I’ve been busy dyeing scarves and working on my web store… Mothspit will re-launch soon with a brand new look! ❤
There are experiences that can only be made alone and on foot. I made an impromptu visit to San Francisco in 2011 without a car or a companion. I climbed steep hills, felt my thighs burn as I ascended, giggled at the cars which—when parked at an angle—looked as though they would topple over, raced down Lombard street in a dizzying zig-zag, marched around the Piers and imagined that I were rich and lived in one of the beautiful, old Victorians near the Bay. I will never forget the smell of San Francisco, the slightly damp saltiness intermingling with floral notes and the waves of chocolate carried on a breeze from the Ghirardelli factory. When you are walking San Francisco, the smell is just magnificent. It engulfs you.
I came to the city on an artistic mission. I met with fiber artists and gallery owners and I walked around the SFMOMA in a sort of trance; they had a Matthew Barney installed in the stairwell that I focused on as a ascended up and up and around into the galleries. I was determined to make this city my home, if at least for one summer, and I wanted to infiltrate the Bay-area art scene. I tried to make contacts with those whom I could intern for in exchange for pay or room and board.
My best lead was at a gallery focusing on the art of female surrealists; I was absolutely astounded that I could have a chance to intern with them, as they represented my favorite artist, Leonora Carrington. As the last living Surrealist, she was prolific. Her work was full of lanky creatures, goddess figures and celestial imagery. Her writing made me feel alive and I imagined that interning at this gallery might give me the chance to meet her, if only over the phone to discus business. I met with the gallery director and felt impressive. I felt as though my nerves were hidden under a blanket of wonder and the thrill of possibility. I knew I had this in the bag.
That night, I met up with my old friend, Marisa, for drinks. We went to a bar that was painted neon, looked like a cave and played the B-52s on the jukebox. As we downed sakes and played catch-up, I felt a shift in my thinking. I confided to Marisa all my doubts, the failings of my current relationship and my hatred of art school. All that I kept bottled inside of me poured out and away; it felt pointless to hold onto dark, weak thoughts. The next evening, as I ate sushi and mochi at a little Japanese bar next to my hotel, the shift grew. I chatted aimlessly with the bartender, but I felt a complete sense of relief in being alone, adventuring across the country by myself. I felt strength in my solitude.
Within a week of returning to Missouri, the adventures began to happen. I ended the crumbling and mentally destructive relationship with my (then) boyfriend. I had a psychedelic experience, explored a cave, made out on a rooftop with a foreign exchange student, discovered a new purpose for my art and started writing again. I felt strong and empowered. Whatever clicked with me in San Francisco transformed my life in the Midwest.
Ironically, the morning that I found out that my internship would not be happening was the day that Leonora Carrington died. Three days later, I would meet Tom. I was like the sun in Leonora’s Sol Niger, being sent into the dark waves only to see a pure reflection of herself. I was carried back to Kansas City transformed and peaceful, and it was the time for new adventures to begin.
I recently read Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and it has made me completely obsessed with the idea of Paris in the 1920s. All the beautiful stereotypes I have of the city are founded in the culture of Hemingway’s Paris: the old dusty bookshops and café hours and leisure and tiny apartments full of art. If only I could be like Gil Pender and stumble upon a time portal in a Parisian alleyway. I’m afraid I would never leave, although I would have to devise a way to take Tom with me, as I suspect traveling almost 100 years in time can get quite lonely.
I often wonder what nostalgia the people of the future will have for our times. Will they pine for 2013′s Paris; will their hearts ache for nights spent Twitter-ing at cafés? Will they glamorize the Paris riots into something poetic? Will they cherish our bad pop music and fad diets and Instagram’d photos of Montmartre? I like to think that the essence of Paris will transcend time; that it will remain the city of lights, cafés and cobblestones forever.