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Showing posts from 2015

Stop Telling Me I Must Simplify My Life Now

People love to talk about simplifying their lives.
All those adorable tiny houses and the dream of whimsical, simple living! Everyone wants to be Henry David Thoreau or a Shaker or something. Well, without the whole celibacy and religious fervor thing. And with central heating and A/C, maybe. And my headphones. So more like Thoreau, maybe, because I definitely couldn't do that whole single-sex dormitory arrangement. Also, I like to spend Sunday mornings doing brunch with friends, so that whole church thingy? No, that won't work for me. Also--if someone else would do the laundry that'd be great. But the baskets? So gorgeous and simple!! I'd love to learn how to make stuff like that someday. Not now, of course.
And I'll definitely need a yard for a dog.
Gated community maybe so I can lock up my simple life and travel. Learn about how simply the people live in Vietnam and Japan. We can learn so much from other countries. How they make do without washing machines or c…

Be Responsible: Fail-SAFE

There has been a lot of talk about failure lately—articles in highbrow publications and interviews with Oprah and other celebrity self-help professionals on every channel in the universe vaunt the romance of falling on your ass. Top talent seekers claim their top picks must have some ill-fated entrepreneurial venture on their CV’s. It’s almost like failing has become downright fashionable. If that’s the case, I think I failed to get the memo. Nothing about the experience seems like anything you’d want to have. At least, maybe not the way I do it. Some people enter into things carefully, after a certain amount of consideration. They proceed cautiously—they read up on it, they take lessons, they start on the bunny slopes. I usually find myself trying things because they sounded interesting or fun or just completely crazy or I’d secretly been mulling it over for a few decades and suddenly just decided “what the heck?”  For the first group, failure might come in small, manageable waves. 
But I…

Sarah Cannibal: Because I Would Eat You If I Had To

Because I was raised by wolves.
Not really.
But sorta.
Ok--maybe cats. I was raised by cats.
I was a difficult, fat, scabby, feral child. The youngest kid of those old-school big Catholic families--the one who crawls around under the piano, eating everyone's homework, teething on old cigarette lighters and rubber grapes. I was an early talker--mostly obscene--because by the time the fifth, sixth or tenth kid comes along, everyone is tired of watching their mouths. Mostly I was in the barn, searching for the new litters of kittens. We had a rotating herd of barn cats. And there were always new kittens.
But cats really aren't good as surrogate parents. If you have retractable claws, they might teach you how to kill mice, but other than that, they don't have a lot of useful life skills to pass on to young girls.
My mother did not teach me to sew.
In fact, she thought I was a bit tetched in the head for wanting to even bother with it--"spend all that money and time and i…

On Making Things, Photographing Things, or Blogging about Making and Photographing Things.

There are people who can do all those things. I don't know how, but they seem to be able to--
Beautifully executed projects that they have artfully photographed throughout the entire process, each step  gorgeously and clearly lit, and techniques are illustrated with the addition of the artisan's hands--healthy cuticles and all.
Sometimes they mention a family. I can only assume that their clean, cheerful children happily play under the table, on the un-filthy floor of the studio, making adorable age-appropriate crafts with the scrap material. Sometimes there are photographs--wispy-haired, sweet creatures blowing dandelion seeds or with their little garnet-lips parted in awe over an exquisite bird's nest. There are no armless Transformer toys or spontaneously shed clothes anywhere!

I keep thinking when I get really good at something, I, too, will photograph the hell out of it.
Trouble is, whenever I start to get good at something, I've got to throw a wrench in it all. I…

5 Things I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass For If You Post Another Article About Beating Stress on Facebook: The Life Cycle of the Suburban Artist Housewife Anxiety Attack

The anxiety had been building for three days.
It crept up like the crap that piles up around the dining room--just want to clear the table for dinner, dammit! Stick it over here and we'll sort it out later! But week or so of that--suddenly, as if through some dark magic, there's this teetering, veritable wall of crap: unopened mail, catalogs, schoolbooks, papers and forms to sign, school neckties and sweaters, shoe polish tins and stain removers and rope and violin rosin and first aid kits and dirty napkins and old cookie boxes. Eating a meal becomes like living in some crumbling, filthy crevice of the San Andreas fault.
It's getting to you, little by little...
That's IT, you think. I'm gonna clean that shit up.
And so I did--an entire Monday morning sifting through the detritus like some slacker archaeology dig--sedimentary layers of papers, last Monday's mail, and used Band-Aids, a lunch box with slimy half-eaten peach inside, 63 open safety pins, and  the sc…