You can read my arts reviews for the Willamette Week here.


On Artists and Criticism

To make something is to lose something. Whether an artist is sketching, writing, composing, directing, or choreographing, she edits, she throws out, she kills her darlings. (Or, more often than not, someone comes along and murders them for her.) Artists are always attending to loss. They are in perpetual mourning, and we should treat them accordingly.

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The Mansion

The words are in my brain and then they are on my tongue and I never remember moving them from one place to the other. But it happens maybe half a dozen times a day. Fuck my life.

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Art Is More Important Now Than Ever—And We Can All Do Better

When people’s lives are being threatened because of the color of their skin or the way they pray, when people are having bottles broken over their noses because of whom they love, when families have to worry about being separated by mass deportation, when swastikas are being etched on walls, when nothing feels safe anymore, it’s easy to think that art doesn’t matter.

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Progress

Nestled on twenty-six acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is an artist residency that I am calling home for five weeks. The property includes housing and studios for three artists, a library, a wooded trail, a waterfall, five goats, five cows, and a tail-less cat befittingly named Bob. The accommodations are modest but thoughtful: mine is a 300-square-foot cottage with a bed, a bathroom, a writing desk that looks out onto the trees, a dining room table, and an abbreviated kitchen with a dorm-sized fridge that I have stuffed to bursting with familiar foodstuffs from home and grits that were ground yesterday in the 170-year old gristmill down the road. Everything here is just down the road.

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On the Big Screen in Onalaska

We are at a meditation center for a ten-day silent retreat. I use the word retreat so that people will get a sense of what I mean, but everyone here calls it “a course” because it is terribly hard work. We are up at 4 am, in bed by 9:30pm, with ten hours of seated meditation in between. In theory, one is supposed to be meditating the entire seventeen-and-a-half hours, but this is difficult because one likes to nap.

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