Paraphrase Dickinson is speaking about two aspects of pain, its timelessness and its irresistible dominance. The poem is structured by references to time (the past in lines 1-4; the future, line 5; the past, the present, and the future, lines 6-8). Lines 1-4: Pain is so overwhelming that it blots out our sense of ever having experienced anything but pain; the sufferer remembers the past as having consisted only of pain. Lines 5-8: In the grip of pain, we see only continuing and relentless pain in the future; our lives and identities have become consumed by pain. Our lives, we ourselves, are only pain. [via]
Oh dear, this poem is so very much than that for people like me. Even in year 7 it is still so very astounding to me— a pain that literally has no future but itself, a pain that is so awful it never ceases. I have been making pieces centering around this poem for awhile now, they will never truly hold up. It seems it is my life’s goal to make something that can be a mere creative echo to Miss Dickinson’s poetry on pain.
Now, theres a fucking funeral in my brain. To the work I flee.
“I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!
It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.”
"It gnaws at her, I’m sure of it, but slowly, patiently: she take the upper hand, she is able neither to console herself nor abandon herself to her suffering. She thinks about it a little bit, a very little bit, now and again she passes it on. Especially when she is with peple, because they console her and also because it comforts her a little to talk about it with poise, with an air of giving advice. When she is alone in the rooms I hear her humming to keep herself from thinking. But morose all day, suddenly weary and sullen.
She suffers a miser. She must be miserly with her pleasures, as well. I wonder if sometimes she doesn’t wish she were free of this monotonous sorrow, of these mutterings which start as soon as she stops singing, if she doesn’t wish to suffer once and for all, to drown herself in despair. In any case, it would be impossible for her: she is bound.”
I am listening to the Execution of All Things on my headphones and thinking of the time when you had really discovered that album were so incredibly in love with Spectacular Views. I had been listening to the album for years, and I think it was one of those things you laughed at me for at. Although you had your guilty pleasures, your affinity for No Doubt (both early and at this point, Gwen Stefani’s breakthrough solo album), you rolled your eyes at my connection to indie bands. I think because for you, classical music ended all, it was the most beautiful, complex, and worthy- I know you looked up to that as a standard. I however, at the budding at of 16, looked up to Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst. Their songs to me were epic, to end all.
We would drive around Montclair in circles listening to Spectacular Views on repeat—singing and singing at the tip top of our lungs, blowing out the speakers in the Honda you borrowed from your mom. We laughed, I mean I laughed so much then… I was always surruonded by people who whether or not they were good for me, whether or not we made the right choices, they made me laugh in a way I just don’t anymore. I have my friends, we mostly talk about how shitty it is to be 23, at this odd turning point in your life, how everything has caught up to us, our constant need to get fucked, how every day seems truly fucking awful.
I remember having these feelings, these utterly catastophic feelings when I was in highschool, but I didn’t sit around meddling about it. Yes, I wrote, I cried, I pondered how much better my life would be if X happened, if I had clear skin, if I would ever make it doing what I loved, if I was an awful person for sleeping with X or Y or Z just for the attention, sucking up whatever color powder was put in front of me to feel something— anything— that wasn’t this. Whether “that” was being 17 or dealing with depression, chronic daily headache, lyme disease, or a broken heart- seriously, in those days they all blend together. Doctors, boys, drugs, pain. Now, I sit around and contemplate, I look at my ceiling for hours, I watch reruns of TV shows on DVDs in 6 hour incremints. I have people who care about me, I have exciting, uncretainty of the world happening around me, but I don’t laugh in the way you used to make me laugh. I don’t sing at the tip top of my lungs, and ceratainly not with an open road ahead of me.
Being in the city for so long makes me miss things like that desperately. And I will probably be in and out of cities forever, because the suburbs do really drive me crazy. They are just as claustrophobic as the buildings and the limits of city lines. But its not just the city I suppose, I guess its just that even if I do move the country, where I can drive and drive for hundreds of miles, listening to With Arms Outstretched, I will never ever have the kinds of friendships I used to. That, in a way is a good thing— we were all out for our own self destruction at 17, 18, 19. I will never ever feel that vunerable and invicible at the same time. Today it feels like I haven’t laughed that hard in a hundred years, the kind where it feels like this happy wonderful explosion in your gut- those situations, that silliness, the thrill seems lost indefinitely. Its sad when it is a surprise to find my body laughing, or singing for that matter, on any given day at this time.
"A dozen or so years ago I decided to experiment with the cost of my work based on how long it took me to make it. I wasn’t going to consider materials or thinking time, just the hours I physically worked. I had for a while been selling work in galleries and had done many commissions, so I already had an idea of what people would pay for it.
I usually work on a bunch of pieces at the same time so I hung up a time-clock (a piece of scrap wood and a pencil) for each piece. Before I walked out of the studio every night, I would put down a hatch mark for each hour spent. When the time came to price the work I counted the hatch marks that by that time had completely covered the small wood blocks. I decided to give myself minimum wage, something that someone who works in retail or maybe tears movie ticket stubs might make.
…I am of the mind that you can put any price on a work, but until someone actually gives you the money its value is not established.”
We were talking about this idea briefly in my Gender Images in Media class today- mostly about strip clubs being portrayed [in movies] as a scene of howling men and the male gaze. Paglia basically broke it down to “the male gaze is bullshit. Those women rule over any and all men in a place like that” and partially that is true, it is men at their feet, staring in awe, and those women have them wrapped around their finger, legs, and breasts. I knew a girl who had about 10 parking tickets paid in full by a man she didn’t know because she was scantily clad and danced on the weekends. Its reassuring to know we can seduce and manipulate men, but I don’t really think its the finest of ideas.
I don’t identify as a feminist, first it is a loaded word, worn with age, second, it doesn’t hold truth- I belong to generation of women that is passively floating, disconnected from any part of real feminism. So it is hard for me to try and speculate where I stand on topics like pornographic imagery. It is so incredibly subjective, I think sex is healthy and wonderful. I watch porn. It would be so hypocritical to oppose. But then I cringe when I see these disgusting advertisements online, one so blatantly saying “create your ideal woman”, others hold the pathetic attempt to lure you in with “underage girlz”. Disgusting, and clearly not helping the attitudes fueled by media constructions. I say to myself, this is crossing the line, this is gross, this is went it becomes wrong. But in my head, don’t I go and look for that “ideal woman” to think about? Its just sex, yea. But someone is that girl, she is an object.