Abandoning my BFA Final Portfolio artwork remains one of my life’s biggest regrets. My internal Typo I am worthless led me to believe that my artwork was worthless. My artwork wasn’t like what I saw in the art magazines, was it? It wasn’t realistic figure painting, was it? It wasn’t perfect, therefore it was worthless.
I never got proper instruction in the basics, so I went back to basics on my own. Such a big mistake, but it’s what I did. I bought art books or checked them out of the GSU library. I studied Perspective. I learned the bones and muscles of the body again (as I did in Biology). This didn’t help with my figure drawing.
I desperately wanted to escape my mundane life and be a success at something. Books were being made into movies all the time so I tried to write fiction. J. and I were both going to be writers. We thought romance novels would be easy to write, so we read several to prepare. I actually wrote one. Then I tried science fiction.
I descended back into my familiar teen angst I hate myself, I hate my life feelings. I was still fat, in debt, no boyfriend, and now nothing to look forward to. Once Professor M. said to me, “Why are you in such a hurry to graduate? Where do you have to go except grad school?” I didn’t feel ready to apply to grad school.
I used to run errands on campus from the College of Business. Usually if I saw Professor M. I would avoid him. I didn’t want to explain my lack of an art career. Once while passing through the art building I saw familiar artwork in the gallery. It was their first BFA art show. I burst into tears and headed out onto the street. They didn’t give us a BFA art show. When I got back to the office I had to lie to one of our faculty members that my allergies were bothering me, hence the red eyes and runny nose.
In 1990 we moved back to town, near our first apartment in Atlanta. J. began law school. I continued writing. The thing that pulled me out of my funk was the writing, even if it didn’t go anywhere. I kept my novel drafts until the Purge in Laurel.
My romance novel was about a woman who owned a jewelry business. As a child she repaired a pendant and glued so much stuff onto it she invented something new. She discovered she had a ‘penchant’ for jewelry design, so her company was named Penchant.
I wrote a novel about a company that made space stations in orbit. A tech crew has a mishap and a murder while in space, in zero-g. The best part about that story was the tech guy who shattered his glass bottle of vodka and some of the crew had to freeze in place and cover their faces so they didn’t inhale glass shards, while others got the vacuum. Later the vacuum is floating down a dark and deserted hallway like an octopus.
For my Mars story, I reused the characters from Penchant. I liked the part in my Mars story that Mars turns everyone into an artist. They warn colonists to leave all clothing in the red family at home – red, orange, rust. It was common to see people tearing off clothing on the street and tossing it into a nearby trashcan, then seeing them emerge from a clothing shop dressed head to toe in blue. Residents were encouraged to paint and decorate their walls – murals, artwork, posters. At any time their walls could be repainted white free of charge. And plants, lots of plants.
In January 1991 the Gulf War began:
(Button used to sleep on top of the cable box.)
We stayed up late to see the deadline expire for Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions. We watched CNN reporting live. Dan Rather calls it Operation Desert Squall. Tom Brokaw says Operation Desert Sand. We watched Arthur Kent ‘Scud Stud.’ And Charles Jaco refusing to take cover with bombs going off around him.
Steve was one of those kids who graduated high school and went into the Army to pay for college, so he was in the first Gulf War. He says, “Fun times.”
Me, Mom and Dad - New Year's Eve at one of their friends' houses.