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Sowing seeds

My brother David & me

You know how when you have, like, 5 really cool things going on in your life at one time, and suddenly you feel so rich, so unstoppable?

Now I know you're thinking, "What, now you're *excited?* I'm still reeling from that thing a few months ago where you were smacking your friends around for being overly concerned about your self-loathing."

Look here, buster. Things change, you know? Thank god. Things change all the darn time! And by the way, I really didn't mean to criticize my friends. I know they care. It's just like my friend Patrick said, if you're in the hospital or sick or something and suddenly everyone acts all weird like you're going to die or something. You just want them to come in and see you, like, in traction or whatever, and say, "Wow, that was a nasty accident but you're gonna be fine. Want a beer?" Exactly.

I'm all worked up over redesigning my entire website. It's been the way it is since its inception about two years ago (maybe a little less than that, I don't remember)... and I added this blog later. Well, don't get too used to the way it looks now because, along with everything else, it's changing soon! All the new pages are designed and ready. The only problem is that I really don't know HTML at all. Did you know I really only cut and paste everything I do? This page, for example, is a mishmash of Angela's original page combined with changes Gina helped me make. I didn't write this HTML myself at all. I am a thief.

So I bought a book on HTML, and borrowed another. I started at the beginning so I haven't actually learned anything yet, but I'm still excited because now I'll know how to do it myself and I won't have to harrass Gina into doing it for me anymore. Also I'm working on some photos for a band in Chicago, and I'm very pleased with the way the first two rolls of film came out.

I have to emphasize how little cash flows in from the photography work I've done; and how extremely high the rate of satisfaction-to-pay photography yields me. Design? High pay/medium satisfaction. Art? No pay/high satisfaction. Photography? Low pay/extremely high satisfaction. Ahh.

Finally, there may be some... hmm... other changes afoot (can't really specify)-- all good stuff. And I finally got paid for the last six months of freelance design work so I can pay off Slab. All this stuff going through my head right now, and it all makes me feel so excited, like all my senses are switched on and life is moving, shifting, full of variety. I like that feeling!

When I was a little girl I used to get this feeling, when I was having a good time -- like that feeling of bliss I described earlier, combined with a sense of anticipation of something exciting coming up. I remember having this feeling a number of times where I was *so* happy I felt like I would explode; so I'd just scream. Literally just scream.

Once my Mom freaked out and came running in the room saying "what's wrong!?" I said, "nothing, I'm just happy." First sign right there, that Mom had a freaky kid on her hands. The purple hair would come later.

While we're on the subject of my childhood, I have to mention that any thought of such always brings memories of David, my brother. We're two and a half years apart, I'm the younger. We had a pretty cool relationship as kids; he was extremely inventive and was always building things, like aquariums and robots and electric dice, the Fantastic Marble Machine and the "Pet Shop" out back. I was his doting assistant.

He wrote several books which he allowed me to help illustrate, and later I wrote my own, including the classic "Susan's Seven Animal Stories," about Chris the Camel, Lucy the Ladybug, Anthony the Ant, and, um, four others apparently. We played together a lot, but we also fought pretty hard sometimes, when I wouldn't give him his space or started teasing him. Like all young siblings, we pretended we hated each other. I suppose we actually spent an unusual amount of time playing together, creating things, teaching each other stuff, compared to other siblings; but we thought we were just normal brother/sister kids who fought sometimes.

A few summers I went away to visit my grandparents' house alone; there I had all my friends from Grama's neighborhood, and had Grama and Grampa to myself. But I would get a little homesick sometimes, and I remember sitting in the bathtub my Grama was filling up for me, and crying.

Grama asked, "why are you crying?" And I thought about it a minute, and finally said, "I miss David." Hints from age eight or nine, of how close the two of us would later become.

I've had exactly two dreams from which I've awakened crying: both were dreams that David died. Having now lost all my grandparents, and one day probably my parents too, I'm becoming seasoned with loss... but that one, that one... I couldn't bear, and I never hope to.

And so life is rich and full of love, and family, and art; and even loss has brought a sense of grace to me, as it has sliced away pieces of my life now and again... and change has done me good as I discover what I've taken for granted.

New stems break the surface; life moves on.

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