Saturday, August 29, 2009

My siblings and I each have a hamster. Today, my brother’s hamster died. We have only had her for a week. When I came downstairs, she was lying on her side. Now, usually, when hamsters sleep, they lie on their stomachs, curled as tight as possible, and their breathing in sleep is a rapid fluttering. My brother’s white hamster, whom he named Ariel, was not breathing. I opened the cage door and put my fingers on her, trying to startle her awake, but she did not move. I’m waiting until my brother wakes up and then I’ll tell him.

How easy death is. And how sudden. Ariel was fine yesterday night. There is no sign of sickness on her. No wounds.


My brother was shocked to find Ariel dead, but he buried her, went back to PetCo, and got a gray hamster. He also asked about what might have caused Ariel to die, and he thinks it’s because Ariel had been sleeping in her own urine and got sick from it. We’ll be more careful in the future.

This morning, I had to wait for four hours before my brother woke up. Those hours were a little scary. I sat in the dining area at my computer, knowing that Ariel was dead in the living room a few feet away. I didn’t know what to think. I shut my thoughts down for awhile. I feel sad, but better now, knowing that she is properly buried in our backyard. We tried to treat her well, and I think she lived a good hamster life with us. R.I.P. Ariel.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here's day two of my "year" and I love it so far. Waking up in the morning at 6:45 AM and not allowing myself to sleep until 10:00ish is difficult. By 6:00 PM, my head is foggy and I'm grasping at things to do to stay awake for another four hours. Good thing is I get all my school work and business done before 6:00ish, but geez, I'm too sleepy to do fun things, like write and sketch. The most I can manage is to sit in front of telly and be a drone. However, I am content at the end of the day because I am accomplishing what I need to do every day. I have no unfinished business.

And rarely do I feel guilty about being a sixth year undergraduate. Perhaps because I know I am in the right place and I am living my life to the fullest of my potential. On TV and in the media, when people find out that they only have one year to live, they live it out--traveling, seeing the world, filling their days with everything that will be gone when they fall asleep for the last time.

I think the most adventure I'll ever have is here in my head. My city, my college, the people I encounter in my life--it is all enough to fill this year. I think--more than anything else--I am afraid of expecting life, decades of life, and not receiving it. If I plan to live for decades and decades, and I do not get all these years, then that will drive me crazy. I start putting off LIFE, the everyday enjoyment and completion of LIFE, because I expect endless days. The expectation of endless days destroys the beauty of every single day. However, living day by day, receiving every year like a gift, I can do. If any forthcoming day could be my last, then it should be lived in perfection, as I want to live, as I would want my last day on Earth to be. These last two days, I have felt that I could die any minute, and I would be ready. That is what a full, accomplished day gives me, and that is exactly what I need. Nothing more.

I used to think that if I was only given one more year, I would give up everything--school and my career plans--and go back to my family, and spend the rest of my days finishing the book I am writing. That's impossible. That's not my life. Today, I am content with the stories I have written. And these two days, I have imagined something beautiful. On my desk is a stack of written pages. All one inch margins, all double spaced, 12 point font in Times New Roman. It is my essays--all the finished ones, all the ones still in my head--all completed. I don't know what I have to give except these pages.

I try and I can't imagine all the expanse of time before I was born, and I can't imagine the expanse of years after I am gone, and I don't know that these few years of life that I'm given--what was it all for? I don't know, but I have faith in those pages.

So I'll continue my life as it is, and I hope I can finish those pages.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Goals, aka what the hell is wrong with me?

Today was the first day of the new school year. This marks my sixth year as an undergraduate. I haven't written or sketched in awhile, and I am overwhelmed by everything happening in my life right now, so I am going to make a list titled "Goals for the new school year," which will hopefully organize all the stories on my mind.

Goal #1) lower blood pressure.

This is a big one. For the past year, I have increasingly felt tired. I sleep all the time, eat all the time. There was a time early in my college years when I went to school full time and had two jobs. Last year, just being a full time student was too much. During the summer, I had no energy, or only enough for a sketch or two everyday. I felt like I was living in mud. Starting in April, my knees started to hurt. Then three of my fingers stiffened and I could not bend them. In the middle of the night, I would wake up and my right hand would be numb and I could not move it. I would panic, touching my left hand to my right and it would feel cold, like a slab of meat, no longer part of me. I would concentrate on my hand, until I could feel it tingle and the fingers move little by little. I told my father, who told me that he too had this problem when he was young, a little boy. Finally, I went to the doctor. I haven't seen a doctor in six years. My blood pressure was really high, abnormally high, "if you don't take care of this, you will die in the next few years" high. I have had my blood analyzed. They don't know why my blood pressure is so high. I am on medication now to reduce my blood pressure. I feel better. I have more energy. I can do ten things in a day instead of just one thing. I am eating moderately, sleeping better, living easier.

Everything's back to normal, right?

No. This was just a warning. There is something wrong with me. I don't want to talk about it. It's not mental. It's physical. Fixing the blood pressure does not fix what is wrong with me. Perhaps doctors will figure out what's wrong when it's too late. I am aware of it. There's nothing I can do about it except live day by day and hope.

So this is the reason for this post: life goals for the school year. What if I only have a year to live before I die? What would I do in that year? I have thought and thought about this and the answer is: what I am doing now--going to school, preparing for decades of life. However, I would change things, so that if it is indeed my last year of life, it would also be my best. This is the only way I know how to live. I have lost my ability to imagine my life years and years in the future. It causes too much sadness and depression. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I can't imagine what I am not sure will happen.

What I can imagine is a year's worth of goals . . .

Goal #2) sleep only 8 hours at night. no more naps. There's only so many hours in a year's time, don't waste it asleep. There's eternity to sleep.

Goal #3) wake up early and study in the mornings.

Goal #4) don't stress

Goal #5) keep up with this journal.

Goal #6) don't mourn love. love is beautiful. accept that those beloved women can't return your love. they can't. it's as simple as that. accept your feelings, but do not force your love where it does not belong. no mountains of desperate yearning will change what does not yield. You have no control. love simply is or isn't. love simply then. there's a year's time to love. choose wisely love.

Goal #7) think positive. you've spent a lifetime thinking negatively. stop it.

Goal #8) study diligently, but do not let grades consume and frighten you.

Goal #9) finish the essays about your father, your life, the things that really matter to you. these essays are important. stop procrastinating. finish the story you have to tell. don't write because you want fame and fortune. fame and fortune are out of your hands now. write because you need to write. finish your story and there will be no regrets about a wasted life.

Goal #10) sketch what brings you joy and happiness, and sketch only that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sketch #33

This is me as a little girl. No title yet. Kind of awkward-looking, but I'm practicing my ink lines. I've been in a black-n-white mood lately. Yesterday, I tried to force myself into color by doing a watercolor of a still-life. Ha. The key word here is forced, and I blew it in less than half an hour.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sketch #32

No title yet for this one.

It's unfinished. I was supposed to color it in to give to little sister Kim tomorrow when she visits, but no matter. She can advise me on it. I felt uninspired today and so blotched a sketch. Whenever I force myself to sketch, I always blotch, and it's always disappointing. I felt uninspired, so I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Hayao Miyazaki's work always inspires me, perhaps because he is an environmentalist and a feminist and his work reflects both. I mean, at his studio, he purposefully made the women's bathroom bigger and cleaner than the men's because he wants women to feel welcomed. I love this guy. If I were a guy, I would want to be exactly like him.

There's not much special about this dragon. Its face is weird. Its anatomy is weird. It's supposed to be a water dragon but there's no lines that shows it swimming through water. However, it is special for the fact that it came wholly from my imagination. I set pen to paper and sketched my very own dragon. In all my 23 years, this is a first.

Usually when I sketch, I feel fake because I have to look off of a model. This technique is not necessarily bad except that I am distracted from the sketch's needs and certain aspects of the sketch looks weird, like the face or the arm. It is better to sketch from dreams than from real life. Even if that dream sketch is blurry and confusing and anatomically incorrect, the method of capturing a vision from a dream is the best method, because the imagination is not bound by the the physical reality of a real-life model. Being an artist is about capturing the inner vision. It's about pursuing the creatures that haunt the mind. It's about the inward journey.

This whole summer, I've been mostly alone. My loneliness is the main reason I'm improving as an artist. No distractions. I have plenty of time to look inward and follow the dream beasts and dream women into the dream universe, where the best stories are.

I look at these few pitiful sketches on this site, and I know they're not enough. They're never enough. And that makes me happy. There's a wonderful world out there. Each time I watch one of Hayao Miyazaki's movies or I see a wondrous painting, I know that art can bring to life my inner wishes and dreams. Each sketch brings me closer to the door into that world. I feel like I've lost my way all these years and I'm not exactly sure how I got back on the right path, but I'm grateful I'm finally here.

I used to think that a muse, a real woman, would be the only way I could have my art, but that's not true. Women, as much as I love them, are distractions. My hopes and dreams and desires become bound up in them. I give everything. I hurt. I scream and there's not one of them who answers me. No matter. I am done with the pursuit. I keep saying that, and even if it's not absolutely true this time, each time I make my vow, it is strengthened. I can be anything--alone, rejected, denied, hurt--as long as I have these sketches. Why? Because she is there waiting for me in the dream world. Why do I sketch women so much? Because I've seen glimpses of her. She can lead me into the world where all dreams come true and where I'm the person I was always meant to be. If it takes 100 sketches or 500 sketches or 1000 sketches, I have faith. Sitting here, I make this vow--I will triumph in this journey. I go on this journey not because I want to enact revenge on all those women I couldn't have. No, I do honor to them by loving in the best way I know how.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sketch #31

The blue background is watercolor. See how the paper is crinkled? It's because I freakin' need to start doing watercolors on real watercolor paper. Note to self--You freakin' idiot! Hmm, come to think of it, I like the crinkled effect.

From now on, I am going to discuss the sketches I post. If I'm going to improve as an artist, I need to talk about the sketch. Posting and staring and mentally wondering what is wrong with the sketch is not working. I end up falling behind on posting "finished" sketches, like right now when I have nine finished sketches that I haven't posted. I won't post them all at once. That's just stupid.

Hmm, maybe I should start naming my sketches too. This one is "Dreaming of Moonlight." I don't have any complaints about it. I mean, there's nothing else I can think of to add. Not sure of what I was trying to sketch in the first place.

Oh great, if that was my attempt at discussing, I just failed miserably. Oh well, perhaps I'll figure out what's wrong tomorrow.