the little minx's diary: the day, the night.
(previous entries) (email the minx)




11:28 AM *
darren (after 4 hours of inking me): ooh. you like those 'voyeuristic' pictures, don't you?

i do like them.

by the end of the session, i'd made a new buddy. it's nice when you can be in the same room with someone, be in completely different situations, but be connected by a specific, intimate task, and have five hours of interesting conversation. it was like that when we had our sketch session. i was mildly self-depricating about the strangeness of the slides i showed him, my 'undressed' carnation slides from the flowers project, trying not to appear too intellectual about my art. he cut me off by saying "you're researching beauty".

again and again our conversation turned to the mixing of special and quotidian, roses and dandelions.

darren traded me a never-opened dvd player for an old (but good) scsi scanner and my old power computing power tower mac clone. first dvd rented: donnie darko.

dudley (at bar early this morning, after seeing the new tat): you've got your own secret garden now.

i do and how.

i have four tattoos, from three sessions. this one i had trouble with. the first three were easy: they came from within, and were the result of the sudden inspiration. true, i've since learned about larger meanings of twins and passions that consume but do not destroy. but this one required more planning, required the relationship to the artist, required me to examine what i was trying to do by marking myself in such a large way.

i spent some time wondering what other people thought. i spent a lot of time getting no answers from the depths of my head about what i thought. i was dumbstruck by the detachment i felt by the whole process. i was unproductively indifferent, and had trouble examining that.

several strangers at the gym decided this was the day they would talk to me, asking me about the new tat, about the vibrant colors. i spent time talking to them.

i was also surprised at how afraid i was to carry it out. was i afraid of looking strange, outrageous, unique? that i'd taken my personal decoration to a place that could not be taken back? i kept worrying that my sleeveless self will always be colored by this, in a way that the stars don't (they are small and quiet and black and go with everything). was i ready for that?

somewhere in the middle of march, i was on my jobsite, reviewing the layout for the crazy shapes in the floor. there are some striking non-alignments, to contrast the striking bent continuities. i spent a long silence regarding one particular non-alignment, while the contractor looked in askance. this is where i'd positioned it on the drawings, yet now i was face to face with a peculiar clash, which a year ago was no more than a gesture in my hand. now it was a mark on a floor, one side of which to become victim to the circular saw. in an empty space marked by a few paint marks, i could already see it: this project was going to be weird, and i don't think my employers even realized it. should we align the joint with the edge of the window, as they surely would do, or leave it where it was, asymetrically placed somewhere right of centerline?

i sat on darren's sketch for a month, playing with photoshop, asking people again what they thought. some of my friends thought i'd gotten it long ago and couldn't figure out what i was doing sending them pictures all the time. my friends in town kept asking to see it.

the problem was not that the alteration was not a symbol, not something i would attach such wonderfully simple meanings to to echo their visual simplicity: after all, i attach complex meanings to everything, no matter how outrageous.

i had a specific image/feeling in my head, but nothing i could even draw.

i had to ask myself whether i wanted to be this person: a person with large and very personal tattoo.

i looked at the line on the floor and had to ask myself, truly and deeply, if this is what i wanted. if i was going to spend someone else's money on an idea that hadn't been built like this before, no matter how strange it may look in the end, how different from what the office usually does. it's putting my voice out there in a serious way, taking a position, no matter how mutable, in a way that would color all future positions. i looked at the contractor, and simply told him it looked okay.

i had to keep myself from cancelling my appointment with darren even on the day of the appointment.

i had to remind myself that my life is my own. it isn't on the same path as my office. it isn't one and the same with my work (hardest lesson). it isn't my loves or lack-of-loves. it isn't my body, my workout. there is a person behind the Me in each of these situations, someone to ask "is this okay?", the only person who should be giving me an answer.


8:59 PM *
i don't want to say too much about

cheer up
honey i hope you can
there is something wrong with me
my mind is filled with silvery stars
honey kisses clouds of love

reminding me of

i'm worried
i'm worried
i'm always in love

because it pretty much says itself, and i don't want to sound like i'm unhappy, but don't want to have to remind you than i think i'm the little-crazy this implies, but in the way we're all crazy, and lord surely i don't need to declare myself a fan again, or that two of my favorite artists are now, to my delight, on the same label.

or. yes, i see clearly that

the king was in the garden
picking flowers for a friend to came to play

is probably what is referred to in this

picking apples for the kings and queens of things i've never seen
distance has no way of making love

but i say with timidity that these words have been reminding me of this place, the place these words live in, the place that asks this writing and thinking and reading and drinking and LOVE of me, with the same askance i task a mirror for the image of myself. and reminding me that my love life coming of age having had a habit of revolving around near manhattan misses but mostly played out over at least one intervening state, if not ten.

in fact, i don't want to write about any of this, because this entry should have already been written (i've had the audio for this record for months), and the observations are completely obvious (because after all, quotidian anxiety is hardly a topic for creative activity), and it will appear as if i like to link my creative fortunes to people whose music i like (despite the fact that my two favorite buildings in chicago are on the cover), and the fact that it's true, all true that i secretly believe that troubled earnestness will carry the day if rarely used, and true true i've been all along honing the best way to be reasonably weird.


9:10 PM *
this was the weekend of close friendship, perfect conversation, unerring optimism.

breathe deeply, and relax: your life's really just in front of you, silly boy.


4:41 PM *
i had this quarrel with every high school english teacher i had, because they all tried to make us interpret poetry. and although i took my high school diploma with the departmental honor for english, i was always unable to come up with a meaning for a poem when asked for it. utterly speechless, nascent attempt at performance, was always taken as unable to provide the correct answer. "it means what it says" was the only thing i'd be able to say.

    In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.

my concerns, then and now, have little to do with making people nervous. but susan sontag's point, from the essay "Against Interpretation", is equally applicable to any work that has power, whether one that is expansively natural, has a simply indifferent tension, or erotic complexity, or a geometric sublime.

i didn't take any literature courses in college, beyond the required essay writing course. the subject was exhausted for me. i wanted to make things with my ideas, not make interpretations of other works. i quit reading literature altogether.

    Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. It makes art into an article for use, for arrangement into a mental scheme of categories.

yet the problem would arise, more obliquely yet with no less deadening effect, in my architectural studies. the struggle of the late 80's and early 90's was bringing architectural theory into practice (Peter Eisenman's latest lecture still hews to this by being called theory into practice). despite many years of trying, of almost masquerading to my studio critics of the driving force of ideas in my designs, i was increasingly faced with the fact that my projects were never about anything (in the sense that the architectural works i designed were not proofs of a theory, but were things that became part of the world, while also shaping that world) but did things. it was a conundrum that was echoed in almost every jury review of my projects, from start of college to last day graduate school: none of the current tropes of criticism could account for the buildings, spaces, or landscapes i'd designed.

one pattern i took particular delight in seeing emerge was that of the critic having to say contradictary things about the work. such as "your house is both livable yet perverse". "your museum isn't just pure landscape, but also a straightforward building". "your theater collapses a social move with a formal move".

since leaving school, it has become impossible not to take advantage of the latitude available when someone with an interpretive disposition isn't looking over your shoulder. with the giddy thought that i was free to have unlimited emotional attachment to a text, without interfering with that text by having to paraphrase it, i began reading fiction vociferously. and in turn, becoming inspired at every angle by reading, coming up with new architectural ideas because of it. in fact, it's immensly satisfying seeing myself exercise the new liberties without thinking about them, and pursuing my creative path by doing what comes naturally. further satisfying is the fact that clients rarely ask what The Idea is: they want to know how useful (and occasionally how beautiful) will be, right after asking how much it will cost. and the architectural magazine that was heir to the 80s preoccupations is finally going under, to become a trade publication.

needless to say, with a new loft project under construction, where i've experimented with a technique i'm calling "perceptual contours", a new sense of freedom is emerging, flavored by the feeling that my first artistic impulses have been borne out, proven by work and time. the works are sets of interwoven moments, solutions to problems, yet still not about anything, they just are, and uninterpretable, unencapsulated by words.


9:10 PM *
the client in question, for a project i was assigned to in october (for a supporting role, it's not the wonderful loft now under construction) one who gave me many months of suffering, was trying to intimidate us at a sunny november meeting with his classical, English, education. he was surprised we'd never heard of the iota controversy. he was taking a swipe at yours truly, whose uneven erudition is certainly not classically schooled, because i had corrected him on the architect's role. the client in question had specifically stated that we were responsible for construction by saying that we were construction managers. a construction manager oversees general contracting. the contract for construction is solely between the owner and the contractor (who may not even be, technically, a construction manager), and the architect, although mired in paperwork throughout construction, is not contractually part of that agreement. the contractor is responsible for construction, the material realization. in case you didn't already know.

    The Arians asserted that Christ was not of the same substance (homo-ousia) with the father, but of similar substance (homoi-ousia). We may be tempted today to wonder how the whole Christian world could have been convulsed over the rejection of a single letter of the alphabet; but in reality the absence or the presence of the iota signified the difference between a Savior who is truly God and one who is only a creature,--between a Christianity which is able to save the souls of men and one which can not. In the Council of Nicaea the Church faced what we believe to have been the greatest crisis in the entire history of doctrine. It was, however, in effect, although in a slightly different form, the same question that it faces in the twentieth century dispute between the Evangelical Faith and Modernism.

of course i corrected him: architects administrate the contract, or "participate in construction contract administration". he laughed, but there was no way in hell i was going to take it back. if we weren't clear now, this client, who i instinctively did not trust, in a future lawsuit might charge that we had claimed responsibility for something no architect should ever do (the liability is enormous, and your insurance doesn't cover it). true, the difference between construction management and construction contract administration has arbitrarily settled between these terms like dust from thirty years of construction litigation, yet the difference is critical, a matter of professional life or liability for my office and for me. sensing this impenetrability, his only recourse was to make fun of my technical knowledge by attempting to make me look unfamiliar with other forms of knowledge.

    Homoousia signified that He was of the same nature as God, while homoiousia asserted that He was of similar nature to God. The two words scarcely differ as to sound or sight, but a chasm stretches between them as vast as between finitude and infinity.

fortunately, my recurring grade school and high school unpopularity stemmed from my inability to be afraid to look smart: i had experience with this type of dweeb. and my distrust, and the fastidious answer it had spawned, served me this time. his phone calls, emails, and letters, over the course of several months, became increasingly paranoid and hostile. the renovation of a floor of a 150 year old loft building in soho--an undertaking guaranteed to uncover many unforeseen conditions during construction--became a continuous attempt to have us appear incompetent for not foreseeing every crack and turn. his needs, not expressed in a timely fashion, were also somehow now our responsibility, despite him and his wife keeping them vague. he increasingly took the view that the project's course and our office were the same thing (homo-ousia) instead of of similar substance (homoi-ousia). eventually, he refused to pay not only additional services (additional tasks not in our original scope of work, which he constantly requested), but the basic fees. in his correspondence everything was traced and retraced in such a way as to weave a warped skein of logic, which for him was always tangled around us.

he chose the evangel's view, and not a modern one. we were not getting paid (even an evangel knows this is the only mortal sin). so we terminated our contract and now we're happy.


8:07 PM *
i even tried to be grumpy all morning, just in case the vacation didn't take. but it was useless: i had eliminated my caffiene ration for the morning; the weather was warm; i was wearing my favorite tie; none of my projects had blown up while i was away.

(yesterday, i'm describing. yet today it was almost as if i'd never left town: crazy client, panicked contractor, no staff. i didn't freak out. instead, i know, somewhat anxiously, i need to have a sit-down with the people i work for, and that it's not a big deal to talk about it. again, lack of caffeine seems to tip the scales a bit.)

i was on my way to the gym. i saw someone. i positively was drawn into his stare: his skin was gray, but not gray from the light in the waning cloudy day as i thought, but actually gray, yet gray as if over green. his skin was green underneath some soot? there must be a perfectly natural explanation; he didn't look sick; he didn't look like he thought he was sick. one of those new york souls haunting the sidewalk, living his perfectly normal life, between moment M and N in the middle of his day.

then there were several people, all who should have been moving through the intersection in different directions, yet all standing still, heads turned toward something, although when i reached their point of reference, there was nothing to look at. when i reached their point of reference, they all blinked and kept moving.

the city has these weird moments, within weird seconds of each other. once again, i've noticed. vacation: successful.


7:05 PM *
a short note from my last 24 hours in new orleans.

i happily anticipated my return to new york today: not the return to my routine, but the return to alter it.

i could, of course, just have been persuaded to stay, read several books every week, watch another season of The Sopranos, buy a house of Chartres Street, see more Running With Scissors' productions, learn to make boudin, find myself painting and restoring said house, finding a hunky cajun boyfriend who sees me every day at 4 when we both get off work.

i made a list of things to do when i got back. i got back and am doing them.


2:54 AM *
the wind drew close, from behind, as if a presence, i already know you're there, and i can't figure out what it wants, exactly, because i've never been good at interpreting auguries, and i can't figure out what day it is, exactly, not because it's night but because it's like i recently woke from a coma, coma of habit, and i can't figure out when that happened, exactly, either, so while on a completely deserted barracks and chartres streets tonight, the chilly air breathed into my ear for several empty blocks with it's about time you got up and i replied please, honey, i know and as i sit here jotting on jonno's computer, with the hounds in a late-night frenzy, and the other one snoozing with the television on, in this big ole creole house, the reasons for me being so sad and anxious these last couple months merrily elude me: this town does that to you.


11:42 PM *
If you find yourself standing
At the end of your line
Looking for a piece of something
Maybe a piece of mind
Fed up, lost, and run down
Nowhere to hold on
Tired of "take your place at the end son,
We'll get to you one by one."

No light ever shines
Dead in tears that dry
Maybe a waste of words and time
Never a waste of light
Every hour will be spent
Filling a quota, just getting along
Handcuffs hurt worse
When you've done nothing wrong

No thanks to the treadmill
No thanks to the grindstone
There's plenty of dissent from
These rungs below
The clockwork of destruction
Hanging low over our heads
Always a smokestack cloud
Or a slow-walking death

No light ever shines
Dead in tears that dry
Maybe a waste of words and time
Never a waste of light

No thanks to the treadmill
No thanks to the grindstone
There's plenty of dissent from
These rungs below
The clockwork of destruction
Hanging low over our heads
Always a smokestack cloud
Or a slow-walking death

No light ever shines
Dead in tears that dry
Maybe a waste of words and time
Never a waste of light


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ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.