(Subtitled: All the things bouncing around in my brain you didn’t ask me about but I’m telling you anyway.)
What a weird day/week/month/year this life has been.
I know, Captain Obvious in the house.
So far we’re holding steady, staying home, washing hands, cleaning, schooling, working, strategically planning grocery outings to avoid as many people as possible.
In between all the work of living I’ve been art journaling. Here’s a quick tour of what I’ve been up to. Welcome to my brain.
My state, NJ, has over 13,000 cases and it seems like that number doubles every two days. What a thing.
What. A. Thing.
I started being concerned about this whole mess back in February, before we’d even had our first case in NJ. By the end of February, I was popping extra supplies into my shopping cart – ramen, Pringles, Oreos, ice cream, bandaids and tissues. By early March, my hands were raw and our light switch plates and door handles glistened. Now, at the end of March, we’ve been home (aside from necessary shopping) since March 12 when Smalls’ school closed.
If you follow me on Instagram (@jensalittleloopy), you might have noticed that my art journaling has gotten a little more complex and chaotic recently. I’ve been letting things bubble up on the page, which is different from my usual approach – choosing a direction for a spread and working toward it. This new way is harder and feels like working backwards for me, but when it’s all done I feel better so I guess that’s how it’s supposed to work?
A lot of the techniques I’m using right now are inspired by this book, which I recommend highly. I love all of the richly layered, hidden details in Rakefet Hadar’s art journals – every time you look at one of her visual journal spreads you take away something new. This book is different from most other art journaling books out there because it is heavier on discovery than artistic techniques. Hadar says in her book that the point of making a visual journal isn’t making eye-pleasing art, but rather what you learn from the process of making connections.
This spread was mostly made from things I plucked out of my scrap tin in a handmade journal made from overused manila folders.
I’ve also been playing around with collage, but what I come up with tends to make me angry so I have to wait for some calm headspace to work in that medium. Our federal government is being incredibly disappointing right now, par for the course over the last four years. It seems like no matter what, money is always the primary consideration.
I don’t mind being socially distanced so much as I’m an introverted homebody. The part that bugs me is that I *can’t* go out if I want to if that makes any sense? Also, I miss digging around in thrift shops. But we did go to a nice park on the Delaware River the other day and took our puppers for a walk in the woods today.
This was the first time I worked in my Dina Wakely Media Journal. I dig it, though I’m not sure what to do with the burlap pages. I feel like I might skip those rather than get stuck on them, but then I’ll have a bunch of one page spreads. Plenty of time to figure it out. Have you tried it? What do you do with the burlap pages?
I just don’t know. Maybe there are cosmic bunnies being egged on by mischievous bears who are pushing buttons and turning our world upside down. I wish they’d stop.
(Yo it’s cool, I know that’s not a real thing no matter how legit it sounds.)
Funny thing it took someone way smarter than me explaining for me to *get.* People weren’t hoarding food and TP, they were stocking up for two weeks as they were told to. The problem wasn’t the people, it was the supply chain breaking down. By pushing the narrative that we should blame each other, our attention was diverted from the root cause (lack of preparedness) and focused on being pissed off at each other, hence the long lines at gun shops.
This sort of thinking makes it easy for systems and industries and governments to continue on, unchanged, without being held accountable.
We can do better than blaming our neighbors. I’d like to think by now toilet paper and all the rest is readily available at the supermarket, I guess I’ll find out in a few days.
As I’ve been tearing through the house cleaning, I’ve been stumbling across lots of Smalls’ little drawings and scribbles. I’ve kept them all.
And made copies of some of my favorites so I can use them over and over again.
He caught me using some of his doodles this morning and offered up a treasure trove of doodles I didn’t even know about!
I wish I could escape the 21st century. This century sucks.
I mean if you were a dog pressed into service to feed tea and soup to a cat, you’d probably feel some kind of way too.
But I guess we’re kind of stuck here in this place and in this time. It’s weird, and it sucks, and it’s going to suck even worse. We don’t know when it will stop being this way.
I was talking to my mom the other night and asked her when I would ever feel safe again. She said when she was younger they used to hear the numbers of service members killed in Vietnam on the news every night. They’d watch, helplessly, as those numbers climbed every day. The number watching we’re doing now, for her, recalls that time. She said for years after the war ended, even if only in the back of her mind, she’d be thinking about that death toll climbing.
I feel like that right now. Our governor does an update at 2 pm each day. I look to see if the number of infected has leveled out yet. I look to see how many are in my county, my neighborhood, my sons’ county and their neighborhoods, my parents’ neighborhoods, my grandmother’s nursing home, around my office. If the number stays small enough, it means I’m safe and the people I love are safe for another day. It’s a false sense of security, but it keeps me from waking up screaming every day.
The number never stays small enough.
I didn’t mean to get sucked down that path, but there it is.
My paints and the acorn and butternut squash I’m cooking are calling me.
So I’ll leave you with two things:
- Back in November before *waves hands* all of this I wrote a little post about a really important question you should ask yourself when you feel overwhelmed by life: Given the situation, what would you like to create? Maybe your answer right now is absolutely fucking nothing, and that’s ok. Be gentle with yourself. We’re living through traumatic times, and it’s ok to take a nap/binge shows/eat all the snacks/whatever your favorite socially-distanced coping mechanism is.
- Make this for lunch. I’d been wanting to try this recipe for ages but was always “too busy” to spend the extra few minutes. Turns out it takes the same amount of time but is a zillion times better so now it’s my go-to lunch. Healthy? Nope. Who cares?
Take good care and I hope you and everyone you love are in good health and good spirits.