Thursday, March 12, 2015

What's Been Going On With Me (djh)

Hey, so it turns out that revision is the extra-hard part of writing a novel! This is the stage I had avoided for LITERALLY* DECADES. (Even in college I never revised; I just rewrote. I threw on another coat of first-draft.)

Once, never having had a Pilates class, I tried out a Pilates machine that isolates the abs. It turned out that I basically HAD no abs. I've always relied on other muscle groups (most catastrophically my neck). Take away those options and I could not budge that machine.

To revise, I need to find a mental space between my day-job mode (proofreader/copy-editor) and my creative-writer mode -- or some way to switch back and forth without losing either energy. I need to reexamine my own work without my inner critic dismissing the whole drafty project as garbage and sunk costs.

You know how one can usually read one's own handwriting, even if no-one else can? That's the other reason it's so hard to edit oneself: because I KNEW WHAT I MEANT. A few simple words may flood my brain with imagery, but no-one else is necessarily going there with me. "That day in the rain" has everything inside it for me and nothing for you -- or it might trigger a completely different flood of associations, to which I have no access unless you write your own story. (Which you should totally do! I recommend keeping it very short, and making a thorough outline.)

I keep groping blurrily for the imagery that will transfer across the barrier, yet will not be a cliche.

"even if I could put down accurately the thing that I saw and enjoyed, it would not give the observer the kind of feeling it gave me. I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at -- not copy it." ---Georgia O'Keeffe

It is brutally hard work and most of it is invisible. I don't look any different when I am tweezing the slivers of glass out of my own flayed-open heart than I did when I was just goofing off. My loved ones do not get what is taking so long.

This week I finished a second draft. It is shorter and possibly tighter than the first draft. It might be missing whatever the good parts were, whatever elusive magic kept me striving. I have no idea. I can't look at it right now (only partly because my Beta Reader took her copy home and I am out of paper). I will probably go for a lot of walks. I do not know what is next.

*NON-FIGURATIVELY

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Need for Proper Refrigeration

So, I think I got this bad chicken steak last Friday.  I'm working the day shift, you know, one twelve hour shift starting at oh-six-hundred and things are great; no calls all morning.  I order a chicken cheese steak early; I call over there at eleven and they say the grill's already on and it's no problem so I grab a radio and walk across the street and pick up my steak.  I'm hungry; the thing smells like sex on a bun.  Walking back to the house the tones drop for some chest pain thing over on Westmont.  I sprint back and jump onto my special white bus with the flashy red lights and the woo-woo noises.  I throw the brown paper bag into the map console and we go screaming out of there over to Westmont for the chest pain thing which turns out to be a fucking cardiac arrest, CPR in progress.  We do the whole thing, whatever.  After that it's back-to-back calls for the next eight hours, going on two hours after I'm supposed to be off shift.  Finally we get back to the barn so I can clock out.  I grab my bedraggled steak from the ambo...  The bag looks fine.  That steak tastes fine.  I'm so hungry I eat it right there in the goddamned dayroom before going home.  I eat the hell out of that steak and then I drive home.  I start feeling queasy before I even get to a hundred and thirty second street.  I gotta pull over and vomit, right there on Franklin, in the park and ride.  Awesome, I get home, she's annoyed not just because I got held over and we missed out on some important plans she thought we had but also because I vomit on the carpet right when I get to the living room.  Smooth move, I know.  So I drag my ass to bed.  Right away I start getting these crazy hot flashes and weird pains in my thighs, abdomen, right shoulder and neck, and head.  I'm sweating like a dog, totally drenching the sheets.  She bails for the sofa, understandably.  I'm a sweaty, achy mess.  I toss and turn.  Finally, I drop into some sort of broken, crazy sleep. While I'm sleeping, I have these weird dreams regarding the neighbors.  I know it's the neighbors in my dream because they always wear those stupid goat and marmot outfits.  Anyway, I dream that I'm woke up by a knocking at the door and when I get it, it's the neighbors and they come in and ply me with alcohol and various illicit substances and concepts.  The next thing I know, there's some big fire out in the yard and goat and marmot are dancing around it chanting something about healthcare plans and gerrymandering and I'm like, this is boring so I'm out of here.  Anyway, after that weird dream I wake up on the sofa.  Somehow she's in bed, no longer the sofa, that's the best thing, really.  But I don't remember the exchange.  And somehow I've bumped my head and seem to be bleeding ever so slightly.  Anyway, I don't work Saturdays so I sleep in until there is no more sleeping.  Making coffee, I look at my phone and find a new photograph.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ready, Set...

"Just a Box of Art"

I've been taking a bit of a break during the cold weather although I've been giving a lot of thought to upcoming projects.

- I have a few bundles of willow and birch sticks that I have ideas for.
- I'm musing about labyrinths and have a few potential ideas.
- I've been playing with 3D modeling.
- I've been messing around with QR codes (again).
- I'm researching how to sculpt with foam and fiberglass so I'll be ready to work in those mediums when the weather gets warm.
- I'm gearing up for a KickStarter campaign to scale Anniversary to 4' x 8'.

Anniversary 2014

Art 2015 is like a box I'm almost ready to open.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saturnalian Excavations: Scenes From the Closet of Extinct Curiosities

Hallucigenia coleoptrata, often found scuttling about in the dark corners of the Irvhaus Archives, is nearly ready to be shipped off to an exciting new home in the suburbs! (Just testing out the suspension... those dangling hind legs will need to be restrained.)

Giant Flea, alas, you have not been adopted (nor ever completed), and we may need that space in the top of the closet. Your spot in the landfill will likely be surrounded in festive holiday refuse.

Giant flea, we never did finish making you, but you will always hang in the Extinct Curiosities exhibition in my mind.

A photo posted by Dorothy Hickson (@dorothyjhickson) on

(Blogging of festive holiday refuse, check out this article on the snowflake-mills of China...)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Taking Flight

This Friday, Artomatic Takes Flight is doing a "holiday party" at the airport, in case you like your art served with wine or beer (yes, I am envious) -- here is the EventKloud link.

The show itself is there through January 8th, 2015.

Thursday, October 16, 2014



As I reported previously, for numerous reasons I've been pulled away from art for the last few months.  I did manage to get PVC Whatever painted for a show of local artists at Artistree in Pomfret, Vermont.  That's PVC Whatever above.  Click on the graphic below for show details.


Below is a view north from the shoulder of Burke Mountain (Vermont), taken in July.