Projects, projects, projects!
For one of last year’s videos, I photographed my shoes in a number of ridiculous places. And yes, my fridge is, in fact, usually that empty. Sigh…
Projects, projects, projects—I have a million of ’em! Well, in theory. They just keep announcing themselves at the slightest hint of a trigger. Exhibit A: This morning as I wait for the bus, I hear my inner wheels spinning and whirring, looking for words to bracket around the morning. I write:
Out into the sharp teeth of morning, a fingernail of moon smug against the fluorescent sky, a meadow of blue just breaking into a blush, faintly, around the sleepy edges.
Next I think: Oh, maybe I should spend a month writing just a few sentences of physical description about each morning.
Exhibit B: After two days when I am especially pleased with my outfits, so much so that I document them for Facebook, I think—oh yes, a month of photographing whatever my primary outfit is for the day.
The ideas keep coming, not limited to those synapses set aside to live, eat, and breathe art. In February, it’s pretty definite I’m going to be purposefully vegan for the month, and then perhaps in April or May, I want to take a walk each and every day. (Though this apprenticeship as a flaneur perhaps has art as its ulterior motive; this is the year after all I rashly promised to engage more with the physical landscape in my writing.)
Why a month? Because it’s possible to stand most anything for 30 odd days, even if some of those days involve cajoling or downright pummeling yourself into the appointed activity. And 30 or so days is enough time for me to take a break, ask “do I want this to be a lifestyle change?” It’s a baby step that can lead to a new habit, or tease out the reasons why a desired habit just won’t (possibly ever) stick. It’s also knowing that,given that there are 12 months in a year, I possibly have 12 chances for an adventure that can be as decadent or as challenging to as inexpensive or as ridiculous as I want to make it.
But still, why projects, projects, projects? In part, it’s the reinvigoration of a new year with an extra adrenaline rush of celebrating a birthday. And, of course, last year I proved to myself that—given the right project, one that’s not what I “should” do but instead meets some need that I can intuit but not quite articulate—I can be a woman who completes projects. That was a huge change in my self-view, as I always tagged myself as a quitter. It had never occurred to me before last year’s video project that the problem lay not with my discipline or commitment, but with the conception of the project itself.
I think these projects arise too out of curiosity. The more comfortable I become with myself, the more I want to get to know this 42-year-old black woman of mixed heritage and eclectic tastes and a killer jewelry collection who claims to be me. I want to scout out all her caves, her mountaintops too, see if maybe she wants to set up house together, start shopping for a ring….And I think, for now, the way to her heart just may be projects, projects, projects.