Thursday, December 22, 2005

Neil Young -- Expecting to Fly

So on the way to the subway yesterday after work I saw my cat man riding a bicycle across the street, a cigarette between his teeth, his cat crouching comfortably on his shoulders. Even riding a bicycle, he is bent forward, in this case, perhaps, to make it easier for the cat to keep its footing.

I am almost finished with all my Chanukah presents. Since I'm not giving that many, it wasn't that difficult. I printed out particularly pretty pictures I'd taken and made notecards for people, sets of 12, some desert wildflowers, some photos of Los Angeles buildings that I'd messed with in Photoshop. I'm always making presents. I never feel competent with it, but I do it, nonetheless. I never get past the feeling of being a kid and scribbling something and thinking it's the most wonderful thing ever and bringing it with pride to my parents, expecting them to burst into applause or tears at its beauty.

I remember when I was 6 I drew a picture of a zebra in a zoo cage with a zebra baby, and at the time I was very impressed with myself and my skill. Today, I wonder just how weird it must have looked, and how I managed to keep the zebra stripes separate from the cage bars... I can still remember the way it looked through my 6-year old eyes, and I can't see it as I'd see it at 40. For better and for worse, inhibitions develop as we age. However, mine are not as developed as most peoples', I think... they're big enough to make me wonder whether my mom will say, as she has done at certain gifts- "What is this? What am I going to do with this? I'll never use this..." but it's not enough to stop me from doing it. My need to give my notecards and framed poems and drawings, etc. etc. etc., overcomes my reluctance to risk people hating my work. Of course, my mom has probably reacted that way twice in 35 years of getting gifts from me several times a year. So that's over a hundred gift-giving occurrences, and she's responded negatively a few times, but I'm always a bit nervous. Such a fragile person, I am.

Thank G-d I don't live in some small town in a small state with a decent cost of living -- I'd probably get some bizarre idea I could make a living doing the artsy craftsy thing and quit my job and do something like calligraphy. In LA, I'm not even as good as the average amateur. But if I was in some small town, I'd be doing invitations and photography at weddings. In small towns (at least in my imagination) interest and passion is more important than talent and skill.

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