Thursday, September 21, 2017

You Need Not Worry About Your Future

It seems so basic to remember that unexpected change can come in many forms. It can be positive and then oh so brutal. Over the last 10 months I've done my best to roll with the decision to leave my rural middle Tennessee home. I packed everything up, left it in a storage unit and left with no direction, not knowing what was next for me. These past months are a blur of long drives, planes and beautiful faces, it's wild to reflect that since the end of November 2016 I have basically been in constant motion. Motion that was both physical and mental, traveling from once place to another with my brain working extra overtime running in so many directions. The entire time I was accompanied by my constant inner dialog of non linear thoughts that all led back to “where should I live and what the hell am I doing?”

California finds

Thankfully the universe had given me enough freelance work in my back pocket to work from the road and make ends meet. I also made the decision to take this unexpected houseless time to visit folks and places in my life that made me feel good. To take this time to seek out people in my life who have provided both inspiration and support. It’s amazing what presented itself, I’ve never taken care of so many pets, taken advantage of so many guest rooms, I had a artist teaching residency where I made zine's with 5th graders for 3 weeks, got to absorb the beauty of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts as the writer in residence, and the most comical memory was in December when I flew a good friends cat to Barcelona. The things that present themselves when you are available are vast. 

I consider myself a fairly high functioning human, even under stress. It was hard to admit I felt lost and confused and it was humbling to be reminded that it is okay to ask for help and to accept it gracefully. During this time I was able to rely on my widespread community and my gratitude for those who I spent time with during these months is immense. I got so much quality time with so many people I’m usually rushed to see. I was able to finally meet so many folks that I had only known from the internet. I was able to reconnect with people who have been in my life for 20+ years, see their kids, cook meals together, take walks and explore. But the entire time I was notably impatient about healing my heart and really irritated that the clarity and answers I was looking for weren’t coming faster. Being rational and simultaneously depressed is a funny annoying mix.

I was confident from the second I left there would be a AH-HA moment during all my traveling. I was sure I would figure out where I should settle next, and it didn’t come. I kept moving. I applied for a few jobs and waited. I kept traveling. I got a few rejection letters and then finally some interviews. This isn’t a poor me story, even though I was feeling wildly challenged with life I am aware of the huge privilege I am living with. My intention of sharing this is to have transparency and work on being open about the reality of my personal experience and the continual work it take to care for oneself. I have a lot of feelings about how our lives are ingested through the filter of social media. Things can looked charmed, they may even be charmed but still underlying darker story lines can be at play. My work within the "art world" keeps me online and engaging through challenging personal times and my passion for people who make art, objects and lives that I respect will always drive me forward. It’s what keeps me on track and alive. Somehow this seems connected to this story and important to share.

It all boils down to time and patience, the big news I was able to announce this week is I finally got resolution to where I will land next. I am so proud to share that I will be joining an amazing team of humans at the John MichaelKohler Arts Center as assistant curator. I couldn’t be more pleased to be working for an amazing institution that has had such an impact on my life. This place is literally one of my favorites in the entire world, their collection is unprecedented.

I am beyond excited to reconnect with my Wisconsin community that is really my family. I am looking forward to finding dance classes to move around in. Trails to hike by the lake. I am invested in figuring out where I will be volunteering and how to engage politically, finally stationary and able to show up in a way that I haven’t been able to this year. I can’t wait to nest, to find my local queer community. For the first time in my life, a month before I turn 40 I will be working for an institution full time. You really do never know what your life path will look like. Reminds me to never say never because if you would of asked me 3 years ago if I would move back to Wisconsin, the answer would of NOPE. 

Summer Solstice, Deer Isle Maine 


Perhaps you want to listen to a caffeinated & unedited conversation I recorded in Oakland this past spring with the lovely Marlee Grace (formally of Have Company and currently doing many amazing things like Personal Practice) We cover a lot of ground. Want some unsolicited advice? Careful what you drink before you get talking while being recorded. LISTEN HERE. Released September 21, 2017

Opening September 22nn at the Houston Center for ContemporaryCraft, FOR HIRE: Contemporary Sign Painting in America. An exhibition I co-curated with Sam Macon, join us October 14th for a screening of Sign Painters and a panel discussion.

November 6th I will be doing a short screening and talk at the Milwaukee LGBTQ Film Festival about my friend Merril Mushroom. I will be showing her 1968 wedding video “Queering a Ritual” and discussing her play Bar Dykes, I republished last year.

November 20th I turn 40, if you want to make a birthday gesture I'd love it if you make a donation to a nonprofit such as the Trans Assistance Project, the Southern Poverty Law Center or a rad spot of your choosing.

PS: Give a holler if you are ever up in Sheboygan.