Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 279: Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It happened again. Today I got an email from my new gallery. Since they heard that I have a book coming out, they are forcing me to postpone my February exhibition of T.B. to April in correspondence with my Modern Times book release even though I tried to explain that my planned exhibition and book are totally different projects. Their reply was that it is just “good business”, but in my opinion, what’s usually good for business is probably not good for art. Now my two big separate events of the year are all globbed into one and now I feel bullied and cornered into exhibiting Modern Times instead because, in my mind, it would be like having a cup of orange juice and a cup of milk at the same time, which on their own are both wonderful, but drinking them simultaneously is a bad idea. The only “strategic” and smart thing to do for my career now is to just have an exhibition of Modern Times, which in reality I have no interest in doing because Barnacles is the one I really love.

Since this show
as well as the one for the department store, which I had deviously planned on calling Photographs of my Willy, were both up in the air (regarding the latter exhibition about my cat, I finally ended up surrendering and paying them back), I no longer had anything to do for the day or for the rest of the month for that matter, so I met up with Yosuke at a cafe, but our usual talk about art and the act of struggling didn’t quite rev me up like it usually did- instead it just made me more frustrated especially when he told me about the painter Robert Coutelas. According to the biography that Yosuke had just read, Coutelas couldn’t handle the bullshit either, so he quit the gallery system and unsurprisingly ended up destitute. One day when he finally got enough money to reward himself with a nice steak from the butchers, he came to the warped conclusion that if he were to actually eat it, he would just yearn for more and since he couldn’t afford another, it would be like torture. He ended up throwing the steak into his fireplace and watched it burn instead, and then went to bed hungry. In the middle of the night, his empty stomach got the best of him, so he got up, sifted through the ash, and ate the charred remains…

Afterwards, at a bookstore, since I was in a bad mood, everything that I saw annoyed me. I then walked over to the English aisle and found Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast because a few days before, I had seen and liked Woody Allen’s latest film, which was loosely influenced by it. In the film, Allen’s imaginary Hemingway said to the time-traveling Owen Wilson
something that I really liked and agreed with, which was:

All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well.

The Japanese Hemingway

In regards to this, a stranger wrote me a few days ago. Actually she wrote me a few times before as well, and each time saying that she liked me and was pressuring me to meet her because she liked my photos, which immediately sounded like a bad idea. To be polite, I told her that we should just correspond by mail first instead. The more I found out about her life, the more it seemed that she was just lonely and unhappy and was dreaming for some quick solution, which, in her opinion, was me. I wanted to explain to her that like the fake Hemingway quote, my discovery doing Barnacles, which was that if you are always looking somewhere else, you will probably never find what you are looking for. Beauty and love has always been there in front of you and that you just needed the right attitude to see it… and that even though, she thinks she likes me and thinks she knows me because of everything that I had written down and photographed here, it isn’t really me because people in real life and on the internet are always different. Anyways I finally kind of began to understand how the girl that I liked for the past half year must have felt when I kept bothering her (which made me wonder if you can even call it love if it’s only one-sided).

Afterwards I followed Yosuke to the art supply store because he wanted to buy a canvas for his exhibition next month. When he found the right one, he said with a big grin that he was filled with tension and was excited about painting on it, but since I still had three hours to kill before meeting another friend for dinner, Yosuke said that he would wait and keep me company for a little while longer.

We ended up at a donut shop in Shinjuku, which was filled with teenaged girls. When I sat down and turned to put my jacket over my chair, I accidentally saw some girl’s panties because her skirt was extremely short and she was bending down in front of my face (*beauty is always staring at you in the face). I turned back to Yosuke, but was too embarrassed to mention my discovery. We then talked about what he should paint, tossing ideas back and forth, until he suddenly gets hit with one. With another big grin, he said that the image had always been there on the canvas and that now that he had seen it, he just had to fill it in. I could see how excited he was to begin working on it, so I let him leave early and then to kill another hour, I began reading my Hemingway book, hoping to find quotes, connections, or answers to my life that were not there.

When it was about time to go meet my friend, Yu, I walked to the station and once again was surrounded by beautiful women as well as Christmas lights, but I knew that like the panties from earlier, they were all an empty illusion. Fifteen minutes later, I arrived in Shibuya and was no longer so angry or frustrated as I was earlier. Like always, seeing Yu made me smile.


During dinner, when she mentioned that I hadn’t posted anything on Barnacles lately, I confessed to her that I was currently in a rut. We caught up on our lives, and then
after dinner exchanged Christmas gifts.

When I arrived back at my station, I kept thinking about before how when most people met me for the first time after they had seen
My Little Dead Dick, they always mentioned that they thought that I would be crazier or more exciting in person, which I always took to heart that I was a let down to them... Now about five years later, while walking home the same insecurities got the best of me again and made me text Yu, asking her, "Because you met me after you read Barnacles, how do I compare in real life?" Five minutes later, she answered back, "You’re the same. Did that answer your question??? "

When I got home, I fed Willy and the fish, and then ate a papaya. Afterwards
I checked my email and found out that the big advertising campaign that I was hoping to get in China, which would have solved financial problems, went to someone else. When I told my best friend Shawn the news, he said he was sorry, but, at the same time, was selfishly excited because now I could spend the holidays with his family in Nagoya instead.

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