is this year, anything before is last. It might be in November this year, my annual transfer from them into now. We met in August, we began in August. The year before last, something new, a man, a burning furnace hanging in the ether, changing my perception of time. Everything counted from the day I took a worried picture that my friend has hung on his wall in Montreal.

    This year it might be somewhere in November where it shifts. Before there was my first love returned to me, too poetically pleasing to last or be real. My theater painter, my silly Gavool fool. “Have you met my underage girlfriend?” A genius clown that handed me so gracefully to California (Uber Alles). Flash: tied with ribbons, merry christmas, the light from the window before we moved the bed, a thin string glittering from one thing to another, my decision. LAX = empty regret. Last winter spent in Orange County, adrift in rain and lost without direction. My lovers, before they didn’t trust me, they didn’t tell me until it’s too late.

    Next year. New Year, December. My hanged moon, strung up on charming wire, so full before it waned so suddenly. He fell from the sky and destroyed all the tides. I fell down and drowned and my morning star, my most precious thing, my evening dream who surrounded me with words, abandoned me after burning me with a small handful of flame. Hours counted like suicidal moths. Hating how easy I must be. Fifteen people dying in six months. All the ways to count a year. Two jobs gone, three, a night of fire where I finally died. There was no vessel to carry me. When the apple fell, there was no one to capture it, no hand to interrupt its crash to the ground. Everything all at once, so dreadful.

    I’m older now, I can feel it for the first time in my life. I see lines inside my face, miniature scars, a map of where I used to live. Pictures from last year, they look too happy to be me, too young and yet, here I am, feeling alright with life again. It took me eight months. It took me a year, a failed one night stand, and a married conductor. It took music and getting away from here, a refreshing life out of the small town. It took the sky and blood and tears and feeling too alone. It was Ryan, it was walking into the water on the night of fireworks and resisting the urge to let my head go under. It was so many things, saving a life on New years, never seeing that girl again. Slapping Matthew, dancing alone, dancing with Kyle. It was myself, finally, and the memories of starry skies that brought me back to me.

    Though mostly it was the conductor.
    &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp the good ones are just like that
    “No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear every day.
    But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.”