The new stretcher bars came! The ones I ordered from Jerry's Art-a-rama! Along with 10 yards of real Polish linen! Oh my God, they're SO BEAUTIFUL! I've just been putting them together. You match the slots up, tap them with a hammer, and the corners are all smooth and square; you put some glue on the corner keys and slide them in and they stay, all square like that; you notch the cross braces and put them down and they fit exactly, you add a little glue and nail them down with a couple of brads and they're done, like frozen pie crust. They're drying in my studio now. The front edges are all gloriously and perfectly beveled, and sanded, and mitred. I petted them.
Of course, this all cost a jillion dollars on my credit card, but I DON'T CARE. I tried to be thrifty, I was resourceful, clever and daring. I put a note on Craigslist for any carpenter in the Brooklyn area who was willing to build stretcher bars in exchange for free massage, I emailed my entire client list with the same offer, I canvassed friends and friends of friends, and the guys in the woodshop next to Galapagos. You would think that any decent carpenter would be just dying for bodywork, in return for such an easy job as building stretcher bars, but you would be wrong. I did get a call from a guy who owns a frame shop up in Westchester, who checked out my website and was remarkably persistent--so when these beautiful paintings on these beautiful stretcher bars are finally complete and in an exhibition, they will have FRAMES TOO. It's all too much.
For the last week I think I have been suffering from post-election flu. I know I'm among sympathetic people here, so I am not afraid to admit that I became completely hysterical while ill-advisedly watching Shrub's acceptance speech. The country really is in the grip of a right-wing backlash, no shit no joke. Election day I woke up so happy. "I'm going to go VOTE!" I sang to the cats. I bicycled up and down the avenues, carolling "I'm going to VOTE for KERRY, have you VOTED today?" I really thought he'd win, and the nightmare would be over, and we'd all go back to loving one another, like the police state and suicide bombs and director of CARE International getting kidnapped and brutally murdered on video had never, would never happen. I VOTED, then I went home to PAINT, happy day, leaving my bicycle chained to the fence downstairs, since I was planning on taking it out again to watch the returns at Barbés.
When I came down, someone had stolen the rear wheel of my bicycle. A bad omen, almost a really bad metaphor. I walked to Barbés. The gathered crowd welcomed me like a neighbor, which is what I am, unlike the pretentious twits at Galapagos, which is where I didn't go, because I figured that there was a 99% chance that the ex would be there. He never wanders far from his rathole, sorry, home. Anyway, a very nice, handsome guy at Barbés immediately transferred his full and complete attention from the election returns to me, which was mildly gratifying, particularly as he didn't try to get me to go home with him right then. He just remarked calmly, at various intervals, that I was beautiful, and smart, and calm, and grounded, and a good listener. And beautiful. He wanted to see me again; I said maybe, I'm not dating just now, but thanks. Really, I mean it, thanks.
The day after the election I didn't get much done. I put a bicycle wheel on my credit card, and wandered around aimlessly, feeling sort of swollen. The next morning I was still in an unmotivated funk when the phone rang. "This is Mike at Jerry's Art-a-rama. Sorry to bother you agin, but how do you want these cross braces notched?...so the long ones on the bottom and the short ones on the top, thank yew, that's all Ah needed to know." This made my entire day, I kid you not. Too many employees of mail-order art supply stores would have just notched the cross braces all wrong, or not at all, and slammed them uncaringly into the box, leaving me to perhaps weeks of fury, phone calls, returns and adjusted bills.
We mortified Kerry supporters must be strong. There is a great spiritual challenge ahead of us. We must reach out to the backward fascist right-wing morons with compassion, tolerance and understanding. We must try to get inside their tiny little minds and communicate, we must not give up to alienation and separation, we must not all flee the country at once, or the world will only continue to get darker. This would have been easier if the wise, compassionate, informed and open-minded candidate had won, instead of the fanatical, aggressive, bigoted moron. But it warms my heart in a small way to imagine that perhaps Mike, of Jerry's Art-a-rama, voted Republican. Don't laugh. Leave me my hope that even Republicans are human.
Last week I saw one of my regular clients, an oddly buttoned-up and frighteningly driven woman who used to work for W magazine, and who now owns a clothing store that sells $100 T-shirts that people actually buy. She looked searchingly at me and said, "You look really good. You look better than I've ever seen you. You look like a burden has come off of you." Coming from someone in the New York fashion industry, that was a real compliment. I am still not sure that I agree with her--when I look in the mirror, too often I look older to myself, the sadder-but-wiser girl, the girl for nobody. But my APARTMENT looks really good, that I'm sure of. I have fully disemboweled, cleaned and re-organized nearly every space in it, now--the studio, the space-under-the-loft which is now my office, the inside hallway, the landing, the closet, the living room, even the bathroom. And today I stopped off at Lowe's to pick up some nails, spackle and odorless paint thinner, and came home instead with a matching incandescent torchiere and buffet lamp, which means that I never have to turn on the overhead fluorescent lights in the kitchen or bathroom ever again. This may not seem like such a big deal to you non-kinesthetic, non-energy-healer folks out there, but to me it feels like I have finally claimed my own home.
It is ironic, in fact, that I'm now on better terms with Phil the Neanderthal than with the former love of my life. Phil came over yesterday to install a carbon monoxide detector, said nothing about the fact that my landing is almost completely blocked with paintings, bicycle and massage table, and promised me a new dishwasher. It goes to show you that the surest way to inner peace and good relationships is to have no expectations of people whatsoever.
Do you know what? I am no longer going to be abashed about my spiritual stuff. I am doing Course in Miracles exercises daily, and they are saving my heart and my sanity, SO THERE. I have had it UP TO HERE with idiot boyfriends who scream and rant that I am headed for a CULT, that they WORRY about me, as though I were like, STUPID or something for believing in this shit, which obviously only exists for manipulating morons into going into the army and dying for oil interests. I say to these idiot boyfriends, not GO TO HELL, but that YOU ARE IN HELL ALREADY, and hell is your own mind and your own choice, and you can stay there without me, thank you very much. So maybe I will choose to write a weekly treatise on whatever Course in Miracles exercise I am working on, and YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ IT.
That last paragraph was very un-Course in Miracles, I'll have you know. According to the Course, there is no separation among minds, in reality; all this stuff with bodies and wars and Republicans is just a delusion of the ego. Which is a great relief. In reality, all is peace and bliss and eternal love in the Mind of God, which may sound like the most mind-bogglingly, took-way-too-much-acid-before-I-was-ten sort of shit, real want-to-slap-you-in-the-face denial, but which, in its essence, corresponds closely with what Buddhists, shamans and assorted mystics have been telling us for thousands of years. And everybody knows that Gandhi and the Dalai Lama are really, really politically correct, and not cults at all. So give me a break already.
I dreamed the other night, actually, that this guy I met at a Course in Miracles meeting called up to ask me out, only he didn't leave his phone number. I tried to dial *69 to call him back, but I couldn't because this old friend of mine whose contact information I had accidentally-on-purpose lost, because she complained more than 80% of the time in casual conversation, had called after he did, and in fact had shown up unexpectedly, uninvited, for the weekend. She was explaining to me how I was easy to track down, she'd just called my friend in Canada, and meanwhile I was frantically trying to email the guy from Course in Miracles, saying I'm so sorry, I'd really like to see you, and the keyboard wouldn't work, and I woke up still trying to type. The guy from Course in Miracles really is great except that he's, like, probably, seven years younger than me, and I can't, can't, can't go there. But why in the world would that be represented by a whiny girlfriend? Any ideas?