Saturday, November 18, 2006

November self-portrait




Saturday starts with a white sky and clean hair. Colors leap out from the November fade. White sky. Grey pavement, the bare limbs of trees, the bricks of the building opposite, which seemed drab and almost colorless in the summer, are a rich red. I take a self-portrait because I cannot write and one has to post something before the rescue teams are dispatched. The photo turns out well. It is not a soft expression – it is a November expression - the red bricks, red hair and green sweater are November too. I like it – if it’s not a soft expression, it’s a typical one – a suggestion of defensiveness and skepticism as I face my own camera. Serious woman. I am more serious than you might think.

Or maybe I don’t know what you think or what impression I give out here.

Lunch with Weedy, a little trip to a new store selling stone beads. The beads are overpriced and the stock is sparse. A beautiful Indian woman, the wife, sits facing the window, making jewelry. Her husband, careful not to push, but proud of the store and the stock, shows me his best turquoise. I buy two beads at ten times the price I should pay. I succumb to their eager politeness and obvious dreams of a new business in a new country succeeding. “Lady Bountiful,” I say to Weedy, “and when I’m eating beans next week…” Well, when I’m eating beans next week, I can consider the fact that no good deed goes unpunished.

I tell Weedy a recent dream: I am standing in front of a mirror posing…arranging and rearranging a beautiful long silk scarf. It’s very teenage. I’m trying different looks out planning to charm the Sc…the love interest in my life. There are sliding glass patio doors at the back of the room and someone is there. Very carefully, I back up to the wall beside the doors, where I see a man pointing a gun at me. He takes aim and shoots. He misses me narrowly and I hit the floor, trying to stay down and get out of range. He keeps shooting, over and over and I’m thinking, Jesus! He’s got a clear shot. There’s no way I can keep dodging the bullets.

Weedy shudders. “Jesus.”

“Naw,” I say, “It freaked me out at first but it’s just one of my internal selves not liking the one at the mirror.” A spat in the ranks. The everlasting internal riot of conflicting personality fragments. I am thankful to KD for sharing the voice dialogue perspective on dreams. That one once would have made me nervous for days.

After lunch, we hit the wine store and supermarket and I pick up the laughable list of groceries I think will sustain me for another week, and later manage to settle down to writing the Dreaded Submission for Very Prestigious Specialty Magazine. During the week, I’ve actually burned pictures of my work onto a CD – a feat of great daring for me. (Here’s how: you put in a blank CD – and some software comes up and tells you what to do. Then you take the CD out. My problem was the part before putting in the CD, when every instinct told me I would manage to blue screen my computer – somehow).

The dreaded submission consists of a tedious list of techniques, materials, sizes and photo credits to accompany the CD, a “career overview,” and the loathsome “artist’s statement.” I write the last thing over and over. Then I write it over again. I add and embellish. I am now designing artworks on paper that I will be lucky to live to find the time to make. In fact, by the time I finish talking about these imagined artworks, I feel that I’ve actually made them already, so I’d be repeating myself if…

Saturday now. Black sky, blue robe, tired eyes.

November.

15 comments:

Yasser Rahman said...

hmm, the monthly potrait is a very nice idea!

and whats that blue thing by your left cheek ? An earring ?

LJ said...

Hi Yasser.
It's a long beaded earring, blue & green stripes of beads. You just see the edge of it.
I'll check to see what your November looks like, shall I?

herhimnbryn said...

Lovely lj. Literally you are lovely.

LJ said...

Thank you, Herhimnbryn. It's one of those accidentally flattering ones. (I have a stock of the other kind too - mouth open, eyes shut, dorky as hell)I like the colors and the expression. The expression is so much more mine than most photos. It's the Saturn Return face, I think.

Darkmind said...

That is a very nice shot. Every photo I take of myself comes out blurred or is half in the frame or something. I never do self portraits on film, though I have done various paintings and drawings. But it is nice to change up the mug shots every now and then. The last one was kind of submissive with you looking down and this one seems more bold and direct. Speaking of changes, I think you changed your 'random question' on your profile, but the old answer is still there. Just so ya know...

phlegmfatale said...

Ah, but November looks so lovely on you, darling.

herhimnbryn said...

Me again. Were you posting as I commented? I didn't see all this!
I will return to read and absorb,,,, right now dinner calls.

LJ said...

Hi DM...Yeah. It's more the mood right now - direct. And I laughed when I saw the question with the old answer. Blogger was acting like an ass when I did it. At first, when I changed the profile pic, it showed on the main blog, but if you went in to the profile, it was the old picture. Are you planning to post some of your drawings and paintings, BTW? I'd like to to see them.

Thanks PF - and clean hair! We all know how important the hair is.

H...I added this later. Seemed lame to just post the pic - and I've been so consumed with paperwork & must-dos lately. Writing exists in a whole other part of my brain that I was having trouble accessing, but I decided to forge ahead regardless and put in a short entry...

beadbabe49 said...

Lovely photo and much more the way I "see" you in your writing....ah, yes, the dreaded submission stuff...it's no accident they're called "submissions"!

LJ said...

Guffaw! Geez, I never thought of the play on words, BB. Too funny. I have to go back and read what Marko said too, about coming up with something and then defending it for the rest of your life.
This a.m. I got two long blathering pages of "statement" down to three paragraphs - and didn't feel quite so insecure about the whole thing. It's in the envelope - for better or worse. Aw hell - they'll like the work or not, right? Either way, it won't matter when I'm dead.
And yeah. That picture is much more me.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh Hells' teeth, that dream lj. How wonderful you were able to interpret it.

November where you are sounds good to me. The heat of summer gone but not quite the depths of winter.

Your portrait is Woman of the Autumn wrapped in green and russet! :)

Teri said...

beautiful portrait! that is more how i see you, too, but with a twinkle in yor eye and one side of your lips turned up in a wry grin.

I love:

"the laughable list of groceries I think will sustain me for another week".

I SO often shop with that list...most of the time it's in my head, which is even more laughable.

LJ said...

Oh I twinkle here and there, Teri. Just not on that morning. And I always shop with that list - or the other one, the list that includes lots of vegetables I will compost in the fridge. Fridge composting is one of my finest talents. Shame that it wasn't cooking!

phlegmfatale said...

That bullet dodging dream reminds me of some of my own. But the clean hair makes everythign alright. Even specious spelling. I hate when I feel like my hair is dirty and stinky, even if no one else on earth can smell it. I can.

zhoen said...

Your coloring is so vivid, I'd have been tempted to hypersaturate that photo, push it into abstraction. Lovely.