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Word Art: Exile

I think of all the materials and objects I use to create my word art, the only ones specifically purchased for artmaking purposes was the pack of Pilot G-2 Mini gel pens that I picked up at an office supply store.  The rest of my art supplies are things that were handed down to me or that I already happened to have.  My father had a desk drawerful of rulers and French curves that he gladly passed on to me, having no more need for them in the age of Macintosh.  I tucked one of them in the storage clipboard I’ve been using to carry my art supplies and one fine night went to see a fun little cover band known as The Intruders play at a downtown sports bar.

My the time I’d elbowed my way to a seat at the bar and gotten settled, I was too frazzled to be patient enough to do nice, neat squared off lines to define the boundaries of the words.  So I did some hasty and skewed ones, added a couple of shapes to work around with the French curves and somewhere among waiting an eternity to be served, ordering an overpriced hamburger, eating it and cleaning up after myself, I composed this.



Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?What state of utter madness provokes a girl to make art in a sports bar?

This is the story of my entire life.Living at a slight distance from the rest of the world.

There’s a planet called normal.I’ve never really ever lived there.

But I do not inscribe my oddness on my skin or carve it into my flesh.

I’ve never even gotten a haircut any more extreme than perhaps the wee pixie cut I used to wear.

No, all my oddness is on the inside.

Once in a while it slips out of me in ways that startle and might even also disturb.

I’m not quite sure. Perhaps I shouldn’t flatter myself so.

All I know is I walk through so much of life feeling like there’s a glass wall in the way between me and everybody else.

I can be seen, I can even be heard, but I cannot be as close as one needs to be to touch.

My hands are open to grasp, but this barrier makes the grip useless.

Everyone slides out of my grip.

When I am truly close enough to touch, I barely know what to do with myself.

I wrap like a vine and it tears me when I am pulled loose.

And it would be easy to say that this is why I keep my distance.

But it feels more like my distance keeps me.

I speak and I cannot be heard. I listen and cannot quite understand.

I cannot speak your language. When I try, it comes out uncertain and mispronounced and it mutilates me inside.

I feel too much and I can’t find the valve to shut it off. I’d be afraid that I might never be able to switch it back on if I ever did.

This is why I don’t talk much–not because I have nothing to say, but because nobody really listens and understands.

This is why I write compulsively–because the page is the one listener who never feels a need to interrupt, who takes every word in and passes no judgment.

The page will never ask me what to explain what I meant by that.

The page will never excuse itself to get another drink and never come back.

That is why I’m scribbling these words in a sports bar while the band plays rock ‘n’ roll.

Because I don’t have to shout to be heard here.

If you are crazy enough to be reading these words, or have them read to you, this is what a whispered scream looks like, the urge to simultaneously want to be noticed and want to be left alone.

Because I wish I could connect but I don’t know if anyone in this room could bear the burden of my insanity.

I do not have room in me to listen, as I should if I should have any hope of connecting.

So I will pour out what is left of my seething brain into what is left of this page and I will see if anybody even notices what I’ve done.

Didn’t I tell you?This is the story of my entire life. Living at a slight distance from the rest of the world.

There’s a planet called normal. I’ve never really lived there.

It looks pretty from a distance, doesn’t it?  Then you get up close and find it’s not pretty at all.  I’m not normally in the habit of using my artwork as catharsis that way–I have Catbooks and Shit Books for that sort of thing–but the time and the place and the circumstance combined so there wasn’t any other kind of work that would have come out of me.

Printout of this work (2 MB .jpg file) available here.  Please read the license details.

Prints of this work are available here.

The original has been sold.

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