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17 October

2017

Malech: To the You of Ten Years Ago Now

I only heard of Dora Malech last week, via Alec Soth’s @littlebrownmushroom Instagram account. I am woefully under-read these days; I tell myself it’s a season, part and parcel of having a needy little one at home, though I fear this season is making me intellectually lazy in the long term.

The words ten years” hold a heavy significance for me this year. In December, ten years will have passed since my father died.

Ten years ago my husband bought our first camera, a family purchase, but in reality we both felt it was mine and I documented our life with a bittersweet mix of delight and sorrow as the months passed.

Ten years ago my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. She survived, but ten years ago we thought she might die.

Ten years ago I started running — I crossed my first finish line and the only familiar face I saw in a sea of strangers belonged to my sweet daddy whose kind eyes met mine and led me to the rest of my family. I didn’t know that less than four months later he would be gone, and this memory would become my ideation of what entering the afterlife might be like, if there is anything at all.

 

To the You of Ten Years Ago Now

by Dora Malech

Never fear. I know the difference between

arteries and ardor, arbor and treed,

my bower and a weak-kneed need, a harbor

where one might moor tonight and a port

worth

the oars’ effort to come ashore for, a bit

part and the serpent’s gravid apple. I won’t

flatter myself first or lasting, or

presume to fast and feint a martyr, making

mockery of sacrifice, fatten

for some sweet slaughter. I must believe that

I’m

not on your mind. On your body? Sure.

That said, your body has a few ideas

so bright that we might meet some night and

render

a dark room light as the last day before

the world ends, that doom that was supposed

to dawn

today, but by now, hours worn on and in,

we know there’s no such luxury as fine

as that finality for now. For now,

at least, I’ll have to kiss apocalypse

goodbye, resign myself to this more mundane

pain, the solace of the solstice, year’s

earliest sunset and its longest night.

I try to catch that fade of color with,

without a flash. Both tries prove terrible.

The horizon smudges up against the sky’s blue

like a child’s heavy-handed landscape

and inept erasure. They’ll have to do.

The pictures that I have of you will never

do you justice, either, neither a camera’s

snap nor some synaptic crackle long

elapsed can come remotely close to holding

you. How else would you have it? You need

never fear. I need you, but I only need you

where you are: there, never far, never near.

19 July

2017

while bathing the baby

 

A line of ants along the bathtub’s edge

They pepper the kitchen walls and linger

Along the cracked plaster

Behind the sink

A spiritual constellation

In an infant’s psyche

One day he will wonder

Why ants hold some deep meaning

A buried connection

A strange comfort

Reminding him of easy sleep

Sweet milk

And home.

28 February

2017

Let these times show you that you’re breaking up the lines

Well, you know, you can’t make it without ever even trying.

04 November

2016

15

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
anniversary-roses-1
anniversary-roses-2anniversary-roses-3

18 September

2016

Resurfacing.

My 12-year-old daughter took this photograph of me on July 29th, feverish and seven weeks postpartum with my son. Reoccupying a space in life I did not expect to possibly revisit ever again. Yet here I am.

Mothering is raw and exhausting. The last three and a half months have been a blur, soaked in blood and milk, seasoned with the salt of tears and sweat — an experience both terrible and beautiful.

Now that everyone is asleep and the house is quiet, my arms are finally empty and I’m unable to settle my mind. The 400 Blows is playing in the living room.

4 years have passed since I last updated my little online corner, but I’ve maintained my artistic practice. A lot of life has happened in that time — explorations and discoveries, disappointments, joys, and grief. Time to reimplement this space as my photographic sketchbook/process journal.

03 September

2012

Labor Day thesis work

I’ve found a lot of inspiration in this book:
The Art of Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage

We cannot afford to do anything less well than we can do. It is important to take this attitude because we are environment making towards ourselves. We are what we make of ourselves and what we contribute to this environment. In connection with this I think of what Alfred Stieglitz said, Do what you’ve been doing, and do more of it.’ In other words, you are not some guy waiting to see what the fates will bring you. You are the fates. What you have to do is find the common denominators, and they start to become, more and more, combinations of things that were done before. It is hard to reeducate habits, but you can give habits something else to work on, they get tricked, they become something else quite interesting.”
 — 
Frederick Sommer

I’ve written down the above excerpt from the book numerous times, my attempt to keep these words fresh in my mind as I’m fully immersing myself in thesis work this semester.  I tend to work slowly, at times mentally spinning my wheels a bit too much, which is difficult to fit into a fast, intense 16-week schedule.  Proposals must be written and presented — work which has a tendency to bring out my inner control freak, and so I end up over thinking and killing the magic of my ideas.  It’s difficult for me to find the sweet spot of balancing my own organization and allowing enough room for something accidental and serendipitous to happen.

So I continue to do what I’ve been doing, and do more of it.”

Making the most of my Labor Day:
rewrite a proposal, shoot 1 roll, scan 2 rolls

02 May

2012

Now Knowing reviewed by The Pitch.

Sex-ed comes to the Cara and Cabezas

I am honored to have one of my pieces featured in this important group show. Now Knowing is open through May 5 at Cara and Cabezas Contemporary.

01 May

2012

end of semester musings

I spent winter intersession in the Arizona desert, taking photographs, drawing, and studying ecology in and around the Arcosanti Project. This was a good experience for me — this study trip was the first time I had travelled any distance alone, and the circumstances I encountered and the people I met not only inspired me, but helped me to grow personally and artistically. Without the usual distractions and responsibilities of life at home, I was able to reconnect with a part of myself that is often pushed to the back of my mind while parenting, managing three schedules, maintaining a household, and meeting school deadlines. I had a chance to sit in silence, in nature, and to get back inside my own head. Read more →