Many things have happened since

I last wrote. My parents came to town; I gave a short reading here in Brooklyn. While the folks were here we visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I love Botanic(al) Garden(s). They appeal to deep basic needs of mine. I need to see flowers. I need things to be organized and labeled. Part of what I love about Nabokov– the precision, the characters who are botanists and lepidopterists. I think going back to school for library science is going to be fulfilling for me. Although the Cherry Blossom Festival is this coming weekend, all the cherry blossoms were in full bloom while we were there, and we walked down corridors of pink fluffy flowers.

We also ate a lot of good food and went to the new exhibits at MOMA, “Design and the Elastic Mind,” “Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today” (read a review), “Take your time: Olafur Eliasson,” and “Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing.” “Design and the Elastic Mind” was awesome– I think many of my Canadian experimental poet friends would like it. It contained a piece that I blogged about my very first year of blogging, Bradford Paley’s Alice in Wonderland TextArc. Glossolalia was interesting too, although not as interesting at the New Latin American exhibit on that floor the last time I went, where I actually found the writing/art borders challenged more than I did with this exhibit that was actually trying to challenge those borders. But there were multiple Oyvind Fahlstrom pieces so that was cool. The “Color Chart” exhibit was interesting although I thought the explanatory panels were kind of undertheorized. It included a lot of Warhol– two paint-by-numbers and six Marilyns– which was cool. It’s always nice to see a lot of Warhol in one place. It also included a couple of huge Richters, where he’d painted color charts (like paint sample charts) which I thought was pretty much the most boring Richter ever. He’s one of my favorite artists and I almost wish I hadn’t seen these pieces. There was a big Duchamp (together with all the Duchamp that resides permanently on the 5th floor). I’m not ready to talk about my favorite piece there… maybe when I have figured out what I want to do with it myself. I had a constructive talk with my parents about it afterwards. Between what seems like an endless redecoration of houses and their experience with fabrics and threads, they are very familiar with color charts, and it was interesting to see the exhibit with them.

I didn’t really like the Olafur Eliasson.

Yesterday I went out with a friend from high school, Alex, who I haven’t seen in about 10 years. We met in 7th grade. We had a wonderful, long, talkative evening. First we attended a lecture on Darfur. Darfur is one of many global issues that I have been trying to ignore because I feel like I care about too many things and don’t do enough for any of them and I don’t want to add another burden to myself, but it takes very little information or intelligence to understand what’s going on there and how really terrible it is. We questioned the strength of the speakers’ solutions regarding Darfur (essentially: pressure China to stop funding Sudanese armies by buying Sudanese oil and selling them weapons, by boycotting the Olympics. We didn’t think boycotting the Olympics would help much). Then we drank lots of wine. Then we went out with some people and drank some more. Then we went back to Alex’s place and drank even more and had a very long and interesting discussion. Although there are many terrible people in Alabama and high school sucked there is something about being with old (nice) high school people from AL that is different from being around other people. Like you share a common trauma, a common history on top of which other stories can be built, but the foundation is really deep. I feel similarly about my friends from Buffalo– for better or for worse I’ve known them 10 years and we share that history. Even if I go years without speaking to someone, the history is there and it’s easy to catch up. There’s nothing as grounding and comforting as an old friend, except maybe an old friend with a bottle of wine.

I had another interview and I have another one Friday, but since I’m planning to leave by the end of May I don’t feel a lot of pressure to get a job here– I’ve just started looking for jobs in Buffalo. Since it’s so cheap to live in Buffalo there’s not a lot of pressure to get a good job there, I just need some job to pay the bills. I’m living (uncomfortably) on $1500-$1800/mo here (rent + food + transportation + CC bills) but I could live comfortably on $1k/mo there.


About Jessica Smith
This entry was posted in art, Buffalo, family, job, moving. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Many things have happened since

  1. Dear Jessica,
    Just an FYI – I think the Costume Institute there is doing a Superhero costume exhibit – wish I could be there!
    Good luck with everything!

  2. t. says:

    are you going to buffalo to do library science there?


  3. @jhg oh cool! i know someone who’d love that.

    @tom no, i’m just going back to buffalo b/c nyc is too stressful and expensive and as long as i’m going to be broke, buffalo’s a much better place to do it in. if i decide to go back to school for the MLS or anything else then i’ll decide that later.

  4. jdlarge08 says:

    I discovered your blog in the wordpress features panel for the day, just after my second viewing of the Redford-Streep-Cruise flic Lions for Lambs. I really must thank you for it, as it gave a much more positive turn to my thoughts, and reminded me how much there is for older generations to learn from younger ones about the things that are most important.

    That you are a poet, and deeply involved in a poetry community on and offline is the other reason I’m contacting you. I would be really pleased if you would look at some of the video movies I’ve uploaded to YouTube recently (my user name: jakvid) and comment as articulately about anything there as you have about your day in the galleries of NYC.

    I would also be grateful to get any suggestions from you about how to more effectively use my blog to promote poets, poetry, peace, progressive politics and anything else you might like to (starting with any letter).

    See, I just turned 64, and I have a really clear sense of the things I don’t know. Some of them I can learn from you. The blog is also at wordpress, and I am jdlarge08, alias The Familographer.

    Good luck with your shift to Buffalo, and with all of the choices you make in your life. and thanks again.

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