I’ve been working like a motherfucker lately. Or perhaps like a no-one-fucker because when you work a lot, there’s less time for fucking. When things were slow and same-old-same-old sometimes at P&W, I occasionally envied people with “real” jobs—I had a kind of Mad Men image of striding into an office, rolling up my shirtsleeves and clacking away at a keyboard as part of some larger mission. Work is so American and noble.
|Let's get to work here at this beautifully designed modern coffee table.|
And now that work is so very much in front of me, the problem of too much work feels bourgeois and un-artistic and banal and a silly thing to stress about because I have my health (at least I think, knockonwood), and I’m mildly embarrassed and ashamed that I’m letting work stress get to me. But how could anything you do ten hours a day not get to you? I don’t know why I should be ashamed of the fact that life doesn’t just pass over me like lukewarm water. It’s good to be engaged and affected.
But after a day in which I declared to Lauren, “I’m trying not to overuse the phrase, ‘crazy day’ because I think it might apply to every day,” I left the office anxious that I might never write again, or never even think a thought that was not about a grant deadline.
I drove to Art Center’s Hillside campus, tucked away in the part of Pasadena where there are deer and mountain lions, to attend a talk about Ray Eames with AK. We were celebrating our eighth anniversary at her place of work, which tells you a lot about the eighth year of our relationship—wonderful and deep and fortunate and hardworking and multitasking and breathless. The talk didn’t actually have that much to do with Ray Eames, so we ducked out early.
|Someone must be working on Charles and Ray: The Musical, right?|
She said, gently, “It’s always personal, isn’t it?”
Later I said, “I’m going to ask an ironic question, which is: Am I that person who always makes it about them?”
I already knew the answer. This whole blog is devoted to Making Art About Me. I mean, I make art that is about me, and I also make other people’s art about me and reflect on it here. In this space, at least, that is the point.
We ducked into the Ray Eames: In the Spotlight exhibit, which was better than the talk. I finally got out of the me space—although it did make me long to live in a perfectly curated/designed house and wear beautiful clothing, rather than in a house where there are just so many haphazard piles of things—and into the Eames space, where I learned that they are more than just chairs for tasteful people.
|The hang-it-all. But imagine it hung with random key chains and baseball caps instead of perfect vintage sweaters.|
|I heart Ray.|
|They were putting a bird on it before anyone.|
The past couple of weekends, I crashed hard on Saturday mornings. So the fact that I’m up and reading my friend Wendy’s fantastic, envy-inducing novella and journaling/blogging—if not “seriously” writing—bodes well, I think, for a future that might have space for both hard work and creativity. Maybe even a returned phone call or two (sorry, everyone; I’ve been kind of a sucky friend).
I will close on my favorite quote from Wendy, which I think sums up the whole life-and-carbohydrates thing perfectly:
There is no fair. Except for the kind with blue ribbons and fried food.