The promise of Carrie delivered.
I tried doing this a while ago but I was doing it for free and it kind of lost its steam but I want to do this again. For money. So, hey tumblr, for $30 I will paint your pet, post it here, and then mail it to you. All you have to do is email me a picture of your pet and its name (tully at tullymills dot com). Multiple photos would be great if they can be provided. You can tell me a little bit about your pet too if you like. Each painting will be watercolor and 7” x 10 1/4” and it might get weird.
You’d be an actual fool not to. Tully is the best. Just look at my dog in the top picture! LOOK AT HER.
I have a lot of beliefs, but the one that I am, perhaps, the most committed to is the belief that some day this book will just organically come into my life.
I will own this book, and I will own it without buying it or having it bought for me as a gift.* I hope it happens years from now. Decades, even.
Here are some ways I will possibly come to own My Passion for Design:
- I find it on the street.
- Someone who has it is moving and wants to get rid of it.
- I find it in a thrift store or at a yard sale for a single-digit amount of dollars (the exception to my no-buying rule).
- A ghost leaves it on my pillow.
- Barbra herself gives it to me out of a stack she keeps in her home or car. “Take one. I have zillions.”
- It is presented to me as an award for my achievements.
This I believe very strongly indeed.
*My boyfriend once told me that he thought about getting it for me for my birthday or Christmas, but he knew it would violate the terms of my belief, so he didn’t. What a prince, right?
It seems weird to me that the first blog I had was almost exclusively art. I think of myself so much as a writer at this point that it’s hard for me to remember how long it took me to get there.
So my first blog was my drawings and silly things I enjoyed.
The painting above is my favorite piece on it. I take great pride in the fact that for years, it was the top result for a Google Image search of “Alan Cumming Martha Stewart.” It is based on a real photo of a real thing that happened and which remains one of my favorite pictures of all time:
I know. It’s art already.
My dear friend Leon and I had this picture on our fridge when we lived together. I made the painting for him as a birthday present, nearly four years ago.
So tonight, I Googled it again. Just to see where I landed. And while my painting was indeed among the results, I saw that the image did not link back to the original painting on my blog.
Look, we all have dreams, right? It gets better. Here is Alan, re: the painting (at the conclusion of a really nice blog post about aging, actually):
"I looked for the photograph of me and Martha from the time I learned how to make quesadillas on her show but couldn’t locate it. However, some lovely person has done this drawing of it, which I found on the interweb."
The fact that he was out there, specifically looking for that image, makes me happier than anything, happier even than him finding my piece in the process.
Anyway, that’s it. That’s all.
My new thing is this:
Cheating on the internet.
Here is how it’s done:
You take something controversial or buzzed about, anything that is being subjected to the internet echo chamber/thunderdome.
You take that thing, and you engage with it (watch/read/listen to/etc.) alone. Alone!
You think about that thing. You form an opinion. Alone! Take however long you want! Days! Weeks! There is no deadline. Ambivalence counts as an opinion, as long as you can articulate it to yourself.
You have your opinion ready? Great! Don’t tell the internet. No matter how many opportunities arise, do not join the public conversation.
Here is what you do instead:
You find a friend, and you talk to them. In person, via email, however. You have a real conversation with a real person. Maybe you will both agree or disagree, but you will both talk, and you will both listen. In good faith, like regular people!
And that’s it. That’s the whole thing.
(I feel obligated to add, this isn’t a “shut up, people” thing. Sometimes your thoughts should be public, sometimes they very much need to be. This is just a gift, for you, when you need it.)
I read Jaws the book this week. I did it because I hadn’t, because Tully (tmills to us here on tumblr.com, which is not letting me insert hyperlinks for some godforsaken reason) said it was terrible (it is), and because in its wake, Peter Benchley has refashioned himself as a shark conservationist, and I can’t get mad at that.
So I read Jaws the book. I don’t think everyone should read Jaws the book, but I think people not yet dispossessed of that knee-jerk “the book is always better than the movie”* attitude should definitely read it. Sometimes subplots enrich a story, and sometimes they clutter it. Quint actually says something to that effect in the novel (it’s about chumming, but I’ll take my metaphors where I can get ‘em):
"Like I said, if the slick gets too big, it’s no good…The slick would be big and confusing, and even if [the shark] came up right up alongside and looked at us, we wouldn’t know he was there unless he took a bite out of us."
The limitations of film are often its greatest assets. A movie can’t give you paragraphs’ worth of background on Amity Mayor Larry Vaughan (well, it could, but it’d be a dick to do it), but it can show you the guy in an anchor jacket that gives you the gist of it.
The costume piece so good, it has its own Facebook page.
I think limitations can be good for artists in general, but for directors in particular. Watch a Spielberg popcorn movie now, and watch Jaws, starring a mechanical shark that didn’t work. Jurassic Park was the movie where everything went right, and it was the end of everything. We would never have to replace a shark with a barrel again.
R.I.P. Big-Budget Creativity.
The thing I perhaps missed most from the novel was Robert Shaw. DID U KNOW**: “Shaw based his performance on fellow cast member Craig Kingsbury, a local fisherman, farmer, and legendary eccentric, who was playing fisherman Ben Gardner.” Benchley’s Quint is an Ahab-like figure in that he shares Ahab’s eccentricities but not their source. He is a man with a past, but not a particularly haunted one. Can you even imagine Jaws without the U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue?
Jaws wasn’t the first aquatic menace movie, but it’s the one that defined the genre. Some elements of Jaws have become so intrinsic to this type of movie that they have transcended homage to become convention.
That Zoom is so ubiquitous it needs to be taken out of context to even read as a nod anymore. For example: Wayne Knight’s face at the police station in Basic Instinct, another movie about a gaping maw of [loses the will to finish making this vagina joke]. Speaking of maws, Maw was one of the many unfortunate titles Peter Benchley considered for his novel. I love writing titles, but trying to name Jaws would have given me a headache, too.
I’ve had recurring dreams about sharks, real and mechanical, for as long as I can remember. I find them equal parts frightening and comforting. Jaws was my first scary movie, an effective one at that, but the day after I first watched it, I went to the beach and swam.*** When I worked a demeaning job at Universal Studios Theme Park, the proximity of fake Amity Island and it’s animatronic leviathan brought me some modicum of comfort, like carrying a [barely functional] good luck charm in my pocket.
So yes, I read Jaws the book. And I’m glad I did. But it’s Jaws the movie whose frames and sounds have been so imprinted on me that even in the moments of greatest suspense, they feel like home. I could almost curl up in the Roy Scheider zoom and take a nap. There are dozens of movies I could call my favorite, but there are few that occupy the kind of beachfront property of my heart that Jaws does. Though I hear that prices are dropping. Something about a killer shark.
*This should be strictly the opinion of a precocious third-grader, not of an adult who has actually read books or watched movies.
**Via Wikipedia. I have spent so much time on the Jaws Wikipedia page over the years that we are now in a common-law marriage.
***My unofficial living will largely consists of me telling my parents, whenever it occurs to me, that in the event I die in a shark attack, to lobby for the shark not being killed, because damn, that’s just bad luck.
I found your look for summer, via Earth Girls Are Easy.