Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And change was among the stars.

It has been a lifetime since I had the energy and space in my mind to sit for a minute and postulate about all the things that are moving and folding and stirring around and inside of me.

I have so many thoughts, internet world.

I started writing on this blogspace in an intense need to articulate the feeling of asphyxiation from hitting a vast and lonely standstill, upon graduation, and in a devestating relationship...

But I am free now.

Everyday I rise with the sun to be a crucible, to be within a crucible, everyday I fall in to bed exausted from the hard work of making real things, streaked with dirt and bruises from a holy war against my own fear of not being good enough. And I am satisfied.

I work with steel. I work with my body. I build things. That is all I have ever wanted, all anyone ever wants:

To build something.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

and they gnashed their terrible teeth.

I tore an article out of the New York Times the other day that struck me as a quintissential battle between moving forward and remain stuck in outdated grooves... and it was about Pope John Paul II, the first non-italian to do the job, and upon his death, apparently the adoring fans across Europe that responded to the pope of a different color fought for an earlier 'sainting' than is typical. But is the customer always right? The article further concludes that his popularity was unfounded, as Pope John Paul II watched a massive windfall of sex related crimes committed by high ranking members of the church, spread out across Europe be brought to light and publicly denounced, and merely turned his sainted cheek. Professing conservative views, and ignoring injustice seems like a quick way to lose your fan base, but maybe having a Pope who's face you reckognize due to modern media coverage, whose lineage suggests things are changing... is enough to incur devotion.

At a dinner party earlier this week, a heated discussion evolved about the prevalence and power of the media to affect the public's view in a way that has little to do with the ideals underscoring the individuals seeking power over us. I was asked who the last bald president was, suggesting that starting with the Kennedy Era, we have considered the attractiveness of our presidential candidates as a most important part of the selection process. While I can see the possible vailidity of that statement, and its relation to the powerful impact social media had on Obama's campaign... I see different similarities in the two (D) Presidents - both were agents of a new order, when an older way no longer was serving a purpose to the American People. If we were so easily controlled by the media as a society, than maybe Donald Trump's sensationalist temper tantrum would be taken a lot more seriously. The adage "there is no such thing as bad press" is being liberally utilized by the floundering extremesits that vaguely attach themselves to the Republican Party... but in this case may not be true. Yes, we also discussed Senor Trump, but witnessing the embarrassment of conservatives - at this private gathering and on National Television - makes it pretty obvious that people are getting pretty tired of the 'Birthers' pointless and unpatriotic ranting. Yet I find Trump's public spectacle and whatever interest it may have inspired to be a signal of the lack of focus in the Conservative Party as a whole. Ironically, there have been many references to Obama being the most conservative Democrat in the party. Honestly, the President has a much bigger job that pandering to the wants of Parties, and something that younger Progressives have figured out that older generations can't understand, is that 'Traditional' economic needs and wants have shifted, and the current Democrat/Republican Parties are clinging to values that no longer address current socioeconomic expectations. Donald Trump is just serving to further splinter the notion of 'conservative' and his argument is as petty and unfounded as making racist comments - by attempting to undermine the president about something he was too busy being born into this world to deal with personally, trump is adding to the unrest and discomfort of an already depressed economy, and distracting from the understated brilliance and strength of Obama's actions on recent global disturbances.

How did the American Public turn from 'hiring the best candidate' to a public Firing Squad? From the very beginning the nation seems interested in the idea of Obama's campaign, but it has proved deeply unreceptive to the actuality. 'Change' is cute when heard in a slogan, inspiring even to the previously apathetic youth and college population... yet when changes are attempted, entire sections of the public are up in arms and screaming in defiance. I hated going to the doctor when I was little, too, but we go because people older and wiser see the necessity. Unfortunately, we have not reached nirvana, or Eden, respectively, and current institutions have proved to be imperfect. I am a vehement believer in female reproductive rights, in free condoms and univeral birth control, but I can also respect that funding cut from planned parenthood will instigate some reorganization, new methods for raising funds and awareness, has inspired people to fight complacency... you have to trim back nature for it to flourish. Planned Parenthood is an institution that will only become more important as we move forward, and the Progressives begin to take the reigns. They aren't going anywhere, I can promise you that. I grew up with Welfare, and it was as much a boon as it was a trap, and I can understand the intentions, but I will honestly say it has many many kinks that will take stress and painful fine tuning to better serve our current populace. Change as deeply necessary to redirect big business, to trim away the fat in major corporations, and to evolve the sophistication of the job market to better suit a media heavy, technical and creative workforce that did not previously exist. In the face of our nation's ridiculous temper tantrum, and demand for instant gratification, Obama is calmly undoing the damage done by decades of headstrong and impetuous presidents who chased ratings by starting wars and padding their friend's pockets and sending our men and women off to die while they distract the public with 'Patriotic' Outrage and much wrapping themselves in the flag, telling tall tales of villians with beards and accents and different traditions than ours and instilling a deep xenophobia to replace the fading of racism and McCarthyism to band us together out of fear. Deftly reweaving the tapestry of ideals and mending the chasms between 'us and them', the cautious restraint and respect that Obama showed in his reaction to Libya is a light in the dark of our cultural history. Our collective memory doesn't even recall anymore a time when our presidents were cautious, that it took direct attacks on America to insight our involvement on WWI and WWII. By following the principles he outlined in his heroes of economic and social philosophy, and hearkening back to times when our presidents thought before they acted, Obama is doing everything he promised. And yet we are still unhappy.

Palin's response to the Libya airstrikes were as typical and scary as any racist redneck with a five minute spot on national TV - along the lines of MARCH IN THERE, ATTACK ATTACK!... when this battle in a foreign country had nothing to do with us. It isn't up to us to be the police over other people's moral point of view, and no one wants to invite another Afghanistan - where we swoop in and do everything, so an economy is dependant on us and requires lengthy occupation and trillions of lives/dollars to support a people because we didn't give them the strength or opportunity to do it themselves. We can barely even balance our own economy - who the fuck are we to try to have a say in how other countries handle theirs? The American people have created a conundrum, and impossible situation, where it doesn't matter if our president is gung-ho siding with his own party and getting nowhere, or making concessions and trying to establish a middle ground to move forward with support from both sides, because we will roar our terrible roars and gnash our terrible teeth. Nothing will be good enough for us.

I noticed some scribbled graffiti on an ad whilst riding the subway, and witnessed the voice I hear in my head, the same sentiments that are repeated amongst the progressives, the conservatively creative youth calmly waiting to be handed the megaphone. The bic pen scribbles were telling the disapproving viewer to wait, to be calm, to let enough time pass to see the flowering of Obama's highly questioned political moves. It reminded us that every presidency begins with cleaning up from the previous resident, and that the most important element of economic recovery is TIME.

Don't worry, Mr. President. Some of us continue to have faith.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where the truth lies.

Staring at a patch of reflected light on the red brick and black detailed facade of a building's fifth floor across the street from the room I sat in, perfectly still, the sweep of blond streaked bangs slowly made its way into my line of vision. I don't really SEE the patch of light, but am listening intently to the old ladies who are scratching on easels clustered in a semicircle around me. They are describing the tones of my skin, the arch of me browbone, the perfect red to make the shape of my hair. They are discussing with the teacher my gesture, the length of my limbs, what parts of my body line up with others, of overlaps, that I am thinner, my hair more multi faceted, my shoulders broader, eyes larger, mouth more unique. I am hearing myself be constructed out of visual references and colors, through the words of teacher student interaction, and I am stricken by how exotic and strong I seem in their word choices. Gorgeous, the teacher tells them, and I am excited for these elderly folk, to be acheiving brilliance at something so late in life. Inspired, she says, and I feel like I have brought a gift to these folks in the uniqueness and earnest quality of my pose. For the first time, I am curious to see what they have produced, as I never am ih classes where my years of learning make me keenly aware of deficiencies in their training and ability to reckognize what is actually present before them. When my break finally arrives and I unwind myself from my pose and nocholantly wander to the opposite side of the room...

I am horrified. They look as all paintings do at this stage of learning and age, like they are painting for the first time. The painting closest to me shows a figure with heavy breasts that are both larger than the sad little head. My "gesture" looks in most of these painting like I might vaguely be related to Quasimodo, in others, my prominent nose and poise reflect the features and stance of a gargoyle that might grace the sloping facade of notre dame. In classes before, I have been asked if I was a dancer, I how overwhelmed students with the intensity of my body's natural curves... but I never expected their work to be brilliant, or even necessarily informed, so I was never quite so taken aback by the performance that I witnesses during critiques.

When my break was over and I climbed back into my pose, my eyes finding the patch of reflected light across the street, I remembered a similar, but more devestating reminder of the difference between perception and truth, a lesson sharply taught during a recent first-time excursion to Boston.

"History is everywhere" I had been told, by US History professors and past lovers, friends and books I read about what Boston had to offer the curious individual. Quincy Market, after being talked up on the food network and previous boyfriend as a culinary haven was little more than an extended fast food network that seemed to me to descrate the idea of what it had been to the first american citizens, the city's center and central market for all goods and necessities, the major port for political discussion, influx of new ideas, and intimate instigator of the crown, as taxes on imported goods were caustically realized in this arena. The Commons, where everyone grazed their animals, and later revolutionary soldiers practiced, home of the Liberty Tree before the symbol of freedom of speech was torn down... well since it was February, it was empty, and the snow so deep that everyone just circumvented it. I know it must be different in the spring and summer, but everything still smacked of a social propriety, and after the intense feeling of community that Central Park in NYC inspired in me, I feel nothing but disconnected to the purpose of this sprawling little space, in the shadow of its IDEA.

After three days of stomping around in the freezing cold, desperately searching for whatever it was that moved the people I spoke to about Boston's wonder, or to FEEL the revolutionary spirit that made this the birthplace of America, and home to an incredible amount of Ivy League colleges that should be housing America's next leaders... I was hard pressed to find anything that wasn't commercial, let alone a single bookstore. After passing my third Urban Outfitters and Crocs store in the university district, my travel companion finally begged me to do "something historic".

Nothing horrifies me more than looking at the jacket of an individual who existed at some important point in time, like there is some permeating remnant of their soul and ideas in the decaying fabric. Museums remind me of tombs, holding on to the flesh and material existence of something, when the important part that suspends it in history, the animation and the idea have moved on. Just because I saw a bayonette, doesn't mean I know what it is like to insert it into another human due to the intensity of my belief of a cause. Just because I saw a moth eaten and shabby red velvet jacket that may or may not have belonged to John Hancock, doesn't mean I know why he was significant, why he was even remembered. That jacket is no more real to me than Prince Charming's red velvet costume piece in a parade of Princesses at Disney's Magic Kingdom. But, obviously, I consented, and we explored the old State House, where the Boston Massacre happened outside in what is now a busy intersection in the business district of Boston.

But I did learn something in the walls of this building, and it had everything to do with ideas. It also sparked in me strong emotions, which I had never expected. This tiny, boring museum, as average and typical as they come, unabashadely explained the reality of the Boston Massacre in a way that I have never understood it from US History loving professors, and the US History loving historians that wrote our textbooks. I have discussed the power of context before, and again, it strikes me like lightning that I am slowly beginning to compile truths underlying the development of our nation. Nothing is so profound as when you are physically present and are faced with your expectations of something greater than yourself, and come to awareness that everyone has misunderstood the reality. The events leading up to the Boston Massacre were fully provoked by an abusive crowd, and was an act of self defense, the kind we would vehemently fight for in this day and age... and every article written and conversation started by a "patriot" in the days following, completely lied about the foundation of the altercation, and it was upon this lie that the final spark of revolution was kindled. We came together as a nation, based on a lie we wanted to believe justified our urges, we took action on an emotional reaction that was not founded in any sense of fact, and that is the basis of this great nation.

If this was the founding of America... how has it lead us to what we are today? It is all there, presented without humor or chagrin, but with simple honesty for anyone who travels forth to this mecca to witness. But why is no one else fearful of what that means about the legacy of justice in our country? About the truth of man, and our willingness to confuse our emotions with what is right and wrong?

The idea of Ben Franklin's "Join or Die" statement fascinates me, as I have a deep respect for the idea of loyalty... but I do not confuse loyalty with outdated doctrines and ends justifying means. I am no longer innocently accepting of the ideas our nation was founded on, because there is little truth in any of it. I do not say the pledge of allegiance, but it has nothing to do with the fact that God is mentioned... it has to do with the fact that I do not believe my leaders to be infallible, and I refuse to give away my freedom to disagree with their motives. My loyalty is to justice, and to basic human rights, but I will not overlook them when my government finds it expedient.

I pledge allegiance to my own sense of morality, my ability to see right and wrong, and will never willingly give up my ability to act as I feel is right. But I am a lone individual, just another face in a sea of tourists who press their faces to the glass enclosing John Hancock's jacket, and take pictures of a sad, dusty white wig that used to mean something, but what it is, they don't care. They have a picture that proves they were there, that they ate at the Red Lobster in Boston, and it was just as good as the Red Lobster in Times Square, NYC, and just as good as the one in their hometown.

And somehow, that is enough for them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When death is coming- the mockingbird doesn't sing, but speaks with his true voice.

I was reading a potential client's manuscript on a Zombie novella to be turned into a graphic novel, and I was stricken by the similarities of all zombie subject matter I have come across... and even more deeply stricken at the inner discussion I had with myself whilst trying to find value and meaning in the idea of undead cannibalism. Lots of undead creatures and their storylines carry romantic notions and deep seated stereotypes based on human/animal tendancies, just as comic book super heroes are born out of a social outcry for superhuman profoundness hidden in the everyday life we all drag ourselves through. But who has given a Zombie depth? Being defined by emptiness, they are silly and horrifying and utterly disconnected from everything we know to be true about human and animal nature, and the subhuman dysfuntions that twist the two planes of existence together to enfold the genre of horror... and here are some of the interesting visual + philosophical conclusions I came to in my line of questioning:

So the basic framework of any story is based on 3 variations of conflict: Man versus God, Man versus Nature, and Man versus Himself.

Prior to reading the manuscript, after having perused the descriptions, I find the director/writer is focusing, or actually assuming that his conflict is Man versus Himself, as both the fighting with the ranks of unaffected humans and previously human attacking the remaining human. To me, the conflict is highlighted/triggered by Man versus Himself... but is really a profound discussion of Man versus Nature. What defines us as different from the rest of the animal world as a race of mammals is a certain level of conscious thought. We draw the line between cro-magnon humanoids that shared the planet with us, and our actual ancestors/earliest civilization by the first primitive death rites - the act of burial and marking the resting place of former loved ones (as well as ancestor worship). Pretty much everything that was considered "magical" throughout our developmental history has through science and medicine been defined, ie. pregnancy and birth, disease, weather, fire, domestication and agriculture as a way of always having food, and we have ceased to have magical illusions and associations with these things. We don't pray for a successful hunt and honor mother nature for the gift of fresh meat, we walk to the store and buy it. So the one clear mystery that persists, along with very specific culturally defined rites that follow it, is the concept of death. Why am I telling you stuff you already know?

1. I passed by a ghost bike the other day (you know, the white spray painted bikes that are chained to places where someone was killed in an accident?) and it struck me for a couple of reasons: by marking the spot where the life/soul/whatever animates us left the body, it shows a modern evolution of rites relating specifically to the loss of consiousness rather than the physical body. If we were suddenly placed in a reality where the person died but their body remained suspended in animation - how do we mourn? would we not feel compelled then to mark the place where their individual conciousness ceased to be? This ghost bike phenomenon is interesting also in the fact that we all see it and instantly reckognize what it symbolizes - and businesses, police, hobos do not touch them, either out of respect, cultural acceptance of the act, or superstition. I feel like a society suddenly focused solely on dead/undead trauma as a constant reality would manifest symbols and markers and become a common phenomenon in a decaying landscape. So in a modern society, I think we should consider what kind of symbol could be used to illustrate that, and how it could be visually effective in representing loss in the number of deaths as being overwhelming, and potential danger.

2. So if what separates us from animals is our consiousness, what then is left behind in a body when that is no longer there? I have two answers for that:

First I would say is the animal insticts, particularly smell. But when considering how perfect a machine the human body is, I would also argue that there would still be lingering muscle and mental memories that begin to fade as the body eats away at itself. And smell has an amazing ability to trigger emotional responses. If young animals separated from their mothers can follow the intimate knowledge of their mother's scent, why wouldn't a baby zombie be able to follow its (living) mother's scent? And it is situations like that which really shake us to the core in a supremely deep way. In a similar manner, I could absolutely believe that an old, old man who took an early dawn walk every day for 55 years down the same path, would still feel the muscle compulsion to continue certain habits that the body has repeated for years and years. Like a scratched record, like a footprint left in space and time.

And second, I would say, like wearing a wedding band for years and years and removing it for some reason - death or loss of some sort, I'm sure there is a very profound sense of having a physical hole where it used to be, where you'd feel the empty bed like a bitter and lonely void, that maybe you yearn to fill with what used to be there, but nothing will ever fill that exact shaped hole in your life, heart, space or time... imagine how a body would feel if it suddenly lost all consiousness. We never see zombies eat a body down to the bones. They never do more than take a bite and move on to the next thing. I feel like the act of consumption could represent a hunger/yearning for something else, something that living people have that they no longer do. Something that disappears the minute they bite into the living, so they are no longer interested and move on to what still possesses it. If it was a matter of blood and muscle and flesh, there is plenty of stuff out there for "dumb" creatures to consume. I think the idea of the zombie started as something very different and has been blown out into something that makes no sense. The closer we bring it back to something that we could almost believe, the more poignant and devestating the effect will be on the audience.

Here were some of my extraneous thoughts on treatment of the story and characters/wordplay:

I like the metaphorical play on consuming - we as a consumerist society buy the next big thing, take a bite, and once the newest/better version of it comes out, we toss the original and move on, never satisfied, always hungry for whatever is next. I'd love to suggest that by littering the environments with ads we reckognize universally, like Haddon Sundbloom's Santa Clause that Coca Cola used to define what Santa looked like to the rest of the world, particularly the US. Utilizing ads from older time periods is both ironic (suggesting how it lead to a land of zombies) and helps us to obscure the time period.

When breaking down the action of the story, and what needs to be shown, I would root out sequences that can be suspended in time, imitating slow motion for anticipation purposes. The movie '300' was not a perfect one, but I still watch it for one reason: the fight sequences. In that particular movie, the fight scenes move from body parts flying to an abruptly intense pulsing slow motion, and the movement of body and fabric ripples and flows across the screen. The underwater oracle dance is equally mesmerizing to me. Also consider Muybridge's animated horse sequence, broken down frame by frame. By isolating action (while subtley shifting composition for dramatic effect/reveal of dangerous situation or character) we can control the pacing so it doesn't lack moments to breath or focus. We'll basically be mimicing camera moves, slow pans, slow zoom outs and such while breaking up the flow of the story to agitate the viewer.

Throughout history we have used many different ways of marking a distinct separation between "us" and "them", like the nazi symbol, and the yellow stars for the jews. I would consider developing a symbolic marking that separates the military, doctors and civilians. That offers other ways of insinuating disloyalty or making unspoken allusions.

Just some thoughts I had.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There is no such thing as American History. Only a frontier.

I am a huge advocate of reason, reason relating to having a purpose. The problem/statement defines the medium for transmission. Popular film/the movie industry I find often reaches to pinpoint particularly strong... undercurrents manifesting in society, and sitting in a theatre the other day, I was filled with goosebumps and a pregnant feeling of some greater, throbbing issue as the trailers flicked by. Having been a recent college grad, I could tangibley feel the frustrations and misconceptions surfacing in the subject matter of this spring's movie line-up. "The Adjustment Bureau" are men in grey suits, making sure we all fall in line and keep with some greater "plan", pulling directly from The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, the idea of The Businessman that has evolved from the 50's, a society of business men trapped in social rules they cannot escape, and I have watched my peers walk out of school into a workforce expecting to be handed a suit and a job, to fall in line and pick up their 60,000 dollar job as they were led to believe that is what awaits them. Another trailer was of a lost creative soul being led into the life of a higher powered business man, only to find there is a debt he must pay for being given the means to advance so far. We are struggling with a social sense of helplessness, directly connected to loss of morale and vision.

What causes such a massive inferiority complex?

I've been noticing in the NYC Daily newspapers a pervasive influence that seems to have superceaded the purpose of governments and imposed a higher moral standard on other societies as well. Months ago Google pulled out of China, to protect activists from forced remission of the right of privacy. That is a huge moral statement made in full knowledge of the loss of money and relationships, to what may be the biggest market available... by an internet company. Not a political figure, not United Nations... but a voice of the technologically advanced generations who are beholden to no one but themselves. Yesterday I read a Google executive is directly involved, possibly through his own heritage (I'm not sure) in the civil protesting in Egypt... and I am stricken by the reach and effect of a group making a moral statement that spans continents, while our own political leaders are crucified for showing even the slightest sympathy to a cause or idea, hands tied by some bizarre stanglehold the public seems to have on government leaders. Wikileaks have made hackers worth noticing, as political activists and internet assasins, as they took down major credit card company websites, one after the other in outrage, that a man would be condemed for seeking truth from politcal leaders and simply taking it as his due when truth is not what he discovered. Again, an internet company comes to the floor, fighting this time the establishment in the US of A - Twitter takes our government to court over the incarceration of Julian Assange, fighting the good fight and redefining morality through the nation's own system of judgement.

According to the papers, I have also noted that there has been a large influx of young college educated Irish immigrants, a very different place then when they previously came streaming through our borders. Egypt's unrest is partially attributed to college educated joblessness and homelessness as well. I ripped a long article out of the NY Times about southern Europe's lack of professional opportunities and college grads moving into their 30's still living at home and working a plethora of unpaid "internships". Seeing "The Social Network" for the first time, and remembering how powerful a force Facebook was during the Obama election, how it reached the previously unreachable college population, it now is another key in expanding our frame of reference across time and space. Along with proof of its importance as just that - a social network - and Mark Zuckerburg's status as the youngest billionaire in the country, it seems that while the younger generations are unable to step into the realm of politics, they are more than sufficiently equipped to reach farther than the boundaries of this economy, and its sad status updates. The greater and deeper this alter reality in which we organize and communicate, the more we interface with other cultures, hurtling globalization into instant karma for the generations who still hold the reigns of this country, the generations who still hold and feel the dregs of racism and unliscenced hatred for change. So while they continue to stand for their lack of realistic beliefs based on rules that have become past-tense, we, the progressives, who claim neither liberal or conservative views, as both are a drain on our resources... we are issuing global directives, making proud statments of morality according to a truth based on simple human rights, and we are manifesting words and ideas and jobs out of the hopelessness that the masses choose to feel. Our society has become the landscape of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", a people that have expectations and needs, but not the craft or skills and the perserverance required to teach us those things, a people who "deserves" more than they create, and expect a president to come with a magic wand that makes everything instantly better than it was. As the older and younger generations are at cross purposes, we are split, staring each other down across the chess board and listening, waiting for the ticking of the timer to tell us it is our turn, that we are ready to try to clean up the messes of the older generations, that we have solid beliefs based on a new horizon whose dawn is breaking as we breath, as you read this, and there is no stopping it.

"King's Speech" takes us back to a time when this was required before, for youth to take the reigns, declare a new foundation for right and wrong, to mobilize the hearts and imaginations of a ready body of people. This profound movie looks at a slice of history and imbues it with a sharp, painful wit, sardonic and surprisingly sweet humor... and the kind of real emotional connection to a part of history that we could not feel in a classroom taught by teachers who are fulfilling deadlines. Sometimes humanizing the past, bringing it back to us through movies is what it takes to remind us that while we have fought these battles before... and while the frontiers are new, we still respond to the same things. There is no stopping the call to arms. Life is not a rise and a fall. It is a million different undulating emotions and truths that weave into the melody of living, it is the blood coursing through a million veins and years all at once to the sound of a heartbeat. No one is NOT apart of the pulse of civilization - We never stop moving through history.

Wake up. It's already here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.

What is winter to a child of the tropics? A myth, a figment of my imagination?

Here I am, daughter of the sunshine state, listening to the boozy old school jazz pumping through the speakers in the starbucks overlooking downtown Jersey City and all of the piles of snow that have drifted and swirled and delicately poured forth from the weather gods in the sky. Winter here is real, and serious, just like the NYC summer - people die in NYC heat. Summer in NYC is real too, and more serious than any summer I ever experienced in my childhood on the shores of perfect blue-green 95 degree water.

In this harsh reality, that same blue-green water and baby powder sand haunts my dreams, and homesickness strikes at the most inopportune moments... like when I am posing for an art class, and I can feel the blush of warmth creep up and redden my body on the model stand, laid bare before an audience, and the brightness of tears standing out suddenly in my eyes. But that too seems now the stuff of dreams, something larger than life, like the tall tales of my childhood - memories of my life as told to me by the other people who experienced them, from when I was too young to remember.

Yet, it is sweetly exciting to walk through the gentle, friendly flakes, wet little kisses on my face. It is profound to look out at the street in the morning, and see the trash and cars, even the black, ugly asphalt given a new leash on life, the traces of man hidden by an perfect blanket of crystalline innocence. A cup of cocoa simply isn't as beautiful as it is during an intense snowfall, and nothing is more exciting than waking up and realizing that you are trapped, so work is out of the question. We are all children during a snow day, like playing hooky from responsibility. We inherently know the trouble that comes later, dealing with the plows, unburying cars and bikes, trudging through the gray sucking slush that finds its way into your shoes, no matter how prepared you thought you were. The gritty crunch and slip of the rock salt to melt the snow that melted, that refroze into treacherous pools of slick and sly ice. We know it will suck later. But however inconvenient it may become, it seems to have fallen with the best intentions, to baptize us new, to give us a fresh start.

I can't help being fascinated by this bizarre phenomenon of snow, like turning 21 and finding yourself surrounded by alcohol for the first time in your life - how could you say no to exploring its affects, and savoring the pros and cons?

Florida has a much different mood in the way of weather gods. There is no silly sweet magic in the air currents. Our rainfall may last a few minutes, but it falls in a flood of bitterness, every second as obscuring and wounded as a first love, before disappearing into a memory almost as soon as it started. My anger is often the same way, invisible till the moment my heart breaks, and suddenly everything is ok again. But I wouldn't call the malevolent mealstrom of the Hurricane as real as summer and winter in the north... it is such a massive and pregnant form, leaving a path of utter destruction. It is the stuff of gods and titans, and it is like a cosmic act of war. You don't hope for a hurricane day, you evacuate a week before its projected arrival, before it is impossible to escape on the clogged roads. You try to get as far inland as you can to avoid being swept up in floods along the coast. There is no hiding from something so massive and heartless. It isn's pretty. There is no way to protect yourself, or those you love.

All you can do is hope and pray it will be fickle in its path. That it will hit someone else, ruin other people's lives, not yours. That it won't make it to the warm blue-green waters of the gulf, the rich salty womb I swam in before I was born.

So I fortify myself against the icy wind. I rip off the blankets in the morning braced for the inevitable shock of cold. I step outside everyday with a 'fuck you' to the early morning chill. And I weigh my options.