Scraps of work

IWL piece is turned in and I’m enjoying an afternoon of breathing space and calm. In the morning I drove to Berkeley and back through an intermittance of silver drizzle and sunshine dazzle, and that felt just right. This week has been a flurry of thinking, writing, painting, editing, reading, and communing with my fellow artists from the workshop. I have learned so much from them and their work and camaraderie. The anthology is going to be awesome.

I have a lot of thoughts post-IWL, but I’m going to save articulating them for another day. For now, I’ll share some small work from recent weeks.

First, a couple of sketches I did on Monday, while hanging out at an insanely beautiful house on Bernal Heights (one of my classmates was house-sitting).

Sleeping kitty

Sleeping kitty

This is the sweet, fat, grey-and-white kitty who lives in the house. She let me pick her up and hold her fuzzy bulk, though as she rested in my arms her tail thwacked my abdomen warningly. As I sketched, she offered her throat to be petted, purred, then bit my wrist and hissed at me. Later she came back for more. I loved her.

View from Bernal Heights

View from Bernal Heights, SF

This is the view from the office window. There’s a photo on flickr that shows the real-life view from a very similar vantage point. I got tired after doing just the buildings you see in the sketch, so I left it at that. I’m sure there is a quicker and more sweeping way to depict the scene than my approach of drawing every single building, but I wanted to nod to the tiny, impermanent, toylike appearance of the neighborhood from so high up. It’s funny; when I first started doing watercolor, I felt the lack of precision, and now that I’ve been mostly painting, I’m shocked at how slow it is to draw with pencil!

And here’s a freewrite I did while with two classmates, in response to the prompt, “Where I come from.”

I come from my mom and dad; I learned that very early. Apparently I asked, long before my mom was ready to explain any such thing to her first child; I was kindergarten age and Mommy had just given me a shower, and as she was drying me off in the dark dressing area outside my parents’ bathroom, she told me how it worked. Her English wasn’t as precise back then, and for a long time afterward I thought babies came from a process called sax.

She gave me a brief performance of the pointer finger of her right hand going into an “o” she made by curling her left thumb and fingers into a circle. It was the man’s “peanut” — our family word for it, which made perfect sense given what my cousin’s looked like — going into the woman’s “va-geena,” which is I think how my mom pronounced it. I knew I wasn’t shaped like a round hole, and from what I had seen of my cousin’s peanut, the only way you would get that into any kind of hole would be to forcibly insert it, so I concluded that having sax was a very technical act that men and women did, standing up (because how on earth else would that little peanut fit into a crack?), when they decided they wanted to have a baby.

In mild curiosity I asked what would happen if I and my best boy friend tried it.

“Nothing,” Mommy replied.

“There wouldn’t be a baby?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

“We’re too little,” I decided.

Mommy agreed.

From then on I had zero interest in sax.