Your friend LP

Updated every Monday

Short sketchbook update

Finally finishing up a project last week gave me such a boost that I decided to continue working on my other long overdue projects. The first one that I am “tackling” is my Sketchbook Project 2016. The deadline has already wooshed by (15 April), so there’s no hurry, although I am aiming to have it done by the end of this week. I had already chosen the theme Here & Now, which turns out to be very appropriate right now. Pictures of the process and the finished project will of course be posted here.

Keep writing postcards project

I have been subscribed to Hope’s Keep Writing Postcards project for a while now. Here is how it works: every  month, Hope sends you a letterpressed postcard she created herself. One half of it you keep, the other half is for you to fill in and send back. There’s usually a prompt of sorts that you have to respond to.

Wanting to start up my creative life again, I figured that filling in the small heap of postcards I still had lying around “to be done AMS (= After My Studies)” would be a good start. Turns out I still had at least half a year of postcards to return… Oops!

CardsThat’s at least 6 months of postcards for ya…

So today I went through them all, put them in a big envelope and sent them out to Oakland. To not make this post ridiculously photo heavy, I’ve selected two cards out of the bunch to show you.

First up, the Holiday Letter card, where I answered the questions first on a piece of paper, then filled them in on the backside of the card:

Holiday cardYup, that’s pretty much what my actual Holiday Letter would read like!

The other card was more of a meditation exercise:

60 secondsNow you know what happened in 60 random seconds of my life today: not much.

More cards from other peeps can be seen on the Keep Writing Postcards Tumblr.

Nothing to say

Ever since grade school, when my teacher (for those who follow my Dutch blog, yes, it was the same asshat teacher as in this story) told me he thought my “write and draw every day” project was “forced”, I have gone against the notion of “art and creativity are ~inspired~ activities that come to you” or similar crap: it’s work, people. If I would only put pen to paper if I was feeling ~inspired~, I would hardly ever write anything ever. Or do anything else, really. I mean, despite people thinking otherwise, I am not joking when I say my (oh, how I hate that word) hobbies are sleeping, showering and doing as little as possible.

That is why I had planned to get back to my “work” ASAP: I am always afraid that once I stop doing things, I will realise that it is all futile and why bother and just quit. See also: how I got through most of my studies. Or my life, really. Sad, I know. So when the deadline for The Sketchbook Project 2016 came up, my first instinct was to do what I always do: just go for it and finish it, in any way possible.

However, thankfully/unfortunately, I am not sure which yet, my current situation made it impossible for me to do so: not only was I physically tired (visiting on average 4 doctors a week for 6 weeks will do that to you), but I was also emotionally/mentally exhausted and on top of that, had nothing to say. And this time it was not the regular “I have nothing to say but if I keep pushing I’ll come up with something”: having seen nothing but doctors, hospitals and bus 172 for weeks on end apparently does not make for creative fuel. So I let the deadline fly by.

That was almost a month ago. I am hoping that, now that the doctor’s visits are slowly becoming less frequent and I am starting to slowly feel better physically and mentally (because despite my tendency to always go “I’m ok! I’m fine! Nothing to see here!”, I am really having a hard time with, well, everything in the last few weeks), I will soon regain my “something to say”.

So now what?

When I was admitted to hospital, I figured this was it: I had a hard time speaking, could only see half of what I was supposed to see and was told that what I had thought was a two day migraine, had actually been a stroke – in short: I was f*cked.

“Once your blood pressure and other physical ailments are in check, you will have to go to a rehab facility to learn how to live with this” was what they told me. The only thing I could think at that time, was “well, nobody will ever be able to tell me I am a lazy person who pretends to be sick and who should just suck it up anymore – I had a stroke, I no longer have to prove myself now!” Yup, this is kinda sad. Which in turn is an understatement.

Of course, I was beyond relieved when after a few days I quite magically regained my speech, sight, and also my senses. But I was still convinced that I wasn’t going to finish my BA or do Anything Ever In Life Again. I figured that, while doctors might be convinced that my cognitive abilities were not affected in the long term, the fact that I didn’t understand evidentiality was a sign that my ~academic career~ was over. Until I realised that the week before I went to the hospital, I also didn’t really understand evidentiality – because I just don’t understand evidentiality, really.😀

Then I thought about how much life I had wasted already trying to get this BA, and how awful I would feel if I spent another 3 months on it, and then died within the year. Yes, I am quite dramatic. Apart from the fact that – if things continue the way they are going and nothing freaky/accidental happens of course – this “me dying within the year”-thing is not very likely, I then also envisioned a worse situation: what my life would be like if I keep living for another 5, 10, 15, etcetera years, but DON’T finish my degree, and DON’T go to Kingston for my MA. That would actually be worse. And then I had to quit one of my medications due to side effects and started worrying about how I am supposed to study while guineapigging (being a Zebra, it might take a while to find the right combination of medications) because how am I supposed to study while in pain and… aaaaaaaaargh.

So currently I am in (thankfully less) pain, worried about my health and my future, and totally unsure what to do. So I figured I might as well try and rewrite that proposal for the umpteenth time this week. As they say in Dutch: “you never know, a cow might catch a hare” meaning “the unlikely could happen”. It wouldn’t be the first time that it did. *wishes for the unlikely to happen*

 

 

Exhibits

In the last few weeks, I have visited a couple of exhibitions. The first one (pre-hospital) was the “David Bowie is” one at the Groninger Museum. I had wanted to see it in London in 2013, but was unable to, since I was travelling to Berkeley that summer. *coughgodIsoundlikeanassholecough* Thankfully, I then learned that it was going to travel to Groningen, which is about 2 1/2 hours away from where I am, so as soon as the tickets went on sale, I snipered two of them: one for me and one for The Big Kahuna, aka my mom. This was sometime in November, way before he and Clark made a pact to leave this earth on sorta kinda the same day and go chill out together somewhere. File under: ways in which I try to cope with Clark’s death.

Anyway, enough about me. It was not allowed to take pictures, so the only picture I have is of the David Bowie cake type thing TBK had after the show:

Bowie cakeHow awesome? So awesome!

The next exhibition I dragged myself and TBK to, was the Covert to Overt – photography of Obey Giant by Jon Furlong one at the Melkweg Galery. I was fresh out of the hospital and too tired to live, but since this show was only going to be on for three days, I schlepped myself down there and took some pictures: click! More info about this exhibit can be found here.

And last but not least: Catwalk at the Rijksmuseum! Info about tickets and such can be found on their website, it is still on until the 16 of May. My pictures, with relevant and not so relevant captions, can be found here. Enjoy!

Unholy laughter

A thing that has most definitely not changed around here, is my inability to judge how long it takes me to select pictures and write captions. Having shuffeled (you really can’t call it walking) to not one but two exhibitions in the last week, I had hoped to share a couple of shots I’ve taken, but that’s still a work in progress that I’m hoping to get done sometime tomorrow.

To make up for this, have a video that has, since my introduction to it in the summer of 2011, been my go to in case of feeling Le Miserable. Yes, I think this is funny to the level of literal tears streaming down my face. Yes, you can judge me for basically having the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy, I judge myself for that too on occasion. Usually when I’m not semi-dying of laughter at this video:

 

*brb forming a band again*

Hi! I’m back!

The peeps who (also) follow me on Instagram already know why I have been absent here in the last few weeks: on March 1, I woke up with the mother of all headaches. It was so bad I had problems seeing, reading and even speaking, so I thought it was a migraine, but it turned out to have been a very light stroke caused by my pre-existing blood pressure issues. At least, that’s their working diagnosis for now: being a zebra, this could of course still change.

I spent 8 days in the hospital, where they stuck all kinds of needles in me and put me on half a pharmacy’s worth of medication to lower my ridiculously high (at it highest 243/185!) bloodpressure, which in turn resulted in me being able to see and speak again like I used to. The relief I felt when I woke up and saw my world was “normal” again was almost religious, and I am not much of a spiritual person.

I am now recuperating at home, still on half a pharmacy’s worth of medication. Apart from post-hospital check ups, they’ll also be performing tests on me to see how my heart and kidneys are doing, as both had quite a beating and are doing so so, which worries me more than I let on. Simultaneously, they are trying to find out why this happened again, as not only can bloodpressures this high not supposed to happen in general, they are most definitely not supposed to happen when you’re on blood pressure medication, which I was.

Thankfully, medicine has advanced significantly in the last 8 years, so it could be that this time, they will actually find an underlying syndrome or disease that explains my issues. And while I’d of course prefer to be healthy, since I am not, I would prefer hearing “You have [insert disease], which we will treat like this” than “There most definitely is something wrong with you, but we have no idea what, so we’ll just treat you trial and error style”, which I have been told for way too long now.

Regarding this blog and my other online hangouts, I am slowly but surely getting back to my regular posting schedule, but if I am missing in action once in a while, at least you’ll know why.:-)

Zine/sketchbook news

Finally, after about 8 million years, some zine news: I have resumed work on The Wreckage, zine #2 in ~the trilogy~! Having read through all the material, I have distilled which topics are going to be featured in what order. Well, sorta kinda, I assume some switching around will happen, but at least I have a general idea. In the coming week(s), I will be editing down the heap of words into readable “chapters”, and then hopefully get to the layout phase and finally finish it and move on to the final installment of ~the trilogy~.

I am trying to get them done quickly not only because I have been working on them for so long and need to get the momentum back, but also because I still have three different Sketchbook Project projects lying around that I would like to finish up. Only one of them has a deadline, thankfully. The biggest challenge will be finding the folder in which I put them (and the notes/ideas I already had for them), as my house is still a lot on the messy side and I seem to have misplaced… everything. I will of course, as always, keep you updated.😀

About cats

The wonderful combo of Post Performance Depression, The Sick, and The Sad (RIP Clark) kept me in bed the last week and a half, but today I’m slowly getting back to my life. Since apparently everybody including my thesis advisor is sick, I have not started work on that yet, but I have thrown out two huge grocery bags of papers I won’t be needing anymore, so the de-thrashheapification of my house has officially started. Apart from that, I’ve been listening to a whole lot of One Direction, really.

It has now been a month since Clark’s death and I’m only now starting to deal with it. Him being the quiet type of cat made it easier for me to just ignore the situation a little (the good old “he’s just in the other room” tactic), but during my sickness I realised that, yup, I’m all alone and nope, he’s not coming back and yup, that sucks. Unfortunately, unlike with my hip that is giving me GRIEF right now, I can’t just go to the chiropractor to get my heart unstuck. How awesome would it be if you could just do that?

To end this post on a happier note, I have been playing a whole lot of Neko Atsume, and while they’re not real cats, they do fill the cat shaped void a tiny bit. Especially the fact that they bring you mementos that are completely useless (a damp matchbox, anyone?) is super endearing to me. *checks app obsessively*

Breaking news: Class passed!

Yes people, the thing we’ve all been waiting for has happened: I passed yesterday’s class, which means that all that is left to graduate is a thesis! *faints*

Of course said thesis will still be a struggle to complete, but at least I won’t have to worry about having to be healthy on a specific day at a specific time, which saves me a lot of stress. *goes back to Konmari style housecleaning*

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