Of making many books there is no end

egg on my face

Filed under: you have renounced

on seeing Alex & Bill for the first time in a long time

We were telling stories about memories! we didn’t get tired of it although we had to keep acting like it was something nobody wanted to do. “Not to just talk about memories but… ” “Sorry to keep talking about the past but…”

BIG MEMORY:

i think i am slightly depressed in Summer 2006, which is weird because I actually remember this summer as being one of the best summers ever. but i do think there was an undercurrent of unhappiness about feeling stifled, in my artwork, in my relationship, in my bubble town, impatient anticipation about moving to Los Angeles. and it felt like no matter what I did I couldn’t break it. so I came up with a silly idea to just make something happen that I didn’t have to do myself. that I could in fact relinquish control over altogether.

Thus “TAKE ME”

It was a small form I gave to acquaintances around town who I said Hi to and liked but didn’t know very well. They had to fill it out:

I will take Jaymee Martin somewhere of my choosing on _________ at ________ am/pm

She will meet me at __________.

Then they had to take me to their place of choice without telling me where we were going.

Only two people ended up completing this project with my ass. THE FIRST ONE WAS BILL.

BILL’S “TAKE ME”

Bill = a character, not sure what else to say, he loosely studied at the local Cal State, he started the “Esperanto and Cryptozoology Club” and at one meeting dumped a large bucket of water on an unsuspecting attendee, he made home movies with names like “ISLAND OF GARBAGE” that featured actors (friends) tweaking on dinosaur eggs, and that summer he worked at “Steinbeck’s The Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum” on Cannery Row.

The day of his “TAKE ME” he and Alex had snuck into Monterey Beer Fest by wearing aprons they borrowed from the local café, jumping a fence, and acting like they worked at it. In the early afternoon my/Ernie’s front door SWUNG OPEN and Bill COLLAPSED loudly straight onto our living room floor. He started writhing like “I’MA take youuuuu!!!” and I was like “how did you GET HERE.” And he was like “…I drOOOVE!” and i was like “Oh. No.”

And he said “i have to go to work at the Wax Museum but after that, I’muna Take You!” and left.

And so I waited until nightfall and he showed up again, happily sober and drinking a soda called “Dr. Bold.”

I had no idea what was coming and maybe I should’ve had more suspicions. I utterly did not anticipate having to do anything too uncomfortable. I mean… sure I was giving complete trust in Bill over my physical whereabouts, personal safety, course of the evening, creative authorship (in a way), etc. but that just made me think that he would see all that and heed it. I think he DID see all that, and recognized his ability to push those things to their extremes. He was essentially calling my bluff, because wasn’t that exactly what the piece was supposed to be about, why didn’t you realize that before.

We made one stop where he wanted to sneak into the pool at one of the sleaziest motels on North Fremont. But I refused. What a dumb idea Jaymee. You had no clue what was coming.

We sped through Seaside and he kept warning me for what was coming next. I was still totally incredulous, giggling, saying “yeah righttt” or something like that. He was eating a candy called “PICO BALLA” and we referred to this quite a bit.

Let me just go faster here.

We got to the Water Tower in Marina.

He said to me, We are going to climb up that water tower.

Hahaha (giggle giggle) yeah right etc!

We walk as close to it as we can. It’s enclosed in a chain link barbed wire fence.

He tries to get into the fence… by stampeding against the chain link locked entrance, by shaking his entire body weight on it while grabbing it like Spiderman, by testing the possibility of going OVER the barbed wire (this did not work, surprisingly), until he decided that we had to go Prison Break style and dig a tunnel underneath the fence.

Is Prison Break a show? I don’t mean the show. I mean like an Actual Prison Break.

He starts digging and digging with his hands in the dirt like dog paws. He is panting too. He is muttering things about Taking Me and the Water Tower. “Hahaha (giggle giggle) yeah right etc!” I say. I am an idiot

I don’t know how long this takes. I remember thinking he would just give up. I was pacing and wandering and I don’t know how long all this was taking.

Finally he’s like “I’M DONE

“YOU GO FIRST. GO UNDER THE FENCE. TRY IT!”

He’s holding the fence and I’m like “ok” and I throw my entire body face first into the tiny opening between the chain link and the dirt. Chain link catches on my skin and scratches deeply into my hip just above my jeans.

I come up like a diver. And it is at this moment that I realize that I am on the INSIDE of the fence. It is at this moment when I stand up and realize that I am INSIDE THE FENCE that it hits me that I really have to go up this water tower.

I mean….. i COULD have not done it. technically I suppose. I could’ve said Fuck this, you are crazy, we could both die. It’s really, really tall. I don’t know anything about height measurements but it must be at least 100 feet*. I look up at the top.

but i am such a Romantic Loser (aka “Artist”). I kept telling myself that I HAD TO DO IT, FOR ART. THIS WAS ART. THIS WAS NOT “LIFE” WHERE YOU COULD DIE IF YOU FELL OFF A WATER TOWER AND IT WOULD BE STUPID. THIS WAS ART, WHERE IF YOU DIED, YOU DIED FOR ART!

Bill gets through the tunnel. We are both on the other side.

We barrel towards the “ladder,” or, extremely decrepit iron thing with rungs that is half enclosed in a playground-esque cage which I think you’re supposed to connect a harness to so you don’t die if you fall.

He tells me to go first. Afterwards he says it’s because of something like if he went first, I would’ve realized how incredibly dangerous what we were doing was, because I would be watching as well as doing. I keep telling myself “one rung. one rung. one rung,” one rung at a time until there are no more left, until I am at the top. BUT THEN WHAT? Then I am at the top of this water tower and I still could fall off and die. These water towers have no safety precautions because they don’t anticipate anyone being reckless enough to actually climb them without bringing their own safety precautions. Hence the fucking barbed wire chain link fence.

One rung one rung one rung

I am so scared

Swallowing my fear because if i get too afraid I might slip and if I slip, that is it,

everything changes.

This is for art

This is for art

swallow that

one rung one rung one rung keep going

“you’re almost there!” he kept saying

(i don’t think it was actually true but that’s okay)

You’re almost there,

suddenly you pause and hold on and the wind is howling and rushing all around the edges of your body as you cling. You are in the air.

You keep thinking that once you get to the top, everything will be okay.

Then you emerge at the top and you realize that it is actually just as scary. There is a thin red “bar” demarcating the edge of the “balcony,” and that bar is all that is separating you from oblivion. Your steps are shaky and uncertain and the wind continues to rush past you. You press your weight against the surface of the container, sliding yourself along. You tell Bill that you need a photo, because this is Art. You need documentation for some future possibility of meaning. You take the photo of blurry Marina lights in the distance.

And then you have to do the entire thing over again in reverse.

And your feet touch the ground and you are still alive and you can breathe the sigh of someone who survived.

And you throw yourself again under the chain link fence and drive away with Bill and he decides to take you to a party, where everyone it turns out is drinking Dr. Bold and not even alcohol (?) and Alex takes a photo of you looking like a terrified doe-animal with dirt all over your face and hands as you still shake. This photo depicts the absurd disjunction between the banal act of “partying” and someone who very nearly could’ve just fallen to her death.

SO BILL AND ALEX WERE HERE yesterday and the day before and it has been years. And I retold this story and showed them these photos. And reflected on how this was bar none the most dangerous and terrifying thing I have ever done.

And now i am writing about it because I am thinking about what it means to do the scariest thing you have ever done, FOR ART. and what it means when you realize you HAVE TO DO IT, for art. Because otherwise you wouldn’t do it at all and maybe it’s better to almost die sometimes for art. To do something completely reckless that can kill you, to confront the tiny bar separating you from oblivion, to relinquish the control that keeps you in summer banality and step up (one rung one rung) to the requirements of inhabiting Dr. Bold, because that has something to do with making art.

—————

*Wikipedia tells me that the standard water tower is 130 feet tall.

Filed under: you have renounced

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Filed under: you have renounced

You don’t own me

Filed under: you have renounced

Announcement

THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED SINCE I LAST HAD A REGULAR, ONGOING ARTISTIC PRACTICE THAT WAS SILLY AND PLAYFUL AND EVER-PRESENT

-got out of a relationship that had become increasingly abusive (destabilized sense of subjective truth)
-finished art school (no more community of other creative peers to discuss and share work)
-started actively using the internet a lot (this can be TROUBLE!!. this is an ECHO CHAMBER.)
-had to make a living as a young humanities graduate in a recession (i.e. minimum wage –> soul drain/hate to complain)
-worked on making a marriage work instead of making my work and making my work work (the history of women?)

i take responsibility for this shit and don’t blame anybody for my own choices. but i am getting sick of not being grounded, and none of this happens in vacuum!

Fuck the kyriarchy!
Fuck the culture of academic legitimacy!
Fuck the internet echo chamber!
Fuck late-late capitalism!
Fuck being a wife!

I renounce these things!!!

and then this was the moment when Jaymee Martin surrendered to her own instability and lost control over her public presentation, and in so doing reclaimed her own voice. Because if she didn’t say anything, nobody would know the difference (or how she was dying inside), and because if she tried to make what she said palatable for the system that shuffled her into this position in the first place, they would say the same shit anyway because that is how they are designed to work.  “biotch”

Filed under: The Contradiction, you have renounced